Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Gospel Doctrine Lesson 11: How We Taught This Topic in the Past

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 11: How We Taught This Topic in the Past

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 08, 2009

Lesson 11: “The Field is White Already to Harvest”

Past lessons on sharing the gospel appear in virtually every old manual I picked up. Those chosen for this post narrate the events of specific early missionary journeys, with others focusing on particular Doctrine & Covenants verses addressing missionary work. Some lessons are targeted to children, others to adults.

1934: Primary Sunday School Lessons

Lesson 24. Mission to the Indians

While reading the Book of Mormon, Joseph and the brethren learned that the book and the gospel were to be carried to the Indians.

In second Nephi, 30, we read that the Gentiles, meaning Joseph and his people, should do this. It says, “for the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them, wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people.”

Within six months after the Church was organized, the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith, calling four men, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Junior, and Ziba Peterson as the first missionaries to the Indians. They were to leave the Whitmer home where they were holding the conference of September 26, 1830, and travel fifteen hundred miles westward into far-off Missouri, to the “border of he Lamanites” (Indians). Down here also was to be revealed the place where the Lord was to have “The New Jerusalem and the holy temple built.” This revelation made the Saints very happy; for it also said, that when the New Jerusalem and the sacred temple were built, that Christ should come for the Second Time and live with the Saints.

After many instructions from the Prophet, telling them to preach the “Word of God” freely to the white people as well as the red, off the four men went, light hearted and happy, the spirit of missionary work burning int heir souls. Parley P. Pratt had great reasons for being happy.

Only a month or so before this time, he had traveled eastward over this same road without having the true Church, now he was returning to his folks, a real preacher, called of God. What a change! When he went east, he was preaching another gospel, having no power to baptize in Christ’s name; now as he came west toward the people of his town, he had a grand message. He believed that the whole world should accept it.

Upon reaching Kirtland, Parley hurried with his companions to give the news about the new Church to the head Pastor, Sidney Rigdon. He and Parley were both ministers in this church before Parley went east. Many and many a time they had told their members plainly that the Church of Christ was not upon the earth; that no one held the same authority as did the Apostles of old. Now, however, Parley told Sidney that the true Church had indeed been restored; that Joseph Smith had received it; also a wonderful Book of Mormon, containing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was given by the Savior to the fathers of the Indians. Then, too, the Lord and his son Jesus Christ, also the angels Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, and other messengers had restored the Power of God to the earth. parley then surprised Sidney by bearing a wonderful testimony, saying he had joined the true Church.

Sidney didn’t know what to say, especially when the Book of Mormon was given him, and the other three men also declared it was true. Yes, he would read the book and give the preachers a chance to teach his large group of earnest people. From door to door the missionaries went, bearing their testimonies, announcing they would preach in Sidney’s church the coming Sunday. Then, too, word was spread abroad that Oliver Cowdery would also talk, a man who had seen angels, including Moroni and many others; had seen the Golden Plates and had written the Book of Mormon as it fell from the lips of the Prophet. Then, too, Peter Whitmer, Junior, would speak, bearing testimony that he and seven other men had handled the plates, as told in the testimony of the Eight Witnesses in the front of the Book of Mormon.

Regarding these wonderful days, Parley P. Pratt writes: “The news of our coming was soon noised abroad, and the news of the discovery of the Book of Mormon and the marvelous events connected with it. The interest and excitement now became general in Kirtland, and in all the region around about. The people thronged us night and day, insomuch that we had no time for rest or retirement. Meetings were convened in different neighborhoods, and multitudes came together – some to be taught, some for curiosity, some to obey the gospel, and some to dispute or resist it. In two or three weeks from our arrival in the neighborhood with the news, we had baptized one hundred and twenty-seven souls, and this number soon increased to one thousand.”

The pastor of their Church, Sidney Rigdon, was not only baptized, but he was made the President of the branch, and in place of preaching his former religion in his church, he now taught the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a change! How happy he was. Doctor Frederick G. Williams was also baptized. These two brethren later became the Prophet’s two counselors in the presidency.

Here also the first Bishop of the Church was found, Edward Partridge. It seems that the Lord had fully prepared Sidney Rigdon’s people for the truth. After the Elders had been there three weeks, the moved westward, leaving 127 converts, almost double the total number in the church before. Word was also sent back to the Prophet regarding this glowing success.

Dr. Frederick G. Williams joined the Elders, and together, the five struck off westward, a thousand miles, for Missouri. Fifty miles upon the journey, while explaining the Book of Mormon to Simeon Carter, Parley P. Pratt was arrested. Leaving the precious book with the anxious Mr. Carter, Parley went off to be tried. The next morning while walking near the woods with the officer, Parley began stepping faster and faster, getting ahead of the sheriff, then all at once he turned saying, “I must now go on my journey! If you are good at a race, you can accompany me. Good day, sir!” And off he went at full speed, headed for the woods. He forgot, however, the large bull-dog, a fierce looking beast, at the sheriff’s side.

Until Parley had cleared a fence and was flying across a field, the sheriff stood puzzled, seemingly not knowing what to do. Then, after Parley flew the dog with his master close behind, clapping his hands and shouting, “Get him, Watch! Down him. Lay hold of him! I say – down with him!” At the very moment when the fierce brute was about to leap upon Brother Pratt, he, too, began clapping his hands and waving them toward the wood, running and shouting like the officer. The vicious dog, snarling and growling, swept past Brother Pratt’s side, and went barking into the woods. parley made good his escape; found his companions and traveled onward. But that wonderful book! What about it?

Well, it converted Simeon Carter, and he traveled fifty miles to Kirtland and found Sidney Rigdon, who baptized him and ordained him an Elder. Brother Carter then went back and baptized his household and fifty others in the village.

Again Brother Pratt says, “After much fatigue and some suffering, we all arrived at Independence, in the county of Jackson, on the extreme western frontier of Missouri and of the United States, fifteen hundred miles from where we started, and we had performed most of the journey on foot. We had preached the gospel to tens of thousands of Gentiles, and to two nations of Indians, baptizing, confirming and organizing many hundreds of people into the Church of Latter-day Saints.” Then regarding the last part of the journey, he writes, “We traveled on foot over three hundred miles through vast prairies and through trackless wilds of snow. No beaten roads; houses few and far between; and the bleak northwest wind always blowing in our faces with a keenness which would almost take the skin off the face. We traveled for whole days from morning till night without a house or fire, wading in snow to the knees at every step, and the cold so intense that the snow did not melt on the south side of the house even in the mid-day sun, for nearly six weeks. We carried on our backs our change of clothing, several books, and corn bread and raw pork. We often ate our frozen bread and pork by the way.”

