Devout Latter-day Saints consider the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) one of the standard works of scripture, along with the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The D&C is especially revered because it is thought to offer guidance and moral precepts in response to distinctly modern needs. Moreover, its sacred revelations of the “restoration and unfolding of the gospel of Jesus Christ” specify bedrock tenets of the Church. Latter-day Saints learn that its “messages, warnings, and exhortations are for the benefit of all mankind and contain an invitation to all people everywhere to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking to them for their temporal well-being and their everlasting salvation. ”
The Doctrine and Covenants reflects and reinforces God’s special relationship to Latter-day Saints. Joseph Fielding Smith said that the “Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints. More precious than gold, the Prophet says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth. " The D&C is, “living, dynamic, and subject to refinement with additional revelation. ” We should anticipate, then, that the D&C would undergo changes, as God’s revelations respond to the specific spiritual needs and capacities of His people. We are assured that, “Each new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants has corrected past errors and added new information…. ”
A substantial body of literature casts serious doubt on the Doctrine and Covenant’s allegedly divine origin. Several published accounts by reputed scholars document the significant revisions and inconsistencies in the D&C. A related body of research calls into question the godly provenance of specific revelations. For example, several scholars note that several divine revelations opportunistically offer Joseph Smith leverage in managing conflicts with associates such as Oliver Cowdery, as well as with his wife, Emma. Why, critics ask, would God need to reveal Himself simply to take sides in Joseph Smith’s petty disputes? Yet the D&C seems to betray it's origins as more likely coming from man and not from God as there have been many, many substantive changes to the D&C with no explanation.
Also troubling is that official, written revelation seems to have ceased. After being needed for thousands of years, there are virtually no 'new' revelations recorded in the D&C. You would think that with all the dilemmas facing our modern world, we would need divine guidance on issues like stem-cell research, homosexuality, cloning organs, etc. Yet, the D&C has been stagnant for decades and likely to remain that way.
The Doctrine & Covenants is holy scripture that contains revelations from God comparable to the biblical books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the writings of Paul. Latter-day Saints regard it as direct revelation from God to the world.
The materials offered in this section provide a precise, detailed, historically accurate account of the alterations, revisions, and procedural inconsistencies that have shaped the Doctrine and Covenants Latter-Day Saints revere today. The research we present synthesizes published accounts by scholars and historians working with primary sources and other archived historical documents. In several of the cases documented here, entire revelations have been modified, their meaning inexorably altered. These revisions cast doubt on Joseph Smith's verity and on the ostensible divinity of the revelations contained in the D & C.
Note: We wish to thank a current LDS Church member that prefers to remain anonymous, for providing the bulk of the following information.
The materials offered in this section provide a precise, detailed, historically accurate account of the alterations, revisions, and procedural inconsistencies that have shaped the Doctrine and Covenants Latter-Day Saints revere today. The research we present synthesizes published accounts by scholars and historians working with primary sources and other archived historical documents. In several of the cases documented here, entire revelations have been modified, their meaning inexorably altered. These revisions cast doubt on Joseph Smith's verity and on the ostensible divinity of the revelations contained in the D & C.
The Doctrine & Covenants was originally published as the Book of Commandments.
Joseph Smith recorded at least 70 revelations by November 1831. In a special conference held November 1, 1831, in Hiram, Ohio, the Church decided to publish a selection of these revelations, or "commandments. "Joseph Smith received a revelation on that occasion titled "my preface unto the book of my commandments. ”The name for the Book of Commandments, may have been taken from this preface (D&C 1:6). Some copies of the Book of Commandments were circulated within the Church and were sometimes referred to as the "Book of Covenants”.
From the LDS Church website:
On 1 November 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith presided at a special conference of elders, held in Hiram, Ohio. Those in attendance decided to compile some of the revelations the Prophet had received and publish them in a book called the Book of Commandments. Following the first session of this conference, the Lord signified His approval for the publication by giving Joseph Smith a revelation that He called “my preface unto the book of my commandments” (D&C 1:6).
This revelation is now section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants. D&C 1:6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.
The Book of Commandments (BC) was heavily revised and eventually evolved into the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) and was given the new title. The Book of Commandments was first published in 1833; the D&C in 1835. When comparing the Book of Commandments to the more developed Doctrine and Covenants, several questions emerge. Revelations that Joseph claimed were given by God, were re-worked, revised, and inflated. Mervin J. Petersen, (LDS apologist) noted that 703 words were changed, 1,656 words added, and 453 words deleted. ("A Study of the Nature of and the Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants," Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955, typed copy, page 147)
Church leaders have not been forthcoming about the changes Smith made to the revelations. LDS leaders and official publications deny that substantive changes were made.
Apostle John A. Widtsoe claimed:
Within a few years after its organization, the Church had received practically all necessary supplementary laws and regulations. These also have remained unchanged. There has been no tampering with God's word....the whole body of Church laws forms a harmonious unit, which does not anywhere contradict itself nor has it been found necessary to alter any part of it. (Joseph Smith—Seeker After Truth, pages 119 and 122)
Apostle and Church President Joseph Fielding Smith declared:
Inspiration is discovered in the fact that each part, as it was revealed, dovetailed perfectly with what had come before. There was no need for eliminating, changing, or adjusting any part to make it fit; but each new revelation on doctrine and priesthood fitted in its place perfectly to complete the whole structure, as it had been prepared by the Master Builder. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 170)
Widtsoe and Smith knew that the changes made to the revelations were substantial. They were the pre-eminent church scholars of their day. Their claims were likely an attempt to shield the members from the truth that would undoubtedly result in difficult questions such as, “If God spoke directly to Joseph Smith, then why did Joseph need to change/improve God's words?”
Similar to the Book of Mormon, witnesses were appointed by Smith to declare that the Book of Commandments were God-sent revelations. Ten men signed a prepared statement that claimed that the revelations were “verily true”.
The names of the witnesses were: Joseph Smith Sr. , Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, William E. McLellin, Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer Jr.
