Doctrine and Covenants 84

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 136–40


Introduction

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“Whenever and wherever men have the Melchizedek Priesthood, there is the Church and kingdom of God on earth. Conversely, when and where there is no Melchizedek Priesthood, there is no true Church and no earthly kingdom which is the Lord’s, and consequently, no way to prepare men to go to the eternal church in heaven” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 123).

Elder Mark E. Petersen, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote:

“Note that [section 84] says that where the ordinances are not, and where the true authority is not, the power of godliness is not manifest. The various churches [in Joseph Smith’s day] lacked the true ordinances and they lacked the true authority and hence had none of the power of godliness. They could not manifest something that they did not have. It becomes evident then that this power had to be restored in these last days. Without it the Church could not exist” (Abraham, Friend of God [1979], 96–97).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The greater priesthood (the Melchizedek Priesthood) holds the key of the knowledge of God. It includes authority to perform ordinances that sanctify God’s children and prepare them to enter His presence (see D&C 84:6–25, 29; see also D&C 107:18–19).

  • The lesser priesthood (the Aaronic Priesthood) is a preparatory priesthood. It includes the keys of the gospel of repentance, of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and of the ministering of angels (see D&C 84:18, 26–32; see also D&C 13:1; 107:20).

  • The sons of Moses and of Aaron are those who receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods and magnify their callings (see D&C 84:31–34; see also D&C 13:1).

  • Those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood covenant to magnify their calling and receive the Lord and His servants. In return, God promises to sanctify them and give them all that He has. This is called the “oath and covenant” of the priesthood (see D&C 84:33–44).

  • The Spirit of Christ enlightens everyone. Those who receive its influence are led to the Father. Those who reject it remain in darkness and sin (see D&C 84:43–53; see also 2 Nephi 32:2–3, 5; D&C 93:19–28).

  • Church members who treat God’s revelations lightly are under condemnation. We can be forgiven when we live the principles in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures (see D&C 84:54–61).

  • The Church of Jesus Christ was restored to gather Israel and establish Zion (see D&C 84:2–4), build temples (see vv. 3–5), provide the priesthood and ordinances of salvation (see vv. 6–42), and preach the gospel to all the world (see vv. 62–102).

  • Church members need one another. Those who are strong in the faith should help those who are weak to grow spiritually and temporally (see D&C 84:106–12).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, p. 122.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 180–85.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 84:6–27. The greater priesthood (the Melchizedek Priesthood) holds the key of the knowledge of God. It includes authority to perform ordinances that sanctify God’s children and prepare them to enter His presence.

(25–30 minutes)

Have students think about the following question: “How has your life been blessed through the Melchizedek Priesthood?” Invite several students to share their answers. Read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 84, and point out that the Prophet Joseph Smith designated this section “a revelation on priesthood.” Explain that section 84 contains many important principles regarding the priesthood and that you will study several of them.

Write on the board The priesthood must be bestowed by those who are authorized by God. Have students read verses 6–16 and identify whose priesthood line is given. Read verse 17 and explain that we have the same priesthood today. If you hold the priesthood, tell who ordained you. (If not, you could tell who ordained a priesthood holder your students know.) Invite some of the Aaronic Priesthood holders in your class to tell who ordained them. Discuss why it is important that we receive the priesthood from those with proper authority.

Write on the board The priesthood is eternal. Have students read verses 17–18 and mark the phrases that show the eternal nature of the priesthood.

Write on the board The priesthood holds the key of the knowledge of God. Share the following explanation:

“The mission of the Savior and of His Church is to offer to all the human race the sublime privilege of regaining the presence of the Father and of entering into His rest. Without the Holy Priesthood no man can enjoy the effulgent [brilliant] light of God’s countenance, nor secure that eternal peace and contentment of soul which is promised to the righteous” (in John A. Widtsoe, comp., Priesthood and Church Government in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rev. ed. [1954], 31).

Read verses 19–25 and discuss the following questions:

  • What part does the priesthood play in preparing us to return to God?

  • Who did Moses try to prepare to enter God’s presence? (see also Exodus 19:10–14, 16–17).

  • How did the children of Israel respond to Moses?

  • What happened when they hardened their hearts?

  • What can we learn from this account?

Write on the board The Aaronic Priesthood helps prepare men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 180–81; see also D&C 107:1–6, 14).

