Special Feature | BYU Studies

Special Feature

The Doctrine and Covenants by Themes
January 10, 2017
Special Feature
The Doctrine and Covenants by Themes: The Text of the Doctrine and Covenants Arranged Topically
John W. Welch

The Doctrine and Covenants was meant to be read. It should be read often. 

Yet the Doctrine and Covenants is not easy for most people to get through. This is largely because most of its revelations are printed in a roughly chronological order, like a journal or notebook. Yet the order in which Joseph Smith received these revelations is not so important. Most important is what these passages say.

So here is a reader’s edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. All of the revelations have been organized by theme and the verse form has been changed to paragraphs. This allows the reader to read with focused attention—to read thematically.

Though organized differently, every word in the Doctrine and Covenants is still here. Nothing has been left out. Only the subheadings have been added, and minor changes in punctuation and capitalization have been made. This book in no way replaces the official edition of the scriptures, but it may help the reader to understand what these revelations are mainly about.

The reader should not think, of course, that each verse is only about one thing. Some passages contain many ideas. But out of each sentence or paragraph or section in the Doctrine and Covenants it has usually been possible to get a clear idea of the central meaning of each passage.

As we reread the Doctrine and Covenants from this thematic perspective, we were surprised to find how readable this book really can be. It is concise. It has much to say about the themes addressed. It is impressive. Our respect for the Doctrine and Covenants has grown by seeing it in this way. We hope others—especially our youth—will benefit from it too.