David Whitmer may have been hesitant to testify that the revelations were true. After discovering major revisions in the revelations, he accused Smith of changing God's revealed word to give Joseph almost absolute authority in church affairs:
[The] revelations … were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly… just exactly as they were arranged by Brother Joseph and the others. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received it as being printed correctly...When it became generally known that these important changes had been made in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, many of the brethren objected seriously to it, but they did not want to say much for the sake of peace, as it was Brother Joseph and the leaders who did it. The majority of the members – poor weak souls – thought that anything Brother Joseph would do must be all right; so in their blindness of heart, trusting in an arm of flesh, they looked over it and were led into error.
(David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, page 53, 56, 61)
It is worth noting that all of the Whitmers, Oliver Cowdery, Lyman E. Johnson, and Luke Johnson were later excommunicated; in part because of criticism about the changes made to the revelations. The question on the minds of those excommunicated was, “Why were changes made to revelations from God by mere mortals?”
Eight section headings (3,6,7,11, 14-17) in the Doctrine and Covenants report that the Urim & Thummim was used for the receiving of the revelation. The average LDS member would likely assume that the Urim & Thummim mentioned is the spectacle version that was found with the gold plates in the stone box. However, No evidence exists to indicate that the "original" spectacle version of the Urim & Thummim was used for the D&C because historical sources indicate that Joseph Smith did not have this Urim & Thummim after his loss of the 116 first pages of The Book of Mormon. Therefore Joseph must have used the 'seer stone' that is also sometimes referred to as a Urim & Thummim. This was the stone that Joseph and Hyrum found on Willard Chase's property some 20 feet underground when they were digging a well for Mr. Chase and the same one used to translate the Book of Mormon.
More information on the urim and Thummim and how it was used in translating can be found in Translation of the Book of Mormon
According to some early witnesses more than eight sections of the D&C were received through Joseph Smith's seer rock/stone. But David Whitmer and B. H. Roberts (famous church historian and general authority) explained that this special stone (referred to as peep stone by critics) was used for additional revelations.
Joseph's method was to place the stone in a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light. Translations and revelations were received this way. This is the same method Smith used to locate buried treasure before being arrested and tried in court at Bainbridge, NY in 1826. (Joseph Smith's 1826 court transcript; see Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 501)
David Whitmer said:
The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the ‘stone,' through which the Book of Mormon was translated
(David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, page 53)
The mention of the Urim & Thummim in Doctrine and Covenants 10:1, dated "summer of 1828," was written back into this revelation at a later date. In its original form as Chapter IX of the 1833 Book of Commandments, the revelation makes no mention of the Urim & Thummim 17 (view scanned image of 1833 Book of Commandments, Chapter IX). The mention of Urim & Thummim in what is now designated D&C 10:1 first appears in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Commandments, where it is found as Section XXXVIII.
Reference: Dialogue, Volume 15, No 2 summer 1982, pg 61
The original Book of Commandments can be viewed at:
Changing the Revelations - Jerald & Sandra Tanner
The changes made to the revelations can be viewed at:
The Tanners have done a considerable amount of well-documented research into the changes made to the D&C from the original Book of Commandments. They also list the numerous denials by church leaders that anything was changed and how the LDS Church condemns other churches for changing the Bible yet they have no problem changing their own scriptures. Please read their essay Changing the Revelations.
We have selected a few of the many changes to discuss in the following sections.
David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, gives us this interesting information:
After the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, early in the spring of 1830, before April 6th, Joseph gave the stone to Oliver Cowdery and told me as well as the rest that he was through with it, and he did not use the stone any more. He said he was through the work that God had given him the gift to perform, except to preach the gospel. He told us that we would all have to depend on the Holy Ghost hereafter to be guided into truth and obtain the will of the Lord. (An Address To All Believers In Christ, Richmond, Missouri, 1887, page 32)
The fact that Joseph Smith was not planning on doing any other work besides the Book of Mormon is well verified by the revelation given in March of 1829. This revelation was printed in the Book of Commandments as chapter 4. Verse 2 reads as follows:
...and he has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.
By the year 1835, when this revelation was reprinted in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith had pretended to at least one other gift besides that of translating the Book of Mormon, he had pretended to the gift of rewording the Bible (Inspired Version), and a short time after this he brought forth the Book of Abraham. Certainly this revelation commanding Joseph Smith to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon could not remain in its original uncensored form. This change in church policy necessitated a change in the revelation. The Mormon Church had decided to go beyond the Book of Mormon and accept Joseph Smith's other writings as scripture. Therefore, this revelation was changed to read as follows:
And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift, until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished. (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 5, verse 4)
Thus the entire meaning of this revelation was changed, making it appear that the Lord would grant him more gifts than that of translating the Book of Mormon. At least 22 words were added to this verse to make the change. David Whitmer made this statement concerning the change in this revelation:
...he [Joseph Smith] was not called to organize and establish the church any more than the rest of us Elders. That God commanded him that he should pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that God would grant him no other gift.
...as if God had commanded Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that he would "grant him no other gift," and then afterwards God had changed his mind and concluded to grant him another gift. God does not change and work in this manner. The way the revelation has been changed, twenty two words being added to it, it would appear that God had broken His word after giving His word in plainness; commanding Brother Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, and then the Lord had changed and concluded to grant Joseph the gift of a Seer to the Church...
May God have mercy on the heads of the church for their transgression is my prayer. (An Address To All Believers In Christ, pp. 57-58)
This revelation is supposed to contain a translation of a parchment written by the Apostle John. Joseph Smith was supposed to have translated it by means of the Urim and Thummim. When this revelation was published in the Book of Commandments in 1833, it contained 143 words, but when it was reprinted in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, it contained 252 words. Thus 109 words had been added.
Mormon writers are unable to explain why Joseph Smith changed this revelation. Melvin J. Petersen made this statement:
In Chapter six of the Book of Commandments we find a revelation which was a translation from parchment upon which the Apostle John wrote his Gospel. When the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published this revelation had many additions and a few changes. (Section thirty-four. ) The additional words and sentences reveal more concerning John and his ministry. How Joseph Smith had this information revealed to him, by means of the Urim and Thummim, is not clear....What part revelation played in receiving this information concerning John is not known, nor is it known as to how the translation was enacted. We do know that additions and changes were made by Joseph Smith....
