Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Continuing Revelation to Latter-day
Revelation extending the blessings of the priesthood to every worthy male
member of the Church.
Publication of new Latter-day Saint editions of the scriptures.
Additional Quorums of the Seventy.
A study of this lesson will show us that the Lord continues to guide the
Church through revelation to latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators.
Scripture references for study:
107:25, 34, 93–98;
Official Declaration 2 (pages 293–94 in the D&C);
Our Heritage, pages 117–19,
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 42 Handout (PDF)
The Church Continues to Be Guided by Revelation
President Spencer W. Kimball: "We testify to the
world that revelation continues and that the vaults and files of the Church
contain these revelations which come month to month and day to day. We testify
also that there is, since 1830 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints was organized, and will continue to be, so long as time shall last, a
prophet, recognized of God and his people, who will continue to interpret the
mind and will of the Lord. …
"Expecting the spectacular, one may not be fully alerted
to the constant flow of revealed communication. I say, in the deepest of
humility, but also by the power and force of a burning testimony in my soul,
that from the prophet of the Restoration to the prophet of our own year, the
communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous, a light,
brilliant and penetrating, continues to shine. The sound of the voice of the
Lord is a continuous melody and a thunderous appeal. For nearly a century and
a half there has been no interruption." (Ensign, May 1977, p78)
Revelation continues in the Church today. We see the guiding hand of the
Lord in the operation of the Church in our day.
- President Ezra Taft Benson: "God's revelations
to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own
revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are
concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is
currently revealing His will for us." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft
WHAT IS CHURCH CORRELATION?
- Church correlation consists of policies that govern the planning,
writing, and implementation of all Church curriculum materials. It also
includes the coordination of all programs and activities—including welfare,
missionary, and family history work—to better accomplish the Church’s
HOW HAS CORRELATION BLESSED THE CHURCH?
- As the Church has continued to grow and expand, the Brethren have been
have always been deeply concerned that the programs of the Church are
effective in pursuing the objective of perfecting the Saints.
- This concern increased as the international Church grew rapidly in the
decades following World War II.
- In those years, each auxiliary organized its own programs and prepared
its own materials. Though I was a youngster at the time, I remember my
mother receiving the Relief Society magazine. There was also the
Instructor magazine written for Sunday School teachers.
- At times, there was duplication of efforts. Other important areas did
not receive sufficient emphasis.
- Though we are all familiar with the changes made by the implementation
of Correlation, the concerns of the Brethren surfaced early in the
century. Below is just a sampling of efforts that occurred prior to 1960.
- In 1907 the Committee on Adjustments recommended consolidating
programs and magazines and stressed the importance of the home.
- In 1912 the Correlation Committee was appointed to reduce duplication
among the auxiliaries.
- In 1928 the "Priesthood-Auxiliary Movement" sought to simplify Church
activities by uniting priesthood and auxiliary meetings.
- In 1960 the First Presidency directed the Priesthood Committee of the
Twelve under Elder Harold B. Lee to conduct a study of all Church programs
in the light of the Church's ultimate objectives.
- The First Presidency gave the Committee the following charge:
"We would therefore commend to you Brethren of
the General Priesthood Committee the beginning of an exhaustive,
prayerful study and consideration of this entire subject, with the
co-operative assistance of the Auxiliaries themselves so that the Church
might reap the maximum harvest from the devotion of the faith,
intelligence, skill and knowledge of our various Auxiliary Organizations
and Priesthood Committees." (quoted by Harold B. Lee in CR,
- Elder Lee stated in his 1963 address that there were guiding keys in
developing the correlation program:
- The organization of the Church needed to work together in
coordinating and achieving its goals.
let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling;
and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet;
for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand? Also the
body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that
the system may be kept perfect." (D&C 84:109-110)
- Elder Lee quoted the following statement from the First
Presidency: "The home is the basis of a
righteous life and no other instrumentality can take its place nor
fulfill its essential functions, the utmost the auxiliaries can do is
to aid the home in its problems, giving special aid and succor where
such is necessary, that in aiding the home the auxiliaries may well
consider thinking of home-life of the people as having three periods,
the first, from birth to twelve years of age or the childhood period;
then the youth period from twelve years up to the early twenties and
then adulthood, from the early twenties on to the end of life."
