In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 30, the Lord gave instructions to David Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Jr., and John Whitmer. Thomas B. Marsh received a call to preach, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 31. In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 32, the Lord called Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson to take part in a mission to the Lamanites. As you study these sections, notice the counsel and promises the Lord gave to these missionaries.
Imagine what it would be like to receive a call to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary. Write some of the feelings you think you might experience in receiving such a call:
The Lord called three of the Whitmer brothers, David, Peter Jr., and John, to preach the gospel and gave specific counsel to each one.
Read the verses from Doctrine and Covenants 30 in the first column of the following chart, and then find a principle in the second column that is taught in those verses. Write the letter of the statement on the line next to the name and scripture reference. The correct answers are listed at the end of this lesson.
____ 1. David (verses 1–4)
____ 2. Peter (verses 5–8)
____ 3. John (verses 9–11)
Choose one of the bolded principles in the preceding chart. In your scripture study journal, write about a situation you might face in which this principle would be especially helpful.
Think about your family and the feelings you have for them. Is there anyone in your family who is not a member of the Church or not keeping his or her covenants with the Lord? If so, what are your hopes for this person? In Doctrine and Covenants 31 we read a revelation directed to a recent convert, Thomas B. Marsh. Part of it was about his family. Thomas was married and had three young children at the time this revelation was given. Read Doctrine and Covenants 31:1–2, looking for the promises the Lord gave to Thomas concerning his family.
We learn from these verses that through our faithfulness, our family members may be blessed to believe and know the truth. Consider how this principle may be helpful for you if you have family members who are not members of the Church or are not keeping their covenants.
In your scripture study journal, answer the following questions:
What are some ways individuals may be blessed through the faithfulness of their family members?
What examples of this have you seen?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 31:3–4, and identify what the Lord called Thomas B. Marsh to do.
It may not have been easy for Thomas to leave his family to preach the gospel, just as it may not be easy for missionaries today. Read the following statement, and mark the promises President Gordon B. Hinckley made to those who serve the Lord as missionaries: “You will bless the lives of those you teach, and their posterity after them. You will bless your own life. You will bless the lives of your family, who will sustain you and pray for you” (“Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 52).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 31:5–8, and identify the blessings that would come to those whom Thomas B. Marsh would teach as a missionary. Also look for blessings that would come to Thomas and his family. You may want to mark what you find.
In Doctrine and Covenants 31:9–13, the Lord gave counsel to help Thomas B. Marsh on his mission and in his personal life.
In your scripture study journal, identify one item of counsel the Lord gave to Thomas B. Marsh that you feel is important for you to follow in your life, and then answer the following question: Why do you think this counsel is important for you, and how can you benefit from following it?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 31:13 again, and identify the promise given to Thomas B. Marsh if he would be faithful in obeying the counsel the Lord had given him.
Using the words if and then, write the promise in the form of a principle statement.
If , then .
Make two columns in your scripture study journal. Label one column Righteous Habits and the other column Righteous Choices. List practices you have adopted or need to adopt and choices you have made or need to make now and in the future that will help you “be faithful unto the end” (D&C 31:13).
The revelations you have studied in Doctrine and Covenants 30–31 and those you will study in Doctrine and Covenants 32–34 are about mission calls, missionary work, and preparations to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In October 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in age of missionary service based on the obedience, faithfulness, and maturity of the rising generation:
“I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age. Rather, based on individual circumstances as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
“As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
“We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service” (“Welcome to Conference,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 4–5).
As you continue to study these revelations about missionary work, think about similarities and differences in the preparation and work of the early missionaries and of missionaries throughout the world now.
Locate Fayette, New York, and Independence, Missouri, on the accompanying map (see also Church history map 6, “The Westward Movement of the Church,” in your scriptures or LDS.org). How far apart do you think these locations are from each other?
The Lord called Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer Jr. to travel from New York to Missouri to preach the gospel to the Lamanites on the western border of Missouri (see D&C 28:8; 30:5). This mission to the Lamanites generated great excitement among the elders of the Church, and some desired to know if additional elders might be sent to accompany Oliver and Peter on this mission. The revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 32 is the Lord’s answer.
Parley P. Pratt was baptized in September 1830, only one month before this revelation was given. He had learned about the Book of Mormon while traveling in New York during the summer of 1830. He later wrote of his response after he obtained a copy of the book:
“I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.
“As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists” (Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt , 37).
Parley traveled to Palmyra, New York, where he learned more about the Restoration of the gospel from Hyrum Smith. Soon, Hyrum and Parley journeyed to Fayette, where Parley joined the Church and was ordained an elder by Oliver Cowdery.
Little is known about the conversion of Ziba Peterson other than he was baptized by Oliver Cowdery in April 1830 and ordained an elder in June.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 32:1–5 to learn what the Lord called Parley and Ziba to do, as well as what the Lord promised them.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
During the winter of 1830–31, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr., Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson traveled from Fayette, New York, to Independence, Missouri, a distance of nearly 1,500 miles (about 2,400 kilometers), much of the way on foot. They endured deep snow, intense cold, strong winds, and exhaustion, living primarily on frozen corn bread and raw pork.
In spite of these hardships, the missionaries succeeded in introducing the gospel to Native American tribes in New York, Ohio, and Missouri. They also preached the gospel in Kirtland, Ohio, to a congregation of people who were looking for a restoration of New Testament Christianity. Many of those people joined the Church. One of those converts from Ohio, Frederick G. Williams, accompanied the missionaries on the remainder of their journey to Missouri. The Lord fulfilled His promise that He would be with these missionaries and that nothing would prevail against them.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 30–32 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: