Doctrine and Covenants 63

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 108–10


“The center place for the city of Zion (Jackson County, Missouri) had been designated by revelation. Members of the Church desired to know what they should do in relationship to it; therefore the Lord made known his purposes to his Saints. They were to gather to that place if they desired to do the will of the Lord. As stated in verses 22 and 23 of Section 63, they were not to consider this a commandment. The Lord gives revelation for the benefit of all who will obey, but he knows that some members, if commanded in all things, will bring condemnation on themselves by disobedience. Consequently, in this revelation, he leaves it up to the individual to obey his will or not to obey. Those who love the Lord will obey his will as if it were a commandment” (Roy W. Doxey, The Doctrine and Covenants Speaks, 2 vols. [1964–70], 1:491).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, p. 108.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 133–35.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 63:2–17, 32–37, 54–59. The Lord’s servants warn the wicked that they must either repent or be destroyed at the Second Coming.

(20–25 minutes)

Show the picture of Mount Everest in the appendix (see p. 317). Ask students:

  • How many of you would like to climb this mountain?

  • If you did climb this mountain, would you rather climb on your own or with an experienced guide? Why?

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 1:14–16 and look for how it relates to climbing Mount Everest. Ask:

  • Who has the Lord sent as guides to lead us in His way?

  • What path do they show us?

  • What other paths do some people follow?

  • What consequences will those who walk in their own way suffer?

Assign each student one of the following five sets of verses from section 63: verses 2–6, 7–12, 13–17, 32–37, 54–59. Have them search their verses looking for answers to the following questions. Discuss their findings.

  • What do these verses say about the Lord’s way?

  • What do these verses say about man’s way?

  • What consequences will come to those who choose to follow their own way rather than the Lord’s?

Share the following statement by Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“I bear witness of the power and comfort the gift of the Holy Ghost is to those who live worthy of it. What a reassurance it is for us to know that we are not left alone to find the course that we must follow to merit the eternal blessings of our Father in Heaven. We do not need man-made rating systems to determine what we should read, what we should watch, what we should listen to, or how we should conduct our lives. What we do need to do is live worthy of the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost and have the courage to follow the promptings that come into our lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 95; or Ensign, May 1997, 70).

Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–12. Signs and miracles do not create faith. They come because of faith and according to God’s will.

(15–20 minutes)

Draw on the board the following illustrations:

Seeds of Faith

Ask students which illustration they think is accurate. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–9 to find the answer. Invite them to search their scriptures for examples that show that signs do not bring faith. (Examples might include Laman and Lemuel murmuring after seeing an angel [see 1 Nephi 3:31; 17:45]; the chief priests and captains arresting Jesus after seeing Him heal the ear of the high priest’s servant [see Luke 22:50–54]; the children of Israel rebelling after witnessing miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness [see Numbers 14:22–23].)

Have students look in Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–12 to find answers to the following questions:

  • Will sign seekers see signs? (see also Jacob 7:13–15; Alma 30:43, 48–50).

  • How long have there been sign seekers?

  • What determines when signs are given?

  • Why have some sought after signs?

  • If seeking signs isn’t the way to increase faith, what is? (see the commentary for D&C 63:7–12 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 133–34).

Doctrine and Covenants 63:24–54. In the last days the righteous will be separated from the wicked and gathered to the stakes of Zion for safety. At the Lord’s Second Coming, He will destroy the wicked and usher in the Millennium.

(30–35 minutes)

Tell students: Imagine you are attending a general conference in 1831 when Joseph Smith announces that it is time to prepare to move to Missouri. He asks for volunteers to serve on two committees: Zion’s Real Estate and Land Development Firm and Zion’s Advertising Agency. Invite students to choose the committee they would like to serve on, and allow them to organize their committees. Give the committees the following instructions:

Zion’s Real Estate and Land Development Firm: Read Doctrine and Covenants 63:24–31 to learn what the Lord said about gathering to Missouri. Name two approaches for acquiring land. List the positives and negatives for each approach. Report to the class which approach you recommend and why.

Zion’s Advertising Agency: Some of the Saints may be reluctant to give up their homes and neighborhoods to move to Missouri. Using the Lord’s counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 63:32–37, plan an advertising campaign to inspire families to make the move. Share details of this campaign with the class.

Allow students time to complete their assignments, and discuss what they learned. Explain that Missouri is not the only place to build God’s kingdom. The prophets have asked us to gather in stakes of Zion throughout the world (see Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 7; or Ensign, July 1973, 5). We should build God’s kingdom wherever we live in order to prepare for the Lord’s coming. To help students look forward to that day, study as a class Doctrine and Covenants 63:20–21, 49–54. The following questions and resources may help your study:

  • What will happen to the earth when the Lord comes again? (see the commentary for D&C 63:20–21, 49–51 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 134).

  • What blessing will come to those who “die in the Lord” before the Second Coming? (see v. 49).

  • What changes will come to those who are living when the Lord comes? (see D&C 101:24–34).

  • In verse 51, what does it mean to be “changed in the twinkling of an eye”? (Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “This change from mortality to immortality, though almost instantaneous, is both a death and a resurrection” [The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. (1979–81), 4:390]).

  • How does the parable of the ten virgins relate to preparing for the Lord’s coming? (see v. 54; see also Matthew 25:1–13; D&C 45:56–57).

  • Why are the righteous and wicked divided? (see v. 54; see also 2 Nephi 30:10; D&C 86:7).

Read or sing “Now Let Us Rejoice” (Hymns, no. 3). Encourage students to live each day as if it were the day the Lord will come.

Doctrine and Covenants 63:60–64. The name of Jesus Christ is sacred and must be used with care.

(15–20 minutes)

Tell students that a few years after being called as an Apostle, Spencer W. Kimball was in need of serious surgery. Read the following account:

“At St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City he was put under total anaesthesia and operated on, then wheeled on a table back toward his room. Still drugged, Spencer sensed his table stop by an elevator and heard the orderly, angry at something, profaning the Lord’s name. Half-conscious, he pleaded with labored sounds: ‘Please don’t say that. I love Him more than anything in this world. Please.’ An absolute silence. Then the orderly answered softly: ‘I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.’” (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [1977], 264).

Ask students:

  • What do you learn from this story about the depth of Elder Kimball’s feelings toward the Savior?

  • What does this story teach about people who carelessly use the Savior’s name?

  • How does it make you feel to hear the Lord’s name being used inappropriately?

  • What can you do to help remedy the problem?

Display a picture of the Savior and ask:

  • What does it mean to take Jesus Christ’s name upon you?

  • What does it mean to take His name in vain?

After some discussion on these questions, discuss the statement by Elder James E. Talmage in the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 63:61–64 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 135).

Read Doctrine and Covenants 63:60–64 and discuss ways we can use His name appropriately. The following points might be useful:

  • Only use the Lord’s name in ways He has authorized (for example, in prayers, priesthood blessings, and testimonies; see v. 62).

  • Use it when directed by the Spirit (see v. 64).

Share the following counsel by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“The names of the Father and the Son are used with authority when we reverently teach and testify of them, when we pray, and when we perform the sacred ordinances of the priesthood.

“There are no more sacred or significant words in all of our language than the names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

“As we read in the Book of Mormon, after the Savior appeared to the people on this continent he taught them that they must take upon them the name of Christ:

“‘For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

“‘And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day’ (3 Nephi 27:5–6)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 66; or Ensign, May 1986, 50).