(CR, Apr 1963)
- Elder Lee announced the results of the study at the October 1961
General Conference: "It is the feeling now of
the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, after reviewing
these studies that there should be presently more coordination and
correlation between the activities and programs of the various
priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations and the educational
system of the Church. They have decided, therefore, that there should be
established an all-Church coordinating council and three coordinating
committees: one for the children, one for the youth, and one for adults.
This council and the three committees will correlate and co-ordinate the
total instructional and activity programs of all auxiliaries and
priesthood quorums which the brethren have now suggested should include
missionary instructions and activities for the entire Church."
(CR, Oct 1961)
- With Elder Lee's announcement in 1961, the Church began a multi-year
process of changing the operation of the Church with the intent of placing
"the priesthood of God where the Lord said it was
to be - as the center and core of the Church and kingdom of God-and to see
that the Latter-day Saint homes also have their place in the divine plan
of saving souls." (Harold by Lee quoted in The Church in the
- Committees were organized at the Church level to coordinate and oversee
the implementation of Correlation.
- Responsibility for developing instructional materials for all age groups
was assigned to a single department.
- 1964 - The Priesthood Executive Committee and the Ward Council were
established at the ward level to coordinate/correlate efforts at the local
- 1964 - Home Teaching was established. Prior to Home Teaching there were
Ward Teachers representing the bishop. The quorums were also expected to
visit with their members. Auxiliaries would also contact the home relative
to their programs. Home teaching was intended to bring all these visits
under priesthood coordination.
- The General Home Teaching Committee said Home Teaching
"emphasizes that every family head is responsible
for the spiritual welfare of his family and that it is the responsibility of
the priesthood, through the home teachers, to make available all of the
resources of the Church to help each member in achieving his spiritual
goals." (LDS Church News, 01/22/94)
- 1965 - Family Home Evening manuals were published.
- 1971 - All magazines for adults, youth, and children, respectively,
merged under the priesthood and the responsibility for producing all
instructional materials was consolidated into single department.
- Thus, the old Improvement Era was replaced by the Ensign for adults and
the New Era for teenage youth. The Children's Friend was replaced by the
Friend. The Relief Society Magazine and the Instructor were eliminated.
- 1980 - Consolidation of ward meeting schedules.
- As a youth, I remember attending Sunday School and Priesthood Meeting on
Sunday morning and then returning to the chapel for Sacrament Meeting in the
evening. Primary, MIA, and Relief Society were all held during the week. While on my mission, I found that these split schedules were often a burden
for the Saints when many were required to travel several miles to the
church. Meeting consolidation was important as it addressed the time
constraints of a modern society and freed up additional time for families.
- The above is not an all inclusive list of changes. Other changes were
made and continue to be made to support the mission of the Church,
particularly in its support of the family. In the 1990s,
"the focus of Church correlation shifted from
maintaining order among Church entities to simplifying and reducing programs
and materials, and to limiting volume, complexity, and cost."
(Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 325)
- The Lord's great work is to "to bring to pass the immortality and
eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). The one eternal organization is the
family. The primary purpose of correlation is to support the family in the
- The 1998 Church Handbook of Instructions states: "The
most important place for gospel teaching and leadership is in the family
and the home (see Mosiah 4:14–15;
D&C 68:25–28). … Quorums,
auxiliaries, programs, and activities in the Church should strengthen and
support the family. They should enhance gospel-centered family activities,
not compete with them." (Book 2: Priesthood and Auxiliary
Leaders , 299).
- HOW HAS CORRELATION ASSISTED AND BLESSED THE FAMILIES OF THE CHURCH?
- Family Home Evening.
- Consolidation of meetings to allow for more family time.