The missionaries soon began preaching to the Indians, but the white agents commanded that the Mormons cease. In February Parley was now sent back to report to the Prophet. In the next lesson we shall see what happened.

1940: Church History Sunday School Lessons

Lesson 19: A Mission to Canada

A week ago we talked of the beginning of extensive missionary work in the Church. You will remember that a rather large number of brethren were called to go to Missouri, preaching on the way. Soon more and more of the Saints were leaving Kirtland and going to the West. Before long there was a great deal of Church activity in Missouri, just as there was in Ohio, but for the time being we will talk only of those activities which originated in Kirtland, and then take up the Missouri activities later.

You will also remember that among the missionaries who went to the West was Parley P. Pratt. In fact, you have met him a number of times before this. Well, after completing his labors in the western state, he returned to Kirtland. During his long absence he had been unable to earn money and had gone into debt. Moreover, his wife was severely ill. He therefore welcomed the thought that he could now stay home for a season, pay his debts and make his wife comfortable. But he was shortly to discover that the Lord needed him more.

Called by Prophecy

Brother Pratt had retired early to his bed one night, when he heard a knock at the door. Opening it, he found Elder Heber C. Kimball and others of the brethren. Laying his hands on Brother Pratt’s head Elder Kimball prophesied: “Brother Parley, thy wife shall be healed from this hour. Arise, therefore, and go forth in the ministry, nothing doubting. The Lord will supply you with abundant means for all things.

“Thou shalt go to Upper Canada, even to the city of Toronto, the capital, and there thou shalt find a people prepared for the fulness of the gospel, and they shall receive thee, and thou shalt organize the church among them, and it shall spread thence into the regions round about, and many shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth and shall be filled with joy; and from the things growing out of this mission, shall the fulness of the gospel spread into England, and cause a great work to be done in that land.”

That was really a remarkable prophecy. You might read it again and make note of all the promises that were given to Parley Pratt. And now we shall see how they were fulfilled.

Brother Pratt knew that when men of God spoke under the direction of the Holy Ghost their words would not fail. Without doubting, therefore, he immediately prepared to leave his sick wife and commence his mission.

Going to the city of Hamilton on the shores of Lake Ontario, he preached at a number of meetings and then decided to go on to Toronto. There were two ways to get there. One was to walk, and that was a long and difficult journey, since the road was terribly muddy in the spring. The other was to take a boat, which was faster and easier. But that cost money. However, Elder Pratt thought that the sooner he could get to Toronto, the better.

He took his problem to the Lord after seeking out a secluded spot in a nearby forest. Then going back into the city, he commenced chatting with some of the people. Before long, he was stopped by a stranger who inquired his name and where he was going. He asked him also if he did not need money. When Elder Pratt told him that he did, the stranger gave him ten dollars and an introduction to a man named John Taylor of Toronto.

A Rich Harvest

In Toronto he found Mr. Taylor, who received him kindly enough, but didn’t seem to care very much about listening to what he had to say.

The next day Elder Pratt tried to find a place to preach, but no one would have him. He thought he would have little difficulty because of the prophecy pronounced upon his head by Elder Kimball. He was greatly mistaken, however, for no one would grant him an opportunity to preach anywhere.

Discouraged, he went back to the Taylor home and was just picking up his luggage, determined to leave this place in which he thought he could do no good, when a Mrs. Walton, a friend of Mrs. Taylor, came into the house. Mrs. Taylor told Mrs. Walton about Elder Pratt and the difficulties he had had.

Mrs. Walton, who was a widow, told Elder Pratt that he could stay at her home, and preach there also. Moreover, she said that she would get him a congregation of friends and relatives. Soon many became intensely interested, and Elder Pratt found he had more than he could do.

Now Mrs. Walton had a friend, another poor widow, who was blind. When she learned that Elder Pratt could heal in the authority of the Priesthood, she asked him to administer to her friend.

He laid his hands upon the blind woman’s head, and in the divine authority which he held and in the name of Jesus Christ, he blessed her and said, “Your eyes shall be well from this very hour.”

Elder Pratt records that “she threw off her bandages; opened her house to the light; dressed herself, and walking with open eyes, came to the meeting that same evening at Sister Walton’s, with eyes as well and bright as any person’s.”

One preaching opportunity led to another, and soon Elder Pratt found himself invited to attend a meeting of a group of men belonging to various denominations, but all of whom felt that the true gospel was then not upon the earth and were studying and seeking the Lord in prayer in an effort to find the truth. They were a well educated and refined group, and when Elder Pratt walked in, a stranger, they supposed from his appearance that he was a farmer from the country who had dropped in. Among this group was the same John Taylor to whom Elder Pratt had gone when he first entered Toronto.

Elder Pratt said nothing while the group discussed questions regarding the Church of Christ. But after all were through he was granted an opportunity to tell his story. The time was short and so another meeting was called for the next night. And there, as he unfolded the story of the restoration of the gospel, the group became greatly interested. One meeting led to another, and many were baptized, including the same John Taylor who had previously shown no interest whatever in Elder Pratt’s message. This John Taylor later became the President of the Church.

the work spread from Toronto into the country, and many fine men and women were added to the Church, including a man named Joseph Fielding who was to be effective in fulfilling that part of Elder Kimball’s prophecy dealing with the opening of missionary work in England.

After laboring for about two months elder Pratt concluded he should return home, and accordingly announced in meeting one night that he was about to do so. He had said nothing about money, but as he was about to leave the meeting men and women handed him money as he shook hands with them to bid them goodbye.

On reaching home he found that he had sufficient money to pay all his debts. And he also found that his wife, whom he had thought was hopelessly ill, was completely well. The prophecy of heber C. Kimball had been fulfilled in every respect but the opening of the mission to England, and we shall see before very long how even that part of it was fulfilled.

1940: Church History Sunday School Lessons

Lesson 22: A Mission to England

You will remember from some weeks ago that we talked about a prophecy that Heber C. Kimball made upon the head of Parley P. Pratt when he called Elder Pratt to go on a mission to Canada. In that lesson we showed that all of the things Elder Kimball prophesied were fulfilled except the prediction that Brother Pratt’s mission would influence the carrying of the gospel to England. But that part of Elder Kimball’s prophesy was not to go unfulfilled as we shall see today.

One Sunday in 1837 Joseph Smith and Heber C. Kimball sat side by side in the Kirtland Temple. Suddenly Joseph put his hand on Elder Kimball’s knee and whispered, “The Lord said unto me, ‘Let my servant Heber go to England to proclaim my gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation.’”

