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Come Follow Me 2021: Doctrine and Covenants 41–44
Scripture Block

D&C 41–44

April 19–25. “My Law to Govern My Church”

New from BMC

Watch videos from Gospel scholars and teachers to learn more about these sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Book of Mormon Central produces weekly videos from Tyler Griffin, Taylor Halverson, John Hilton III, Anthony Sweat, Casey Griffiths, Stephanie Dibb Sorensen and Marianna Richardson. Read commentaries and other resources from KnoWhys, Steven C. Harper, Casey Griffiths, and Susan Easton Black.

Overview

Doctrine and Covenants 41

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Steven Harper Commentary
Restoration Voices cover
Susan Easton Black Insight
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Susan Easton Black Bio
Restoration Voices cover
Susan Easton Black Bio

Doctrine and Covenants 42

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Steven Harper Commentary
Restoration Voices cover
Susan Easton Black Insight

Doctrine and Covenants 43

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Steven Harper Commentary
Restoration Voices cover
Susan Easton Black Insight

Doctrine and Covenants 44

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Steven Harper Commentary
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Susan Easton Black Insight

Daily Reading Plan

Structure your personal scripture study by following a 15-minute, day-by-day plan. Each day's assignment includes the required scripture passages from the Come, Follow Me curriculum, as well as suggestions for additional resources to bring context and understanding to your study. For the best experience, use our Reading Plan in the free ScripturePlus app! You can track your progress and have access to the best resources.

Monday

Tuesday

  • Scripture: D&C 42:11–29
  • Commentary: The second part of the Law came in answer to the question of what is “the law regulating the Church in her present situation until the time of her gathering.” It discusses nine different topics and consists of D&C 42:11-69. The first part of the law could be designated as the law of teaching and authority. The Lord specifies that those who teach and preach in the Church must be ordained by one who has authority (D&C 42:11). The use of ordained here is analogous to the way “set apart” is used in the Church today and it applied to both men and women who were called to teach (D&C 25:7). The men and women called to teach in the Church were expected to draw their instruction primarily from the scriptural canon, which at the time consisted of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Lord also instructs that teachings shall be drawn from the articles and covenants; these are the revelations He was giving to the latter-day prophets of the Church. Parts of these revelations would eventually join the canon as the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
    These instructions remain as vital to the Church today as they were in the period of the early Restoration. Remembering them will benefit both members of the Church and our larger society. Elder D. Todd Christofferson warned, “Today the Bible and other scripture are readily at hand, yet there is a growing scriptural illiteracy because people will not open the books.” Explaining the importance of the scriptural canon, he added, “Scripture tutors us in principles and moral values essential to maintaining civil society, including integrity, responsibility, selflessness, fidelity, and charity. In scripture, we find vivid portrayals of the blessings that come from honoring true principles, as well as the tragedies that befall when individuals and civilizations discard them. Where scriptural truths are ignored or abandoned, the essential moral core of society disintegrates and decay is close behind. In time, nothing is left to sustain the institutions that sustain society.”
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:11–17.
  • Commentary: This section of the Law gives commandments to the Church. The commandments here are closely aligned with the Ten Commandments presented to the Israelites in Exodus 20. At the same time, the commandments given in Doctrine and Covenants 42 are a renewal of the law, declared again in the latter days. The Ten Commandments were part of a preparatory law delivered by Moses and later fulfilled by Jesus Christ (see Matthew 5:21–22, 27–28; 3 Nephi 15:2–9; Romans 13:8–10). Though the Ten Commandments were part of the preparatory law, the principles the commandments were based on are eternal, and they were renewed through this revelation to Joseph Smith. The commandments given here also expound and provide further explanation on how the law works.
    For instance, in these verses the Lord declares that “he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come” (D&C 42:18). Using other scriptures for a larger context, the word killing as used here does not refer to self-defense, legal executions, or lives taken in the course of military service. Rather, it refers to “the shedding of innocent blood” (Alma 39:5). Murderers cannot be saved from the pains of their suffering until the Resurrection. The scriptures speak of murder as an unforgiveable sin that may be pardoned. The unpardonable sin—denial of the Holy Ghost—is later defined clearly in Doctrine and Covenants 76:32–35. Murderers can be pardoned through the Atonement of Jesus Christ once they have answered the full demands of justice.
    Speaking on this subject, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully, with tears for the murder of Uriah, but he could only get it through hell; he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell. . . . This is the case with murderers.”  At a different time, the Prophet added, “If the ministers of religion had a proper understanding of the doctrine of eternal judgment, they would not be found attending the man who had forfeited his life to the injured laws of his country by shedding innocent blood; for such characters cannot be forgiven, until they have paid the last farthing. The prayers of all the ministers in the world could never close the gates of hell against a murderer.”
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:18–30.

