Tara Walker March 31, 2010 D&C Section 10 Major Doctrines of the Doctrine and Covenants: Sections 1–76 The content of the Doctrine and Covenants was essential for the reestablishment and building up of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints upon the earth in the latter days. It is a blessing for the restored church that the revelations were gathered and organized into a book because, the revelations and doctrines found within remain as important today for the continual functioning of wards, branches, stakes and the church as a whole. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn of temple work, eternal families, the degrees of glory, Church organization, and many other great truths of the Restoration…The Doctrine and Covenants brings men to Christ’s kingdom . . . [And] is the capstone, continuing latter-day revelation” (Conference Report, 1987). As the prophet of the church in those early days, Joseph Smith received many revelations from God that provide His children with the commandments and ordinances necessary to return back to Him. Although there are many doctrines found in the D&C only six are outlined in this paper: the beauty and importance of music, personal revelation and its connection with human intelligence, the earth’s creation for the enjoyment of mankind, the Law of Consecration as an enabler for perfection, if patient in afflictions the Lord will be with His children, and finally, the Sabbath is the Lord’s day and those who keep it will receive great blessings. Uplifting music is glorious in the eyes of the Lord and should be employed in His church for the edification and communion of the Saints with God. In D&C 45:71 it says, “And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.” This scripture not only illustrates the importance of music but also shows that the righteous who come to Zion will sing songs of joy. Music inspires and helps bring the Spirit into the hearts and homes of church members. It bears witness of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and sweetly testifies of His life and ministry, death, and resurrection. Consequently, it softens hearts and provides testimony to many who would not otherwise know or feel. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Music is given of God to further his purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls” (Mormon Doctrine p. 521). Music brings peace of mind while driving unkind or impure thoughts away. In a revelation given to the prophet’s beloved wife Emma Smith, the Lord said, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12). Music is a source of communion with God and those whose song is righteous will receive a blessing.
Each of God’s children is entitled to receive personal revelation, but He has blessed them with intelligence and wisdom so they might employ both in making important decisions. The Lord is very aware of the needs and hopes of each of His children. He listens to their prayers and seeks often to answer them. However, sometimes decisions arise which do not elicit a response from the windows of heaven. “No answer is likely to come to a person who seeks guidance in choosing between two alternatives that are equally acceptable to the Lord. Thus, there are times when we can serve productively in two different fields of labor. Either answer is right. Similarly, the Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks “Revelation”). In section 60 of the Doctrine and Covenants, several missionaries inquire of the Lord about a particular form of transportation. The Lord answers them and in verse five says, “But verily, I will speak unto you concerning your journey unto the land from whence you came. Let there be a craft made, or bought, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me, and take your journey speedily.” In this revelation the doctrine is made clear that sometimes the Lord does not care what his servants do because either choice would profit them. However, sometimes he sets specific conditions. In section 60 He made it clear that they should travel quickly to their destination. In D&C 9:8–9, the Lord teaches the way in which those who are seeking answers can know for themselves what is right. “But behold . . . you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if is be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you . . . But if it be not right you shall have no such feeling, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.” Each of God’s children is entitled to personal revelation but each has to be worthy and willing to receive it. Additionally, He requires that those seeking answers to weighty decisions first study it out in their own minds. The earth and every living thing upon it were created for God’s children and they will partake in the blessings so long as they use these gifts righteously and responsibly. In the early days of the church, there were some who converted from the Shaker beliefs. The Shaker beliefs were different than the Church’s doctrines. One belief was that they abstained from eating pork and other meat as well. The Lord provided a revelation in the form of D&C 49 that reminds the Saints the gift they have received. “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; for . . . the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance . . . [But] wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need” (verses 18–21). The Lord has created a beautiful place for man to live upon and it is a place for exceeding joy. In D&C 59:18–20 says, “All things which come of the earth…both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” As the crowning of God’s creations, man and woman are responsible to till the earth and take care of all things upon its surface. In the History of the Church it says, “The Lord created the earth as a habitation for His spirit children during their mortal probation.”
The Law of Consecration turns men’s hearts to their brethren while enabling them to become like Him and His son Jesus Christ. Although the Saints in the Latter Days are not asked to consecrate their property and material possessions to the church, they are asked to serve and give of their monetary blessings. Bruce R. McConkie stated, “Righteous Saints in all ages have consecrated their time, talents, strength, properties, and monies to the establishment of the Lord’s work and kingdom in their respective days” (Mormon Doctrine). The Law of Consecration provides a way for men to remain humble as they serve their fellow men through sacrifice. “And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken . . . [And] thou shalt live together in love…” (D&C 42:30, 45). The Law of Consecration proves the willingness of the Saints to live God’s higher law and become like him. D&C 34:1–3 it says, “I, the Lord God . . . even Jesus Christ your Redeemer; The light and the life of the world, a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; Who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God.” Jesus Christ suffered and died for all mankind. In order to live with him again, His disciples are asked to give all that they can to build up the Kingdom of Zion on the earth. They can do this by living the Law of Consecration through selfless service to those in need emotionally, physically and temporally that all might be lifted up as one. The Lord has promised that if the disciples of Jesus Christ are afflicted with trials and tribulations, he will be with them if they endure it well. This promise is a great source of comfort and strength during difficult times. D&C 24:8 says, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” It is interesting that the Lord does not promise that those who are righteous will be above difficult times. Instead, he reminds them that they will have many—for where there is great righteousness, the devil in his opposition will do all he can to destroy it. And so the Lord reminds them, that “if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:8). Many of the early Saints patiently endured the tribulations in their lives and they were lifted and blessed by the Lord. The trials and tribulations of today are very different from those of the early church, but they are still real. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit. Many are giving up heart for the battle of life . . . Yet, of all people, we as Latter-day Saints should be the most optimistic and the least pessimistic. For while we know that ‘peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion,’ we are also assured that ‘the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst’” (Ensign Nov. 1974). Trials will come, but those who endure will walk with the Comforter in this life and will live with Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ for eternity. Sunday is the Lord’s Day and those who strive to keep it will receive great blessings. In an October General Conference Report Elder James E. Faust said of the Sabbath, “Over a lifetime of observation, it is clear to me that [those] who observe the Sabbath day seems to get more done
. . . than [they] would if [they] worked seven days. The mechanic will be able to turn out more and better products... The doctor, the lawyer, the dentist, the scientist will accomplish more by trying to rest on the Sabbath . . . If students and other seekers after truth will [arrange their schedules so that they do not study on the Sabbath], their minds will be quickened and the infinite Spirit will lead them to the verities they wish to learn. This is because God has hallowed his day and blessed it as a perpetual covenant of faithfulness.” The Lord promises that those who observe the Sabbath will be blessed for keeping the commandment. D&C 59:10 and 13 say, “For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High… And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let they food be prepared with singleness of heart… that thy joy may be full.” Sunday is a day to worship the Lord and give thanks for His goodness. In so doing, all who observe will be greatly blessed. The Doctrine and Covenants is full of essential doctrines for all those seeking to find great joy and happiness in the kingdom of the Lord. It was divinely given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for its establishment and still provides direction and guidance for its members worldwide. It truly is the capstone and was inspired of God to give ordinances and blessings to the faithful and righteous upon the earth in the latter days. The D&C is a companion for the Book of Mormon and gives insight and understanding to all who will read its pages.
This essay looks at some of the major doctrines from the Latter-day Saint book of scripture, The Doctrine and Covenants.