Doctrine and Covenants 56

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 98–99


The Lord declared: “There are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world” (D&C 121:34–35). This seems to have been a problem among some of the Saints living in Thompson, Ohio (see D&C 56:6). When Leman Copley backed out on his covenant to provide a portion of his property for the Colesville Saints, the Lord revoked Newell Knight’s mission call so he could lead the outcasts from Colesville to Missouri (see vv. 6–7). Ezra Thayre’s involvement in the controversies at Thompson kept him from preparing for his mission with Thomas B. Marsh (see v. 5; see also the section headings for D&C 54; 56). The Lord commanded Ezra Thayre to “repent of his pride, and of his selfishness” (v. 8).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 102–4.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 117–18.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 56. Those who rebel against God will receive His punishments.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite students to give definitions of rebellion. Invite some to share what they wrote. Read the following statement by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“A common sin is rebellion against God. This manifests itself in wilful refusal to obey God’s commandments, in rejection of the counsel of his servants, in opposition to the work of the kingdom—that is, in the deliberate word or act of disobedience to God’s will. …

“Among Church members rebellion frequently takes the form of criticism of authorities and leaders. … They complain of the programs, belittle the constituted authorities, and generally set themselves up as judges. After a while they absent themselves from Church meetings for imagined offenses, and fail to pay their tithes and meet their other Church obligations. In a word, they have the spirit of apostasy, which is almost always the harvest of the seeds of criticism. …

“Such people fail to bear testimony to their descendants, destroy faith within their own homes, and actually deny the ‘right to the priesthood’ to succeeding generations who might otherwise have been faithful in all things” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 42–43).

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 56:14–17 and identify phrases that describe rebellion. Invite students to give examples of rebellion in people their age.

Review the examples of rebellion in the introduction to section 56 above. Read Doctrine and Covenants 56:1–4 and ask: What do these verses teach about the rebellious? Read Mosiah 2:36–39; 16:5 and ask what these verses say about rebellion.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 56:5–11, 14, 18–20, and help students contrast the consequences of rebellion with those of humility as described in these verses. Review verse 18 and list what we can do to receive the promised blessings.

Doctrine and Covenants 56:16–20. Riches can canker the souls of both rich and poor. All who repent and humbly obey the truth will inherit the earth.

(10–15 minutes)

Divide students into two groups. Have one group imagine that they are wealthy and the other group that they are poor. Have each group discuss among themselves the following question: “Given your financial status, what do you think would be your greatest challenge in being faithful in the Church?” Invite a member of each group to share with the class what they discussed.

Have students compare Doctrine and Covenants 56:16–17 with 1 Timothy 6:10, and ask:

  • What did the Lord say could canker the souls of those who are rich?

  • What temptations did the Lord warn the poor against?

  • Which of these challenges exist among the rich and poor today?

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 56:18. According to this verse, what is the solution to these problems?

Invite a student to read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us (see 2 Nephi 9:42). There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 5; or Ensign, May 1989, 5).

Read verses 18–20. Testify that while both the rich and poor can be guilty of the sin of pride, humility allows all to receive the Lord’s blessings described in these verses.