Rel C 325 – Doctrine and Covenants


Winter 2012  - MW 2:00-2:50pm, 136 TMCB, Section 31

Professor:  Tony Martinez, 3326 TMCB, 422-6464,

Office Hours: MW 3-4:00pm or by appointment

Class website:


Course Description and Objectives: Study of the Doctrine and Covenants from Section 77 though 138, including official declarations #1 and #2.  The goal is to both learn more about and experience the Doctrine and Covenants.  We will study both the doctrine and the historical context, but the emphasis will be on doctrine.


Student Learning Outcomes:  BYU education should be spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging and character building, leading to lifelong learning and service. As part of obtaining a BYU education students who successfully complete the required Doctrinal Foundation core in Religious Education will be able to demonstrate that they have acquired an understanding of LDS scripture, doctrine and history through the process of rigorous study and personal faith (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118).


Inherent in the process of learning by study and by faith is the responsibility each student assumes for their part in the learning process. Therefore, students who apply themselves will be able to demonstrate competence in the following areas:

Š          The ability to demonstrate an understanding of the foundational or factual information essential for a basic understanding of LDS scripture, doctrine, and history.

Š          The ability to comprehend, analyze, and interpret LDS scripture, doctrine, and history.

Š          The ability to use foundational knowledge and conceptual understanding of LDS scripture, doctrine, and history to problem solve.

Š          The ability to receive the Holy Ghost as an aid in studying and pondering LDS scripture, doctrine, and history.


Text:  Doctrine and Covenants.  We will read all of the Doctrine and Covenants from Section 77 to the end.  The order of reading is on the schedule and the assigned sections must be read at least once before the class discussion.  Make sure you also read the historical heading that precedes each section.  The rest of the standard works (Book of Mormon, Bible, Pearl of Great Price) should be brought to each class, although no formal reading assignment will be required from them.  An optional text, though strongly recommended, is the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, available in the bookstore, which will help both in a) understanding the content, and b) getting a better historical perspective of each section.


Attendance and Reading:  Both reading and attendance are crucial to fulfill course objectives and both will count towards your grade.  Each day a roll will be circulated.  In the current day you will enter Y (Yes, did a complete and careful reading and your journal entry), P (Partial reading/journal), N (No reading/journal).  If you have a reasonable excuse for an absence (sickness, etc.), then come tell me and it will be excused.  For both reading and attendance, the grading approach is that 1 or 2 misses will not hurt a lot, but the deduction increases sharply as the misses increase.  If you were absent you should still go back later and fill in whether you did your reading/journal at the time of the class.


Doctrine and Covenants Journal: You will keep a personal Doctrine and Covenants Journal.  The purpose, outcomes, and approach are detailed below.  


Examinations:  There will be two exams during the semester and a final examination.  The final is comprehensive with emphasis on topics covered after the second exam.  The exams will test your knowledge of the revelations with particular emphasis on the topics we discuss in class.  The exams will include both doctrinal and historical questions, with an emphasis on doctrine.  In addition, I expect you to know what are the major themes of the different sections.   The exams will include multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions.   All exams will be held in class.


Grading:  Grading will be on a curve.  The approximate breakdown is:






Final Journal


Exam 1


Exam 2






In Class Thoughts: Each day at the beginning of class one or two people will be chosen at random (with replacement) to offer a short thought on a verse(s) of their choice from the reading, which particularly impressed them and which they can liken unto us


University and Religious Education Policies:   I strongly support the BYU mission, honor code, and policies of the University and religious education.  Please review the policies at


Doctrine and Covenants Journal:

There should be one entry (1 or more pages) for each reading assignment.  Each entry should include two parts: 

1.       Thoughts, comments, and questions, generated during your reading.  As part of this, you should have at least 3 comments regarding "likening unto you/us" verses or sections from the reading.  Mark each of these “likening unto you” comments with a * in the left margin next to the comment.

2.       A carefully written paragraph (key message) discussing what you feel are the most significant impressions you received from the reading assignment and how they apply to you/us.


