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Doctrine and Covenants

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The Prophet Joseph Smith not only translated the Book of Mormon, but he also compiled other revelations that he received from God. Most of these revelations are found in two other books of modern-day scripture: The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

The Doctrine and Covenants is a standard work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its main purpose is to instruct members and leaders about how the Mormon Church should be organized and directed in order to be in harmony with Christ's kingdom. It also contains many revelations about important doctrines. Most of the revelations were received by the Prophet Joseph Smith (133). The remaining sections (including 2 declarations) were received and written by other leaders of the Mormon Church.

Most passages in the Doctrine and Covenants have a specific historical setting and they were received from the Lord in answer to specific prayers. Many sections were the result of a request by a specific member, but their words have universal application, and this makes Doctrine and Covenants’ revelations still relevant today.

These revelations are recognized by members of the Mormon Church as "the will of the Lord,…the mind of the Lord,…the word of the Lord,…the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4).

It is important to realize that not all the revelations received by Joseph Smith are contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, but some of them are included in the History of the Church.

The decision about which revelations need to be included in the Doctrine and Covenants is made by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church.

To the members of the Mormon Church the Doctrine and Covenants is the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This powerful book of scriptures confirms the teaching of the Book of Mormon, reveals new principles, explains them in more detail, and gives more instruction about the government of His Church. It also warns individuals and nations about the destructions that lay ahead if they will not repent. Thus, there is information in the Doctrine and Covenants that supports the prophecies regarding the Last Days found in the Bible.

History of the Doctrine and Covenants

Joseph Smith had received numerous revelations on gospel principles and instruction from the Lord on how to run The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and although the revelations were often announced in conferences, and Joseph often gave copies to missionaries and other Church leaders, most people didn't know what was contained in the revelations.

The printing press that was set up in Missouri by William W. Phelps solved this problem. In November of 1831, numerous meetings and conferences were held to discuss the printing of these revelations. By this point Joseph Smith had recorded 60 revelations. It was decided that ten thousand copies of the revelations would be printed in the form of a book. This large number was later reduced to only three thousand printings of the book. The book was entitled the Book of Commandments (the name was later changed to the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, when an expanded version of the book was printed in Kirtland, Ohio), and the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 1 was to be included as the preface to the book.

An appendix was made for the book, and Joseph went through and corrected any errors that could be found in the written manuscripts of the revelations. John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery were given the responsibility of taking the manuscripts to Missouri. They left on November 20, 1831, and finally arrived in Independence on January 5, 1832. In June, W. W. Phelps began setting the type for the book. The first edition was printed in 1833 and contained only sixty-five chapters. After the first edition, other revelations were received, and some earlier materials were deleted until it reached the current format.

Nearly a third of all the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were received between August 1831 and April 1834. Joseph Smith stated that the revelations in the Book of Commandments were "the foundation of the Church in these last days."

The Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants states, "Most of the revelations in this compilation were received through Joseph Smith, Jun., the first prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Others were issued through some of his successors in the Presidency. (See headings to Sections 135, 136, and 138, and Official Declarations 1 and 2.)"

As one of the standard works of the Church, the Doctrine and Covenants is unique in that it is not a translation of an ancient document. Rather, it is of modern origin and was given from God through his chosen prophets as part of the restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in modern times.

The revelations relate to such gospel doctrines as the nature of the Godhead, the origin of man, the reality of Satan, the purpose of mortality, the necessity for obedience, the need for repentance, the workings of the Holy Spirit, the ordinances necessary for salvation, the functions and nature of the Priesthood, the destiny of the earth, the resurrection and final judgment as well as what comes afterward, the eternal nature of the marriage relationship, and the eternal nature of the family. The Doctrine and Covenants also reveals the administrative structure of the Church, detailing the duties of bishops, the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy, as well as the establishment of other presiding offices and quorums.

Lastly, the Doctrine and Covenants is a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, and that He governs His Church and speaks to His chosen servants in modern times as He did in ancient times.

Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants

The Doctrine and Covenants is divided into numbered sections, similar to chapters in a book. The following shows the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants, the date it was written, and the location where the section was written.

