RS/MP Lesson 10: “Scriptures” (Gospel Principles Manual)

So far as straightforward content goes, this lesson is extremely simple. That it was written for brand new converts is completely obvious, because it provides little more than basic summaries of each of the “books” in the standard works, followed by a word or two about studying scripture. For our purposes here, however, I think it would be best to take its several claims as so many opportunities to think carefully about the nature of our scriptures, to raise questions that we ought to raise much, much more often than we do.

Let me note, before jumping into things, that this lesson has been changed far less than most of the lessons in the manual. Apart from a few added or changed references and a few points of reformatting, there are really only three changes to the lesson. I’ll deal only with two of them (the third only replaces “church publications” with “the Liahona or Ensign magazine”), and I’ll deal with them when I come to them. One of them is relatively minor (a sentence is largely rewritten in order to make sure parents are reading and not only making scriptures available to their children), while the other is the addition of a full paragraph (summarizing what the Saints usually call the Joseph Smith Translation). Let me now, though, get on to the lesson itself.

The Scriptures Are Available to Us Today

The lesson opens, provocatively enough, with a paraphrase of D&C 68:4: “When the Lord’s servants speak or write under the influence of the Holy Ghost, their words become scripture.” This passage is, I think, quite a remarkable one, and it deserves far more—and far more careful—attention than it has generally received.

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