Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

D&C Lesson 2

Posted by cherylem on January 7, 2009

I’m adding this paragraph at the beginning in hopes others might have done better than me searching for further internet resources for study of the D&C. I can find practically nothing. I am on Gospelink and they have some references that are only available there, from these sources: Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1, The Doctrine and Covenants; Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel Scholars Series (which has a chapter on “What the Doctrine and Covenants Teaches about Jesus Christ”); “The Atoning Mission of Jesus Christ” in God, Man, and the Universe by Hyrum L. Andrus; “God Will Forgive” in the Miracle of Forgiveness; “The Day of Judgment as Taught in the Doctrine and Covenants (Terry Ball) in Doctrine and Covenants, A book of Answers: The 25th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium; and “The Savior: An Example for Everyone” (Karen Lynn Davidson) in Woman to Woman: Selected Talks from the BYU Women’s Conferences. I list these without personal recommendation — they are simply what I found.

I also recommend the work that has been begun on the D&C on the Feast WIKI. And Joe Spencer’s post on Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 1 is very very helpful: https://feastuponthewordblog.org/2008/12/19/doctrine-and-covenants-lesson-1-introduction-to-the-doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-sunday-school/

Does anyone else have helpful links? 

And, to partly answer my own question, gospeldoctrine.net (linked here on FEAST to the left) provides some good stuff. 

Again, GD teachers out there, how are you going to teach this class?

And now, back to my original post:

I’m going to start a post on Lesson 2. These D&C lessons are so different in structure, etc., that I thought it would be interesting to find out how others are planning on teaching them, in advance. So, I’ll post what I’m doing and add more later as my preparation continues, and ask that any of you who are teaching also comment on how you are approaching this lesson. I’m assuming that someone else from Feast will be writing a post for this lesson also, but if no one beats me to it I’ll post, in the next day or so, some links to other documents and materials that might be helpful when teaching this lesson.

I’m going to focus on D&C 19, which is referenced briefly in the lesson materials. I’m posting Mack Stirling’s lesson notes for this section, and will try to add some of my own thoughts in the next day or so. This is a magnificent and astounding section, and certainly (to my mind) meets the goal of the official lesson, which is “To help class members feel the powerful witness of the Savior that comes through the Doctrine and Covenants and to help them strengthen their testimonies of the Savior’s Atonement.”


Section 19


v. 1

Notice the five titles of Jesus.

What is the significance of “I AM HE?”

What does “Christ” mean?

v. 2



D&C 19:24

What was the will of the Father concerning Christ?

Mosiah 15:1-5

Matt 26:37-39

3 Ne. 1:14

D&C 93:3-5

Eph. 4:9-10

D&C 88:6

Phil. 2:5-11

Col. 1:15-20

v. 2-3









2 Ne. 9:10, 19, 26

When does Christ subdue all things unto himself and destroy Satan and his works?

Rev. 20:5-15

1 Cor. 15:24-28

D&C 88:110-114

D&C 76:59-107


What does it mean to destroy Satan and his works?


What is the “work” of Satan?

How does this relate to the work of God? Moses 1:39

v. 4

What happens to those who don’t repent?


God is endless -> eternal, not ceasing to be God -> he cannot deny His word/justice (Alma 42:25, Alma 11:34, Mosiah 15:27); otherwise, he would cease to be God.

v. 5


Matt. 25:4

Mosiah 5:10

What does it mean to be found on the “left hand” of God?



What consequences?

v. 6

Very important! Even though the Book of Mormon and Bible sound like the punishment of those in hell goes on forever for those individuals, this is not completely true.

v. 7

What is one reason why God caused hell to be described as though it would never end for each individual?

v. 8-9

Do these verses mean that Joseph, etc., would be given to understand the mystery of “eternal punishment” because they were now God’s apostles?


That the ancient quorum of the 12 also understood this mystery?

What about the Book of Mormon prophets?

v. 10-12

What is endless or eternal punishment?

v. 13-14

Reminder of the necessity to repent and the reality of Joseph Smith as God’s prophet

 v. 15-20

God (Jesus) suffered the pains of hell for us all. If we repent, we escape suffering. If we don’t repent, we suffer.

v. 15, 20

What is the nature of eternal punishment = hell = second death = lake of fire and brimstone = outer darkness?

See 2 Ne. 9:46; Mosiah 2:38; Mosiah 3:25-27

v. 16, 17

What must those who do not repent suffer?

Alma 34:15-16

Alma 42:14-15, 22-25

Alma 12:16-18

v. 18, 19

The nature of Christ’s suffering. See also:

1.     Matt. 26:36-34, Mark 14:32-36, Alma 12:16-18

2.     Is. 42:1-4, Is. 49:7, Is. 50:4-9, Is. 53:4-12

3.     Mosiah 3:7, Alma 34:13-14, Alma 42:15

What did Christ suffer?

What does it mean that he descended below all things?

v. 21-22


D&C 101:32-34

Why did God tell Joseph not to publish this revelation at first?

How does Alma 29:8 relate to this principle?

Does Alma 29:8 apply to us now in any way?

Why does God sometimes reveal less than the fullness or completeness of the truth to mankind?

v. 23-24

How do we get peace in this life?


(Note: the rest of Section 19 consists of more specific instruction to Martin Harris)

v. 25

Did Martin Harris (or do we) ever seek our neighbor’s life in any way?

Exodus 20:17, Matt. 5:21-22

v. 26-29

Critical importance of the coming of the Book of Mormon, for which Martin was being asked to sacrifice.

v. 31-32, 37

Instructions about preaching the Gospel.

What doctrine should we preach?  2 Ne. 31:17-21, 3 Ne. 11:32-39

v. 33, 38

What do these two verses represent?

v. 34-37

What sacrifices were asked of Martin Harris?

Did he comply?

Was he a wicked man?

How does he compare to us?

v. 39-41

Martin Harris as a blind guide.

When had Martin functioned as a blind guide? D&C 3:6, 7, 12; D&C 10:1-2

What happened to Joseph Smith as a result of listening to Martin? D&C 10:2

What happens to the blind/leaders of the blind? Matt. 15:9, 14 à 1 Ne. 14:3


16 Responses to “D&C Lesson 2”

  1. J. Madson said

    v.6-12 are some of the most interesting verses in all the scriptures. It seems to suggest that even the words we rely on in scriptures may have different meanings. More haunting, it seems to suggest God is using deception even if for a good purpose.

  2. joespencer said

    I too find these verses interesting. What I find particularly fascinating is the way they appear in the Book of Commandment (which one must see in an actual copy of the text): the whole affair is arranged in a kind of chart. What can be read into that?

  3. J. Madson said


    could you elaborate on the way it is arranged in a kind of chart?

  4. cherylem said

    were you referring to this, by any chance? http://www.irr.org/mit/BOC/1833boc-p40.html


  5. NathanG said

    I just recently found out I’m teaching on Sunday. I started through the lesson just to get through all the scriptures listed in the lesson. I made it all the way to D&C 19 (the first scripture listed) and was quickly distracted by section 19 as an overall section. I tried to think through why it is that Martin Harris received this particular instruction.

    After thinking about the section, I think I’m going to force myself away from section 19 and try to build some sort of doctrine of Christ that is taught by the D&C (by going through the rest of the scriptures in the lesson). Perhaps tonight I’ll have something meaningful formed in my mind. We’ll see.

  6. joespencer said

    Cheryl, yes, that’s the one. Anyone interested in seeing the chart, follow Cheryl’s link and look at verse 12.

  7. joespencer said

    Regarding other online resources:

    http://saintswithouthalos.com/s/_d&c.phtml is an absolute must-see. It is an ongoing project assembled by Scott G. Kenney, containing the several original manuscript sources for each of the original revelations. Very helpful.

    The 1833 Book of Commandments (in an 1884 reprint) can be downloaded in pdf form for free from Google books.

    The annotated History of the Church is a helpful resource: http://boap.org/LDS/History/HISTORY.html.

    The “parallel Joseph” is also worth a look: http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/.

    There is also an online collection of journals and autobiographies that is helpful: http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/.

    I’ve just discovered that the standard Words of Joseph Smith is available online for free: http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/rsc&CISOPTR=20100&REC=17.

    FAIR’s topical guide for the D&C: http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai121.html.

    What else?

  8. joespencer said

    Oh, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism” is available online as well: http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Encyclopedia_of_Mormonism.

  9. cherylem said

    Thanks Joe!!

    I also found this to be interesting, in the for what it’s worth department: http://www.google.com/archivesearch?hl=en&q=martin+harris+mormon&um=1&ie=UTF-8&scoring=t&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&resnum=10&ct=title

    I assume other timelines would also be available.

