Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

“This Is My Work and My Glory”

 




Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog


Many of us have had wonderful experiences reading the books of Moses and Abraham, particularly Moses 1 and Abraham 3.  Both chapters open up doors giving information and clarity to age-old questions that plague the minds of man.  As we read and study these books this week, let us keep our minds and hearts open that we may recieve inspiration, thoughts and ideas that will help us in our daily lives, with the questions we ponder, and the ability to help teach others, that they too may have wonderful experiences. 

History and Background


The Pearl of Great Price

The books of Moses and Abraham come from a compilation of scripture known as the "Pearl of Great Price."  This compilation consists of revelations and texts received and named by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He said it would be “a source of much instruction and edification to many thousands of the Saints, who will by an acquaintance with its precious contents, be more abundantly qualified to set forth and defend the principles of our Holy Faith before all men” (“The Pearl of Great Price,” Millennial Star, July 15, 1851, 217).  

On October 10, 1880, the Pearl of Great Price became a standard work of the Church. Several revisions have been made in the contents as the needs of the Church have required. In 1878 portions of the Book of Moses not contained in the first edition were added. In 1902 certain parts of the Pearl of Great Price that duplicated material also published in the Doctrine and Covenants were omitted. … [In 1976] two items of revelation were added. In 1979 these two items were removed from the Pearl of Great Price and placed in the Doctrine and Covenants, where they now appear as sections 137 and 138” (introduction to the Pearl of Great Price). Its present contents include selections from the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham (with three facsimiles), Joseph Smith—Matthew, Joseph Smith—History, and the Articles of Faith.

The Book of Moses

The book of Moses is the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 6:13  It concerns the identity and purpose of being a child of God as well as crucial doctrines of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  As a bonus included in this book are events and principles from the ministries of Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Moses himself.  

The book of Moses contains “the words of God, which he spake unto Moses” Moses 1:1 and commanded Moses to record Moses 1:40; 2:1. However, “because of wickedness” many of the words and plain and precious truths he recorded were obscured or lost and are thus not preserved in the book of Genesis as it has come to us (Moses 1:41; 1 Nephi 13:26–28). Consequently, the Lord promised to raise up another prophet in the latter days to restore Moses’s words so they would be “had again among the children of men” (Moses 1:41; see also 2 Nephi 3:5–11; Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:26–33 [in the Bible appendix]). In fulfillment of that promise, the Lord revealed the writings of Moses to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  We do not know exactly when Moses received the revelations recorded in the book of Moses or where he was when he recorded them. However, we know that the experiences recorded in Moses 1 occurred after Moses encountered the burning bush, but before he returned to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from bondage and the writings contained in the book of Moses were revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith as he was working on his inspired translation, or revision, of the King James Version of the Bible between June 1830 and February 1831.

Moses 1 is particularly distinctive because it has no counterpart in the Bible and because it serves as a preface to the Creation and all of Moses’s writings (the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old Testament). In this book, Moses sees the Lord and learns he is a son of God. The Lord shows Moses a vision of the earth and its inhabitants. After this vision, Satan appears to Moses, but Moses commands him to depart in the name of the Only Begotten. The Lord again appears to Moses and reveals the purpose of His creations.

The Book of Abraham

The book of Abraham came forth at a time when the study of the ancient Egyptian language and culture was just beginning. It reveals truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ that were previously unknown to Church members of Joseph Smith’s day. It also casts a bright light upon difficult passages found in other scriptural texts.  In particular, chapter 3 of the book of Abraham, teaches us that the Lord showed Abraham His creations and taught him about the premortal existence, something of which we all long to know more about.  

Where did the information come from?  
In 1966 eleven fragments of papyri once possessed by the Prophet Joseph Smith were discovered in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. They were given to the Church and have been analyzed by scholars who date them between about 100 B.C.and A.D. 100. A common objection to the authenticity of the book of Abraham is that the manuscripts are not old enough to have been written by Abraham, who lived almost two thousand years before Christ. Joseph Smith never claimed that the papyri were autographic (written by Abraham himself), nor that they dated from the time of Abraham. It is common to refer to an author’s works as “his” writings, whether he penned them himself, dictated them to others, or others copied his writings later (Pearl of Great Price Student Manual)

The book of Abraham was originally published a few excerpts at a time in Times and Seasons, a Church publication, beginning in March 1842 at Nauvoo, Illinois (Introductory Note at the beginning of the Pearl of Great Price). The Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that he would publish more of the book of Abraham later, but he was martyred before he was able to do so. Concerning the potential length of the completed translation, Oliver Cowdery once said that “volumes” would be necessary to contain it (Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, 236).  After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the four mummies and the papyri became the property of Joseph’s widowed mother, Lucy Mack Smith. At Lucy’s death in 1856, Emma Smith, the Prophet’s wife, sold the collection to Mr. A. Combs. Several theories have been offered regarding what happened subsequently to the mummies and the papyri. It appears that at least two of the mummies were burned in the great Chicago fire of 1871 (B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, 3 vols. [1909–11], 2:380–382). In the early spring of 1966, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya, a University of Utah professor, discovered several fragments of the book of Abraham papyri while doing research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. These fragments were presented to the Church by the director of the museum on 27 November 1967. The current whereabouts of the other mummies and the other portions of the papyri are unknown (H. Donl Peterson, “Some Joseph Smith Papyri Rediscovered (1967)” in Studies in Scripture, Volume Two, 183–85).

The Doctrine


Part I:  As children of God, we have a divine destiny. Moses 1:1–10, 37–39; Abraham 3:22–26

If you are like me, then you look constantly for help in making the right choices, and strength for facing adversity and life's challenges.  The truths revealed in Moses’s and Abraham’s visions can have a powerful influence on our choices and on our ability to overcome life’s challenges.  How can we find these truths?  The following verses may give us guidance and help.  


1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

Moses was an Israelite (a member of God’s covenant people) by birth but he was adopted by a royal Egyptian family. Eventually, he had to flee from Egypt and leave those who raised him. He was known to be slow of speech, or what we would consider a speech impediment.  

Considering this background, how might Moses have described himself up to this point in his life?   

How might our thoughts about ourselves influence our behavior?
.  
What did Moses learn in Moses 1:1–6. that could help his perception of himself and strengthen him?  1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

What did Moses learn about himself that can help us understand who we are?  We are children of Heavenly Father.

How do you think knowing that he was a son of God might have affected Moses?

What does it mean to you to know that you are a child of Heavenly Father?

What experiences have helped you to know that you are a child of Heavenly Father?

“You are something divine—more beautiful and glorious than you can possibly imagine. This knowledge changes everything. It changes your present. It can change your future. And it can change the world. …

“Because of the revealed word of a merciful God, … you have felt the eternal glory of that divine spirit within you. You are no ordinary beings, my beloved young friends all around the world. You are glorious and eternal. …

“It is my prayer and blessing that when you look at your reflection, you will be able to see beyond imperfections and self-doubts and recognize who you truly are: glorious sons and daughters of the Almighty God”
(“The Reflection in the Water” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Nov. 1, 2009]; LDS.org).

Knowing these things about Moses and yourself as a child of God, how would you answer the following question? 

“Why am I here?” and “Who does God want me to become?” Moses 1; 37–39

37 And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

We are each the children of God created in his express image.  We came to this earth to dwell in mortality and prove ourselves worthy through keeping the commandments to return to the presence of God with the potential to become Gods ourselves. 

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught about the importance of what Moses discovered about mankind: “This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing, yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it” (“You Matter to Him,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 20).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated:

“In the expansiveness of space, there is stunning personalness, for God knows and loves each of us! (see 1 Nephi 11:17). We are not ciphers in unexplained space!

“… Mankind is at the very center of God’s work. … His work includes our immortalization—accomplished by Christ’s glorious Atonement! Think of it, brothers and sisters, even with their extensive longevity, stars are not immortal, but you are. …

“We know the Creator of the universe is also the Author of the plan of happiness. We can trust Him. …

“… As some experience daily life situations in which they are or feel unloved and unappreciated, they can nevertheless know that God loves them! His creations so witness”
(“Our Creator’s Cosmos” [Church Educational System conference, Aug. 13, 2002], 4, 6, 7; si.lds.org).

