The BYU-Idaho McKay Library website has a new resource containing various hard to find documents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The new website is called “Oracles of God” and it highlights past declarations, proclamations, statements, epistles and expositions from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

“I think context is incredibly important for understanding these documents and where they came from and why the First Presidency emphasized certain things at certain times,” said Ryan Gardner, Religious Education Department faculty member and the primary researcher for the project. 

Gardner said he first started the project because he thought it would be a good academic study. He noticed there was interest in these types of communication after Church of Jesus Christ President Russel M. Nelson released “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World” during the April 2020 general conference of the Church. 

"I just thought this would be really helpful for my knowledge of Church history, and it’ll be really good for me to get kind of a bigger historical picture. There were a couple documents where it really happened for me where I realized it was going to be a much more spiritual journey than an academic, historical, intellectual journey,” Gardner said. 

Initially, when Gardner began the project, he thought there would be just a handful of documents. He and a handful of students helping with his research started with the six proclamations from the Church but that quickly grew to about 50 documents. They used some criteria as they found the documents. The criteria included: the document couldn’t be included in the Standard Works of the Church, it had to be authored by the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, it had to be public facing in some way and had to be widely distributed in some format. Gardner then decided 50 documents were too many, so he whittled them down to 24. 

Gardner said these documents can help members of the Church learn where some doctrines came from and why curriculum, talks or other resources are the way they are today. 

“There are also some other things that maybe members of the Church are less aware of, that really have shaped the doctrine and practice of the Church over the last 191 years, in ways that members of the Church are conscious of… we may not understand the roots of where that came from,” Gardner said. 

You can find the documents, along with contextual introductions and resources for more information at this website.