Come Follow Me 2021 – Doctrine and Covenants and Church History
The best reference for this year’s Come Follow Me curriculum is the book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. As the Lord said,
“Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:37)
Next to the scriptures, some of the best resources for study this year are:
1. The Joseph Smith Papers (www.josephsmithpapers.org) and
2. The Church History Library (https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/)
In addition, there are numerous resources on the Internet, including videos, podcasts, and web pages, as well as several books by various authors. These materials reflect a wide variety of insights and perspectives that can be helpful, but we should not simply follow any particular scholars, speakers or authors. Ultimately it is the responsibility of each of us to do our own study and pondering.
Studying involves both our hearts and our minds. “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118)
As we study, we should remember what the Lord told Oliver Cowdery: “you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8)
Here are some practice exercises.
1. Joseph Smith Papers. What kind of resources are available on the Joseph Smith Papers site and the Church History Library site?
original documents, maps, photos, commentary, compilations, people, places, timelines, etc.
2. Book of Mormon. What is the difference between the Original Manuscript and the Printer’s Manuscript? Where can I see examples of each?
The Original Manuscript is the one written by scribes as Joseph dictated the translation. The main scribe was Oliver Cowdery. Other scribes include Emma Smith, Martin Harris, Christian Whitmer, and John Whitmer. Joseph Smith put the Original Manuscript in a time capsule in Nauvoo. When it was removed, most of it had been destroyed by water and mold. About 28% of the manuscript still exists.
You can see a page from the Original Manuscript here: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-mormon-manuscript-excerpt-circa-june-1829-1-nephi-22b-318a/1
The Printer's Manuscript was a copy of the Original Manuscript made by Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and Hyrum Smith. The printer set the type mainly from the Printer's Manuscript, but he also used the Original Manuscript in some places.
You can see the Printer's Manuscript here:
The entire Printer's Manuscript has been published in a two-volume book:
3. Joseph Smith’s History. When did Joseph Smith write his first account of Church history in his own handwriting? Where can I read this account?Joseph wrote his first account of Church history in the summer of 1832. You can read it here:
4. First detailed church history. When was the first detailed account of Church history published? Who wrote it? Where can I read this history?
Oliver Cowdery, with the assistance of Joseph Smith, wrote a series of eight essays about Church history. They were published as letters in the Messenger and Advocate in 1834-1835 in Kirtland, Ohio. Part of the first essay is included in the Pearl of Great Price at the very end of Joseph Smith-History, just before the Articles of Faith.
Joseph Smith had his scribes copy these essays into his own history, called History 1834-1836.
The part extracted for the Pearl of Great Price starts at the bottom of the page here:
Other interesting sections:
The first visit of Moroni:
The Hill Cumorah: