On September 12, 1831, Joseph Smith and his family moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Hiram, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Kirtland. They did this in response to counsel from the Lord (see D&C 63:65). The Prophet and his family moved in with the family of John and Alice Johnson, recent converts to the Church. A major reason for moving from Kirtland was to resume work on the inspired translation of the Bible (often referred to as the Joseph Smith Translation, or JST). Once in Hiram, Joseph recommenced that work. On October 30, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 65. In this revelation the Lord teaches that the gospel will be spread throughout the earth in preparation for His Second Coming and that the Saints are to pray for the growth of the kingdom of God.
William E. McLellin was baptized on August 20, 1831. Soon after that he was ordained an elder, and he accompanied Hyrum Smith for a few weeks as a missionary. In October he traveled to Ohio for a conference of the Church. While there, he met the Prophet Joseph Smith. Through the Prophet the Lord gave William instructions and warnings to help him stay faithful and eventually receive eternal life. This revelation is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 66.
In your scripture study journal, list some things you regularly pray for.
Doctrine and Covenants 65 is a revelation on prayer. As you study this revelation, you will find counsel from the Lord about something we should pray for—particularly as we witness the fulfillment of events prophesied to occur in the latter-days.
Notice that the Lord said that “the keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth” (D&C 65:2). The phrase “keys of the kingdom” refers to the priesthood authority to preside and to authorize the administration and performance of priesthood ordinances in the Church. With these priesthood keys, the President of the Church leads our efforts to preach the gospel.
What do you know about Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, recorded in Daniel 2 in the Old Testament?
You may recall that King Nebuchadnezzar had been troubled by a dream and that the Lord revealed the dream and its meaning to the prophet Daniel. In the dream a great image, which represented various political kingdoms, was destroyed by a stone cut without hands from a mountain. The stone started small but grew until it filled the whole earth. (See Daniel 2:31–45.)
In Doctrine and Covenants 65:2, the phrase “kingdom of God” refers to the kingdom of God on the earth—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see Doctrine and Covenants 65:5–6). You may want to write this in your scriptures near verse 2.
Read the following statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley, looking for what he said about the kingdom of God:
“We are citizens in the greatest kingdom on earth—a kingdom not directed by the wisdom of men but led by the Lord Jesus Christ. Its presence is real. Its destiny is certain. This is the kingdom of which the prophet Daniel spoke—a stone, as it were, that should be cut out of the mountain without hands and roll forth and fill the earth. (See Dan. 2:34–35.)
“No mortal man created this kingdom. It came through revelation from its divine head. And since the nineteenth-century days of its inception, it has gone forth like a rolling snowball gathering mass” (“Pillars of Truth,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 4).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In what ways do you see that Daniel’s prophecy is being fulfilled today? How does this strengthen your testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
What does it mean to you to be part of the kingdom of God on the earth?
Read the following statement from Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and think about how you might complete the final sentence:
“Have you ever thought about why you were sent to earth at this specific time? You were not born during the time of Adam and Eve or while pharaohs ruled Egypt or during the Ming dynasty. You have come to earth at this time, 20 centuries after the first coming of Christ. The priesthood of God has been restored to the earth, and the Lord has set His hand to prepare the world for His glorious return. These are days of great opportunity and important responsibilities. These are your days.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 65:3–4, looking for responsibilities you have as a member of the kingdom of God on the earth.
In verse 3, the phrase “prepare ye the supper of the Lamb” refers to our responsibility to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures next to Doctrine and Covenants 65:3–4: We have a responsibility to prepare ourselves and others for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Elder Andersen testified of this truth. He completed the final sentence in the statement above with these words: “One of your important responsibilities is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Savior” (“Preparing the World for the Second Coming,” 49).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
As you think about your responsibility to prepare yourself and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, what thoughts and feelings do you have?
Notice in Doctrine and Covenants 65:4 that we are to “make known [the Lord’s] wonderful works among the people.” What are some ways you can do this?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 65:5–6, and mark at least three things we should pray for.
How might praying for these things help you prepare yourself and others for the Second Coming?
Read the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson. Look for something President Monson asked us to continually pray for, and think about how such prayers can help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
“I would ask that your faith and prayers continue to be offered in behalf of those areas where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely at this time. Miracles can occur as we do so” (“Welcome to Conference,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 6).
From what you have learned in Doctrine and Covenants 65, write about one thing you will do to help prepare yourself and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
William E. McLellin had prayed in secret, asking that the Lord would reveal answers to five specific questions through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Without revealing the questions, William requested a revelation. On October 29, 1831, as the Prophet Joseph dictated the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 66, William found that each of his questions was answered.
Although William E. McLellin did not remain faithful, writing 10 years after he had left the Church, he could not deny that the Prophet Joseph Smith had been inspired. He recorded the following regarding this revelation: “I now testify in the fear of God, that every question which I had thus lodged in the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth, were answered to my full and entire satisfaction. I desired it for a testimony of Joseph’s inspiration. And I to this day consider it to me an evidence which I cannot refute” (in Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 , 57).
As you study Doctrine and Covenants 66, look for encouraging promises the Lord gave to William E. McLellin. Also look for words of correction and warning.
In your scripture study journal, write one of the promises and one of the warnings the Lord gave to Brother McLellin, including the verse numbers where they are found. Then write a sentence or two, explaining what the promise and the warning teach you about the Lord.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 65–66 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: