Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeFHE LessonsDoctrine and Covenants FHE Lesson – The Prisoners Shall Go Free

Doctrine and Covenants FHE Lesson – The Prisoners Shall Go Free

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People who have died before having a chance to accept the gospel and be baptized are sort of like righteous people who have been sent to prison. They are unable to progress to live with God because they haven’t received the saving ordinance of baptism. How does God provide a way for these “prisoners” to go free?



Doctrine and Covenants 128:22

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.



Family History—I Am Doing It | Children’s Songbook pg. 24

1. Fam’ly history—I am doing it,
My fam’ly history.
And the love I feel when I’m doing it
Is very sweet to me.
I learn stories of my progenitors;
I write their history.
I keep records of my loved ones
On my own fam’ly tree.

2. Fam’ly living now and the ones who’ve died
Can all be sealed to me,
And someday I’ll meet ev’ry one of them,
I’m sure as I can be.
Oh what joy we’ll have when they say to me,
“We’re all a family.
I am yours and you are mine now,
Through all eternity.




Read: Joseph Smith knew from a young boy the importance of being baptized. It was one of the things that prodded him to pray in the Sacred Grove because he knew he should be baptized, but didn’t know how or into which church. Watch this video to learn how and why Jesus was baptized.

Read: Joseph learned how important baptism is, but only many years after his dear brother Alvin had already died.

Ask: How do you think Joseph felt that he and his family had been baptized, but his brother Alvin had not been baptized?

Read: Joseph might have felt like Alvin was locked up—like he was in prison and couldn’t get out.

Object Lesson: Using a padlock, bike lock, or other lock, demonstrate how not being baptized is like being locked up in prison; we can’t progress forward on the covenant path if we are locked up. Being baptized is like unlocking that prison and being let free. Being baptized for the dead is like unlocking the prison door for someone else.

Teach: Baptisms for the dead are when someone who is turning 12 or older goes to the temple and is baptized as a stand-in for someone who is dead. It’s like when your school teacher is gone and he calls a substitute to come and teach in his place. The living person performs the ordinance and is baptized by immersion as a substitute for the person who has already died.

Explain: This verse in the Doctrine and Covenants describes how Joseph and the Saints felt when the Lord revealed that through proxy baptism, our ancestors, friends, and even brothers and sisters can receive baptism—even if they never had the chance while they were on the earth.

Read D&C 128:22 found above.

Testify: Baptism is required by God to return back to Him. Without it, it is like we are in prison. Doing family history and proxy temple ordinances help to set our ancestors free.


Listen or sing: The Glorious Gospel Light Has Shone, Hymns, 283

Teach: The Saints in Nauvoo at this time did not yet know the truths of this hymn. Joseph Smith was convinced of the truth of baptism by immersion through the priesthood at the time John the Baptist came to the banks of the Susquehanna River to restore the authority to baptize. But by the time Joseph knew the truth, his dear brother Alvin had long since passed away. Joseph feared for Alvin. How could Alvin be baptized if the authority to baptize was restored after his death?

Watch the following video.

Read: D&C 128:22

Ask: What can we do to help the “prisoners” in our family go free? How can we begin or improve our family history and temple worship?

Testify: The ability to perform ordinances for those who have died without the gospel is a just and merciful way Heavenly Father has provided for His children to return to Him again.


D&C 128:22 is a part of the revelation Joseph Smith shared with the Saints regarding baptism for the dead. Up until this time, the Saints did not know that their ancestors had any hope of receiving the gospel if they had died before it was restored.

Read D&C 128:22

How did the Saints feel with this new knowledge—that their deceased ancestors could still be saved?

How is participating in temple worship like “letting the prisoners go free”?

Video: Watch this video to see how and where Joseph revealed the doctrine of baptism for the dead, and the Saints’ response to it.

Ponder: “This doctrine of baptism for the dead is a great doctrine, one of the most glorious doctrines that were revealed to the human family; and there are light, power, glory, honor and immortality in it. (Brigham Young: JD, Vol. 16:165)”

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FHE TreatTreat

Pumpkin Pie Crisp

Pumpkin Filling
Cinnamon Streusel


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or medium casserole dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk in heavy cream until smooth. Pour into prepared dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and stir with a fork until crumbly.
  4. Spread cinnamon streusel topping on top of your pumpkin pie mixture.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until filling is set and the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm and topped with vanilla ice cream.

(Courtesy of


FHE Game / Activity


Prisoners who haven’t done anything wrong can be set free, but robbers need to go to jail! Play cops and robbers as a family.

In case you’ve forgotten how:

Doctrine and Covenants FHE Lesson – The Prisoners Shall Go Free

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Rebecca Wright
Rebecca Wright
Becca loves audiobooks, dark chocolate, singing, hiking, walking,  going out with her husband, and raising their chickens and children. She still wants to meet her hero Sheri Dew, see flowing lava and a blue whale in person, and uplift others with her words.

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