Doctrine and Covenants 68: The Scriptures, the Power of God, and Parents

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 80–81

What is the definition of “scripture”? What is the goal of missionary work, and what power do missionaries have? Who can be called as a bishop, and what does that have to do with a literal descendant of Aaron? What are the primary responsibilities of parents? The Lord said He was “not well pleased” with what problems among the Saints? As you readDoctrine and Covenants 68, look carefully for answers to these questions.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 68

Supplication(section heading)Prayer 
Expounding(v. 1)Teaching, explaining 
Ensample(vv. 2–3)Example, pattern 
Literal descendants(vv. 15–16, 18–20)In the direct lineage of 
Ascertain(v. 21)Determine, learn 
Impeached(v. 23)Challenged, doubted 
Idler(v. 30)One who refuses to work 

Doctrine and Covenants 68:1—A Prophecy to Orson Hyde

“The prophecy in this verse was literally fulfilled. Orson Hyde proclaimed the gospel ‘from people to people, from land to land.’ In 1832, he and Samuel H. Smith traveled in the States of New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island—two thousand miles—on foot. In 1835 he was ordained an Apostle, and in 1837 he went on a mission to England. In 1840 he was sent on a mission to Jerusalem. He crossed the Ocean, traveled through England and Germany, visited Constantinople, Cairo, and Alexandria, and, finally, reached the Holy City. On October 24th, 1841, he went up on the Mount of Olives and offered a prayer, dedicating Palestine for the gathering of the Jews” (Smith and Sjodahl,Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,409).

Doctrine and Covenants 68:4—What Is Scripture?

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

“When one of the brethren stands before a congregation of the people today, and the inspiration of the Lord is upon him, he speaks that which the Lord would have him speak. It is just as much scripture as anything you will find written in any of these records, and yet we call these the standard works of the Church. We depend, of course, upon the guidance of the brethren who are entitled to inspiration.

“There is only one man in the Church at a time who has the right to give revelation for the Church, and that is the President of the Church. But that does not bar any other member in this Church from speaking the word of the Lord, as indicated here in this revelation, section 68, but a revelation that is to be given as these revelations are given in this book, to the Church, will come through the presiding officer of the Church; yet, the word of the Lord, as spoken by other servants at the general conferences and stake conferences, or wherever they may be when they speak that which the Lord has put into their mouths, is just as much the word of the Lord as the writings and the words of other prophets in other dispensations” (Doctrines of Salvation,1:186).

Thomas S. Monson on scripture

“Whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture” (D&C 68:4).

How can we know when what our Church leaders have said is inspired by the Holy Ghost? President J. Reuben Clark Jr., who was a member of the First Presidency, said:

“I have given some thought to this question, and the answer thereto so far as I can determine, is: We can tell when the speakers are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’ only when we, ourselves, are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost.’

“In a way, this completely shifts the responsibility from them to us to determine when they so speak” (When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?[address to religious educators, July 7, 1954], 7).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 68.

Activity A iconExplain It to a Child

Imagine you are teaching a Primary class and want to help the 10-year-old children understand the Lord’s definition ofscriptureinDoctrine and Covenants 68:4. Write what you would say to help them understand this important concept. (Use the information in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed—but explain it in your own words.)

Activity B iconMake a List

  1. 1.

    ReadArticles of Faith 1:4. Then list in your notebook the “first principles and ordinances of the Gospel” that the Lord commanded parents to teach their children inDoctrine and Covenants 68:25–28.

  2. 2.

    Doctrine and Covenants 68:29–33contains additional principles for members of the Church. List what you find there, and then explain why you think the “wickedness” described in verse 31 would displease the Lord.