Doctrine and Covenants 42: The Law of the Lord to His Church

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 51–52

The Lord commanded the members of the Church to move to Ohio and told them that there He would give them His law (D&C 38:32).Doctrine and Covenants 42was given to fulfill that promise. Part of this revelation introduces the law of consecration. What do you know about this law? Does it still apply today? As you study this section, think about how different the world would be if everyone lived the commandments given in it. Carefully consider what commandments you should more diligently obey as you prepare yourself for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 42

Embracing(section heading)Containing, covering 
Transgress(v. 10)Disobey the commandments 
Articles(v. 13)Instructions, directions 
Cleave(v. 22)Be faithful, loyal 
Impart(vv. 30–31)Give 
Steward(v. 32)A trusted servant who is given responsibility over his master’s goods 
Residue(v. 33)Surplus 
Secret combinations(v. 64)Wicked people who secretly agree together to do evil 
Upbraid(v. 68)Scold, find fault with 
Remuneration(v. 72)Payment 
Fornication(v. 74)Sexual sin 
Reconciled(v. 88)Made friends again, reunited 
Chastened(v. 90)Corrected 
Rebuked(vv. 91–92)Scolded 

Doctrine and Covenants 42:12—What Is the “Fulness of the Gospel”?

Joseph Fielding Smith

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained what is meant when the Lord states that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel: “Some people have wondered in regard to this, when in the Book of Mormon there is nothing recorded pertaining to the eternity of marriage and baptism for the dead. A careful reading will show that the Lord does not say that it contains all of the principles in their fulness, but the fulness necessary for the foundation of his Church and his Gospel. … Let us not forget that baptism for the dead is not a new doctrine, but merely the application of the principle of baptismfor the dead.So far as eternal covenants are concerned, these are taught in all of the scriptures. The fundamental principles by which the Church is organized and men are brought to repentance are all found in plainness in the Book of Mormon. Moreover, the meanings of the word ‘fulness’ as used in these scriptures is ‘abundance,’ or sufficient for the purposes intended. While we have had revealed all the keys and authorities and principles necessary to bring men back into the presence of God in exaltation, if they will obey them, still there are many principles of truth yet to be revealed, but which are withheld from us because of our lack of faith and obedience. (3 Nephi 26:8–9.)” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:76–77).

Doctrine and Covenants 42:18—Murder, an Unforgivable Sin

“The second most serious sin is to commit murder—that is, to willfully shed innocent blood. Concerning this sin, the Lord has said: ‘Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.’ (D&C 42:18.) Thus this is anunforgivablesin, which means that Jesus Christ cannot pay for (or ‘atone for’ or ‘forgive’) the penalty demanded by the broken law. This sin is a pardonable sin, however; that is, the sinner can eventually make full payment himself, and be received into a state of pardon. Apparently one reason this sin is unforgivable is that forgiveness is based upon repentance, and a murderer cannot fully repent of his sin for he cannot make restitution of the life he has taken” (Daniel H. Ludlow,A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon[1976], 222).

Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–39—The Law of Consecration

To “consecrate” something means to dedicate it for a special purpose. The law of consecration teaches that all things belong to the Lord and that everything He has given us should be used to help build His kingdom on earth (D&C 104:11–18). In the early days of the Church, members who chose to live this law gave, or consecrated, their money and property to the bishop and received in return a stewardship (money, property, and other responsibilities). What they received from the bishop became their own property, and members used what they received to take care of their own wants and needs. Whatever they produced that was more than they needed was returned to the bishop for the poor and needy (D&C 42:30–39;51:2–9). The law of consecration was given to help members overcome selfishness and prepare them to live in the celestial kingdom. ( alsoMoses 7:16–19.)

For a time, some members of the Church tried to live the law of consecration in a society called the “United Order,” but they were not able to fully live this law (D&C 105:1–5, 9–13). Today, tithing, fast offerings, the Church welfare program, Church callings, and home and visiting teaching help us prepare to live the law of consecration (D&C 119section heading). President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “Consecration is the giving of one’s time, talents, and means to care for those in need—whether spiritually or temporally—and in building the Lord’s kingdom. In Welfare Services, members consecrate as they labor on production projects, donate materials to Deseret Industries, share their professional talents, give a generous fast offering, and respond to ward and quorum service projects. They consecrate their time in their home or visiting teaching. We consecrate when we give of ourselves” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 124; orEnsign,Nov. 1977, 78).

Doctrine and Covenants 42:46—How Can Death Be “Sweet”?

President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “We should remember that on the other side there is a great family reunion and much rejoicing.This farewell and our separation is their reunion and homecoming. Appropriately we ‘weep for the loss of them that die,’ for the Lord has so commanded us (D&C 42:45). But we also take great consolation through the Comforter that those who die in the Lord ‘shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them’ (D&C 42:46)” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson[1988], 33).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities B and C and either activity A or D as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 42.

Activity A iconA Pattern for Receiving Revelation

InDoctrine and Covenants 42:1–3, the Lord promised the elders of His church that if they would do certain things they would receive the revelation they were looking for (which was section 42).

  1. 1.

    Search verses 1–3 and list the requirements the Lord gave for their receiving this revelation.

  2. 2.

    How might this help you receive revelation from the Lord in your family?

Activity B iconChoose One Important Idea

Doctrine and Covenants 42contains many items of instruction for the Saints. Review each of the following six sets of verses. Choose one instruction and explain how it is important to members today:

  1. 1.

    Verses 11–17

  2. 2.

    Verses 18–29

  3. 3.

    Verses 30–39

  4. 4.

    Verses 40–52

  5. 5.

    Verses 61–69

  6. 6.

    Verses 74–93

Activity C iconWhat Do You Think Zion Will Be Like?

InDoctrine and Covenants 42:9, 16–55the Lord explained the kind of life His people will live in the New Jerusalem. From your reading of those verses and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section, do one of the following activities:

  1. 1.

    Describe how you think life would be different if you lived in a society similar to that. Include at least seven examples of how life would be different, and list a verse number for each example.

  2. 2.

    Write a story, like a journal entry, that describes one day in your life as if you lived in New Jerusalem. In your story, include what home, community, and school life would be like and give a verse number for each example you use.

Activity D iconComplete the Chart

The Lord used the wordaskthree times inDoctrine and Covenants 42:61–68. Draw a chart similar to the following in your notebook and search those verses to complete the chart.

Doctrine and Covenants 42

Ask For What?

Why is This Important to Know?

Verse 61


Verse 62


Verse 68