Unit 15: Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 68

“Unit 15: Day 3, Doctrine and Covenants 68,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


On November 1, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith met with a group of elders in Hiram, Ohio, for a special conference. They discussed the publication of the Book of Commandments, a collection of the revelations the Prophet had received. Four of the elders at the conference asked Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord about His will for them. In response to this request, the Prophet received a revelation that is now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 68. The revelation includes counsel to those called to preach the gospel, instructions about the calling of bishops, and a commandment for parents to teach their children the principles and ordinances of the gospel.

Doctrine and Covenants 68:1–12

The Savior gives counsel to those who are called to preach the gospel

sister missionaries

Consider the following questions:

  • What worries or concerns might someone have about serving a full-time mission?

  • What are some reasons people sometimes feel nervous about sharing the gospel with their family members and friends?

During a conference on November 1, 1831, four elders who would be serving as missionaries approached the Prophet Joseph Smith and asked to know the Lord’s will concerning them. In response, the Lord revealed a pattern for preaching the gospel.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:1–5, looking for a pattern for preaching the gospel. Consider marking what you find. (You will find the word ensample in verses 2 and 3. An ensample is a pattern or model.)

Which of the following is not part of the pattern for preaching the gospel as found in verse 1?

  • Sing songs of everlasting love.

  • Proclaim the gospel by the Spirit.

  • Reason with those you teach.

  • Expound the scriptures.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:6, looking for the additional encouragement the Lord gave to His servants.

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

    1. What principles do you see in Doctrine and Covenants 68:6 that might bring comfort to a missionary?

    2. Why is it important for you to know that the Lord stands by His faithful missionaries?

    3. How might this promise help you in your efforts to share the gospel now?

You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures next to Doctrine and Covenants 68:4: When the Lord’s servants are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, their words will lead people to salvation.

Elder M. Russell Ballard speaking at general conference

While those who are ordained to preach the gospel can help us know the will of the Lord, only the President of the Church has the right to receive and declare the will of the Lord for the entire Church. Under his direction, members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also have the authority to declare God’s will for us. Thus, the principle taught in verse 4 can apply each time a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks in general conference.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:3–5 again, and identify a promise the Lord gives to His ordained servants. Then complete the following statement: When the Lord’s servants speak as they are moved by the Holy Ghost, their words are .

  1. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some ways to invite the influence of the Holy Ghost as we share the gospel?

In Doctrine and Covenants 68:7–12, we read that the Lord called these four elders to preach the gospel and baptize those who would believe. We also read about the blessings that come to them and to those who believe their words.

Doctrine and Covenants 68:13–24

The Lord reveals the qualifications for the office of bishop

Imagine that a friend of another faith asks, “How was your bishop chosen?” What would you say?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:14–15, 20, looking for how bishops are selected.

The phrase “literal descendant of Aaron” refers to descendants of Moses’s brother, Aaron, in the Old Testament. This descendant would have a right to the office of Presiding Bishop if called and approved by the First Presidency. In Moses’s day only descendants of the tribe of Levi held the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood. A person had to be a blood descendent of this line to be given the priesthood. The right to hold this priesthood went from father to son. At that time, if the father did not hold the priesthood, a son would not have that opportunity.

Write the following principle in your scriptures: Bishops must be approved by the First Presidency and ordained by proper authority.

In the early days of the Church, members of the First Presidency ordained and set apart all bishops. In the Church today, this is still true for the Presiding Bishop. However, the calling, ordaining, and setting apart of bishops is conducted by stake presidents under the direction of the First Presidency. A stake president, with support from his counselors in the stake presidency, seeks revelation to know when to call a new bishop and whom to call. He sends his recommendation to the First Presidency for approval. When the First Presidency approves this calling, they authorize the stake president to ordain and set apart the new bishop.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why is it important to you to know that the First Presidency approved the calling of your bishop?

Before the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 68, Edward Partridge was the only bishop in the Church. When other bishops were called, Bishop Partridge served as the Presiding Bishop. Today the Presiding Bishop is a General Authority and has responsibility over the temporal welfare of the entire Church (see D&C 107:68).

Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–35

The Lord commands parents to teach their children

Do you ever think about the possibility of being married and having children in a few years?

List three things that you will want to teach your children:

Adam and Eve teaching their children

Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–27, and mark the doctrines the Lord commanded parents to teach their children. If these things are not on your list, consider adding them.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, write about why you think parents are commanded to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. How have your parents helped you learn the gospel? Consider writing them a note of gratitude.

In Doctrine and Covenants 68:28–31, the Lord gave additional counsel to parents, as well as to the Saints in Zion.

  1. journal iconTo help in your preparation to be a parent, complete two or more of the following activities. Answer the questions in your scripture study journal.

    1. Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:28, looking for what the Lord commands parents to teach their children.

      • Why do you think it would be important for you to teach your children to pray?

      • How were you taught to pray?

      • How has prayer blessed you and your family?

      • In your opinion, how does prayer help us “walk uprightly before the Lord”?

    2. Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:29, looking for what the Lord commands the inhabitants of Zion (Church members) to do.

      • What have you learned from your parents or others about keeping the Sabbath day holy?

      • What can you do to help your family keep the Sabbath day holy?

    3. Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:30, looking for what the Lord commands parents and children to do. (Note that the word idler refers to someone who is lazy or not engaged in productive activities.)

      • When have you seen the blessings that come from hard work?

      Read the following information about idleness: “The Lord has commanded us not to be idle. Idleness can lead to inappropriate behavior, damaged relationships, and sin. One form of idleness is spending excessive amounts of time in activities that keep you from productive work, such as using the Internet, playing video games, and watching television” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 40).

      • How can idleness lead to wickedness?

      • What are some things that can help a person overcome a tendency to be idle?

    4. Read Doctrine and Covenants 68:31–32, looking for what the Lord commands parents and children to do.

      • How do you think greed can affect a family?

      • What can you do in your life to overcome selfishness and greed?

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

    1. Why is it important to prepare now to be a good parent?

    2. What goal can you set that will help you prepare to be a good parent?

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

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 68 and completed this lesson on (date).

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