Commentary on Doctrine & Covenants 69

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Find helpful commentary on the verses below to better understand the message of this revelation.

Verses 1-5

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)


John Whitmer, one of the eight witnesses of the Book of Mormon, had been called by revelation as Church Historian a few months earlier (D&C 47). While John initially doubted his ability to fill the role, he made an invaluable contribution to the history of the Church. John began writing a history at this time, but his most esteemed contributions came in the collection of documents he prepared. Beginning with his call in March, 1831, the documentary record of the Church, including minutes, letters, and other items, grew in size and in depth. Most of the revelations being transported to Missouri had been recorded in John Whitmer’s handwriting, and nearly all of the earliest copies of the revelations come from copies John made.


The Lord makes an important addition here to the historical work of the Church by adding that, in addition to the work of the Church Historian, the “servants who are abroad in the earth” should also send accounts of their stewardships (D&C 69:5). The historical enterprise of the Church includes everyone who participates in this great work. The history of a small organization, branch, or ward might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but each history is a valuable part of the larger story of the Restoration.


(Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 6-8

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)


The Lord here affirms once again that the land of Zion will eventually become the geographical center of the Church. This thread is carefully woven throughout the Doctrine and Covenants. In commanding that the revelations be printed in Missouri, the Lord is emphasizing the importance of Zion and its development for the work of the Church in the latter days.


Although the Lord accepts Zion as the center place, He also commands John Whitmer to travel from “place to place, and from church to church” to record and preserve the history of the Church (D&C 69:7). The history of the Church must not include only the stories of those who are at its headquarters. The Saints who live in smaller units and more scattered places need to have their experiences and stories told as well. In John Whitmer’s day, this included the different branches of the Church. In our day, it is important to remember that the story of the Church has not only unfolded in Fayette, Kirtland, and Nauvoo, but is still unfolding around the world. The history of the Church in places like Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Shanghai, China; Tarawa, Kiribati; and Bengaluru, India, are just as important to our story as the experiences of these early Saints. Figuratively speaking, it is always 1830 in the Church somewhere, and future histories must include these new stories of the spread of the gospel.


See “Historical Introduction,” Revelation, 11 November 1831–A [D&C 69]


(Doctrine and Covenants Minute)