Doctrine and Covenants 53

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 95–96


Algernon Sidney Gilbert, a successful merchant in Kirtland, was anxious to know the Lord’s will concerning his duty. Priesthood holders who seek God’s will should remember the words of President James E. Faust, a counselor in the First Presidency, who taught: “The priesthood of this Church carries the responsibility to help move the work of righteousness in all the world. Priesthood service requires us to set aside our selfish interests and desires. Brethren, we need to prepare so that we are able to accept priesthood callings should they come” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 59; or Ensign, May 1997, 43).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 53. The Lord extends calls through priesthood leaders for people to serve in His kingdom.

(15–20 minutes)

Tell students: Imagine you are a Church leader with the responsibility to call Church members to serve.

  • How do you think you would decide who should be called to a particular position?

  • Why would it be important to involve the Lord in that decision?

  • How should members be called? (see Articles of Faith 1:5).

  • How is that better than having them choose the callings they want?

  • Why do you think callings are revealed through Church leaders instead of through the members themselves?

Have students read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 53, and ask:

  • Who asked to know concerning his calling in the Church?

  • What part did Joseph Smith play in Brother Gilbert’s calling?

  • What part did the Lord play in this process?

  • How is this pattern like the pattern followed in the Church today?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 53:2–5 as a class. Have students find and mark the responsibilities Sidney Gilbert was given. Read verse 6 and explain that the word ordinances has at least two meanings. The most common meaning is rites and ceremonies, such as baptism and priesthood ordination. But the word can also mean “God’s decrees, his laws and commandments, the statutes and judgments that issue from him” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 548).

Tell students that one key to gaining knowledge and receiving revelation is to act on the commandments and counsel the Lord gives. Read verse 6 again and ask:

  • What blessing did the Lord promise Sidney Gilbert if he kept his “first ordinances”?

  • Read Matthew 7:21–23; James 1:22–25. How do these verses compare with what the Lord told Brother Gilbert?

Discuss the importance of doing what the Lord says, not just hearing it. Give students copies of part of a recent talk by the President of the Church. Review it with students and have them mark what the Lord taught through His prophet that we need to do to receive further blessings. Encourage them to follow the prophet’s counsel.

Doctrine and Covenants 53:2, 7. Forsaking the world and enduring to the end lead to salvation.

(10–15 minutes)

Ask students for examples of what it means to forsake something. Read Doctrine and Covenants 53:2 and ask what the Lord asks us to forsake. Discuss what it means to forsake the world. Explain that forsaking the world means setting aside worldly desires or pursuits. We forsake the world by making and keeping covenants with the Lord through the ordinances of the gospel.

Read the statement by President George Q. Cannon in the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 53:2 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 114). Discuss with the class how what we watch, read, listen to, and wear can either help us get closer to the Savior or become more like the world. Read Doctrine and Covenants 53:7 and ask:

  • How long does the Lord expect us to forsake the world?

  • What promise is given to those who endure to the end?

  • What characteristics could we develop to help us better endure?