Elder Kimball was thunderstruck. To think that he, whose education had been very limited, should be called to such a mission seemed impossible. “O Lord,” he said to himself over and over again, “I am a man of stammering tongue, and altogether unfit to preach in that land, which is so famed throughout Christendom for learning and piety!” But Heber C. Kimball was one who did not hesitate when he was called through the Prophet of God. He consented to go.

The Journey There

He wanted his friend and companion, Brigham Young, to go with him, but the Prophet would not agree to that. Instead, Orson Hyde and Willard Richards were called to accompany him. And it was decided through the inspiration of the Lord that four of the converts who had come into the Church through the efforts of Parley P. Pratt in Canada should go with them. One of these was Joseph Fielding, whose brother was a minister in England.

Now it was a time of difficulty in the Church. For one thing business conditions throughout the country were in terrible shape. The entire nation was engulfed in a depression, such ask the world has passed through since 1929. Only in those days the government did not do things to alleviate the suffering as it has done in the last depression. Many of the Saints suffered losses, for which they blamed the Church. Then too, it seems to have been a time of unrest and faultfinding in general, and a large number left the church because they had this spirit about them.

Under these circumstances one would naturally think that Joseph Smith would have wanted to keep such strong leaders as Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards at home just as you want those you love best near you when there is the greatest trouble. But the Lord had a better plan as we shall see. Accordingly, in June of 1837, these seven elders started on their journey to carry the gospel to the Old World.

When they reached New York, they didn’t worry about sightseeing. Instead they busted themselves in missionary work, and before sailing they posted 180 pamphlets on the gospel to the priests and ministers of the city. They secured passage on the sailing ship, “Garrick.”

On board ship they did what they could to preach the gospel. A little child, who had been given up to die, was prayed for by Elder Kimball, and it lived. After seventeen days of sailing they sighted the green and beautiful coast of Ireland, and two days later they entered the Mersey river to anchor at Liverpool. A small boat was sent out to carry the passengers ashore, and into this climbed the elders.

As the small boat neared the Liverpool landing, Elder Kimball leaped to shore, anxious to stand on British ground for the first time in his life and preach the gospel of salvation he had come to bear.

Glad Tidings for England

The prospect before them was not cheerful. They were strangers in a strange land, and practically without money. Many Mormon missionaries have since landed at that same Liverpool pier, but there were friends and associates to greet them, and branches of the church already established. Not so with these first elders.

They sought the Lord in prayer, and received inspiration to go north to the city of Preston. Many times the writer of these lessons has gone over that same route from Liverpool to Preston. It is a beautiful journey through a green and pleasant country. But it is likely that those elders’ thoughts were on things other than the scenery through which they passed.

Preston is a manufacturing town and in many districts is not much changed today from the appearance that must have greeted them – its cobbled streets and closely-0built homes, its flag-stone walks and its market place.

It was election day. Queen Victoria had come to the throne, and the town was in a carnival mood, with banners and ribbons floating about its famed Church and Fishergate streets. one of these large banners caught the eye of the new arrivals. It read “Truth will prevail.” With one accord the missionaries said, “Truth will prevail,” and they made this their motto.

Now Elder Joseph Fielding – the same who had been converted in Canada through Elder Parley P. Pratt – had a brother who was a pastor of a Preston church. On Sunday the missionaries visited his meeting. His brother, of course, had told him previous to this that the missionaries were in the town.

During the services the Reverend Fielding announced that missionaries from America were present, and that he was inviting them to speak in the chapel that afternoon. The elders were overjoyed at this invitation, since they had not even asked for it.

The old chapel is still standing, and looks much as you see it here. And that afternoon, it was filled. The people were greatly interested to hear what was said, and many expressed their appreciation at the close of the meeting.

Soon many opportunities came for special meetings and conversations. The way had been opened, and many sought the truth. The prayers of humble men had been answered, and in spite of what had appeared to be great difficulties, the gospel message had been successfully proclaimed in a foreign land through the inspiration of the Lord.

The Reverend Fielding, seeing his congregation dwindle away as they embraced the new gospel, closed his chapel to the missionaries. But it was too late to stop the work of the Lord. Too good a start had been made.

At the appointed time of baptism a race was held to the river to determine who should be the first Saint baptized in the Old World. Brother George D. Watt won, and since that day many thousands have followed him into the water to receive baptism at the hands of the elders of Israel.

And now, coming back to where we began this lesson, we see that Elder Kimball’s prophecy on the head of Elder Parley P. Pratt had been fulfilled in every detail. Elder Pratt had gone to Canada, and there baptized Joseph Fielding, and it was through Joseph Fielding that the first opportunity was granted to preach the gospel in England, in his brother’s chapel. As a result of Elder Pratt’s efforts, the work of proclaiming the gospel in the British Isles had been materially helped.

1949: Doctrine and Covenants Studies, by Bryant S. Hinckley

Chapter 3

D & C 4: “Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.”

This is a short revelation, but one full of meaning. It was directed to an individual, but it applies to all who engage in the ministry. It does not contain any new doctrine, yet it has been read, reread and pondered by thousands of missionaries and others who have engaged in the service because it deals with the qualifications essential to service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was given through Joseph, the seer, to his father, Joseph Smith, Senior, at Harmony, Pennsylvania, February, 1829.

Why Given

At the time the boy prophet most needed the encouragement and the support of a true friend, his beloved father was the first to accept the divine mission to which he, Joseph, had been called. When the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph on the night of September 21, 1823, evidently, in the course of his visits, he told the youthful prophet to tell his father what he had learned concerning the purposes of the Almighty, he had not done so.

The emotional experiences of this eventful night were no doubt plainly manifest in Joseph’s appearance the next day. He found himself when engaged in the field so exhausted as to be unable to proceed with his part of the work. The father observing the weakness and occasional abstraction of Joseph, and noticing that he was very pale, thought him ill and insisted upon his going to the house to receive the attention of his mother. Joseph started for home, but in attempting to get over a fence, his strength failed him, and he sank unconscious to the ground. The first thing of which he was conscious was the presence of the messenger of the night before, who was standing over him surrounded with the same effulgent light. The things of the previous night were repeated and at their conclusion the angel demanded to know why the Prophet had not followed his instructions to tell his father the vision. Joseph replied, “I was afraid my father would not believe me.” Upon which Moroni said, “He will believe every word you say to him.” Thus strengthened the Prophet sought his father in the field, and what followed must have been one of the most beautiful and picturesque experiences in the early life of the prophet. It took place on that autumn day in the harvest field. Picture if you will this fair-haired youth rehearsing to his father the marvelous experience of the night before, the elder Joseph listening reverently to the wonderful story told by the boy and then counseling him to do as the angel commanded him. (See History of the Prophet Joseph, by his mother.)

George Q. Cannon, in his Life of Joseph Smith, page 43, said: “He obeyed at once and standing there in the harvest field related to his father all that had passed. The inspiration of heaven rested upon the elder Joseph as he heard the lad’s words, and when the account was finished he said ‘My son, these things are of God. Take heed that you proceed in all holiness to do his will.’”

Six years after this marvelous experience, Joseph Smith, Senior, came to his son, the youthful Prophet, and asked to know by revelation the will of the Lord concerning him; and this revelation is the result of that humble inquiry.

Referring to it, Joseph Fielding Smith says: “This revelation is very short, only seven verses, but it contains sufficient counsel and instruction for a lifetime study. No one has yet mastered it. It was not intended as a personal revelation to Joseph Smith, but to be of benefit to all who desire to embark in the service of God. It is a revelation to each member of the Church, especially to all who hold the priesthood. Perhaps there is no other revelation in all our scriptures that embodies greater instruction pertaining to the manner of qualifications of members of the Church for the service of God and in such condensed form than this revelation. It is as broad, as high and as deep as eternity. No elder of the church is qualified to teach in the church, or carry the message of salvation to the world, until he has absorbed at least part of this heaven-sent instruction.” (CHMR, Vol. I, p. 33.)

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

Seven hundred years before Christ, the great prophet Isaiah, looking forward to the age in which we live, had this to say (Isaiah 29:14): “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” In this same chapter that ancient prophet makes direct reference to the coming forth of a book, the Book of Mormon, and some have inferred that this revelation makes a direct reference to it; but no doubt the marvelous work to which the prophet refers is the restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the church with power and authority, with the keys and blessings which pertain to this great work for the salvation of the children of men. The Book of Mormon is, however, in all respects a marvelous work and a wonder. There is no other book like it in the world. It is marvelous in the manner in which it came forth, in the way in which it was translated, in the story which it tells, in the teachings which it gives, and in the prophecies which it contains. This book is marvelous in the effects which it has produced. It is marvelous because of the faith it has built in the souls of those who have read it with prayerful hearts. Owing to its influence, thousands upon thousands of God’s children have been saved from spiritual and temporal poverty, degradation and sin and lifted to the highest level. the prediction of Isaiah has been fulfilled literally. “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 29:18, 19.) “And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father.” (D & C 18:44.)

Think what the reestablishment of the church and the restoration of the gospel have meant. Who can measure the importance of the establishment of this great institution, which God has declared shall never be thrown down or given to another people but shall roll forth until it fills the whole earth. The restoration of the great plan worked out by infinite minds in the heavens before the world was framed or man appeared upon its surface for the salvation and exaltation of all who will accept it and abide by it, was one of the greatest events of all time.


This revelation is specifically addressed to all who embark in the service of God. 9D & C 4:2) – “”Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” The greatest example of service in all the world was the Master Himself, the author of this revelation. If there was stricken from the record of his life all that he did for others, there would not be much left. what others did for him would be a small record. Books have been written on the meaning of service, on the joy of service, on the effect of service; but his life was a demonstration of service. All great souls have been inspired by service and distinguished for it. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:167.) Those who embark in this service are admonished to serve God with all their might and mind and strength. If one engaged in this cause is not valiant, if he does not consecrate the affections of his heart, the powers of his mind, the strength of his soul to it, then he cannot stand blameless before the Lord. Love is the motive, the impelling power of the highest service. When we understand what the Savior has done for us, the sacrifices which he has made for us, that he is the source of all the blessings that come to us, then our souls are filled with gratitude. Then we have in our hearts a desire to serve God.

Chapter 4

Section 4, verses 5 to 7)

“And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.” (D & C 4:5-7.) This revelation makes special reference to those who are called to do missionary work in the world.

A desire to do this work is one of the fundamental requirements. Only those who are willing, who have a desire to engage in the service are called upon to do it. “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” This does not imply that one can call himself on a mission or engage in any active service in the church or that he can go and come as he elects. No, he must be called by the proper authority, be set apart to this work, be assigned to his place of labor, and then labor under the direction of those who preside over him. There must be order in all things, otherwise there would be confusion, misunderstanding, misdirected effort.

D & C 4:4 states, “… behold the field is white already to harvest.” The early period of the Church was a time of reaping, of harvesting. At that time there were many who were waiting to hear the message of the gospel. There were choice spirits held in reserve to come forth in this great dispensation of the fullness of times. The need of laborers was great, but those available were few, yet they went forth in the power of the Lord and none could stay them. “Woe be to the man who sets his hand to the sickle and is not diligent or who leaves the unharvested field.” The Lord says of him that he stands in danger and may perish and lose the salvation of his soul.

To show that the field was ready to harvest, we quote from the journal of Wilford Woodruff, page 119: “On the 21st day of March (1840) I baptized Elder Thomas Kington. He was superintendent of both preachers and members of the United Brethren. The first thirty days after my arrival at Herefordshire, I had baptized 45 preachers and 165 members of the United Brethren, who put into my hands one chapel and forty-five houses, which were licensed according to the law to preach in. This opened a wide field for labor and enabled me to bring into the Church, through the blessings of God, over eighteen hundred souls during eight months, including all of the 600 United Brethren except one person. In this number there were some 200 preachers of various denominations.” To continue, he says, “The power of God rested upon the mission, the sick were healed, devils were cast out, the lame were made to walk.”

Qualifications for Missionary Work

No educational standards are laid down, no financial requirements are stipulated, but qualifications, so far as one’s character is concerned, are specified. No one can engage in this service who is not worthy to do so. He must be pure in his life, circumspect and upright in his conduct, patient, humble, diligent and full of brotherly love. Faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work. Let us consider these qualifications.


At the foundation of all these requirements for service in the Church there must be a settled faith in God, in his existence, personality and attributes. there must be faith in the restored gospel and its power to save, in the divine mission of the prophet Joseph Smith and his successors. (Read with care Hebrews 11.)


Tennyson speaks of the mighty hopes that make us men. Shakespeare says that hope is the only medicine the miserable have. It is the one thing we cannot live without; it is God’s restorative of the heart. Hope, the hope of the gospel, renews the human spirit, composes its troubles and restores it to serenity; it cures more grief than tears or medicine.


The best essay ever written on charity and love was written by Paul and recorded in the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, verses 3 to 5, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.”

An Eye Single to His Glory

Those who engage in God’s service must labor also with an eye single to his glory. This carries with it a meaning not expressed in any other words. This implies that there must be no thought of earthly gain in this service, of self-aggrandizement, of personal promotion, of honor or advancement. One must be impelled solely by a pure desire to build up God’s kingdom and glorify His Name. He who engages in this service must see only this unselfish objective and dedicate his efforts to its achievement. There is something magnanimous and wonderful in such service.

