Lesson 11

The Lord’s Voice in the Doctrine and Covenants

“Lesson 11: The Lord’s Voice in the Doctrine and Covenants,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Manual (2015)


Introduction

The Doctrine and Covenants is evidence that God speaks to prophets in the latter days and that He is preparing the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When we read the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, we can hear the voice of Jesus Christ. When we come to understand the importance of the Doctrine and Covenants, we will prize its teachings above all the wealth of the earth.

Background Reading

Suggestions for Teaching

Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants

The Lord’s voice in the Doctrine and Covenants

Display the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994). Ask a student to read it aloud while the class follows along.

President Ezra Taft Benson

“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, ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth’ [D&C 1:30]. I know that.

“The Book of Mormon is the ‘keystone’ of our religion, and the Doctrine and Covenants is the capstone, with continuing latter-day revelation. The Lord has placed His stamp of approval on both the keystone and the capstone” (“The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, Jan. 2005, 26).

  • What have you found in the Doctrine and Covenants that shows the book’s importance to the Church and to individual members?

Ask the class to open their scriptures to the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants, found at the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants. Invite a couple of students to take turns reading paragraphs one and three aloud while the rest of the class follows along. Ask the class to look for ways in which the Doctrine and Covenants differs from other books of scripture and to note the introduction’s emphasis on hearing the voice of the Lord. Then ask:

  • How is the Doctrine and Covenants different from the other standard works?

  • What does the introduction say about the “voice of the Lord Jesus Christ”? (Help students understand that as we study the Doctrine and Covenants, we can learn to recognize the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Explain that the phrase “voice of the Lord,” or a variation thereof, occurs more than 40 times in the Doctrine and Covenants [for example, see D&C 1:2; 18:35–36; 76:30]; the phrase “thus saith the Lord” occurs more than 60 times in the Doctrine and Covenants [for example, see D&C 36:1; 56:14].) Hearing the voice of the Lord is an important theme in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Display the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask a student to read it aloud while the class follows along.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“If asked which book of scripture provides the most frequent chance to ‘listen’ to the Lord talking, most individuals would at first think of the New Testament. The New Testament is a marvelous collection of the deeds and many of the doctrines of the Messiah. But in the Doctrine and Covenants we receive the voice as well as the word of the Lord. We can almost ‘hear’ him talking” (“The Doctrine and Covenants: The Voice of the Lord,” Ensign, Dec. 1978, 4).

  • How might learning to hear and recognize the voice of the Lord through studying the Doctrine and Covenants make a difference in your life?

Give students a few minutes to study paragraph eight of the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants. Ask them to identify doctrines that are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. After sufficient time, ask:

  • What makes the Doctrine and Covenants “worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth”?

Consider sharing what Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy said about the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants:

Elder Steven E. Snow

“Through these inspirational and edifying revelations, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches and reiterates important doctrine. … Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) wrote, ‘Every doctrine taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is found, either outlined or shadowed forth, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. As far as I know, there is no doctrine taught by the Church which is not found in some way or form in this book.’ He added that the Doctrine and Covenants is essential because ‘no other one of our sacred books can lay the same claim to a full survey of all the doctrines of the Church’ [The Message of the Doctrine and Covenants (1969), 117]” (“Treasuring the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, Jan. 2009, 52).

Invite students to share how studying the Doctrine and Covenants has blessed their lives.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–17; 5:10

Background of the Doctrine and Covenants

Explain to students that the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 1 was originally given by the Lord as a preface to the Book of Commandments, which was the first compilation of Joseph Smith’s revelations. This collection of revelations, along with many more of the Prophet’s revelations and the Lectures on Faith, was later published as the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 1 addresses the need for this book of scripture in our day. Invite a student to read aloud the section heading to Doctrine and Covenants 1. Help students analyze the section heading by asking the following question:

  • What decision was agreed upon at the special conference of elders? (The revelations Joseph Smith received up to this time would be published in a book. Remind students that although this book was originally called the Book of Commandments, it would later be called the Doctrine and Covenants.)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–5. Then ask the class:

  • To whom was Jesus Christ speaking in these verses?

  • How would you summarize the central message recorded in these verses?

  • How did the Lord say He would deliver His warnings to all people? (Students should identify the following doctrine: The Lord speaks His warnings to all people through His chosen disciples.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 1:12 aloud. Then ask:

  • According to footnote 12b, what event does the Lord want the world to prepare for? (After students respond, you might encourage them to regularly refer to footnotes to clarify and deepen their understanding of the scripture text.)

Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 1:14–16 silently, looking for the Lord’s description of the world we live in. After students share what they have found, ask them to read verse 17 and explain what the Lord did to address the problem described in verses 14–16.

Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 5:10 aloud while the class follows along. Then discuss the following:

  • What do you learn from this passage about Joseph Smith’s unique calling? (Students should identify the following truth: The Lord called Joseph Smith to deliver His word to the world.)

Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“In all else that he accomplished … Joseph [Smith] left us above all else the resolute legacy of divine revelation—not a single, isolated revelation without evidence or consequence, and not ‘a mild sort of inspiration seeping into the minds of all good people’ everywhere, but specific, documented, ongoing directions from God. As a good friend and faithful LDS scholar has succinctly put it, ‘At a time when the origins of Christianity were under assault by the forces of Enlightenment rationality, Joseph Smith [unequivocally and singlehandedly] returned modern Christianity to its origins in revelation’ [Richard L. Bushman, “A Joseph Smith for the Twenty-First Century,” in Believing History (2004), 274]” (“Prophets, Seers, and Revelators,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 8).

  • How has this lesson deepened your understanding of the purpose and significance of the Doctrine and Covenants?

  • How has the Doctrine and Covenants strengthened your testimony of Joseph Smith’s divine calling as a prophet of God?

Conclude by asking if any students would like to share their testimonies of the doctrines, principles, and truths recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Student Readings