One of my difficulties with reading through the D&C has increasingly been a sense that I am only getting part of the story. The section headings are quite short and I know there is more to it than that.
But where to go to get more perspective?
I want to share with you two sources that I’m using recently. None of them are official sites, but they have their uses.
Gospeldoctrine.com has a section-by-section commentary on the all of the D&C, and it includes historical background quoted from a variety of sources, including church scholars and the published History of the Church. Sometimes it has extended descriptions of particular individuals mentioned in the D&C that are quoted from a Who’s Who book about church history. Then it includes commentary from prophets and apostles on various parts of the sections. I feel like it is useful because it pulls together so much from a number of different sources.
The other source I found is the History of the Church as posted online by the BYU Studies website. In the edition of the D&C published before 2013, you’d often see at the end of the section headings something that looked like “HC1:346.” This was a reference to this History of the Church. I always wondered where one could find these volumes and read them, so I was excited to stumble upon them at the BYU studies website. There are seven volumes to read through.
When I started reading, I was interested to see that they began with the familiar Joseph Smith History that is in our Pearl of Great Price. Then it continued onward from there, with revelations from the D&C included more or less in the order received and neat little dollops of background church history in between.
One of the reasons why I really like reading the History of the Church is because it gives me a better sense of how the revelations were given to address a problem or question faced by the prophet Joseph Smith or other members. It also helps me see how the Lord really would give intelligence liberally without upbraiding to those who lacked wisdom and asked of God.