This revelation seems to make special reference to the missionary service in the Church.

Some Essentials of Missionary Work

We submit the following three essentials for effective missionary work:

1. A love for the gospel. When one’s soul is filled with a love for the truth, when he feels in the depths of his soul that all who accept it and abide by its principles will be saved and exalted in the glorified presence of God, when this love burns on the altar of his heart, then and then only can he kindle it in the hearts of others. This love for the truth, the assurance of its power to save, is one of the first essentials. Without this no one can do effective missionary work.

2. A love for the souls of men. Scarcely less important than a love for the gospel is a love for the souls of men. When one can see the shining souls of men behind their indifference, their ingratitude, often the opposition and possibly the persecution of those he meets, then he will have the patience, the kindness, the forgiveness, the forbearance that will enable him to endure persecution, hardships and privations without complaining and to meet rebuffs without resenting them. When one is constantly animated by a great love for the souls of men, by a desire to save them, by an appreciation of their worth and importance, he has in his heart the spirit of the Christ. If one can say under any circumstances, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” then he has the attitude and the spirit that will win the souls of others.

3. A willingness to listen in obedience to the still, small voice. This voice is the infallible guide for the humble missionary. Missionary work is the Lord’s work. Missionaries are on his errand. They are not left without a guide. This still, small voice has been the guide, the protector, the source of inspiration and direction to missionaries from the beginning of this great work to the present time. Thousands upon thousands of missionaries have experienced its divine influence and are living witnesses of its warning voice.

All missionaries who read and ponder this revelation – and all should do so – and seek to subscribe to its requirements, will lay the foundation for growth in character, in influence and usefulness in the work.

“Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened.”

Our Heavenly Father places a high premium on work. We are admonished to knock with the promise that it shall be opened. Fortunately things do not come to us without effort on our part. Only through prayerful effort and travail of soul can we learn the most precious lessons of life.

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches the gospel of work. Upon it depends our salvation here and hereafter. It is the price of all things worth having.

Carlyle declared that “labor is worship” and that there was but one monster among the creations of the Almighty, and that was an idle man. We quote the words of Socrates: “If the almighty should come to me with complete success in his right hand, and an eternal struggle in his left, I would choose the left.”

Chapter 6
THE WORTH OF SOULS (Section 18, verses 10 to 47)


In the book, Latter-day Revelation, the first nine verses of this section are omitted. In the remaining 37 verses, references are made to many principles of the gospel, and instructions are given directing the people what to do, admonishing the Saints to take upon them the name of Christ, to speak the truth with soberness, to repent of their sins and serve God. There are two major thoughts which we shall consider in this lesson: (1) The Worth of Souls, (2) The Calling of the Twelve Apostles.

This revelation was given to Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer in Fayette, New York, June, 1829.

The Worth of Souls (10-16)

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (D & C 18:10.) “Man himself is the crowning wonder of creation, a study of his nature, the noblest study the world affords.” – Gladstone

Man, his importance and his destiny, have been the themes of great minds through the ages. The place given to him in the great scheme of things is the measure of every civilization, the index to the enlightenment of every age and of every people. The earth would have little or no significance without him. It was created for his dwelling place, now and hereafter. He is the crowning feature of the universe.

The psalmist David, speaking of man, said, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? for thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalms 8:4, 5.) The Lord said, “This is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses, 1:39.) “… the spirit and the body are the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.” (D & C 88:15, 16.) “What God is, man may become.”

Shakespeare has this to say: “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a God!” Carlyle makes this contribution: “He is of the earth, but his thoughts are with the stars. Mean and petty his wants and desires; yet they serve a soul exalted with grand, glorious aims, with immortal longings, with thoughts which sweep the heavens and wander through eternity. A pigmy standing in the outward crest of this small planet, his far-reaching spirit stretches outward to the infinite and there alone he finds rest.”

Joseph Fielding Smith comments as follows: “There are many reasons why the worth of souls is great in the sight of God, why he desires to have them redeemed. First, man is the off-spring of God in the spirit. We are his children and as such he has a deep love and earnest concern for us one and all. It is necessary, however, to bring about his purposes and the salvation and exaltation of his children that they should have free exercise of their free agency which is a gift from God. Therefore, when we come in contact with mortal conditions with all their sin and temptation, many of us fail to continue in the path which leads to glory and exaltation wherein we may become the sons and daughters of God and as heirs have the fullness of the kingdom. It becomes necessary, therefore, that punishments as well as rewards be meted out, and based on the law of justice men will be assigned to the place which they merit because of their actions. In speaking to Enoch, the Lord wept because of the wickedness of man. It is not the will of the Lord, as was once taught so generally, that some men were created for damnation and some for salvation. The Lord would have all men to be saved, and the privilege is theirs if they will receive it. Second, it is the privilege of those who are faithful to become like God. A human soul will not only become immortal through the resurrection, but may be exalted to Godhood as a joint heir with Jesus Christ. Man’s possibilities as a son of God are unlimited because he, too, like his father, will be infinite. A soul, therefore, is worth more than the world which is created for his habitation.

“Christ, because of his love for mankind, was willing to come to earth and endure suffering which is beyond the power of mortal man to comprehend. We should show our gratitude to him and to his father for this great blessing which he gave to us through his suffering and death upon the cross.” (CHMR, vol. I, p. 78.)

Man’s place in the great scheme of things as revealed in the gospel of Christ is one of the most inspiring doctrines ever taught. The assurance that one has within him infinite possibilities, that his destiny is to become perfect, that he belongs to a race of Deities, should be a constant source of inspiration and strength. It should be a never-ending incentive to high and heroic endeavor. Any people walking in the light of this great truth, cherishing this ideal, must have a future.

The joy of bringing souls into the kingdom of God is made clear in the following verses: “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D & C 18:15, 16.)

Referring to those who are in this service we find the following instructions: “Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men. And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing. Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil. Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness. and as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved. (D & C 18:18-22.)