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Scripture: D&C 42:53–69
  • Commentary: Do Latter-day Saints still live the law of consecration? Commitment to the law remains one of the covenants made as part of the temple ordinances. While the law of tithing was revealed in 1838 and became an important element of Church practice, it did not replace or cause a repeal of the law of consecration. Consecration was always a more holistic law encompassing all areas of life, not just finance. President Gordon B. Hinckley said bluntly, “The law of sacrifice and the law of consecration were not done away with and are still in effect.” 
    Though the titles and initiatives of consecration have changed, the principles remain consistent. President Henry B. Eyring taught,
    [The Lord] has invited His children to consecrate their time, their means, and themselves to join with Him in serving others. His way of helping has at times been called living the law of consecration. In another period His way was called the united order. In our time it is called the Church welfare program. The names and the details of operation are changed to fit the needs and conditions of people. But always the Lord’s way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work.
    One illustration of the power and limits of faith in matters of healing is found in Jesse Knight’s story. Jesse Knight was the scion of one of the most famous families in Church history, the son of Newel and Lydia Knight, early stalwarts in the Church. Despite his illustrious heritage, as a young man living in the Utah Territory, Jesse found himself estranged from the Church. He was uninterested in actively serving in it, and he was seemingly destined to lead a life outside of the faith. Jesse’s religious awakening came when his youngest daughter, Jennie, became deathly ill. The water on Jesse’s ranch had been contaminated by a dead rat. Jennie, who was only two years old, ran such a high fever that doctors told the Knights she would soon pass away.
    When his wife, Amanda, decided to call the local elders from the Church, Jesse stopped her saying, “No, it would be hypocritical, now that the doctors have given her up, for me to resort to such a thing,” adding, “I have no faith in the Church.” Amanda replied, “I have, and think my feelings should have consideration at such a serious moment.” Jessie backed down and the elders soon arrived. After they gave Jennie a blessing she immediately rose up from her bed and commented on the flowers placed in the window. She made a full recovery, but another of the Knights’ children, eighteen-year-old Minnie, soon became very ill. Minnie told her parents that when Jennie became ill, she had prayed and asked God to take her life and spare her sister’s. She believed she would die thirty days from the time she became sick and, true to her prompting, passed away thirty days later. She was the only child of the Knights who had been baptized.
    Jesse was twisted in knots by the miraculous healing of one of his daughters, followed so soon by the loss of another. He remembered that when Minnie was a baby she had become deathly ill with diphtheria. At the time, Jessie had promised God that if his daughter was spared, he would return to Church and serve faithfully. She was healed, but in the following years he did not keep his promise. Reflecting on her death, he wrote, “How keenly I felt the justice of her being taken from us!” He pleaded with God for forgiveness, later writing, “My prayer was answered and I received a testimony.” Jesse was left to acknowledge that the faith of Amanda to call the elders and the specific prayer of faith of Minnie produced a desirable outcome. Yet Minnie, seemingly appointed to death, was not saved. The entire family received a difficult lesson on the nature of faith and healing. From that time forward, Jesse lived as a committed Latter-day Saint, as did his family. Another of his daughters, Inez, even became one of the Church’s first two female missionaries.
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:61–69.
  • Commentary: The Lord promises Joseph and the Saints further revelation that they may know the “mysteries and peaceable things” of the kingdom (D&C 42:61). He also promises to make covenants that will allow the Saints to be established in Ohio and in the New Jerusalem. For the next seven years, the Church was administered through two primary centers, Kirtland, Ohio, and different points in Missouri. During this time the majority of the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants were received; these revelations comprise sections 41 through 123. As the Lord promised, these revelations unfolded the basic mysteries and knowledge necessary to operate the Church. More revelations came later during the Nauvoo period and during the leadership of the subsequent presidents of the Church, but the Ohio and Missouri revelations provide the foundation upon which the later Church was built.
    Among the most vital of these revelations was the restoration of priesthood keys given to restore the Church and kingdom of God, which are here defined as the same thing (D&C 42:69). Joseph Smith taught that “the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.”
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:61–69.

