The Two-Part Doctrine and Covenants You Never Knew

From Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830 – 1915, pp. 63-64:

“The 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was originally a two-part work, as its name would indicate. If we look at the current edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, we see that the work contains 138 revelations, or sections. In the 1835 edition, the work is divided into two distinct parts. The first part of the work is titled ‘Theology: Lecture First of Faith on the Doctrine of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.’ Subsequent lectures are simply titled ‘Lecture Second of Faith,’ ‘Lecture Third,’ and so on. The revelations were included in a second part titled ‘Covenants and Commands of the Lord,’ which begins on page 75. That the seven Lectures on Faith originally comprised the doctrine part of the Doctrine and Covenants there can be no doubt. The revelations in turn comprised the ‘Covenants and Commands’ portion of the work. The two parts, collectively, were called the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

“For many of the Saints in Kirtland, and for Mormons of subsequent generations until 1921, the Lectures of Faith were Mormon doctrine. For the members of the Church in the late 1830s, the Lectures of Faith were the doctrines of the church to which they belonged. The decanonization of the Lectures of Faith brought about a serious revision of Latter-day Saint theology. The Lecture of Faith by 1921 were representative of a theological position that the Church had not held for nearly a century. Their continued inclusion, in post-1921 editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, would have presented an additional problem for the Church by providing an older, rejected, theological option for the membership of the Church. Having just resolved the Jehovah-Elohim controversy, a new thorn in the flesh was not needed.

“Scholars have attempted to legitimize the reasons for the removal of the Lectures in 1921. Reasons for the decanonization of the Lectures followed an apologetical line of logic. Reasons such as they contain imperfect doctrines on the godhead, they were not received as revelations by the Prophet, and they were only given as instructions, form the core of the apologists’ arguments. The opinions surrounding the decanonization have never been fully explained. Why were the Lectures originally included as part of the canon? It seems odd that a religious movement that holds to beliefs not contained in its canon (the King Follett discourse) would include in that canon teachings which it did not believe to be authoritative. In what must have been an embarrassing position for the Church to be in, removing part of its canon, reasons for the removal were needed. This was accomplished by arguing that the Lectures were never part of the canon.”

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17 Responses to The Two-Part Doctrine and Covenants You Never Knew

  1. falcon says:

    I find this interesting in the sense that the LDS Church appears to be in a constant position of explaining away teachings, doctrines and practices from previous “editions”. I’m wondering if their pride in not having a systematic theology was born out of this necessity. It all started with the BOM which (being the most perfect book ever produced) needed thousand of corrections from the original. I would think this would tip the LDS faithful off that their religion lacks integrity.

  2. jer1414 says:

    Falcon said “I would think this would tip the LDS faithful off that their religion lacks integrity.” We can only pray so.

  3. Mike Cucuk says:


    I have known for a bit (since I begin my endeavors to find the truth two years ago) that the Lectures of Faith were replaced in 1921. I did have one question, though: does anyone know what the original Eleventh Article of Faith was? For a point of reference, this is the current one:

    “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. ”

    The Article is said to have been taken out with the decanonization in 1921. If anyone here can find the text and post it here, it would mean so much to me…

    As such, my endeavor continues…God be with you all.

  4. Jacob5 says:

    Here is a question. Hypothetically, if I wish to be counted as one of your faith, what must happen?

  5. falcon says:

    Now that’s an interesting question. I don’t know if you’re asking about yourself specifically or if your asking how Mormonism could be considered part of the Christian mainstream(?) That is, what doctrines would have to line-up. There are different denominations of course because believers have different points of view on various things. However, there are a core set of beliefs that they all agree on. So that’s called the “Church”, the universal fellowship of believers. I consider myself part of that fellowship, rather than a denomination. I’m not big into denominational labeling. Now for you personally, my opinion (short version), you’d need to accurately recognize who you are putting your faith in, in order to be saved (if you’d want to be called a Christian). In-other-words, faith in God rather than a god. That’s what I’d say. Other posters may have a different view of this. Good question.

  6. Rick B says:

    I would say that you must believe Jesus died for your Sins and took your place, but I know you would say that you hold that view already. So I would go a step father and say, you must renounce the false teachings of Mormonism and believe the Bible to be the word of God. by doing that you would admit to One God only in 3 persons (Trinity) Grace alone saves us, no works period.

    and stop believing in false scripture such as the BoM, the D and C and believing in False prophets. That is what I would say.

    Then as Falcon said, I am non-denominational. I love the Bigger denomination’s such as 50’s and 100’s but I will take 10’s and 20’s. Just kidding.

