"That They Might Come to Understanding” : Revelation as Process
You Shall Have My Word : Exploring the Text of the Doctrine & Covenants
Salt Lake City, UT ; Provo, UT
Deseret Book ; Religious Studies Center, BYU
In November 1831, as Joseph was preparing to publish his revelation texts, he sought and received a preface for them. In a revelatory event, he dictated the text that is now Doctrine and Covenants section 1. It sets forth the Lord's reason for revealing himself in process to Joseph as he did. "These commandments are of me," the Lord said, speaking of the revelation texts, "and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding" (D&C 1:24).
This passage is key in appreciating revelation as a process of communication between a divine being and mortal ones, a process that is not complete once the revelation text has been written or published or read, but rather once it has been internalized and acted upon. Revelation, in this sense, is best understood as a process that leads to understanding rather than an event in which knowledge is fully disclosed in an instant. [From the text]