Sunday School Lesson 27

Lesson 27: Doctrine and Covenants 101, 103, and 105

For more understanding of these sections, read about Zion’s Camp in a church history.

Section 101

Verse 2: What brought on the Missouri saint’s persecution? (Read some histories of the times to see what kinds of transgressions the saints may have been guilty of. Also see verse 6.)

Verse 3: What does “I will own them” mean? When is the day when the Lord will come to make up his jewels? What does that metaphor mean?

Verse 4: What does this verse tell us about verses 11 through 15 of section 98?

Verse 5: How does this verse help us understand D&C 98:11-15? How do those verses help us understand this?

Verses 7-8: What counsel had the Lord given them which they ignored? (How, for example, had he commanded them to obtain land in Missouri and how did they get along with their neighbors?)

Verses 24-34: Why was this description of the Millennium important to the Saints? (See verses 35 and 36.)

Verse 37: Is the word “soul” being used here as it is defined in D&C 88:15, as the spirit and body? Or, does it refer to only the spirit? What does this verse mean if we read “soul” to mean both spirit and body? to mean only spirit?

Verse 38: What does it mean to seek the face of the Lord? What is the point of that metaphor?

Verse 41-42: What was the essence of the transgression of the saints in Missouri? How do we exalt ourselves?

Verses 44-62: How does this parable describe what happened in Missouri as well as what will happen? Does it also describe anything else, something in our own lives perhaps?

Verses 68-75: What are the principles by which the saints were to obtain an inheritance in Missouri?

Verses 76-78: How were the saints who had been persecuted to seek redress? What might that say to us about our own difficulties? What does this say to some of those today who feel that the government or their community has been unfair to them? Why does the Lord want us to act in this way? (See the end of verse 78.)

Verses 81-91: How does this parable relate to the principles taught in D&C 98:23-31?

Verse 92: Why should we pray that our persecutors will listen to our pleas?

Section 103

Verses 1-2: To what is this revelation a response? What will it teach those to whom it is addressed? What is the significance of the phrase “in my own time”?

Verses 3-4: Why has the Lord allowed the persecutions?

Verses 8-10: Why might the Saints fail to prevail?

Verses 15-16: What does it mean to say the redemption of Zion must come by power? Apostates have often used verse 16, claiming it refers to them as one “like Moses.” What does D&C 107:91-92 teach about this verse?

Verses 17-18: How would you explain these two verses? To what does “at the first” refer? Of what significance is it (in this context) that the members of the church are of the seed of Abraham? How was the church in bondage? Are we in bondage today? What does “by power and a stretched-out arm” mean?

Verses 24-28: What do you think those hearing this revelation expected to happen when they got to Missouri?

Section 105

This revelation was given just as the crisis between the Saints and the people of Jackson County, Missouri, came to a head. A storm had turned the Jackson County militia from their attack on Zion’s Camp. Consider that context as you read the revelation, and ask if this is what you would expect the leader of a group of more than two hundred angry, armed men to say.

Verses 1-5: What does it mean to establish Zion? How does the establishment of Zion bring about the redemption of the Lord’s people? From what does it redeem them? When the Lord speaks of transgressions, what does he mean when he says he is speaking of “the church and not individualsâ€?? Has the church sinned in some way that the individuals in the church have not? What follows seems to speak of the transgressions of individuals. What sign of the evil of the saints does the Lord mention? What does that have to do with redemption? What kind of unity does the law of the celestial kingdom demand of us? Why can’t Zion be redeemed without that particular kind of unity? Do we have that unity today? If not, what would we have to do to get it? What are the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom? How do we learn those principles? Why is obedience so important to Zion? What does the Lord mean by “obedience?” What does he expect of an obedient person?

Verses 3-19: Many of those in Zion’s Camp left the church afterward, disappointed that Joseph’s prophecy hadn’t come to pass and convinced he was not a prophet. How do you square this revelation with the revelation which ordered them to go to Missouri and redeem the land for the Saints?

Verses 23-24: The Saints to whom these verses were addressed had been forced to leave Jackson County and many of their homes had been burned. What would this advice mean to them? What kinds of problems had the Saints had with their neighbors in Jackson County?

Verses 25-27: Of what is this a prophecy?

Verses 30, ff.: How did the Lord want the Saints to acquire the land of Jackson County? Has that changed?

Verses 31: What will be required before Zion can be redeemed? (See also verse 11.)

Verses 35-36: What’s the point of these verses?

Verses 38-39: What does “sue” mean in verse 38? What is an “ensign of peace”? How do we proclaim peace?

14 comments for “Sunday School Lesson 27

  1. Brother Faulconer, As a gospel doctrine teacher in a BYU singles ward–where encouraging class participation is like pulling teeth–thanks for taking the time to type up and post your textual study questions. Usually I read your questions after coming up with some of my own, and invariably our class discussions benefit from your (uncredited) insights.

    Out of curiosity, do you approach your sunday school lessons with a variation of the so-called socratic method using these questions? If not, how do they fit into your sunday school teaching?

  2. Br. Faulconer: My thanks also for your lesson questions. My lessons usually revolve around “thought” questions for discussion, and your notes are very valuable.

    You mentioned in your lesson 26 post that there are no scriptures for that lesson. The lesson manual specifies three passages:

    D&C 42:6
    D&C 88:81
    D&C 112:19–22

    As short as they are, any thoughts on these?

  3. Jason, I’m glad to hear that you find these useful. These fit into my Sunday School lessons in two ways, as preparation–to help me think about the lesson more carefully–and to provide some things that I will use. To teach the lesson, I usually organize the scriptures for the lesson into a series that I see making as a coherent whole. I read those with the class (usually asking class members to read the questions), then I use the questions to get discussion going. I rarely use more than a few of the questions from the study materials.

