With the new course of study this year for Sunday School, we thought we would recommend some helpful resources (all new books).  We’ve listed traditional-style commentaries, some reference works geared specifically to the D&C as well as general use and some important church history books to provide some context.  Keep your eyes peeled for a similar list of some important used/out of print titles on the D&C coming in the next couple days. For orders to be shipped, we will offer free shipping for orders (of these titles) over $100.  For in-store orders, we will offer a 10% discount.


Making Sense of the Doctrine & Covenants: A Guided Tour Through the Modern Revelations by Steven C. Harper. Deseret Book, 2008. Hardback. $35.95.  One of the most recent published, Harper’s commentary makes use of research done by the Joseph Smith Papers team (Harper is a volume editor).  The discussion of each section (anywhere from one to ten pages) discusses Origin, Content and Outcomes.

The Essential Doctrine and Covenants Companion: Key Insights to your Gospel Study by Mary Jane Woodger. Covenant, 2012. Hardback. $34.99.  This commentary, accompanied by full-color illustrations and photographs, briefly covers each section in a two-page spread. Each section features a Major Concept, Historical Background, Main Themes, Prominent People, Key Insights and Interesting Facts.

Revelations of the Restoration by Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Ostler. Deseret Book, 2000. Hardback. $75.00.  Now out of print, this large one volume commentary also covers the Joseph Smith Translation, Joseph Smith’s history, the Lectures on Faith, the Book of Abraham, the Wentworth Letter, and the King Follett Discourse.

Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine & Covenants (2 vols.) by Roy W. Doxey. Leatherwood Press, 2005. Paperback. Reg. $40, SALE $14.99.  Doxey’s original four volume set has been reissued in a two volume set.  Doxey has compiled statements from General Authorities to provide commentary on the sections in the D&C.

A Commentary on the Doctrine & Covenants (4 vols.) by Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett. Deseret Book, 2000-05.  Hardback. $69.99.  The most extensive commentary available, Robinson and Garrett cover the D&C verse by verse.

Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine & Covenants, volumes 1 & 2 by Daniel H. Ludlow.  Deseret Book, 1996. Paperback. $24.95. This classic study (much of it was incorporated into the D&C Institute manual), originally two volumes, in one volume.  Each section includes background and statements from general authorities. Appendices define important terms and people.

Looking at the Doctrine & Covenants Again for the Very First Time by James W. McConkie. Temple Hill Books, 2009.  Paperback. $29.99/Hardback. $39.99.  This commentary began life as a personal study program for the McConkie children.  The compilation organizes the revelations around the places where they were received providing helpful context.  Copies arriving soon.

Doctrine and Covenants Commentary (rev. ed.) by Hyrum Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl. Deseret, 1978. Hardcover. As new. $25.00. This classic commentary written by Sjodahl (former Baptist minister) and Smith (apostle and president of the European minister) features the full text of the D&C as well as extensive commentary.

Doctrine & Covenants Reference

Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants: and Other Modern Scriptures by Kurt Elieson.  CreateSpace, 2011. Paperback. $25.00.  Drawing on the Joseph Smith Papers findings and other contemporary accounts (journals, histories, newspapers), Elieson provides needed context for the revelations (also JST, Book of Moses and Book of Abraham).

Doctrine and Covenants Reference Companion ed. by Dennis L. Largey and Larry E. Dahl. Deseret Book, 2012. Hardback. $59.99.  A huge encyclopedia in alphabetic format covering places, topics and places in the D&C.  The short entries (most accompanied by brief bibliographies) are penned largely by personnel in the S&I as well as the Church History Department.

How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants by Richard E. Turley, Jr. and William W. Slaughter. Deseret Book, 2012. Hardback. $34.99.  Accompanied by full color photos of manuscripts, books, places and people, the text discusses all significant editions of the Doctrine and Covenants as well as the nature of revelation.

Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia (rev. ed.) by Hoyt W. Brewster Jr. Deseret Book, 2012. Paperback. $29.99.  This revised edition adds nearly 100 entries and revises another 200.  Arranged alphabetically, this encyclopedia covers places, people mentioned and topics from the D&C.

The Doctrine and Covenants: Revelations in Context (37th Sperry Symposium) ed. by Andrew H. Hedges, J. Spencer Fluhman and Alonzo Gaskill.  RSC, 2008. Hardback. $24.95. This collection of essays deals with topics such as findings by the Joseph Smith Papers team, analysis of Sec 42 and the Law of Consecration.