How can this knowledge affect the way you view yourself? How can it affect the way you view others?

How might remembering that we are Heavenly Father’s children help us to make better choices each day?


Part II: We can resist Satan’s influence. Moses 1:12–23

After his confrontation with Satan, Moses was filled with the Holy Ghost and heard the voice of the Lord. He learned that he was chosen to deliver Israel from bondage. He also beheld the earth and its inhabitants and learned the purpose of God’s many creations. Moses was then instructed to write God’s words concerning the Creation of the earth.  This confrontation with Satan holds lessons that can help us as we face temptations, adversity, and deception from the adversary. 

12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.

16 Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

17 And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.

18 And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.

19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

21 And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.

22 And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.

23 And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.

What did Satan call Moses? Moses 1:12

Why do you think Satan wanted Moses to think about his earthly parentage rather than his heavenly parentage?  Satan did not want Moses to think of himself as a son of God and does not want us to believe that we are children of God.

In what ways do Satan and others try to tempt us to think of ourselves as something other than sons or daughters of God?

What was Moses' response to Satan's attempt to deceive him?   Moses 1:13–15

How did Moses use his previous spiritual experience with God to detect Satan’s deception?

What does Moses’s response teach us about what we can do when Satan tries to deceive us? We can resist Satan’s deceptions as we remember our previous spiritual experiences and have faith in them.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught this about Moses’s experience in Moses 1: “Moses’ message to you today is: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous, illuminating moment, the opening of an inspired path, is the end of it. … Once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence’ [Hebrews 10:35]. Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you” (“Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 7, 9).

One lesson from Moses’s experience is that Satan tempts us with counterfeits of God’s truth and power. What are some of the counterfeits Satan uses today to tempt us? Moses 1:13–18.

How can we recognize and reject them?  Moses 1:24–26  When we have the Spirit with us, we are better able to discern between good and evil, when we are faithful and call upon God, we will receive strength to overcome Satan’s influence.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. … When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. … The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 93–94).

**Point to Ponder:  What can we learn from the fact that Satan appeared to Moses just a short while after Moses had spoken with God face to face? After we have a spiritual experience, Satan may seek to tempt us or discredit our experience.


Part III: This life is our opportunity to show that we will do what God commands. Abraham 3:22–28

Heavenly Father chose His noble and great children before they were born to become leaders in His kingdom on the earth. Each of us too was chosen, or foreordained, to fulfill certain responsibilities on the earth. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 511).

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.

28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

How can we better see and understand that our lives are an opportunity to prove our faithfulness to God? The following statement from True to the Faith, which explains foreordination may help us: 

“In the premortal spirit world, God appointed certain spirits to fulfill specific missions during their mortal lives. This is called foreordination. …

“The doctrine of foreordination applies to all members of the Church, not just to the Savior and His prophets. … Although you do not remember that time, you surely agreed to fulfill significant tasks in the service of your Father”
(True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 69, 70).

What experiences have you had when you had to demonstrate proficiency in a skill? 

How are these experiences similar to what is described in Abraham 3:24–26? 

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

How are they different? 

Elder Rex C. Reeve Sr. (1914–2005) of the Seventy said: “This life is a time of testing. It is not the reward time. That will come later. We are here being tested. The test is going on now!” (“Look to God,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 26).  The experiences we have had to demonstrate our proficiency in a skill are like that of our proficiency to live the gospel.  We learn from Abraham 3:26 that we must now keep our “second estate” if we want to live with God again. We keep our second estate by accepting and living the gospel of Jesus Christ and obeying the commandments. If we do all that Heavenly Father commands us to do, then we “shall have glory added upon [our] heads forever and ever.”


How do we include Heavenly Father and the Savior in our efforts to “prove” ourselves? Abraham 3:25 

The “first estate” refers to the period of time before we were born on this earth, also known as the premortal life. To “keep” this first estate, a spirit child of God in pre-earth life had to use his or her agency to choose to follow the plan of salvation offered by Heavenly Father. A third part of the spirit children of Heavenly Father followed Lucifer (the devil) and rebelled against God and the plan of salvation, thereby failing to keep their first estate. They were, therefore, cast out of heaven, with no more opportunity to progress.

