Doctrine and Covenants 10: A Plot to Destroy the Prophet

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 23–24


InDoctrine and Covenants 3, you read about how Martin Harris lost the 116 pages that the Prophet Joseph Smith had translated from the plates. InDoctrine and Covenants 10, the Lord revealed what happened to the 116 manuscript pages and what Satan intended to do with them. More importantly, you will discover what the Lord did to compensate for the loss of those pages. As you study this section, look for what the Lord taught about His power to control the course of events here on earth, including Satan’s efforts to destroy the Lord’s work.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 10

Alterations(section heading)Changes 
Discredit(section heading)Persuade people to disbelieve 
Discrepancies(section heading)Differences 
Abridgment(section heading)Shortened version 
Alter, altered(vv. 10–11, 17)Change 
Contrary(v. 11)Differently 
Iniquity(vv. 20, 29)Sin 
Condemnation(v. 23)Being declared guilty 
Contradicted yourself(v. 31)Written part of the text that does not agree with what you wrote before 
Generation(vv. 33, 53)People of this time or age 
Confound(v. 42)Humiliate, make ashamed 
Dissensions(v. 48)Disagreements, rebellions 
Comprehendeth(v. 58)Understands 
Wrest(v. 63)Twist the meaning of 

Doctrine and Covenants 10:6—In What Way Did Martin Harris k to Destroy the Prophet Joseph Smith?

It was not Martin Harris’s intent to destroy the Prophet Joseph Smith, but what happened as a result of the loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript illustrates what can happen when we “set at naught the counsels of God” (D&C 3:13; also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for D&C 3:12, p. 17). Had the Lord not known in advance what Martin Harris would do and prepared for it, Satan and his servants might have succeeded in destroying the Prophet Joseph with their lies (D&C 10:10–33). By king repeatedly to take the manuscript against the Lord’s counsel and by breaking his promises to guard it carefully, Martin was effectively serving the cause of Satan, even if that was not his intent.

Doctrine and Covenants 10:30–45—The Lord Knows the End from the Beginning

Plates of Nephi

The Lord had prepared a way to prevent Satan from destroying the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon through the loss of the 116 manuscript pages over 2,000 years before. He had instructed the prophet Nephi to make a second set of plates covering the same time period as the manuscript that would be lost. A major difference between the two records is that the lost portion was more of a history, while the duplicate part is more prophetic and sacred (1 Nephi 9:3–6;Words of Mormon 1:1–7).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and two of the other activities (B–D) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 10.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 10:5

The wordsatanmeans “adversary” or “opponent,” which describes the devil’s role as an opponent of righteousness. Satan and his servants tempt us to sin, which leads to misery and unhappiness, but the Lord has greater power to help us overcome those temptations.

  1. 1.

    ReadAlma 34:17–27and3 Nephi 20:1. What must we do to “conquer [overcome] Satan” (D&C 10:5)? What do you think it means to “pray always”?

  2. 2.

    Cross-referenceDoctrine and Covenants 10:5with2 Nephi 32:8–9. Who teaches usnotto pray?

Activity B iconSatan’s “Cunning Plan” Compared with the Lord’s Wisdom

  1. 1.

    Divide a page in your notebook into two columns. Label the first “Satan’s Cunning Plan” and the second “The Lord’s Wisdom.”

  2. 2.

    From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 10:6–29, describe in the first column what the Lord said Satan planned to do with the 116 pages stolen from Martin Harris.

  3. 3.

    From your reading of verses 30–45, describe in the second column what the Lord did to prevent Satan from succeeding.

  4. 4.

    Read1 Nephi 9:3–6andWords of Mormon 1:1–7. Explain how long the Lord had been preparing to solve the problem that the loss of the 116 pages created.

Activity C iconBe Aware of Satan’s Methods

  1. 1.

    Review verses 20–24 and explain how Satan gets people to fight against the truth and why he does it.

  2. 2.

    Study verses 25–29 and describe what Satan told Joseph Smith’s enemies to convince them it was all right to try to destroy the Prophet and the Book of Mormon.

  3. 3.

    How might groups or individuals try to do the same today?

Activity D iconPrepare a Primary Lesson

  1. 1.

    Write what you would teach a Primary class of 7-year-old children about the account inDoctrine and Covenants 3and 10 of the lost 116 pages.

  2. 2.

    Tell about two lessons we can learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s experience and show how they can apply to our lives today.