Doctrine and Covenants 110

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 188–91


Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

“Several years ago [my family and I] sat together in the Kirtland Temple and tried to imagine what it would have been like for the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery to see in revealed truth ‘the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son’ [D&C 137:3], or to see ‘the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit’ and hear Him say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice’ [D&C 110:2, 5].

“Can you imagine, brothers and sisters, how Joseph and Oliver must have felt as Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared to them and committed keys, dispensations, and sealing powers—not unlike what occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration about 2,000 years before” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 41; or Ensign, May 1998, 32).

Elder Robert D. Hales added:

“In this latter day the promise of eternal families was restored in 1829 when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood were restored to the earth. Seven years later, in the Kirtland Temple, the keys to perform the sealing ordinances were restored. …

“With the restoration of these keys and priesthood authority comes the opportunity for all who are worthy to receive the blessings of eternal families. …

“… [But] an eternal bond doesn’t just happen as a result of sealing covenants we make in the temple. How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father has given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities. The family relationships we have here on this earth are important, but they are much more important for their effect on our families for generations in mortality and throughout all eternity” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 86–87; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 64–65).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Lord manifests Himself to His people in temples if they obey His commandments, have pure hearts, and do not pollute His holy house (see D&C 110:1–8; see also D&C 97:15–17).

  • In the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith was endowed with “power from on high” and received priesthood keys for gathering Israel and sealing families (see D&C 110:9–16; see also D&C 38:32, 38; 43:16; 95:8; 105:11–12).

  • Millions of the Lord’s children, living and dead, will receive the ordinances of salvation because of the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110:11–16; see also D&C 2; 112:32; 128:20–21).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 162–68.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 274–77.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–8. The Lord manifests Himself to His people in temples if they obey His commandments, have pure hearts, and do not pollute His holy house.

(15–20 minutes)

Ask students if they know what is written on the outside of every temple the Church builds. (“Holiness to the Lord—the House of the Lord.”)

  • What does the phrase house of the Lord imply about the temple?

  • If temples are houses of the Lord, can you give an example of a time the Lord visited one?

  • What do you think holiness to the Lord means?

  • How does this phrase apply to you as you prepare to worship in the temple?

Have students read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 110 and list what Joseph Smith did before this vision. Ask:

  • How do the Prophet’s actions relate to the phrase holiness to the Lord?

  • What can we learn from the Prophet’s example about preparing for blessings from the Lord?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–8 as you discuss the following questions:

  • Who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery?

  • What made it possible for Joseph and Oliver to see the Lord? (see D&C 76:12; Moses 1:2, 11).

  • According to verse 5, why did the Savior say Joseph and Oliver should “rejoice”? How can this apply to us?

  • How can obeying the principles in verse 8 help you apply the phrase holiness to the Lord when you worship in His temple?

Share the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“Today my plea is to those members already inside but whose discipleship is casual, individuals whom we love, whose gifts and talents are much needed in building the kingdom! …

“… Though nominal in their participation, their reservations and hesitations inevitably show through. They may even pass through our holy temples, but, alas, they do not let the holy temples pass through them” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 65).

  • What do you think it means that some “pass through our holy temples, but … do not let the holy temples pass through them”?

  • In what ways can people go to the temple but not receive its power and blessings?

  • What can you do to “let the holy temples pass through” you?

Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16. Millions of the Lord’s children, living and dead, will receive the ordinances of salvation because of the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland Temple.

(45–50 minutes)

Invite students to tell of a time members of their family were temporarily separated from one another. Have them share how they felt during this separation. Ask:

  • Why did you want to be together again?

  • What efforts did your family make to be sure you would be reunited?

Tell students that several years after the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death, he appeared to President Brigham Young in a dream and said:

“Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world. Our Father in Heaven organized the human family, but they are all disorganized and in great confusion” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846–1847, ed. Elden J. Watson [1971], 530).

Discuss the following questions:

  • According to this statement, whose family experienced a separation?

  • What effect has this separation had on God’s family?

  • What effort would you be willing to make to help reunite God’s family?

  • What did Joseph Smith tell Brigham Young the Saints needed in order to help organize Heavenly Father’s family? (The Spirit of the Lord.)

Explain that on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple, divine messengers delivered priesthood keys to Joseph Smith to assist in organizing God’s family. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16 and identify these messengers and the keys they brought.

Write on the board the headings Gathering, Gospel of Abraham, and Sealing Power. Explain that organizing God’s family requires the keys for each of these. Discuss each in turn, using the following suggestions as needed. Write important information from your discussion under each heading.


Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 110:11 and tell what priesthood keys Moses restored. Explain that from time to time the Lord has scattered or moved members of the house of Israel away from the Holy Land and throughout the world. The ten tribes, who lived mostly in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, were carried into captivity by the Assyrians in 721  B.C. The remaining tribes in the Southern Kingdom of Judah were taken captive to Babylon in Lehi’s time and were scattered again by the Romans after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Why was Israel scattered? … Our Israelite forebears were scattered because they rejected the gospel, defiled the priesthood, forsook the church, and departed from the kingdom. … Israel was scattered for apostasy. The Lord in his wrath, because of their wickedness and rebellion, scattered them among the heathen in all the nations of the earth” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 515).

Explain that the Lord promised to gather the house of Israel in the last days (see 2 Nephi 10:7). Ask students why they think Moses held the keys of the gathering (see Exodus 3:4–10). Have a student read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, who was then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Moses held the keys of the gathering of Israel. He led Israel out of Egypt into the land of Canaan. It was his appointment in this dispensation to come and restore those keys for the modern gathering” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:48).

Ask: How are we gathering the house of Israel today? Have a student read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Now, the gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church and their coming to a knowledge of the true God. … Any person, therefore, who has accepted the restored gospel, and who now seeks to worship the Lord in his own tongue and with the Saints in the nations where he lives, has complied with the law of the gathering of Israel and is heir to all of the blessings promised the Saints in these last days” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 439).


  • Why do you think the keys of gathering are important to us?

  • How can you help gather Heavenly Father’s family?

Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“What was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world? …

“The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation” (History of the Church, 5:423).

Testify that because the Prophet Joseph Smith received the keys of gathering, the Church’s missionaries have authority to proclaim the gospel and gather Israel in every land. And because of this gathering, we are able to build temples and provide saving ordinances for Heavenly Father’s children.

Gospel of Abraham

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:12 and look for what Joseph and Oliver received next. Ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Now what was the gospel of Abraham? … It was a divine promise that both in the world and out of the world his seed should continue ‘as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.’ [D&C 132:30; Genesis 17; Abraham 2:1–12.]

“Thus the gospel of Abraham was one of celestial marriage … , and as a consequence, the righteous among all future generations were assured of the blessings of a continuation of the seeds forever, even as it was with Abraham of old. [D&C 132.]” (Mormon Doctrine, 219–20).


  • What blessings does the gospel of Abraham provide for Latter-day Saints? (Celestial marriage and eternal families.)

  • Why are these blessings important to you?

Read Abraham 2:9–11 as you discuss the following questions:

  • What blessings were Abraham and his seed promised?

  • What responsibility was Abraham’s seed given? (They would take the gospel to all nations; see v. 9.)

  • What happens to all those who receive the gospel? (They become part of Abraham’s seed or family; see v. 10.)

  • What blessings will come to all the families of the earth who accept the gospel taught by Abraham’s seed? (see v. 11).

  • What ordinances are essential for us to obtain eternal life? (Answers should include baptism and the ordinances of the temple.)

Testify that accepting and living the gospel organizes or unites God’s family and that those who do not live the gospel remain disorganized.

Sealing Power

Remind students that when Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, he quoted Malachi’s prophecy that Elijah would reveal the priesthood before the return of the Savior (see Malachi 4:5–6; D&C 2:1; Joseph Smith—History 1:38–39). That prophecy was fulfilled on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple. Read with students Doctrine and Covenants 110:13–16 and have them tell what Elijah was to do and why. Ask:

  • How are the hearts of the children and their fathers being turned toward one another today?

  • What do these priesthood keys help prepare us for? (The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.)

  • Read Malachi 4:1. According to this verse, what curse would smite the earth?

  • What do you think it means to be left “neither root nor branch”? (To be left without a family.)

  • How can the priesthood keys restored by Elijah bless you and your family?

Read the final commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 110:16 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 277). Note the following important points as you read:

  • The sealing power of the priesthood binds all things on earth and in heaven.

  • Joseph Smith received the authority to perform all the ordinances of salvation for living and dead.

  • The keys of the sealing power make valid all gospel ordinances.

  • These keys permit faithful members to perform sealings and other ordinances of salvation for their ancestors who have died.

  • This power will save the obedient from the curse that will overtake the earth at the Second Coming of the Lord.

Testify that Elijah restored the authority to seal priesthood ordinances for time and all eternity. Explain that because this authority allows us to be sealed to our parents, and they to their parents, and so on, the sealing authority has the power to organize and bind together the family of God. Read Mosiah 5:15 and ask: What happens when we are steadfast and immovable and abound in good works?

Have a student read the following statement by Elder Howard W. Hunter, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“This is the great work of the dispensation of the fulness of times, by which the hearts of the fathers are turned to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. The uniting and redemption of the family of God was the divine plan before the foundations of the earth were laid” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, 54; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, 71–72).