The “second estate” refers to mankind’s mortal existence on this earth. This estate is a probationary period in which individuals “prepare to meet God” (Alma 12:24). All who accept and obey the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ will receive eternal life, the greatest gift of God, and will have “glory added upon their heads forever and ever” (Abraham 3:26). Those who do not have the opportunity to accept and live the gospel in mortality are given that opportunity in the spirit world after they die.

Additional insight on the first and second estates is offered by Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Premortality is not a relaxing doctrine. For each of us, there are choices to be made, incessant and difficult chores to be done, ironies and adversities to be experienced, time to be well spent, talents and gifts to be well employed. Just because we were chosen ‘there and then,’ surely does not mean we can be indifferent ‘here and now.’ …

“In fact, adequacy in the first estate may merely have ensured a stern, second estate with more duties and no immunities! Additional tutoring and suffering appears to be the pattern for the Lord’s most apt pupils. (See Mosiah 3:19; 1 Peter 4:19.) Our existence, therefore, is a continuum matched by God’s stretching curriculum. …“Agreeing to enter this second estate, therefore, was like agreeing in advance to anesthetic—the anesthetic of forgetfulness. Doctors do not deanesthetize a patient, in the midst of what was previously authorized, to ask him, again, if it should be continued. We agreed to come here and to undergo certain experiences under certain conditions”
(“Premortality, a Glorious Reality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 17).

How does knowing that we are here to prove ourselves obedient affect the way we respond to life’s challenges?


Conclusion


We learned in this lesson that Jesus Christ is the greatest and most intelligent of all Heavenly Father’s children, Heavenly Father chose His noble and great children before they were born to become leaders in His kingdom on the earth, and the test of life is to determine if we will do whatever God commands us.  Additionally, we learned that we are sons and daughters of God with divine purpose, but can be thwarted by Satan.  Elder Dallin H Oaks gives us a concluding thought to help us meet the challenges of our existence and remember that we are in fact divine and can fight off Satan with the help of the Lord:  



“Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation. …

“We have our agency, and we can choose any characteristic to define us. But we need to know that when we choose to define ourselves or to present ourselves by some characteristic that is temporary or trivial in eternal terms, we de-emphasize what is most important about us and we overemphasize what is relatively unimportant. This can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our eternal progress” (“How to Define Yourself,” New Era, June 2013, 48).


Resources

Pear of Great Price Student Manual
Old Testament Seminary Manual
Old Testament Student Manual
The Pearl of Great Price Made Easier David J Ridges
Ensign 
Conference Reports


Sunday, August 1, 2021

“The Power of Godliness”

 





Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog


The doctrine of our religion teaches us that we need to be prepared in order to enter God's presence and receive all that he has. How do we do that?  We must utilize the priesthood.  The priesthood is the key to becoming prepared and receive all that He has. The Lord taught of the importance of hearkening to His words and at the time of receiving the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 84, He reproved the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, for treating the Book of Mormon and His commandments lightly. Do we treat the book of Mormon lightly, do we treat the commandments of God lightly?

As we study this week in section 84, let's ponder on a couple of things. First let's take section 84: 1-42 and focus on the Lord’s instructions about the priesthood and how the priesthood can prepare us to receive all that Heavenly Father has. Next, let's take 84: 43-120 and learn more about the importance of giving heed to the word of God and decide if we are taking the Book of Mormon and commandments lightly, if so, how can we improve?  

History and Background

In September 1832, missionaries returned to Kirtland, Ohio, after preaching the gospel in the eastern United States. During their joyful reunion, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 84. He received the revelation over the course of two days: September 22 and 23. (There is some historical evidence that verses 1–41 were received on September 22 and that verses 42–120 were received on September 23.)

Timeline:

Late June 1832

Joseph Smith returned to Kirtland, Ohio, from Independence, Missouri.

September 12, 1832

Joseph and Emma Smith moved from Hiram to Kirtland, Ohio, to live in the Newel K. Whitney store.

