Adding sections to the Doctrine and Covenants

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Adding sections to the Doctrine and Covenants

Why haven't more sections been added to the Doctrine and Covenants?

There are two possible reasons. First, members have not fully lived up to the revelations already printed. This was addressed by Brigham Young and Joseph F. Smith. In 1852, Brigham Young taught:

It has been observed that the people want revelation. This is revelation; and were it written, it would then be written revelation, as truly as the revelations which are contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I could give you revelation about going to California, for I know the mind of the Lord upon that matter. I could give you revelation upon the subject of paying your Tithing and building a temple to the name of the Lord; for the light is in me. I could put these revelations as straight to the line of truth in writing as any revelation you ever read. I could write the mind of the Lord, and you could put it in your pockets. But before we desire more written revelation, let us fulfil the revelations that are already written, and which we have scarcely begun to fulfil.[1]

In a letter to his sister Edith, President Joseph F. Smith explained,

It has not seemed necessary for the Lord to require me to write any specific Revelation. The many we already have written are far too little read and understood. My plain duty has been to preach and teach observance and obedience to those we have, and it is revealed to me beyond a doubt that when we understand and obey them as we should, more will be given as the church and the world may need, and the Lord in his wisdom may see fit to give.[2]

Second, the revelations are now received in council meetings. Richard Bushman noted, "After the organization of the [Quorum of the] Twelve Apostles, the frequency of canoncial revelations dropped precipitously. The commandments to particular people, included among the revelations in the early years, were omitted from later compilations. Instead, Joseph's history was filled with the minutes of the Twelve Apostles' meetings, as if they had become the source of inspiration."[3]


  1. Brigham Young, "The Lord at the Head of His Kingdom—Self-Discipline—Necessity of Cultivating a Knowledge of Science, and Particularly of Theology, Etc," Journal of Discourses 6:319.
  2. Joseph F. Smith, letter to Edith E. Smith, undated, Church History Library (MS 33796).
  3. Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Alfred Knopf, 2005), 257.