Sunday School Lesson 10

Lesson 10: D&C 25

Verse 1: Christ is speaking here, rather than the Father. Why is it important for us to become his son or daughter rather than to be his brother or sister? He tells us that we become sons and daughters by receiving his gospel. How do we that? (Compare Mosiah 5:7.)

Verse 2: What were Emma Smith’s circumstances at this time and later? What meaning might the promise that her life would be preserved have had for her when she received this revelation? What meaning might it have had later in her life? When we speak of someone being faithful in a non-gospel context, what do we mean? Do we mean the same thing when we are speaking of faithfulness to God? Does “faithful” in this context mean the same as “endure to the end”? How so or why not? What does the word “Zion” mean as it is used here? What does it mean to have an inheritance in Zion?

Verse 3: What does it mean to be elect? What does a dictionary say about the meaning? How is that relevant to understanding this verse?

Verse 4: Why might Emma have murmured? What things had Emma not seen?

Verses 5-11: What specific things is Emma told to do? Make a list. What might those tell us about the roles of other women? Where they seem the same as our cultural expectations, how do we understand that sameness? Are there any differences from those expectations? What do we make of those differences?

Verse 5: What would it have meant for Emma to be a comfort to her husband? You may wish to look up “comfort” in a dictionary. What did it mean in the early nineteenth century? When the Lord tells Emma that she should console him “in the spirit of meekness” what is he telling her? Looking at how the scriptures use the word “meekness” should help answer that question.

Verse 6: Why was Emma commanded to travel with Joseph? She had already served as a scribe for Joseph sometimes. What is the point of this commandment to do so?

Verse 7: What did “ordained” mean at the time of this revelation? You may find interesting what President John Taylor said about Emma’s ordination and the ordination of the other members of the Relief Society presidency: see Journal of Discourses 21:367-368.

Verse 8: What do you make of this promise that Emma would receive the Holy Ghost? She had already been baptized. What does this verse suggest about her confirmation? Why do you think she was told that her time would be “given to writing, and to learning much”?

Verse 9: What fears might the Lord be calming here? What particular fears might Emma have had? How is this an answer to those fears?

Verse 10: The commandment of this verse is a common thread in the revelations that we have in the Doctrine and Covenants. Why do you think the Lord felt it necessary to repeat that commandment, in some form, so often? What circumstances in the early Church warranted that repetition?

Verse 11: The word “hymn” originally meant “a song of praise to God.” Some of our hymns today may not fit that description exactly, but most can be construed as praising God. Why is praise of him so important to our spiritual life? What does this suggest about refraining from singing in church?

Verse 12: What is “the song of the heart”? Is it the same as or different from “hymn”? In what sense is a song of the heart a prayer? Why would a prayer that is always the same, as is a hymn, be important to the Lord? How might it be important to us? What blessing or blessings do we receive from singing hymns?

Verse 13: The Lord seems to be saying “For these reasons, lift up your heart and rejoice.” What reasons has he given her for doing so in this revelation? What does it mean to cleave to a covenant?

Verse 14: How does the reference to meekness help us understand what the Lord said in verse five? The Old Testament term most often translated as “glory” originally referred to weightiness or importance. Because those who were important dressed in splendour, it came also to refer to shining, as in Exodus 24:17. D&C 133:49 speaks of glory in similar terms. But D&C 132:19 speaks of glory as “a fulness and continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” In a gospel context, what is glory? Is there more than one meaning or are these meanings closely related? Do the meanings of the word “glory” help us understand anything about the promises that God makes to the faithful? Is the commandment to delight in the glory of another person, particularly in a spouse, something that applies only to Emma or only to women? What do the scriptures say about seeking glory for ourselves? (See John 8:50.) In practical terms, what does it mean to delight in the glory of one’s spouse?

Verse 15: How do we keep the commandments continually? What does “crown” mean here? What is the Lord promising Emma?

Verse 16: Does this mean that the revelation we have here is a revelation not only for Emma, but also for every other member of the Church? If so, how might that change our understanding of its parts?

8 comments for “Sunday School Lesson 10

  1. With respect to verse 1 and becoming Sons and Daughters of God by receiving the gospel, note also D&C 39: 1-6, 34:1-3, 35:2, 45:8, and D&C 76:23-24, 58-59. These are a few I remember off-hand, but the idea is rather prominent here in the Doctrine and Covenants (and, of course, elsewhere).

  2. By the way, I also meant to say with the references I sent that in instances like these, without putting everything into a tighly designed system, the scriptures are often the best commentary on each other–noting the differences, similarities, amplifications, nuances, etc. This may also offer a way when a lesson is laid out topically to truly enrich it by bringing lots of other scriptures to bear on the scripture or two given by the manual to exemplify a particular doctrine. Done right, it can often enlighten and open up possibilities without, as you say, simply assuming we know everything already.

  3. Keith, good cross references as well as a good recommendation about how to teach these lessons. Thanks very much.

  4. Jim F,

    Just wanted to thank you for this series. I had to teach Lesson 8 (Restoration of the Priesthood) yesterday, and I used some of your questions and ideas. In particular, I was intrigued by your question about D/C 84:20 saying “the power of godliness” instead of “the power of God.” We discussed that for a while in class, and I think had some interesting answers. Anyway, several people came up afterward and thanked for my lessson. I just thought you should know.

    PS – I also told them that I had taken some ideas from you and mentioned that your thoughts could be found on line. Maybe I should have mentioned T&S by name, though…

  5. John David Payne: I’m glad to hear that these have been helpful. I’m especially glad that members of your class enjoyed your lesson. I don’t know whether T&S needs the plug or not. I suspect that if people are interested, they can find us. And I am uncomfortable advertising in church, even if we aren’t selling anything.

  6. Jim,

    You’re correct, I am interested in what President John Taylor said about Emma’s ordination in the Journal of Discourses. Could I convince you to share, as I don’t have access to the cited material?

  7. My understanding of the historical context of this section: Emma’s baptism was less than ideal. In an attempt to disrupt the ordinance, people had thrown things in the water (including feces, cows, sheep). Emma was convinced that membership in the church was going to be a dangerous thing, so much so that she feared for her life, and this was part of the reason she was hesitant to undertake the next step of confirmation. (Note here that the occasion on which the sacrament was to be taken in Sec. 27 was Emma’s confirmation).

  8. MDS, I apologize for not posting this sooner. I just noticed your request this evening.

    Journal of Discourses, 21:368:

    We have here our Relief Societies, and they have done a good work. And people are desirous to know something of these organizations. I was in Nauvoo at the time the Relief Society was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and I was present on the occasion. At a late meeting of the Society held in Salt Lake City I was present, and I read from a record called the Book of the Law of the Lord, the minutes of that meeting. At that meeting the Prophet called Sister Emma to be an elect lady. That means that she was called to a certain work; and that was in fulfillment of a certain revelation concerning her. She was elected to preside over the Relief Society, and she was ordained to expound the Scriptures. In compliance with Brother Joseph’s request I set her apart, and also ordained Sister Whitney, wife of Bishop Newel K. Whitney, and Sister Cleveland, wife of Judge Cleveland, to be her counselors. Some of the sisters have thought that these sisters mentioned were, in this ordination, ordained to the priesthood. And for the information of all interested in this subject I will say, it is not the calling of these sisters to hold the Priesthood, only in connection with their husbands, they being one with their husbands. Sister Emma was elected to expound the Scriptures, and to preside over the Relief Society; then Sisters Whitney and Cleveland were ordained to the same office, and I think Sister Eliza R. Snow to be secretary.

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