September 22–23, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 84 was received.

Early October 1832

Joseph Smith and Newel K. Whitney traveled to Boston, Massachusetts; Albany, New York; and New York City to preach the gospel and purchase merchandise for the Kirtland store.

Part One: Doctrine and Covenants 84:1–5, 17–28, 31–42 We all have access to God’s priesthood power and blessings.

The Lord begins this “revelation on priesthood” by teaching that a temple will be built in Zion verses 1–5


1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.

2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.

3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.

5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.

These verses repeat the prophecy that the city of New Jerusalem and a temple will be built in Jackson County, Missouri. Later, however, in 1841 the Lord told the Saints that they were not required at that time to build the city or the temple in Missouri because of severe persecution from the enemies of the Church.  The phrase “this generation” in Doctrine and Covenants 84:5 refers to the prophecy concerning the building of New Jerusalem and the temple—that it will still occur and will be fulfilled at some time in the future.  With this knowledge and knowing that you are this generation, How can we understand the relationship between the sacred purposes of temples and the priesthood?

Points to Ponder
Before continuing our study of this section, it will be helpful to review some key terms related to the principles the Lord taught in this revelation. In the following chart, carefully read the doctrinal definitions on the right. Match each one with the appropriate term on the left.

Term

Definition

____ 1. Covenant

____ 2. Saving ordinance

____ 3. Melchizedek Priesthood

____ 4. Aaronic Priesthood

  1. The higher or greater priesthood, which administers in spiritual things

  2. The preparatory priesthood, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and of the gospel of repentance and baptism

  3. A sacred agreement between God and man

  4. A sacred act essential to exaltation and accompanied by covenants

Now read the following list of priesthood ordinances and blessings, and put a checkmark in the column next to those that would be considered saving ordinances:

Baptism

Confirmation

The naming and blessing of children

Conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men)

Administering to the sick

The temple endowment

The marriage sealing

Each of the items in the list, except for the naming and blessing of children and administering to the sick, is a saving ordinance. The priesthood ordinances of naming and blessing children and administering to the sick bless the lives of those who receive them, but they are not essential for salvation.
 How do temples and temple ordinances help fulfill these purposes?

To understand the power the priesthood can have in our lives, let's move to Doctrine and Covenants 84:17–28 and consider how things could be different without the priesthood of God. 
17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years.

18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.

19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.

What did the Lord reveal about the priesthood in verse 17?

What does it mean that “this greater priesthood,” or the Melchizedek Priesthood, holds “the key to the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” verse 19Remember, “mysteries” are “spiritual truths known only by revelation” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Mysteries of God,” scriptures.lds.org].

Joseph Smith taught that the Melchizedek Priesthood “is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 108).
What doctrine can we identify from verse 20 about the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood?  The power of godliness is manifest in the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

 The power of godliness is the power of righteousness, by which we come to know God and become like Him (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah [1978], 589).

According to verses 21–22, what happens when the ordinances and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood are not present?

What ordinances are performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

“Our covenant commitment to Him permits our Heavenly Father to let His divine influence, ‘the power of godliness’ (D&C 84:20), flow into our lives. He can do that because by our participation in priesthood ordinances we exercise our agency and elect to receive it. …“In all the ordinances, especially those of the temple, we are endowed with power from on high. This ‘power of godliness’ comes in the person and by the influence of the Holy Ghost” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 22).

“Covenants received and honored with integrity and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority are necessary to receive all of the blessings made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For in the ordinances of the priesthood, the power of godliness is manifest unto men and women in the flesh, including the blessings of the Atonement (see D&C 84:20–21)” (David A. Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 88).

According to Elder Christofferson, what is the power of godliness?


What can we do to have the power of godliness in our lives?


According to Elder Bednar, what blessings come into our lives when we receive the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood and honor our covenants?


The oath and covenant of the priesthood Doctrine and Covenants 84:31–42, has special application for those who are ordained to a priesthood office. But many of the promised blessings in these verses are available to all.

31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed—

32 And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.

33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.

35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;

36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.

41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.