Joseph Smith left nothing in his writings to indicate why he added to this translated version...and so any plausible answers will be merely conjecture. ("A Study of the Nature of and the Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants," Master's Thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955, typed copy, pages 154-155)
Actually, there are only three logical explanations as to why this revelation reads different in the Doctrine and Covenants than it did when printed in the Book of Commandments. First, before reprinting this revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith may have decided to falsely attribute words to the Apostle John that he did not utter. This explanation would mean that Joseph Smith was a deceiver. Second, before the revelation was reprinted the Lord may have shown Joseph Smith that he had not translated the parchment correctly with the Urim and Thummim and that he must add in 109 words to make it correct. This explanation would place a shadow of doubt upon Joseph Smith's ability as a translator. Any individual who left out 109 words of a translation would be considered a very poor translator indeed! Third, Joseph Smith may have received the full text of the revelation to begin with but suppressed part of it when the Book of Commandments was printed. Melvin J, Petersen states:
Doctor Sidney B. Sperry,...has suggested that it is possible that Joseph Smith edited the translation in its first published form and then later wrote down the complete translation as it is found in our present text. Whether this suggested answers be right or wrong cannot be determined until further evidence is brought to light upon the problem. ("A Study of the Nature of and the Significance of the Changes in the Revelations...," typed copy, page 155)
This explanation would also make Joseph Smith a deceiver since he did not put in "the little dots which indicate that one is making deletions. " Furthermore, there was no real reason to suppress 109 words from the revelation. This revelation is printed on page 18 of the Book of Commandments, and a careful examination of this page reveals that part of the page has been left blank and that there was enough room to include these words. Therefore, there would have been no reason to suppress part of the revelation.
Notice that in the Book of Commandments the Mormons were told to "consecrate ALL" their properties to the Church, but in the Doctrine and Covenants they were told only to "consecrate OF" their properties.
The Mormons were accused of attempting "to establish communism. " The change in the revelation was evidently made to cover up the truth concerning this matter. Fawn Brodie stated:
Joseph Smith set up an economic order in his church which followed with a certain fidelity the life history of the typical communistic society of his time....Joseph issued a revelation setting up the United Order of Enoch....Private property became church property, and private profit a community spoil....
Whatever surplus the steward exacted from the land, or whatever profit the mechanic derived from his shop, was contributed to the church storehouse and treasury, the convert keeping only what was "needful for the support and comfort" of himself and family. The spirit of true Marxian communism—"from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"—was implicit in the whole system. No Man Knows My History, page 106)
Sidney Rigdon may have been the one who influenced Joseph Smith to start the United Order. The Mormon writer Klaus J. Hansen states:
Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and two other Elders,...stopped over at Kirtland, Ohio, and converted almost the entire Campbellite congregation of Sidney Rigdon, including Rigdon himself. These "Disciples of Christ," who lived in a communistic order, became the nucleus for the Mormon settlement in Ohio. Joseph Smith, at first, likewise attempted to establish a communitarian society. ("The Theory and Practice of the Political Kingdom of God in Mormon History, 1829-1890," Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1959, typed copy, pp. 74-74)
Fawn Brodie states: "Joseph's enthusiasm for the United Order was always tempered by the fact that it was Rigdon's conception. " (No Man Knows My History, page 108) He decided that it would not work out as he had planned. Therefore, it became necessary to change the revelation to cover up the original plan.
H. Michael Marquardt's book “Joseph Smith's 1828-1843 Revelations”, #47 (pages 95 to 103) gives more info on this “revelation”.
See also Order of Enoch
Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), Section 8 was a revelation to Oliver Cowdery. The original revelation was changed substantially before being placed in the D&C. Originally one verse read:
...remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands
Sidney Rigdon edited the verse:
...remember this is your gift now this is not all for you have another gift which is the gift of working with the rod Behold it has told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this rod to work in your hands
When the section was added to the Book of Commandments (BofC) it revised again by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Frederick G. Williams:
Chapter 7:3 Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God.
This is the current reading in the LDS D&C:
D&C 8:6–8 Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.
The LDS Church has completely removed the word 'rod' from the revelation. The rod was a stick like a divining rod. The modern church leaders are likely embarrassed by the references to magic rods, stones and rocks and superstitious beliefs embraced by Joseph Smith and the followers he attracted.
For more information, see Rod of Aaron.
The heading to Section 27 of the D&C states that “In preparation for a religious service at which the sacrament of bread and wine was to be administered, Joseph set out to procure wine for the occasion. He was met by a heavenly messenger and received this revelation, a portion of which was written at the time, and the remainder in the September following. ”The “portion” that was later added to the revelation is actually quite substantial and has led to an assumption that J Smith made up the visitation story.
1 LISTEN to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
2 For behold I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory;
3 Remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins;
4 Wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:
5 Wherefore you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you, yea, in this my Father's kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
6 Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:
7 Wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins and be faithful until I come:—even so. Amen.
1. Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
2. For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins:
3. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:
4. Wherefore, you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father's kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
5. Behold, this is wisdom in me: wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fullness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the 'stick of Ephraim;
6. And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days:
7. And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;
8. Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, jun. , and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron:
9. And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse:
10. And also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain;
11. And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.
12. And also with Peter, and James, and John, 'whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of . my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I revealed unto them:
13. Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the "fullness of times, in the which 1 will gather together in "one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth:
14. And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:
15. Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all ye may be able to stand.
16. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;
17. Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
18. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen
In the current version, verses 8 and 12 refer to the restoration of the priesthood. This information was not in the original revelation. Critics ask, “Did Smith retroactively insert the priesthood restoration story?”If an angel ordained Smith as an apostle, then why didn't Joseph Smith record the event?Another question is, how did Joseph Smith remember all of the details of the experience, including the exact words of the angel years later?Research on human memory is clear. Details quickly disappear from memory. Furthermore, humans are notorious for creating details that never happened at all, when trying to recall past events years later. (Carol Tavris, and Elliot Aronson, “Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me. ”)
For more on the problems with the restoration of the Priesthood, see Priesthood Restoration
Emma Smith was given a revelation in Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830. The revelation is often called Emma Smith's blessing. It is instructional and probably was meant to bring comfort. The changes made to this section are bolded below.
