Insights from the Doctrine and Covenants about the Father and the Son

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This book of revelations reveals lost truths about the Godhead and how we can live with the Savior and Heavenly Father again.

First Vision

First Vision, by Walter Rane

The Restoration of the gospel has given the world far greater knowledge about the nature of the Godhead and Their purposes. With this knowledge, our faith in Them grows and our desire to keep Their commandments increases.

Specifically, the Doctrine and Covenants helps us learn about Jesus Christ because it teaches powerful truths concerning “His divinity, His majesty, His perfection, His love, and His redeeming power” (introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants). This book of modern revelation includes the Lord’s invitation to “learn of me, and listen to my words” (D&C 19:23). It can deepen our understanding of Him, what our relationship to Him is, what He has done for our redemption, and what He expects of us.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we can hear the voice of Jesus Christ

Joseph Smith Jr. Receiving Revelation

Joseph Smith received many revelations from the Savior.

Joseph Smith Jr. Receiving Revelation, by Daniel A. Lewis

The Doctrine and Covenants is not ancient scripture but contains revelations given to Joseph Smith and his successors in our modern world. Jesus Christ’s divine voice is heard speaking as the representative of the Father.1 The first-person voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded more frequently in the Doctrine and Covenants than in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price combined.2

  • D&C 18:33–35 “I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it. These words are not of men … , but of me; … it is my voice which speaketh them unto you.”

The Doctrine and Covenants contains accounts of those who saw God

The Lord Appears in the Kirtland Temple

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw Jesus Christ in the Kirtland Temple.

The Lord Appears in the Kirtland Temple, by Del Parson

As a result of the First Vision in 1820, the boy Joseph Smith gained firsthand knowledge of the existence of the Father and the Son. The Doctrine and Covenants records additional instances when the Prophet and others saw the Father and the Son in visions or personal appearances. These accounts serve as modern witnesses for us that They live and that They directed the Restoration of the gospel.

  • D&C 76:19–23 The Father and the Son were seen in vision in February 1832.

  • D&C 137:1–3 The Father and the Son were seen in vision in January 1836.

  • D&C 110:2–4 The great Jehovah, Jesus Christ, appeared in April 1836.

The Doctrine and Covenants helps us learn about God the Father

I See the Son of Man Standing on the Right Hand of God

While being stoned to death, Stephen saw the Father and the Son.

Detail from I See the Son of Man Standing on the Right Hand of God, by Walter Rane

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to us. … When we are ready to come to Him, He is ready to come to us.”3 The Doctrine and Covenants helps us draw closer to Heavenly Father by teaching about His nature, attributes, and purposes.

  • D&C 20:12, 17–18 God the Father is infinite and unchangeable.

  • D&C 76:20, 23 The Father and the Son are separate and distinct beings.

  • D&C 93:3–5 The Father and the Son are one.

  • D&C 130:22 The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones.

  • D&C 138:3–4 Heavenly Father loves His children, so He sent His Son to save mankind.

The Doctrine and Covenants helps us learn about Jesus Christ

Moses Seeing Jehovah

Jehovah (Jesus Christ) spoke to Moses face to face.

Detail from Moses Seeing Jehovah, by Joseph Brickey

Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of all the spirit children of Heavenly Father. In the premortal life, Jesus obtained all knowledge and power and represented the Father as the Creator of the worlds. Through His divine power, the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of light and life for all of His creations. The Doctrine and Covenants clarifies many of His roles in the Father’s plan.

  • D&C 93:21 Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of all the spirit children of God.

  • D&C 38:1–3 Jesus Christ obtained all knowledge and power before the world was made.

  • D&C 76:24 Jesus Christ represented the Father as the Creator of the worlds.

  • D&C 88:6–13 Jesus Christ is the source of light and life for all of His creations.

  • D&C 45:11; 136:21, 22 Jesus Christ was the great Jehovah of the Old Testament.

  • D&C 43:34 Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

  • D&C 18:11–13; 20:21–25 Jesus Christ suffered, was crucified, died, and rose again.

  • D&C 29:10–12 Jesus Christ has promised to return to earth with power and glory.

The Doctrine and Covenants helps us learn what the Father and the Son expect of us

family reading

Through modern revelation, we can learn how to become more like the Father and the Son.

More than any other book of scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants makes it plain what eternal life is: to return to live with the Father and the Son, receive all that the Father has, and become like Them. It also tells us how Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, makes this possible and what we need to do to fulfill the requirements He has set. In addition, we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants what it means to follow Jesus Christ’s example, since, like us, Jesus Christ did not have a fulness at first but received grace for grace until He had all power and glory.

The Doctrine and Covenants provides a pattern for acquiring spiritual knowledge

women praying

Study and prayer can unlock spiritual knowledge.

In addition to teaching and testifying of the Father and the Son, the Doctrine and Covenants provides a pattern to acquire spiritual knowledge about all the members of the Godhead through the help of the Holy Ghost: study the Lord’s word, ask Heavenly Father for understanding, and exercise faith in Jesus Christ by obeying His commandments.

Light and truth are promised to those who live according to all of the Lord’s words. It is important to learn details about the nature of the Godhead and Their purposes. This knowledge can lead to diligent searching for spiritual understanding and conviction of the truth. This knowledge confirms for us that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us personally, that They love us, and that They desire to bless us with eternal life.

Conclusion

Joseph Smith Preaching

Joseph Smith revealed the character and purposes of the Father and the Son.

Detail from Joseph Smith Preaching, by Sam Lawlor

The Doctrine and Covenants helps us draw nearer to Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, by revealing Their character and Their purposes. The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized why we can trust and rely upon God: “The purposes of our God are great, His love unfathomable, His wisdom infinite, and His power unlimited; therefore, the Saints have cause to rejoice and be glad, knowing that ‘this God is our God for ever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14).”4

Show References

    Notes

  1.   1.

    President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained: “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah. … The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:27).

  2.   2.

    See Gordon B. Holbrook, “The Voice of Jesus Christ in the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, Sept. 2013, 40, 45 (note 2).

  3.   3.

    Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 40–41.

  4.   4.

    Teachings: Joseph Smith, 39.