The journal should not be a simple overview of the reading assignment.  It should rather concentrate on items which "struck you" during your reading.  The most important thing is that you show how the reading can be likened unto you.  You might feel that part 2 is redundant after doing part 1.  The idea is that part 1 is being done as you read.  It is probably done over a multi-day period. Each comment in the first part will be a short paragraph or sentence.  Part 2 is done after completing your reading, pondering the overall messages (let the spirit guide), and then discussing more fully what you thought most important for you.  This should not just be a summary of what was contained in the sections.  In the journal, please make an obvious demarcation as to where part 1 ends and part 2 begins.

The journal will be handed in for grading on the last day of class and returned at or before the final.  Grading will be based on your perceived effort and consistency.  Most points missed on the journal are simply from not following the required form (not doing the separate key message paragraph, not having at least three marked (“*”) likening comments, missing entries, or entries being too brief).  You will not be graded on writing the "proper" things.  You should write your honest and thoughtful feelings.  Grading is based only on whether you took the time and effort to ponder and think during your reading, and then to communicate these thoughts in an organized written form.  The contents will not be shared with anyone else, and the journal will be returned to you.  I encourage you to do your journal as an electronic document if you would like, and then just e-mail it to me at the end of class.


Example Entry:

Sections 1-5 Comments and Questions

1:6-8  It is interesting that Joseph always asked when.....

*1:12  This is just like me when I ...

4:2  Why did the Lord say that we should ...

*4:6  In today's society we seem to...

Every time that the Lord promised blessings, the saints would...

*5:2-6  I need to do this when...




Sections 1-5 Key Message


The thing(s) that struck me most about this reading was...


The overall length of an entry should be at least one hand-written page (8½ by 11). Below is a randomly selected entry from a previous journal which fully fits the guidelines.


“Sections 81-83 Comments and Questions

81:1 How amazing would it be to receive the calling to be the prophet’s counselor..

81:2 The keys of the kingdom are always held within the first presidency.

*81:3 In this verse a promise is made that the faithful will be blessed. In this case that promise is made to a counselor. We must apply this scripture to ourselves and realize that any calling is a great one, and we will receive blessings according to our faithfulness.

81:4 The greatest good that we can do is preach the gospel to others.

*81:5 This is a personal favorite for me. I love that the Lord asks us to stand in the place that we are called and to help the weak. Many times we may not feel that we are qualified for certain callings, but if we trust in the Lord and serve others to the best of our ability, then we will have joy.

82:1 Forgiving others allows us to be forgiven as well.. That’s a big thing to remember!

*82:3 As members of the church, we all have a great responsibility to follow the counsels that we have been given. If we do not, then we must answer to a higher law. This to me means that it is better to be “all in” or to just walk away.

82:5 Darkness is upon us and many times as we get closer to God, the evil forces begin to combine against us.

82:10 If we keep our end of the deal, then we can be sure that the Lord will be there for us.

82:24 The kingdom is ours to lose. It has already been promised to us that if we are faithful we will have all that the Father has. If we make poor decisions and lose our privileges then that is our own fault now.

83:4 There is a great deal of love that a parent is expected to have and give for the children of the family. Parents must always be willing to do everything they can for the wellbeing of their young.


Key Message

The key message that I enjoyed from these sections is found in D&C 82:24. I realized as I read this part of the assigned reading that it is ours to lose. Sometimes I feel pressure to do more than I am able, or to take steps that may be difficult for me, but as I read this, I remembered that I have already done most of what is necessary.  Know that through baptism and the temple covenants that I have made, that the kingdom is mine to lose. I am already a candidate for Celestial Glory, but I know that I must remain faithful in order to really enjoy that blessing. That made things feel just that much more simple for me.”


The goal of the journal assignment is to help you really experience the D&C, and also help you gain habits of effective scripture study through focusing and seeking inspiration.  If you will think hard and humbly seek inspiration as you read, and as you write in your journal, you will gain much insight and growth as the Spirit guides your learning.




Class Schedule



Required Reading/Topic

January 5

Introduction to course and the Doctrine and Covenants


Plan of Happiness

Carefully read the Syllabus, Religious Education Links, and

The Power of the Word” by Ezra Taft Benson






No Class – Holiday







February 1



90-92, 93:1-5




Exam #1 (Covers Sections 77-93)











March 5







Exam #2 (Covers Sections 94-115)









April 2

132, Official Declaration #1




135-136, Official Declaration #2




Tuesday, Apr. 17, Final Exam at 3pm in 136 TMCB



You may go to our class resources page to download PowerPoint slides and other resources.