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15 Doctrine and Covenants Study Aids

In 2017, Sunday school will focus on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history. Whether you frequently study Church history or are relatively new to the subject, here are 15 helpful study aids to help you get the most out of the Doctrine and Covenants and Church history:

1. Precept upon Precept: Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Doctrine

Precept upon preceptHow did Joseph Smith do it? How did he, when just a teenager, open the floodgates of revelation on a spring day in 1820? How did he continue to receive, restore, and refine the rich doctrine of the restored gospel until his martyrdom in 1844? And how could a man who delivered such a comprehensive system of doctrine, that laid such a profound theological foundation, be anything other than a prophet of God?

Latter-day Saint doctrine is based on the restoration of a correct understanding of God's "character, perfections, and attributes." In Precept upon Precept, esteemed Latter-day Saint scholar and speaker Robert L. Millet explored how the restoration of one truth led to questions that led to answers and the restoration of more truths—line upon line, precept upon precept.

From the original theophany of the First Vision and its implications for a world steeped in Trinitarian doctrine to the cosmic scope of the King Follett sermon, the Prophet's revelations shook up the entrenched doctrines of 19th-century Christianity. And by the time of Joseph's martyrdom, God had through him laid the foundations for a restored church of Jesus Christ that will last until the Millennium.

2. The Witness of Women: Firsthand Experiences and Testimonies from the Restoration

Witness of womenLatter-day Saint women actively participated in the Restoration, and their voices and testimonies need to be included in Church history. The Witness of Women, by Janiece Johnson and Jennifer Reeder, helps accomplish that. Teachers, parents, gospel scholars, and every member seeking a connection with the women of our past will relish discovering the vital role that women played in the Restoration.

Through short, first-person experiences and testimonies helpfully organized by topic, readers will now be ale to learn directly from women who witnessed and participated in the Restoration. As you read their words, you'll be able to:

     • Draw on their witness of the Book of Mormon and experiences with the Prophet Joseph Smith to strengthen your own conviction.

     • Learn to handle adversity by seeing how they coped with severe trials.

     • Gain greater understanding from their insights about Jesus Christ, revelation, priesthood, the temple, education, and other timeless topics.

     • Share women's experiences and testimonies in lessons, talks, and at home.

We know that women were there every step of the way from Palmyra to the Salt Lake Valley and beyond. Now you can come to personally know those women through their own inspiring words.

3. Wagons West: Brigham Young and the First Pioneers

Wagons westThis simple, clear retelling of the Saints' trek west will help both young and old experience what life was like in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1844, after their beloved Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.

Hurry with the Saints as they rush to complete their temple while also building wagons and packing supplies for the long journey west. Go with them as they cross the wide Mississippi River and trudge through the mud of Iowa.

Experience their disappointment that they cannot reach the Rocky Mountains before winter comes again, but share their faith that they are being led by a prophet of God. Rejoice with them when spring returns and the first company of pioneers sets out from Winter Quarters.

Look with them in awe at vast herds of shaggy buffalo on the Great Plains. Finally, after crossing the last mountain pass into the Salt Lake Valley, thrill with the Saints that they have reached their new home.

Vintage photos and other engaging illustrations help bring these stories to life in Wagons West: Brigham Young and the First Pioneers, by Lael Littke and Richard E. Turley, Jr.

4. Church History for Latter-day Saint Families

4755239 church history for lds familiesMost publications about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seem to be written for historians and scholars, but this volume promises to be a trusted resource for families, teachers, and youth. The beautifully illustrated book is designed for anyone wanting to understand more clearly the history of the Church and its ties to the Doctrine and Covenants.

The format—with word helps, illustrations, photos, maps, explanations, and brief commentaries—will be familiar to all who have loved the perennial best-seller The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, which was created by the same team of writers. Bring to life for your family the priceless stories, events, people, and scriptures of the Restoration.

