Doctrine and Covenants 118

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 198–99


Introduction

As Latter-day Saints, we often sing “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” (Hymns, no. 270) as we send our friends and family members on missions. We do not always pause to consider that, with changing conditions in the world, their calls might take them into danger. One example occurred in 1838 when the Lord commanded His Apostles to leave from Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1839, to serve missions in England. By the time that day arrived, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs had issued his extermination order and the Saints had been driven from Missouri. The Apostles’ response to this mission call is a lesson in obedience and trust in the Lord. (For additional insights see the information for section 118 in the student study guide.)

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Lord calls others to replace Apostles who do not remain faithful (see D&C 118:1, 6; see also Acts 1:20–26; D&C 114:2).

  • The Lord calls His servants to declare the fulness of His gospel throughout the world (see D&C 118:3–5).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 190, 226–27.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 291–92.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 118. The Lord calls His servants to declare the fulness of His gospel throughout the world.

(15–20 minutes)

Have a student read Doctrine and Covenants 118 to the class. Invite students to compare the date in the section heading for this revelation with the date in verse 5. Write the two dates on the board. Discuss the following questions:

  • Where were the Apostles to declare the gospel? (see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for D&C 118:4 in the student study guide).

  • Where was the Prophet Joseph Smith in the spring of 1839? (see D&C 121 heading).

Have a student read the first paragraph of the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Doctrine and Covenants 118:5 in the student study guide. Ask:

  • Where were the rest of the Saints at this time?

  • How safe was it for the Apostles to return to Missouri in April 1839?

  • Do you think that under these circumstances the Apostles could have been excused from meeting in Far West prior to their missions? Why or why not?

Read the following statement made by Elder Wilford Woodruff as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“When President [Brigham] Young asked the question of the Twelve, ‘Brethren, what will you do about this?’ the reply was, ‘The Lord has spoken and it is for us to obey.’ We felt that the Lord God had given the commandment and we had faith to go forward and accomplish it, feeling that it was His business whether we lived or died in its accomplishment. We started for Missouri” (in Journal of Discourses, 13:159).

Ask:

  • What does the Apostles’ attitude toward the Lord’s words teach you about keeping difficult commandments?

  • How does this account apply to someone who feels that serving a full-time mission or in a Church calling might be too difficult?

Invite another student to read the rest of the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Doctrine and Covenants 118:5 in the student study guide. Then have students complete assignment A.