Doctrine & Covenants Lesson 33 (D&C 88)
THE LIGHT OF CHRIST
● D&C 88:6–10 All things are controlled and governed by the Light of Christ.
— This is “ the light of truth” (v. 6).
— It is the power by which the sun, moon, stars, and earth were made and which gives them light (vv. 7–10).
● D&C 88:11 The light of Christ is the same that gives us sight and understanding.
● D&C 88:12 It “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.”
● D&C 88:13 It is the source of life for all living things.
● D&C 88:13 It is the “law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne.”
REDEMPTION AND RESURRECTION
● D&C 88:14 The resurrection comes through the redemption of Jesus Christ.
● D&C 88:15–17 The soul consists of the spirit and the body, and resurrection brings about the redemption of the soul, which comes through Jesus Christ.
CELESTIAL, TERRESTRIAL, AND TELESTIAL LAW
● D&C 88:18–20 If a soul is “sanctified from all unrighteousness” it is “prepared for . . . celestial glory” and will be “crowned with glory . . [and] the presence of God the Father.” Such souls will possess the celestial kingdom forever.
● D&C 88:21 Others who “are not sanctified through the . . . the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.”
● D&C 88:22–24 Souls cannot inherit a kingdom for which they do not qualify. Those who do not qualify for even a telestial kingdom “must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory” (v. 24).
● D&C 88:25 The earth abides a celestial law and, after dying, will be resurrected as a place that celestial souls can inherit.
OUR BODIES IN THE RESURRECTION
● D&C 88:27 After death, all people will rise in the resurrection with a “spiritual body” (one that cannot die again).
● D&C 88:28–31 Souls will rise with a body commensurate with the life they lived on earth (celestial bodies for celestial souls, terrestrial bodies for terrestrial souls, and telestial bodies for telestial souls).
● D&C 88:32–35 Those who do qualify for any kingdom of glory will “remain filthy still” (v. 35) after resurrection because “they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (v. 32).
● D&C 88:36–39 All kingdoms are governed by law (v. 36). There are kingdoms everywhere throughout space, either greater or lesser in glory (v. 37). “And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions” (v. 38). Souls who inherit these kingdoms will do so by means of their righteousness and the laws of the kingdom they inherit (v. 39).
● D&C 88:40–41 All of this is done according to the principles of justice and mercy, which are upheld by God and His Son throughout the universe.
LAWS OF THE PLANETS AND STARS
● D&C 88:42–45 God has “given a law unto all things [in the universe], by which they move in their times and their seasons” (v. 42). “Their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth . . . and all the planets” (v. 43). “They give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years” (v. 44). “The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God” (v. 45).
● D&C 88:47 “Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.”
WE SHALL EVENTUALLY COMPREHEND GOD
● D&C 88:48–50 The people of the earth did not comprehend Christ or his mission (v. 48). But the day will come when we shall “comprehend even God, being quickened (made alive again) in him and by him” (v. 49). “Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light.” (v. 50).
● D&C 88:62–65 God gives us this knowledge so that we might “ponder in [our] hearts” and learn to “call upon [Him] while [He is] near” (v. 62). “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (v. 63). Whatever righteous thing we ask of Him he will given to us, but if we ask for things that are not righteous it “turn unto your condemnation” (vv. 64–65).
● D&C 88:66–67 “My voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound. And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
● D&C 88:68 If “your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.”
THE SCHOOL OF THE PROPHETS
● A Solemn Assembly (D&C 88:70, 74, 117).
The Lord instructed the elders to call a “solemn assembly” and to sanctify and purify themselves, that they might receive knowledge. This was the nature of the “School of the Prophets” the Lord wanted to establish among them.
● D&C 88:74–76 Sanctify yourselves, becoming “clean from the blood of this wicked generation” (vv. 74–75). “Continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth” (v. 76).
● How the School of the Prophets Functioned
— The School of the Prophets was organized 22 January 1833, less than four weeks after section 88 had directed its establishment. In accordance with the instructions in this revelation, all who participated in the school were admitted by receiving the ordinance of the washing of feet, symbolizing their being clean from the sins of the world. (D&C 88:74, 138–139).1
— The Setting for the School. According to President Brigham Young, the school of the prophets met in a small room, about ten by fourteen feet, situated above Joseph Smith’s kitchen at the back of Newel K. Whitney’s store.2
— A specific greeting ritual and covenant was used (D&C 88:132–137).
— Sessions began about sunrise and continued until about 4:00 M. Those attending were instructed to bathe, put on clean linen, and come to school fasting.
— In this school, the leaders of the Church were instructed in Gospel doctrine, the affairs of the Church, and other matters. They were to prepare for Church leadership and missionary service.
— Significant spiritual manifestations blessed meetings of the School of the Prophets. The following occurred when the First presidency was organized during one of the school’s sessions:
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“March 18.—Great joy and satisfaction continually beamed in the countenances of the School of the Prophets, and the Saints, on account of the things revealed, and our progress in the knowledge of God. The high priests assembled in the school room of the Prophets, and were organized according to revelation. . . .