5. The Doctrine and Covenants Made Easier

9781555178208Noted teacher and gospel scholar David J. Ridges brings the Doctrine and Covenants to life with his well-known teaching skills. As with his other books in the Gospel Studies Series, the full text of the scripture is included, and in-the-verse notes provide a highly effective, unique teaching tool.

Notes between the verses provide additional insights and teach principles and doctrines. Join the thousands of readers who have experienced spiritual growth from reading and pondering the books in this series.

This is part one of a 3-part series: The Doctrine and Covenants Made Easier, Part 1 (Section 1–42); The Doctrine and Covenants Made Easier, Part 2 (Section 43–93); The Doctrine and Covenants Made Easier, Part 3 (Section 94–Official Declarations).

6. A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants eBook Bundle

Dc commentary bundleThe first volume of A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants answers historical and doctrinal questions about the Doctrine and Covenants. We learn about the historical context of the revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, insights from modern prophets and apostles, and sublime doctrines illuminated for the latter-day Church.

Authors Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett draw from numerous sources to bring to life the history and doctrine of the Doctrine and Covenants in an easy-to-read format. Using original diaries, journals, maps, and atlases, they set a historical context that helps clarify what is being said in the scriptures.

A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants invites us to study more deeply the history and doctrine recorded in this vital book of scripture. It is a commentary that rewards us amply for our efforts. Throughout the detailed studies, in-depth analysis, and perceptive commentary contained in these remarkable books, the authors' love for the Doctrine and Covenants shines forth.

7. The Savior in Kirtland: Personal Accounts of Divine Manifestations

Saviorkirtland5081931Church history is filled with amazing stories of courage and divine inspiration, but often we skip over the profound events that happened to the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio. In this volume, author Karl Ricks Anderson brings to light unparalleled events and divine manifestations that were given during those early years of the Restoration.

In Kirtland, the Savior personally directed His Church and taught His Saints by appearing to at least 23 Church leaders or by speaking to them. Brother Anderson points out that more first-person words of the Lord have gone out to the world from Kirtland than from any other location in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was in Kirtland that Jesus Christ taught the world about His mission of the Atonement, the premortal and the postmortal worlds, and the structure of the Church. It was there He commanded that the first latter-day temple be built. And it was in the Kirtland Temple that the Lord began to restore sacred ordinances for the salvation of His children.

The Savior's visits to Kirtland fulfilled millennia of promises from the Old and New Testaments as well as from the Book of Mormon. The story of Kirtland is a story of Christ—the two can never be separated.

8. The Doctrine and Covenants: Revelations in Context

9781606410158As the capstone of our religion, the Doctrine and Covenants provides insights into the restored gospel of Jesus Christ not found in any of the other standard works. Here we find detailed information about priesthood offices, Church organizations, the Millennium, and a host of other topics only hinted at elsewhere.

An awareness of the background and development of Joseph Smith's revelations allows us to better understand their significance. The 37th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium will help readers gain that knowledge. Written by scholars trained in a variety of fields, the articles illuminate the setting in which Joseph received his revelations. This book will help Latter-day Saints appreciate the significant roles Joseph Smith's revelations have played, and continue to play, in the dispensation of the fulness of times.

9. The Essential Doctrine & Covenants Companion

EssentialdccompanionThe Essential Doctrine and Covenants Companion provides a rich, user-friendly overview of this unique volume of scripture. Between its covers, you'll find a two-page spread for each section in the Doctrine and Covenants that contains a key passage of scripture, a short explanation of the section's central concept, a synopsis of its historical background, and a quick list of its prominent people.

In addition, a list of main themes for each section provides a summary of how its teachings apply to us today. Most importantly, key insights in each section highlight its message about Jesus Christ—His character, His Church, His desires, and His kingdom. Whether used for individual, family, or classroom study, this enlightening resources is an ideal fellow traveler on your journey through the Doctrine and Covenants.

