At a conference of the Church held on January 25, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith received two revelations, which are both found in Doctrine and Covenants 75. The first revelation, recorded in verses 1–22, was given to a group of elders who had submitted their names for missionary service. The Lord instructed these elders concerning their missionary duties and assigned them mission companions. The second revelation, recorded in verses 23–36, was given to a second group of elders who wanted to know the Lord’s will concerning them. The Lord instructed these elders to ensure that their families would be provided for and to accept a call to preach the gospel.
How many years are there until you will be eligible to serve a full-time mission? As you think about the possibility of serving a full-time mission, what blessings do you anticipate you would receive by sharing the gospel with others? On the space provided, write some of those blessings:
As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 75, the Lord promised many blessings to those whom He called to preach the gospel. He also gave them instructions to help them be successful. Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:1–4, looking for what the Lord wanted the elders to do while preaching the gospel. You may want to mark what you discover in your scriptures.
In your scripture study journal, write why you think it is important that missionaries preach the gospel in the manner the Lord described in these verses.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:5, looking for what the Lord promised the elders if they would faithfully proclaim His gospel. It may be helpful to know that the word sheaves refers to stalks of grain that are cut and tied into bundles. Having “many sheaves” means having an abundant harvest. What do you think “sheaves” could represent in missionary work?
In addition to the blessing of receiving the fruits of our labors as we share the gospel with others, the Lord promised eternal blessings in Doctrine and Covenants 75:5. How might the Lord’s promises in verse 5 encourage you to share the gospel with others?
Using what you learn in verse 5, complete the following principle in your scripture study journal: If we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, the Lord will bless us with …
After the Lord gave instructions and promises to the elders who were going to serve missions, He grouped them into companionships and gave each companionship specific instructions.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:6–12 to learn about the first companionship and the promise the Lord gave them if they faithfully proclaimed the gospel.
It may help you to know that on October 29, 1831, William E. McLellin had received a call to serve a mission to the eastern United States, and Samuel H. Smith was called as his companion (see D&C 66:5–8). William initially obeyed this call. His mission ended early, and he returned to Kirtland, Ohio, at the end of December 1831. As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 75:6–12, the Lord rebuked William E. McLellin for his murmurings, revoked the call to serve in the eastern states, and called Orson Hyde to replace him as Samuel Smith’s companion. However, the Lord mercifully extended another call for William to proclaim the gospel in the southern United States with Luke Johnson as his companion. William accepted the call to serve, but he did not continue faithfully. He soon claimed to be too sick to continue his mission. After leaving his mission, he traveled to Hiram, Ohio, and married Emiline Miller.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:11, 13–14, looking for the promise the Lord repeated to each of those missionary companionships if they would be faithful in proclaiming the gospel. You may wish to mark the phrases in these verses that assure us that if we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, the Lord will be with us.
In your scripture study journal, write about an experience you or someone you know has had that assures you that the Lord will be with us as we faithfully share His gospel with others.
Imagine that you have a friend or family member who is struggling while serving a full-time mission. In your scripture study journal, write a letter of encouragement to this person, using the principles you have learned in today’s lesson. In your letter, share what missionaries can do to more faithfully proclaim the gospel and what some of the blessings are that come to those who do so. (If you know a full-time missionary, you could write the letter to him or her. Then write a note in your scripture study journal stating you did that.)
We may face challenges in our efforts to be faithful in proclaiming the gospel. In an article about President Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote about a struggle President Hinckley faced while serving as a young missionary in England:
“Elder Hinckley found some of that discouragement common to missionaries facing new circumstances in a new land. He was not well physically, and as he went to his first street meeting … , he recalls: ‘I was terrified. I stepped up on that little stand and looked at that crowd of people that had gathered. … They looked rather menacing and mean, but I somehow stumbled through whatever I had to say.’
“Down in spirit and facing no success in missionary endeavors, Gordon wrote a letter to his father, saying: ‘I am wasting my time and your money. I don’t see any point in my staying here.’ In due course a gentle but terse reply came from his father. That letter read: ‘Dear Gordon. I have your letter [of such and such a date]. I have only one suggestion. Forget yourself and go to work. With love, Your father.’
“President Hinckley says of that moment, ‘I pondered his response and then the next morning in our scripture class we read that great statement of the Lord: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).
“‘That simple statement, that promise, touched me. I got on my knees and made a covenant with the Lord that I would try to forget myself and go to work. I count that as the day of decision in my life. Everything good that has happened to me since then I can trace back to the decision I made at that time’” (“President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 8.)
As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 75:15–22, the Lord instructed the missionaries to bless the households of those who received them. He also taught them what to do when they were rejected by those they shared the gospel with. Shaking off the dust of their feet as a testimony against those who reject them is not practiced by missionaries today.
The second revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 75, recorded in verses 23–36, was given to a different group of elders. In the early years of the Church, many men who were called to serve missions had wives and children who depended on them for support. Accepting the call to serve was a great sacrifice for the whole family. A natural concern for many elders would have been what would happen to their families if they accepted a call to preach the gospel far from home.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:24–28, looking for the Lord’s instructions to the elders who were needed to preach the gospel but had families to care for.
In these verses the Lord said that the Church should help the family when a father or husband accepts the call to leave to serve a mission. Notice in verse 26 what the Lord directed the elders to do if they were able to find a place where their families would be supported.
In verse 28, the Lord told the elders who were not able to find other support for their families that they were excused from traveling, and He assured them that they would not lose their chance of receiving eternal life. These elders were still expected to labor in the Church locally.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 75:29, looking for the counsel the Lord gave to all of these men. It may be helpful to know that an idler is an individual who is unwilling to work and that to “be diligent in all things” means to be consistent, persistent, attentive, and hardworking.
You may want to mark the Lord’s instruction in verse 29 that teaches the following principle: The Lord commands us to be diligent in all things.
Ponder some aspects of your life in which you feel you can be more diligent. On a separate piece of paper, write a goal of one thing you will do to be more diligent. Post this goal where you can see it daily. Once you have done this, write in your scripture study journal: I have written my goal and placed it where I can see it daily.
At the end of the second revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 75, the Lord assigned this group of elders into missionary companionships.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 75 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: