Unit 13: Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 57

“Unit 13: Day 2, Doctrine and Covenants 57,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


Introduction

In June 1831, the Lord commanded Joseph Smith and other elders to convene a conference of the Church in Missouri (see D&C 52). Obedient to the command, the Prophet Joseph Smith and others traveled approximately 900 miles from Ohio to Missouri. After Joseph arrived in Missouri, he received the revelation now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 57. In this revelation the Lord revealed the location for the city of Zion, fulfilling a promise He had made earlier to the Saints (see D&C 52). The Lord also instructed several individuals concerning their roles in establishing Zion.

Doctrine and Covenants 57:1–6

The Lord reveals the location of the city of Zion

Read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith to better understand how he felt about establishing and building Zion:

Prophet Joseph Smith

“The meeting of our brethren [Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr., Ziba Peterson, and Frederick G. Williams, all of whom had gone to Missouri as missionaries], who had long awaited our arrival, was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States, and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness; how natural it was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion; yea, and exclaim in the language of the Prophets: ‘When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will Thy temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?’ Our anxiety was soon relieved by receiving the following [revelation: D&C 57]” (in History of the Church, 1:189).

Think of a time when you eagerly anticipated something, such as celebrating a holiday or birthday, serving a mission, visiting the temple, receiving a gift, or visiting a loved one. How did you feel as the event you were anticipating approached? Why was this event so important to you? How did your actions reflect your excitement for this event?

Many of the early Saints anxiously anticipated learning the exact location of the city of Zion. Before the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 57 was given, they had read in the Book of Mormon about a New Jerusalem that would be located on the American continent (see 3 Nephi 20–21; Ether 13). Through revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Saints had learned that Zion would be located somewhere in Missouri (see D&C 52:2, 5, 42).

Remember that three main groups of Church members had been called to travel the nearly 900 miles to Missouri: the Prophet and a small group of elders (see D&C 52–53), a group of missionaries called to preach along the way (see D&C 52), and the Saints from Colesville, New York, led by Newel Knight (see D&C 54).

Read Doctrine and Covenants 57:1–3, and mark where the city of Zion was to be built.

According to those verses, where was the city of Independence located in relation to Zion?

Reread Doctrine and Covenants 57:3, and mark what the Lord said should be located in Independence, or the center place of Zion.

You might want to write the following principle in the margin of your scriptures: The temple is in the center place of Zion.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why do you think it was important for a temple to be located in the center place of Zion?

    2. Why might it be important to have the temple at the center of our lives?

Think about things that can distract individuals from receiving the blessings of the temple. What might happen to people who choose to center their lives on worldly things?

target
  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, draw a target with a bull’s-eye in the center. Label the center of your target with the word temple. Then answer the following questions:

    1. How might your life be different if you more fully centered it on spiritual things, like the temple?

    2. How might putting the temple at the center of our lives help us to center our lives on Jesus Christ?

Read the following statements describing blessings you can receive as you center your life on the temple. As you read, mark any of these blessings you have experienced.

President Thomas S. Monson

“To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments” (Thomas S. Monson, “Until We Meet Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 113).

President Boyd K. Packer

“Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Holy Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, 35).

President Thomas S. Monson

“As we touch the temple and love the temple, our lives will reflect our faith. As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation. The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls” (Thomas S. Monson, “Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, 15).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“If we are a temple-going people, we will be a better people. … I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, July 1997, 73).

President Howard W. Hunter

“Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us” (Howard W. Hunter, “The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 5).

Nauvoo Illinois Temple
  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Which of the blessings mentioned in the statements above have you experienced?

    2. How have these blessings influenced your life?

Ponder what you can do to more completely make the temple the center of your life. Make a goal to remain or become worthy of a temple recommend and to attend the temple as often as your circumstances allow.

Doctrine and Covenants 57:4–6 records that the Lord commanded the Saints to purchase property in and around Jackson County, Missouri, which would enable them to begin to establish Zion and build a temple.

Doctrine and Covenants 57:7–16

The Lord instructs individuals concerning their roles in establishing Zion

Imagine that you were with the Saints in Missouri when the Lord revealed the location of Zion and that you were asked to remain there to help establish the city in Independence. How would you feel knowing you had such an important responsibility? How would you start building up a city unto the Lord? Who would you want to help you build it?

  1. journal iconRead Doctrine and Covenants 57:7–13. In your scripture study journal, list the names of the four men the Lord assigned to help establish Zion and what He assigned each of them to do.

Each person who was counseled to settle in Missouri had gifts and talents that were needed to help establish Zion. You might want to write the following principle in the margin of your scriptures: We should use our individual strengths to help build the Lord’s kingdom as He calls upon us to do so.

Think of people you know who build the Church by using their personal strengths, spiritual gifts, or skills.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What are your strengths?

    2. How could you use your strengths to bless your family and the Church?

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

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 57 and completed this lesson on (date).

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