Doctrine and Covenants 88: The Olive Leaf: A Message of Peace

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 99–101


Life can, at times, be very difficult as we face problems and decisions that m almost overwhelming. It is during these times that our Heavenly Father often invites us to consider our trials from an eternal perspective. The revelation inDoctrine and Covenants 88provides such perspective. It helps us to think beyond the ordinary to the glorious realities at the heart of Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness. There is much in this revelation that will challenge you to think deeply. Use your study of it as an opportunity to put life’s difficulties into an eternal context. After the sobering message ofDoctrine and Covenants 87, this must have come as a welcome comfort to the early Saints. It can be the same for you.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 88

Alms(v. 2)Offerings, pleadings 
Quickeneth, quickened(vv. 11, 17, 26, 28–32, 49)Brings to life, makes alive 
Proceedeth(v. 12)Goes 
Immensity(v. 12)Vastness, limitless expanse 
Bosom(vv. 13, 17)Heart, center 
It(vv. 18–20, 26)The earth 
The measure of its creation(vv. 19, 25)The purpose for which it was made 
Intent(v. 20)Purpose 
Abide(vv. 22–26, 35, 86)Dwell, remain 
Meet(v. 24)Qualified, appropriately fitted or prepared 
Bestowed(v. 33)Given 
Preserved(v. 34)Saved, protected, defended 
Bounds(vv. 38, 90)Limits, restrictions 
Justified(v. 39)Declared right or blameless 
Cleaveth(v. 40)Unites with, holds close to 
Executeth(v. 40)Makes happen, puts in motion or effect 
Courses(v. 43)Paths, movements, orbits 
Abound(vv. 50, 66)Have in great amount 
Countenance(vv. 52–53, 56, 58)Appearance 
Expedient(vv. 64–65, 78, 127)Appropriate, desirable 
Hasten(v. 73)Move forward quickly 
Perplexities(v. 79)Difficult problems 
Bind up the law and seal up the testimony(v. 84)A symbolic way of saying that everyone will have a chance to hear the gospel so they are left without excuse for their actions 
Desolation of abomination(v. 85)Destruction that will come to those who continue living in ways offensive to God 
Indignation(v. 88)Judgments or consequences for wrongdoings 
Commotion(v. 91)Confusion 
Abominations(v. 94)Sins; thoughts and acts that are offensive to God 
Tares(v. 94)Weeds (D&C 86) 
Intents(v. 109)Desires, purposes 
Solemn(v. 117)Serious, somber 
Salutations(vv. 120, 134, 136)Greetings 
Light speeches(v. 121)Talk that has little or no value or that is irreverent of sacred things 
Impart(v. 123)Give, share 
Invigorated(v. 124)Energized, refreshed 
Mantle(v. 125)Cloak 
Bond(v. 125)Covenant, promise 
Distinctly(v. 129)Clearly 
Give utterance(v. 137)Inspire what is to be said 
Sanctuary(v. 137)A sacred place 
Commenced(v. 141)Begun 

Doctrine and Covenants 88:3—Another Comforter

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

“There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. …

“… After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter. …

“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,149–51).

Doctrine and Covenants 88:6–13—The Light of Christ

the Bible Dictionary entry “Light of Christ” (p. 725) andMoroni 7:16, 18–19.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:74–86—The Elders of the Church Must Be Clean

Elders must be clean

The Lord emphasized more than once inDoctrine and Covenants 88that those who go forth to preach the gospel must be clean. Those who were waiting for a call to preach were to prepare by studying about nations and cultures as well as the doctrines of the gospel (vv. 77–80), but they were also to “cleanse [their] hands and [their] feet” (v. 74) and avoid becoming “entangled” with sin (v. 86). President Brigham Young counseled: “If the Elders cannot go with clean hands and pure hearts, they had better stay here. Do not go thinking, when you arrive at the Missouri River, at the Mississippi, at the Ohio, or at the Atlantic, that then you will purify yourselves; but start from here with clean hands and pure hearts, and be pure from the crown of the head to the soles of your feet; then live so every hour. Go in that manner, and in that manner labor, and return again as clean as a piece of pure white paper. This is the way to go; and if you do not do that, your hearts will ache” (Discourses of Brigham Young,sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 89).

