Mormon Handbook

A REFERENCE TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

Home / Canon /

Doctrine and Covenants

Contents

The Doctrine and Covenants are a collection of revelations by Joseph Smith and a few others. It is part of the Standard Works.


Changes to the Doctrine and Covenants


Lectures on Faith

Seven Lectures were published as the doctrine portion in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lectures were part of the LDS canon until they were removed in 1921. The lectures reflect Joseph’s earlier monotheistic views before he evolved into polytheism. Joseph regarded the lectures as doctrine and approved them as canon.


During the month of January, I was engaged in the school of the Elders, and in preparing the lectures on theology for publication in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, which the committee appointed last September were now compiling.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 180

A general assembly of the Church of Latter-day Saints was held at Kirtland on the 17th of August, 1835, to take into consideration the labors of a committee appointed by a general assembly of the Church on the 24th of September, 1834, for the purpose of arranging the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ for the government of the Church. The names of the committee were: Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery and Frederick G. Williams, who, having finished said book according to the instructions given them, deem it necessary to call a general assembly of the Church to see whether the book be approved or not by the authorities of the Church: that it may, if approved, become a law and a rule of faith and practice to the Church....

Elder John Smith, taking the lead of the High Council in Kirtland, bore record that the revelations in said book were true, and that the lectures were judiciously arranged and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine. Whereupon, the High Council of Kirtland accepted and acknowledged them as the doctrine and covenants of their faith by a unanimous vote.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
History of the Church, Vol. 2, pp. 243-244

The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
Doctrine and Covenants (1835), Preface

Now these statements that I now read were in part written by the Prophet and in whole approved by him and taught by him in the school of the prophets. They're taken from the Lectures on Faith... This second in effect is a creed announcing what Deity is. And in my judgment, it’s the most comprehensive, intelligent, inspired utterance that now exists in the English language—that exists in one place defining, interpreting, expounding, announcing, and testifying what kind of a being God is. It was written by the power of the Holy Ghost, by the spirit of inspiration. And it’s in effect eternal scripture; it's true.

Bruce R. McConkie

— Bruce R. McConkie

Mormon apostle
"The Lord God of Joseph Smith", 15:00
speeches.byu.edu


LECTURE FIFTH.

Of Faith.

SECTION V.

1 In our former lectures we treated of the being, character, perfections and attributes of God. What we mean by perfections, is, the perfections which belong to all the attributes of his nature. We shall, in this lecture speak of the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2 There are two personages who constitute the great matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh—and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer, or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin: Showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin. And also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God, may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all—the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father—possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father—a Mediator for man—being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father.

Joseph Smith

— Joseph Smith

Mormonism founder
Lectures on Faith, Lecture V
Doctrine and Covenants (1835 - 1921)


Section 2

This revelation that the angel Moroni promised the priesthood is not in any of the earliest editions. It was inserted in 1876 and backdated to 1823.


Section 5

After Joseph Smith claimed to receive a revelation to be a ‘prophet, seer and revelator’, this original revelation was altered to remove the restriction that Joseph’s only gift would be to translate the Book of Mormon.


Book of Commandments (1833)
Chapter IV, v. 2
Doctrine and Covenants
Section 5:4

And he has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.

And you have a gift to translate the book plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.


Section 13

This revelation that Joseph received the Aaronic Priesthood is not in any of the earliest editions. It was inserted in 1876 and back dated to May 15, 1829.


Section 20

The original revelation was altered in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, and the date was changed to align with the founding of the church in April 1830.


Book of Commandments (1833)
Chapter XXIV
Doctrine and Covenants
Section 20

The Articles and Covenants of the church of Christ, given in Fayette, New-York, June, 1830.

The complete revelation, known at the time as the Articles and Covenants, was likely recorded soon after April 6, 1830.

65 No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church;

66 But the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.

67 Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.


Section 27

The original revelation was altered in 1835 to insert language that Joseph had already received the priesthood years prior.


Book of Commandments (1833)
Chapter XXVIII
Doctrine and Covenants
Section 27

6 Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:

5 Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world: Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim;

6 And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days;

7 And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;

8 Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron;

9 And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;

10 And also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain;

11 And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days;

12 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;

13 Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;

14 And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world.

7 Wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins and be faithful until I come:— even so. Amen.

15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and be faithful until I come:—even so. take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.

16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;

17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;

18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also.
Amen.


Section 48

The original revelation was edited in 1835 to insert ‘the presidency’. An office the Bible and Book of Mormon do not mention.


Book of Commandments (1833)
Chapter LI
Doctrine and Covenants
Section 48

5 The place is not yet to be revealed, but after your brethren come from the east, there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed; and they shall be appointed to purchase the lands, and to make a commencement, to lay the foundation of the city;

6 And then ye shall begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the bishop and elders of the church, according to the laws and commandments, which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive; even so: Amen.

5 The place is not yet to be revealed; but after your brethren come from the east there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed.

6 And they shall be appointed to purchase the lands, and to make a commencement to lay the foundation of the city; and then shall ye begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the presidency and the bishop and elders of the church, according to the laws and commandments which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive. Even so. Amen.


Section 101

The doctrine that temple weddings are essential was not publicly taught in the church for at least its first four decades. From 1835 until 1876, Section 101, which prohibited polygamy was part of the canon. It was removed to make room for Section 132, endorsing polygamy.


MARRIAGE

1 According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose: and that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding high priest, high priest, bishop, elder, or priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority. We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this church from marrying out of the church, if it be their determination so to do, but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Marriage should be celebrated with prayer and thanksgiving; and at the solemnization, the persons to be married, standing together, the man on the right, and the woman on the left, shall be addressed, by the person officiating, as he shall be directed by the holy Spirit; and if there be no legal objections, he shall say, calling each by their names: "You both mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives." And when they have answered "Yes," he shall pronounce them "husband and wife" in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the laws of the country and authority vested in him: "may God add his blessings and keep you to fulfill your covenants from henceforth and forever. Amen."

3 The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages, solemnized in his branch.

4 All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.

Doctrine and Covenants

— Doctrine and Covenants

(1835 - 1876)
Section 101

Contents
Book of Mormon — Prayer or Analysis? Download Handbook Pearl of Great Price
Linktree YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram TikTok Contact