10. History of the Saints: The Great Mormon Exodus and the Establishment of Zion

HistorysaintsmormonexodusFrom the creators of the critically acclaimed television documentary series History of the Saints comes this richly illustrated companion book, a poignant chronicle of the journey of the early Saints as they charted a course from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley. This epic depiction of one of the most notable exoduses in history details pivotal moments in the journey west, beginning with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in June 1844 and culminating in the Saints' contribution to westward expansion. The authors detail the successes and failures of the pioneers, whose vision of the future took them beyond the American West into Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii in their quest to establish Zion.

History of the Saints masterfully depicts the trials and triumphs of early members of the Church through discussion by top scholars in LDS history including William G. Hartley, Susan Easton Black, Sherman L. Fleek, Richard E. Bennett, Michael N. Landon, Ronald O. Barney, W. Randall Dixon, Ronald W. Walker, and Thomas G. Alexander. These experts present the latest in historical research alongside striking images that bring to life the people and places made famous—and infamous—by the exodus of the Mormon pioneers.

11. Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants

Whos whoComing to know the individuals mentioned in the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants and their specific stories and circumstances, will shed greater light on how we can apply those revelations to ourselves.

This book will be a cherished reference for gospel teachers and students alike.

This "who's who" was written by Susan Easton Black, an award-winning professor and writer and truly an expert on Church history and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Check out her other Doctrine and Covenants/Church history study aids, including Setting the Record Straight: Emma Smith: An Elect LadyJoseph: Exploring the Life and Ministry of the Prophet, and The Nauvoo Legion in Illinois: A History of the Mormon Militia, 1841-1846.

12. Unlocking the Doctrine and Covenants: A Side-by-Side Commentary

Unlocking the dnc copyWith this comprehensible, accessible, and easy-to-use commentary covering the entire Doctrine and Covenants, you will dig deeper into the scriptures as you gain new insights from respected gospel scholars Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen.

For easy reference and classroom use, page numbers of verses remain the same as in standard LDS Church editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. Remarks and annotations are presented to the side of the complete scriptural text, along with room for your own notes.

Whether you’re a beginning or advanced student of the scriptures, using this powerful study tool will deepen your understanding of the Doctrine and Covenants.

13. 400 Questions and Answers About the Doctrine & Covenants

400questionsanswersdc5084353Based on meticulous research from authoritative sources, this fascinating guide illuminates the origin, teachings, and significance of the Doctrine and Covenants in a unique question-and-answer format.

Ideal for scripture study at home and at church, this resource explores the historical background of each section of the Doctrine and Covenants and provides fresh insight into the who, what, when, where, and why of the sacred text.

With clarity and rich detail, its pages enrich understanding and enhance appreciation of the book of scripture that Joseph Smith designated as the foundation of the Church in the latter days.

Written by Susan Easton Black, her comprehensive guide will answer all of your Doctrine and Covenants questions.

14. Doctrine & Covenants Encyclopedia

DcencylopediarevisedThe classic resource Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia is now available in a revised edition. This comprehensive work, first published in 1988, brings together in one volume a wealth of information about the people, places, words, and doctrines recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Updated to include the most current information on that sacred volume of scripture, which President Ezra Taft Benson called "the capstone of our religion," 95 new subject entries have been added to more than 1,600 previous entries, and 217 of the existing topics have been revised.

Alphabetically arranged, the easy-to-find entries will illuminate your study and provide historical and doctrinal clarification for this important latter-day book of scripture.

15. Little Known Stories About the Doctrine and Covenants

LittleknownstoriesdcAdd extra interest and depth to your study of the Doctrine and Covenants with these little-known stories and facts from Church history.

With one story for each section, you'll soon discover the details history has tucked away. Fascinating and informative, this book is perfect for sharing with friends and family and guaranteed to spice up your scripture study!

Written by Dan Barker, these stories will complete your study experience.


Lead image from Getty Images.