2021 – Doctrine and Covenants

Show Notes & Transcripts

And so it begins—our study of the Doctrine and Covenants! If you’re feeling a little wary, maybe a little intimated, don’t freight. If you feel like you already know everything there is to know about the Doctrine and Covenants, hold onto your hats because we are going study like never before. So grab your scriptures, and let’s dive into Doctrine and Covenants section 1.
What do you think of when you picture the First Vision? If you picture Joseph Smith kneeing in a lush grove with his hand raised as two figures surrounded by heavenly light stand above him, you wouldn't be the only one. While this image inspired by the Del Parson painting is an important depiction of the First Vision, it's only one depiction of this historic moment. And so in this week's study group, we invited BYU professor and artist Anthony Sweat to share important details of the First Vision found in Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26 that will help you re-picture this vital event in Church history.
When you were young, did you ever get so excited when someone knocked on your door completely out of the blue? And wasn’t it even better when this unexpected guest brought something for you? In this week’s lesson, we’ll be studying in Doctrine and Covenants 2 and Joseph Smith—History 1:27–65 and what happened when Joseph Smith received an unexpected guest and the special message this visitor had for the future prophet.
No one likes the feeling of being in trouble—that sinking, gut-wrenching feeling that just makes you want to hide under a blanket forever. At one point, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris felt that to an extreme most people will never know. However, there was still hope for them. In this week’s study of Doctrine and Covenants 3–5, we’ll find out what led Martin and Joseph to feeling this way and hear the incredible message of mercy and love that can help all of us climb out from under our blankets.
Is there a question you are struggling to ask God or maybe you’ve already asked that question, but you can’t seem to get an answer? If so, you are not alone. In fact, Oliver Cowdery went through something very similar when he became a scribe for the Book of Mormon. And in this week’s lesson, we’ll study Oliver’s experience in Doctrine and Covenants 6–9 and find how we can better understand how the Spirit speaks to us and answers our questions.
Do you remember a time when you were at a low point and someone knew just what to say to help you feel better? Maybe they shared some advice that you still use today or maybe it was a few words of encouragement you’ll never forget. For Joseph Smith, it was a little of both. In this week’s lesson, we’ll be studying Doctrine and Covenants 10–11 where we find words of encouragement and advice God has for all of us.
As the first prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith had a lot of questions about how to organize Christ's church upon the earth. And from these questions came an incredible outpouring of visions and revelations. So it is no wonder that when Joseph and Oliver Cowdery had a question about baptism, the answer would usher in the glorious restoration of the Aaronic priesthood upon the earth. In this week’s study group, we’ll study Doctrine and Covenants sections 12–13 and Joseph Smith—History 1:66–75 to discover how the restoration of the priesthood helps us build Zion in the latter days.
Do you remember a time when your home was so full of family or guests it was basically “at capacity”? The Whitmers knew this feeling all too well in their small home with eight children. Then things became a little more exciting than usual when they took in Emma, Joseph, and Oliver to help with the translation of the Book of Mormon. As the work of restoring the gospel progressed, some of the Whitmers began to wonder how they could help. In this week’s lesson, we’ll study Doctrine and Covenants sections 14–17 to see what the Lord had to say to three of the Whitmer sons and learn how these revelations relate to us today.
If you happen to be in a place in your life where you feel the need to repent—this lesson is for you. If you happen to be in a place in your life where you feel like you don’t need to repent—then this lesson is definitely for you. And if that feels like doom and gloom for you, don’t worry, it’s not. This week’s lesson, Doctrine and Covenants 18–19, is filled with hope and messages from the Savior meant to bring us closer to Him and help us see the immeasurable value Heavenly Father has for all His children.
Do you remember a day in your life that was simply the greatest? A day that was so perfect, you will always remember it? Well April 6, 1830—the day the Church was organized in the last dispensation—was unforgettable for early Latter-day Saints. This week as we study Doctrine and Covenants 20–22, we’ll discover important truths about the organization of the Church and how it blesses our lives today.
Imagine giving up your home, your family, and, at times, your safety. Then imagine losing children, seeing loved ones beaten and imprisoned, and enduring unrelenting persecution. This is just a glimpse into the life one of the Restoration’s greatest heroes. And as we study Doctrine and Covenants 23–26, we’ll come to understand how sacred revelation given to this individual can be related to us as we go through our own trials and triumphs.
