On September 22 and 23, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 84. In this revelation the Lord taught the Saints the importance of giving heed to the word of God and chastened them for treating the Book of Mormon and former commandments lightly. In addition, He emphasized the commission of Apostles and other priesthood holders to preach the gospel throughout the world, and He explained how this work was to be accomplished.
Consider your efforts to study the scriptures daily. How well are you doing in accomplishing this goal?
Sometimes it is difficult to maintain a habit of daily scripture study. In your scripture study journal, list some challenges you face in trying to study the scriptures each day. Write about a time when you chose to study the scriptures even when it was difficult. How were you blessed for doing so?
As you continue your study of Doctrine and Covenants 84, you will learn truths that can inspire you to continue your efforts to study the scriptures daily. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:43–44, and identify words and phrases that teach the importance of studying and applying the word of the Lord. You may want to mark what you find.
Study Doctrine and Covenants 84:45–46. These verses help us understand that if we give diligent heed to the word of God, then we will be enlightened through the Spirit of Christ.
Note the phrase “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” in verse 45. Another phrase that means the same thing is “the Light of Christ.” The Light of Christ is “an influence for good in the lives of all people. … In the scriptures, the Light of Christ is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life.
“The Light of Christ should not be confused with the Holy Ghost. It is not a personage, as the Holy Ghost is. Its influence leads people to find the true gospel, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 96).
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Light of Christ is within each person, and “regardless of whether this inner light, this knowledge of right and wrong, is called the Light of Christ, moral sense, or conscience, it can direct us to moderate our actions—unless, that is, we subdue it or silence it” (“The Light of Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2005, 8–9).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:47, and complete the following principle based on what you discover: If we hearken to the Spirit, we will .
As you read Doctrine and Covenants 84:48, notice what the Father will do as we come unto Him.
In addition to having the Light of Christ, individuals can receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost after they enter into the covenant of baptism. Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, they can receive additional light and be guided back into the presence of the Father to receive eternal life.
Think about a time when you tried to walk in complete physical darkness. Is there a difference in the way you walk when it is completely dark compared to when there is light? The scriptures often refer to darkness to symbolize a spiritual condition. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:49–53, and identify who the Lord said is in darkness and why they are in that condition.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How is living under the bondage of sin like being in darkness?
Ponder what you feel you need to do better to receive His voice and avoid the bondage of sin.
In addition to saying that the world was in darkness, the Lord said that the minds of Church members had been darkened. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:54–56, looking for two reasons why their minds had become darkened.
To treat something lightly means to ignore it or to treat it disrespectfully or carelessly. How can a person’s mind be darkened by treating a sacred thing lightly? In Doctrine and Covenants 84:54, the phrase “you have treated lightly the things you have received” refers specifically to the Saints not doing what was written in the Book of Mormon and the former commandments.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:57–58 to discover what the Saints had been treating lightly and what they needed to do to avoid a scourge and a judgment. (The word scourge in these verses refers to punishment from God or a trial.)
Notice that the Saints had neglected the Book of Mormon as well as “the former commandments” the Lord had given them. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “These former commandments must have been the Lord’s prior revelations, as contained in the Bible (the Old and New Testaments) and in those modern revelations already given to the Saints (see History of the Church, 1:318, 320)” (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 63).
From Doctrine and Covenants 84:57–58, we learn the following principle: If we treat the word of God lightly, our minds will be darkened and we will be brought under condemnation.
Read the following statements by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to [the Book of Mormon]? Yes, either to our blessing or to our condemnation.
“Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life. There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of that iron rod, and one who does not” (“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, May 1975, 65; see also “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 5).
“If the early Saints were rebuked for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation if we do the same? …
“… Let us not remain under condemnation, with its scourge and judgment, by treating lightly this great and marvelous gift the Lord has given to us. Rather, let us win the promises associated with treasuring it up in our hearts” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4–5, 7).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How would you describe your treatment of the Book of Mormon?
What can you do to make your study of it a lifetime pursuit?
What will you do to more diligently study the scriptures and live the truths you learn in them?
Consider the billions of people who live on the earth. Each person needs to have the opportunity to learn the gospel. However, it is not possible for the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who have the charge to declare the gospel to all nations, to teach everyone.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:62, and identify the direction the Lord gave to those who have the responsibility to preach the gospel.
Notice that because Church leaders cannot go everywhere to preach the gospel, they are to send others to help them. Doctrine and Covenants 84:62 can help us understand that all Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to take the gospel to the whole world.
President Spencer W. Kimball said:
“The prophets of this dispensation also have clearly taught the concept that missionary service is the responsibility of all members. President David O. McKay taught the principle with the challenging words, ‘Every member a missionary!’ (See Conference Report, April 1959, p. 122.)” (“It Becometh Every Man,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 3).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:64–75, and ponder why it is important for the gospel to be preached to the entire world.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Based on what you read in Doctrine and Covenants 84:64–75, how would you summarize the importance of teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ? Then complete the following statement: I will fulfill my responsibility to share the gospel by …
In the following list, underline any fears that might cause you to be reluctant to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary: fear of leaving home, family, and friends; fear of missing school and work opportunities; fear of not being able to pay for a mission; fear of speaking to others about the gospel; and fear of learning a new language.
The Lord reassured those who may be reluctant or have fears about serving Him as a missionary. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:80, 85, 87–88, looking for the responsibilities and blessings of missionary service. Fill in the chart with what you find:
Responsibilities of Missionary Service
Blessings of Missionary Service
The verses you have studied affirm that as we share the gospel, the Lord will be with us, will protect us, and will strengthen us.
In your scripture study journal, explain how the promises stated in Doctrine and Covenants 84:80, 85, 88 might influence your desire and ability to share the gospel.
In Doctrine and Covenants 84:89–97, the Lord affirmed that those who accept His missionaries also accept Him and will be blessed. He also taught that those who reject His servants and His word will forfeit blessings and be cursed.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:98–102. These verses contain the words of a song of joy and praise associated with the redemption of Zion. The redemption of Zion refers to the condition God’s covenant people will enjoy when they choose to come unto Him and receive all of the ordinances and blessings of the gospel.
Why do you think the Lord calls missionaries to serve in companionships?
Think of some other callings in the Church in which members serve with one or more other persons. Read Doctrine and Covenants 84:106, 109–10, and identify what the Lord instructed Church members to do to strengthen one another.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:106 teaches that those who are strong in the Spirit are to edify those who may be weak.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you been uplifted by working with someone who is strong in the Spirit?
What can you do to seek out ways to encourage and strengthen others?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 84:43–120 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: