Doctrine and Covenants 74: A Prophet's Question

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 84–85

Doctrine and Covenants 74is an example of how the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible has contributed to the restoration of the fulness of the gospel and our understanding of important gospel principles. Questions would often arise while the Prophet Joseph Smith pondered the words of the Bible. He and Sidney Rigdon, his scribe, would take thosequestions to the Lord, which would open the way for revelation. As you study this revelation, ponder what a blessing it is to have modern revelation to help us understand ancient scripture.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 74

Recommenced(section heading)Began again 
Sanctified(v. 1)Made pure and holy, free from sin 
Law of circumcision(v. 2)Religious practice required by the law of Moses 
Contention(v. 3)Arguing, strong disagreement 
Subject(v. 3)Bound to obey 

Doctrine and Covenants 74:1—What to Do with an Unbelieving Spouse

In the Apostle Paul’s day, some members of the Church in Corinth “evidently held that when the husband, or wife, had been converted, he, or she, ought to abandon the unconverted partner as unclean and contaminating. Not at all! St. Paul says, in substance, that the conversion of one of the partners has brought a sanctifying influence into the family [1 Corinthians 7:12–14]” (Smith and Sjodahl,Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,432).

Doctrine and Covenants 74:1–7—“The Law of Moses Should Be Done Away among Them”

The Apostle Paul was concerned that members of the Church who were not yet married should marry within the Church and thus avoid the problems that come when the husband and wife do not share the same beliefs. In particular, he wanted to avoid the continued observance of the law of Moses.

“The central thought expressed here is found in the first and last verses [D&C 74:1, 7], and may be stated thus: Little children, sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ, are holy.

“Two conclusions follow from this proposition. The first, fully set forth in this Revelation, is, that little children do not need circumcision to become sanctified, as taught by the adherents of the Mosaic faith. The second is equally important, that is, little children are holy being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ” (Smith and Sjodahl,Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,432).

Doctrine and Covenants 74:5—The Importance of Marrying Someone Who Shares Your Faith

When he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Spencer W. Kimball wrote: “Clearly, right marriage begins with right dating. A person generally marries someone from among those with whom he associates, with whom he goes to school, with whom he goes to church, with whom he socializes. Therefore, this warning [Deuteronomy 7:3–4;2 Corinthians 6:14] comes with great emphasis. Do not take the chance of dating nonmembers, or members who are untrained and faithless. A girl may say, ‘Oh, I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a “fun” date.’ But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel. True, a small percentage have finally been baptized after marrying Church members. Some good women and some good men have joined the Church after the mixed marriage and have remained devout and active. We are proud of them and grateful for them. They are our blessed minority. Others who did not join the Church were still kind and considerate and cooperative and permitted the member spouse to worship and serve according to the Church patterns. But the majority did not join the Church and … friction, frustration and divorce marked a great many of their marriages (The Miracle of Forgiveness,241–42).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 74

Activity A iconSummarize the Main Points

Doctrine and Covenants 74helps explain1 Corinthians 7:12–14and answers three main questions. Write each of the following questions in your notebook and summarize the answer this revelation gives to each one (use the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed).

  1. 1.

    If only one partner in a marriage is converted to the gospel, what should he or she do about the unbelieving spouse?

  2. 2.

    What counsel has the Lord given about whom we should marry?

  3. 3.

    What did the Lord teach about little children?