10709_000_023We can testify of Christ as we hear His voice in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The words of the Savior are an invaluable source of inspiration and guidance. Throughout the millennia they have been as water to the thirsting soul. To ponder His words, we might typically turn to the New Testament or the Book of Mormon. In these books many of His words are recorded in the first person—for example, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)—and it is as if we can hear His own voice as we read His words. But a careful consideration of the Doctrine and Covenants shows that it also is a stunning additional witness of Jesus Christ1 and contains more of the Savior’s words recorded in the first person than the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price combined.2
Christ says of His words in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
“For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; …
“Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (D&C 18:34–36).
In the Doctrine and Covenants we can learn of the Savior’s divinity, His Atonement, and His doctrine—in His own words. And as we read His words, by the Spirit we can hear and feel His voice.
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Savior teaches us about Himself, helping us come to know Him, love Him, and draw near to Him. He says of His divinity, “I am the Lord thy God” (D&C 132:53), “I am the true light that is in you” (D&C 88:50), and “I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:4). “I … will stand by you” (D&C 68:6). “I am the good shepherd” (D&C 50:44). In all, the Doctrine and Covenants contains more than 1,000 references to Him by such titles as Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Alpha and Omega, Son of God, the Only Begotten, the Lamb, and the Light and Life of the World.
Jesus assures us that He is “the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth” (D&C 14:9). He tells us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you” (D&C 88:63). He offers us these comforting words: “Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father’s house are many mansions, and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also” (D&C 98:18). Our Savior will never abandon us. He says, “What I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you” (D&C 61:36).
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Savior teaches us about His Atonement, giving us knowledge of His suffering and its purpose: that we might repent and ultimately return to Him. Of the pain during His atoning sacrifice, He says:
“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” (D&C 19:18–19).
He reveals that He was willing to suffer for us because “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
“For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
“And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance” (D&C 18:10–12).
The Savior also declares that as part of His Atonement, He is “the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
“Saying: Father, behold [my] sufferings and death. …
“Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life” (D&C 45:3–5).
Christ’s words show His love for us when He says that He “so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons [and daughters] of God” (D&C 34:3).
Jesus Christ tells us how He gained power over sin and death:
“I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—
“Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world” (D&C 19:2–3).
Of the Savior and His Atonement, the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded this testimony:
“He came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
“That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him” (D&C 76:41–42).
We too can testify of Christ and His Atonement as we come to know His words and recognize His voice (see D&C 18:36).
In the Doctrine and Covenants, as in the Book of Mormon, we find clear teachings regarding the doctrine of Christ, allowing us to gain a fuller understanding of our Heavenly Father’s plan for us. The Father, through His Beloved Son, the Great Jehovah, is “the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.” We are created “after his own image and in his own likeness.” Through transgression of God’s commandments, we “became fallen man” (see D&C 20:17–20). Because we are fallen beings, “God gave his Only Begotten Son,” who “suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” and “was crucified, died, and rose again on the third day” to pay for our sins and conquer death (see D&C 20:21–25).
The Doctrine and Covenants identifies covenants we must make to return to our Heavenly Father. Those who enter into the presence of the Father and gain eternal life are “they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, …
“That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power” (D&C 76:51–52).
Those who obtain this blessing are they who have entered “into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]” (D&C 131:2).
Finally, while in the New Testament we learn that to receive eternal life we must come to know our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ (see John 17:3), Christ’s words in the Doctrine and Covenants make this requirement for eternal life more personal and bear testimony of His divinity: “This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he” (D&C 132:24; emphasis added).
The living and loving Son of God testifies of the truth of His words recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; … 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. … And the record is true” (D&C 1:38–39).
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Savior invites each of us in His own voice to receive Him, His Atonement, and His doctrine. He testifies: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not” (D&C 6:21; see also D&C 10:57; 11:29; 39:3; 45:8). “Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me” (D&C 50:41).
The revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that do not contain first-person declarations of Jesus Christ are sections 13, 20, 65, 74, 77, 102, 109, 113, 116, 123, 131, 134, and 138, as well as Official Declarations 1 and 2.
The Doctrine and Covenants contains about 91,000 of the Savior’s words recorded in first person, compared to about 41,700 in the New Testament, about 22,200 in the Book of Mormon, and about 7,900 in the Pearl of Great Price (see the accompanying chart).
Book of Scripture
Approximate Number of the Savior’s Words Recorded in First Person
41,684 (Matthew: 13,512; Mark: 5,407; Luke: 12,295; John: 8,057; Acts–Revelation: 2,413)
Book of Mormon
Doctrine and Covenants
Pearl of Great Price