Doctrine and Covenants 57

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 99–100


Introduction

While working on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in November and December of 1830, the Prophet learned more about a city of Zion in the days of the prophet Enoch (see Moses 6–7). The next February Joseph received Doctrine and Covenants 42, which promised that the location of the New Jerusalem, another city of Zion that the Saints are to build in the latter days, would be made known (see v. 62).

In June 1831, the Lord called Joseph Smith and certain elders to travel to Missouri, where the place of their inheritance would be revealed (see D&C 52). On July 20, soon after the Prophet arrived, the Lord revealed that “the land of Missouri” had been “consecrated for the gathering of the saints” and that Independence was “the place for the city of Zion” (D&C 57:1–2; see v. 3).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Lord appointed Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the location of the New Jerusalem and the center place of Zion (see D&C 57:1–5; see also 3 Nephi 20:22; 21:23–24).

  • The Lord encourages the Saints to make an honest living and to use their success to help build the kingdom of God (see D&C 57:6–12).

  • Our education, training, and experience can be helpful in building the kingdom of God (see D&C 57:6–14).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 106–7.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 118–19.

Suggestions for Teaching

Note: Remind students that between 1831 and 1838, Church members gathered both to the Kirtland, Ohio, area and to various places in Missouri. The Prophet Joseph Smith lived in Ohio until 1838 but made trips to Missouri, as did his counselors in the Presidency and the Apostles (after they were chosen in 1835).

Doctrine and Covenants 57:1–5. The Lord appointed Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, as the location of the New Jerusalem and the center place of Zion.

(20–25 minutes)

Share this statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day” (History of the Church, 4:609–10).

Discuss the following questions:

  • Why do you think the people of God have found the building of Zion such an important and interesting topic?

  • What do you know about the building of Zion?

  • What would you like to know about this topic?

Give students copies of the following chart as a handout:

Divide the references among students and have them study them. As a class, go through the references in order, inviting the students who studied each reference to share what it teaches about Zion. Have them fill in the chart based on your discussion.

Note the number of times temples are spoken of in conjunction with Zion (see 2 Nephi 12:2–3; D&C 42:36; 57:3; Moses 7:21). Tell students that temples help people become pure in heart and enable them to enter into covenants with the Lord to establish Zion. Share the following statement by Elder Lance B. Wickman, a member of the Seventy:

“The words Zion and temple belong in the same sentence together. … For Zion, the pure in heart, the temple holds the key that unlocks holy places—places of rejoicing—while those in Babylon’s byways are condemned to mourn” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 110; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 83).

Point out that the Lord gave the Saints knowledge about Zion one step at a time. The Lord often uses this pattern to reveal His will. We learn a little, we act on it, and we learn a little more. Each step is important in our progress.

Doctrine and Covenants 57:6–16. Our education, training, and experience can be helpful in building the kingdom of God.

(15–20 minutes)

Ask several students what their parents do for a living. Discuss how these occupations are important and bless the lives of others.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 57:8, 11, 13–15. Circle the names or offices of four individuals the Lord wanted “planted” or who he wanted to help “plant” others in Zion. (Note: In verse 15, “the bishop” refers to Edward Partridge and “the agent” to Sidney Gilbert; see D&C 41:9; 57:6–7.) Give students the following information about these four individuals:

William W. Phelps

A writer, editor, printer, and publisher who had worked for or founded several newspapers.

Sidney Gilbert

A successful merchant.

Oliver Cowdery

A talented writer, editor, and speaker who taught school and practiced law.

Edward Partridge

A merchant who owned a business that made hats.

Have students search Doctrine and Covenants 57:6–16, and discuss the following questions:

  • What did the Lord ask each of these four individuals to do to help build Zion?

  • How did their talents and training prepare them to build the Lord’s kingdom?

  • What sacrifices do General Authorities make today? (They give up their careers to serve the Lord full time).

  • What are ways you can develop talents or seek training? (Studying music, writing, or other arts; doing your best in all subjects at school; seeking a degree from a university; serving an apprenticeship or completing trade school; learning to work hard and honestly in any job.)

  • How could your education, training, and talents be useful in building the kingdom of God, now and in the future?