This week’s lesson is full of important topics. The sacrament, seer stones, putting on the full armor of God—Doctrine and Covenants 27–28 is just a lot to unpack. But these topics are so essential for us to understand as we face challenges the world has never seen before. So grab your scriptures and let’s dig into how these topics can help us today.
Have you ever heard this quote from Doctrine and Covenants 19:22, “For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive”? It’s essentially comparing the teachings of Jesus Christ to food and how, just like a newborn baby, we need to master the basics (milk) before we can move onto the “meat” of the gospel. And this week’s lesson is all about the meat. So grab your scriptures, tuck in your napkins, and let’s dig into Doctrine and Covenants 29.
Have you ever heard of the Lectures on Faith? Maybe you’ve read them a million times, maybe you remember a vague reference to them in seminary, or maybe you’ve never heard of them at all. If you fall into any of those categories, this week's episode is for you. Because what better way to celebrate Christ’s life and Resurrection this Easter week than to study the attributes and characteristics of Deity? So make sure to grab some paper and a pen as we study the sacred attributes of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as taught in the Lectures on Faith.
You’ve probably asked this question many times: How can I help? Whether at home or work or church, this question seems to naturally come whenever there’s a need. And as the gospel began to be restored and many needs arose, a lot of freshly baptized members wondered what they could do help. The result was Doctrine and Covenants 30–36, and as we study this week’s lesson, we’ll find out how God wants us to help build up His kingdom as well.
“Pack up everything—we’re moving.” When you read those words, how do you feel? Are you excited? Or does your heart drop as you think of all the packing, cleaning, and organizing that moving entails? Maybe you feel a bit of both? Well in this week’s lesson, the early Saints are asked to do just that: pack everything up and move. While this move was challenging and full of hardship, it also came with many blessings. And as we dig into Doctrine and Covenants 37–40, we’ll learn how the Lord asks us to move spiritually and what blessings we receive as we obey.
Have you ever heard the words, “law of consecration” and felt a little apprehensive? If so, you’re not alone. And in this week’s discussion of Doctrine and Covenants 41–44, we’re going to answer some questions you may have had about the law of consecration and take down some misconceptions about what it really means to live God's law.
This past year and its countless hardships may have had you wondering, “Is this a sign of the Second Coming? How about this?” Well, Doctrine and Covenants 45 is a revelation that is all about the signs of the Second Coming. But before we begin to wonder if some of those signs were fulfilled this past year, there’s more we need to unravel about what these signs actually mean. So as we dig into this week’s lesson, we’ll discuss the deeper meanings behind some of these signs and how those meanings affect us today.
Do you remember watching the giveaway episodes on Oprah? Did you ever feel a tad envious of the audience when Oprah would say, “You get a gift! You get a gift! Everybody gets a gift!”? Well, today we’re going to study about a different—but infinitely more valuable—type of gift that you already have. In this week’s lesson of Doctrine and Covenants 46–48, we’ll learn about spiritual gifts and how we can use them to help those around us.
One word for "evil" in Greek is ponos. But unlike the English definition of evil, the word ponos means pain, anguish, distress, or suffering. In most cases, ponos could describe what we feel when we make a mistake or commit sin. The Savior knows this pain because He suffered for us. He will always be the first to meet us and the last to judge us. That’s what this week’s lesson from Doctrine and Covenants 49–50 is all about: Christ coming to meet us where we are and helping us understand the great blessings He has in store for us.
Throwing an egg at your sibling may seem like an extreme reaction, but at one point or another, a heated argument may have caused you to do something you wouldn't normally do. Whether it was a friend or a relative, feelings were no doubt hurt in the process. But in Doctrine and Covenants 51–57, the Lord teaches us how important relationships are—how we should seek to help those around us rather than tear them down. As we study these chapters we'll find that if we can do this, the Lord promises us something special in return.
Picture this: You have just arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, with the early Saints. You’re so excited and you just can’t wait to begin the work of building up Zion. But you have no idea where to start. Everywhere you look the land where the Savior will come again just seems like untamed American frontier. But then the prophet Joseph Smith arrives with very important instructions from the Lord. That's what this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 58–59 is all about—instructions the Lord gave, for the Saints then and for us today, about how to prepare spiritually to gather and build up Zion.
You may not be a world-class beatboxer—or do public math—but chances are, you have a talent. In fact, all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a very specific talent. And as we study Doctrine and Covenants 60–62, we are going to find out what that talent is, why it was important to the early Saints, and how we can share it with others today.
If trying to follow along with what's happening in Doctrine and Covenants 63 has ever left you feeling like you're on a challenging hike without a map, all is not lost! This week’s guest is an excellent guide as we navigate these intriguing verses. In fact, there’s very few people who would know more about what was going on in the lives of the Saints and the prophet Joseph Smith at this time than her. So grab your scriptures, and maybe a compass, and let’s dig into to this week’s lesson of Doctrine and Covenants 63.
Panning for gold isn’t what most people think it is. It takes time. It takes patience. And the payoff usually isn’t a large gold nugget. More often, it’s just a few tiny flecks of gold for hours and hours of work. But over time, those tiny flecks add up to something of great value. The same is true of studying Doctrine and Covenants 64–66. In these sections, the Lord is asking the Saints to be patient, to offer Him a willing heart and mind, and to work for these flecks of gold in their lives. The value of the Saints' determination and sacrifice was beyond measure to them, and it can be for us as well when we take the time to dig into these verses.
Have you ever thought, “Oh, I could do that so much better”? Maybe it was something as important as a job or as trivial as a party invitation, but you just knew that your effort would’ve been superior than the person who actually did it. Well, in Doctrine and Covenants 67–70, we are going to learn about a few men who were so convinced that they could write revelation better than Joseph Smith, they even tried it. So grab your scriptures, and let’s find out what the result was and what it can teach us about how God operates today.
When a family member or friend leaves the Church, it can be a very heart-wrenching experience. It can also be difficult to know what to say or do in order to support them as they navigate life without the teachings of the gospel. This was the situation Joseph Smith faced throughout his life as close friends would sometimes leave and become antagonistic toward the Church. But in Doctrine and Covenants 71–75, we find invaluable counsel the Lord gives to Joseph Smith that can help us today as we seek to support and love those who have left the Church.
For this week’s lesson, you may want to buckle up because there’s a reason Doctrine and Covenants 76 is called “The Vision” with a capital “V.” This is the vision of the three degrees of glory. There is so much pivotal knowledge of the gospel in these verses, and it’s going to be quite a wild ride as dive into this section. So grab your scriptures and as many colored pencils as you can find, and let’s dig in to section 76.
Have you ever asked someone to do something, and they didn’t do it? Maybe you found yourself saying, “I thought I asked you to. . .” only to see a blank stare in return? Well, Doctrine and Covenants 77–80 is sort of the Lord’s way of saying that to the early Saints. They were supposed to do something specific concerning the law of stewardship and consecration, and they didn’t do it. But in this week’s lesson, we are going to learn how merciful God was to the early Saints as well as how important this law of stewardship and consecration is to our salvation.
“The key to happiness,” “Keys to success,” “The key to your heart”—let’s face it, keys are an important part of a lot of metaphors. In fact, they are used so often, we may not even really think about what they represent. But what if we paused to consider why the Lord uses the word "keys" when describing the keys of the kingdom or the keys of the priesthood? This week as we study Doctrine and Covenants 81–83 we’ll dig into what these keys represent, who can use them, and what they mean for us.
What to do you think of when you hear the phrase, “season of joy”? You probably think about Christmas, don’t you? Or maybe your birthday month because, let’s be honest, everyone loves their birthday month. But as joyful as Christmas and birthdays may be, that’s not what Joseph Smith was talking about when he called the events leading up to Doctrine and Covenants 84 a “season of joy.” And after this week’s lesson, we will see how this section brings lasting, eternal joy to all of our lives.
The parable of the wheat and the tares is pretty well known, and odds are you've sat through multiple lessons and talks that expound on it. But let's be real here while learning about this subject have you ever wondered whether you are a wheat or a tare? As we study this week's lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 85–87, we'll dig into the many applications of this parable that you might not have thought of before and what it has to do with members of the Church today.
