Doctrine and Covenants 117

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 198


When the rich young man came to the Savior and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life, the Savior instructed him, “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). The young man “was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22). For some people, material possessions are one of the greatest tests of mortality. When section 117 was given, Newel K. Whitney, the bishop at Kirtland, and William Marks, the bishop’s agent, owned property that they were reluctant to sell for the benefit of the Church. However, as a result of this revelation, they obeyed the Lord’s command. Often we spend too much of our time worrying about the accumulation of worldly possessions. God has all power, and as we serve Him and follow His counsel to seek first His Kingdom, He will cause “all things [to] work together for [our] good” (D&C 90:24; see also Jacob 2:18–19).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 188–89.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 288–90.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–8. The Saints should not covet material possessions. The Lord can provide for them and their families.

(10–15 minutes)

Write on the board a list similar to the following:

  • expensive clothing

  • position on the basketball team

  • temple marriage

  • class presidency

  • strong testimony

  • clear conscience

  • date to the school dance

  • faithfulness in Church service

Tell students: Imagine that the items on the board describe your life. Suddenly you are placed before the Savior to be judged.

  • Which of these items would be most important to you at that moment?

  • Why might some of the others be of less value?

Tell students that we sometimes confuse what matters most with what we want right now. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–4 and underline a sin related to this confusion. Ask students what they think the Lord meant when He asked, “What is property unto me?” Read verse 5. Have a student read the second paragraph of the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–6 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 289). Ask:

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 117:6–8 and write a one-sentence summary of each verse. Have several students read one of their sentences.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 118:3 and point out what the Lord promised to the families of the Apostles who were to serve missions. According to Doctrine and Covenants 117:6, how is the Lord able to provide for these families? Invite students to share ways they have seen the Lord provide material blessings during times of need for them, members of their families, or others they know.