In June 1829, Joseph Smith hired the printer Egbert B. Grandin to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon at a cost of $3,000. However, Grandin would not start the printing or even buy the type until he was guaranteed payment for the job. In the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 19, likely given in the summer of 1829, the Lord commanded Martin Harris to “impart a portion of thy property … [and] pay the debt thou has contracted with the printer” (D&C 19:34–35). Using a portion of his farm as collateral, Martin Harris personally guaranteed payment of the cost of printing if sales of the Book of Mormon did not cover the cost.
President Joseph Fielding Smith described this revelation, with its teachings on the Atonement, as “one of the great revelations given in this dispensation; there are few of greater [importance] than this” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:85).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:1–3, looking for what the Savior said about who He is and what He did. Mark words or phrases that teach that Jesus Christ fulfilled the will of His Father and that Jesus Christ will judge us according to our works.
In your scripture study journal, describe how knowing these truths about the Savior might have helped Martin Harris feel peace and given him strength to do the Lord’s will.
The Lord explained some truths that can help us understand His atoning sacrifice better. Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:4, looking for words that complete the following doctrinal statement: Every person must or . You may want to mark this phrase in your scriptures.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:5. How did the Savior describe the suffering of those who do not repent and will, therefore, receive His judgments? How does knowing this truth provide an added reason for us to repent of our sins?
Scan Doctrine and Covenants 19:6–7, and look for phrases that are sometimes used to describe the condition of those who do not repent. Mark the phrases “endless torment” and “eternal damnation.” What do you think of when you read these two phrases?
Search Doctrine and Covenants 19:8–12 for information to help you understand why these phrases do not refer to the length of time people will suffer for their sins.
Did you notice that “Endless” is a name for God? This means that “endless punishment” or “eternal punishment” is “God’s punishment.” What do you think “God’s punishment” means?
Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “To hell there is an exit as well as an entrance. Hell is no place to which a vindictive judge sends prisoners to suffer and to be punished principally for his glory; but it is a place prepared for the teaching, the disciplining of those who failed to learn here upon the earth what they should have learned. True, we read of everlasting punishment, unending suffering, eternal damnation. That is a direful expression; but in his mercy the Lord has made plain what those words mean. ‘Eternal punishment,’ he says, is God’s punishment, for he is eternal; and that condition or state or possibility will ever exist for the sinner who deserves and really needs such condemnation; but this does not mean that the individual sufferer or sinner is to be eternally and everlastingly made to endure and suffer. No man will be kept in hell longer than is necessary to bring him to a fitness for something better. When he reaches that stage the prison doors will open and there will be rejoicing among the hosts who welcome him into a better state. The Lord has not abated in the least what he has said in earlier dispensations concerning the operation of his law and his gospel, but he has made clear unto us his goodness and mercy through it all, for it is his glory and his work to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1930, 97.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith gave this insight: “The same punishment always follows the same offense, according to the laws of God who is eternal and endless, hence it is called endless punishment, and eternal punishment, because it is the punishment which God has fixed according to unchangeable law. A man may partake of endless torment, and when he has paid the penalty for his transgression, he is released, but the punishment remains and awaits the next culprit, and so on forever” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:228).
President J. Reuben Clark of the First Presidency provided additional insight by teaching about God’s true nature. As you read his explanation, think about how understanding the nature of God helps us understand about God’s punishment.
“I cannot subscribe to the modern doctrine that God does not punish, because I cannot throw away all of the scriptures there are in order to reach that conclusion[, but] I have a feeling that when the Lord comes to give us our reward … and our punishment … that he will give that punishment which is the very least that our transgression will justify. I believe that he will bring into his justice all of the infinite love and blessing and mercy and kindness and understanding which he has. …
“And on the other hand, I believe that when it comes to making the rewards for our good conduct, he will give us the maximum that it is possible to give, having in mind the offense which we have committed” (“As Ye Sow … ,” Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [May 3, 1955], 6–7).
The Savior wants our lives to be blessed and improved through His atoning sacrifice. Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:13–17, and complete this statement: Those who choose not to repent will .
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded us that we have a choice to make: “We will end up either choosing Christ’s manner of living or His manner of suffering! It is either ‘suffer even as I’ (D&C 19:16–17), or overcome ‘even as [He] … overcame’ (Revelation 3:21)” (“Overcome … Even As I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, 72).
Ponder your own choices. Are they leading you to a more Christlike life, or are they leading you to a future of suffering for your own sins?
Most accounts of Jesus Christ’s suffering are given by someone other than Himself (see Matthew 26:36–39; Luke 22:39–44). Doctrine and Covenants 19 contains the Savior’s personal account of His suffering.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:15, 18–19, and answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How did the Savior describe the suffering He experienced in Gethsemane?
How do you feel about the Savior suffering the penalty for your sins?
How might knowing about the Savior’s suffering have helped encourage Martin Harris to repent of his sins, as the Lord instructed him to do in this revelation?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:20, and answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think the withdrawal of the Spirit would lead to suffering?
Why might it be helpful to remember times when we had to suffer the consequences of our sins?
Think back to times when you have suffered because of your sins and felt the need for repentance. As you ponder those times, recall when you felt the Spirit’s companionship and when you felt the Spirit withdraw. What did you do to once again enjoy the companionship of the Spirit?
Use Doctrine and Covenants 19:13–16, 20 to answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How is the Lord’s commandment to repent evidence of His love for us?
Sometime during the next week, share your testimony with a family member or friend about one of the doctrines or principles you learned while studying Doctrine and Covenants 19:1–22. Consider volunteering to share your experience with your teacher the next time you meet.
Work on memorizing Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 by writing the scripture mastery passage word for word on a piece of paper. Using your paper, read the passage aloud several times. Then cover (or erase) a few words or phrases on your paper. Continue to recite the scripture mastery passage, reciting the covered portions from memory. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable reciting the passage in its entirety.
In your scripture study journal, write as much as you can of what you memorized of this scripture mastery passage.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 19:1–22 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: