Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Inspirations January 11, 2009

My thoughts this morning are on the Doctrine and Covenants, and I thought to take some time out to explain a bit about what the Doctrine and Covenants are. For those who have grown up with them, you might discover (as I did) something new, or simply have your testimony reinforced. For those who don't know much, if anything, about the Doctrine and Covenants, I hope this helps to make things a little clearer.

Joseph Smith Jr., prophet of the newly organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church), received many revelations over the course of his ministry. These revelations were eventually collected and bound into what we members refer to as the Doctrine and Covenants, or the D&C.

One thing that makes the D&C different from all other works in the Mormon standard works (or cannon), is it was never translated from an ancient language. The Old Testament, the New Testament, and even the Book of Mormon were all translated. When one word didn't seem to fit correctly, there had to be a "best guess estimate" to find a replacement word.

This was not the case with the Doctrine and Covenants. Every word in the book was given directly from the Lord to His prophet.

At this point I would love to have a picture to help illustrate the next point, but I'm afraid you'll all have to turn on your imaginations. See in your mind a stone building, four corners, and arched doorway, and on top of the raised roof a rounded cap. Within this building are three stones, ones vital to the stability, strength, and steadiness of the building.

First is the Cornerstone. This stone must be fixed, precise in it's placement, and strong. Without it the rest of the building will come tumbling down. For those of us in the Mormon Church, as well as every other Christian faith, the cornerstone is Jesus Christ. His life, His teachings, His example (which we read and study about in the Holy Bible) is the cornerstone of our lives. It is the foundation of our lives. Without it the rest of our lives will crumble.

Next is the Keystone. It is the top of the arch. Without it the doorway leading to rich joy, love, and happiness cannot stand. It too will collapse. For those of us in the Mormon Church, the Book of Mormon serves as the keystone. It does not replace the Holy Bible, but reinforces it, magnifies it, and gives us a firmer testimony of our purpose here on earth as well as how to help live the commandments of God. It also stands as a reminder that no matter where we may reside on this big earth, we are always under the watchful and loving eye of our Father in Heaven and our Savior.

Last is the Capstone. It is the finishing touch, the final necessary stone. Without it our building is incomplete. Without it the natural elements could cause our building to erode with time. For those of us in the Mormon Church, the Doctrine and Covenants are the capstone to our religion. It was written specifically to and for those in our dispensation, to the members of the Lord's restored Church. It serves as a template for our lives in these latter days. Within the first section (or chapter) we are given the purpose of the D&C.

If you would like to read through the verses, go to D&C 1:20-28, but the specific purposes are:

So our faith might be increased. The Lord has told us we will be given two or three witnesses, and the D&C stands as yet another witness of Jesus Christ as our Savior.

It establishes the Lord's covenants in our times, covenants that were set up thousands of years before He was born, covenants He personally instituted.

To encourage His Church to proclaim His gospel.

To bring people, both members and nonmembers alike, to an understand of their sins.

To bring these same people the opportunity to partake of the Atonement, to repent, and to be forgiven of those sins.

To show us how we might humble ourselves so that we might be more readily taught in His ways.

To be strengthened!

Most of all, and it is this last thought I'll leave you with this day, the Doctrine and Covenants was given to help us prepare for the coming of the Savior.

The Lord's hand was truly in the making of all three of these works, of this I truly witness. I love all three. They have blessed my life more than I could possibly have guessed. When read with a humble heart and a contrite spirit, with a true and abiding desire to know for certain of the truth of their words, you can know the same blessings.

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