How are you going to teach lesson 31 for Gospel Doctrine?

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I am directing this question to all the Gospel Doctrine instructors out there. How are you planning to discuss lesson 31 on celestial marriage?

I’ve gone through the manual several times, but it seems pretty empty scripturally, especially considering much of D&C 132 seems to be about plural marriage. I prefer using exclusively scriptures in my lesson and try to get away from using too many quotes.

In addition, I like to make my lesson practical and personally applicable. I’m not sure how discussing the post-mortal rewards of celestial marriage has any real benefit to people, especially when most of the class members already know it.

I’m considering using the first four verses of D&C 131 as a jumping point to other scriptures that discuss how we should conduct ourselves in marriage.

How about you?

16 thoughts on “How are you going to teach lesson 31 for Gospel Doctrine?

  1. I know how I would be tempted to teach it if I were a GD instructor, but that’s likely the very reason that I’m not a GD instructor. :)

  2. I co-teach Gospel Doctrine with a brother who is divorced, I’m married with a husband who is currently disaffected from the Church. I always teach the lessons very candidly from my thought perspective and so does my co-teacher. I will be teaching lesson 31. As with all lessons, I will rely on the manual and the scriptures heavily. I also never shy away from the history of polygamy-there is a lot there that actually benefits our discussions in terms of faithful members ever striving to follow the commandments and make their way to the celestial kingdom. As a lawyer, I love to parse the D & C, and there is a lot of good information in Section 132. Don’t be afraid of it. I have my own ongoing testimony of Celestial Marriage and the refining power of attempting to live one’s marriage in such a way that the holy spirit of promise could be there . . . and that’s enough for me. I will share that with my class.

  3. Section 132 is NOT exclusively about plural marriage. It is about the new and everlasting covenant.

    If you read section 132 without equating the new and everlasting covenant to plural marriage you will read get closer to its meaning, I think.

    The Doctrine and covenants Institute student manual for section 132 [1] makes contains this possible division within section 132.

    Smith and Sjodahl pointed out that the revelation has two major sections: “The first, comprising vv. 3–33 , deals mainly with the principle of celestial marriage, or marriage for time and all eternity; the second , comprising the remaining verses, deals with plural marriage. The doctrine of celestial marriage remains in force; the practice of plural marriage was abandoned by the acceptance by the Church, in Conference assembled October 6th, 1890, of the Manifesto of President Woodruff.” (Commentary, p. 821; also see Historical Background on Official Declaration 1 .)


  4. Since you sort of asked, the temptation I would have would be to frame the idea of Celestial marriage as the “loss-leader” that brought in customers for the big plural marriage promotion.

  5. We had that lesson last Sunday, and we read a lot straight out of the scriptures, people taking turns, it was nice for a change.

  6. It went very well. Our teacher and other class members spoke about their gratitude for their own eternal marriages. A single sister said while she has a testimony of eternal marriage (she’s divorced) it really stinks when you don’t have one. Our teacher acknowledged that it does indeed stink and didn’t try to minimize that sister’s experience/feelings. It was very frank and very real and with the combination of that and the generous reading of the actual scriptures, the Spirit was very strong.

    Our teacher also told some true stories about people she personally knew, or knew of, who had lost a spouse shortly after being sealed. It wasn’t in a let’s-scare-you-into-the-temple sort of way, but she shared the testimonies of those people and the comfort they received from the doctrine and the Spirit.

  7. Hi all, I just stumbled onto this and I am thankful. I teach a youth Gospel Doctrine class and I have been struggling with what to do about this lesson. I don’t mind talking about plural marriage but I don’t want that to be the focus of the lesson.

    I am thinking that I will start with verses 19 to 21

    19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
    20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
    21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.

    and use it to have every student in the class talk about what they think is the most interesting part or the most important part.

    I always try to add in basic historical context but I am not sure whether I should indicate that the letter was prompted by Hyrum to get Joseph to write down the commandment so that Hyrum could take it to Emmas and help her to understand plural marriage. I kind of like the idea because I think it is important that teenagers learn that Joseph did indeed have plural wives within a faithful context and not from antagonistic sources.

    What do you think

  8. I’ve been milling over how I am going to teach this for weeks. I teach in a singles ward to mostly grad students and professionals in their late 20’s. Being one of them, I know marriage is a touchy subject and one I try to avoid at all costs ;-)

    I am planning to start with more background about Nauvoo, where Joseph was, the political climate in the state, how many members of the church were gathering there, where they were at with their temple construction etc. etc. etc. From there we will talk about Celestial marriage, read passages mostly focusing on the Holy Spirit of Promise and having your calling and election made sure, I think I may also dabble in verses 5-8 of section 131 (although not in the lesson) and talk about man being saved in ignorance and spiritual matter. As none of us are married, I think it best to talk about preparation, and open the discussion to how to avoid having a jaded outlook, and how class members keep Faith in the Lord’s timing. We’ll see how much they can take of that, and then I want to briefly touch on Joseph Smiths presidential candidacy and set the stage for the next lesson on the martyrdom.

  9. MZav

    Looks like a workable plan to me, mine went fine with the teenagers, we got a lot of history in sideways and discussed the idea of godhood and what that might mean.

    Should we start a thread on Lesson 32 do you think?

  10. We had a really great lesson in our class today.. never even mentioned plural marriages whatsoever. The instructor asked a couple of different people (different ages, different sexes) of how they felt the day they met and how that differed from the day they were sealed in the temple either by marriage or as a sealing (for converts etc). Then we covered what can happen in our every day lives that can/will interfere with our goals of celestial marriages. He asked the men first and then the women to give examples. He then asked for our interpretation of what it would be like to live in an ideal world with regards to eternal families. The time just flew. Lots of class participation. He touched on D&C 88 as well as D&C 132 vs 19-22. We have a new instructor. He had been called just before we went on holidays so this was the first time I actually attended his class.

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