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Doctrine & Covenants – Lesson 42

“Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets”

Taught By Jeff Stone
November 29, 2009

Lesson Introduction

This lesson discusses a more historical perspective of the church even though it certainly covers a spiritual concept (Continuous Revelation).  Do we have continuous revelation? This should answer the question:

“Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve once told of a discussion he had with a group of stake officers. In the course of the discussion someone said to him, ‘Brother Widtsoe, how long has it been since the Church received a revelation?’ Brother Widtsoe rubbed his chin thoughtfully and said in reply, ‘Oh, probably since last Thursday’ ” (Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 132–33).

President Spencer W. Kimball declared that the Church continues to be guided by revelation:

“We testify to the world that revelation continues and that the vaults and files of the Church contain these revelations which come month to month and day to day. We testify also that there is, since 1830 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, and will continue to be, so long as time shall last, a prophet, recognized of God and his people, who will continue to interpret the mind and will of the Lord . . .

“Expecting the spectacular, one may not be fully alerted to the constant flow of revealed communication. I say, in the deepest of humility, but also by the power and force of a burning testimony in my soul, that from the prophet of the Restoration to the prophet of our own year, the communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous, a light, brilliant and penetrating, continues to shine. The sound of the voice of the Lord is a continuous melody and a thunderous appeal. For nearly a century and a half there has been no interruption” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, 115; or Ensign, May 1977, 78).

What follows is a brief overview of some of the things mentioned in the lesson that have come to us via revelation:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve said that correlation is a process “in which we take all the programs of the Church, bring them to one focal point, wrap them in one package, operate them as one program, involve all members of the Church in the operation—and do it all under priesthood direction” (Let Every Man Learn His Duty [pamphlet, 1976], 2).

In 1979, after years of careful work under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, the Church published a Latter-day Saint edition of the Bible. This edition of the Bible has the same text as the King James Version, but it includes special study aids, such as the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, and footnotes referring to passages in other books of scripture and to excerpts from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible.

In 1981, the Church published a new edition of the triple combination (the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in a single volume), with expanded footnotes and index entries.

Take a moment to read Ezekiel 37:15–19

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve observed: “The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephraim—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

Soon after these scriptures were printed, Elder Boyd K. Packer prophesied: “With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will. … The revelations will be opened to them as to no other [generation] in the history of the world. Into their hands now are placed the sticks of Joseph and of Judah. They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ and be competent to proclaim Him and to defend Him” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

In the April 1995 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley made an observation that shows that Elder Packer’s words are being fulfilled: “I look back to my own youth. Neither young men nor young women were doing much scripture reading at that time. What a marvelous change has been wrought. A new generation is arising who are familiar with the word of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 117; or Ensign, May 1995, 87).

Concerning the creation of additional Quorums of the Seventy, President Hinckley said: “With these respective quorums in place, we have established a pattern under which the Church may grow to any size with an organization of Area Presidencies and Area Authority Seventies, chosen and working across the world according to need. Now, the Lord is watching over His kingdom. He is inspiring its leadership to care for its ever growing membership” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 5; or Ensign, May 1997, 6).

Finally, the last place I’ll mention that gives an excellent overview of the history of some of these event is the Our Heritage book.