- Inspiring and helpful articles from Church magazines.
- Home teachers who provide a link from the family back to the quorums
and ward organization.
- The coordination of the auxiliaries in working together and in not
- While serving on my mission, I had the opportunity of attending
Priesthood Training sessions at the Tulsa Stake Conference. The visiting
General Authority was President S. Dilworth Young of the Seventy.
President Young gave a wonderful description of correlation in action at
the ward level and how it supports the family. He brought the process to
life in giving a fictitious example of how a ward supports a family.
- Concerns about the family were raised by the Elder's Quorum president
at the Priesthood Executive Committee meeting. This information was
provided by the home teachers.
- Additional information about the family was provided by the Relief
Society president, the Primary president, and the Young Men's president at
the Ward Council meeting.
- The bishop charged each member of the council to prayerfully consider
how the family can be assisted. It would be discussed at the following
- At the following meeting, members provided additional information and
assignments were given to the Elder's Quorum, the Relief Society, the
Primary, and the youth organizations.
- Each organization head then followed up with assignments to home
teachers, visiting teachers, auxiliary instructors, and others who can
assist the family.
- The bishop then follows up with reports in subsequent meetings on the
steps taken to assist the family
- In reality, what happens is a family is supported by the correlative
efforts of the ward in dealing with a variety of possible problems: a
family death, unemployment, a rebellious child, marital issues, a new
baby, etc. This is an amazing structure that supports or should
support every family in the Church.
- WHAT CAN WE DO INDIVIDUALLY AND IN OUR CHURCH CALLINGS TO APPLY THE
PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH CORRELATION?
- HOW IS THE MODERN CORRELATION PROGRAM A RESULT OF CONTINUING
For additional information see the following at LDS.org:
Revelation Extending the Blessings of the Priesthood
In 1978, my wife and I, along with our two small daughters were living
in Roseburg, Oregon. We had moved there from our childhood homes in Utah
after accepting a job offer in southern Oregon. Because of the nature of
my work, I was often at home during the day. On a sunny, June morning I
learned that it had been announced that the priesthood would be extended
to all worthy male members of the Church. My first thoughts were those of
joy and gladness that the blessings of the priesthood would no longer be
denied to any member of the Church. Tears came to my eyes and I knew
in my heart that God still speaks to prophets and that we are the
beneficiary of incredible blessings because of continuing revelation. It
was a day of celebration for Latter-day Saints throughout the world.
- The Encyclopedia of Mormonism provides a brief history on the
restriction of the priesthood: "The reasons for
these restrictions have not been revealed. Church leaders and members
have explained them in different ways over time. Although several blacks
were ordained to the priesthood in the 1830s, there is no evidence that
Joseph Smith authorized new ordinations in the 1840s, and between 1847
and 1852 Church leaders maintained that blacks should be denied the
priesthood because of their lineage. According to the book of Abraham
(now part of the Pearl of Great Price), the descendants of Cain were to
be denied the priesthood of God (Abr. 1:23-26). Some Latter-day Saints
theorized that blacks would be restricted throughout mortality. As early
as 1852, however, Brigham Young said that the 'time will come when they
will have the privilege of all and more'
(Brigham Young Papers, Church Archives, Feb. 5, 1852), and increasingly
in the 1960s, Presidents of the Church taught that denial of entry to
the priesthood was a current commandment of God, but would not prevent
blacks from eventually possessing all eternal blessings.
"Missionaries avoided proselytizing blacks, and General
Authorities decided not to send missionaries to Africa, much of the
Caribbean, or other regions inhabited by large populations of blacks.
Before World War II, only German-speaking missionaries were sent to
Brazil, where they sought out German immigrants. When government war
regulations curtailed proselytizing among Germans, missionary work was
expanded to include Portuguese-speaking Brazilians. Determining
genealogically who was to be granted and who denied the priesthood
became increasingly a sensitive and complex issue." (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism, 126)
- As the Church continued to grow throughout the world, the Brethren
became increasingly concerned about many faithful members of the Church
who were being denied priesthood blessings.
- At a press conference held shortly after Spencer W. Kimball was
ordained president of the Church, he was asked about extending the
priesthood to black members. He responded: "I
am not sure that there will be a change, although there could be. We
are under the dictates of our Heavenly Father, and this is not my
policy or the Church's policy. It is the policy of the Lord . . . and
I know of no change, although we are subject to revelations of the
Lord in case he should ever wish to make a change." (quoted
Church News, 06/04/88)
- Though President Kimball announced that there was no plan to
change this policy, the restriction of withholding the priesthood
weighed heavily on his heart. In a talk given to missionaries in
October 1978, President Kimball said: "I
prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that
was extremely important to many of the children of God. . . . Day
after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in the
upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my
efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what He wanted."
- On June 1, 1978, while meeting with the First Presidency and Quorum
of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple, President Kimball again brought
up the possibility of conferring the priesthood on worthy brethren of
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie recalled, "President
Kimball asked the brethren if any of them desired to express their
feelings and views as to the matter in hand. We all did so, freely and
fluently and at considerable length, each person stating his views and
manifesting the feelings of his heart. There was a marvelous outpouring
of unity, oneness, and agreement in the council." (The Church
in the Twentieth Century, pp390-391)
- President Kimball then lead the Brethren in prayer regarding this
issue. He pleaded with the Lord for an answer and promised the Lord that
if the restriction was to continue he would defend it to the end of his
- Elder McConkie described what happened: "It
was during this prayer that the revelation came. The Spirit of the Lord
rested mightily upon us all; we felt something akin to what happened on
the day of Pentecost and at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. From
the midst of eternity, the voice of God, conveyed by the power of the
Spirit, spoke to his prophet .... And we all heard the same voice,
received the same message, and became personal witnesses that the word
received was the mind and will and voice of the Lord."
- On the morning of June 9, 1978, President Kimball made the
announcement that the priesthood would now be extended to all worthy
male members of the Church. Since that date, the Church has had
marvelous growth in areas of the world impacted by this revelation.
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE PROCESS PRESIDENT KIMBALL WENT THROUGH
BEFORE RECEIVING THIS REVELATION?
- Revelations and answers to prayers do not just come. As Oliver
Cowdery was instruction by the Lord in
Section 9, answers come
after effort on our part.
- Certainly, there must be a need.
- There must be preparation.
For additional information see the following at LDS.org:
New Latter-day Saint Editions of the Scriptures
Since the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, the Standard
Works have undergone changes to make them more accurate and user
- In October 1880, during President Taylor's administration, the
Pearl of Great Price was canonized. A new edition of the Doctrine and
Covenants, incorporating extensive cross-references and explanatory
notes, was also published.
- In 1920 the Book of Mormon was divided into double-column pages,
chapter headings were added, along with chronological data,
revised footnote references, a pronouncing vocabulary, and an index.
- The committee charged with overseeing the updating of the
scriptures also prepared for publication the Doctrine and Covenants in
double-column pages with chapter headings, revised footnote
references, and an index.
- At the same time, the Pearl of Great Price was organized in
conformity with this newly adopted scriptural format. The new edition
was published in 1921. (Studies in Scripture, Vol 2, p20)
Over the years, students of the scriptures wished for a Bible that
was cross-referenced to the other Standard Works. While on my mission in
1971-73, I used the Cambridge edition of the Bible which contained a
separate ready-reference and other notes supplied by the Church.
These were useful, but the scriptures themselves did not have references
to the contents of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl
of Great Price. As I attempted to study specific doctrines, it would
have been advantageous to have cross-references from the Bible. I was
- In 1976, approval was given to add to the Pearl of Great Price
Joseph Smith's revelation of the celestial kingdom and Joseph F.
Smith's revelation regarding redemption of the the dead. These
revelations were subsequently taken from the Pearl of Great Price and
added to the Doctrine and Covenants as Sections 137 and 138.
