Doctrine and Covenants 6

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 33–34


Heavenly Father wants us to seek His help. In fact, He has commanded us to petition Him with our needs and desires. Elder Boyd K. Packer, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote, “No message appears in scripture more times, in more ways than ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 26; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 21). His answers most often come to us in quiet, unspectacular ways. For example, when Oliver Cowdery asked the Lord about the truth of Joseph Smith’s work, the Savior told him: “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 52–54.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 14–16.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video presentation 6, “This Is the Spirit of Revelation” (9:32), can be used in teaching Doctrine and Covenants 6; 8–9 (see Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Doctrine and Covenants 6:5–8, 14–15, 20–24. The Lord answers our prayers according to our righteous desires.

(15–20 minutes)

Read the following clues one at a time. Invite students to identify the individual described, using as few clues as possible:

  • With the exception of Joseph Smith, he is mentioned more times in the Doctrine and Covenants than any other mortal.

  • He served as the Assistant President of the Church.

  • He practiced law.

  • He taught school.

  • He received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John.

  • He served as the principal scribe for the Book of Mormon.

  • He was one of the three special witnesses of the gold plates.

Once students have identified Oliver Cowdery, tell them how he came to meet Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:66–67; “Oliver Cowdery’s Arrival,” Church History in the Fulness of Times, pp. 52–53).

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 5:30–34, and ask: What had the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to do? Read the fourth paragraph of the historical background for section 6 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 14). Ask:

  • Why do you think the Prophet Joseph was not surprised when Oliver Cowdery arrived?

  • How did the Prophet know that the Lord would send help?

  • What does this teach us about the Prophet’s confidence in prayer?

Ask students to consider how this compares with their answers to prayer. Ask: What can we do to improve our communication with Heavenly Father?

Explain that Oliver Cowdery needed to gain a similar confidence in prayer. Read Doctrine and Covenants 6:5–6, 8, 14 and ask: What does the Lord teach about seeking His help? Share the statement by Elder Packer from the introduction to section 6 above. Ask: Why do you think the scriptures place so much emphasis on prayer?

Read verses 20–24 and look for how Heavenly Father answered Oliver Cowdery’s prayer for a further testimony of Joseph Smith’s work. Suggest students mark the words in verse 24 that show how Oliver’s prayer was answered. Share the following statements. Elder Rex D. Pinegar, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, said:

“The peace God speaks to our minds will let us know when decisions we have made are right, when our course is true. It can come as personal inspiration and guidance to assist us in our daily life—in our homes, in our work. It can provide us with courage and hope to meet the challenges of life. The miracle of prayer, to me, is that in the private, quiet chambers of our minds and hearts, God both hears and answers prayers” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 82; or Ensign, May 1993, 66–67).

Elder Gene R. Cook, a member of the Seventy, said:

“Over the years the prophets have taught that at least twice a day, morning and evening, we should find a private place, kneel down, and pour out our hearts to our Father in Heaven. Then, throughout the day, we can do our best to keep a prayer in our hearts. As we do, if our hearts are right, we will find that our prayers have increased power and focus, and we’ll discover that we’re in a better position to receive answers” (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [1996], 46; see also Alma 37:37).

Testify to students that if we are obedient, we, like Oliver Cowdery, can receive answers to our prayers.