Doctrine and Covenants 78: The Need to Establish a Bishop's Storehouse

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 90–91


Do you think Heavenly Father intended for some people to have much more than they need while others struggle just to live? InDoctrine and Covenants 78, the Lord explained His plan to provide for all of His children. Look for the promises the Lord made to those who manage their earthly blessings the way He intended.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 78

Espoused(v. 4)Accepted, committed yourself to 
Son Ahman(v. 20)Son of God (Ahmanmeans “God” in the language Adam spoke) 

Doctrine and Covenants 78:3—“The Storehouse for the Poor of My People”

When the Lord gave the Church His law in February 1831, He commanded members to “remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support” (D&C 42:30). That which was given for the support of the poor was to be “laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors” (v. 31). That which was left over after the bishop had taken care of immediate needs was to be “kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy” (v. 34). In March 1832 the time had come for the establishment of the promised storehouse.

Doctrine and Covenants 78:5–7—What Does It Mean to Be Equal?

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “By being equal the Lord does not mean that every man should receive the same compensation for labor performed, but that each should receive according to his needs and thus equality may be maintained. Where there is no selfishness in the hearts of the people this desirable end can be accomplished, but it is bound to fail where jealousy and selfishness are not eliminated from the soul. It is essential that we be able to keep the celestial law of equality” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:307).

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “It has been erroneously concluded by some that the united order is both communal and communistic in theory and practice because the revelations speak of equality. Equality under the united order is not economic and social leveling as advocated by some today. Equality, as described by the Lord, is ‘equal[ity] according to [a man’s] family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs’ (D&C 51:3)” (“A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion,” in1977 Devotional Speeches of the Year[1978], 74).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:11–12—What Are “the Buffetings of Satan”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “To be turned over to thebuffetings of Satanis to be given into his hands; it is to be turned over to him with all the protective power of the priesthood, of righteousness, and of godliness removed, so that Lucifer is free to torment, persecute, and afflict such a person without let or hindrance. When the bars are down, the cuffs and curses of Satan, both in this world and in the world to come, bring indescribable anguish typified by burning fire and brimstone. The damned in hell so suffer” (Mormon Doctrine,108).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–D) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 78.

Activity A iconConduct an Interview

  1. 1.

    ReviewDoctrine and Covenants 42:30–34and 78:1–4. Describe how the storehouse was used under the law of consecration.

  2. 2.

    Ask your Relief Society president or a priesthood leader to explain how the bishops’ storehouse works differently today under the law of tithing. Write a summary of what you learn.

Activity B iconImagine the Difference

  1. 1.

    From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 78, explain what the Lord meant when He said we should be “equal in earthly things” (v. 6; also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 78:5–7).

  2. 2.

    What would be better about your neighborhood, school, and community if everyone were “equal” in that way?

Activity C iconGive a Reason

InDoctrine and Covenants 78:14, the Lord said that the Church should “stand independent” of the rest of the world.

  1. 1.

    What instructions did the Lord give the Church in this revelation that would help them be independent?

  2. 2.

    What else do you the Church doing and teaching that would help us be more self-sufficient?

Activity D iconWhat Would You Say?

Suppose you have a friend who is the teachers quorum president and was discouraged because he cannot m to interest several members of his quorum in the activities. They come to Church but do not want to participate in the Young Men activities during the week. UseDoctrine and Covenants 78:17–18to help your friend understand what you think the Lord would want him to understand.