In November 1831, church leaders in Kirtland decided to publish a collection of revelations received by Joseph Smith. This new publication would be called The Book of Commandments. During that month, church leaders met multiple times and Joseph received several new revelations related to the project:
- On Tuesday, November 1, the Lord provided a preface for the new book (Doctrine and Covenants 1).
- The same day, the Lord affirmed that words inspired by the Holy Ghost are scripture. He encouraged church leaders to share His words with the world and with their own families (Doctrine and Covenants 68).
- On November 3, the Lord provided another revelation to complete the book, which they called the Appendix (Doctrine and Covenants 133).
- Early in the month, in response to some criticism about the text of the revelations, the Lord reaffirmed that these words were from Him. He challenged critics to write something comparable if they could (Doctrine and Covenants 67). William E. McClellan reportedly made an attempt, failed miserably, and subsequently acknowledged that the revelations were true. (See Revelations in Context: William McLellin’s Five Questions.)
- On Tuesday, November 8, Sidney Rigdon explained to church leaders that there were multiple ways errors could be introduced into the written text of the revelations. Joseph Smith agreed to review the written text and “correct those errors or mistakes which he may discover by the Holy Spirit” (“Minute Book 2,” p. 16, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed June 20, 2021, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-2/18).
- On Friday, November 11, the Lord instructed John Whitmer to accompany Oliver Cowdery to Missouri with the manuscript, where it would be printed. The Lord said that it was better for Oliver not to bear this responsibility alone (Doctrine and Covenants 69).
- The following day, the Lord referred to church leaders as “stewards over the revelations and commandments” which He had given. He said, “An account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 70).
- At a special conference that same day, church leaders collectively referred to the new book as “the foundation of the Church, and the salvation of the world, and the keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom, and the riches of Eternity to the church.” They further stated that they considered these revelations to be “worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth” (“Minute Book 2,” p. 18, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed June 20, 2021, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-2/20, spelling normalized).
Here are some lessons I have learned from these revelations, with relevant blog posts:
- When you make a commitment or set a goal, “continue in patience” until you have accomplished the goal (Doctrine and Covenants 67:13-14): 1 Nephi 3:15 We Will Not Go Down…Until We Have Accomplished the Thing Which the Lord Commanded Us.
- The words of Christ are any words spoken by the power of the Holy Ghost (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4): Feast Upon the Words of Christ – 2 Nephi 32:3.
- Parents have the privilege and the responsibility to teach the gospel by example and by testimony to their children (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25): Ye Have Grieved Their Hearts – Jacob 3:10.
- We should avoid becoming too attached to our possessions and instead focus on obtaining “the riches of eternity” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:31): The Lord Had Blessed Them So Long – Helaman 6:17.