Suited to our condition

"Take away . . . the revelations," the Prophet Joseph Smith once mused, "and where is our religion? We have none."

Virtually everything the Latter-day Saints believe and hold dear has its origin in revelation, the fundamental belief that God not only lives and loves us as our literal Father in heaven, but that He also speaks, directs and guides us as individuals and as a Church. Deny that divine process and with it disappears the First Vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, and so on through all the crucial elements of the restored gospel.Obviously, had God not restored the eternal truths and saving ordinances through His prophetic oracles, the world would still be mired in the depths of the darkest night of all, the great apostasy. Without "the revelations" of the Restoration, we could teach few redeeming doctrines and we could make no binding covenants.

Doctrines? Covenants? Individually and collectively, they are the lifeblood of the true and living Church, the product of continuing revelation, the sine qua non of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Little wonder then that the Prophet Joseph said the canonized Book of Doctrine and Covenants in which some of these modern revelations (more than 100 of them coming to him before he was yet 30 years of age!) are collected, was to be "the foundation of the Church in these last days and a benefit to the world, showing that the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of our Savior are again entrusted to man, and the riches of eternity within the compass of those who are willing to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (History of the Church 1:235.)

The Prophet had so taught from the beginning of His ministry. Early in the dispensation the Prophet Joseph said to the Latter-day Saints: "We are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this earth. Consequently . . . former revelations cannot be suited to our condition. . . . If God should give no more revelation, where will we find Zion?"("Kirtland Council Minute Book."))

Carrying that message directly to our own day, President Ezra Taft Benson has declared, "The Doctrine and Covenants is the binding link between the Book of Mormon and the continuing work of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors."(General Conference, April 1987.)

Of course a crucial declaration regarding these revelations "suited to our condition" is that the Doctrine and Covenants is not limited to Latter-day Saints alone, but is a series of revelations which belong to the entire family of mankind, the whole world.

Indeed the first section of the book, described by the Lord Himself as a "Voice of Warning," a "Preface" to the revelation of the dispensation, is declared "unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people. . . ." (D&C 1:2,4.)

Of this sweeping, inclusive introduction to the principles and ordinances of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, President Joseph Fielding Smith once wrote: "The Doctrine and Covenants is . . . the only book in existence which bears the honor of a preface given by the Lord himself. . . . It was dictated by Jesus Christ, and contains His and His Father's word to the Church and to all the world." (Church History and Modern Revelation 1:252.)

How vital is the Doctrine and Covenants to the Latter-day Saints and to a world we wish to bless? It is "more precious than gold" one modern prophet said, because it "contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. We should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3:199.)

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