Doctrine and Covenants 41-44: “My Law to Govern My Church” (April 19-25)

The beginning of Doctrine and Covenants 42, “The Laws of the Church of Christ,” as recorded in Manuscript Revelations, Book 1

“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

Section 42: The Laws of the Church of Christ

Section 43: How laws are received

Section 44: The importance of gathering to receive instruction

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