HOW ARE THESE NEW EDITIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES A MANIFESTATION OF
- In 1972, under the direction of President Harold B. Lee,
a committee was established and charged with preparing Bible study aids that
would assist members of the Church in increasing their scriptural
knowledge and improving their gospel scholarship. This committee
consisted of members of the Twelve. Others were called to assist and
sub-committees were formed. The end result was the first LDS edition
of the Bible published in 1979. This new edition of the King James
Version of the Bible contained:
- New explanatory chapter headings.
- An extensive 598-page topical guide/subject-matter index with 3495
- Over 600 excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
- Cross-references to all the standard works.
- A 195-page Bible dictionary with 1285 entries especially written
for Latter-day Saint use.
- A simplified footnote system.
- 24 easy-to-read maps with gazetteer.
- As work on the Bible progressed, it became apparent that new
editions of the other Standard Works were needed to compliment the new
edition of the Bible. This update work was published in 1981 and
- Improved chapter headings and the footnote and cross-referencing
systems like those developed for the Bible.
- Several typographical errors and omissions in the latter-day
scriptures were corrected based on the original texts.
- New introductory material for each of the books of the triple
- Two new sections having to do with salvation for the dead, as
- Maps for the Doctrine and Covenants.
- President Wilford Woodruff's views concerning the Manifesto.
- A statement about the 1978 priesthood revelation.
These editions of the scriptures have now been available for several
- Elder Boyd K. Packer spoke of these new editions of the Standard
Works in his October 2005 General Conference address:
"I cannot possibly describe in detail or even
list all that has been put in place by the First Presidency and the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in recent years. In them you will see
continuing revelation, open to the Church and to each individual
- Elder Packer went on to describe the effort: "To
cross-reference more than 70,000 verses of scripture and provide
footnotes and helps was known to be enormously difficult, perhaps
even impossible. But it was begun. It took 12 years and the help of
over 600 people to complete. Some were experts in Greek, Latin, and
Hebrew or had a knowledge of ancient scriptures. But most were
ordinary, faithful members of the Church.
"The spirit of inspiration brooded over the work.
"The project would have been impossible without the
"A remarkable system was designed to organize tens of
thousands of footnotes to open the scriptures to every ploughboy and
- He continued: "With the foundation
doctrines in place as solid as the granite in the Salt Lake Temple
and open to everyone, more could witness the constant flow of
revelation to the Church." (CR, Oct 2005)
- President Spencer W. Kimball spoke of the new edition of the Bible
at the time of its publication: "At a time
when the Church of the Jesus Christ is rapidly extending its message
of salvation to all the world, there is a greater need for these new
edition of the scriptures than ever before because the teachings
contained within them are fundamental to all the activities of the
Church. These scriptures are now ready for use as we stand at the
threshold of the greatest worldwide expansion of the kingdom of God in
the history of mankind." (CR, Apr 1979)
Note: In 2013 an updated/enhanced version of the previous
revision was released by the Church.
- HOW ARE YOU DOING AT UTILIZING THE SCRIPTURES AND THESE ADDITIONAL
TOOLS AS CONTAINED IN THESE MARVELOUS VOLUMES?
Quorums of the Seventy
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a dynamic organization.
The principles and doctrines are eternal, but the organization has changed to
meet the needs of a growing, worldwide Church. Once again, we see the
manifestation of continuing revelation addressing the changing needs of the
At the 1975 October General Conference, President Kimball announced the
expansion of the First Quorum of the Seventy: "The
First Quorum of the Seventy will be gradually organized, eventually with
seventy members, the presidency of which will be made up of the seven members.
Three Brethren this day will be added to the First Quorum of the Seventy."
(CR, Oct 1975)
- These changes have been evident with the organization of additional
Quorums of Seventy.
- "The Seventy are to act in the name of the
Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in
building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all
nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews" (D&C
- Given this charge from the Lord, it was necessary for the Quorums of
Seventy to change and grow to support the continuing growth of the Kingdom
throughout the world.
