This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.
This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- Received: in Wayne County, New York about December 1830
- Prior section in chronological order: D&C 36
- Next section in chronological order: D&C 37
In early December 1830 Sidney Rigdon traveled from Ohio to meet Joseph Smith in New York.(CITE) On probably December 7 Joseph received D&C 35:20, which instructed Sidney to serve as Joseph's scribe. In December Sidney was the scribe for Moses 7, a portion of the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 5. Sidney was a knowledgeable Bible scholar who frequently raised questions that prompted revelations, and it seems likely that he would have begun raising questions about difficult Bible verses once he began assisting on the Joseph Smith Translation. In D&C 37, still in December 1830, the Lord instructed Joseph and Sidney to stop working on the Joseph Smith Translation until after they had moved to Ohio. D&C 38,(CITE) D&C 39,(CITE) and D&C 40(CITE) were then received in January 1831 in New York. About the end of January 1831 Joseph(CITE) and Sidney(CITE) each arrived separately in Ohio.
It thus seems likely that D&C 74 was prompted by a question from Sidney Rigdon in about December 1830 while he assisted Joseph Smith on the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, about the same time that Moses 7 was received. The current numbering of D&C 74, based on Joseph Smith's recollection several years later as recorded in the Manuscript History of the Church, instead places D&C 74 near other revelations such as D&C 76 and D&C 77 that were received while Joseph worked on the translation of the New Testament, or during March 1831 - July 1832.
For a brief overview of D&C 74 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 6 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 7.
This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- D&C 74: An explanation. D&C 74 is identified in Revelation Book 1 not as a "revelation," but as an "explanation." D&C 77 is likewise identified in this way.
- D&C 74: Children of believers. D&C 74 explains that the children of a believer should not be raised in the false traditions of a non-believing spouse.
Complete outline and page map
This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
Prompts for life application
This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
Prompts for further study
This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- D&C 74:1. Do the words "unbeliever" and "unbelieving" refer only to Jews who still insist on practicing the law of Moses, or to any non-Christian person in these verses? Paul, it seems, was specifically addressing the issue of circumcision in marriages with a Jew and a Christian, but can his statement on unbelieving spouses being sanctified by their believing counterparts be interpreted to mean any marriage involving a believer and unbeliever? What is to be made of the word sanctified? What was Paul's understanding of the term, what is the underlying Greek text here, is Paul making any broad theological claims about spouses saving spouses, or is he simply helping the early church to understand that it is through belief in Christ that one is holy, and not the law?
- D&C 74:7. In verse 7, "and this is what the scriptures mean," are the scriptures referred to here the one quoted in verse 1? If that is the case, why does it not say "and this is what the scripture means," because only a single verse is being quoted. Or are the scriptures here referring to the section Joseph was translating at the time of the revelation, hence the ones on his mind at the time, or does it refer to scriptures generally? In other words, is verse 7 summing up Paul's main point in the passage as saying little children are holy, or is it simply stating that little children are holy through Christ, and affirming that is what the scriptures teach?
This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- The oldest surviving copy of D&C 74 is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1 in either early January or early February 1831.
- D&C 74 was first published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants.
- The text of D&C 74 in significant editions of the Doctrine & Covenants can be found at:
- There are no significant differences in the text of D&C 74 between the oldest surviving copy in Revelation Book 1 and the current 1981 edition. There are only three minor grammatical differences (verse 2: "which believed" to "who believed"; verse 4: deleting "and" before "gave heed"; verse 7: "these scriptures" to "the scriptures").
Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 74.
- D&C 74 is one of several sections that explain or discuss parts of the Bible, along with D&C 76, D&C 77, D&C 86, D&C 91, D&C 113.
Doctrinal references cited on this page.
Historical references cited on this page.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.
- Explanation of Scripture, c. December 1830 (D&C 74). In Revelation Book 1, p. 60. The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Transcription of Explanation of Scripture, c. December 1830 (D&C 74). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Commandment, December 7, 1830 (D&C 35). In Revelation Book 1, p. 46. The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Jackson, Kent P. The Book of Moses and the Joseph Smith Translation Manuscripts, p. 3-6. Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 2005. (ISBN 0842525890).
- (1) Whitmer, David. An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 35. n.p. Richmond, Missouri, 1887. (2) Van Wagoner, Richard. Sidney Rigdon, A Portrait of Religious Excess, p. 73. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994. (ISBN 156085197X). BX 8695.R56V36.1993.
- (1) Revelation, 30 December 1830. In Revelation Book 1, p. 49. The Joseph Smith Papers. (2) Smith, Joseph. Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 87-88. The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Smith, Joseph. Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 178-179. The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Answers to Questions, circa March 1832 (D&C 77). In Revelation Book 1, p. 141. The Joseph Smith Papers.