1 EMMA, my daughter in Zion, a revelation I give unto you, concerning my will:
2 Behold thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.
3 Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee, and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.
4 And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph, thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.
5 And thou shalt go with him at in time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, that I may send Oliver whithersoever I will.
6 And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit:
7 For be shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.
8 And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee from the church:
9 For unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will according to their faith.
1 Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.
2 A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.
3 Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.
4 Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.
5 And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. , thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.
6 And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will.
7 And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.
8 For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.
9 And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.
The changes made to this section may strike the reader as having a more stern tone. In verse two the phrase “I will preserve thy life” is added as a conditional blessing. The conditional blessing of preserving Emma's life can also be seen in D&C 132:54:
54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
The promise that she would preserved / destroyed was made after Emma discovered that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy. These warnings may reflect Emma's acceptance or rejection of polygamy.
The other important change made was in verse 9. Originally it read “thy husband shall support thee from the church,” but was revised to read “thy husband shall support thee in the church. The original phrasing made it clear that Emma would be supported from her husband's work in the church - Joseph Smith's church income. The change reads differently, Emma's service in the church will be supported, with no mention of monetary support.
Section 121-123 were originally a part of letters written by Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McCrae while imprisoned in Liberty jail. Most members of the LDS church believe that the section is direct revelation from God to Joseph Smith. Elder Holland declared that:
“[A]ny list of my favorite scriptures would have to include those written from the darkness of Liberty Jail…What a scriptural gift! And what a high price was paid for [them]! But how empty would our lives as Latter-day Saints be if we did not have sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants. ”
-Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Devotional, Lessons from Liberty Jail
Ironically, these sections were not originally in the Doctrine and Covenants and were not added until the 1876 edition of the book. When the letter was added, certain parts were deleted, added to, rewritten, and reworked. Also the names of all authors except Joseph Smith were removed from the letter. The original letters from which D&C 121, 122, and 123 can be read below. The created revelations are noted in boldface. Note the large quantity of additions.
Liberty Jail, Clay Co. Mo.
To Bishop Partridge, and to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Quincy Illinois, and to those scattered abroad, throughout all the regions round about.
Your humble servant Joseph Smith jr. prisoner for Christs' sake, and the saints, taken and held by the power of mobocracy under the exterminating reign of his excellency Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, in company with his fellow prisoners and beloved brethren, Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith, and Alexander McRae, send unto you greeting: May the grace of God the Father, and the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, rest upon you all, and abide with you for ever; and may faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity dwell in you and abound, so that you may not be barren or unfruitful. We know, that the greater part of you are acquainted with the wrongs, high toned injustice and cruelty which is practised upon us; we have been taken prisoners, charged falsely with all kind of crimes and thrown into a prison enclosed with strong walls, and are surrounded with a strong guard who are as endefategable in watching us, as their master is in laying snares for the people of God. Therefore under these circumstances, dearly beloved brethren, we are the more ready to claim your fellowship and love. Our situation is calculated to awaken our minds to a sacred remembrance of your affection, and kindness; and we think that your situation will have the same effect; therefore, we believe, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and our fellowship one with another; and that every species of wickedness and cruelty practised upon us, will only tend to bind our hearts and seal them together in love. It is probably, as unnessary for us to say, that we are thus treated and held in bonds without cause as it would be for you to say, that you were smitten and driven from your homes without any provocation; we mutually understand and verily know, that if the citizens of the state of Missouri, had not abused the saints, and had been as desirous of peace as we were, there would have been nothing but peace and quietude to this day and we should not have been in this wretched place and burthened with the society of demons in human form and compeled to hear nothing but oaths and curses, and witness scenes of drunkenness and debaucheries of every description; neither would the cries of orphans and widdows have ascended to God or the blood of the saints have stained the soil, and cried for vengeance against them. But "we dwell with those who hated peace" and who delighted in war and surely their unrelenting hearts,-their inhuman and murderous disposition-and their cruel practices, shock humanity, and defy description! It is truly a tale of sorrow, lamentation and woe, too much for humanity to contemplate. Such a transaction cannot be found where Kings and Tyrants reign, or among the savages of the wilderness, or even among the ferocious beasts of the forest. To think that man should be mangled for sport, after being cruelly put to death. Women have their last morsel stolen from them, while their helpless children were clinging around them and crying for food-and then, to gratify the hellish desires of their more than inhuman oppressors, be violated, is horrid in the extreme. They practice these things upon the saints who have done them no wrong, had committed no crime, and who were an innocent and virtuous people; and have proved themselves lovers of God by forsaking and enduring all things for his sake. "It must needs be that offences come, but wo to those by whom they come. " Verse 1) O God! where art thou? and where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? (Verse 2) how long shall thy hand be stayed, and thy pure eyes behold from the heavens, the wrongs and sufferings of thy people and of thy servants; and thine ears be penetrated with their cries? (Verse 3) How long, O Lord! shall they thus suffer, before thine heart shall be softened towards them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion towards them? (Verse 4) O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them is, and who controleth and subjecteth the devil
(Times & Seasons May 1840 Vol. 1 pp. 99-100)
and the dark and benighted dominions of Shaole. Stretch forth thy hand, let thine eye pierce, let thy pavilion be taken up, let thy hiding place no longer be uncovered, let thine ear be inclined, let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion towards thy people; (Verse 5) and let thine anger be kindled against our enemies, and in thy fury let fall the sword of thine indignation, and avenge us of our wrongs. (Verse 6) Remember thy suffering saints, O our God! and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever.
