Doctrine and Covenants 111

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 191–92


All of us make mistakes. Sometimes these errors are simple and easily overcome. Others lead to more serious problems. Doctrine and Covenants 111 illustrates that when our mistakes are made with good intentions, the Lord can help us overcome them and even turn them into successes. Bruce C. Hafen, later a member of the Seventy, said:

“The Atonement can fill that which is empty, straighten our bent parts, and make strong that which is weak.

“The Savior’s victory can compensate not only for our sins but also for our inadequacies; not only for our deliberate mistakes but also for our sins committed in ignorance, our errors of judgment, and our unavoidable imperfections. Our ultimate aspiration is more than being forgiven of sin—we seek to become holy, endowed affirmatively with Christlike attributes, at one with him, like him. Divine grace is the only source that can finally fulfill that aspiration, after all we can do” (The Broken Heart [1989], 20).

(For additional insights see the information for section 111 in the student study guide.)

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 169–71.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 277–79.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 111:1–4, 7–10. The Lord treasures the salvation of His children.

(15–20 minutes)

A few days prior to class, invite a student to prepare a two-minute report on the ancient inhabitants and founders of the city of Salem, Massachusetts. Have the student use the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 111 and verses 7–9 as well as the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 111:9 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (pp. 278–79). This report will be given near the end of this teaching suggestion.

Display a bottle of water and a piece of paper with a large sum of money written on it. Ask:

  • Which would you rather have: this water or the amount of money represented by this paper? Why?

  • When might water be more valuable than money?

  • From an eternal perspective, how can water be used that makes it more valuable than any amount of money? (In the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament.)

Read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 111 (see also the historical background for section 111 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 277). Have students find the meaning of follies in the student study guide (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for D&C 111). Read Doctrine and Covenants 111:1 to find how the Lord felt about the Prophet Joseph Smith going to Massachusetts. Ask students what was foolish about the trip to Salem (see the first three paragraphs of the commentary for D&C 111:1–6 in the institute manual, p. 278).

Read verses 2–4 and discuss what treasure the Lord had in Salem. Share selected information from the last three paragraphs of the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 111:1–6 in the institute manual (p. 278). Ask:

  • What does this teach you about the Lord’s concern for His children’s eternal welfare?

  • What does it mean to you to know that the Lord views you as a “treasure”?

Have students read verses 7–10. Ask: In addition to the great missionary potential in Salem, what other treasures might the Lord have been referring to when He spoke of the “ancient inhabitants and founders of this city”? (v. 9). After a brief discussion, have the assigned student report on what these verses mean. Invite the class to summarize how the Lord turned the Prophet’s sincere intent from a mistake into a blessing. Have them suggest ways He does the same for them.