Doctrine and Covenants 52

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 94–95


Introduction

A conference of the Church convened at Kirtland, Ohio, on June 3, 1831. During this conference Satan attempted to deceive the Saints but was discerned and rebuked by the Prophet Joseph Smith. After this event the Lord revealed a “pattern” by which members of the Church could avoid being deceived. Elder Marvin J. Ashton taught:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s pattern for righteous living and eternal life. … Satan and his advocates will constantly try to deceive and entice us into following their patterns. If we are to achieve daily safety, exaltation, and eternal happiness, we need to live by the light and truth of our Savior’s plan” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 24; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Missionaries are called by the Lord to go forth two by two and preach the gospel. They are to preach the scriptures and the words of the living prophets by the power of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 52:1, 9–10, 36).

  • The Lord has given us a pattern for discerning who is and isn’t His servant (see D&C 52:14–21).

  • Elders are to watch over the Church, work to support themselves, and help care for the poor, the sick, and the afflicted (see D&C 52:39–40).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 100–102.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 112–13.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 52. Missionaries are called by the Lord to go forth two by two and preach the gospel. They are to preach the scriptures and the words of the living prophets by the power of the Holy Ghost.

(10–15 minutes)

Choose two students to play the role of missionaries. Tell the class: Imagine you live near a missionary training center. These two missionaries have just completed their training and are about to leave for their fields of labor. You are their cousins and have come to the airport or train station to say good-bye. You want to know how you can prepare to be missionaries. What would you say to your cousins? (Have the two “missionaries” answer their questions.)

Tell students that at the end of a Church conference in Kirtland, Ohio, several men were called as missionaries. Have the class read Doctrine and Covenants 52:4, 9–10, 14–20, 34, 36 and list what a missionary should do. Have the student missionaries share any additional answers to their cousins’ questions.

Doctrine and Covenants 52:14–21. The Lord has given us a pattern for discerning who is and isn’t His servant.

(20–25 minutes)

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 52:37 and identify who the Lord called to replace Heman Basset as a missionary. Explain that Simonds Ryder (also known in historical records as Symonds Ryder) had been a preacher in the Campbellite religion. He was converted to Mormonism after hearing a Mormon girl predict an earthquake in China and reading of its fulfillment six weeks later. Soon after his baptism he was ordained an elder and called on a mission. When he received his call and found that the Prophet spelled his last name “Rider” instead of “Ryder,” he began to doubt its inspiration and failed to serve the mission. Simonds Ryder later left the Church and opposed it publicly. Ask:

  1. What are some possible reasons Simonds Ryder fell away from the Church?

  2. What do you think leads a person to a lasting conversion?

  3. Even though other missionaries’ names may have been misspelled, why didn’t they also fall away?

  4. Why do you think people fall away today?

  5. What can we do to prevent this from happening to us?

Explain that the Lord has given a pattern for discerning who He has sent and who He has not. Read Doctrine and Covenants 52:14–21 with your students and help them identify and mark the pattern. Use the following chart as needed.

A True Servant

Discuss the following questions:

  • How well do you think the Prophet Joseph Smith fits this pattern?

  • How might this pattern have helped Simonds Ryder avoid rejecting Joseph Smith as a prophet?

  • How might this pattern help you recognize those you should follow?

Share the statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton in the introduction to section 52 above (p. 94).