Twelve Apostles to Be Chosen

(D & C 18:27-39.) This revelation was given several months prior to the organization of the Church, and the Twelve Apostles were not actually chosen until nearly six years afterward. The Lord here indicates clearly that a Council of Twelve should be chosen and that Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer are to select them and instruct them in the duties of their calling. The organization of this quorum was a necessary part of the organization of the Church, for the Apostles are special witnesses for Christ. President Joseph F. Smith speaking upon the subject, said: “All these your brethren who are called to the apostleship and to minister in the midst of the House of Israel are endowed or ought to be endowed richly with the spirit of their calling. For instance, these twelve disciples of Christ are supposed to be eye and ear witnesses of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. It is not permissible for them to simply say, I believe; I have accepted it, just because I believe. Read revelation. The Lord informs us that they must know, they must get the knowledge for themselves, it must be with them as if they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears. And they know the truth. That is their mission, to testify of Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen from the dead … that is their duty to preach to the world, see that it is preached to the world. Where they cannot go themselves, they are to have the help of others called to their assistance. The seventies first, also the elders and the high priests.” (Millennial Star, number 78, pages 338, 339.)

It is the duty of the Twelve to carry the message of Christ to the world. They are his messengers; they have power over unclean spirits and diseases. They have the keys of the kingdom, the authority to act in the name of Christ. They are the princes in the latter-day Israel. They are witnesses. They are to preach by the power of the Holy Ghost and to testify of the Lord that they have heard his voice and know his word. this command was complied with on the 14th of February, 1835, at a special meeting in Kirtland, when the Three Witnesses selected twelve men to form the first Council of Apostles. Those chosen were: Lyman E. Johnson, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, David W. Patton, Luke S. Johnson, William E. McLellin, John F. Boynton, Orson Pratt, William Smith, Thomas B. Marsh, and Parley P. Pratt.

1968-69: History of the Church for Children


Related Scripture

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”


To help the students to understand the place missionary work plays in spreading the gospel message, and in sharing with others the good things that have come to us from our Heavenly Father.

To show that by sharing our blessings with others, we become richer in the very things we give away.

Point of View

Truly the work of the Church in these latter days is a “marvelous work and a wonder.” Human wisdom alone could not have devised so comprehensive and effective a means of proclaiming the gospel which would bring such joy to those who received the message and, at the same time, enrich the missionaries, their families and the Church with great blessings. There is little evidence that the material sacrifices have been seriously felt by missionaries; but there are thousands of missionaries who testify that they have returned home spiritually enriched beyond measure.


1. In advance of the class period set up a row of dominoes. Place them on end just far enough apart so that, if one were knocked down, it would in turn knock down the next one, and so on. As you begin your lesson ask students to observe what might be called a “chain reaction.” As you push over the first domino the whole line will fall down. Call attention to the effect of one domino upon all the others. Explain that men, too, affect the lives of others in a sort of chain reaction. By sharing the Gospel with even one person we sometimes touch the lives of many others. Today we are going to learn how a small group of men sent out as missionaries touched the lives of others with truth and how these in turn shared the Gospel with still others, and so on, until the Church began to grow rapidly. Let us begin by telling you about the missionary experience of Samuel Smith, the Prophet’s brother.

2. Invite a former or present stake missionary to class. Ask him to take five minutes to describe the manner in which he and his companion do missionary work. Make a transition into the lesson material describing the manner in which the first missionaries labored.

3. Have several class members show pictures of missionary relatives or read paragraphs from letters. This activity may be a culmination to the lesson period. Avoid taking too much time. Explain that thousands go into the mission field each year. Contrast this number with the small group who were the Church’s first missionaries.

4. Bring a small dark bottle to class filled with rocks or candy or the like and labeled “Miracle Pills.” At the beginning of the class period hold up the bottle for students to see. Introduce the idea that in stories sometimes we read about magic pills that people take to change themselves from one type of person to another.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the story of a man who changed himself from one type of man to another by drinking a miracle potion.

Ponce De Leon discovered Florida accidentally while he was looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” a magic fountain that would transform him from an older man to a young man.

It is possible, too, that when people are poorly nourished they can become healthy and almost new individuals by eating healthful food and taking vitamin and mineral pills.

(Hold up the bottle again.) Point out that there may not be any such thing really as a pill that will turn us into something else – except in stories. Now hold up the Book of Mormon and explain that by living according to the teachings of this book people’s lives have been completely changed. say that you would like the students to learn about an important transformation that took place in the lives of several great men because of the Book of Mormon and a young man who shared the Gospel.

The Lesson


Samuel Smith, the First Missionary. On June 30, 1830, Samuel Smith started on foot to fill a short mission. he walked twenty-five miles the first day trying to sell a copy of the Book of Mormon at each of the farm houses. At night he came to a nice-looking inn. The well-to-do landlord looked the book over and asked Samuel where he got it.

Samuel told the landlord the story of the gold plates; how they were found and how the Book of Mormon had been written.

“You liar!” shouted the landlord. “Get out of my house. You shan’t stay one minute with your books.”

Hungry and sick at heart, Samuel walked another five miles along the dusty road. He finally spent the night “upon the cold, damp ground,” under an apple tree.

Two weeks later, when Samuel again passed the inn, he saw a sign, “Small Pox” upon it. He was told that the keeper and two of his family had died; however, no one else in the village had come down with the sickness.

The Youngs and the Kimballs Converted. Samuel returned home feeling that his mission had been a failure. he still had all of his books but two – one of these he had given to a poor widow who fed him; the other he had left with a new friend named Reverend John P. Green, who at first did not believe Samuel’s story about the Book of Mormon.

A short while later Reverend Green read the book prayerfully and was then sure it held the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He then gave it to his brother-in-law, Phineas H. Young, who handed it to Brigham Young. He in turn read and believed, and passed the book on until it reached Heber C. Kimball. that one book brought a testimony to four great men. Within two years they and their families were all baptized. In later years, some of these men became leaders in the Church.

Persecution at Harmony. About four months after Joseph had formed the true Church, a preach at Harmony began to stir up trouble for the Prophet. he told Emma’s father and mother many false stories about the Book of Mormon, and the new Church and the Prophet. Mr. Hale believed what the preacher told him, then he and his wife turned against Joseph and Emma.

When this happened, the Whitmers invited the Prophet to bring Emma and live with them at Fayette, New York.

A day or so later, Joseph Knight loaded Joseph’s belongings into his large wagon and they started for the Whitmer home, over a hundred miles northward. After three hot days of dusty travel, Joseph and Emma were happy to be unloaded into the friendly arms of the Whitmer family.

A Campbellite Preacher Reads the Book of Mormon. During the summer of 1830, a Campbellite preacher named Parley P. Pratt felt in his heart a great desire to go eastward on a preaching tour for the church.

Parley traveled three hundred miles from his home in Ohio and reached the western part of New York State. There he met a Baptist minister who told him of a strange book which had just been published.

Parley wanted to see the book, so the minister told him that if he would call back the next morning a copy of the book would be there for Parley to read. The next morning Parley saw the Book of Mormon for the first time; as he read, the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he knew that the book was true.

