“The Doctrine and Covenants: A Conclusion, Lesson 56: Summary and Review,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 111–12
“Lesson 56,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 111–12
The Doctrine and Covenants should’be highly treasured, carefully studied, and followed in its teachings by all Latter-day Saints.
The Doctrine and Covenants is essentially a book for us who live today, a book of revelation for this dispensation.
It contains both doctrine, the revealed truths of God for our exaltation, and covenants, promises made between God and man.
It is a modern book with current application, yet it reveals truths long withheld from men because of their unbelief.
Latter-day Saints should become avid students of the Doctrine and Covenants to more fully learn their duty to the Lord.
The Lord commands us to “search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled” (D&C 1:37).
No book on earth (not even any of the other standard works), has more relevance for us today than the Doctrine and Covenants. It is the Lord’s book for us today.
1 Nephi 13:26–28, 39–40. How does the Doctrine and Covenants help fulfill this promise of other books to come forth?
D&C 1:6–7. Will the prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants be fulfilled?
D&C 1:24. What is one reason the Lord gave the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants?
D&C 1:37. Why should members of the Church study the Doctrine and Covenants?
D&C 43:7–8. Those who join the Church have a responsibility to teach what?
D&C 43:9–10. What will happen to those who fail to live by the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants?
D&C 76:5–10. Those who serve the Lord shall have revealed unto them “all mysteries” and “all things pertaining to my kingdom.” This is partly what the Doctrine and Covenants contains.
D&C 124:40–41. The Lord deigns to reveal to the Church ordinances and truths which have been kept hidden from before the foundations of the world. Some of these are in the Doctrine and Covenants.
D&C Explanatory Introduction, p. v. Who gave their testimony as a witness of the truthfulness of the Doctrine and Covenants?
Discourses, p. 126. Is the Doctrine and Covenants in harmony with other scriptures revealed by the Lord?
Discourses, p. 128. For what purpose was the Doctrine and Covenants given?
DS, 3:198. How important is the Doctrine and Covenants to the Latter-day Saints?
DS, 3:200–201. What does the Doctrine and Covenants contain that is so important for Latter-day Saints today?
DS, 3:201–2. Why are some revelations withheld from the Church?
Gos. Doc, p. 45. The Doctrine and Covenants contains some of the most glorious principles ever revealed to man; it reveals things kept hidden from the foundation of the world.
George Albert Smith, in CR, Oct. 1917, p. 43. By means of the scriptures we establish the doctrines of Christ.
George Albert Smith, in CR, Oct. 1917, pp. 43–44. Will the Lord hold us guiltless if we fail to appreciate books which cost the lives of the best men in the world to produce?
Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 22:146. The Doctrine and Covenants is our testament, “the most Godlike proclamations ever made to the human family.”
Heber J. Grant, in CR, Oct. 1927, p. 4. “If we as a people would live up to those wonderful revelations that have come to us, we would be a bright and shining light to all the wide world.”
History of the Church, 1:235. An early committee of the Church “voted that they prize the revelations to be worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally.”
Begin the lesson by holding up a copy of all four of the standard works. Ask students to point out the significant and unique contributions of each. Lead them to see that the Doctrine and Covenants is (1) a book uniquely for our day and time—the dispensation of the fulness of times and (2) is the handbook of the Restoration—showing us how to organize and conduct the Church in our day.
Next, write the words doctrine and covenants on the chalkboard and call for student definitions. Point out, if students do not, that doctrines are principles of truth, guidelines for action or living, while covenants are contractual arrangements between God and man in which each agrees to abide by certain truths in exchange for blessings or benefits. You might wish to read and discuss the doctrinal implications of Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, which is a general statement of the covenant arrangement between God and man.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 43:7–10. It is our willingness to bind ourselves by covenant to the Lord to “act in all holiness” that paves the way for us to qualify for eternal life. Next read Doctrine and Covenants 54:3–6. What is a cause of suffering for the Saints? The Doctrine and Covenants serves us in a unique way since it makes very clear the doctrinal truths that we must covenant to obey if we would gain eternal life.
Brigham Young said: “The book of Doctrine and Covenants is given for the Latter-day Saints expressly for their everyday walk and actions” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 128).
Joseph Fielding Smith added: “In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants …
“[It] contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints … It is worth more to us than the riches of the earth.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:198–99.)
Explain that the Doctrine and Covenants is unique in that it reveals so many doctrines which are new to man—truths lost through the dark ages and the great Apostasy and possibly some of the “plain and precious truths” removed from the Bible by wicked men (see 1 Nephi 13:26–29, 39–40). Whereas other books may only hint at or even avoid discussion of these great truths, the Doctrine and Covenants provides specific details.
Invite students to name as many of these truths as they can think of. (Three degrees of glory, celestial marriage, temple work, salvation for the dead, Church organization, Zion, the united order, etc.) Now read and chain the following scriptural passages, helping students to annotate them briefly in their notebooks:
D&C 124:40–41. The Lord is to reveal in our day truths long withheld from men.
D&C 76:5–10. Only those who serve the Lord are to receive revelation of “all the mysteries” and “all things pertaining to my kingdom.”
Moses 1:40–42. Many of the truths revealed to and written by Moses were taken from his book and were to be revealed anew through one like Moses.
Only as we study and master the great truths contained in the Doctrine and Covenants and live faithful to our covenants do we show ourselves approved of the Lord. The Lord is bound to us only when we do as he admonishes us to do.
You should conclude with your testimony of this important book of scripture.