How well does Heavenly Father know us? If we heed His counsel, will He guide us away from serious trouble? How willing is He to help us see our weaknesses and repent? Answers to these questions can be illustrated by events in the life of William E. McLellin.
William E. McLellin joined the Church in 1831 and was chosen as one of the original Twelve Apostles in 1835. Shortly after his baptism, the Lord warned him, “You are clean, but not all; repent, therefore” (D&C 66:3). He served faithfully in the Church but sometimes indulged in criticizing the First Presidency and in seeking the praise of men. In 1835 he was disfellowshipped for a time, and in 1838 he was excommunicated for unbelief and apostasy. He joined the mobbers in Missouri in persecuting the Saints. When Joseph Smith was arrested at Far West, McLellin was with the group that plundered the Prophet’s home.
Doctrine and Covenants 66 illustrates that the Lord knows our weaknesses. This section offers counsel that will, if followed, lead to “a crown of eternal life” (v. 12).
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
The Lord revealed the new and everlasting covenant (the fulness of the gospel) in the last days to make eternal life available to the children of men (see D&C 66:2; see also JST, Genesis 17:11–12; Jeremiah 32:36–40; D&C 45:9).
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 140–41.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants 66. The Lord knows our weaknesses and will show us the areas in our lives in which we need repentance.
Ask students if any of them have received their patriarchal blessing. Ask:
How has it helped your life?
How would you describe a patriarchal blessing?
Share the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson, a counselor in the First Presidency: “A patriarchal blessing literally contains chapters from your book of eternal possibilities” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 82; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 66).
Read 2 Nephi 9:20, and suggest that students mark what God knows. Ask: How can a patriarch know about “your book of eternal possibilities”? Testify that Heavenly Father knows everything about us, including our strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, and potential.
Read the information on William E. McLellin in the introduction above. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 66:1–3 and answer the following questions:
In what ways was William E. McLellin blessed?
How does the Lord describe him in verse 3?
How could the counsel in this verse apply to us?
If we are not aware of our sins, how can we find out what they are?
Read Jacob 4:7 and ask:
Why is the Lord willing to show us our sins and weakness?
How can we learn from Him what we need to repent of?
Why is it vital that we repent as soon as we become aware of our sins?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 66:4 to find what the Lord said He would show William E. McLellin. Write on the board the headings Promises and Warnings. Invite students to read verses 5–13. Have half the class look for promises the Lord made to William E. McLellin and the other half look for warnings the Lord gave. Have students list their findings on the board. Review the lists as a class. Ask: Which items do you think are the most important for young people today? Have students explain their answers.