Doctrine and Covenants 107

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 181–84


Introduction

Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, called section 107 “a revelation which is one of the most remarkable documents in the possession of man. It stands absolutely unique; there is none like it. … It sets forth, in plainness and simplicity, the organization of the quorums of the priesthood; the mutual relations of the quorums to one another; the judicial system of the Church is foreshadowed and outlined; and there is a wonderful picture of the early history of the priesthood. I doubt whether any other such document, of the same small extent, the same few number of words, lies at the foundation of any other great human institution.

“… It is so comprehensive in its brevity, so magnificent in its simplicity, that we have found no occasion, up to the present, to wish that it might have been more complete” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 80).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The priesthood is the authority to act for God. There are two divisions within the priesthood: the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 107:1–6, 14; see also D&C 84:14–18, 25–26).

  • The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency (the authority to preside) and the keys of all spiritual blessings of the Church (see D&C 107:7–12, 18–19).

  • The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels and has authority to administer in the outward ordinances of the gospel (see D&C 107:13–17, 20; see also D&C 13).

  • The Lord organized three presiding quorums to lead the Church: the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Quorum of the Seventy. They are upheld by the faith and prayers of the Church. Their decisions must be made in unity and righteousness (see D&C 107:21–35, 38).

  • The Lord set officers over the various priesthood quorums. He commands each of these leaders to learn his duty and be faithful (see D&C 107:21–39, 58–100).

  • The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles holds all the keys necessary to direct the Church and to reorganize the First Presidency when the President of the Church dies (see D&C 107:22–24).

  • The Lord has called servants in every dispensation and given them priesthood authority to direct His work on earth (see D&C 107:40–57; see also D&C 84:6–18).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 154–55.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 262–69.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 107:1–20. The priesthood is the authority to act for God. The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency (the authority to preside) and the keys of all spiritual blessings of the Church. The Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels and has authority to administer in the outward ordinances of the gospel.

(20–25 minutes)

Give each student a copy of “Priesthood Worksheet (D&C 107)” from the appendix (p. 306). Invite them to study Doctrine and Covenants 107:1–20 to find answers to the questions. When they have finished, correct the worksheet as a class, and discuss the answers. (In question 6, the “outward ordinances” include baptizing and blessing and passing the sacrament.)

Invite a young man to share his testimony of the priesthood and how holding it has strengthened and blessed him. Invite a young woman to share her testimony of the priesthood and why it is important to her.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:21–38. The Lord organized three presiding quorums to lead the Church: the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Quorum of the Seventy. They are upheld by the faith and prayers of the Church. Their decisions must be made in unity and righteousness.

(20–25 minutes)

Note: You could highlight the life of each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a series of devotionals. You might show their pictures and review their names, share a scripture each used in conference, read their testimonies to the class, or help students memorize their names.

Play an audio recording of a famous person speaking or singing and have students guess who it is. Play several more voices, including members of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and see if students can identify them. (If audio recordings are not available, you could show pictures of famous people, including some of the Brethren, and have students identify them.) Invite students to consider how familiar they are with Church leaders compared to music, sports, or movie stars.

Show recent pictures of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the First Quorum of the Seventy (these are printed in each May and November Ensign). Discuss the following questions:

  • What do you think it would be like to meet one of the General Authorities? Why?

  • Who chose these men to lead the Church?

  • Why do you think it is important to follow them?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 107:21–26 and ask:

  • Which verse speaks of the First Presidency? (Verse 22.)

  • Which verses speak of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles? (Verses 23–24.)

  • Which verses speak of the First Quorum of the Seventy? (Verses 25–26.)

  • How are members of these quorums “equal in authority”? (vv. 24, 26; see the commentary for D&C 107:22–26 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 264).

  • According to verse 24, how does the Lord’s organization ensure that the Church will never be without authorized leadership?

To answer this question, share the following statement by Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“In 1835 the Lord gave a revelation on this matter that provides for orderly succession. The revelation states that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a body equal in authority to the First Presidency. (See D&C 107:24.) That means that when the President of the Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the Quorum of the Twelve automatically becomes the presiding body of the Church. That pattern was established with the death of the Church’s first President, Joseph Smith. …

“This divinely revealed procedure for installing a new First Presidency of the Church—revelation from the Lord and sustaining by the people—has been followed to our present day. The First Presidency is to be ‘upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church’ (D&C 107:22)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 8; or Ensign, May 1986, 8).

Write on the board the following headings: Duty of the First Presidency, Duty of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Duty of the Quorum of the Seventy, and Our Duty. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 90:12, 14–16; 107:21–35, 78, 91–92 looking for the Lord’s expectations for these quorums and for us as we sustain them. List students’ findings under the appropriate headings. The following questions may help your discussion:

Duty of the First Presidency

  • What are some of the duties of the First Presidency?

  • What examples can you give of ways they fulfill their duties?

Duty of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

  • What do you think it means to be a special witness? (see v. 23; see also the commentary for D&C 107:23 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 264).

  • To whom are the members of the Quorum of the Twelve to bear their witness?

  • What impressions have you had as you have heard the testimonies of these men?

Duty of the Quorum of the Seventy

  • Where are the Seventies to bear their testimonies?

  • How many quorums of the Seventy are there today? (Note: As of 2004 there were eight.)

Our Duty

  • What could you do to better sustain the authorities of the Church? (see v. 22).

  • Why do you think it is important to sustain our Church leaders?

Doctrine and Covenants 107:21–39, 58–100. The Lord set officers over the various priesthood quorums. He commands each of these leaders to learn his duty and be faithful.

(40–50 minutes)

Give a student a balloon. Invite the student to blow it up, aim it at a mark on the wall, and hit the mark by releasing the balloon. Ask students how this could relate to the direction a priesthood quorum or Young Women class might take without a leader.

Thread string or fishing line through a drinking straw. Attach one end of the string to the mark on the wall and the other end to the opposite wall so the string is tight. Blow up the balloon, tape it to the straw, and release it. Ask how this could relate to a quorum or class with a leader. Ask: How can a prepared, inspired leader help class members reach their goals?

Assign each student one of the offices from the accompanying chart. Have them study the corresponding verses from Doctrine and Covenants 107 to find the duties of that office.

Office definitions

Invite the students to report on the responsibilities of the office they were assigned. If any of the students have served in quorum presidencies, you could have them tell about the duties of that office.

Read verses 99–100. Testify of the importance of priesthood leaders learning their duties and living worthily.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:40–57. The Lord has called servants in every dispensation and given them priesthood authority to direct His work on earth.

(15–20 minutes)

Discuss with students the following questions:

  • How many of you have ever participated in a family council?

  • What happens at family council meetings?

  • Who leads the discussion?

  • What is the purpose of family councils?

  • At what other times do you receive instruction and guidance from your parents?

  • When do you receive direction and counsel from your priesthood leaders?

    Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 107:53–56 and look for whose family council is being described. Ask:

  • Who was invited to attend?

  • Where did this meeting take place?

  • What purposes did Adam have in calling his family together before he died?

  • What prophecies did Adam make there?

Have students scan verses 40–52, and ask:

  • What else did Adam do for his righteous male descendants during his life?

  • Why is it important to know that they received their priesthood from someone who had the proper authority to do so?

  • How does the fifth article of faith relate to these verses?

Ask a young man who has received the priesthood:

  • Who ordained you?

  • How did it feel to receive the priesthood from one of God’s authorized servants?

  • What does that authority allow you to do?