Elder L. Aldin Porter, of the Seventy, gave further explanation: “Priesthood leaders, let us be careful that we do not permit young missionaries to go into the mission field with unresolved transgression. It is literally like going into battle without helmet, sword, or shield. Let us remember that it takes time to develop the power to resist the fires of temptation. It takes time to receive the sweet comfort that always comes to the heart of the truly penitent. Allow them sufficient time” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 67; orEnsign,May 1992, 46).

Doctrine and Covenants 88:127—The School of the Prophets

Following the counsel given inDoctrine and Covenants 88, the School of the Prophets was organized early in 1833. The purpose of this school was to prepare the men who held the priesthood to preach the gospel, administer the affairs of the Church, and contribute to their society. Later, when the Kirtland Temple was built, this school was held in the temple. The School of the Prophets continued off and on through the early pioneer days in the Utah Territory. These first schools established a traditionof education—both spiritual and temporal—that led to the establishment of academies, universities, and seminaries and institutes of religion. It is clear that the Lord desires His people to be educated.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:138–141—“The Ordinance of the Washing of Feet”

Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus washed His Apostles’ feet to fulfill the custom of the Jews under their law and established it as an ordinance ( JST,John 13:10).Doctrine and Covenants 88:138–141refers to the restoration of this ordinance for those Church leaders participating in the School of the Prophets. While the Saints were building the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith said that the ordinance of the washing of feet was to be done in the temple (History of the Church,2:307–10). This ordinance was to be part of a greater set of ordinances to be received in the temple that endow us with power so that we may do the work we are called to in this life—just as this first administration of the ordinance helped prepare early Church leaders for their labors.

Christ washing Apostle’s feet

Studying the Scriptures

Do five of the following activities (A–H) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 88.

Activity A iconWhat Are Your Thoughts?

Doctrine and Covenants 88:6–13invites us to think about Jesus Christ and His importance to every living thing. Read this passage and write some of your thoughts about the Savior and His influence in your daily life—both noticed and generally unnoticed. Include some thoughts about the ways this passage will have an impact on your daily life in coming days. What would be different if more people could know and remember what this passage teaches?

Activity B iconExplain the Doctrine

Using what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 88:17–39, give as complete an explanation as you can to someone who wants to know why God does not simply allow everyone to be in the celestial kingdom.

Activity C iconActions and Consequences

  1. 1.

    InDoctrine and Covenants 88:62–69, the Lord spoke of ways we could come unto Him. There are at least eight things He said we should do. Each of these eight things is followed by a promised blessing that will come if we do what He counseled us to do. Draw two columns in your notebook and label them “If” and “Then.” In the “If” column, list what the Lord counseled us to do. In the “Then” column, list the consequence of each action.

  2. 2.

    Select two of the things the Lord counseled us to do and write about what a person could do to obey His counsel.

Activity D iconA Mission Preparation Plan

  1. 1.

    ReviewDoctrine and Covenants 88:70–86and list what the Lord told Church leaders in Joseph Smith’s time that would prepare them to teach the gospel to the world.

  2. 2.

    What do you think it means to have clean hands and pure hearts?

  3. 3.

    What do verses 81–86 teach are the reasons the leaders and members of the Church must warn all people? ( alsoEzekiel 33:1–9).

Activity E iconDesign a School

Suppose you were asked to begin a new school for young Latter-day Saints to prepare them for life, but especially for the work the Lord would have them do. Based on what you read inDoctrine and Covenants 88:77–80, what subjects would you have students study at this school?

Activity F iconList the Events

List the events inDoctrine and Covenants 88:87–116that will occur. Identify each event with three general time periods: before the Savior’s Second Coming, at the time of His Second Coming, and at the end of the Millennium.

Activity G iconApply the Scriptures

AlthoughDoctrine and Covenants 88:119refers to the temple, it is also a pattern for our homes—which are also to be holy places. Briefly explain what you think a family could do to apply each principle the Lord spoke about in this verse if they wanted their home to be a “house of God,” or in other words, a place where His Spirit could dwell and be a strengthening and protecting influence to all who live there.

Activity H Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 88:123–24

  1. 1.

    List what the Lord asks of us inDoctrine and Covenants 88:123–24by organizing His counsel into two lists: “Things to Do” and “Things Not to Do.”

  2. 2.

    Choose two commandments from your lists and explain why you think the Lord would want us to do or not do each thing. Give examples from your own experiences or from the scriptures.