Have students read verses 25–27 and list the keys that belong to the Aaronic Priesthood. Ask:

  • How can exercising these keys help prepare young men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

  • How have the ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood blessed your life?

Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–42 (Scripture Mastery, Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–39). Those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood covenant to magnify their calling and receive the Lord and His servants. In return, God promises to sanctify them and give them all that He has. This is called the “oath and covenant” of the priesthood.

(20–25 minutes)

Write on the board The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. Beneath it write man promises and God promises. Explain that there is a covenant men make with God when they receive the priesthood. This is called the “oath and covenant” of the priesthood. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–42 and mark what those who receive the priesthood promise to do and what God promises in return. (You may want to write the answers on the board.) Discuss the following questions:

  • At what age can a young man receive the Aaronic Priesthood? the Melchizedek Priesthood?

  • What must a young man do to be worthy to receive the priesthood?

  • What does it means to magnify a priesthood calling? (see v. 33).

  • What do you think it means to be “sanctified by the Spirit”? (v. 33). Why is that a great blessing?

  • What do you think it means to be given “all that my Father hath”? (v. 38).

  • Read verse 44. Why do you think it is important to live by every word from God?

Share the following statement by Elder Carlos E. Asay, who was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy:

“On one occasion, President Hugh B. Brown testified that President David O. McKay had been sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body. And, he added, ‘Some of the rest of us are better off today than we were many years ago so far as physical health is concerned—and we attribute that fact to [the Lord’s] blessing’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1963, p. 90).

“Many of us have felt the influence of this ‘renewal promise.’ Without it, scores of our assignments might have gone unfinished” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 58; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 44).

Read Alma 13:12 and ask: What is another blessing of being sanctified by the Spirit?

Give each student a piece of paper. Have the students write answers to the following questions. (Tell them not to write their names on their papers.) Ask the young women:

  • How do you feel when you see a young man honor his priesthood?

  • How do you feel when you see a young man fail to honor his priesthood?

Ask the young men:

  • What are some ways young women can help you honor your priesthood?

  • What are ways young women can avoid discouraging you from honoring your priesthood?

Collect the papers and share some of the answers. Encourage the young men to honor their priesthood. Encourage the young women to fulfill their duties and callings and help young men honor their priesthood. Testify of the great blessings that come to those who are faithful in their covenants with God.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:43–53. The Spirit of Christ enlightens everyone. Those who receive its influence are led to the Father. Those who reject it remain in darkness and sin.

(20–25 minutes)

Bring a newspaper to class. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 84:49–53, and ask them if they believe this description is typical of life today. Spend a few minutes going through the newspaper as a class, looking for evidence of the truth of these verses. (Note: Be brief in discussing your findings. Do not dwell on articles describing wickedness.)

Share the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson:

“Years ago as a young medical student I saw many patients afflicted with diseases that are now preventable. Today it is possible to immunize individuals against conditions that once were disabling—even deadly. One medical method by which acquired immunity is conferred is inoculation. The term inoculate is fascinating. It comes from two Latin roots: in, meaning ‘within’; and oculus, meaning ‘an eye.’ The verb to inoculate, therefore, literally means ‘to put an eye within’—to monitor against harm.

“An affliction like polio can cripple or destroy the body. An affliction like sin can cripple or destroy the spirit. The ravages of polio can now be prevented by immunization, but the ravages of sin require other means of prevention. Doctors cannot immunize against iniquity. Spiritual protection comes only from the Lord—and in his own way. Jesus chooses not to inoculate, but to indoctrinate. His method employs no vaccine; it utilizes the teaching of divine doctrine—a governing ‘eye within’—to protect the eternal spirits of his children” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 41–42; or Ensign, May 1995, 32).

Testify that because the Lord loves us, He has provided true doctrine that will help us and those in the world who are “under darkness and under the bondage of sin” (v. 49). That doctrine usually comes through three sources: the Spirit, the scriptures, and living prophets. Have students read verses 43–48, and discuss the following questions:

  • What gift is given to every person born into the world? (The Spirit or Light of Christ; see v. 46; see also Moroni 7:16.)

  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 84:45, what are some other scriptural terms that mean the same thing as the Spirit of Christ? (“Word of the Lord,” “truth,” “light.”)

  • Compare verse 47 with Doctrine and Covenants 93:19–20, 27–28. According to these verses, what must we do to receive more light and truth until we know all things?

  • How do listening to the Spirit, reading the scriptures, and hearing the words of the prophet help you draw closer to God?

