Posted by: rusch | July 8, 2008

Reading the Doctrine and Covenants

If you were to ask me to list which books of scripture get the most attention in the Church here is what my list would like.

  • Book of Mormon:  By far, this volume of scripture receives the most attention.  I cannot tell you how many times wards or stakes issue the challenge to the members to read the Book of Momron.  Why just a couple of years ago, the Church received the challenge from President Hinkley to read the whole Book of Mormon by the end of 2005 (I think I did it twice.  I am just that righteous 🙂
  • Doctrine and Covenants:  I can’t recall when a challenge was issue to read this, but this book comes in second behind the Book of Mormon.
  • Pearl of Great Price:  Now you might say that this should go in front of the Doctrine and Covenants, but I would argue that it does come in third place.  This book is important because it contains the 1838 account of the First Vision which has become the official version though there are other versions that are largely unknown to the general membership.
  • New Testament:  We don’t read the Bible much.  When I say we, I am talking about most Mormons I know.  I think one reason is the language of the KJV stands in the way of people appreciating the great teachings of the this scriptural record.  I for one would like to see a day when multiple translations are approved for use in meetings.  Until then, I am going to quietly bring my NRSV to Church with my KJV.
  • Old Testament:  Well, I guess the apocryphal saying of J. Golden Kimball says it all.  “I read the Old Testament and quickly repented of it”.
Scripture study is important to me.  I consider it my centering or my own version of meditation.  I don’t have any special techniques or methods for marking the scriptures.  I just sit down and start reading.  It works for me and I hope it will work for you.
So, I am reading the Doctrine and Covenants.  I finished the Book of Mormon again for the “I don’t know how manyth (George Bush would be proud) time” and decided to read something else.  I settled on the Doctrine and Covenants.  I did this because I am fascinated by Joseph Smith.  I think the Doctrine and Covenants provides great insight into what he thought about and felt was important.  Plus, I really like this standard work and its’ language.  It has an active voice which expresses an urgency I don’t find many other places.  There is a “hot off the presses” feel to it.
So there you go.  This is what I am reading because I don’t have time to read much else.  Someday I will read my Jeroslav Pelikan book.  Until then, I will read the Doctrine and Covenants.

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