I would imagine that I know less about the Doctrine and Covenants than your average seminary student.
Since I am teaching Gospel Doctrine, now seems like an ideal time to remedy this situation. (Who was it who said, “The thought that one is to be hanged in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully?”) So, I cobbled together a little study program so I can put together semi-respectable lessons. (BTW, one critical component of my plan–Jim’s notes–has yet to materialize and it is Friday. Jim, help!) At any rate, I’ve been in awe of the resources that are available, and how much fun it is to use them, so I wanted to share:
(1) Looking up footnotes no longer requires shuffling pages. Using the scriptures at www.lds.org, you can click on the first footnote in the verse in order to get a new page that shows the verse and all of the footnotes on that verse–not just the references to other texts, but the entire text. See here for an example.
(2) Wanna hear BYU Religion professors in a semi-informal discussion of the text? Click here. Some of the discussion is banal, but there are enough gems to make it worth the time. An added benefit is that each episode has a list of relevant Ensign articles included.
(3) Perhaps this is a subject for another post, but where is the venue for scholarly study of the D & C? (FARMS didn’t have anything that I could find. I guess we have to wait until the D & C is ‘ancient’ for that to happen . . .) What little I could find is available online through the Harold B. Lee Library in BYU Studies (and a few articles in The Religious Educator, including an excellent one relevant to this week’s lesson by Richard Bushman about language and revelation.)
Let me know if I have missed any good online resources for studying the D & C. Are any of the print commentaries worth buying?
Also, there seems to be two different strains of thought on the best way to study the D & C. This from President Joseph Fielding Smith, as quoted in the intro to the Institute manual:
â€œI heard a brother say he could not read the Doctrine and Covenants because it was so much like a dictionary. It is not a consecutive storyâ€”it changes the subject, and so onâ€”well of course it does. Many years ago when I was a president in a quorum of seventiesâ€”and in those days we did not have any supervision so far as our study was concernedâ€”it was decided by that quorum of seventies that they would study the Doctrine and Covenants, and I was appointed to be the class teacher. We took it up section by section. You are not going to get all there is out of it in any other way. You may take it up if you want to by topics, or doctrines, that is good; but you are not going to understand the Doctrine and Covenants, you are not going to get out of it all there is in it unless you take it up section by section; and then when you do that, you will have to study it with its setting as you get it in the history of the Church.â€? (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:199.)
This, of course, is different from the topical approach taken by the Sunday School curriculum. Would anyone who has spent some time studying the D & C like to weigh in on the relative merits of the two approaches?
(I should also mention that the recently revised Seminary Student Study Guide is a surprisingly good basic resource.)