Parley soon located the Hyrum Smith home and spent most of the night listening to Hyrum as he explained the Gospel.

A few days later, Parley was ready to be baptized, so the two men walked twenty-five miles to the Whitmer home to have a talk with Oliver Cowdery. After talking with Oliver and the Whitmers in the very room where the church had been formed, Parley asked Oliver to baptize him.

Parley P. Pratt became a member of the Church and was ordained an elder in it; then the future apostle started for the East to visit his brother, parents, and relatives in his original home. Another future apostle and leader was added to the Church when Orson Pratt was baptized by his brother Parley.

Four Elders to Preach to the Indians. The Church was about six months old when the Lord called the elders to go and preach to the Indians on the western border of the United States, near Independence, Missouri. Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson were the elders named to make the journey.

The Four Elders Reach Kirtland, Ohio. Parley P. Pratt had been a Campbellite preacher at Kirtland before he found the Book of Mormon. He and Pastor Sidney Rigdon had brought many people into the Campbellite church. Therefore, as soon as Parley, with the three other elders, reached the Kirtland district, they went at once to the home of Sidney Rigdon.

Pastor Rigdon welcomed Parley and his companions; they spent some time telling him about a church having the Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, and other sacred gifts and blessings. Sidney was greatly interested when Parley, who was one of Sidney’s dearest friends, told how he had been baptized into this new Church.

When the elders first showed Sidney the Book of Mormon, he said that he had the word of God in the Bible and was doubtful about the Book of Mormon. However, he promised to read the book and find out its value. Within two weeks or so he was baptized. In the same period a total of [****?] people were baptized in the area. Before six months had passed, about a thousand people had been baptized in the Kirtland district.

John Whitmer was sent from Fayette to take charge of the growing Church at Kirtland. Then the missionaries resumed their journey westward, taking with them a new convert made in the Kirtland area, Dr. Frederick G. Williams.

Elder Pratt says that the last three hundred miles of their journey was “through trackless wilds of snow – no beaten roads; houses few and far between. … We carried on our backs our changes of clothing, several books, and corn bread and raw pork. We often ate our frozen bread and pork by the way, when the bread would be so frozen that we could not bite … any part of it but the outside crust.”

Preaching to the Indians. At Independence, Missouri, on the western border of the United States, two of the elders found work as tailors. the other three went a few miles westward and began holding meetings with the great Delaware Chief Anderson and some forty of his men. This fine-looking Indian chief stood at the head of “ten nations of Indians” in that country.

The elders showed these men the Book of Mormon and told them that it was a true history of their fathers. After they had talked to the Indians, they gave a Book of Mormon to Chief Anderson.

The chief accepted the book and said, “We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far, and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,” (placing his hand on his heart).

“We continued for several days to instruct the old chief and many of his tribe,” says Elder Pratt. “… At length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt Third Edition, pages 52-57. Deseret Book Co., 1933.)

When the news about the success of the elders reached the ears of the government officials in charge of Indian affairs, they ordered the elders off the Indian grounds. This put a stop at that time to the Indian mission. And the elders returned to Independence.

Elder Pratt Travels Alone. Toward the middle of February, 1831, a council meeting of the five elders was held at Independence. It was decided that Parley should return and report to the Prophet.

Winter was just breaking up, with plenty of snow, sleet, and rain, yet parley started on foot. In nine days, he had walked three hundred miles to St. Louis. Here he took a steamer to Cincinnati, then walked another two hundred and fifty miles to Kirtland. There he met the Prophet and Emma, for they had moved to Kirtland from New York State.

Parley was very happy to learn that more than a thousand people had now joined the church, and that the Gospel was spreading on every side.

Activities and Applications

1. Students might re-enact spontaneously their versions of Samuel Smith’s missionary experience in which the innkeeper and four great men were involved. Choose students to represent Samuel, the innkeeper, Reverend Green, Phineas H. Young, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball. give Samuel a sack of copies of the Book of Mormon and a card labeled “Samuel Smith.” (have a length of string tied to the corners of the card so that it can go around Samuel’s neck. Provide similar cards for each of the other characters. These should be prepared in advance of class time.)

Without any rehearsal ask students to act out Samuel’s missionary experiences.

2. At the end of the lesson presentation and just before the conclusion of the class period, ask your student helper of last week to open the box labeled “The Gospel” and to give each student a cookie or piece of cake. Explain that these are gospel cookies or that this is a piece of Gospel cake being shared with them. Put over the idea that sharing the gospel with others is important. Implant deeply in the minds of youngsters the thought that it is a responsibility of members of the church like themselves to share the Gospel with others.

3. Discuss ways in which class members can share the gospel. Probably the most significant outgrowth of this discussion should be a new conviction on the part of students that the best way to share the Gospel with others is through a good example. if young people and all of us can live the Gospel and radiate its effect in our lives we automatically share it with everyone we meet. We need no formal call to be missionaries. Each of us is a missionary by his example.

4. Read from the Enrichment Section the short accounts of missionary experiences in various lands.

5. Point out that the world and the universe in which we live are a world and universe that share Each tree and flower, each star and mountain, each stream and canyon shares something with us. people, too, are a sharing people. Show clearly that life would be poor indeed, if not impossible, if it were not for the things that others share with us.

We receive so much from our Father in heaven. Is it not then our specific responsibility, being members of the Church, to share the gospel and the best of ourselves with others?

6. Encourage and help students to memorize “I, Too, Will Share,” from the enrichment Section.

7. Class members might sing together, “Sharing Makes It So.”

8. Help students carry into the home the concept of sharing. Focus attention on the sharing that their parents do with them. Perhaps students could make a list of ways in which they might share with other members of the family, or a list of things parents share with them, or a list of ways in which they can improve sharing at home.

9. Encourage students to draw pictures to represent Parley P. Pratt traveling alone from Independence to Kirtland, or some other event in the lesson.

10. Some student with a special interest in Indians may enjoy working on a report to be given later on “Missionary Work Among the Indians Today.”


1. Who was the first missionary for the Church?
2. How many miles did he walk the first day of his mission?
3. Who was not very friendly to him?
4. Where did Samuel sleep on his first night as a missionary?
5. Two weeks later, how did Samuel feel about his mission?
6. Who believed Samuel’s story about the Book of Mormon?
7. To whom did each of the following men pass the Book of Mormon: Reverend John P. Green, Phineas H. Young, and Brigham Young?
8. How many people do you suppose joined the church because of that one Book of Mormon?
9. Who invited Joseph and Emma to come and stay with them after Emma’s folks turned against the Prophet?
10. What Campbellite preacher first joined the Church? (think of three “P’s”.)
11. What was the name of Parley P. Pratt’s brother?
12. Four elders were called to preach to what people on the western border of the United States?
13. What friend of Elder Pratt’s was converted at Kirtland?
14. After six months how many members were there in the Kirtland district?
15. What group of Indians did the elders preach to?
16. Why did the leaders stop doing missionary work among the Indians?
17. About how many miles did Parley P. Pratt walk between Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio?
18. Why did Parley go back to kirtland?
19. Who had moved to Kirtland by this time?


