The Doctrine and Covenants or D&C is Modern LDS (Mormon) Scripture

Modern Mormon Scripture Consists of 4 Books Including the Holy Bible

Doctrine and Covenants
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: An 1835, first edition of the Mormon scripture, 'Doctrine and Covenants', revelations from Mormon Church Founder Joseph Smith, is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. George Frey / Stringer / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America

The Doctrine and Covenants, often abbreviated to D&C, is a book of modern LDS (Mormon) scripture. Along with the Holy Bible (Old Testament and the New Testament), the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, it makes up the canon of LDS scriptures. Often referred to as the standard works, when collected into one book it is called a quad.

The D&C is a unique book of scripture because it was not translated from an ancient document, like the The Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price.

The D&C is a Collection of Modern Revelations

The D&C did not come into existence as a book. Joseph Smith and other prophets received revelation from Heavenly Father. Over time, these revelations were edited and compiled into a book, the book we now know as the D&C.

This is not unusual, the scripture we have in the Bible is revelation. It was written and compiled into one book.

When Jesus Christ's original Church was restored, Joseph Smith was its founding prophet. He operated as the person designated to receive revelation from Heavenly Father on earth. A series of revelations were given to Smith in establishing and operating the modern Church.

This open channel of communication between Heavenly Father and His earthly prophet continues to this day. It will continue until Jesus Christ's Second Coming.

Although most of the revelations in the D&C were given to Joseph Smith, some were received and added later by subsequent prophets.

The latest revelation to be added to the D&C is Official Declaration 2. It was added in 1978. This revelation extended the priesthood to all worthy male LDS members.

How the D&C is Organized

Each document in The Doctrine and Covenants is numbered by section (with exception to the two Official Declarations at the back) for a total of 138 sections.

Each paragraph within each section, called a verse, is also numbered. Each section of the D&C is not a stand alone revelation. Sometimes several revelations were collected into one section. Also, revelations were received that have never been compiled into the D&C at all. It is not comprehensive.

The majority of the sections contained within The Doctrine and Covenants were given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, while sections 135, 136, 138, and Official Declarations 1 and 2 were received by other latter-day prophets. Also, the D&C is not arranged chronologically.

Several sections of The Doctrine and Covenants are revelations in answer to specific prayers. This book of modern scripture also contains many basic truths and gospel doctrines, instructions related to the translation of the Bible, guidance regarding the pioneer migration west, the administrative and organizational structure of the Church of Jesus Christ and many other inspired words of the Lord.

Access the D&C Freely Online or Obtain a Copy of the Book

You may read the D&C online or download a digital copy to your device of choice: 

If you wish to have a physical copy of the D&C, it can be ordered online or requested from LDS missionaries.

Study the D&C History In Historical Context and Depth

Read the introduction, access each section individually and peruse the official declarations. The head notes will help you understand the historical context and the reasons the revelations were given.

For even more in depth history of the various revelations that make up the D&C, visit the Church History website.

Why the D&C is Important to Mormons

By having the D&C, members can continue to receive guidance from Heavenly Father through His modern prophets.

Also, modern life often brings modern dilemmas. The Church and its members need guidance in how Heavenly Father wants His Church conducted in these modern times.

This modern scripture also underscores that Heavenly Father loves all His children and continues to guide them in righteousness.

Updated by Krista Cook.