93962_000_017The Lord said that when a person reads the Doctrine and Covenants, he hears “my voice and knows my words” (D&C 18:36).
As you read each of the facts, discuss with your family how you can live the principle mentioned or how you can use the information given to better understand this book of scripture.
In the very first section, verse 37, the Lord tells us to “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.”
The Explanatory Introduction added to the 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants explains what it is and why we have it, gives a short history of the different printings of the book, and presents the Testimony of the Twelve Apostles [of 1835] to the Truth of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
The headnotes for each section give historical and background information. For instance, the headnote to section 2 explains that these words are only an extract, or part, of the words Moroni spoke to Joseph Smith.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants brings men to Christ’s kingdom, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Ensign, May 1987, page 83).
There are two Official Declarations in the Doctrine and Covenants. The first, received October 6, 1890, by Wilford Woodruff, ended the practice of polygamy, (till then it was legal in the Church). The second, received by Spencer W. Kimball and dated June 8, 1978, extended priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members.
President Brigham Young said, “The book of Doctrine and Covenants is given for the Latter-day Saints expressly for their everyday walk and actions” (Journal of Discourses 16:188).
Section 89 is known as the Word of Wisdom. It gives advice on what we should and shouldn’t eat and drink. Wonderful promises are given to those who obey.
Section 76 contains the Vision of the Degrees of Glory. It explains that in heaven there is a celestial kingdom, a terrestrial kingdom, and a telestial kingdom, and it helps us understand what we must do to return to live with our Father in Heaven.
The index at the end of the book helps us find specific items, such as sections that talk about important gospel principles. For example, under “Tithing” we learn that section 119 is an important section to read on this subject.
The revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were received in several different ways. For example, some were received in visions (see sections D&C 76, D&C 137, and D&C 138), by visitations (see sections D&C 2, D&C 13, D&C 27, and D&C 110), through the Urim and Thummim (see sections D&C 3, D&C 7, D&C 11, D&C 17), and by inspiration to the Prophet.
Sections 20 and 22 [D&C 20; D&C 22] were the first two revelations that the members of the Church voted to accept after the Church was organized. They were voted on and received unanimously at the first conference of the Church, held on June 9, 1830.
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “This Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints. … the Prophet [Joseph Smith] says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole world.” (Doctrines of Salvation, volume 3, page 199.)