“Elder Rigdon expressed a desire that himself and Brother Frederick G. Williams should be ordained to the offices to which they had been called, viz., those of Presidents of the high priesthood, and to be equal in holding the keys of the kingdom with Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., according to the revelation given on the 8th of March, 1833 [D&C 90:6]. Accordingly I laid my hands on Brothers Sidney and Frederick, and ordained them to take part with me in holding the keys of this last kingdom, and to assist in the Presidency of the high priesthood, as my Counselors; after which I exhorted the brethren to faithfulness and diligence in keeping the commandments of God, and gave much instruction for the benefit of the Saints, with a promise that the pure in heart should see a heavenly vision; and after remaining a short time in secret prayer, the promise was verified; for many present had the eyes of their understanding, opened by the Spirit of God, so as to behold many things. I then blessed the bread and wine, and distributed a portion to each. Many of the brethren saw a heavenly vision of the Savior, and concourses of angels, and many other things, of which each one has a record of what he saw.”3
● D&C 88:77–80 What We Should Study and Learn
● “Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (v. 77). “Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted Matt. 11:29 (“learn of me”), then said, “I should like to suggest that you follow that injunction given by the Son of God. With all of your learning, learn of him. With all of your study, seek knowledge of the Master. That knowledge will complement in a wonderful way the secular training you receive and give a fulness to your life and character that can come in no other way.”4
President Thomas S. Monson said, “A . . . hallmark of a happy home is discovered when home is a library of learning. . . .The Lord counseled, `Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith’ (D&C 88:118). The standard works offer the library of learning of which I speak. We must be careful not to underestimate the capacity of children to read and to understand the word of God.”5
— Other branches of knowledge are also important—astronomy, geology, history, culture, foreign affairs, and more (D&C 90:15; D&C 93:53).
● D&C 88:80–82 Why We Should Study and Learn
— To magnify our callings, especially in missionary work but also as parents, in church callings, and in service to our fellow men. We are to seek seriously, through study and faith, to be “prepared in all things.”
— To go forth and preach—warn the people, that they might be left without excuse
President Brigham Young said, “Our education should be such as to improve our minds and fit us for increased usefulness; to make us of greater service to the human family.”6
Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. . . . Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves.”7
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your [children] to gain an education which will bless their lives.”8
● D&C 88:118 “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
● How We Should Learn
— By study and faith (D&C 88:118). Both are required in order to learn. Learning by faith is based on the premise that God knows all things and will reveal eternal truths to his children if they diligently seek them.
Elder Marion G. Romney said, “I believe in study. I believe that men learn much through study. . . . I also believe, however, and know, that learning by study is greatly accelerated by faith.”9
President Harold B. Lee said, “Learning by faith requires the bending of the whole soul through worthy living to become attuned to the Holy Spirit of the Lord.”10
— Through consistent and diligent effort. There is a real difference between mere reading and a diligent, systematic study effort.
— Out of the best books. The Lord wants us to read good literature.
President John Taylor said, “We ought to foster education and intelligence of every kind; cultivate literary tastes, and men of literary and scientific talent should. improve that talent; and all should magnify the gifts which God has given unto them. . . . If there is anything good and praiseworthy in morals, religion, science, or anything calculated to exalt and ennoble man, we are after it. But with all our getting, we want to get understanding, and that understanding which flows from God.”11
President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“You know that your children will read. They will read books and they will read magazines and newspapers. Cultivate within them a taste for the best. While they are very young, read to them the great stories which have become immortal because of the virtues they teach. Expose them to good books. Let there be a corner somewhere in your house, be it ever so small, where they will see at least a few books of the kind upon which great minds have been nourished.
“Let there be good magazines about the house, those which are produced by the Church and by others, which will stimulate their thoughts to ennobling concepts. Let them read a good family newspaper that they may know what Is going on in the world without being exposed to the debasing advertising and writing so widely found.”12
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Today, with the abundance of books available, it is the mark of a truly educated man to know what not to read. . . . Feed only on the best. As John Wesley’s mother counseled him: ‘Avoid whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, . . . increases the authority of the body over the mind.'”13
● How the gospel should be taught (D&C 88:122). Rather than lectures or sermons, gospel teaching should be a collaborative discussion—”that all may be edified of all.”
THE COMMANDMENT TO BUILD A TEMPLE
● D&C 88:119 “Establish a house.” The temple was to be a place of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, and order—a house of God. This was fulfilled with the erection of the Kirtland Temple. These qualities, however, can also be applied to our present meetinghouses and even to our homes.
Elder John A. Widtsoe said, “The temple is a place of instruction. Here the principles of the gospel are reviewed and pro-found truths of the kingdom of God are unfolded. If we enter the temple in the right spirit and are attentive, we go out enriched in gospel knowledge and wisdom.”14
Elder Boyd K. Packer said:
“The temple is a great school. It is a house of learning. In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction in matters that are deeply spiritual. . . .
“The temple ceremony will not be fully understood at first experience. It will only be partly understood. Return again and again and again. Return to learn. Things that have troubled you or things that have been puzzling or things that have been mysterious will become known to you. Many of them will be the quiet, personal things that you really cannot explain to anyone else. But to you they are things known.
“So look toward the temple. Point your children toward the temple. From the days of their infancy, direct their attention to it, and begin their preparation for the day when they may enter the holy temple. In the meantime, be teachable yourself, be reverent. Drink deeply from the teachings—the symbolic, deeply spiritual teachings—available only in the temple.”15
President Ezra Taft Benson asked, “Do we return to the temple often to receive the personal blessings that come from regular temple worship? Prayers are answered, revelation occurs, and instruction by the Spirit takes place in the holy temples of the Lord.”16
1. History of the Church, 1:323.
2. In Journal of Discourses, 12:157.
3. History of the Church, 1:334–335.
4. In Conference Report, Oct. 1964, 118; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1964, 1092.
5. In Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 81–82; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 70.
6. Discourses of President Brigham Young, sel. Elder John A. Widtsoe , 255.
7. In Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 5; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 6.
8. “Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 4.
9. Learning for the Eternities, 72.
10. In Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 94.
11. The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham , 277.
12. In Conference Report, Oct. 1975, 57–58.
13. “In His Steps,” in 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year , 61.
14. “Looking toward the Temple,” Ensign, Jan. 1972, 56–57.
15. The Holy Temple [pamphlet, 1982], 6–8.
16. In Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 98; or Ensign, May 1988, 85.