Doctrine and Covenants Conclusion by Brother Van Sweden

Doctrine and Covenants Conclusion
As we conclude our journey together, whether you just joined me for the Doctrine and Covenants, or began with the Old Testament, it has been a wonderful experience for me. My original plan was to only share insight I had gained from my study of the Old Testament. It expanded when a friend said, “You can’t end with just the Old Testament. There is the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.” I had learned so much from my preparation of the Old Testament, it took little encouragement for me to continue. I am so grateful that I did, for each scripture brought new insights and blessings to my life.
I am so grateful for the Doctrine and Covenants. I have found within its pages an increased understanding of the history of the Church and how the Lord reveals His word to his prophets. I have gained a greater appreciation for the Prophet Joseph Smith. As he left the grove that day as a young boy, he knew for himself, that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ were real. They cared about us and knew us, just as they knew Joseph. He had felt that love and heard their witness. Through him, the Church of Jesus Christ was to be restored in these latter days, and Joseph Smith was going to be His instrument.
Through the lessons this year, I have come to better understand what it means to be a prophet of God, including the challenges, the joys, the sorrows. Through it all, initially Joseph and then each of the prophets, they were steadfast and obedient. Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and so many others, each had a part, but it was Brother Joseph who steadfastly, with the Lord’s blessings, held the course despite the obstacles that came in his path. In turn, he inspired others to join him. Some were faithful for awhile, others like Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, and his loving brother, Hyrum, were always there to sustain him.
I am equally grateful for Brigham Young. Through his leadership, after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, the Church continued to move forward. It was Brigham who brought them to the Great Salt Lake Basin, and established the Church out of the wilderness. Each of the succeeding prophets of the Church have played a key role in helping the work to go forward, including President Thomas S. Monson,
We must now each do our part to build the kingdom in these latter days. It is not easy to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, but the scriptures and prophets have taught us, it will always be worth it.
During this journey, I have come to understand the gospel in a way that comes only through the promptings of the Spirit. I truly hope that each of you, as fellow travelers have also been blessed by the same light.
I know that this is not the final word. Truth and knowledge of the scriptures is an ever increasing well of water that continues to refresh us drop by drop as we continue to seek for yet further insight and understanding.
I know that it is not, however, enough to know; one must also do, including sharing with others. This has been my focus and desire during these past four years.
Thanks for taking the journey with me.
Robert C. Van Sweden
September, 2016