The Doctrine and Covenants is the course of study for 2017 for adults and teenagers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even though are numerous study helps to assist us in learning the doctrine in this book of scripture, our first source should be the scriptures. The revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants were given for people living in our day. It is our book of counsel.
Ted Gibbons considers the Doctrine and Covenants to be “our testament” just as the Old Testament is the history and teachings of people in ancient times, the New Testament records the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles, and the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ contains the teachings of ancient Americans. This comparison helps me to see the testament or covenant of the Doctrine and Covenants with new eyes and gives me added reason to study it.
Gibbons quotes Elder Wilford Woodruff as saying, “I consider that the Doctrine and Covenants, our testament, contains a code of the most solemn, the most godlike proclamations ever made to the human family.” Then he states, “There are eternal lessons to learn from every chapter and nearly every verse of scripture. But these revelations are to us and for us and about us. They really are our testament of Jesus Christ and His involvement with us.”
The Doctrine and Covenants is a different type of scripture from the Bible or Book of Mormon in that there is no story line to follow. Gibbons explains that we must “be aware … that the lesson outline for the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History is not chronological. It does not examine the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants or the events of Church History in the same order they appear in the scriptures and our histories. The lessons this year are thematic, pursuing concepts and doctrines through the years and revelations that have come since the restoration. Thus, for example, the lesson on the gathering will speak of Kirtland and Missouri and Nauvoo and Salt Lake and the present-day gathering to the stakes of Zion.”
I am excited at the opportunity to learn more about the Doctrine and Covenants and history of the Church. I hope you will join me in studying this great book of scripture in 2017. Gibbons will apparently write a column about each lesson to give further ideas and concepts for us to consider as we study “our testament.” The Gospel Doctrine teacher’s manual can be accessed at this site.