D&C 67:1-9 The Book of Commandments
In this section the Lord addresses the publication into book form of many of the revelations that had been given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. This became the “Book of Commandments” (later to become the Doctrine and Covenants). The brethren present with Joseph were called upon to bear testimony of the truth of the revelations, but William E. McLellin balked, due to his concern over what he considered to be some poor writing within the revelations. William considered himself more educated and felt that the language in the revelations should be improved before being published. Look for:
Verse 1: What three things are known only by the Lord?
Verse 2: What thoughts and feelings come to you as you read this verse?
Verses 4, 9: What did the Lord say about the “commandments” (revelations) being prepared for publication?
Verse 5: The Lord knew Joseph’s weaknesses but still used him as His instrument. This gives hope to all of us.
Verses 6-8: What challenge did the Lord issue to the brethren?
Unwisely, William McLellin took the Lord’s challenge in verses 6-7 and sat down to compose a “revelation.” After completing his writing, everyone—including William himself—agreed that it was a miserable failure. The Lord calls upon His servants to do His work on earth, but He requires humility and condemns pride. (See 2 Nephi 9:28-29.) Prophets are not perfect men, but they are God’s instruments. What are some of the negative reactions to the teachings of prophets today?
D&C 67:10 “The Veil Shall Be Rent”
In this verse the Lord states forthrightly the “privilege, and a promise” of seeing Him and knowing that He is. But He also outlines some of the prerequisites: Strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves. Read also D&C 88:68; D&C 93:1.
An oft-quoted teaching from the Prophet Joseph Smith informs us, “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter…. Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself…. When any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 150-51).
D&C 68:1-10 Guidance for Missionary Work
Read verses 1-10 and make a list of things the Lord expects of those who “proclaim the everlasting gospel” (verse 1). Note also the wonderful outcomes and promises the Lord declares in verses 4, 6, 9-10.
D&C 68:11 “Unto You It Shall Be Given”
Consider the days in which we live, and the growing trouble throughout the world. Think about the tremendous blessing the Lord pronounces in this verse: “Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.” This knowledge and blessing are of incalculable value to us, as we navigate what President Russell M. Nelson called “the latter part of these latter days” (“Embrace the Future with Faith,” Oct. 2020 general conference). The Lord has not left us alone. We can have hope and not be troubled because He has informed us of things to come, including the ultimate outcome: Christ’s Second Coming.
D&C 68:25-31 The Lord’s Guides for Teaching Children
The Lord makes clear how important it is for parents to teach the following to their children:
- To understand the doctrines of repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. (verse 25).
- To pray (see also verse 33) and to walk uprightly before the Lord (verse 28; to “walk uprightly” refers to our habitual conduct in life).
- To observe the Sabbath day and to keep it holy (verse 29).
- To labor “in all faithfulness” and to avoid idleness, which is wickedness (verses 30-31; an “idler” is one who lives only upon the labor of others).
- To earnestly seek the riches of eternity, avoiding greediness (verse 31).
Recognizing that no parents are perfect, think about some of the valuable truths you were taught by your mother or father. How might your life have been different without these teachings and example?
Recognize also that the Lord’s charge is to teach children “to understand” these truths (verse 25), which hopefully includes obedience to them. However, children who have been properly taught, yet choose for now to disobey, do not bring condemnation upon their parents. And, such children will yet have further opportunities to repent.
Concerning the teaching responsibilities of parents, Elder James E. Faust taught: “The teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us. To have successful homes, values must be taught, and there must be rules, there must be standards, and there must be absolutes…. As societies as a whole have decayed and lost their moral identity and so many homes are broken, the best hope is to turn greater attention and effort to the teaching of the next generation—our children” (“The Greatest Challenge in the World—Good Parenting,” Oct. 1990 general conference).
D&C 69 “True and Faithful”
Read the section heading and verses 1-2. Even faithful and reliable servants such as Oliver Cowdery are in need of companionship and support. In regard to “moneys” (verse 1) in the Church there are still strict safeguards in place for those who have stewardship over the donations of members, including the requirement to have at least two assigned priesthood brethren present and involved in the handling of donations.
Read verses 5-8 to see some of the purposes for gathering and studying Church history, as well as personal histories. How has the study of Church history and/or family and personal histories blessed you? Are you keeping a record of your life?
D&C 70 “The Foundation of the Church”
The section heading tells us that the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Doctrine and Covenants “the foundation of the Church.” Joseph had also stated that the Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion” (see Book of Mormon Introduction, paragraph 6). For you, how do these two statements go together to sustain the Church and to bless your daily life?
In this revelation the Lord speaks of commandments and assignments as our “stewardships” (verses 3-4, 9, 11-12; “stewardship” refers to the way our time, talents, material possessions, or wealth are used or given for the service of God, His Church, and its members). What do verses 4, 10 mean to you? Read verses 15-18 to see some of the blessings the Lord has in store for those who serve Him faithfully.