Doctrine and Covenants 55

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 97–98


Soon after learning of the Restoration, William W. Phelps went to Kirtland. There he sought the Lord’s counsel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. As the Lord taught, “Blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom” (2 Nephi 28:30). Doctrine and Covenants 55 contains the Lord’s instructions to Brother Phelps.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, p. 103.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 116.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 55:1–5. Those who are baptized with an eye single to God’s glory will receive a remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(15–20 minutes)

Have students sing a hymn written by W. W. Phelps (see “Authors and Composers” in Hymns, p. 390). Ask: What does this hymn have in common with Doctrine and Covenants 55?

Share information about W. W. Phelps from the historical background for section 55 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 116). Read Doctrine and Covenants 55:1 and look for what the Lord told W. W. Phelps he needed to do to be forgiven and receive the Holy Ghost. Testify that we need to constantly examine our lives to see if our desires are focused on God’s glory or on satisfying our own pride.

Read verses 2–5 to find what the Lord wanted Brother Phelps to do. Discuss how he could do these things either to build up God’s kingdom or bring attention to himself. Encourage students to examine the reasons they serve in the Church: to glorify God or to build themselves up.

Draw on the board a ladder leaning against a wall. Ask students how climbing a ladder can be compared to living the gospel. Share this statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation” (History of the Church, 6:306–7).

Point out that living the gospel for the wrong reasons would be like climbing a ladder that had been placed against the wrong wall. Help students understand that we must not only do what God asks but do so for the right reasons. Ask:

  • How does our motivation for climbing the gospel ladder affect how well we climb it?

  • Why is it important to do what God asks with an eye single to His glory?