- Doctrine and Covenants 41-44: “My Law to Govern My Church” (April 19-25)
“I am the law and the light,” the Savior said to an ancient group of people on the American continent. “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live” (3 Nephi 15:9).
“I am your lawgiver,” He told members of His newly organized church in January 1831. He promised that if they would relocate to Ohio, He would give them His law (Doctrine and Covenants 38:22, 32).
The following month, in Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph Smith received a preparatory revelation, instructing the saints how to prepare to receive His law (Doctrine and Covenants 41).
A few days later, he received a revelation entitled “The Laws of the Church of Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 42). It’s a complex document, containing many different kinds of laws. Some are restatements of well-known commandments given anciently (don’t kill, steal, lie, or commit adultery: verses 18-29, 74-87). Some are practical instructions (how to teach the gospel, how to bless the sick: verses 11-17, 43-52). And a good portion of the document explains the law of consecration, including how to administer consecrated funds (verses 30-42, 53-55, 70-73).
Later that month, the prophet received two additional revelations: one reiterating how revelations are received in the church (Doctrine and Covenants 43) and one instructing all elders to gather for a church conference (Doctrine and Covenants 44).
Here are some of the principles taught in these revelations, together with some relevant blog posts:
Section 41: Preparing to receive the law
- Be careful how and when you share sacred things: The Things Which I Have Written – 1 Nephi 14:28-30.
Section 42: The Laws of the Church of Christ
- Observe, defend, and fulfill: What Does It Mean to “Keep” God’s Commandments?
- Effective gospel teaching has the following three components: authority, the scriptures, and the Spirit: According to the Revelation of the Truth – Alma 6:8.
- We invite the Holy Ghost into our lives through prayer and by seeking virtue: That Which They Most Desired – 3 Nephi 19:9.
- The Spirit not only directs our words when we teach, but also infuses those words with power: He Spake with Power and Authority from God – Mosiah 13:5-6.
- We can have confidence in the people assigned to teach us when we have confidence in the people who made those assignments: He Consecrated All Their Priests and All Their Teachers – Mosiah 23:16-18.
- Our temporal possessions become holy when they are used to fulfill spiritual purposes: What Does It Mean to Consecrate Something?
- Some truths can only be learned by revelation: What Are the Mysteries of God?
- The knowledge we receive from God will bring us joy: Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children – 3 Nephi 22:13.
- We need to reduce the commotion in our lives to receive that knowledge: Peaceable Things
Section 43: How laws are received
- Contributing to an organization includes respecting the roles of other people in the organization, including the authority of those who lead you: “In Wisdom and Order” – Mosiah 4:27.
- We should treasure the word of God and “let the solemnities of eternity rest upon [our] minds” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:34): 2 Nephi 4:16 My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord.
Section 44: The importance of gathering to receive instruction
- We should meet with other church members as often as we can in order to strengthen and support one another: “Meet Together Oft” – Moroni 6:5.
Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instructed members of His church to “teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:12). This echoes the instruction given by Alma to the newly ordained priests when he organized the church at the waters of Mormon:… Continue Reading →
On the surface, the word “law” sounds like something that is imposed upon us, something that we are forced to obey, on pain of punishment. Book of Mormon prophets do in fact emphasize that there are consequences for disobeying the law. Lehi describes “the punishment which is affixed,” in contrast with “the happiness which is… Continue Reading →
In the Book of Revelation, the apostle John repeatedly uses four words to convey the expansiveness of God’s saving work: He sees heavenly beings worshipping Jesus Christ and acknowledging that He has redeemed them “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). He later sees a huge crowd, “of all nations,… Continue Reading →
At the Last Supper, before beginning the meal, the Savior washed the feet of His disciples. Emphasizing the symbolic nature of this action to them, He said, “Ye are clean, but not all” (John 13:10). John explained that this statement referred to Judas Iscariot, who was among them, but who had already committed to betray… Continue Reading →
Prosperity without pride is a worthy goal. After Lehi and his family abandoned their home in Jerusalem, leaving behind their gold, silver, and precious things (1 Nephi 2:4), the Lord promised them that, if they would keep His commandments, they would prosper in their new land (1 Nephi 2:20). After arriving on the American continent,… Continue Reading →
When Nephi and his people “had prepared all things,” including “much fruit and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance,” and other provisions, they boarded the ship they had built to travel across the ocean (1 Nephi 18:6). The brother of Jared and his people did the same before embarking on their journey: When… Continue Reading →
Nephi believed that his prayers were heard and would be answered: For I pray continually for [my people] by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. 2 Nephi 33:3 Jacob counseled his people to “pray unto… Continue Reading →
The Savior has introduced Himself multiple times with a variation of the following statement: I came unto my own, and my own received me not. 3 Nephi 9:16 (See also Doctrine and Covenants 6:21, 10:57, 11:29, 39:3, 45:8.) He knows what it is like to be rejected by the very people He is trying to help…. Continue Reading →
We can respect and build upon the beliefs of others, even people with whom we disagree. When Ammon asked King Lamoni if he believed in God, the king replied, “I do not know what that meaneth.” Ammon, recognizing that the king was not devoid of belief, asked a follow-up question: “Believest thou that there is… Continue Reading →
Good news deserves to be shared. In Lehi’s dream, when he tasted the fruit of the tree, he immediately wanted his family to enjoy it as well. “I beckoned unto them,” he said, “and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit,… Continue Reading →
In December of 1830, the Lord promised Edward Partridge that he would receive the Holy Ghost, which would teach him “the peaceable things of the kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 36:2). The following month, He made the same promise to James Covill (Doctrine and Covenants 39:6), and a month after that, He extended the promise to… Continue Reading →
After preaching among the Lamanites for fourteen years, Ammon met with his fellow missionaries to review their experiences and the outcomes. Thousands of people had been converted to the gospel and were now united by their love of God and their commitment to live righteously. Ammon compares the results of their labors to a field… Continue Reading →
It is more important to be prepared than to have a plan. Plans rely on assumptions about things we can’t control. The most brittle plans rely heavily on these assumptions, while more resilient plans allow for adaptation under changing circumstances. A good plan recognizes that the participants will be actors, not merely executors, and will… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.
In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.