Unit 6: Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–36

“Unit 6: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–36,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


Introduction

“The Church of Christ in these last days [was] organized and established agreeable to the laws of [the United States of America]” on April 6, 1830 (D&C 20:1). Among the early members of the Church, the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 20 was known as the “Articles and Covenants” of the Church because it reveals details regarding beliefs, offices, ordinances, and procedures of the newly restored Church. Along with Doctrine and Covenants 21–22, this section is often referred to as the “constitution” of the restored Church. Because of its length and content, Doctrine and Covenants 20 is divided into three lessons.

Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–4

God commands that the Church be established

Think about the last meeting you attended where testimonies were shared. If a friend who is not a member of the Church had attended the meeting with you and asked what a testimony is, how would you have explained it?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Consider the following definition of a testimony from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true” (“Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 26).

Doctrine and Covenants 20 was read out loud at some of the early Church conferences and served as a reminder to the members of the Church of many important truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–2. Then complete the following principle by filling in the blanks: Joseph Smith was of God and commanded to organize .

  1. journal iconPonder your own testimony or feelings of the divine calling of Joseph Smith and the truthfulness of the church he was commanded to organize. In your scripture study journal, write about one or more experiences you have had that helped you receive a personal witness or progress toward receiving a personal witness of Joseph Smith’s role as prophet in restoring the Lord’s Church to the earth.

Notice that in Doctrine and Covenants 20:1, the Lord gave April 6, 1830, as the day His Church was organized.

Doctrine and Covenants 20:5–16

A brief history of the events of the Restoration

Doctrine and Covenants 20:5–6 refers to the first visit of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:7–8, and identify what Moroni gave to Joseph Smith.

The Book of Mormon was published on March 26, 1830. The Church was organized within two weeks of its printing, on April 6, 1830. Why do you think it was important that the Book of Mormon be completed before the Church was organized?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:9–12, and mark phrases that tell how the Book of Mormon blesses the world.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, complete the following phrases using what you learned in Doctrine and Covenants 20:9–12:

    1. The Book of Mormon proves to the world that angels still

    2. The Book of Mormon proves to the world that the holy scriptures are

    3. The Book of Mormon proves to the world that God does call and

    4. The Book of Mormon shows to the world that God is

These statements help us understand that the Book of Mormon is evidence that God has restored the gospel in our day. How could knowing this principle affect your desire to share the Book of Mormon with someone?

  1. journal iconRead Doctrine and Covenants 20:14–15, and mark what the Lord promised to those who receive the Book of Mormon and live by its teachings. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What blessing does the Lord promise to those who receive the Book of Mormon “in faith”?

    2. What are some ways a person could receive the Book of Mormon in faith?

    3. How can the Book of Mormon lead a person to “work righteousness”?

To help you consider how you have received the Book of Mormon in your life, circle the phrases in the following chart that best describe your experience with the Book of Mormon now:

Frequency

Quality

I read it every day.

I try my best to apply what I learn to my life.

I read it most days.

I sometimes apply what I learn to my life.

I read it occasionally, when I have time.

I usually don’t pay close attention to what I’m reading.

I never read it.

 

What could you do to better receive the Book of Mormon “in faith” in your life?

Doctrine and Covenants 20:17–36

Important truths about the Godhead and the plan of salvation are taught

What are the basic truths of the plan of salvation? What would you say if someone asked you to briefly explain the plan of salvation? Using only Doctrine and Covenants 20:17–29, you could give someone a brief explanation of the plan of salvation.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:17, 29–31, 35, and mark the phrase that is repeated near the beginning of each verse. Doctrine and Covenants 20:17–36 contains several important things the Lord’s Church declares to the world that we know to be true. Among these are truths concerning Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and the things we must do to be saved in the kingdom of God.

  1. journal iconRead the scriptures referenced below, and then answer the questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Doctrine and Covenants 20:17–19. What do we know about Heavenly Father?

    2. Doctrine and Covenants 20:21–25. What do we know about Jesus Christ?

    3. Doctrine and Covenants 20:25–26. What do we know about the infinite nature of the Atonement? (see also Mosiah 4:7).

    4. Doctrine and Covenants 20:26–28. What do we know about the Holy Ghost?

“We know” is an expression that complements Elder Oaks’s statement that “a testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true” (“Testimony,” 26).

Several of the answers you wrote down in your scripture study journal might convey these truths: God lives and is infinite, eternal, and unchanging (verse 17). We are created in the image and likeness of God (verse 18). God gave His Only Begotten Son to be crucified and rise again so that all who believe, are baptized, and endure in faith may be saved, including those who lived before the Savior was born (verses 21–25). The Holy Ghost testifies of the Father and the Son (verse 27). The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost work together to prepare us for eternal life (verses 17–28).

  1. journal iconSelect one of the preceding doctrines that is important to you and that you know or believe to be true. Imagine you had the opportunity to write a one-paragraph article in a major magazine or newspaper declaring what you know or believe to be true concerning that doctrine. In your scripture study journal, write which of these doctrines you would choose and what you would share and testify of concerning that truth.

See if you can unscramble the following words: tpneer, citusjfiniota, cantaniotciifs, veol, reesv, dehe, ypar. These words emphasize the responsibility we have to show that we accept Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Read Doctrine and Covenants 20:29–34 to find the unscrambled words and complete the following statements:

  • “All men must and believe on the name of Jesus Christ.”

  • means to be forgiven and declared not guilty.

  • means to become holy, purified from the effects of sin, and Christlike.

  • The Savior’s grace will help all those who and God.

  • We need to take and always to withstand temptation.

What do these verses teach we must do to be saved in the kingdom of God?

Review the doctrines and principles highlighted in bold print throughout this lesson. Consider which of these truths you have personally come to know are true. As you review them, it may be helpful to place a check mark next to those truths you know are true.

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–36 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: