Site icon Times & Seasons

What If …. Chad Updated the Doctrine and Covenants? Part 3

Joseph Fielding McConkie recalled that when the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were discussing adding the documents that are now Sections 137 and 138 that Elder Bruce R. McConkie had a few other suggestions.  One was to add two Articles of Faith about the restoration of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation (to which Thomas S. Monson good-naturedly responded: “We all know there are only thirteen Articles of Faith, not fifteen”).[1]  McConkie also suggested adding several excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation to the Pearl of Great Price, the entire Wentworth Letter, and the Lectures on Faith.[2]  While these weren’t accepted into the official canon of the Church, Joseph Fielding McConkie indicated that these, along with the official expositions from the early 20th century known as the Origin of Man and Father and the Son, Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse, and Joseph Smith’s Sermon in the Grove, were still regarded as scripture by Elder McConkie.[3]

I agree with some (though not all) of these suggestions, which dovetails nicely into my hypothetical series about what I would do if I were asked to update the Doctrine and Covenants.  Reviewing from last time, the goals I have in mind in this theoretical project are that updates to the scriptures must do the following:

In approaching this topic, I’m breaking the approach into three main areas, which means that the series will flow as follows:

  1. Organization
  2. Editing of documents
  3. Additions

I plan to go through this section of things I would add to the Doctrine and Covenants by the divisions I outlined in the initial post of this series. In approaching this part of the series, I have made an effort to include women’s voices, though it will likely be apparent that I still have a ways to go in familiarizing myself with the materials that can be used and probably should be included.



The doctrinal documents I would add are sermons and statements that explain the doctrines and policies of the Church.  There is a massive wealth of material available in the Church that could be added that would fall under this category, and I recognize that if you get four members of the Church together in one room, they would probably have ten different opinions on what could or should be done in this area (which is only slightly less than the number of opinions raised if the section being discussed were hymns to canonize).  This is also related to a previous post about important documents from Latter-day Saint history, though the lists are not exactly the same.  Here are the doctrine documents I would propose adding:


Written revelations that are presented in the voice of the Lord



Records of visionary experiences


Official Declarations

Declarations put out by the Church


Prayers and Poetry

This section is what the name implies (somewhat analogous to the poetry section of the Hebrew Bible).  The prayers are mostly dedicatory prayers that are relevant (and as a note, I would also include a local link to the dedicatory prayer of whichever temple district you are living in as part of a digital edition of the Doctrine and Covenants).  I’m not going to go through the reasons for each individual hymn that I’ve listed for the poetry, but I tried to focus on hymns that had historic significance, praise and testify of God and Christ, comfort the weary, or which provide a good text on which to ponder.



Documents that are meant to function as historical presentations



Documents that come from various projects that Joseph Smith referred to as translations


So, there you have it—this is what I would add to the Doctrine and Covenants if I were to prepare the next edition (which we all know will not happen).



[1] His suggestions were published in a later work.  See Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness to the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 16.

[2] Joseph Fielding McConkie, “Bruce R. McConkie: A Special Witness,” Mormon Historical Studies 14/2 (Fall 2013): 199-201,  The main excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation he suggested were JST Genesis 9:15-25, JST Genesis 14:26-40, JST Genesis 17:1-14, JST Genesis 48:3-11; and JST Genesis 50:24-38.

[3] Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Bruce R. McConkie Story (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003), 391.

Exit mobile version