  10. cbrock said

    I too am grappling with the change in pace from BofM to D&C—the lessons are set up so differently, and yet, I want to give my class some continuity. Since I teach every week it gives me the unique opportunity to teach and explore ideas throughout the year. I have been praying about how I can provide a framework for the class that will accomplish this.
    I have come up with an analogy called “YOU– Under Construction”. I want to lay down this analogy and talk about how, in the D&C, each section is like walking into a new “job site” with the master carpenter/architect, Jesus Christ. Each Job site is being built in His Kingdom (“upon his Rock”) and each is in a different stage of construction. Some job sites are individual’s houses, while others are the job site of the church. There are also times where he shows us a glimpse of his “future designs”.
    I think I’m going to discuss the concept that each year we are building our own houses, either on our own, or with Christ. We may be expanding a wing, tearing out a wall, or repairing damages. With my class, we are going to talk about our own houses briefly, and how with Christ we fulfill the “measure” of our creation, year by year, day by day. Through the D and C we are going to be adding to this analogy each week as we come to know the Master Carpenter more intimately.

    SO–for the first class we’re going to explore the “Attributes of the Master Carpenter”, with the underlying concept coming from Lectures on Faith quote in the manual (although I’m using a longer version). We will be talking about what we learn in the D&C about Christ and how we can use that knowledge to walk with Christ more closely and propel our conscious efforts in 2009 to expand/remodel/build our own houses under the tutelage of our Master.

    It may sound childish, but I think the results over time will be profound. My goal this year as a teacher, is that through my class, people can find one hour where they are challenged on a personal level in their own “job sites” with the D and C as a backdrop to instruct and give insight. Of course, we will be discussing lots of doctrine. That being said, I have found that discussing interesting twists and turns within doctrinally complex material just can’t be digested in 50 min. by people who often haven’t even read the material. They usually leave feeling stupid, bored or a little confused. Of course, different teachers have different levels of students in their classes. Most of mine have never taken a institute class or college level religion course. I hope to give my students a workable framework they can build upon while I soak the words of Christ into the marrow of their spirits this year, so they can understand and capitalize on the power of them.

    Anyone else have ideas on how to bring some continuity to the year of D&C???

  11. cherylem said

    I am very interested in hearing how your lesson goes. Please return and report (;->).

  12. Bruce said

    Gospellink also has the Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J Ostler book “Revelations of the Restoration.”

  13. RuthS said

    Since I am a gestalt kind of person, I like to see the whole before I start taking it apart. Therefor my plan is to talk about the importance of the Doctrine & Covenants as scripture by talking about the purpose of scripture and how the book fulfills that purpose. I am going to take time to talk about learning about the book so one can learn from the book. I am going to focus on 18 and 19 as they relate to each other and the atonement. I also plan to talk about what we learn about the attributes of the savior from the book.

    I don’t think it is particularly useful to try and find out what the original Book of Commandments might have said as it went through several revisions and publications. It does not necessarily hold that the first version is the best or even the most worthwhile.

  14. J. Madson said

    Is it just me or does D&C 19:6-12 have some real serious consequences in how we approach scriptures. Not to mention the atonement.

  15. joespencer said

    Ruth says: “I don’t think it is particularly useful to try and find out what the original Book of Commandments might have said as it went through several revisions and publications. It does not necessarily hold that the first version is the best or even the most worthwhile.”

    I agree with the second sentence here, but not the first: it is not because the earlier is better that the Book of Commandments interests me (I hardly believe that!), but because the significance of the later emerges more clearly when its “genealogy” is analyzed.

    A quick example to illustrate. Section 5 of the Doctrine and Covenants was, in the earlier version, written directly to Martin Harris (with only a word or two at the beginning instructing Joseph to deliver the words to Martin). But since the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, the revelation is written directly to Joseph. Looking at the several versions thus makes it possible to raise questions that otherwise might not be raised, like: What does it mean to have such personal words directed to somebody else, to a leader or an authority figure, rather than to the person concerned? And so on.

    For me, comparing the several “versions” of a revelation is a way of helping me to recognize how the canonized (and therefore most important) version might have been different, and that allows me to ask more direct questions about why the revelation is as it is.

    Hence, I agree that the earlier is not necessarily (or even generally?) better; but I still think it is well worth our time to look at the earlier versions.

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