We can learn a significant lesson from the life of Thomas B. Marsh, this dispensation’s first President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Lord’s counsel to President Marsh in section 112 reflects His knowledge of Thomas’s strengths and weaknesses. “Exalt not yourselves,” the Lord warned. “Rebel not against my servant Joseph” (v. 15). “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (v. 10). If President Marsh had heeded this counsel, he would have had a happier life. We can also find greater happiness by humbly following the Lord and His Church leaders. (For additional insights see the
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
The Twelve Apostles hold the keys of the priesthood and are called to bear testimony of Christ in all nations. They are instructed to be humble and have pure hearts, support the prophet, and follow the Savior (see D&C 112:1, 4–5, 10, 14–15, 21–22, 28–34; see also D&C 18:26–28; 107:23, 35).
When the Lord comes to cleanse the earth, He will begin with His Church, especially those who only pretend to know the Lord (see D&C 112:23–26; see also Matthew 7:21–23; Romans 9:6; Helaman 4:11; D&C 41:1–5).
Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 173–76.
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 279–82.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video presentation 17, “If They Harden Not Their Hearts” (11:40), can be used in teaching Doctrine and Covenants 112 (see Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Guide for teaching suggestions).
Doctrine and Covenants 112:3, 10. If we are humble, the Lord will forgive us, lead us, and answer our prayers.
Invite several students to suggest words that describe a humble person they know. If appropriate, have them include an example of this person’s humility. Read Doctrine and Covenants 112:3, 10 and discuss the following questions:
How do people who are truly humble feel toward their Heavenly Father?
How does being humble relate to our ability to receive answers to prayers?
In what ways can the Lord lead the humble?
How can we develop humility?
Share the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:
“How does one get humble? To me, one must constantly be reminded of his dependence. On whom dependent? On the Lord. How remind one’s self? By real, constant, worshipful, grateful prayer. …
“Humility is teachableness—an ability to realize that all virtues and abilities are not concentrated in one’s self” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 233).
Read the following statement by Elder Gene R. Cook, and have students listen for ways humility can affect our prayers:
“When we’re humble, we feel our dependency on the Lord. Because of this feeling of dependency, we reach out to him for help and guidance in many areas—and have open hearts and minds to receive it. …
“As we acknowledge our dependence on the Lord, we increase in our humility—and we enhance our ability to truly communicate with the Lord. Those who truly are humble will also do all in their power to do their part, knowing that answers to prayer are a mutual endeavor, requiring effort by both man and God” (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers, 20, 23–24).
Discuss the following questions:
How does recognizing our dependence on the Lord help us reach out to Him?
How can this increase our humility and enhance our prayers?
Doctrine and Covenants 112. The apostasy of Thomas B. Marsh teaches the importance of keeping the Lord’s Spirit by humbly following our Church leaders.
Before class, draw on the board the chart at the bottom of this page.
Have two students who know each other well come forward. Ask the first student questions like the following:
How well do you know the other student?
How did you come to know this person so well?
Ask the second student: Who knows you better than the first student? Invite the class to discuss how well Heavenly Father knows this student. Ask: Why does He know each of us so well? (He knows all things; see 2 Nephi 9:20.)
Testify that Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves. He can give us counsel because He knows our strengths and weaknesses and what will bring us the greatest joy. Read Doctrine and Covenants 31:9, 12–13; 112:2, 10, 15 and list on the board the counsel given to Thomas B. Marsh in these verses. Discuss the following questions:
What weaknesses did Thomas B. Marsh struggle with?
What counsel did the Lord give that could help someone with impatience and pride?
Tell students that a little over a year after section 112 was given, President Marsh left the Church because of a disagreement over cream. Have a student read George A. Smith’s account of this disagreement in the student study guide (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for D&C 31:9–13). Read the series of events in the chart on the board. Return to the student study guide and read President Gordon B. Hinckley’s statement. Read the first part of Brother Marsh’s statement, ending with his question, “How and when did you lose the Spirit?” Refer students to the chart on the board, and ask: When do you think Thomas B. Marsh lost the Spirit? Why? After some discussion, read the remainder of Brother Marsh’s statement in the student study guide.
Invite several students to tell in one sentence what they learned from the experience of Thomas B. Marsh. Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives” (History of the Church, 3:385).
Explain that one of the questions in a temple recommend interview is whether we sustain our leaders. We must be able to say yes before we can receive a recommend. Testify that by sustaining the prophet and other Church leaders we can keep the Holy Ghost in our lives and that if we are critical of them we lose the Spirit.