Gospel Doctrine D&C Lessons 34 and 35

The D&C manual runs into a kind of genre divide when Joseph Smith dies; there is no longer a constant series of canonized revelations with which to partner a discussion of church history. Some lessons, such as 34, have a directly relevant section to take advantage of, while others, like 35, do not. Both lessons are really built around extra-canonical materials, which makes my project awkward: I’m only talking about the canon, but it just isn’t the center of the discussion anymore.

For lesson 34, the text is section 136, Brigham Young’s one contribution to our scriptures. This revelation is often celebrated for the organizational details in the first sixteen verses. I guess that’s okay. The organizational ideas seem good to me, and I heartily approve of the section’s concern for the well-being of the poor during the migration to Utah. The one note of ambivalence I have regarding this material is that the revelation was more or less redundant, as these organizational principles had largely already been adopted before the Saints even arrived at Winter Quarters. I guess the message is something like: do what you’re doing, only more so?

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