Unit 1: Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 1

“Unit 1: Day 3, Doctrine and Covenants 1,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


By November 1831 the Prophet Joseph Smith had recorded more than 60 revelations. However, most Church members did not have access to copies of them. The Prophet convened a conference in Hiram, Ohio, to discuss publishing the revelations in a book that would be called the Book of Commandments. A committee of elders drafted a preface to the book. Unsatisfied with this draft, those who attended the conference requested that Joseph Smith ask the Lord for a preface. After petitioning the Lord in prayer, Joseph received a preface by revelation. The Lord’s preface to the Book of Commandments is now section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–16

The Lord warns of judgments that will come upon the rebellious at the Second Coming

Consider the following experience of three brothers who were protected from danger because they listened to a warning from their father:

3 boys in woods

“Mike and his younger brothers, Eric and Tom, liked to go hiking with their dad. Dad always said he knew the mountains like the back of his own hand. He had grown up walking the same paths with his own dad, who was a sheepherder. …

“… One summer day [the boys] were excited to reach the top of the trail—a high meadow filled with fresh green grass and flowers of just about every color. And so they took off running through the trees at top speed, even though they were tired from their morning’s hike. They wanted to burst onto that meadow like jackrabbits.

“‘Stop when you get to the meadow,’ Dad called after them. ‘I’ll meet you there.’ They ran ahead, each trying to get in front of the others. …

“[They forgot] Dad’s instruction. They ran in circles through the deep grass, jumping and dodging, whooping and hollering and tagging each other. …

“Then Eric had an idea. ‘Let’s race all the way across the meadow!’ Tom hesitated. They couldn’t see the far side of the clearing because a grassy hill obscured their view. But Mike wasn’t worried. ‘I think this is the same meadow we came to last summer,’ he assured his brothers.

“They gathered back at the trees. ‘Ready!’ Eric shouted. ‘Set! GO!’ The wind felt fresh and cool on Mike’s cheeks and in his hair, and the faster he ran, the more wind he got. Soon he was leading the race. He felt like he could run forever.

“‘STOP!’ a voice bellowed like thunder behind them. All three boys stopped immediately. They turned and saw Dad running toward them from the edge of the meadow. ‘Come back here beside me,’ Dad called, more gently this time. The boys obeyed. … [Then] they walked together across the meadow. As they topped the little hill, Dad suddenly stopped.

“Just a few paces ahead of them, a sheer cliff dropped down at least 20 or 30 feet. If they had been running, there was no way they could have seen it in time to stop. …

“… ‘We could have died,’ Mike said softly.

“‘Well, maybe. I’m sure glad you stopped running even though I didn’t have time to explain. Sometimes we have to obey first and ask questions later!’

“‘Especially when someone else knows what’s coming, and you don’t,’ Mike said” (Ana Nelson Shaw, “Stop!” Friend, June 2005, 47–48).

father and boys at top of cliff

Ponder about a time when someone tried to get your attention and warn you about something. How did you respond? Do you feel grateful for that person’s efforts to warn you? Why or why not?

In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord provides warnings, commandments, and instructions that are crucial for our happiness and salvation. As previously mentioned, the Lord revealed section 1 as a preface to the other revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. A preface prepares a reader for the contents of a book by summarizing the message and the author’s purpose.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–3, and identify words or phrases the Lord used to get the readers’ attention. (It might help to know that the word hearken means to listen attentively and obey.) In the space provided, answer the following questions:

  • To whom is the Lord speaking in these verses?

  • What do you think the phrase “their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed” (D&C 1:3) means?

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, explain why you think it would be important to warn people that sins committed in secret will be made known.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:4–7, and identify how the Lord will deliver His warnings to all people.

The Lord speaks His warnings to all people through His chosen disciples. The Lord gives warnings through His servants and the scriptures. Review some of the most recent general conference talks from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. What counsel or warnings have you heard the Lord’s apostles and prophets give recently?

