Editor’s note: Mormon Times is highlighting several new books on the Doctrine and Covenants, which is the focus of the Sunday School curriculum for 2013.
"DOCTRINE AND COVENANT ENCYCLOPEDIA," revised edition, by Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Deseret Book, $21.99, 670 pages (f)
Hoyt W. Brewster Jr.'s "Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia" is an invaluable resource for the study of the Doctrine and Covenants. Its structure is such that it is a handy reference to have while studying. If there is a name, concept, place, phrase or word that raises a question in the reader's mind, then the alphabetized entries enable quick reference and understanding.
The encyclopedia is structured in a similar way to Bruce R. McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine" and provides what can only be termed a very user friendly interface.
The entries vary in length depending on the seeming importance within the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there are some topics that are perhaps not as detailed as a reader might like. What is pleasing is that many topics have been updated since the original edition. For example, Seventy has been expanded to incorporate the changes in the calling of Area Seventies since the original edition.
However, there are areas that would have benefitted from development in light of greater emphasis today — for example, councils. This may be outside of the remit of the encyclopedia as its emphasis is a result of today's understandings being developments after the original revelations. However if the book had pointed towards understanding and practice today, it might help the reader springboard to further study.
The entries are very detailed for the most part and use references that add to the reader's understanding. It really is a very helpful resource to understand the various different elements of the Doctrine and Covenants. Brewster has synthesized a wide array of sources in a very readable and usable resource. What would have added to this revised edition, however, would have been some references to newer conference addresses.
The most recent prophet quoted is President Ezra Taft Benson. With the impact that Presidents Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson have had, in addition to members the Quorum of the Twelve, their inclusion would have aided the audience in 2013.
As a resource to aid study however, the encyclopedia is a good help to understand different parts of the Doctrine and Covenants and will whet the appetite of the reader and serve as a springboard to wider study.
More recently released books about the Doctrine and Covenants
"The Essential Doctrine and Covenants Companion"by Mary Jane Woodger
"The Savior in Kirtland" by Karl Ricks Anderson
"Little-Know Stories about the Doctrine and Covenants" by Dan Baker
"You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine & Covenants: the 41st Annual Brigham Young University Sidney Symposium"
Books about President Lorenzo Snow
James Holt is a senior lecturer in religious education at the University of Chester, UK. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.