Friday

  • Scripture: D&C 42:70–93
  • Commentary: This passage specifies that bishops would receive assistance from counselors called from among the members of the Church. While Bishop Partridge and his counselors were to be supported through consecration, today most Church officers receive paid compensation for their labor. While there have been differences in the way the Church has been administered over time, throughout most of its history the Church has not had a professional ministry. These verses do open the door for a small number of employees to receive payment from the Church, but these employees hold no ecclesiastical position based on their employment.
    It is true that those called to full-time service in the Church, such as the general officers, receive a stipend for support. However, this stipend comes from the private investments of the Church, and not from the offerings of members. President Gordon B. Hinckley explained, “The living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people” (“Questions and Answers,” October 1985 General Conference). Likewise, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in cooperation with the Church, clarifies that “unlike local leaders, who maintain their normal vocations while serving in Church assignments, General Authorities set aside their careers to devote their full time to the ministry of their office. The living allowance given General Authorities rarely if ever equals the earnings they sacrifice to serve full-time in the Church.”
    In a statement made about bishoprics, but which applies equally to all who serve in the Church, President Boyd K. Packer taught, “Neither the bishop nor his counselors are paid for what they do. They too pay their tithes and offerings, and they devote endless hours to their calling. They are paid only in blessings, as are those who serve with them.”
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:70–73.
  • Commentary: The final part of the revelation, received a few weeks later on February 23, 1831, deals with how various offenses among Church members should be handled. Offenses such as stealing and lying are delivered to the civil authorities of the land. Other offenses, such as immorality, improper behavior, and apostasy, constitute an offense against the laws of the Church and are handled by Church leaders. President James E. Faust explained, “Those who have keys, which include the judicial or disciplinary authority, have the responsibility for keeping the Church cleansed from all iniquity (see D&C 20:54; D&C 43:11). Bishops, stake presidents, mission presidents, and others who have the responsibility of keeping the Church pure must perform this labor in a spirit of love and kindness. It should not be done in a spirit of punishment, but rather of helping. However, it is of no kindness to a brother or sister in transgression for their presiding officers to look the other way.”
    Doctrine and Covenants 42 includes the first introduction of Church membership councils designed to assist individuals who have been involved in the most serious sins. These meetings have at varying times gone by different names, but they have always had the same basic purpose. The 2020 Church handbook explains, “Most repentance takes place between an individual, God, and those who have been affected by a person’s sins. However, sometimes a bishop or stake president needs to help Church members in their efforts to repent. . . . When assisting members with repentance, bishops and stake presidents are loving and caring. They follow the example of the Savior, who lifted individuals and helped them turn away from sin and turn toward God (see Matthew 9:10–13; John 8:3–11).”
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 42:74–93.

Saturday

  • Commentary: Section 43 Context, Steven C. Harper
  • Scripture: D&C 43:1–18
  • Commentary: In a Church where every member has the promise of revelation, there must be rules and standards about how this guidance is received. Authoritative revelation must come within the boundaries of stewardship, and once again the Lord outlines these principles, this time for the new converts of the Church in Ohio.
    In 1833 a situation similar to the controversy with “Mrs. Hubble” arose when John S. Carter, an elder of the Church in the eastern United States, wrote to Joseph Smith about disunity among the Saints in his area. He wondered specifically about a woman named Jane McManagal Sherwood, a convert in Benson, Vermont, who claimed she had received “visions of the Lord.”  In response to this situation, Joseph Smith replied in a letter. The Prophet instructed, “It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church or anyone to receive instruction for those in authority higher than themselves, therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them, but if any have a vision or a visitation from an heavenly messenger it must be for their own benefit and instruction, for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the church is invested in the keys of the kingdom.”
    As it was in the days of Joseph Smith, so it is in our time. Every worthy member of the Church is entitled to receive revelation, but it must come within the proper stewardship and from those with the appropriate authority.
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 43:1–7.
  • Quote: The Lord has declared: “And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.” The words sanctify yourselves may appear puzzling. President Harold B. Lee once explained that you can replace those words with the phrase “keep my commandments.” Read that way, the counsel may seem clearer.
    One must be ever mentally and physically clean and have purity of intent so that the Lord can inspire. One who is obedient to His commandments is trusted of the Lord. That individual has access to His inspiration to know what to do and, as needed, the divine power to do it.
    Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” April 2012 General Conference.

Sunday

  • Scripture: D&C 43:19–35
  • Commentary: Section 44 Context, Steven C. Harper
  • Scripture: D&C 44:1–6
  • Commentary: Among the charges given to the elders of the Church is an obligation to visit and administer relief to “the poor and the needy,” a category broad enough to include every member of the Church and their neighbors. In the Church in our time, the charge to minister is shared by both the elders and the sisters.
    Sister Jean B. Bingham, serving as the General Relief Society President, spoke of the Lord’s charge to visit and minister to those in need. “After all is said and done, true ministering is accomplished one by one with love as the motivation. The value and merit and wonder of sincere ministering is that it truly changes lives! When our hearts are open and willing to love and include, encourage and comfort, the power of our ministering will be irresistible. With love as the motivation, miracles will happen, and we will find ways to bring our ‘missing’ sisters and brothers into the all-inclusive embrace of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
    At the same conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland outlined the purpose of visiting those in need: “In spite of what we all feel are our limitations and inadequacies—and we all have challenges—nevertheless, may we labor side by side with the Lord of the vineyard, giving the God and Father of us all a helping hand with His staggering task of answering prayers, providing comfort, drying tears, and strengthening feeble knees. If we will do that, we will be more like the true disciples of Christ we are meant to be.”  Regardless of whether the program is called home or visiting teaching, ministering, or any other title, the principle of visiting and assisting those in need will always be central to the work of the Lord’s Church.
    Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Minute, Doctrine and Covenants 44:1–6.

