Have you ever been to Ohio
This lesson gives students a brief overview of time in Ohio. In December 1830, the Saints are commanded to move to Ohio (see D&C 37: 3) and in January 1831 they are promised that if they obeyed they should be "endowed with power from on high" (D&C 38: 32).
Those who gather in Ohio are richly blessed. Continuing revelation leads to a better understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They also receive the blessings that come with temple building and gospel preaching. As the Ohio Church grows in number and spirit, so does opposition to the Church and its leaders. The Prophet Joseph Smith lived in Kirtland from January 1831 to January 1838.
Suggestions for teaching
Use scripture resources
Summaries of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants, cards, and the chronological order of their contents help you understand the scriptures and history. Encourage students to use these resources as they study to help them better understand the historical context of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Kirtland - an overview
Opposition and apostasy are troubling Ohio believers
After students complete the above activity, explain that the Ohio Saints were richly blessed by the Lord on one side, while Satan was increasing his opposition to the Church on the other. Upon the arrival of the members, the Church in Kirtland was immediately attacked by opponents and critics.
Have a student read aloud the following statement by Joseph Smith regarding these circumstances:
"Many false reports, lies and foolish stories have been published in the newspapers and circulated in every direction to prevent people from engaging with this work or joining this belief."History of the Church, 1:158.)
Explain that some of these heinous accounts came from those who had turned their backs on the Church for some reason. For example, in September 1831, a former member named Ezra Booth tried to prevent people from joining the Church. To this end, he published nine letters in which he presented his criticism of the Church (see Documents, Volume 1: July 1828 - June 1831, Volume 1 of the series "Documents" of the Joseph Smith Papers, 2013, page 203f .; see also The history of the Church in the fullness of times, Guide for the Participant, page 109f.). These reports increased hostility towards the Church. Hostility from such influences sometimes degenerated into violence, especially towards the prophet and other Church leaders.
In such an incident, on about the night of March 24, 1832, a mob of 25 to 30 men attacked the home of the John Johnson family in Ohio, where Joseph and Emma Smith lived. The men overpowered Joseph Smith and dragged him out into the night. They choked him, stripped him and tried to forcibly pour a bottle of acid into his mouth. They knocked out a tooth, and from then on he lisped something as he spoke. Then they left him covered with tar and feathers. When Joseph gained some strength, he dragged himself back into the house. When he got to the door and Emma saw him smeared with tar she thought it was blood and passed out. Friends spent the rest of the night removing the tar. The next day, a Sunday, Joseph preached a sermon that was attended by some of the mob. After the sermon, Joseph Smith baptized three people (see History of the Church, 1:261–265).
The excitement over the violence left the front door open long, and Joseph Murdock Smith's son, who had measles, caught a "bad cold" and died five days later. That same night, Sidney Rigdon was also dragged out of his house by the feet. His head was badly injured from the impact on the frozen ground, and he suffered from feverish fantasies for several days (see History of the Church, 1:265).
Despite these and other difficulties, the Saints continued to gather in Kirtland, especially between 1836 and 1838. However, the persecution became so severe in the winter of 1837 and spring of 1838 that most of the members had to leave Ohio. Some Church leaders, including Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Brigham Young, were forced to flee Kirtland to save their lives.
End the lesson by testifying that the Lord has abundantly blessed the faithful despite the severe trials and persecution of the Kirtland Church.
Additional suggestions for teaching
Show the “The Heart and a Willing Mind” video. The students gain an insight into the mission of Heber C. Kimball and his colleagues in England. This video is available on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Illustrations DVD set and is also available on LDS.org. The film shows the difficult circumstances under which Heber C. Kimball is called to serve in England and how he fulfills that calling in faith.
Show excerpts from the film Joseph Smith - the Prophet of the Restoration. Students are shown the difficulties members faced in Ohio in 1831 and 1832. This film can be found at mormonchannel.org. Part of the film shows Joseph Smith being attacked by the mob. This incident is discussed in the lesson. The part that best fits this lesson starts at about 25:30 minutes and goes until about 28:00. If time permits, you can also show the next approximately seven minutes from the film to give the students an insight into life in Kirtland at that time - about the leadership positions and the construction of the Kirtland Temple. The film also shows how the members were persecuted, which ultimately led to the decision to leave Kirtland.
The Lord commands the Saints to gather in Ohio to receive promised blessings
You can start the class with this activity:
Ask students if their family has moved before. Invite those who answered yes to share some details about their move. Ask these questions:
When did you move? What was difficult about it? What positive effects did the move have on your life?
Emphasize that people move for very different reasons, but that many people make sacrifices to move to where they ultimately hope for a better life.
Invite students to share what they remember from Doctrine and Covenants 37–38. What happened after the command that members move out of New York and move to Ohio? Share that in this lesson, students will learn about the blessings the Lord has promised. What Should Members Earn in Ohio? How did this promise come true?
The following activity is designed to provide students with a brief overview of the history of the Church in Ohio. Help students also understand what the Lord did to prepare members for the blessings they were about to receive in Ohio. Before class begins, write this overview on the board, but leave the fields in the “Promise” and “Fulfillment” columns blank.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 38:32 aloud. Invite others to read along and see what promises the Lord made to the Saints after they arrived in Ohio.
What two blessings did the Lord want to give the members after they arrived in Ohio?
Ask a student to list the answers in the column Promise to stick to the blackboard.
Explain that the Lord also said he would send missionaries from Ohio to preach the gospel. Invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 38:33 aloud. Invite the class to read along and see where the Lord wanted to send them.
Where did the Lord want to send the missionaries?
Have a student write down the answers on the board in the column Promise write.
Write on the board: D&C 42, 71, 75, 80, 109, 110. Divide the class into pairs and explain that each section of the Doctrine and Covenants you wrote on the chalkboard represents the fulfillment of one of the three promises the Lord made to members in connection with moving to Ohio . Invite the groups to read the introduction and summary of the section for each of the revelations. Have them identify the promise to which the passage relates.
Give students enough time, then ask them which paragraphs correspond to which promise. Enter the answers in the overview on the board.
Explain that shortly after Joseph Smith arrived in Ohio, the Lord revealed Doctrine and Covenants 42. Invite students to scan Doctrine and Covenants 42:61 to look for other promises the Lord made to the Saints. After students have replied, write "Revelation after revelation" in the column Promise alongside D&C 42:61. Tell students that in this lesson they will learn more about how this promise began to be fulfilled.
What does this scripture activity teach you about the Lord and His promises? (Have students say something like this: The Lord keeps his promises to those who keep his commandments.)
When have you seen a promise from the Lord come true?
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