Last night in class we discussed Section 20 in the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 20 is a “blueprint” for what was to come in Section 21, the section in which the actual restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints occurs.
Section 20 is simply the “priesthood handbook” or “constitution” of the church, so to speak.
Section 20 is an inspired document, different from the first person voice of the Lord that we see in other sections. It is a compilation of principles gathered from the Book of Mormon and the other standard works, on the actual way the church was to function. The Lord explained to Oliver Cowdery in Section 18 of the Doctrine and Covenants exactly how the information for this document was to be gathered.
D&C 18: 1 Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:
2 Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.
3 And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;
4 For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.
5 Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
Oliver was told that by searching the scriptures he would find the answers to how the church was to be organized.
A concise outline of what is contained in Section 20 is helpful in understanding the “by laws” or commandments the Lord has given his servants for furthering His work here upon the earth.
1-4 The Official Organization of the Church
5-12 Book of Mormon explained (how, when, what, why)
13-16 Explanation of Witnesses (Law of witnesses fulfilled)
17-28 Teaching Pattern Set
- 17 Character of God
- 18 Creation
- 19-20 The Fall
- 21-24 The Atonement (Law of the Gospel: He lived, He died, He lives again)
- 25-27 Doctrine of Christ explained ( Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost)
29-36 Justification and Sanctification explained- Grace
- 37 Qualifications for Baptism
- 38-45 Duties of Elder
- 46-57 Duties of Priest
- 58-59 Duties of Deacon
- 60 Ordinations
- 61-64 Conferences
- 65-67 Common Consent
- 68-71 Duties of the Members
- 72-74 Manner of Baptism
- 75-79 Manner of Sacrament
81-84 Record Keeping
By understanding this “blueprint” of the Church, given in Section 20, you can find the answer to almost any question pertaining to the organizational foundation of the Church.
So remember, when you are in class and somebody asks you where to find "it", you are always safe to answer, "SECTION 20"!