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In 2017, adult and youth members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will study the Doctrine and Covenants as part of the Church’s Sunday School curriculum. Stories behind sections of the Doctrine and Covenants have been released by the Church as a resource for the study of a book that Mormons regard as scripture. “Revelations in Context,” a series of narratives written by the Church History Department, includes insights behind the revelations, mostly given to Church founder Joseph Smith.
Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy said, “Gone are the days when the history of the Church is just interesting. Gone are the days when it is only important. In our day, the history of the Church is urgent.”
“Our history can either be used as a weapon against the faith of our members or as a bulwark to build and protect their faith,” continued Elder Cornish, who serves as assistant executive director of the Church History Department.
“It is important to have a solid foundation of knowledge about the key aspects of Mormon history,” explained Matthew McBride, an editor for the Church History Department. “It helps us understand scripture, respond to questions, appreciate the experiences and perspectives of others, and sort out the information we find online and elsewhere.”
“With recently produced Church history materials now added to the Gospel Library app and linked to from the digital edition of the Sunday School teacher’s manual, they are now just a touch away for students and teachers,” said McBride. “Most Church members already have them in their pockets, but don’t realize it.”
Publication of the series is part of a larger effort by the Church to improve transparency about its history, which includes the Joseph Smith Papers, the Church history website and the Gospel Topics essays.
“One of the things we are most excited about is the fact that these resources are translated and available in 10 languages,” McBride added. “This is the first time that many insights from projects such as the Joseph Smith Papers are available so widely to Church members throughout the world.”
The series has been used by some seminary and institute teachers and religion instructors at Brigham Young University since 2013 and is now available for all members.