The Lord’s Voice in the Doctrine and Covenants Review
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)
“In an inexplicable contradiction, Joseph was designated as the Lord’s prophet, and yet every man was to voice scripture, everyone to see God. That conundrum (or mystery) lies at the heart of Joseph Smith’s Mormonism. The amplification of authority at the center was meant to increase the authority of everyone, as if the injection of power at the core energized the whole system. From the outside, Mormonism looked like despotism (tyranny), if not chaos. On the inside, subservience to the Prophet’s authority was believed to empower every member. Though he was Moses and they were Israel all the Lord’s people were prophets.”
Richard L. Bushman
Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote an article for the Ensign in 1978 entitled “The Doctrine and Covenants: The Voice of the Lord.”
“If asked which book of scripture provides the most frequent chance to “listen” to the Lord talking, most individuals would at first think of the New Testament. The New Testament is a marvelous collection of the deeds and many of the doctrines of the Messiah. But in the Doctrine and Covenants we receive the voice as well as the word of the Lord. We can almost “hear” him talking. Thus in many ways the Doctrine and Covenants is the modern equivalent of the thundering directness of Sinai.”
Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants
• “The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations given for the establishment and regulation of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days……”
• “..for the benefit of all mankind…”
• “… is preparatory to his second coming”
• “…the testimony that is given of Jesus Christ – his divinity, his majesty, his perfection, his love, and his redeeming power – makes this book of great value to the human family and of more worth than the riches of the whole earth.”
Joseph Smith called a special conferment of elders and high priests in Hiram, Ohio November 1, 1831.
• The Preface or Section 1 of the “Book of Commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants) was received by revelation.
• Orson Pratt said, ”Joseph, the Prophet in writing the Doctrine and Covenants, received ideas from God, but clothed those ideas with such words as came to mind.”
• The question was raised about grammatical errors in the revelations and Section 67 resulted.
• William E. McLellan took the challenge to write a revelation and after failing, Joseph said, “It is an awful responsibility to write in the name of the Lord.”
• Artist Rene Magritte:
When we have ears to hear and we are doers of the word – when we listen and submit, is there any limit to what we can become?
President Ezra T. Benson said, “Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life.” “Jesus Christ – Gifts and expectations”
Elder Maxwell refers to “tips of truth” in the scriptures. One such tip is in D&C 105:31-32.
• Almost 50 years later the Lord permitted his prophet John Taylor to elaborate on this scripture:
“Those who will not take up their sword to fight against their neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety. And they will come, saying, we do not know anything of the principles of your religion, but we perceive that you are an honest community; you administer justice and righteousness, and we want to live with you and receive the protection of your laws, but as for your religion we will talk about that some other time. Will we protect such people? Yes, all honorable men. When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. This is part of the programme, and as long as we do what is right and fear God, he will help us and stand by us under all circumstances. (Deseret News Weekly, 28 Jan. 1880)
“Windows of Heaven” by artist Emily McPhie
Pres. Eyring “Of all the help we can give these young people, the greatest will be to let them feel our confidence that they are on the path home to God and that they can make it. And we do it best by going with them.”
A story…..A member of the Church told of her experience:
“My father established a family tradition of taking his children aside each week for about two months before we turned eight years old. When it was my turn, he had a brand new journal for me, and we sat together, just the two of us and talked. He asked me about my feelings for Jesus….. Over the 2-month period he taught me the simple beautiful gospel. He had me draw a visual aid as we went along. It showed the premortal existence, this earth life and the steps I needed to take to return to live with Heavenly Father; faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring in faith to the end.”TNGC page 129
See November 2000 Ensign, “The Covenant of Baptism: To be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom” by Elder Robert D. Hales
What will each of us do to better hear the voice of the Lord?