Dearly beloved brethren, we realize that perilous times have come, as have been testified of in ancient days, and we may look with certainty and the most perfect assurance, for the rolling in of all those things which have been spoken of by all the holy prophets: lift up your eyes to the bright luminary of day, and you can say, soon thou shalt veil thy blushing face, for at the behest of HIM who said, "let there be light, and their was light," thou shalt withdraw thy shining. Thou moon, thou dimmer light, and luminary of night, shalt turn to blood. We see that the prophecies concerning the last days are fulfilling, and the time shall soon come when the "Son of man shall descend in the clouds of heaven, in power and great glory. "
We do not shrink, nor are our hearts and spirits broken at the grevious yoke which is put upon us. We know that God will have our oppressors in derision, that he will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh. We think we should have got out of our prison house, at the time Elder Rigdon got a writ of habeas corpus, had not our own lawyers interpreted the law contrary to what it reads, and against us, which prevented us from introducing our witnesses before the mock court, they have done us much harm from the beginning; they have lately acknowledged that the law was misconstrued, and then [tantalized] our feelings with it, and have now entirely forsaken us, have forfeited both their oaths, and their bonds, and are coworkers with the mob. From the information we received, the public mind has been for some time turning in our favor, and the majority is now friendly, and the lawyers can no longer browbeat us by saying, that this or that is a matter of public opinion, for public opinion is not willing to brook all their proceedings, but are beginning to look with feelings of indignation upon our oppressors. -We think that truth, honor, virtue, and innocence will eventually come out triumphant.
We should have taken out a writ of hobeas corpus, and escaped the mob in a summary way, but unfortunately for us, the timber of the wall being very hard, our auger handles gave out which hindred us longer than we expected, we applied to a friend for assistance, and a very slight uncautious act gave rise to suspicion, and before we could fully succeed, our plan was discovered. We should have made our escape, and succeeded admirably well, had it not been for a little imprudence, or over anxiety on the part of our friend.
The Sheriff and Jailor did not blame us for our attempt; it was a fine breach, and cost the county a round sum; public opinion says, we ought to have been permitted to have made our escape, but then the disgrace would have been on us, but now it must come on the State. We know that there connot be any charge sustained against us, and that the conduct of the mob-the murders at Hawn's mill-the exterminating order of Govenor Boggs, and the one sided, rascally proceedings of the Legislature, has damned the state of Missouri to all eternity. Gen. Atchison has proved himself to be as contemptible as any of our enemies. We have tried a long time to get our lawyers to draw us some petitions to the supreme Judges of this state, but they have utterly refused; we have examined the laws, and drawn the petitions ourselves, and have obtained abundance of proof to counteract all the testimony that is against us-so that if the Judges do not grant us our liberty they have got to act contrary to honor, evidence, law or justice, merely to please the mob; but we hope better things, and trust that before many days, God will so order our case, that we shall be set at liberty, and again enjoy the society of the saints. We received some letters from our friends, last evening, one from Emma, one from D. C. Smith and one from Bishop Partridge all breathing a kind and consoling spirit; we had been
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 pp. 100-101)
a long time without information from our friends, and when we read those letters they were refreshing to our souls, as the gentle air and refreshing breeze; but our feelings of joy were mingled with feelings of pain and sorrow on account of the sufferings of the poor and much injured saints, and we need not say unto you that the flood gates of our hearts were open, and our eyes were a fountain of tears. Those who have not been inclosed in the walls of a prison, without cause or provocation, can have but little idea, how sweet the voice of a friend or one token of friendship is, from any source whatever, and awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling of the human heart, it brings to review every thing that has passed, it seizes the present with the velocity of lightning, and grasps after the future with fond anticipation; It fills the mind with tenderness and love until all enmity, malice, hatred, past differences, misunderstanding and mismanagements are entirely forgotton or are slain victims at the feet of love. When the heart is sufficiently contrite, then the voice of inspiration steals along and whispers, (Verse 7) My son, peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thy afflictions shall be but for a moment, (Verse 8) and then if thou art faithful and endure; God shall exalt thee on high, thou shalt triumph over all thy foes, (Verse 9) thy friends do stand by thee, and shall hail thee again with warm hearts: (Verse 10) thou art not yet as Job, thy friends do not contend against thee, neither do they charge thee with transgression, (Verse 11)and those who do charge thee with transgression their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects melt away, as the hoar frost melteth before the rays of the raising sun. (Verse 12) It likewise informs us that God has set his hand to change the times and the seasons and to blind the minds of the wicked, that they may not understand his marvellous workings, that he may take them in their own craftiness, (Verse 13) because their hearts are corrupt and the distress and sorrow which they seek to bring upon the saints, shall return upon them double; (Verse 15) and not many years hence, they and their posterity, shall be destroyed from under heaven. (Verse 16) Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, for they have not sinned before me saith the Lord, but have done
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 p. 101)
that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them, saith the Lord. (Verse 17) Those who cry transgression, do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves, (Verse 18) and swear falsely against my servants, that they may bring them into bondage and death. - (Verse 19) Wo unto them, because they have offended my little ones; they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house, (Verse 20) their basket shall not be full, their houses and their lands shall be empty, and they themselves shall be dispised by those who have flattered them. (Verse 21) They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them, from generation to generation; and (Verse 22) it would have been better for them that a mill stone had been hung about their necks and they drowned in the depths, of the sea. (Verse 23) Wo unto all those who drive, and murder, and testify against my people, saith the Lord of hosts, for they shall not escape the damnation of hell: (Verse 24) behold mine eye seeth, and I know all their works, and I have in reserve, a swift judgment in the season thereof, (Verse 25) and they shall be rewarded according to their works.