Section Date Location
1 November 1, 1831 Hiram, Ohio
2 September 21, 1823 Manchester, New York
3 July 1828 Harmony, Pennsylvania
4 February 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
5 March 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
6 April 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
7 April 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
8 April 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
9 April 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
10 Summer 1828 Harmony, Pennsylvania
11 May 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
12 May 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
13 May 15, 1829 Harmony, Pennsylvania
14 June 1829 Fayette, New York
15 June 1829 Fayette, New York
16 June 1829 Fayette, New York
17 June 1829 Fayette, New York
18 June 1829 Fayette, New York
19 March 1830 Manchester, New York
20 April 1830 Fayette, New York
21 April 6, 1830 Fayette, New York
22 April 1830 Manchester, New York
23 April 1830 Manchester, New York
24 July 1830 Harmony, Pennsylvania
25 July 1830 Harmony, Pennsylvania
26 July 1830 Harmony, Pennsylvania
27 August 1830 Harmony, Pennsylvania
28 September 1830 Fayette, New York
29 September 1830 Fayette, New York
30 September 1830 Fayette, New York
31 September 1830 Fayette, New York
32 October 1830 Fayette, New York
33 October 1830 Fayette, New York
34 November 4, 1830 Fayette, New York
35 December 1830 Fayette, New York
36 December 1830 Fayette, New York
37 December 1830 Fayette, New York
38 January 2, 1831 Fayette, New York
39 January 5, 1831 Fayette, New York
40 January 1831 Fayette, New York
41 February 4, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
42 February 9, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
43 February 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
44 February 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
45 March 7, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
46 March 8, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
47 March 8, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
48 March 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
49 March 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
50 May 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
51 May 1831 Thompson, Ohio
52 June 7, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
53 June 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
54 June 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
55 June 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
56 June 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
57 July 20, 1831 Zion, Jackson County, Missouri
58 August 1, 1831 Zion, Jackson County, Missouri
59 August 7, 1831 Zion, Jackson County, Missouri
60 August 8, 1831 Zion, Jackson County, Missouri
61 August 12, 1831 Missouri River, Missouri
62 August 13, 1831 Missouri River, Missouri
63 August 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
64 September 11, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
65 October 1831 Hiram, Ohio
66 October 25, 1831 Orange, Ohio
67 November 1831 Hiram, Ohio
68 November 1831 Hiram, Ohio
69 November 1831 Hiram, Ohio
70 November 12, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
71 December 1, 1831 Hiram, Ohio
72 December 4, 1831 Kirtland, Ohio
73 January 10, 1832 Hiram, Ohio
74 January 1832 Hiram, Ohio
75 January 25, 1832 Amherst, Ohio
76 February 16, 1832 Hiram, Ohio
77 March 1832 Hiram, Ohio
78 March 1832 Hiram, Ohio
79 March 1832 Hiram, Ohio
80 March 1832 Hiram, Ohio
81 March 1832 Hiram, Ohio
82 April 26, 1832 Jackson County, Missouri
83 April 30, 1832 Jackson County, Missouri
84 September 22/23, 1832 Kirtland, Ohio
85 November 27, 1832 Kirtland, Ohio
86 December 6, 1832 Kirtland, Ohio
87 December 25, 1832 Kirtland, Ohio
88 December 27, 1832 Kirtland, Ohio
89 February 27, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
90 March 8, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
91 March 9, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
92 March 15, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
93 May 6, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
94 May 6, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
95 June 1, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
96 June 4, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
97 August 2, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
98 August 6, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
99 August 1832 Hiram, Ohio
100 October 12, 1833 Perrysburg, New York
101 December 16, 1833 Kirtland, Ohio
102 February 17, 1834 Kirtland, Ohio
103 February 24, 1834 Kirtland, Ohio
104 April 23, 1834 Kirtland, Ohio
105 June 22, 1834 Fishing River, Missouri
106 November 25, 1834 Kirtland, Ohio
107 March 28, 1835 Kirtland, Ohio
108 December 26, 1835 Kirtland, Ohio
109 March 27, 1836 Kirtland, Ohio
110 April 3, 1836 Kirtland, Ohio
111 August 6, 1836 Salem, Massachusetts
112 July 23, 1837 Kirtland, Ohio
113 March 1838 Far West, Missouri
114 April 17, 1838 Far West, Missouri
115 April 26, 1838 Far West, Missouri
116 May 19, 1838 Spring Hill, Daviess County, Missouri
117 July 8, 1838 Far West, Missouri
118 July 8, 1838 Far West, Missouri
119 July 8, 1838 Far West, Missouri
120 July 8, 1838 Far West, Missouri
121 March 20, 1839 Liberty Jail, Clay County, Missouri
122 March 1839 Liberty Jail, Clay County, Missouri
123 March 1839 Liberty Jail, Clay County, Missouri
124 January 19, 1841 Nauvoo, Illinois
125 March 1841 Nauvoo, Illinois
126 July 9, 1841 Nauvoo, Illinois
127 September 1, 1842 Nauvoo, Illinois
128 September 6, 1842 Nauvoo, Illinois
129 February 9, 1843 Nauvoo, Illinois
130 April 2, 1843 Ramus, Illinois
131 May 16/17, 1843 Ramus, Illinois
132 July 12, 1843 Nauvoo, Illinois
133 November 3, 1831 Hiram, Ohio
134 August 17, 1835 Kirtland, Ohio
135 June 27, 1844 Nauvoo, Illinois
136 January 14, 1847 Winter Quarters
137 January 21, 1836 Kirtland, Ohio
138 October 3, 1918 Salt Lake City, Utah
OD1 October 6, 1890 Salt Lake City, Utah
OD2 June 8, 1978 Salt Lake City, Utah
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