Doctrine and Covenants

Week 12: The law of the Lord and spiritual gifts

D&C 46, 49–50, 52–56

7 January 2021


Additional reading and links

  • Jonathan A. Stapley and Kristine Wright, “Female Ritual Healing in Mormonism,” Journal of Mormon History 37, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 1–85. Stapley and Wright examine the history of anointing and laying on of hands of the sick by early Latter-day Saint women.

On the sanctity of animal life:

  • On 26 May 1834, Joseph Smith taught about the sanctity of animal life during the Zion’s Camp march: “[After] we crossed the Embarros River…in pitching my tent we found three Massasaugers or Prairie Rattle Snakes which the brethren were about to kill, but I said [‘]let them alone, don’t hurt them, how will the serpent ever lose its venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon them[;] men must become harmless before the brute creation, and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child play with the serpent with safety.[’] … I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or any animal of any kind, during our journey unless it— were necessary to preserve ourselves from hunger.“ (Manuscript History, vol. A‑1, 8 [addenda].)

  • President Joseph F. Smith, “The Destruction of Animal Life,” Juvenile Instructor 48, no. 5 (May 1913): 308–09. President Smith warned the Saints against being “athirst for the shedding of animal blood” simply for sport or pleasure.

  • President Spencer W. Kimball repeated this counsel in his October 1978 General Conference address, “Fundamental Principles To Ponder And Live.” He expressed his view that “it is not only wicked to destroy [innocent birds and wildlife], it is a shame.”