    Anyway, as far as denomination’s goes they are man made, you will not Find God making them or Jesus creating various denomination’s in the Bible. it really boils down to minor things like, Can I have long hair, or how long is too long, can women be pastors or not, the Rapture of the Church, is it PRE-MID, OR POST trib, Things like this that we cannot agree upon, but as Falcon said, the Core Doctrines we agree on.

    I believe even with issues like Women Pastors or long hair, I believe the Bible is clear on these matters, yet people simply refuse to believe what scripture teaches, so they say, nope your wrong thats not what is really taught. But they must answer to God after Death and will be judged by him for their actions. They will not lose salvation over these petty matters, but will or might lose rewards. Rick b

  7. Jacob5 says:

    Okay, now Falcon, do you agree with what Rick B says? I would like to hear more opinions of others on this matter.
    But so far this is what I get:
    1. Accurately recognize who I believe in. Faith in God not a god.
    Rick B
    1. Jesus died for my sins, took my place.
    2. Renounce false teachings
    3. Bible is the word of God
    4. Believe in the Trinity
    5. Grace alone saves, not works
    6. Stop believing in false scripture.

    Okay, a couple questions.
    I have been baptized to my current faith. What is your opinion on that as to my hypothetical question.
    Can I please have a clear definition of what you consider works to be, because I beleive that following the commandments as a work. If I err in this definition, please explain. If I am correct is it important to follow those commandments deliniated in the bible (ie. the Ten Commandments, etc.) as to my salvation? Also I think I would need a clearer definition of the Trinity.
    And as far as the Bible, aside from certain key issues, where do I look to get a more authoritative opinion of interpretations of what is spoken in it?
    I appreciate any answers that can be given to these questions.

  8. falcon says:

    Jacob 5,
    For me your question regarding baptism gets back, once again, to the idea of what you were baptised into. That get’s back to the nature of God. The foundational doctrine of the Christian Church deals with the nature of God. You get that right and you’re standing on firm footing. Were you baptized into a created being, a former man who progressed to godhood, or the One eternal God?
    When Paul talked about the works of the Law, he was drawing a contrast between the Old Covenant (Law) and the New Covenant (grace). When Jesus said “It is finished” He was saying that the debt for our sins were paid. We accept that Jesus paid the price. We can’t do any more than what Jesus already did. We live a transformed life because we have been born again through faith in Jesus. God has declared us righteous. I can’t get any more righteous in His eyes. But I’m a disciple of Christ and therefore conduct myself as such out of gratitude for what Jesus did.
    Bible interpretations: I have a bookcase full of study guides, dictionaries and theological guides. I read all I can, pray, and trust that the Spirit of truth willl lead me into all truth.

  9. falcon says:

    And your last question, the Trinity. From the Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words:
    The word “Trinity” never appears in the Bible, though the doctrine clearly does. The Bible states that there is but one God (Deut.6:4; Mark 12:29); there are no others (Zech. 14:9). The unity of God is undeniable. Yet this teaching is not inconsistent with the doctrine of the Trinity, which states that there is indeed one essence, yet three persons of the Trinity share this divine essence: God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity; God the Son (Jesus), the Second Person; and God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. The three Persons of the Trinity are equal, having only a functional subordination, that is, Jesus was subordiante-in function-to the Father while on earth…………Any teaching that denies the Trinity, such as Tritheism (belief in three separate gods) or Unitarianism (belief in God as one person alone), is heretical.
    I have a long list of Bible references here if you want them. You could probably find similar information in many places on the internet.

  10. Rick B says:

    Jacob said

    the Ten Commandments, etc.) as to my salvation?

    Jacob we do not need to follow the ten comm to be saved. Jesus did not say, if you want eternal life follow the 10 comm.

    a jailer in the book of Acts said to Paul, Sirs WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED

    The Jailer wanted to do works, Paul simply said, believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, I do not know why this is so hard to understand, other than it is a pride issue, but lucifer had pride and that was what caused him to fall.

    As far as trying to follow the 10 comm, the religious leaders and layers posed that question to Jesus, He said the greatest Commanded is Love, nothing more. If I love God and I love my Neighbor than I will fulfill the law by not wanting to sleep with another women, or lie or kill or anything.

    As far as baptism goes, it is not required for salvation. Paul even sates God did not send him to baptize and he cannot recall who or how many people he even baptized.

    Then on the issue of commentaries. I don’t use them, I believe the Bible is the best commentary on the Bible, it is 66 books that all agree yet man cannot agree, so you can get 2 different commentaries and they will not agree.

