Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

D&C Lesson 3

Posted by cherylem on January 12, 2009

I continue to post Mack Stirling’s Institute notes for these lessons. I’m posting notes from his Introduction to the Pearl of Great Price; in a day or two I’ll add notes from JSH 1:1-26.

Introduction to the Pearl of Great Price

Components of current Pearl of Great Price
1. Selections of the Book of Moses
2. Book of Abraham
3. Joseph Smith – Matthew
4. Joseph Smith – History
5. Articles of Faith

Origins of the Five Components
1. Moses
• Moses 1 given by direct revelation in June 1830
— functions as a prelude to the entire Bible
— may have been part of motivation for JST
• Moses 2-8 part of JST (6/1830 – 7/1833 from June 1830 – Feb. 1831
• Published piecemeal in various church publications 1832-1843

2. Abraham
• On July 3, 1835, in Kirtland Joseph impressed to have the Sains buy four mummies and 2 rolls of papyrus for $2400.
• Found to contain a Book of Abraham ‡ translated 1835-1842, largely July and November 1835.
• Published in Nauvoo in Times & Seasons 3/1 – 5/16/1842

3. JS – Matthew
• From JST; JS-Matthew begun 3/8/1831
• First printed as a broadside in Kirtland 1836 or 1837.

4. JS – History
• Written in 1838 (drawing on 1832 account) in esponse to commandment to write a history. 4/6/1830 – D&C 21:1
• Incorporated into Documentary History of the Church (DHC) in 1839 (=1st 44 pages of Vol. 1); DHC written 1839-1858.
• JS-Hist first published in Times and Seasons 3/15 – 8/1/1842

5. Articles of Faith
• In 1842 John Wentworth editor of Chicago Democrat wrote Joseph Smith for info about the LDS Church
— had served as major, US representative
— wrote on LDS in his paper (article burned; not certain how much he quoted Joseph Smith)
–Joseph Smith wrote “Wentworth Letter” containing among other things the Articles of Faith
–First published in Times & Seasons 3/1/1842

Collection into the Pearl of Great Price
• In 1837 (DHC 2:487-9) Joseph Smith organized a mission to England “to save the Church.”
— hugely successful ‡ by 1850 57,000 Mormons
31,000 England
11,000 Utah
15,000 Eastern US
— but great shortage of printed literature
• On 2/1/1851 Franklin D. Richards (apostle and mission president in England proposed printing a small book with important revelations for the Saints (not for proselyting) in England.
• On 5/8/1851 gave collection the name of Pearl of Great Price (P of GP)
• On 7/11/1851 Pearl of Great Price published in England
— contained all of current P of GP without Moses 4:20-21, 5:16b-18.
Plus: poem: “O Say What is Truth,” D&C 77, D&C 87, parts of D&C 20 and 27 and 107.
• 1878 first US edition, contained “D&C 132” (revelation on marriage)
• On 10/10/1880 PofGP canonized by vote of Church in general conference ‡ 1890 Articles of Faith separated, canonized again.
• 1900 James E. Talmage deleted parts from PofGP also in D&C and poem on truth.
• 4/1976 what are now D&C 137 and 138 put in PofGP ‡ moved to D&C in 6/1979.

Some Observations
• Pearl of Great Price contains most of what is most distinctive about LDS theology; much of our theology is based on the PoGP.
• Every part of PofGP is a fragment of some larger document.
• Contains critical information about seven major gospel dispensations: Adam; Enoch; Noah; Abraham; Moses; Christ; Joseph Smith.
• A major theme is bringing man into the presence of God; combined with the theme of preparing the world for Second Coming.
• PofGP had a major impact on the Temple Endowment.

4 Responses to “D&C Lesson 3”

  1. Michele Mitchell said

    Thank you very much for posting these. I hope you’ll continue to find the time and will to do so. I really appreciated hearing from your son and from you on Lesson 1. The more Stirling stuff, the better!

  2. cherylem said

    Thanks for this, Michele. It’s good to know the notes are helpful. I also appreciate the discussion with others, including other GD teachers.


  3. Cherrie said

    who wrote the “introductory note” of the Pearl of Great Price? Is this by chance part of Robert J. Matthews or Bruce R. McConkie’s contributions?

  4. myword said


    […]D&C Lesson 3 « Feast upon the Word Blog[…]…

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