Farewell to Familiar Scenes. As the horses and wagon pulled onto the highway, Emma waved a sad farewell to her home as well as to that of her parents – lovely places she was never to enjoy any more. And as far as we know, she never saw her parents again in this life.

There to the southward a few hundred paces ran the beautiful Susquehanna River. Along its banks she had strolled as a girl, and later with her sweetheart, the Prophet.

Eastward a hundred steps from the home lay the cemetery. her only child, her baby boy, was there. And from where she rode, she could see the little mound, silent and lonesome. Never again, when the evening sun hung low, would she cover it with wild flowers.

And little did she dream, as the wagon jolted northward, that eight months from then, she would be weeping at the graves of twin babies, born at Kirtland, Ohio, four hundred miles away across a frontier country.

Joseph Also Looks Back. Here on the thirteen-acre farm that Joseph had bought from his father-in-law he had made a pleasant home. And it was here that he had translated most of the Book of Mormon. here also he had received several visits from the angel Moroni. here he had received fifteen revelations.

Near the river, during the glorious visions, he had been visited by heavenly angels 9by John the Baptist first and later by Peter, James and John) who gave him and Oliver the Priesthood. In the river, he and Oliver had been baptized, and then the Holy Ghost had rested upon them.

To the northward he could see the place where he had helped Mr. Stoal dig for a “lost silver mine.” And across the field was the Hale home, where he had first met Emma, who now rode by his side, willing to give up her home and loved ones for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon to Convert the Indians. In the Book of Mormon several prophets said that this sacred book would be carried to the Lamanites (or Red Indians) and that many of them would be converted and baptized into the true Church of Christ. These prophets also said that the children and grandchildren of the faithful red men would lose their dark skin and become white and beautiful.

Zit was to help make these promises come true that the four elders walked westward day afer day in cold, winter weather.


The story is told about an Englishman who bought a farm in Utah, Davis County. he was not a member of the church, but all his neighbors were, and when they m et this English neighbor they did not want to impress their religion on him, so they passed the time of day and talked about current events.

Finally, one of these neighbors was called on a mission to great Britain. While he was over there, his English friend decided to go back to visit his relatives in England. while there one evening he picked up a newspaper in which he read an announcement about a Mormon Conference to be held. “Everyone invited – no collection,” read the advertisement.

“Well,” the visiting Englishman told his relatives, “afer living among them for all these years, I do not know a thing about what they believe. I think I’ll go and listen to them.”

So he went, and to his surprise, the principal speaker that evening was his next-door neighbor in Davis county. He had to go all the way back to Great Britain to get that neighbor to tell him about the “marvelous work and a wonder” that the Lord had set his hand to do in our day.

– LeGrand Richards, Story Sermons, Albert L. Zobell, p. 67.


During his mission to Hawaii, George Q. Cannon worked among extremely poverty-stricken people. Not wishing to be a burden on them, he avoided eating any food which he thought they might need.

Instead he ate “wild” potatoes which had a very distasteful flavor owing to the warm climate. Since there was no salt available at that time, Elder Cannon poured molasses over the potatoes for flavoring. The molasses-covered potatoes along with several other foods which were equally distasteful made up Elder Cannon’s daily diet.

While some might find working under these conditions extremely trying, such was not the case with this stalwart missionary. Elder Cannon wrote, “I learned … that there is a happiness which the servants and Sons of God can have that is not of earth, and that is not in the least dependent for its existence upon the possession of food, raiment or any earthly thing.”

Elder Cannon was ordained a member of the Council of the Twelve apostles August 26, 1860, and later served in the First presidency.

– Material from My First Mission by George Q. Cannon, Quoted in The Instructor, Nov. 1956, p. 330.


And because my words shall hiss forth – many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. – II Nephi 29:3.


My life is good, and sweet and full of joy.
Because of the sharing that others do
I, too, will share the best of what I am
And will show through example that the Gospel’s true.


(Sing as a round. Tune: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”)

Share, share, share our light
Everywhere we go.
Joyful-ly, mak-ing-this, good world-a, bet-ter-place
Sharing makes it so.



  1. In the 1940 Sunday School lesson, I thought it interesting that the manual seems to read like a script for the teacher to read verbatim to the class: “A week ago we talked of . . .”

    I found the emphasis on “sharing” the Gospel in the 1968 children’s lesson to be enlightening.

    Also, I was interested to see the high level of retention expected on the part of the children in that lesson. As an adult, I would have a very difficult time responding to the questions in that quiz (e.g., “How many days did Samuel [Smith] walk the first day of his mission?”).

    And, (Warning: snarky comment), regarding “These prophets also said that the children and grandchildren of the faithful red men would lose their dark skin and become white and beautiful.”

    So, which is it? Red skin or dark skin? C’mon, people! Check your color wheels: the opposite of dark is indeed light, but the opposite of red is blue!

    Comment by Hunter — March 9, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  2. You actually read all these, Hunter? Then it was worthwhile typing them.

    I decided that I wouldn’t change these lessons, no matter how outdated some wording might be. This is as good a place as any to make the point that no matter how enamored of the past I may be, I’m not presenting these lessons as necessarily superior to the current ones, just hoping that the contrast might spark some thought or that teachers will find other stories or questions to bring up — your “color wheel” remark lets me know that you get that point very well! Thanks.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 9, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  3. And you actually type them out by hand? You are a work horse! I had assumed you were scanning text in on all these. The occasional slight typo made me wonder if you weren’t actually typing every word…eek.

    Comment by Hunter — March 9, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  4. Naw — Keepa is 100% homemade. Those aren’t typos, they’re, uh, “marks of handicraft.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 9, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  5. Ardis,

    Loved your last comment.

    Is it possible for you to include these, easily accessible, on your topical guide? Like you did with the Centennial Lessons?

    Comment by m&m — March 9, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  6. m&m, they’re there, but probably not where you expect to find them. They’re in the first section on “‘Doing’ History” — I’ve modified the titles there slightly to reflect the title of the current Gospel Doctrine lesson rather than just a generic lesson number.

    Hurray! Somebody is using the Topical Guide!!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 9, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  7. Ah, thanks. I wondered if maybe I was missing something. :)

    Comment by m&m — March 9, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI