Lesson 1: Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Doctrine and Covenants Section 1 Modern Revelation
Bring in two clear glasses, one full of salt water and the other full of sugar water. Have one student come up and take a drink of each one, without telling them that there is salt and sugar in them. They will of course react differently to the two tastes. Then take the glasses, turn around and switch them around so the class cannot know which is salt and which is sugar. Ask for volunteers to come up and taste the water again. Tell the class that they only have to taste one of the two. They just need to figure out which one has the sugar and the salt. Ask the students how they can know which one is which without tasting them. Is there any way? Do you have to taste them to know which one is good and which one is bad? Wait until they come up with the suggestion of asking you. The teacher is the only one that knows which is which. Even if they are switched. The teacher still knows which will lead to happiness and which will lead to misery. Ask, “How is that like the Gospel?” (Discuss answers and make sure they understand that it is like receiving revelation from the Lord. He is the only one that knows—even in a changing world.)
As we start a discussion of the Doctrine and Covenants, one of the major themes is the importance of modern revelation. The Lord teaches us that in the 1st Section as well as giving us many of the reasons for revelation as well as for the D&C. The first important doctrine of the Doctrine and Covenants is found in D&C 1:2. Who does the Lord want to know about revelation? Who does he want to tell about the salt and the sugar? So what is the main purpose of the D&C. The Lord gives at least 9 reasons in verses 17-28
- He knows the calamity that is coming. Verse 17
- That we might know God and be able to perform ordinances in His name. Verse 20
- To increase our faith. Verse 21
- Establish his everlasting covenant. Verse 22
- Give us the fullness of the gospel, so that it can be preached to all. Verse 23
- Tell us what we are doing wrong. Verse 25
- Give us increased wisdom. Verse 26
- Help us to repent. Verse 27
- Be made strong and receive knowledge. Verse 28.
Have class members look through these verses and see what they come up with for purposes of the Doctrine and Covenants. Take some time to discuss these purposes of revelation. You can ask, “Which one do you think is the most important to us today?” After a few minutes of discussion ask, “What does revelation have to do with verse 30?” “Why do we consider ourselves the “only true and living church?” (We are true because we have the fullness of the gospel and we are living because we believe in modern revelation. God still speaks to us today to help with our changing world. You can go back to the salt and sugar here. What good is it to know which was which before you turned around and switched them up? What value is there today to old information? Why do we need modern revelation? What problems exist now that we need specific direction on? Make sure to point out that modern revelation does not render the Bible or Book or Mormon invaluable because they teach doctrines that never change as well as being the gateway to revelation from the Lord. Modern revelation simply gives us continual guidance to our ever-changing world.) Make sure to point out the source of revelation in verses 37-38. “What role do prophets play in helping to guide our lives?” “What do these verses teach about why we need prophets and why we need to follow them?”
Ask, “When did you learn that following revelation from the Lord will lead to greater happiness?” (Again you can go back to the example of the water with salt and sugar.) Wait to get a few responses and share your testimony as well.