Unit 14: Day 4

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43

“Unit 14: Day 4, Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64 on September 11, 1831. About two weeks before he received this revelation, the Prophet had returned to Ohio after overseeing the dedication of the land and the temple site of Zion in Independence, Missouri. Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43 contains the Lord’s teachings about the sacrifices He required of the Saints and about the establishment of Zion in the latter days.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–25

The Lord teaches that He requires our hearts

On the following lines, write about a time when you felt you sacrificed to follow the Lord’s commandments (such as refraining from participating in a sporting event or a similar activity in order to keep the Sabbath day holy):

Think about how you may have been blessed for making this sacrifice. You can learn more about sacrifices the Lord requires of us as you study Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43 and read the Lord’s commandments to Isaac Morley, Frederick G. Williams, and other early Church members.

Isaac Morley farm, Kirtland, Ohio

Isaac Morley farm, Kirtland, Ohio

Isaac Morley owned a large farm in Kirtland, Ohio. He generously invited many Church members, including Joseph Smith and his family, to live on the property.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:20, looking for what the Lord instructed Isaac Morley to do with his farm. In the appropriate space in following chart, write what the Lord told Isaac Morley to do.

Isaac Morley (D&C 64:20)

Frederick G. Williams (D&C 64:21)

What did the Lord say he should do?


How did he react to the Lord’s instruction? (See information below.)


What was the result of obeying the Lord’s instruction? (See information below.)


This was a great sacrifice for Isaac Morley. Most of the money from the sale of the farm was to be used to buy land for other Church members in Independence, Missouri.

Study Doctrine and Covenants 64:20, looking for the blessing the Lord promised to give Isaac Morley if Isaac sold his farm. From this verse we learn that if we follow the Lord’s will for us, we will not be tempted above that which we can bear.

Isaac Morley followed the Lord’s commandment to sell his farm and was blessed to be able to withstand temptation. He was one of the first Saints to settle in Independence, Missouri, where he sought to establish Zion. He served the Lord faithfully throughout his life. In the chart, write Isaac’s reaction and the result of his action.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, list two or three commandments the Lord has given to all of us (such as the commandment to pray always). Then explain how obeying these commandments can help you avoid temptation.

Another man, Frederick G. Williams, also owned a farm in Kirtland. His farm consisted of two houses, a large barn, and many acres of land. Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:21, looking for the commandment the Lord gave Frederick G. Williams.

In the chart above, write what the Lord commanded Frederick G. Williams to do with his farm.

Although Frederick G. Williams was not asked to sell his farm like Isaac Morley, he still demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice. He told the Prophet Joseph Smith that his farm could be used to house Church members in need, including the Prophet’s parents. In addition, Brother Williams allowed the crops and animals raised on his farm to be used to feed and support the Saints. Later, he consecrated his entire farm to the Church without receiving any payment in return. Through the sacrifices of Frederick G. Williams and other faithful Saints in Ohio, the Lord retained “a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years” (D&C 64:21). During these years, the Saints built the Kirtland Temple. They dedicated the temple in 1836, five years after the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 64 was given.

In the chart, complete the column for Frederick G. Williams by writing in the appropriate places what he did and the result of this action.

From the examples of Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams, we learn the following principle: We are blessed as we obey the Lord and offer the sacrifices He asks of us. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures.

The sacrifices Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams made regarding their farms illustrate another sacrifice the Lord required of them and that He requires of us today. Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:22, looking for the sacrifice the Lord requires of us.

You may want to mark the following principle in verse 22: The Lord requires our hearts.

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

    1. What do you think it means that the Lord requires our hearts?

    2. How can you show the Lord that you are willing to give your heart to Him?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:23–25, and identify a commandment we can keep to show that we have given our hearts to the Lord.

During this time in Church history, the term “tithing” referred to all free-will offerings or contributions to the Church. In 1838, tithing was defined as one-tenth of a person’s increase (see D&C 119 heading). Since that time, all members were expected to pay 10 percent of their increase annually.

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

    1. How can paying tithing show that we have given our hearts to the Lord?

    2. What are the blessings of paying a full and honest tithe?

Review Doctrine and Covenants 64:23, looking for the promise the Lord gives to those who pay tithing.

While the blessing specified in verse 23 applies to the future, the Lord also blesses us now for paying tithing. Think about experiences you have had when you or your family have been blessed as a result of paying tithing.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–43

The Lord gives instructions for the establishment of Zion

Think of a time when you were told to complete a task that was difficult or felt overwhelming.

In August 1831, the Lord gave the Saints the enormous task of obtaining the money to purchase all of the land required to build the city of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. The Saints knew that once they had purchased the land, they would have to work hard to build the city and the temple there.

Newel K. Whitney general store in Kirtland, Ohio

Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–29 contains the Lord’s command to two of His servants, Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert, to use their store in Kirtland, Ohio, to help provide for the needs of the Saints. This is one example of a way some of the Saints were asked to sacrifice and contribute to the building of Zion.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:30–33, looking for phrases that might have encouraged the Saints who were seeking to accomplish the enormous task of building Zion.

Based on what you learned from reading these verses, complete the following principle:

If we , then we can accomplish great things.

After the Lord encouraged the Saints to be diligent in doing good things, He spoke again of obedience. Have you ever obeyed a parent, Church leader, teacher, or coach, but did so with a poor attitude? Notice in Doctrine and Covenants 64:34 the words that describe the attitude we should have as we obey the Lord.

You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures next to verse 34: We are to obey the Lord with our hearts and willing minds.

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

    1. What do you think it means to obey the Lord with “the heart and a willing mind”?

    2. Think of a time when you obeyed the Lord with your heart and a willing mind. How was this different from times when you may not have obeyed so willingly?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 64:41–43, looking for information about the establishment of Zion in our day. It is important to remember that in the last days Zion will not only exist in one geographic location, such as Independence, Missouri. Zion will be established in all nations where people obey the Lord with their hearts and willing minds.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, write down a goal of one thing you will do to obey the Lord with more heartfelt and willing obedience. As you work on this goal notice the difference this type of obedience makes in your life.

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

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43 and completed this lesson on (date).

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