    Look at this site for example, you have Calvinists, Arminists, and people like me who hold neither view, I simply believe the Bible and follow Jesus. Hope this helps. Rick b

  11. Jacob5 says:

    “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”
    So, then all I need to do is believe in Jesus Christ and I will be saved? But then do I still need to express a belief in the Holy Trinity as well? I am confused, is it simply believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, or do I need to say I believe or disbelieve other things as well?

  12. shelli says:

    The things Rick is telling you are the results of putting your faith in the Living God. They are not requirements of salvation, but are the natural outcome of your faith in Jesus Christ. You need only trust Christ for salvation. All of the other things will come as the Holy Spirit is revealing truth to you. Eventually, you will come to these other truths and embrace them.

    Romans 10:5-13 “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  13. shelli says:

    Shelli said

    The things Rick is telling you are the results of putting your faith in the Living God. They are not requirements of salvation,

    I do not want you to misunderstand and think that the things I said are requirments for salvation. I also do not want to confuse you. The reason I said what I said to you is because of your mormon faith or background. If I were talking with a person who did not believe in God, I would keep it simple and to the point of what Paul said to the jailer or what Shelli said to you.

    Since LDS claim they believe in Jesus already and claim they believe He died for their sins, then anything like what me, Falcon or Shelli said would not change anything. You or other LDS would simply say, We/I believe that already.

    But as many of us have pointed out, LDS really do teach/believe a different Gospel and if we go deeper than the names and surface meanings we really find a different gospel. We have pointed out that the Jesus we believe is and was always God, not a mere man that became a god, and that the atonment took place on the Cross not in the garden. These might seem minor to you, but to us they are truth and bring life. Life that you will be rejected if you deny. I hope this helps better explain why I said what I did. Rick b

  14. Jacob5 says:

    Sorry that I was out for a long while on this. I was hoping to get as much out of my question as possible. I think that I have reached the extent of possible answers.
    So here we are. Shelli, thank you for the time you have taken to try to explain to me about your beliefs. I do agree with you on a few points. The truth is that LDS do teach a gospel that is different from many other religions. The premise that we state that we are a restored church means that we do reject other teachings as well.
    The reason I asked the previous questions is not that I was looking to change my religion but to try to understand how differently you felt about your beliefs as opposed to how you felt about ours. I already accept that you don’t belief my church to be true, but I need to set up a situation to better hear what you truly believe about your religion. If some of you feel that you may have been mislead I am sorry.
    Now, I see that many here may take adverse minds when whe make a statement about Joseph Smith’s first vision that all churches were wrong. So, that sets up one blocking point. Then we do make statements that baptism and following commandments is necessary for salvation when many other religions say that by simply believing in Christ you will be saved. Again, being that salvation, or any form of it, is a main point of most religions, that would be a very big disagreement. If that is the end goal, and we both take very oposing vews, than I can understand the strong feelings on both sides.
    So, I understand you standpoint. I respect it, as I respect anyone who stands up for what they believe in.
    However in the defence of my religion, I will say this. There are many who do opose us and also claim to be experts. Some even clain to be parts of generations long lines. But, the arguments that are made, I feel, are based so much on the wrong points.

  15. Jacob5 says:

    When quotes are used from church leaders, members, etc., when arguments are made using external sources or are rendered using another belief system, I believe these are made with a false context. When we are being told to explain in only the context of the NT or OT or both, we find it quite odd that we should have to prove it based on only those criteria. If the evidence against our church is so compeling, why isn’t it that people aren’t leaving it in droves? I don’t mean inactivity. That is different from leaving the church. I mean where are the scores of people that are being excommunicated or having their names taken off the record? With our age of having information at our fingertips, isn’t it possible that most any member of our church can see all that has been published against our church?
    Now there has been an argument that numbers doth not a true church make. That may be true, but apostates doth name a false church make either.
    So what does make a true church? You and I may claim the whole part about Christ even though we argue on very different points, but others claim theirs to be true as well.
    All in all, I cannot prove to you my church is true. I have not magical book of knowledge that can refudiate any and all the arguments you present, and at this point I will not try. There is only one person in this world I have to convince about the truth, and that is me.

  16. Rick B says:

    Jacob said

    The reason I asked the previous questions is not that I was looking to change my religion but to try to understand how differently you felt about your beliefs as opposed to how you felt about ours. I already accept that you don’t belief my church to be true, but I need to set up a situation to better hear what you truly believe about your religion. If some of you feel that you may have been mislead I am sorry.

    I never felt lied to or mislead, I knew you had no plans on converting and I knew you were asking questions to see where we/I stand, thats fine, but this does not mean your church or what you believe is true. Rick b

  17. Jacob5 says:

    Thank you Rick for understanding my point. And you are correct, this is by no means an apeal for you to think as such.

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