Doctrine and Covenants 41: What Is a True Disciple?

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 50

The Prophet Joseph Smith and his family moved to Ohio during January and February of 1831. By the time they arrived there the membership of the Church in that area had grown to about 300. Many of the new converts came from a religious society known as “Disciples.” Because they were so new in the gospel, they brought with them what the Prophet called “some strange notions and false spirits” (D&C 41section heading). For several months, even after joining the Church, these converts continued to practice what was called “common stock,” or the holding of all property in common. But discord arose among them over the manner in which the system should operate. Concerning this, John Whitmer wrote: “The disciples had all things common and were going to destruction very fast as to temporal things, for they considered from reading the scripture that what belonged to one brother, belonged to any of the brethren, therefore they would take each other’s clothes and other property and use it without leave, which brought on confusion and disappointments, for they did not understand the scripture” (cited in “Church History,”Journal of History, Jan. 1908, 50).Some of these early converts were confused about the way the Spirit affects the faithful. John Corrill, an early Ohio convert, was disturbed by the behavior of some who claimed to receive revelation: “They conducted themselves in a strange manner, sometimes imitating Indians in their maneuvers, sometimes running out into the fields, getting on stumps of trees and there preaching as though surrounded by a congregation,—all the while so completely absorbed in visions as to be apparently insensible to all that was passing around them” (cited inChurch History in the Fulness of Times, 92).What is really required of one who desires to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? As you studyDoctrine and Covenants 41, notice what the Lord said about who is and who is not His disciple. From what the Lord said about Edward Partridge, do you think he qualified as a true disciple? Would you?

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 41

Professed(v. 1)Claimed to believe in but really did not 
Disciple(v. 5)Obedient and faithful follower 
Meet(vv. 6–7)Right, proper 
His merchandise(v. 9)His business as a hat maker 
Guile(v. 11)Dishonesty, deceitfulness 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 41.

Activity A iconWhy Should You Want to Be a Disciple?

Just like in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, there are many different ideas in the world today about what a true disciple of Jesus Christ is.

  1. 1.

    From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 41:1–6, summarize what Jesus said a disciple is ( alsoD&C 6:32;41:5;52:40).

  2. 2.

    From what you learned in those verses, why would you want to be called a disciple?

Activity B iconHow Does It Work Today?

Edward Partridge was called to be the first bishop in the Church (D&C 41:9–12). Since that time, thousands of faithful men have accepted calls to serve as bishops. Interview your present or a former bishop or branch president, and ask him what the following phrases mean to him: “I have called,” “voice of the Church,” “ordained a bishop,” and “his heart is pure.” Write his answers in your notebook.