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, As I read Doctrine and Covenants 37–40, I felt that the Lord was telling me . Class members could share how they would complete the sentence. Encourage them to share verses from their reading as part of their answers.
Sometimes it’s easier to learn from the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants when we think of ourselves in the place of the people to whom they were originally given. To help class members do this with sections 37–38, you could invite them to imagine that they are living in Fayette, New York, in 1831. A class member could pretend to be Joseph Smith and read section 37 to them.
How might we have reacted to this commandment?
Perhaps class members could imagine that they have a friend who does not want to gather to Ohio
; they could search section 38 for principles that might encourage their friend to be faithful to the command to gather. (If necessary, you could direct them specifically to verses 1–4, 11–12, 17–22, and 27–33.) Class members may also be willing to share how similar principles have helped them when they needed to obey a commandment that seemed difficult.
Latter-day Saints are no longer commanded to gather by moving to one location, but we still gather in families, wards, and stakes. To discuss how this gathering blesses us today, you could divide the class into two groups. Ask one group to search Doctrine and Covenants 38:31–33 and look for blessings that apply to gathering as families
, and ask the other group to search the same passage and look for blessings that apply to gathering as wards and stakes
. They could then share their thoughts with the class. How are we blessed by gathering together as a Sunday School class?
The Saints who gathered in Ohio came from a variety of circumstances, but the Lord commanded them to overcome their differences and “be one” (verse 27)
Why do we sometimes fail to see other people as equals?
Encourage class members to ponder how they treat others as they read Doctrine and Covenants 38:24–27.
What does it mean to esteem our brothers and sisters as ourselves?
Why is it impossible to truly be God’s people if we are not united?
Reading Doctrine and Covenants 38:24–27 could lead to a discussion about unity in our relationships—as ward members, families, and so on. The videos “A Friend to All” or “Love in Our Hearts” on ChurchofJesusChrist.org could help. For example, class members could share statements or impressions from the video that help them better understand the principles in verses 24–27. They could also ponder and share thoughts about a question like “What can I do to help our ward feel more united?”
Making a chart might help class members discuss Doctrine and Covenants 38:39
. In one column, class members could list
“riches of the earth,” or things that are considered valuable here but do not last into the next life. In the other column, they could list
“riches of eternity,” or things that God values and that can last forever.
What experiences have taught us that the riches of eternity are more valuable than the riches of the world?
James Covel, like many of us, had righteous desires. But his failure to obey God’s direction is an important warning to all of us. To help class members learn from Covel’s experience, you could invite some of them to search section 39 for things the Lord asked him to do. The others could search for blessings he was promised if he obeyed. They could also
search section 40
to discover why James Covel did not receive these blessings.
How can his experience apply to us?
What “cares of the world” sometimes prevent us from receiving God’s word “with gladness”? (Doctrine and Covenants 40:2).
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