One of the warnings the Lord gives in Doctrine and Covenants 1:8–10 is that He will judge people according to their actions and how they treat others. Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:11–14, and look for further warnings the Lord gave. As you look at the Topical Guide reference in footnote 12b, ponder what event the Lord was referring to in Doctrine and Covenants 1:12.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: What do you think the Lord’s warning that those who do not give heed to His prophets “shall be cut off from among the people” (D&C 1:14) means?

Because of wickedness and apostasy throughout the world, the Lord’s warnings are necessary. Those who do not hearken unto the words of His prophets will be separated from the righteous and lose the blessings that are available through the ordinances and covenants of the gospel.

  1. journal iconRead Doctrine and Covenants 1:15–16. In your scripture study journal, list some of the words or phrases that describe the wickedness or apostasy the Lord said would exist in the last days. Then answer the following question: In what ways do people in our day walk “in [their] own way, and after the image of [their] own god”?

Doctrine and Covenants 1:17–33

The gospel was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith in advance of coming calamity

Identify the word the Lord used in Doctrine and Covenants 1:17 to refer to the results of the wickedness, apostasy, and destruction that will occur among the people of the earth in the last days.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:17–33 contains the Lord’s solutions to help us through the calamity of the last days. Complete the following chart by reading the scripture references in the left column and identifying the Lord’s solutions to help us through the calamity of the last days. In the center column, write descriptions or draw pictures of what you find in the scripture references. You may also consider drawing a picture of these descriptions on a page of your scripture study journal. In the right column, write brief explanations of how the Lord’s solutions help us with the calamity of the last days.

Scripture reference

What solution did the Lord give for the calamity that would come upon the earth?

How can this solution help us face the calamity of the last days?

D&C 1:17


D&C 1:18–23


D&C 1:29


D&C 1:30


To help you further ponder the Lord’s declaration in Doctrine and Covenants 1:30, mark words in this verse highlighting the truth that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the earth.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: Recalling what you learned in the previous lesson about the Great Apostasy, how would you explain to someone why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the earth?

Elder David A. Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what it means to be a part of a “living” church: “This restored Church is true because it is the Savior’s Church; He is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). And it is a living church because of the workings and gifts of the Holy Ghost. How blessed we are to live at a time when the priesthood is upon the earth and we can receive the Holy Ghost” (“Receive the Holy Ghost,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 97).

Through the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord is able to direct His Church with ongoing revelation. This continuing revelation is an example of how the Church is a living church.

  1. journal iconAnswer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why is it important to you to know that you belong to the only true and living church upon the earth?

    2. What do you think it means in Doctrine and Covenants 1:30 when the Lord stated He was pleased with His Church “collectively and not individually”?

Search Doctrine and Covenants 1:31–33, and match what the Lord said about sin and repentance with the appropriate question in the following chart.

____ 1. The Lord cannot look upon sin how?

  1. Light and His Spirit will be taken away

____ 2. How can you be forgiven?

  1. With the least degree of allowance

____ 3. What happens to those who do not repent?

  1. Repent and keep the commandments

Doctrine and Covenants 1:34–39

The Lord directs us to search the revelations and commandments He has given

Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:34–36, and note the Lord’s warning to all people to prepare for His Second Coming. Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–39, and identify the truths the Lord emphasized at the conclusion of His preface to the Doctrine and Covenants. (Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38 is a scripture mastery passage.)

If you have not done so, you may want to mark words or phrases that teach the following truths: We are to search the commandments the Lord has given. The Lord’s words will all be fulfilled. The Lord’s words are true whether they are stated by Him or by His servants.

  1. journal iconBased on what you have learned today, how can you be blessed if you search the commandments and revelations the Lord has given in the Doctrine and Covenants? Write your thoughts in your scripture study journal.

  2. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, write a goal to study the Doctrine and Covenants daily during the school year. As part of your goal, consider when, where, and for how long or how many pages you will study each day.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38

To help you memorize Doctrine and Covenants 1:37, write the first letter of each word on a piece of paper. Recite Doctrine and Covenants 1:37 (using your scriptures as needed) until you can recite the entire verse using only the first letters. Then erase or cover several of the letters and recite the scripture again. Continue this process until all of the letters have been erased and you can recite the verse entirely from memory. Repeat this process with Doctrine and Covenants 1:38.

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 1 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: