I have read The Book of Mormon several times cover to cover but I don’t know if I have ever read the Doctrine and Covenants all the way through before. Maybe during High School for seminary?
So beginning this study this time has made me want to go deeper and get more out of it. I wanted to have a focus for my study like I did last year with The Book of Mormon when I tried to find as many tender mercies as possible and also when I was recording little notes about the things that I know and have experienced because of The Book of Mormon.
That study was really meaningful for me and I wanted something similar for my Doctrine and Covenants study this year.
In my study over the first few days, I realized that the Doctrine and Covenants is unique because nearly every section is spoken directly by Jesus Christ and is written in first person.
I love how the introduction says “the messages, warnings, and exhortations are for the benefit of all mankind and contain an invitation to all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to them for their temporal well-being and their everlasting salvation… In the revelations, one hears the tender but firm voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking anew in the dispensation of the fullness of times… These sacred revelations were received in answer to prayer, in times of need, and came out of real-life situations involving real people. The Prophet and his associates sought for divine guidance, and these revelations certify that they received it.”
I realized that the Doctrine and Covenants is a record of people seeking and receiving revelation. So I decided that my word(s) this year would be “hear Him” and I would use the margins of this copy of the Doctrine and Covenants as a place to record my own personal revelation moments and experiences that I have throughout this year.
Doing this will help motivate me to pay closer attention to the moments when the Lord is speaking to me, and to recognize that that is what is happening. It will also motivate me to record these experiences (or at least a good chunk of them) for myself and my posterity.
Studying the Doctrine and Covenants will help me to come to better recognize the voice of the Lord in my own personal life. Being able to hear the voice of the Lord is vital, as President Nelson has said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
I love this study edition of The Doctrine and Covenants that I got from Line Upon Line. This particular cover design is “Sunrise.” It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that has been reading my blog for a while now but I love sunrises. A good sunrise is one of my favorite things. And I love how sunrises can be symbolic of revelation – often the light (knowledge, understanding, guidance, peace, etc.) comes gradually, a little at a time.
This Sunrise copy of the Doctrine and Covenants will go along perfectly with my quest to grow into the principle of revelation.
“When we receive revelation, we spend time in the presence of God as He reveals His mind, will, and voice unto us.” (Russell M. Nelson)
“The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.
In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”
You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.
I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”” (Russell M. Nelson)