    Mike Parker, You are right that there were some scriptures specified in the lesson. I wasn’t accurate. What I probably should have said was that the lesson wasn’t about any particular passages, but here are some questions for those passages mentioned in the lesson materials:

    D&C 42:6: What does it mean to declare the word of God “like unto angels of God”? What is the point of comparing missionaries to angels?

    D&C 88:81: What is our testimony described here as a warning? What kinds of things does that tell us about missionary work?

    D&C 112:19-22: Why is the door that the Lord will open described as “an effectual door” (verse 19)? Why is it important that those who receive the Lord will also receive the First Presidency (verse 20)? Aren’t there those, like Billy Graham, who have received the Lord but not the First Presidency? What does verse 21 mean to us today? Verse 22 qualifies verse 21: those called and authorized will have power to open the door of the Lord’s kingdom to any nation if they humble themselves, abide in the God’s word, and obey the Spirit. How does one humble oneself before the Lord? Is that different than other kinds of humility? What does it mean to abide in the word?

  4. Here’s D & C 101:4:

    “Therefore, they must needs by chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.”

    I think this sentence suggests that Abraham was being chastened, but I cannot say that I have ever read anything by anyone suggesting that this was the case. If it is, what might he have been being chastened for?

    I suppose one could read ‘even as Abraham’ as applicable to just ‘tried’ and not ‘chastened and tried,’ but that seems a little forced to me.

    Anyone? Anyone?

  5. In addition to “discipline” or “correct,” the OED gives these meanings for “chasten”: “to purify, refine,” and “to restrain from excess, to moderate.” Both meanings were used well into the 19th century.

  6. Julie,

    I don’t have an 1831 Webster’s handy, but a quick web dictionary search indicates that an alternative definition for “chasten” is “refine” or “purify” or “subdue.” I read “chasten” in the referenced verse along those lines. I don’t know that it needs to be interpreted to mean that Abraham was being punished for something.

  7. Webster’s 1828 gives only three meanings: “corrected; punished; afflicted for correction.” But I think the OED definitions demonstrate that the “refine,” “purify,” “subdue” meanings were available at the time.

  8. I have had a really difficult time accepting the idea of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son and have lately focused on the staying hand of the angel, the ram in the thicket, and the message that God does NOT delight in or require human sacrifice of his children as the “religion” of Abraham’s father did. Coming from my own dysfunctional family (as all humans do, but with varying degrees of dysfunction) and sometimes wrongly assuming that a warped tradition of my parents is God’s will or way (until l I have an experience with God that teaches me otherwise) I have of late wondered if this could have been what happened with Abraham. That coming from an abusive culture in which children are ritually sacrificed, and from a father who intended to sacrifice him, that Abraham may have (erroneously) believed that offering his own son of promise in this fashion would be the highest demonstration of faith he could offer to God. I had never noticed the “chastened and tried” thing before, but the chastening part could fit with this reading (if Abraham had misunderstood that God was “such an one as himself”).

  9. Jim and Greg–

    Point taken, but do you read ‘chasten’ that way through the whole passage? Because it doesn’t seem to fit with the idea that it was their sins that actually drove them out of MO. Or am I missing something?

    Interesting thoughts, Lisa, and I appreciate them even though I think you have to read Genesis as showing Abraham’s unwillingness to do this (although maybe I should read it again). I know many, many people are uncomfortable with this story.

  10. There’s that little story in Mosiah 23 about Alma (the elder) and his people–all of whom were converted by his preaching–being brought into bondage for a short time and then miraculously delivered. Interestingly, verse 21 sets up the account of the story by saying:

    “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, He trieth their patience and their faith.”

  11. Julie (#10), the only other place where I see the word is in verse 41. In that verse it seems to me to have the expected meaning–because of the direct connection to “transgressors,” but rhetorically the use of the same word ties together verses 4 and 41, perhaps to show us that the chastening of the transgressors is not to punish them, but to purify them.

    Lisa Bushman (#9): I think you are absolutely right that we don’t understand the sacrifice at Moriah if we don’t see that it culminates in the ram in the thicket. Nevertheless, I don’t think that verse 4 is offering us much interpretive leverage for Genesis 22.

    Also, given that Abraham had been offered on an altar by his father and rescued by an angel, why would he have assumed that the sacrificial tradition of his father was correct?

  12. Jim F.–

    Although the word chastened doesn’t appear before v4, I think the ‘therefore’ that introduces v4 suggests that the chastening is linked to transgressions (verse 2) (although I suppose the therefore in v4 could relate only to v3). Regardless of the precise meaning of ‘chasten’, I am still thinking that this passage wants us to see a link between the Saints’ experience and Abraham’s, and I am wondering what that link is since the idea of the Saints’ transgressions is so very prominent in this passage. It almost seems to undermine the power of the passage to say, “The Saints are being chastened because of their transgressions; Abraham was also chastened, but not because of any particular transgression.”

  13. Julie & Jim: I realize that my belief about what may have actually happened with Abraham is at odds with how the story has come down to us scripturally and how it has traditionally been understood. I’m just trying to understand the story in terms that harmonize with my experience with and understanding of God (limited as it is) without completely jeopardizing my faith in scripture as a potentially beneficial tool in spite of its limitations.

    Jim, look at Abraham 1:15-19. God explained that Abraham needed to leave the idolatrous tradition of his father because his father was worshipping false Gods. It is NOT here made clear that the particular form of worship was wrong, just that his father was worshipping the wrong gods. My speculation is that further clarification of how Jehovah works differently than these other gods (that rather than requiring human bloodshed and sacrifice, he STOPS the necessity for bloodshed and sacrifice by offering HIMSELF) was given at Moriah.

Comments are closed.