Were you ever afraid of the dark as a kid? Maybe you still are? Even if you are brave enough to never have feared the dark, there’s something undeniably comforting about stepping into the light. And this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 88 is all about comfort and light. After previous sections filled with prophecies of war and discord, this section shows us what we can always find comfort in as Latter-day Saints. So grab your scriptures and as many marking pencils as you can find, and let’s dig in.
Has the line from the Word of Wisdom that promises we will “run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” ever come to mind when you get out of breath while trying to get a little exercise? Or maybe you’ve faced serious health problems and wondered how that promise applies to you. In this week’s study group, we dig into the history of the Word of Wisdom and explore just what those promises mean and how the Lord keeps them—because He always does.
What do you think of when you hear the word, “light”? Do you think of stars, a candle, a lightbulb, or something completely different? Maybe after this week, you’ll think of Doctrine and Covenants 93 because this section is all about light. In fact, doctrinally, this section is one of the most important sections in the Doctrine and Covenants because it has as much light and truth for us today as it did for the Saints back then. So make sure to grab a pencil or two and let’s dig into Doctrine and Covenants 93.
“I love to see the temple. I’ll go inside someday.” For many Latter-day Saints, these lyrics from the Primary song “I Love to See the Temple” are familiar and meaningful. But the early Saints didn’t grow up singing that song; the idea of a temple and temple ordinances was mostly unfamiliar to them. So when the Lord commanded that they build His “house,” there was some hesitation. As we study this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 94–97, we will see how the Lord lovingly reproved the Saints and the instructions He gave to them that can enhance our temple worship today.
Whether we’re waiting in traffic, waiting in a checkout line, or even just waiting for the elevator—hardly anybody enjoys having to wait. And sometimes we have to wait on things a bit more consequential than traffic, a checkout line, or an elevator. What about when we are waiting for the Lord’s help? In Doctrine and Covenants 98–101, the Missouri Saints were asked not only to wait, but to wait patiently on the Lord during some of their most trying times. And as we study these sections, we’ll discover that there are blessings and promises in store for all who patiently wait on the Savior.
Have you ever built something with your bare hands? Maybe you’re savvy with tools, or maybe assembling IKEA furniture is the closest you’ve gotten to building something. Either way, we all know building includes a lot of different pieces and finagling to get it to all come together. This weeks study group we dig into Doctrine and Covenants 102–105 that is all about building up Zion, and what sort of finagling is involved in helping us become one, together.
Let’s play a game of guess who. Are you ready? This person was “a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.” Do you have any guesses so far? As we study Doctrine and Covenants 106–107, we’ll find out who this Old Testament prophet was and what his significant role was in the priesthood. Oh no! We just gave you two more clues. So grab your scriptures and let’s dig into this week’s lesson.
Have you ever been to a temple dedication? If so, do you have any specific memories about the event? A temple dedication often brings a flurry of excitement and energy to an area, and that was certainly the case for the Saints who were eagerly awaiting the dedication of the Kirtland temple. This week we will dig into Doctrine and Covenants 109–110 to read the stories of Saints who attended the dedication. We'll see what their experiences teach us about attending temples, including the struggle we might sometimes have over feeling worthy to be there.
Of all the relationships we have over a lifetime, there is only one we carry with us wherever we go: Our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. As we better understand who They are, we will also more clearly see ourselves and our place in the world. This knowledge was crucial for early members as they faced, “one of the severest trials for many of the Ohio Saints.” It is equally important for us today to know God and the Savior as we face severe trials. So grab your scriptures, and let’s dig into Doctrine and Covenants 111–114.
Deciding what to name a stuffed animal, a doll, or a pet is usually a pretty fun thing to do. In those situations, the stakes are low and imaginations can run freely. But naming a person, a business, or an important organization? Now those are decisions to take more seriously because people’s perceptions and expectations for something will be influenced by its name. This week we will dig into Doctrine and Covenants 115–120 where the Lord reveals the name He decided on for the Church in this dispensation. We will learn why that name matters and what the Lord expects from us as a Church community living under that name.
