The Doctrine and Covenants is a book of modern scripture which reveals to us, in our day, the things we need to know in order to obtain salvation. It is a book of promised blessings for the faithful and of warnings for the wicked. It is a book of instructions to teach God’s people how to organize themselves today and is also a reminder to them of where they need to look for guidance.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church”) recognizes the truth contained in all scripture, but realizes there are many records of God’s words to His people—far more than just the Bible.
The Doctrine and Covenants is unique because it is not a translation of an ancient document, but is of modern origin and was given of God through his chosen prophets for the restoration of his holy work and the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in these days (Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants).
The Doctrine and Covenants’ teachings are “an invitation to all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to them for their temporal well-being and their everlasting salvation” (Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants).
While the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants were “the foundation of the Church in these last days” (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 119), which provide deep doctrinal answers to questions of salvation, many are also direct answers to questions offered in prayer, “in times of need, and came out of real-life situations involving real people. The Prophet [Joseph Smith] and his associates sought for divine guidance, and these revelations certify that they received it” (Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants). These revelations, though sometimes given to individuals, may be applied to daily life and modern struggles in a very effective way and are also testimonies that God hears and answers our individual prayers.
Mormon doctrine teaches, like Isaiah, that the Lord reveals His will “line upon line, precept upon precept” (D&C 98:12). The Doctrine and Covenants is a testament that God knows we can only learn by degrees. You cannot expect someone with no knowledge of elements to understand organic chemistry—they must gain a foundational knowledge upon which they can build. So it is in spiritual matters: we must learn to understand the basic doctrines before the mysteries of God can be unfolded to us. The revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants build upon each other to teach the mysteries of God’s kingdom.
In 1931, prophet Joseph Fielding Smith declared:
In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book of Doctrine and Covenants to us stands in a peculiar position above them all. . . . This Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. . . . More precious than gold, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth. . . . If we will put [its teachings] into practice, if we will keep the commandments of the Lord, we will know the truth and there shall be no weapon formed against us that shall prosper. There shall be no false doctrines, no teaching of men that will deceive us. . . . If we will search these revelations then we will be fortified against errors and we will be made strong (In Conference Report, October 1931, p17).
We invite you to read the Doctrine and Covenants, to discover key doctrine about 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 and performances that pertain to salvation, the destiny of the earth, the future conditions of man after the resurrection and the judgment, the eternity of the marriage relationship, and the eternal nature of the family” (Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants).
“The testimony that is given of Jesus Christ—his divinity, his majesty, his perfection, his love, and his redeeming power—makes this book of great value to the human family and of more worth than the riches of the whole earth” (Explanatory Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants). Discover for yourself these beautiful teachings and the peace they can bring into your life.
This article was written by Doris White, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Doris White is a native of Oregon and graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and a minor in Editing. She loves to talk with others about the gospel of Jesus Christ.