God has said, he would have a tried people, and that he would purify them as gold is purified; now, we think he has chosen his own crucible to try us, and if we should be so happy as to endure and keep the faith it will be a sign to this generation, sufficient to leave them without excuse; and that it will be a trial of our faith equal to that of Abraham or any of the ancients, and that they will not have much cause to boast over us, in the persecutions and trials they endured. After passing through so much suffering and sorow, we trust that before long a ram may be caught in the thicket, so that the sons and daughters of abraham may be relieved from their fears and anxiety, and that their faces may once more be lighted up with joy and salvation, and be enabled to hold out unto everlasting life. Now concerning the places for the location of the saints, we would say that we cannot council you in this thing as well as if we were with you; and as to the things written to you before, we did not consider them binding; we would advise, that while we remain in prison and in bondage, that the affairs of the church be conducted by a general conference of the most faithful and respectable of the authorities of the church, and that the proceedings of the same be forwarded to your humble servants, and if there be any corrections by the word of the Lord they shall be freely transmitted, and we will cheerfully approve of all things which are acceptable to God. If any thing should have been suggested by us or any names mentioned except by commandment or "thus saith the Lord," we do not consider it binding; therefore we shall not feel grieved if you should deem it wisdom to make different arrangements. We would respectfully advise the brethren, to be aware of an aspiring spirit, which has frequently urged men forward to make foul speeches and beget an undue influence in the minds of the saints and bring much sorrow and distress in the church; we would likewise say be aware of pride, for truly hath the wise man said "pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall;" outward appearance is not always a criterion for us to judge our fellow man by, but the lips frequently betray the haughty and overbearing mind. flattery also, is a deadly poison; a frank and open rebuke, provoketh a good man to emulation, and in the hour of trouble he will be your best friend, but rebuke a wicked man and you will soon see manifest, all the corruption of a wicked heart, the poison of asps is under their tongue, and they cast the saints in prison that their deeds be not reproved. A fanciful, flowery and heated immagination be aware of, for the things of God are of vast importance, and requires time and experience as well as deep and solemn thought to find them out; and if we would bring souls to salvation it requires that our minds should rise to the highest heavens, search into and contemplate the lowest abyss, expand wide as eternity and hold communion with Deity. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God than the vain[ imaginations] of the human heart: how vain and trifling have been our spirits in our conferences and council meetings, as well as in our public and private conversations; too low and condescending, for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, who have been set apart in the mind of God
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 p. 102)
before the foundation of the world, to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things, which have been kept hid for ages and generations, which have been revealed to babes, yea to the weak obscure, and [despicable] ones of the earth. We would beseech you to bear with the infirmities of the weak, and at the same time exhort one another to a reformation, both teachers and taught, male and female, so that honesty, sobriety, candor, solemnity, plainness, meekness and virtue may characterise us from henceforth; and that we be like little children without malice, guile or hypocracy; and now brethren after your tribulations, if you do these things, and exercise fervant prayer in the sight of God always, (Verse 26) he shall give unto you knowledge, by his holy Spirit, yea he shall pour out the Holy Ghost in such copious effusion as have not been since the creation until now; yea, the fulness of that promise (Verse 27) which our Fathers have waited for with such anxious exspectation, which was to be revealed in the last days, and held in reserve until (Verse 28) a time when nothing shall be withheld, when all the glories of earth and heaven, time and eternity shall be manifest to all those, who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Verse 29) shall be manifest to all those, who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Verse 30) If there be bounds set to the heavens, the seas, the dry land, they shall be manifest, as well as the various revolutions of the sun, moon, and planets; (Verse 31) and a full development of all the glorious laws by which they are governed shall be revealed in the "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Verse 32) according to that which was ordained in the midst of the council of heaven in the presence the eternal God, before this world was. Ignorance, bigotry, and superstition are frequently in the way of the prosperity of this church, and are like the torrent of rain rushing down from the mountains, which floods the clear stream with mire and dirt, but when the storm is over and the rain has ceased the mire and dirt are washed away, and the stream again is pure and clear as the fountain, so shall the church appear when ignorance, superstition and bigotry are washed away. (Verse 33) What power can stay the heavens, as well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the mighty Missouri river in its course,
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 p. 103)
as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the hearts of the Latter day saints: what is the Governor with his murderous party, but willows on the shore to stop the waters in their progress? As well might we argue that water is not water, because the mountain torrent sends down mire and riles the crystal stream; or that fire is not fire because it can be quenchable, as to say that our cause is down because renegadoes, liars, priests and murderers, who are alike tenacious of their crafts and creeds have poured down upon us a flood of dirt and mire from their strong holds. No, they may rage, with all the powers of hell and pour forth their wrath, indignation and cruelty like the burning lava of mount Vesuvius, yet, shall Mormonism stand. Truth is Mormonism, and God is its author, by HIM we received our birth, by HIM we were called to a dispensation of his gospel, in the beginning of the fulness of times, it was by him we received the book of Mormon, by him we remain unto this day and shall continue to remain if it be to his glory; we are determined to endure tribulation as good soldiers, unto the end: when you read this, you will learn that prison walls, iron doors, screaching hinges, guards and jailors have not destroyed our confidence, but we say, and that from experience, that they are calculated in their very nature to make the soul of an honest man, feel stronger than the powers of hell. But we must bring our epistle to a close, and send our respects to fathers, mothers, wives, and children, brothers and sisters, and be assured we hold them in sacred remembrance.
We should be glad to hear from elder Rigdon, George W. Robinson, and elder Cahoon, we remember them and would like to jog their memory a little on the fable of the bear and the two friends, who mutually agreed to stand by each other; we could also mention Uncle John Smith and others; a word of consolation and a blessing would not come amiss from any body, while we are so closely whispered by the bear. Our respects and love to all the virtuous saints. We are, dear brethren, your fellow sufferers and prisoners of Jesus Christ for the gospel's sake, and for the hope of glory which is in us. Amen
JOSEPH SMITH JR. ,
Liberty Jail, Clay co. Mo.
[Continued to the Church of Latter Day Saints. ]
We continue to offer further reflections to Bishop Partridge and to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; whom we love with a fervent love, and always bear them in mind in our prayers to our heavenly Father. It still seems to bear heavily in our minds, that the church would do well to secure the contract of land offered them by Mr. Isaac Galland, and cultivate the friendly feelings of that gentleman, inasmuch as he shall prove himself to be a man of honor and a friend to humanity: we think his letters breath a kind and generous spirit. -We suggest the idea of praying fervantly for all men, particularly those who manifest any degree of sympathy for the suffering people of God. We think that the United States survayor, Isaac Van Allen Esq. the attorney
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 p. 103, 104, 131)
general and Governor Lucas of the lowa Teritory, from the kindness they manifest, may be of great service to the church. It seems to be deeply impressed upon our minds, that the saints aught to lay hold of every opening, in order to obtain a foot hold on the earth, and be making all preperations that is within their power for the terrible storms that are now gathering in the heavens, with darkness, and gloominess and thick darkness; as spoken by the prophet, which cannot be now long time lingering: for there seems to be a whispering by the angels of heaven, who have been intrusted with the council of these matters for the last days; and who have taken council together, and among the affairs transacted by that honerable council, they have taken cognizance of the murder of our beloved brethren at Hauns mill, as well as those who were martyred with D. W. Patten passed some decisions peradventure in favor of the saints, these decisions will be made known in their time. We are desirous, that in your general conferences, every thing should be discussed, with candour and propriety, lest you grieve the Holy Spirit, which should at all times be poured out upon you, when you are exercised with the principals of rightousness, and are properly affected one towards another. Be carefull to remember those who are in bondage, heaviness, and deep affliction for your sake. If there are any among you, who aspire after their own agrandizement and oppulence while their brethren are groaning in poverty, and laboring under sore trials and temptations, they cannot be benefited by the intercessions of the Holy Spirit: we aught at all times to be very careful that such high mindedness never have place in our hearts, but condescend to men of low estate, and with all long suffering, bare the infirmities of the week. (Verse 34) There are many called but few are chosen, and why are they not chosen? (Verse 35) Because their hearts are set upon the things of the world and are aspiring to the honors of men; they do not learn the lesson (Verse 36) that the rights, of the priesthood, are inseperably connected with the powers of heaven; and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness, (Verse 37) that they may be confered upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins, to gratify our pride, vain ambition, or to exercise dominion or compulsion over the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness; behold the heavens withdraw themselves, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, then amen to the priesthood, or to the authority of that man; (Verse 38) behold ere he is aware, he is left to kick against the prick; to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. (Verse 39) We have learned by sad experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, to begin to exercise unrightous dominion, (Verse 40) hence many are called but few are chosen. No power or influence can, or aught to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, by meekness and by love unfeigned; (Verse 42) without hypocracy, and without guile: (Verse 43) reproving with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and afterwards showing forth an increase of love towards him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy, (Verse 44) so that he may know, that thy faithfulnees is stronger than the cords of death. (Verse 45) Let the soul be full of charity towards all men, and virtue guard thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrines of the priesthood shall destil upon thy soul, as the dews from heaven; thy sceptre shall be an unchanging sceptre of righteousness, (Verse 46) the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion,
(Verse 1) the ends of the earth shall enquire after thy name; fools shall have thee in derision, hell shall rage against thee, (Verse 2) while the pure in heart, the wise, the noble, and the virtuous shall seek council, authority, and blessing, constantly from under thy hand: (Verse 3) thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors, (Verse 4) although their influence shall cast the into trouble, and into prisons, thou shall be had in honor, and but for a small moment, and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thy enemies, than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness: and thy God shall stand
by thee forever and ever. (Verse 5) If thou art called to pass through tribulation, if thou art in prison among false brethren, if thou art in perils among robbers, (Verse 6) if thou art accused of all manner of false acusations, if thine enemies fall upon thee, if they tare thee from the society of thy parents, and if with a drawn sword, thine enemies tare thee from the bosom of thy wife and thy offsprings, while thy eldestson, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say my father, my father why, cant you stay with us. -"Oh my father what are the men going to do with you", and then he shall be thurst from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison and thy enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; (Verse 7) and if thou shoudst be cast into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death be passed upon thee, if thou be cast into the deep, if the bellowing surge conspire against thee, if fierce winds become thy enemies, if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up thy way, and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gap open her mouth wide after thee; know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (Verse 8) The son of man has descended below them all and art thou greater than be. (Verse 9) Therefore hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee, thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; fear not what man can do, for God shall be with thee forever and ever.
We would suggest the propriety of the brethren settling in such places where they may find safety, which may be found between Kirtland and Far West, it will be necessary to do so for the present, untill God shall open out a more effectual door. Again we would suggest to the brethren, that there be no organization of large bodies upon common stock principles until the Lord shall signify it in a proper manner; as it opens such a field for the avaricious, the indolent, and the corrupt hearted, to prey upon the virtuous, the industrious, and the honest. We have reason to believe that many things were introduced among the saints, before God had signified the time, and notwithstanding the principles and the
(Times & Seasons Vol. 1 p. 132)
plans may have been good, yet aspiring men, who had the form of godliness but not the substance, by their aspiring notions brought trouble, both upon themselves and the saints at large: However the time is coming, when God will signify many things, which are expected for the well being of the saints. (Verse 1) We would likewise suggest for your consideration the propriety of the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the sufferings and abuse put upon them by the people of this state, (Verse 2) and also the loss of property, and the amount of damages which they have sustained, (Verse 3) and also the names of all persons who have taken a part in their persecutions; (Verse 4) perhaps it would be well for a committee to be appointed, to collect the statements and affidavits of brethren on this subject, and also to gather up the libilous publications which are about in the world, and present the whole concatenation of diabolical rascality, and nefarious and murderous impositions before the laws of government, and to the world at large. This we think is a duty enjoined upon us by our heavenly Father, and which must be attended to before we can ask Him to come out of his hiding place; and also that the nation may be left without excuse. (Verse 7) It is a duty we owe to our country, whose laws have been trampled on, and set at naught-a duty we owe to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and anguish under the most damning hand of murder tyrany, and oppression, supported and urged on by the influence of that spirit, which has so strongly revited the creeds of the Father, who have inherited lies upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion and prejudice, which has been growing stronger and stronger and has become a source of corruption until the earth groans under its iniquity; (Verse 8) it is an iron yoke and a strong band. (Verse 9) It is a duty we owe to the widow and the fatherless, whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand, (Verse 10) which dark and blackning deeds, are enough to make hell itself shudder and stand aghast, and the hands of satan to tremble and palsey. (Verse 14) These things ought then, to be attended to with great earnestness; (Verse 15) let no man count them as small things, for