You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants (41st Sperry Symposium) ed. by Scott Esplin, Richard Cowan and Rachel Cope. RSC, 2012. Hardback. $27.99.  Interesting topics covered here include the role of the Lord’s Supper in early Mormonism, the route of Joseph F. Smith’s vision to canonization and the history/interpretation of the Word of Wisdom.

General Reference

Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History ed. by Brandon S. Plewe. BYU Press, 2012. Oversize hardback. $39.99.  A beautiful full-color atlas covering virtually every aspect of Mormon history.  Each entry consists of maps, charts and timelines accompanied by a brief summary by respected historians.  Bibliographies at the end direct the reader to helpful additional sources.

Kirtland Council Minute Book ed. by Fred Collier and William Harwell. Collier’s Publishing Co., 2002. Hardback. $35.00.  The first such minute book, covering from 1832 to 1837, gives context to important events such as the vision (D&C 76), calling of the first apostles, dedication of the Kirtland Temple and the Kirtland Safety Society.

Far West Record: Minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1844 ed. by Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook. Deseret Book, 1983. Paperback. $19.95.  The second minute book used by scribes, the Far West Record covers events during the entirety of Joseph Smith’s life, particularly those occurring in Missouri.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith ed. by Joseph Fielding Smith. Deseret Book, 1989. Paperback. $16.95.  This classic collection of Joseph Smith’s teachings provides helpful doctrinal context to the revelations included in the D&C.

Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844 ed. by John W. Welch.  BYU Studies, 2011. Paperback. $19.99.  A fantastic documentary collection includes hundreds of contemporary sources for the First Vision, restoration of priesthood, translation of the Book of Mormon and the visionary days of the Kirtland Temple dedication.

Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 1 (3rd ed.)/vol. 2 comp. by Fred C. Collier. Collier’s Publishing Co., 2011/1993. Hardback. $45.00/$35.00.  These compilations (more properly titled “uncanonized revelations”) cover many revelations given to individuals as well as presidents of the church. Vol. 1 spans 1829 to 1889 while vol. 2 does not go beyond 1839.

Period Histories


The Story of the Latter-day Saints (2nd ed.) by James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard. Deseret Book, 1992. Hardback. $30.00.  Signed by Leonard. Now out of print, this is still the best one volume history of the Church.


Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard L. Bushman. University of Illinois, 1984. Paperback. $18.95. Bushman’s award-winning study (originally slated for the scrapped 16 volume sesquicentennial history) traces the development of Mormonism through the organization of the church in April 1830.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision: A Guide to the Historical Accounts by Steven C. Harper. Deseret Book, 2012. Hardback. $21.99. Written from a faithful standpoint, Harper discusses the various accounts of the First Vision, discusses the criticisms leveled against it and looks at the way Joseph Smith communicated and remembered the event.


Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations by Mark L. Staker. Greg Kofford Books, 2009. Hardback. $34.99“I am not aware of a more deeply researched and richly contextualized study of any period of Mormon church history than Mark Staker’s study of Mormons in Ohio… All the Ohio revelations and even the First Vision are made to pulse with new meaning. This book sets a new standard of in-depth research in Latter-day Saint history.”—Richard Bushman

The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830-1838 by Milton V. Backman. Deseret Book, 2002. $19.95. Originally part of the planned 16 volume sesquicentennial set, Backman’s comprehensive history of the Ohio period sheds light on a crucial formative period in which many of the revelations in the D&C were given.

The Savior in Kirtland: Personal Accounts of Divine Manifestations by Karl Ricks Anderson. Deseret Book, 2012. Paperback. $19.99.  Longtime Kirtland scholar Anderson brings to light events and divine manifestations during the early years of the Restoration. He notes that Jesus appeared or spoke to 23 different leaders during the Kirtland years.


Fire and Sword: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri, 1836-39 by Leland Gentry and Todd M. Compton. Greg Kofford Books, 2011. $36.95.  An update of Leland Gentry’s valuable dissertation, Fire and Sword benefits from Compton’s fresh research into the nature of conflicts throughout the Missouri years.


Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise by Glen M. Leonard. Deseret Book, 2002. Hardback. $39.95.  Signed. Leonard took over this book from T. Edgar Lyon who had been commissioned to write it as part of the defunct 16 volume history of the church. It stands as the most extensive and most recent history of this important but divisive period.

The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes ed. by John S. Dinger. Signature Books, 2011. Hardback. $49.95.  While the high council minutes have been published (albeit in truncated form), the city council have never been.  These two fascinating sources capture the swirling forces bubbling just below the surface leading up to Joseph Smith’s death.

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