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Books, Podcasts, and Virtual Visits Help You Study the Doctrine and Covenants


This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Christine Rappleye, Church News

Don’t be an “ugly tourist” when studying history, advises Matthew J. Grow, managing director of the Church History Department.

“A British novelist said in the mid-20th century that ‘the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there,’” Grow said in a recent interview with Church News.

“We want to go immerse ourselves in the culture, we want to listen more than we talk, we want to hear what they’re saying. And some things are going to be very different,” he said.

Grow pointed out several resources from the Church historians to help those studying the historical context of the Doctrine and Covenants this year. Unless otherwise noted, these are available at the Church’s Gospel Library online and in the app under “Restoration and Church History.


At the Pulpit is a compilation of discourses by women in every decade of Church history.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Revelations in Context”: Shares a “particular moment in time” and includes articles about sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that came around the same time.

“Each article takes us to the life of an individual and it helps you see how those revelations came, what questions prompted the revelations through that particular man or woman who lived in the early church,” Grow said.

Saints: A four-volume narrative history of the Church.

Saints gives you the picture of how the whole story fits together,” Grow said. While making it historically accurate, “we also are trying to tell the story in a way that is captivating.

“So we’re trying to have historical accuracy and a high level of readability to tell this really incredible story of the Church. It’s a story of faith, it’s a story of devotion.”

The first volume, The Standard of Truth, covers 1815 to 1846, through the building of the Nauvoo Temple. The second volume, No Unhallowed Hand, covers 1846 to 1893, which is the Saints moving west to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. Volume 3 is being written now and will go through 1955, with the dedication of the Bern Switzerland Temple.

Church History Topics: Several hundred short essays on various topics related to Church history.

“It puts those topics in the context and includes links to other resources,” Grow said.

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Following the schedule “Doctrine and Covenants — Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families,” it has the links to the chapters in Saints, the essay in Revelations in Context, and the relevant “Church History Topics,” places and biographies.

Volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Photo by Jason Olson, courtesy of Church News. Copyright 2021 Deseret News Publishing Company.

The Joseph Smith Papers: The Joseph Smith Papers is really foundational for everything else we’re doing on the Church’s beginnings, on Joseph Smith’s lifetime. It’s the effort to bring together in one place on the web at JosephSmithPapers.org every business record, every legal record, all of his journals, all of its histories, so that we have the most access to them possible.”

The Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources shares links to sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, and people can see the handwritten revelations, Grow said.

“For those who want an even deeper dive, go to The Joseph Smith Papers. And it’s amazing the information that we have on these early revelations.”

The book cover of The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The First 50 Years of Relief Society: This “is a documentary history of Relief Society,” Grow said.

At the Pulpit: It “is sermons that women have given in every decade of the Church’s existence,” he said.

The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow: “We’re releasing them in batches, so you can go and find a bunch now, and if you go back in six months, there’ll be a bunch more,” he said. It is available on the Church Historian’s website at churchhistorianspress.org

The Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells: “She was such an important leader and thinker among Latter-day Saint women as well,” Grow said. This resource is available on the Church Historian’s website at churchhistorianspress.org.


The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast: Six-episode miniseries that was released in 2020 for the bicentennial of the First Vision.

“It takes us through what we know about the First Vision [and] what we don’t know,” Grow said.


The Priesthood Restored: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast: Six-episode miniseries on the restoration of the priesthood released earlier this year.

“It takes you through all the information of what we know, all the perspectives about the priesthood restoration … and takes us even up to the present in terms of what’s the ongoing restoration of the priesthood, what does that mean through Church history,” Grow said.

Joseph Smith Papers Podcast on the Nauvoo Temple: Upcoming this year.

Virtual Tours at the Church’s Historic Sites

Sister Karly Robison and Sister Meg Taylor, missionaries serving at the Nauvoo Historic Sites, give a virtual tour. Because of COVID-19, Church historic sites have been closed for in-person tours since March 2020. Photo courtesy of the Nauvoo Historic Sites, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Church’s historic sites were closed to visitors in 2020. The missionaries there found ways to adapt the in-person tours to virtual tours. See each historic site’s website to sign up for a tour time.

People “from over 60 countries have visited the Church historic sites through these virtual tours,” he said. “And we’re thrilled that the pandemic accelerated our vision of how we could share these sites with Saints all around the world.” 

Copyright 2021 Deseret News Publishing Company

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