“Insights from the Doctrine and Covenants about the Father and the Son,” Liahona, January 2017
The Restoration of the gospel has given the world far greater knowledge about the nature of the Godhead and Their purposes. With this knowledge, our faith in Them grows and our desire to keep Their commandments increases.
Specifically, the Doctrine and Covenants helps us learn about Jesus Christ because it teaches powerful truths concerning “His divinity, His majesty, His perfection, His love, and His redeeming power” (introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants). This book of modern revelation includes the Lord’s invitation to “learn of me, and listen to my words” (D&C 19:23). It can deepen our understanding of Him, what our relationship to Him is, what He has done for our redemption, and what He expects of us.
The Doctrine and Covenants is not ancient scripture but contains revelations given to Joseph Smith and his successors in our modern world. Jesus Christ’s divine voice is heard speaking as the representative of the Father.1 The first-person voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded more frequently in the Doctrine and Covenants than in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price combined.2
D&C 18:33–35 “I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it. These words are not of men … , but of me; … it is my voice which speaketh them unto you.”
As a result of the First Vision in 1820, the boy Joseph Smith gained firsthand knowledge of the existence of the Father and the Son. The Doctrine and Covenants records additional instances when the Prophet and others saw the Father and the Son in visions or personal appearances. These accounts serve as modern witnesses for us that They live and that They directed the Restoration of the gospel.
D&C 76:19–23 The Father and the Son were seen in vision in February 1832.
D&C 137:1–3 The Father and the Son were seen in vision in January 1836.
D&C 110:2–4 The great Jehovah, Jesus Christ, appeared in April 1836.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to us. … When we are ready to come to Him, He is ready to come to us.”3 The Doctrine and Covenants helps us draw closer to Heavenly Father by teaching about His nature, attributes, and purposes.
D&C 20:12, 17–18 God the Father is infinite and unchangeable.
D&C 76:20, 23 The Father and the Son are separate and distinct beings.
D&C 93:3–5 The Father and the Son are one.
D&C 130:22 The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones.
D&C 138:3–4 Heavenly Father loves His children, so He sent His Son to save mankind.
Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of all the spirit children of Heavenly Father. In the premortal life, Jesus obtained all knowledge and power and represented the Father as the Creator of the worlds. Through His divine power, the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of light and life for all of His creations. The Doctrine and Covenants clarifies many of His roles in the Father’s plan.
D&C 93:21 Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of all the spirit children of God.
D&C 38:1–3 Jesus Christ obtained all knowledge and power before the world was made.
D&C 76:24 Jesus Christ represented the Father as the Creator of the worlds.
D&C 88:6–13 Jesus Christ is the source of light and life for all of His creations.
D&C 43:34 Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
D&C 29:10–12 Jesus Christ has promised to return to earth with power and glory.
More than any other book of scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants makes it plain what eternal life is: to return to live with the Father and the Son, receive all that the Father has, and become like Them. It also tells us how Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, makes this possible and what we need to do to fulfill the requirements He has set. In addition, we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants what it means to follow Jesus Christ’s example, since, like us, Jesus Christ did not have a fulness at first but received grace for grace until He had all power and glory.
D&C 84:19–21 Through the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the power of godliness is manifest.
D&C 93:12–14, 16–17 Jesus Christ received grace for grace until He had a fulness.
D&C 20:30–31 The Savior gives grace to those who love and serve Him.
D&C 93:19–20 We can receive of the Father’s glory and fulness.
In addition to teaching and testifying of the Father and the Son, the Doctrine and Covenants provides a pattern to acquire spiritual knowledge about all the members of the Godhead through the help of the Holy Ghost: study the Lord’s word, ask Heavenly Father for understanding, and exercise faith in Jesus Christ by obeying His commandments.
Light and truth are promised to those who live according to all of the Lord’s words. It is important to learn details about the nature of the Godhead and Their purposes. This knowledge can lead to diligent searching for spiritual understanding and conviction of the truth. This knowledge confirms for us that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us personally, that They love us, and that They desire to bless us with eternal life.
D&C 84:43–48 The Father teaches us when we give diligent heed to His words.
D&C 88:118 Seek learning by study and by faith.
The Doctrine and Covenants helps us draw nearer to Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, by revealing Their character and Their purposes. The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized why we can trust and rely upon God: “The purposes of our God are great, His love unfathomable, His wisdom infinite, and His power unlimited; therefore, the Saints have cause to rejoice and be glad, knowing that ‘this God is our God for ever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14).”4