42 And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.

What are some ways we can “receive” the priesthood, the Lord’s servants, and the Lord?  verses 33–42

What do we need to do to receive the blessings of the priesthood?  

What could be included in “all that [the] Father hath” such as His attributes and the kind of life that He enjoys?



President M. Russell Ballard taught: “All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, to commune with God, to receive the fulness of the gospel, and, ultimately, to become heirs alongside Jesus Christ of all our Father has”
(“Men and Women and Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Sept. 2014, 32).

The first Relief Society presidency of the Salt Lake Stake wrote in 1878: “We feel truly thankful that through the blessing of our Heavenly Father, we, His handmaidens are called to be co-laborers with our brethren in building up the kingdom of God upon the earth, in assisting to build Temples, wherein we can receive blessings for time and eternity. In all the ordinances received in the House of the Lord, woman stands beside the man, both for the living and the dead, showing that the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord” (Mary Isabella Horne, Elmina S. Taylor, and Serepta M. Heywood,
To the Presidents and Members of the Relief Society of Salt Lake Stake of Zion, Greeting!” Woman’s Exponent, Jan. 15, 1878, 123).

How would you summarize these covenants and promises as a principle?  If those who faithfully obtain the priesthood will magnify their callings, receive the Lord and His servants, and give heed to the words of eternal life, then God will sanctify them and give them all that He has.

Ponder how the power of godliness has been manifested in your lives as you have received the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood and kept your covenants. Think about how your life would be different without the priesthood of God.
Why are you grateful for the priesthood?  

Part Two Doctrine and Covenants 84:61–88 The Lord will sustain those who serve Him.

While these verses are directed to those who “shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom” many of the principles they contain can apply to anyone who is serving God.

61 For I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you.

62 Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.

63 And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends;

64 Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.

65 And these signs shall follow them that believe—

66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;

67 In my name they shall cast out devils;

68 In my name they shall heal the sick;

69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;

70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;

71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;

72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

73 But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.

74 Verily, verily, I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father’s kingdom where my Father and I am.

75 And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.

76 But, verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given—from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works; for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief, and your brethren in Zion for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you.

77 And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;

78 For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.

79 Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.

80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.

81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.

82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.

83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.

84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.

85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

86 Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.

87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.

88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
 

The Lord commanded the Saints to proclaim the gospel to the whole world. The Lord promised that if the Saints would “treasure up in [their] minds continually the words of [God],” He would inspire them to know what to say when sharing the gospel (D&C 84:85). The Lord commanded those who are strong in the Spirit to edify and strengthen those who are weak and explained that as the Saints labor in their different callings, they can strengthen the Church and edify one another. Consider the billions of people who live on the earth. Each person needs to have the opportunity to learn the gospel. However, it is not possible for the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who have the charge to declare the gospel to all nations, to teach everyone. Because Church leaders cannot go everywhere to preach the gospel, they are to send others to help them. This section of scripture can help us understand that all Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to take the gospel to the whole world. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“The scriptures are abundantly clear in stating that all members of the Church are responsible to do missionary work: ‘It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.’ (D&C 88:81.)

“The prophets of this dispensation also have clearly taught the concept that missionary service is the responsibility of all members. President David O. McKay taught the principle with the challenging words, ‘Every member a missionary!’
(Conference Report, April 1959, p. 122.)” (“It Becometh Every Man,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 3).

Why it is important for the gospel to be preached to the entire world?

How would you summarize the importance of teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Doctrine and Covenants 84:64–75

What would we share from these verses to inspire current full-time missionaries or those who are preparing to serve?

Conclusion

Consider the truths you have learned in Doctrine and Covenants 84. How can these truths help you to become more like your Heavenly Father so that you can return to dwell in His presence?  Ponder how you or your family members have been edified and strengthened by those who have faithfully served in their Church callings and responsibilities. What can you do to bless the lives of others and strengthen your ward or branch through your callings and service?

In what ways has the priesthood brought blessings into your life? As you study Doctrine and Covenants 84, look for truths that help you better understand the importance of the priesthood.  Ponder what it means to receive all that Heavenly Father has. What can you do to be more faithful and true to the promises you have made to God through the ordinances of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood you have received?


The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...