Doctrine and Covenants 96: Dividing the Land in Kirtland

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 109–110


In order to build the temple and otherwise further the Lord’s work in Kirtland, Ohio, the Church purchased 103 acres from a man named Peter French ( diagram in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section). This purchase included a building that served as a public house and hotel (the house referred to inD&C 96:9). Church leaders could not agree on how to divide up the land for the benefit of everyone, and so the Prophet Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord. As you readDoctrine and Covenants 96, notice what the Lord said was important to His work as He gave counsel in this temporal matter.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 96

Expedient(vv. 1, 5–6, 8)Appropriate, desirable 
Mine order, the order(vv. 4, 8)The united order ( the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 92:1, p. 105) 
Subduing(v. 5)Humbling, making soft or teachable 
Incumbrances(v. 9)Debts 

Doctrine and Covenants 96Heading—French Farm

Peter French Farm - Map

Doctrine and Covenants 96:2—Newel K. Whitney to Take Charge of the Land

Newel K. Whitney was the bishop in Kirtland, Ohio. As previously revealed (D&C 42; 51; 72), the bishop was responsible for temporal matters in the Church. Consequently, he was given the responsibility for the land upon which the temple was to be built. This is also an important reminder to us today—the scriptures, teachings of the prophets, and the Church handbooks often contain ways to resolve problems we face in administering the Church.

Doctrine and Covenants 96:6–9—John Johnson

John Johnson lived in Hiram, Ohio, when he first met the Prophet Joseph Smith and joined the Church. The Prophet Joseph and his family lived with the Johnsons for a time. It was in the Johnson home that the revelation inDoctrine and Covenants 76was received. InDoctrine and Covenants 96, the Lord gave Brother Johnson an assignment to take care of the Peter French hotel and set up the Church’s printing operations there. When the united order was disbanded, the hotel was given to Brother Johnson and it was known as “Johnson’s Inn.”

Johnson's Inn

Johnson's Inn

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 96.

Activity A iconWhat and Why

InDoctrine and Covenants 96:1, the Lord said it was “expedient” to make the stake in Kirtland strong.

  1. 1.

    Based on the Lord’s counsel inDoctrine and Covenants 96, what do you think would make the Kirtland stake strong?

  2. 2.

    For each suggestion you listed, note why you think it would make the stake stronger.

Activity B iconThe Value of the Scriptures

  1. 1.

    According toDoctrine and Covenants 96:5, what effect can the Lord’s word have on people?

  2. 2.

    Using your Topical Guide, find two other important effects the scriptures can have on people. Write the effects and their scripture references in your notebook. You may want to write the references next toDoctrine and Covenants 96:5in your scriptures.