"Prison temple." Now there are two words that don’t seem like they belong together. And while these words seem contradictory, they are exactly how Latter-day Saint historians have described the experience of Liberty Jail for Joseph Smith and his friends. As we study Doctrine and Covenants 121–123, we’ll see that while this experience was beyond harrowing, it also had moments of unspeakable sacredness. And we'll learn that we too can have sacred moments of comfort and peace during our most difficult trials.

Did you know that there was a period when the Relief Society was disbanded? While Latter-day Saint women continued to serve in many capacities, the official Relief Society structure did not exist in the Church between 1844 and 1867. It was then that Eliza R. Snow helped reorganize this vital Church organization under the direction of President Brigham Young. As we study Doctrine and Covenants 124, we’ll talk about what led up to the disbandment of the Relief Society and how it grew into the worldwide organization it is today.
Okay, let’s be real. As fun as emptying trash cans and vacuuming never ending hallways may be, not all of us are jumping at an assignment to clean the church building. All joking aside though, the less glamorous aspects of church service can sometimes be a little harder to gather participants for. Have you ever noticed or felt like the same five people in your ward are always the same ones showing up and doing the work? Turns out you might not be alone in feeling that way. This week’s study of Doctrine and Covenants 125-128 gives us a chance to dig into this conversation and how it applies to doing temple work for our ancestors.
Albert Einstein once said "the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Excluding our years as know-it-all teenagers, many of us can pinpoint a time when we’ve felt this way. Perhaps that time for you was when you began learning more about plural marriage and how it relates to the Restoration. You’re not alone. As we study Doctrine and Covenants 129–132 this week, we invited two Church historians to help us understand why plural marriage was practiced and what it has to do with the Restoration.
A couple of weeks ago we asked our listeners if they had any questions about polygamy. And boy, did you guys do not disappoint! We received many questions on Facebook and Instagram about this practice in early Church history that we decided to create a special bonus episode to answer a few of them. So if you have ever wondered why polygamy was practiced or if it will be practiced in heaven, sit tight. Our guests and Church historians Jenny Reeder and Brittany Chapman Nash will answer these questions and more as we dig into this bonus episode about polygamy. Find the full bonus episode here.
Okay, let’s be real. Doctrine and Covenants section 134 probably isn’t on our radar very often. All that talk about government can be pretty complex and hard to understand, but don’t worry—we’ve got your back. In this week's study group, we break down Doctrine and Covenants 133–134 as we discuss God’s purposes for governments and how we can learn to be better disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter where we live.
Few things could have been more discouraging for the early Saints than the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. But although it was a somber time in Church history, the Saints showed remarkable perseverance and faith in the Lord. This week we dig into Doctrine and Covenants 135–136 to put the martyrdom in context as well as look at thoughts from early Saints that will help us see how we too can persevere through our darkest moments.
Have you ever wondered what happens to people who die without a knowledge of the gospel? Or what about those who didn’t get a chance to accept it because of mental illness, physical disability, or other life circumstances? If these questions and others about the spirit world have weighed on your mind, Doctrine and Covenants 137–138 can help. These verses are filled with hope and information about what happens to our loved ones after they die and how everyone will have the opportunity to receive the gospel. So grab your scriptures and let’s dig into these last two sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t we just finish the Doctrine and Covenants? Why are there more lessons this year?” Well, yes, we did technically finish the sections, but did you know there are three very important documents included at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants? And so this week, we’re going to study those three documents: Official Declarations 1 and 2 and the Articles of Faith. But we also have a little something extra for you that is going to set up the discussion so well for these documents and we can’t wait to share it with you. So friends, grab your scriptures and let’s dig in.
Have you ever seen the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch? It's a classic film all about "ohana," or the Hawaiian word for family. And the best quote from that movie is, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind." Besides being heartwarming words from a Disney movie, this quote also holds so much meaning for what we are going to study this week: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." So no matter what your ohana looks like, by the end of this week's discussion, we will see how the divine promise of nobody being left behind is meant for all of us.
Merry Christmas! What better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior than by studying “The Living Christ?” In this document, apostles and prophets testify that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives. By studying their words, can find our own witness of the matchless love and infinite grace the Savior has for us. So grab your markers and a copy of “The Living Christ,” and let’s dig into this week’s lesson.(Find the new "Let's Dig In" journal here.)

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