Doctrine and Covenants 18: The Work of Apostles and the Worth of Souls

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 28–29

The revelation recorded inDoctrine and Covenants 18was given near the time when Peter, James, and John conferred theMelchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. It was appropriate that three Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ ordained them to be Apostles and special witnesses of His name and also bear the keys of the ministry (D&C 27:12–13). Although the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would not be not called for another six years, the Lord gave some counsel in section 18 about Apostles and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve in our dispensation. As you read this revelation, consider how each doctrine and principle you read teaches you about the role of Apostles and about the Melchizedek Priesthood in general.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 18

Bestowal(section heading)Giving 
Prevail against(v. 5)Be victorious over 
Expedient(v. 18)Appropriate, desirable 
Contend(v. 20)Argue, fight, oppose 
Soberness(v. 21)Seriousness 
Accountability(v. 42)Being responsible for their own actions 

Doctrine and Covenants 18:20—“The Church of the Devil”

The “church of the devil” does not refer to a specific church but to any person, group, organization, or philosophy that works against the church of Jesus Christ and the salvation of the children of God. Truth and goodness can certainly be found outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the fulness of the gospel, which is only found in the restored Church, is essential for the salvation our Heavenly Father desires for His children. As President Joseph Fielding Smith said aboutDoctrine and Covenants 18:20, “We must understand that this is instruction to us to contend against all evil, that which is opposed to righteousness and truth” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:83).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and activity B or C as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 18.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 15–16

In the business world, the worth of something is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it. A person might say that a particular object is worth a certain amount of money, but that is true only if another person is willing to pay that much for it.

  1. 1.

    StudyDoctrine and Covenants 18:10–13and explain what price was paid for our souls and who paid that price.

  2. 2.

    What word describes how the Lord feels about those who repent? What does that tell you about Him?

  3. 3.

    InDoctrine and Covenants 18:14, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer (and we!) are commanded to “cry repentance” unto the people. From what you learned in verses 10–13, what might you say to someone to help them want to repent?

  4. 4.

    ReadAlma 34:14–17. What is another good reason to repent?

  5. 5.

    ReadAlma 37:9. What is one way people can come to know for themselves that these things are true?

Activity B iconLook for Key Words

InDoctrine and Covenants 18:9, the Lord spoke to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer “by the way of commandment.”

  1. 1.

    Study verses 9–21 and list in your notebook what they were commanded to do. Look for the following key words to help you identify each command:all men, remember, cry, ask, contend, take,andspeak.

  2. 2.

    Choose three of those commands and describe how they might also apply to you.

Activity C iconHave You Ever Heard the Voice of Christ?

The scriptures testify that if we do not hear and obey the voice of the Lord we cannot be saved (Alma 5:38–39;D&C 1:14).

  1. 1.

    StudyDoctrine and Covenants 18:34–36and explain how you can “hear” the voice of the Lord every day.

  2. 2.

    How can that help you know the name by which you will be called at the last day, as described in verses 24–25?