Last fall during the Women’s Session of General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson invited Latter-day Saints to closely read a revelation Joseph Smith received in July 1830. Now canonized as Section 25 of the Doctrine & Covenants, the scripture instructed Emma Smith to spend her time “writing and learning much” so she could “expound scriptures” and “exhort the church” (see verses 7–8). In August 1830—one hundred and ninety years ago this month—Emma was formally confirmed in her calling and proceeded to create the Church’s first hymn book.
As we approach another Women’s Session in October it’s a good time to revisit section 25. This time you can do so in the company of scholars from the Latter-day Saint Theology Seminar, who focused on it during their most recent gathering. Over the next several weeks we’ll be publishing their thoughts here, beginning Monday with Joseph M. Spencer.
PART 1 | Joseph Spencer on reading the Doctrine and Covenants
PART 2 | Timothy Farrant on being a non-theologian theologian
PART 3 | Jennifer Reeder on being a historian and theologian
PART 4 | Katherine Payne on being humble with the documentary record
PART 5 | Robin Scott Jensen on thinking through theology while doing history
PART 6 | Hannah CJ McLaughlan on musicology and theology
PART 7 | Rosalynde Welch wraps up the series