Doctrine and Covenants 103: Will Zion Be Redeemed?

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 117–118


The Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, experienced much persecution in 1833. In 1834 Church members in Missouri sent Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight to Kirtland, Ohio, to k guidance from the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning their situation.Doctrine and Covenants 103was given after the two men arrived and reported to the Prophet.Although the Lord had explained inDoctrine and Covenants 101some of the reasons the Saints’ enemies had been allowed to drive them from Zion, Church leaders and members still had questions. In particular, some of them desired to know if they could fulfill the Lord’s promise inDoctrine and Covenants 101:55–60, that at some time the “strength of [His] house” would go and redeem Zion. The last part ofDoctrine and Covenants 103came in answer to this question, and the Lord authorized the Prophet to organize what came to be known as Zion’s Camp—a group of 207 men, accompanied by 11 women and 11 children, who marched under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith and who were willing to fight and give their lives to redeem Zion. As you studyDoctrine and Covenants 103, pay special attention to what the Lord said in the earlier portion of the revelation, and it will become clear that Zion would not be redeemed by the strength of an army. Zion was lost through transgression, and it must be redeemed through righteousness. Even though this revelation gave counsel to the early Saints for their time and circumstances, the principles it contains also have meaning for us. We have yet to restore Zion and must prepare ourselves as a people, under the direction of our current prophets, to fulfill all things pertaining to Zion.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 103

Discharge(v. 1)Performance, accomplishing 
Suffered them(v. 3)Allowed them to do this 
Precepts(v. 4)Rules for action 
Decreed a decree(vv. 5–6, 11)Made an official ruling 
Prevail(vv. 6–8)Gain the victory 
Observe(vv. 7–8)Obey 
Cease to prevail(v. 7)Be stopped from gaining victory 
Subdued(v. 7)Conquered, overcome 
Tribulation(vv. 12–13)Trials, troubles 
Stretched-out arm(v. 17)A symbolic term that refers to God’s active involvement—using His power (symbolized by His arm) actively in behalf of His people 
Avenge, avenging(vv. 25–26)Administer justifiable punishment 
Companies(v. 30)Groups 
Peradventure(vv. 32–33, 35)Perhaps 

Doctrine and Covenants 103:15–16—The Lord Will Raise Up a Man Like Moses to Redeem Zion

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that the President of the Church is the man who is like Moses (D&C 28:2;107:91).

Doctrine and Covenants 103:20—The Lord’s Presence Will Go Before and With Those Who Redeem Zion

It is important to point out that the Lord’s presence is only with those who are worthy of it (D&C 100:13). Consequently, this revelation will be fulfilled among those who have spiritually prepared themselves for such a privilege.

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–D) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 103.

Activity A iconWhat Happened? What Will Happen?

InDoctrine and Covenants 103:1–14, the Lord spoke about the sins of the enemies of the Saints as well as the sins of the Saints themselves. Based on what is written in these verses, answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What did the enemies of the Saints do? Why did the Lord allow it?

  2. 2.

    What will happen to the enemies of the Saints?

  3. 3.

    What did the Lord promise the Saints if they kept the commandments?

  4. 4.

    What did the Lord warn would happen if they did not keep the commandments?

Activity B iconMaking Connections

The footnotes in your scriptures giveDoctrine and Covenants 35:24as a cross-reference forDoctrine and Covenants 103:7andDoctrine and Covenants 58:4as a cross-reference forDoctrine and Covenants 103:12. Read these cross-references and explain their significance to the verses inDoctrine and Covenants 103.

Activity C iconCompare

InDoctrine and Covenants 103:15–21, the Lord compared the President of the Church to Moses ( alsoD&C 28:2;107:91). List ways the President of the Church leads God’s people “like as Moses.”

Activity D iconMake a Recruitment Poster

AfterDoctrine and Covenants 103was received, Church leaders began recruiting for Zion’s Camp. Consider what is said about Zion’s Camp inDoctrine and Covenants 103:22–36and the introduction toDoctrine and Covenants 103in this study guide and imagine you were on a recruitment committee in Kirtland, Ohio, for Zion’s Camp. In your notebook, design a poster calling for people to join this special army.