The Mission of the Twelve Lesson 44: Sections 111-12,114,118

Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, (1981), 87–88


Theme

The responsibility of the Quorum of the Twelve is to bear witness of Jesus Christ and see that the gospel is preached to all the inhabitants of the earth.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    The greatest treasure on the earth is human souls.

  • B.

    Under the direction of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve holds the keys to unlocking the doors for all nations to receive the gospel.

  • C.

    The Lord gives instructions to the President of the Quorum of the Twelve.

    1. 1.

      He must pray always for members of his quorum.

    2. 2.

      He is responsible to teach members of his quorum.

    3. 3.

      The Twelve are to be sent to unlock the doors to the preaching of the gospel in all nations.

  • D.

    The Lord, through the Prophet, called the Twelve on missions to England.

    1. 1.

      They were to leave from Far West, Missouri, on 26 April 1839.

    2. 2.

      They were instructed to fill the vacancies created by those who had fallen.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Sections 111-12, 114, 118

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

  • D&C 111-12,114,118. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder these sections. See also Doctrine and Covenants 107:22-24, 33-35, 38-39.

  • Matthew 28:16-19. To whom did the Lord give the responsibility of sending the gospel to all nations?

  • Mark 16:15. To whom do the Twelve have the responsibility to see to it that the gospel is preached?

  • Acts 1:22. What are the Twelve to be special witnesses of?

  • Matthew 10. What instructions did the Lord give his Apostles before he sent them on their missions?

  • D&C 84:62-64. What is the apostolic calling? (Note that this revelation was given before the Quorum of Twelve Apostles was called; see Notes and Commentary in the student manual.)

  • D&C 86:1-2. What function of the Apostles was represented in Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares?

  • D&C 124:138-39. What responsibility of the Apostles is given here?

  • Ephesians 2:19-20. The Twelve represent what part of the Lord’s church?

  • 3 Nephi 13:25-34. What responsibility did the Savior place upon the Nephite Twelve?

  • D&C 112:14-21, 30-32. What particular keys and responsibilities did the Lord give the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation?

For additional information see topical guide, s.v. “Apostles”; Bible dictionary, s.v. “Apostle.”

Basic Library

  • Jesus the Christ, pp. 695-96. Prior to his final ascension, what did the Savior commission the Twelve to do?

  • Gos. Doc, pp. 177-78. What is the mission of the Twelve today?

  • DS, 2:269-70. Are there witnesses of the resurrected Christ today?

  • DS, 3:144-47. What is an Apostle?

  • DS, 3:153-54. What constitutes an apostolic testimony of Christ?

  • DS, 3:154-56. What keys do the Quorum of Twelve Apostles hold?

  • Teachings, pp. 74, 109. What is the calling of an Apostle?

  • N. Eldon Tanner, in CR, Oct. 1979, pp. 64-65. What are some of the major responsibilities of the Twelve in our time?

Additional Sources

  • History of the Church, 2:194-98. A charge given to the Twelve by Oliver Cowdery.

  • Spencer W. Kimball, “ The Uttermost Parts of the Earth,’ ” Ensign, July 1979, pp. 2-9. What great responsibility do the Twelve Apostles and the members of the Church in general have in this dispensation? How will it be accomplished?

  • Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Twelve Apostles,” address to seminary and institute faculty, Brigham Young University, 1958. History of the apostleship.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Responsibility of the Twelve (Discussion)

You may wish to point out that the responsibility of the Twelve is twofold: (1) they are to bear witness of Jesus Christ, and (2) they unlock the doors of all nations for the preaching of the gospel.

You could discuss these two responsibilities by doing the following:

  1. 1.

    Review lesson four in the student manual for Religion 333, Living Prophets for a Living Church. Discuss with the students what it means to be a “special witness.”

  2. 2.

    Discuss with students the responsibility that rests upon the Twelve to take the gospel to all nations. What nations have been opened for the preaching of the gospel? What nations haven’t? The current Church Almanac and a map showing the world would be helpful. By using an almanac to obtain a current list of the full-time missions and the map to identify countries and areas, you could show where we are and where we have yet to go.

There have been some changes in the needs of the Lord’s kingdom as the Church has grown. This has necessitated some changes in the stewardship of the Twelve since 1837. You may wish to discuss the role of the Twelve now as compared with their role at the time of Joseph Smith. (Use President Tanner’s talk listed under Basic Library as a resource.)

Charge to the Twelve Apostles (Student Assignment, Discussion)

The charge which Oliver Cowdery gave to the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of this, dispensation is one of the most beautiful and powerful literary pieces of the era of the Restoration. You may wish to read it or make copies of portions of it (see History of the Church, 2:194-98) and give it to students a few days before you teach this lesson. Ask them to read it and come to class prepared to discuss the responsibilities of the Twelve and the great qualities needed in one of the Lord’s Apostles.

Apostles of This Dispensation (Picture Identification)

Each student should know who the Lord’s Apostles are so that when listening to conference and reading they will be able to recognize when they are receiving the words of an Apostle. Obtain pictures of the Apostles from the picture packet for the course “Teachings of the Living Prophets” (update with pictures from the Ensign). Show the pictures and have students identify each of the Apostles. Teach students the order of seniority in the quorum. You may also wish to have students learn the names of the first Apostles of this dispensation. The names are listed with their testimony in the front of the Doctrine and Covenants. With a little effort you could also obtain pictures of most of these brethren for students to identify.

Fulfillment of Prophecy (Discussion)

The experience of the Apostles meeting at Far West, Missouri, to leave for their missions to England according to the Lord’s instructions provided one of the most profound examples of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. Study the events associated with that occurrence and relate them to the students. Point out how the Lord’s word through his prophet was fulfilled in spite of the efforts of enemies to stop it.

Note: Some excellent study references are Alvin R. Dyer, Refiner’s Fire, pp. 218-21; History of the Church, 3:336-40; S. Dilworth Young, “Here Is Brigham …” pp. 216-20; B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History, 1:531-32; Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp. 252-53.