There are a few passages of scripture that, it seems to me, get surprisingly little play in Mormon discourse, despite the fact that they speak clearly and forcefully about issues of interest. Here are three that I like (which, for some reason, all happen to come from the Doctrine and Covenants).
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
The extent to which Mormonism requires political liberalism is a difficult question. In practice, while Mormons profusely praise liberal democracy, we often tend towards anti-liberal positions on so called “moral issues” (gambling, abortion, alcohol and drug prohibition). These verses provide the most striking and direct argument for liberalism that I know of in the scriptures: liberty is necessary so that every man may be accountable for his own sins, and political violations of liberty would seem to violate moral agency.
2. D&C 124: 49
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.
This verse is interesting because it seems diametrically opposed to the much more famous and oft-quoted 1 Nephi 3:7. Perhaps the youthful Nephi was a lot more idealistic than the more mature and experienced Joseph Smith. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone quote this scripture.
3. D&C 46:13-14
To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
This passage is more well known and oft-quoted than the others (I myself quoted it in a previous post). But once again, it offers a complicating counterpoint to the more well-known and idealized take, as represented in Moroni 10:4. In fact, I believe the temple recommend interview questions were changed in the last few years, from asking if one “believes” in God and Jesus, to asking if one has “a testimony” of those things. There are probably many in the church who could benefit by considering the message of these verses.
Each of these scriptures seems offer a point of view that goes somewhat against the grain of popular Mormon thought. Yet each appeals to me in the way it addresses some difficult issues.