  • How does knowing that you can eventually come “unto God” make you feel? (v. 47).

  • Why is it important for you to strive for this goal?

  • Read 2 Nephi 32:2–3, 5; Jacob 7:10–12. How do these verses relate to Doctrine and Covenants 84:43–48?

  • Why do you think the Lord has provided more than one way for us to receive a confirmation of the truth?

Testify that each of your students has been blessed with the Spirit, the scriptures, and prophets. As they follow them they will be blessed with additional light and knowledge. Discuss some of the promptings your students have felt from the Lord, and encourage them to obey them.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:54–61. Church members who treat God’s revelations lightly are under condemnation. We can be forgiven when we live the principles in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures.

(15–20 minutes)

Share a personal experience that shows your love for the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed your life. Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon and ask students to think about the following questions. (Do not have them answer the questions out loud.)

  • Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?

  • How strong is your testimony of its truth?

  • Why is the Book of Mormon important in your life?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:54–58, and discuss the following questions:

  • Why were Church members under condemnation when this revelation was given?

  • What do you think it means to treat lightly the Book of Mormon and other scripture?

  • Do you think the Church is still under condemnation?

Share the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“In our day, the Lord has revealed the need to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church and all the children of Zion out from under condemnation—the scourge and judgment. (See D&C 84:54–58.) This message must be carried to the members of the Church throughout the world” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 100; or Ensign, May 1986, 78).

Ask: How long will the Church remain under condemnation? (see v. 57). Testify that we must not only read the Book of Mormon; we must live according to what is written in it. Share one or both of the following statements by President Benson:

“The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 4; or Ensign, May 1986, 5–6).

“The Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life. A young [person] who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (To Young Men of the Priesthood [pamphlet, 1986], 3–4).

Encourage students to give greater emphasis to their study of the Book of Mormon during the coming week. At the end of the week, invite some students to share how the experience blessed their lives.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:62–102. The Church of Jesus Christ was restored to gather Israel, establish Zion, build temples, provide the priesthood and ordinances of salvation, and preach the gospel to all the world.

(20–25 minutes)

Tell students that in addition to discussing the gathering to Zion (see D&C 84:2–4), temples (see D&C 84:3–5), and the priesthood (see D&C 84:6–42), Doctrine and Covenants 84 contains important information on missionary work.

Display on the board a picture of a pair of missionaries (see Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 612). Next to the picture write the headings Rules and Blessings. Ask: What are some of the rules missionaries are asked to live? List their responses under Rules. Ask: What are some of the blessings that those who serve missions receive? List answers under Blessings. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:60–63 looking for what the Lord told these elders to do and the blessings He promised them. Add these instructions and blessings to the lists on the board.

Divide the class into two groups. Have one group search verses 77–96 looking for further instructions to missionaries. Have the other group search the same verses looking for blessings. Have one person in each group record their findings and share them with the class. If desired, add them to your lists on the board.

Point out that these verses are often quoted in general conference. Explain that some details of missionary work change over the years. (For example, the First Presidency instructs most missionaries in our day to receive their support from home.) But the basic principles of missionary work do not change. Invite students to scan these verses again and tell how they think they apply to missionaries today. Read verse 88 and share the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

“Each missionary who goes forth in response to a sacred call becomes a servant of the Lord whose work this truly is. Do not fear, young men, for He will be with you. He never fails” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 52; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 42).

Ask students what they can do to prepare for missionary service. Testify of the great blessings that come to those who serve the Lord and share His gospel.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:106–12. Church members need one another. Those who are strong in the faith should help those who are weak to grow spiritually and temporally.

(10–15 minutes)

Choose a student to go to the front of the class. Have the student try to tie a shoe or fasten a button without using thumbs. After the student makes a few attempts, read Doctrine and Covenants 84:109–10 and ask the class how the object lesson relates to these verses.

Explain that each member of the Church has different strengths and weaknesses. In addition to letting us know that each member is important, the Lord identified how we could work together to become stronger. Read verses 106–8 and ask:

  • What do these verses teach about those who are strong and weak?

  • What benefit came when this principle was followed “in ancient days”?

  • What are some examples of how this principle is followed today? (Young men are assigned to home teach with Melchizedek Priesthood holders, new missionaries are given more experienced missionaries as companions, and so on.)

Encourage students to learn from those who are more experienced in the Church and to help others who are young in the faith.