President Monson announced in April 1989: "With
the continued rapid growth of the Church, the First Presidency and Quorum of
the Twelve have determined that the time has come to take additional steps to
provide for the expansion and regulation of the Church. We announce,
therefore, the organization of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, to become
- In 1941, five Assistants to the Twelve were called to assist the Twelve
in their heavy workload. This group grew to 21 by 1976. President Kimball
announced at the 1976 October Conference: "Since
the functions and responsibilities of the Assistants to the Twelve and the
Seventy are similar, and since the accelerated, worldwide growth of the
Church requires a consolidation of its administrative functions at the
general level, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve . . . have
felt inspired to call all of the Assistants to the Twelve into the First
Quorum of the Seventy, to call four new members into that quorum, and to
restructure the First Council of the Seventy."
- President Kimball continued: "With this move,
the three governing quorums of the Church defined by the revelations—the
First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the First Quorum of
the Seventy—have been set in their places as revealed by the Lord. This will
make it possible to handle efficiently the present heavy workload and to
prepare for the increasing expansion and acceleration of the work,
anticipating the day when the Lord will return to take direct charge of His
church and kingdom." (CR, Oct 1976)
- President Kimball and the Brethren thus restructured the organization of
the Church to meet the current and future needs of a growing church.
"The initial membership of the Second Quorum of the
Seventy will be those General Authorities presently serving under a five-year
call. Additional Brethren will be added to the Second Quorum of the Seventy
from time to time and will serve as Seventies and as General Authorities, also
under a five-year call." (CR, Apr 1989)
In April 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the calling of new
local officers, called Area Authorities, who would serve for a period of about
- In 1997, President Hinckley announced that Area Authorities would be
ordained Seventies and would form the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of
the Seventy. Unlike Seventies who serve as General Authorities, Area
Authority Seventies serve in the areas in which they live and continue in
their present employment.
Concerning the creation of additional Quorums of the
Seventy, President Hinckley said: "With these respective quorums in place, we
have established a pattern under which the Church may grow to any size with an
organization of Area Presidencies and Area Authority Seventies, chosen and
working across the world according to need. Now, the Lord is watching over His
kingdom. He is inspiring its leadership to care for its ever growing membership."
(CR, Apr. 1997)
As of 2017, eight Quorums of Seventy have been organized.
This evolving organization of Quorums of Seventy has been
essential in guiding the Church that has exploded in growth over the past fifty
years and the organization is in place to continue to serve the future needs of
this dynamic church, the Lord's kingdom on earth. As President Kimball stated
back in 1976: "This will make it possible to handle
efficiently the present heavy workload and to prepare for the increasing
expansion and acceleration of the work, anticipating the day when the Lord will
return to take direct charge of His church and kingdom."
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The inspired changes noted throughout this lesson present
compelling evidence of continuing revelation to the Lord's modern prophets.
Correlation was begun under the administration of President David O. McKay. The
work leading up to the new LDS edition of the scriptures began under the
direction of President Harold B. Lee and continued during the administration of
President Spencer W. Kimball. The revelation extending the blessings of the
priesthood came to Spencer W. Kimball. And the evolving structure of the Church,
as noted in this lesson, has continued.
I often contemplate the amazing structure of this Church.
What organization in the world has had such a continuing list of inspired
leaders as we have enjoyed from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson? This is not
just chance at work. This is the Lord's work and he calls men as prophets who
listen to his will and execute his instructions. What a testimony of this
incredible work we see in the continuing revelation to and operation of the
Lord's inspired prophets!
Record your thoughts on continuing revelation. How does it bless your life
and the lives of your family members?
Resources Used In This Lesson
2001-2002 Church Almanac.
BYU Studies, vol 22, Number 3.
Conference Reports (CR).
Encyclopedia of Mormonism edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.
LDS Church News.
Studies in Scripture, vol 2, edited by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson.
The Church in the Twentieth Century by Richard O. Cowan.
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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