Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History
Taught By Jeff Stone
January 4, 2009
The whole point of this lesson is to just basically introduce the course material for the year. The three major points of the lesson are:
- How does The D&C Apply to Us?
- Evidence of the Divinity of the Book.
- What’s the Purpose of The D&C?
The lessons will be in chronological order historically, and not necessarily the order of the D&C sections. Also, some of the sections will not be covered in the lessons, so it’s a good idea to stay up with the reading assignments and see what is skipped during class so that you can read the entire D&C throughout the year. This course for the year will cover 6 periods of history in this Dispensation:
- New York Period (1820–1830)
- Ohio-Missouri Period (1831–1838)
- Nauvoo Period (1839–1846)
- Pioneering the West (1846–1898)
- Expansion of the Church (1899–1950)
- The Worldwide Church (1951–present)
How Does The D&C Apply to Us:
Reading the Explanatory Introduction of the D&C, we learn much about the purpose of the D&C. Particularly in Paragraphs 3, 6, and 8 we learn how the book applies to us, the fact that much of the book was written as answers to prayers, and a list of some of the many doctrines that are explained and taught is given.
President Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th President of the Church, explained that the Doctrine and Covenants can be described as the capstone of our religion:
“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].
“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” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 105; or Ensign, May 1987, 83).
Evidence of the Divinity of The D&C:
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The Doctrine and Covenants is the only book in the world that has a preface written by the Lord Himself. In that preface He declares to the world that His voice is unto all men (see D&C 1: 2), that the coming of the Lord is nigh (see D&C 1:12), and that the truths found in the Doctrine and Covenants will all be fulfilled (see D&C 1: 37–38)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 101; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 79).
Purpose of The D&C:
The first section of the D&C covers a variety of subjects that are part of the purpose of the Doctrine and Covenants.
- “That every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (D&C 1:20).
- “That faith also might increase” (D&C 1:21).
- “That mine everlasting covenant might be established” (D&C 1:22).
- “That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed” (D&C 1:23).
- To help the Lord’s servants “come to understanding” (D&C 1:24).
- “And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known” (D&C 1:25).
- “And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed” (D&C 1:26).
- “And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent” (D&C 1:27).
- “And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time” (D&C 1:28).
We are living in the final days… the dispensation of the fulness of times. With that gift comes a great responsibility to move the work of The Lord forward through the three-fold mission of the church:
- Proclaim The Gospel
- Perfect The Saints
- Redeem The Dead
In other words, missionary work!