Doctrine and Covenants 84: A Revelation on Priesthood

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 94–97


What do you know about the priesthood of God? What is its purpose? How has it affected your life? Why is it important to the rest of the world? What is the oath and covenant of the priesthood, and what does it mean for those who accept it?Doctrine and Covenants 84provides many insights into the priesthood and how those who hold it govern the Church and bless our lives—and the whole world.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 84

Reared(v. 4)Built 
Conspiracy(v. 16)Evil plot or plan on the part of two or more persons to harm or take advantage 
Abideth(v. 18)Lasts, endures 
Greater priesthood(v. 19)The Melchizedek Priesthood 
Manifest(vv. 20–21)Made known 
Lesser priesthood(v. 26)The Aaronic Priesthood 
Carnal(v. 27)Temporal, related to physical things (things having to do with this life) 
Make straight(v. 28)Prepare 
Appendages(vv. 29–30)Attachments, additions 
Oath(v. 39)Formal declaration or promise 
Confirm, confirmed(vv. 42, 48)Declare to be legal and in effect 
Vanity(v. 55)Focus on self, pride 
Scourge(vv. 58, 96)Punishment, affliction 
Steadfast(v. 61)Faithful, firm, committed 
Solemnity(v. 61)With sacred attitude and feelings 
Upbraided(v. 76)Scolded 
Scrip(vv. 78, 86)Traveling bag 
Arrayed(v. 82)Clothed, dressed 
Meted(v. 85)Measured 
Reprove, reproving(vv. 87, 117)Call to repentance, correct 
Spare not(v. 94)Make every possible effort 
Travailed and brought forth her strength(v. 101)This refers to having labor pains and giving birth; it is symbolic of the trouble on earth before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, followed by the “birth” of the Millennium. 
Edified(vv. 106, 110)Uplifted, enlightened, built up spiritually 
Secular business(v. 113)Business dealings not related to the Church 
Desolation, desolate(vv. 114–115, 117)Emptiness due to destruction and judgments; the “desolation of abomination” refers to the destruction that comes because of doing things abominable, or highly offensive, in the eyes of the Lord. 
Rend(v. 118)Tear apart, destroy 

Doctrine and Covenants 84:2—“For the Restoration of His People”

The wordrestorationinDoctrine and Covenants 84:2does not refer to bringing the fulness of the gospel back to the earth in the latter days. It refers to bringing back God’s children to His kingdom on earth—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and then back into His presence to enjoy eternal life. This restoration to eternal life is made possible through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as made manifest in the ordinances and power of the priesthood discussed inDoctrine and Covenants 84.

Restoration of God's Children

Doctrine and Covenants 84:4–5—What Temple? What Generation?

InDoctrine and Covenants 84:4–5, the Lord said that a special temple would be built in the city of New Jerusalem (in Jackson County, Missouri). He also said that the temple would be built “in this generation” and that His glory would rest upon it in a special way.

The Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated a place for this temple (D&C 57and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 58:57, p. 69), but the Saints were unable to build the temple at that time.Doctrine and Covenants 84, however, reaffirms the promise that the temple will be built in this dispensation. “This generation” (D&C 84:4–5) refers to this dispensation, the last dispensation before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:6—An Idea Interrupted

InDoctrine and Covenants 84:6, the Lord began talking about the sons of Moses in relationship to the temple that would be built in New Jerusalem. After His opening phrase—“and the sons of Moses”—He interrupted that idea to speak about the priesthood held by Moses and the children of Israel. The idea He began in verse 6, concerning the sons of Moses and the temple in New Jerusalem, is continued in verse 31.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:33—Magnifying Callings in the Priesthood

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “To magnify our callings in the priesthood means to build it up in dignity and importance, to strengthen it, and to cause others to respect and honor the office because of the virtue and righteousness of the man who fills the office” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson,453).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that “to magnify one’s calling means ing with the eyes of faith the enlarged possibilities of priesthood service to one’s family, flock, friends, and others” (“I Will Arise and Go to My Father,”Ensign,Sept. 1993, 66).

Doctrine and Covenants 84:54–58—The Book of Mormon and the Condemnation

In the opening address of the April 1986 general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson testified:

“Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: [He quotedD&C 84:56–57.]

“Now we not only need tosaymore about the Book of Mormon, but we need todomore with it. Why? The Lord answers: [He quotedD&C 84:58.] We have felt that scourge and judgment!

“… 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; orEnsign,May 1986, 5–6).

Later, during that same general conference, President Benson reemphasized the importance of our using the Book of Mormon:

“The Lord inspired His servant Lorenzo Snow to reemphasize the principle of tithing to redeem the Church from financial bondage. …

“Now, 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. (D&C 84:54–58.) This message must be carried to the members of the Church throughout the world. …

“… I bless you with increasedunderstandingof the Book of Mormon. I promise you that from this moment forward, if we will daily sup from its pages and abide by its precepts, God will pour out upon each child of Zion and the Church a blessing hitherto unknown—and we will plead to the Lord that He will begin to lift the condemnation—the scourge and judgment. Of this I bear solemn witness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 100; orEnsign,May 1986, 78).

Doctrine and Covenants 84:77–90—Instruction and Promises to Missionaries

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “A special rule applies to those who are called to go into the world without purse or scrip and preach the gospel. For the time and season of their missionary service they are to have no concern about business enterprises or temporal pursuits. They are to be free of the encumbering obligations that always attend those who manage temporal affairs. Their whole attention and all of their strength and talents are to be centered on the work of the ministry, and they have the Father’s promise that he will look after their daily needs” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,243).

Doctrine and Covenants 84:92—“Cleanse Your Feet”

the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forDoctrine and Covenants 24:15(p. 36).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity C and three of the other activities (A–B, D–F) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 84.

Activity A iconLearning about the Melchizedek Priesthood

Make a chart in your notebook like the one below. In the first column, list what you learn fromDoctrine and Covenants 84:14–25about the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the second column, write the questions you have as you consider what you learned in those verses. Discuss your questions with your parents, your seminary teacher, or a Church leader, and then write what you learned that helped you better understandDoctrine and Covenants 84:14–25and the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The Melchizedek Priesthood

What I Learned fromDoctrine and Covenants 84:14–25

My Questions

What I Learned after Discussing It with Others

   

Activity B iconImportant Ideas about the Aaronic Priesthood

Carefully readDoctrine and Covenants 84:26–30for what it says about the Aaronic Priesthood. From those verses, choose four words or ideas that you think are important in understanding the role, function, or purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood. Write those words and ideas in your notebook, followed by a brief explanation of their importance. For example, how would increased attention to those ideas help someone who currently holds the Aaronic Priesthood?

Activity C Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–39

Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–48is commonly referred to as “the oath and covenant of the priesthood.” An oath is a formal declaration or promise—giving surety of one’s word. A covenant is a sacred agreement between two parties. The “oath and covenant of the priesthood” is the surety of the promised blessings that will come to those who meet the conditions the Lord outlined in these verses. In other words, God makes an oath and covenant that all of those blessings will be ours—if we fulfill our part of the agreement. In this case, the conditions for receiving the blessings center around the priesthood and its ordinances.

  1. 1.

    From what you read inDoctrine and Covenants 84:33–34, make a small chart or diagram that represents what the Lord asks of priesthood holders and the blessings He promises them.

  2. 2.

    Read the statements by President Benson and Elder Maxwell in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forDoctrine and Covenants 84:33. Then read the following scriptures and explain what they teach about how to magnify a calling:Matthew 20:26;Jacob 1:19;Helaman 10:4;Moroni 9:6;Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–14;58:27–28;107:99–100. (You may want to write some of the references next toDoctrine and Covenants 84:33in your scriptures.)

  3. 3.

    Make another chart or diagram that represents the ideas found inDoctrine and Covenants 84:35–38regarding what the Lord asks and promises.

Activity D iconLight versus Dark

Think about how hard it is to get from one place to another in total darkness, without any light at all. Also consider how difficult it is to distinguish colors when there is little light. If we want to be able to make good decisions in this life and return back to live with Heavenly Father, we need the brightness of spiritual light in our life.

  1. 1.

    What doesDoctrine and Covenants 84:43–47teach about spiritual light?

  2. 2.

    What do you learn fromDoctrine and Covenants 50:24and 93:28 about how we can increase the brightness of that light in our lives?

  3. 3.

    According toDoctrine and Covenants 84:49–57, what causes us to be in greater darkness? ( alsoAlma 12:9–11).

  4. 4.

    Suppose you were asked to teach the principles and ideas found inDoctrine and Covenants 84:43–57. What example from your life would you use to illustrate one or more of those ideas?

Activity E iconEncouragement for Missionaries

FromDoctrine and Covenants 84:60–102, select four passages that you could use to help encourage a group of missionaries. Explain what you would say about each passage and why you chose it.

Activity F iconGive Some Training

Using what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 84:107–11, write what might be taught in the training of a new member of a teachers quorum.