Bibliography

Doctrine and Covenants 41

Steven C. Harper, “Section 41,” Doctrine and Covenants Contexts (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021), 86–88.

Sherilyn Farnes, “'A Bishop Unto the Church',” Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016.

Susan Easton Black, “Edward Partridge,” in Restoration Voices Volume 1: People of the Doctrine and Covenants (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021).

Susan Easton Black, “Leman Copley,” in Restoration Voices Volume 1: People of the Doctrine and Covenants (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021).

Ye Shall Receive My Law,” Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2018), 1:117–119.

Richard Dilworth Rust, “’How long can rolling waters remain impure?’: Literary Aspects of the Doctrine and Covenants,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 27 (2017): 87–83.

D&C 41:9–10

Book of Mormon Central, “What Did the Book of Mormon Teach Early Church Leaders about the Order and Offices of the Priesthood? (Alma 13:8),” KnoWhy 330 (June 23, 2017).

Doctrine and Covenants 42

Steven C. Harper, “Section 42,” Doctrine and Covenants Contexts (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021), 89–93.

Steven C. Harper, “The Law,” Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016.

Lisa Olsen Tait, “'I Quit Other Buiness': Early Missionaries,” Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016.

Sherilyn Farnes, “'A Bishop Unto the Church',” Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016.

Ye Shall Receive My Law,” Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2018), 1:117–119.

After Much Tribulation,” Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2018), 1:125–127.

A Holy and Consecrated Land,” Saints, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2018), 1:300–302.

Book of Mormon Central. “How Can the Book of Mormon Help Saints Live the Law of Consecration? (Mormon 4:19).” KnoWhy 297 (April 7, 2017).

Steven C. Harper, "'All Things Are the Lord's': The Law of Consecration in the Doctrine and Covenants,The Doctrine and Covenants: Revelations in Context, ed. Andrew H. Hedges, J. Spencer Fluhman, and Alonzo L. Gaskill (Provo and Salt Lake City: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, and Deseret Book, 2008), 212–28.

Blair G. Van Dyke, “Conquest of the Heart: Implementing the Law of Consecration in Missouri and Ohio,” Religious Educator 3, no. 2 (2002): 45–65.

Richard D. Gardner, “Consecration Brings Forth Zion, Not Just Disaster Relief: An Examination of Scholarly and Prophetic Statements on the Law of Consecration,” Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 26 (2017): 123–226.

United Firm,” Church History Topics.

Consecration and Stewardship,” Church History Topics.

Bishop,” Church History Topics.

Church Discipline,” Church History Topics.

D&C 42:8–9

Book of Mormon Central. “Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Ideas about the Physical and Spiritual Gathering of Israel? (2 Nephi 21:11).” KnoWhy 290 (March 22, 2017).

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Do the Prophets Speak of Multiple Jerusalems? (Ether 13:3-6),” KnoWhy 247 (December 7, 2016).

D&C 42:12

Book of Mormon Central, “What Was Mormon’s Purpose in Writing the Book of Mormon? (Mormon 5:14),” KnoWhy 230 (November 14, 2016).

D&C 42:22

Book of Mormon Central. “Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Teachings on the Family? (3 Nephi 18:21).” KnoWhy 285 (March 10, 2017).

D&C 42:30–31

Book of Mormon Central, “How Can Honest Labor and Self-Reliance Bring Lasting Happiness? (2 Nephi 5:17),” KnoWhy 365 (September 19, 2017).

Doctrine and Covenants 43

Steven C. Harper, “Section 43,” Doctrine and Covenants Contexts (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021), 94–96.

Jeffrey G. Cannon, “'All Things Must Be Done in Order',” Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016.

D&C 43:24

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Did Jesus Christ Compare Himself to a Hen? (3 Nephi 10:4),” KnoWhy 200 (October 3, 2016).

D&C 43:25

Book of Mormon Central, “What Does Mormon Teach Us about Ministering as Angels? (Moroni 7:29),” KnoWhy 425 (April 17, 2018).

D&C 43:33

Book of Mormon Central, “Why Do the Scriptures Compare Hell to an Unquenchable Fire? (Mosiah 2:38),” KnoWhy 81 (April 19, 2020).

Doctrine and Covenants 44

Steven C. Harper, “Section 44,” Doctrine and Covenants Contexts (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021), 97–98.