Mormon Scriptures: The Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a book of scripture containing revelations from the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith and to a few other latter-day prophets. It is unique in scripture because it is not a translation of ancient documents.
The Doctrine and Covenants is one of four books of scripture used in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the other three are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price).
The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “This generation shall have my word through you” (Doctrine and Covenants 5:10). In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn doctrines concerning the eternal nature of families, the degrees of glory awaiting men and women after this life, and the organization of Christ’s Church on earth today. We also read about the covenants God makes with those who are willing to keep His commandments.
Concerning the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord said: “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said that the Doctrine and Covenants is “the foundation of the Church in these last days, and a benefit to the world, showing that the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of our Savior are again entrusted to man” (section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 70).
The Doctrine and Covenants deals with a variety of matters. They include principles and procedures concerning the governance of the Church. Unique and remarkable rules of health, with promises both physical and spiritual, are set forth. The covenant of the eternal priesthood is described in a manner not found elsewhere in scripture. The privileges and blessings—and the limitations and opportunities—of the three degrees of glory are announced, building on Paul’s brief mention of a glory of the sun, and of the moon, and of the stars. Repentance is proclaimed in language clear and compelling. The correct mode of baptism is given. The nature of the Godhead, which has troubled theologians for centuries, is described in language understandable to all. The Lord’s law of finance is pronounced, mandating how funds for the operation of the Church are to be acquired and disbursed. Work for the dead is revealed to bless the sons and daughters of God of all generations.
The history of the Doctrine and Covenants
By 1833 Joseph Smith had already received many revelations and commandments from the Lord, but persecutions in Missouri prevented their publication as the “Book of Commandments.” Steps were taken in Ohio to pulish an expanded compilation of the revelations. In September 1834 the First Presidency was appointed to select the revelations to be published, and the Prophet revised some of them to correct printing errors and to add information revealed since 1833. The committee’s work was completed the following summer, and a solemn assembly was convened on 17 August 1835 to vote on the new book of scripture to be called the Doctrine and Covenants. The original edition contained seven lectures on faith formerly delivered to the School of the Prophets. These were deleted in the 1921 edition. Important revelations and proclamations have been added to the book from time to time until this day (Church History in the Fulness of Times, pp. 159-161).
Quotes from the Doctrine and Covenants
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