The Doctrine and Covenants

Mormon Scriptures: The Doctrine and Covenants

A photo of a Mormon teenage boy studying the scriptures at a table.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

Section 1:

Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:
Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people (verses 11-14);
Section 10:
And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob;
And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;
Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrin, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them (Verses 60-63).
Section 19:
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men (Verses 16-19).
Section 29:
But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;
Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me (Verses 46-47);
Section 45:
And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.
But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud (Verses 39-45).
Section 134:
 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience (Verse 5) .
Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy.
While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance (Verses 17-19).

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