Doctrine and Covenants 115

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 196–97


Introduction

Today some people refer to the Church as the “Mormon Church.” Elder Russell M. Nelson taught:

“Before any other name is considered to be a legitimate substitute, the thoughtful person might reverently consider the feelings of the Heavenly Parent who bestowed that name. …

“He issued this solemn warning: ‘Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips’ (D&C 63:61). ‘Remember,’ He added, ‘that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care’ (D&C 63:64). Therefore, just as we revere His holy name, we likewise revere the name that He decreed for His church” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 1990, 17, 20; or Ensign, May 1990, 16, 18).

This name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was revealed in section 115. (For additional insights see the information for section 115 in the student study guide.)

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Lord declared that His Church in this dispensation should be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see D&C 115:3–4; see also 3 Nephi 27:8).

  • The stakes of Zion are a defense and shelter against wickedness in the last days. The Lord protects us as we build His temples, worship in them, and follow His prophets (see D&C 115:5–19).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, p. 187.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 285–87.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 115:1–4. The Lord declared that His Church in this dispensation should be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(15–20 minutes)

Write on the board the following names: Church of Christ, Mormon Church, Church of Jesus Christ, Church of God, Church of the Latter-day Saints. Ask students what these names have in common. (They were all used to refer to the Church in its early days.) Have students read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 115 (including the verse summaries) and verses 1–4. Invite them to mark the name the Lord gave to His Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Have students read 3 Nephi 27:8, and ask:

  • Why is it important that the Lord’s Church bear His name?

  • How many years after the organization of the Church was the name of the Church revealed? (see D&C 20:1).

  • What else must a church have to be the true Church of Jesus Christ? (It must be built on the gospel of Jesus Christ [see 3 Nephi 27:8], it must have apostles and prophets [see Ephesians 2:19–20], and so forth.)

Have students cross-reference Doctrine and Covenants 115:3–4 with Doctrine and Covenants 1:30. Discuss the following questions:

  • What does the Lord say about His Church in Doctrine and Covenants 1:30?

  • What makes the Savior’s Church a “living church”?

  • What can we as members of the Lord’s Church do to please Him today?

Read Elder Russell M. Nelson’s statement from the introduction to section 115 above. Discuss how living as a faithful member of the Lord’s Church reverences His name.

Doctrine and Covenants 115:5–19. The stakes of Zion are a defense and shelter against wickedness in the last days. The Lord protects us as we build His temples, worship in them, and follow His prophets.

(20–25 minutes)

Place a clear glass on a tray and fill it halfway with water. Put a cork in the glass. Invite a student to hold the glass above the tray without letting the cork touch the sides. (The cork will tend to drift to the sides.) Place the glass on the tray and slowly add water until it reaches the rim. (The cork will now tend to drift to the center.) Ask the class why the cork drifts to the center. Have the student look at the water level and tell how it compares to the sides of the glass. (The center of the water is higher than the sides of the glass.)

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:5–6 and compare the elements in the verses to the water, the cork, and the sides of the glass. Use the following questions as necessary:

  • If the cork represents you, and the sides of the glass represent the temptations and sins that surround us, what could raising the water level represent? (The Saints being strengthened as they live the gospel and gather together in branches, wards, districts, and stakes.)

  • How can other members of the Church give you the strength to rise above temptation?

  • According to these verses, what must the Saints do after rising above temptation?

  • How can we arise and be a light for others? (see Matthew 5:14–16).

  • What do the words standard, defense, and refuge mean? (see the student study guide for help with some of these terms).

  • In what ways can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be a standard, a defense, and a refuge?

  • Why is it easier to live the gospel when you are with others who have similar standards?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 115:7–11 to find why the Lord wanted the Saints to gather in Far West. (Note: For more on the history of the temple in Far West, see the teaching suggestion for Doctrine and Covenants 124:49–55.) Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. … Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.

“It is for the same purpose that God gathers together His people in the last days, to build unto the Lord a house to prepare them for the ordinances and endowments, washings and anointings, etc.” (History of the Church, 5:423–24).

Read Doctrine and Covenants 115:17–18 and have students mark where, in addition to Far West, the Saints were to gather. Explain that in the early days of the Church the Saints were called to live together in specific locations. Invite students to cite examples (Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Utah). Share the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“In the early days of the Church we used to preach for the people to come to Utah as the gathering process largely because that was the only place in the whole world where there was a temple. Now … it is no longer necessary that we bring the people all to Salt Lake City. …

“And so the gathering is taking place. Korea is the gathering place for Koreans, Australia for the Australians, Brazil for the Brazilians, England for the English” (in Conference Report, Korea Area Conference 1975, 60–61).

Testify that as we worship in the temple we can overcome temptation and enjoy the Lord’s blessings. Share the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I have a burning desire that a temple be located within reasonable access to Latter-day Saints throughout the world. … The work is moving about as fast as we can go. It is my constant prayer that somehow it might be speeded up so that more of our people might have easier access to a sacred house of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 71; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 52–53).