there is much that lies in futurity pertaining to the saints, which depend on our present action. (Verse 16) You are aware brethren, that a very large ship is benefitted very much, by a small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept work ways with the wind and the waves; (Verse 17) therefore dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that is in our power, and then we may stand still, and see the salvation of God. We further, caution our brethren, against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companios, by covenants, oaths, penalties, or secresies, but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Docter Avard suffice, and let our covenants, be that of the everlasting covenant, as it is contained in the holy writ, and the things which God has revealed unto us; pure friendship, always becomes weakened, the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servants intend from henceforth to disapprobate every thing that is not in accordance with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and which is not of a bold, frank, and upright nature; they will not hold their peace as in times past. when they see in iquity begining to rear its head, for fear of traitors, or the consequences that shall follow, from reproving those who creep in unawares, that they may get something to destroy the flock. We believe, that from the experience of the saints in times past, they will henceforth be always ready to obey the truth, without having men's persons in admiration because of advantage, we ought to be aware of those prejudices, (which are so congenial to human nature) against our neighbors, friends and brethren of the world, who choose to differ with us in opinion, and in matters of faith: our religion is between us and our God; their religion is between them and their God: there certainly is a tie to those of the same faith which is peculiar to itself, but it is without prejudice, gives full scope to the mind, and enables us to conduct ourselves with liberality towards those who are not of our faith; this principle, in our opinion, approximates the nearest to the mind of God and is God-like. There is a duty, which we in common with all men, owe to Goverments, laws, and the regulations in the civil concerns of life; these guarantee to all parties and denominations of religion equal, and indefeasible rights, all alike interested; and they make our responsibilities one towards another in matters relating to temporal affairs, and the things of this life; the former principles do not destroy the latter, but bind us stronger, and make our responsibility, not only one towards another, but unto God also: hence we say, that the constitution of the United States is a glorious standard, it is founded in wisdom, it is a heavenly banner, and is to all those who are priviledged with the sweets of its liberty, like the cooling shade and refreshing water of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land: it is like a great tree under whose branches, men from every clime, can be shielded from the burning rays of an inclemment sun, we are deprived of the protection of this glorious principle, by the cruelties of those who only look to the time being for pasturage; and who forget that the Mormons, as well as the Presbyterians and every other denomination, have equal rights to partake of the fruits of the great tree of our national liberty; yet notwithstand-we see what we do, and feel the effects of the cruelty of the enemies of freedom; that fruit is no less precious and delicious to our taste, we cannot be weaned from the milk, neither can we be drawn from the breast, nor will we deny our religion because of the hand of oppression, but we will hold on until death. We say that God is true, that the constitution of the United States is true, that the bible is true, the book of Mormon is true, that Christ is true, that the ministering of angels is true; and "we know we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God," a consolation which our oppressors cannot feel, when fortune or fate may lay its hand on them as it has on us. We ask; what is man? Remember brethren that time and chance happeneth to all men. We subscribe ourselves your sincer friends and brethren, in the bonds of the everlasting gospel, and prisoners of Jesus Christ.
JOSEPH SMITH JR. ,
ALEXANDER Mc RAE.
Critic's Comment: Reading over the letters it is obvious that the letter was very different from what is currently in D&C 121-23. Critics may be justified in claiming that Section 121, 122, and 123 sections appear to be fabrications or carefully isolated phrases taken out of context.
Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom is written in Doctrine and Covenants 137. Most LDS people are unaware that the section is actually incomplete. Much of Smith's original vision were left out; a careful review may reveal why as there are several serious issues with this section.
“(VERSE 1) The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the celestial Kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell,- (VERSE 2) I saw the [transcendent] beauty of the gate that enters, through which the heirs of that Kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire, (VERSE 3) also the [blazing] throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son,- (VERSE 4) I saw the beautiful streets of that Kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold- (VERSE 5) I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my father and mother, my brother Alvin that has long since slept, (VERSE 6) and [marveled] how it was that he had obtained this an inheritance [in] that Kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life, before the Lord [had] set his hand to gather Israel the <second time> and had not been baptised for the remission of sins- (VERSE 7) Thus said came the voice [of the Lord] unto me saying all who have died with[out] a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it, if they had been [permitted] to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial Kingdom of God- (VERSE 8) also all that shall die henseforth, with<out> a knowledge of it, who would have received it, with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that Kingdom, (VERSE 9) for I the Lord [will] judge all men according to their works according to the desires of their hearts- and again I also beheld the [Terrestrial] Kingdom (VERSE 10) I also beheld that all children who die before they [arrive] to the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial Kingdom of heaven-I saw the 12, apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle much [fatigued], with their clothes tattered and feet [swollen], with their eyes cast [downward], and Jesus [standing] in their midst, and they did not behold him, the [Savior] looked upon them and wept-I also beheld Elder McLellen in the south, standing upon a hill surrounded with a vast multitude, preaching to them, and a lame man standing before him, [supported] by his crutches, he threw them down at his word, and leaped as an [hart], by the mighty power of God. Also Eld[er] Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south-west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color, who, appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own [tongue], and the angel of God standing above his head with a drawn sword in his hand protec[t]ing him, but he did not see it,- and I finally saw the 12 in the celestial Kingdom of God,- I also beheld the redemption of Zion, and many things which the [tongue] of man, cannot [describe] in full. - Many of my brethren who received this ordinance with me, saw glorious visions also, -angels ministered unto them, as well as my self, and the power of the highest rested upon, us the house was filled with the glory of God, and we shouted Hosanah to the God and the Lamb. ”
- Joseph Smith, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee, p. 146
Note that Adam and Michael are separate beings according to the vision. This contradicts Joseph's later teachings, that Adam and Michael are the same person. Realizing that this was a problem, made the revision necessary.
Another problem is that Joseph Smith claims to have seen the twelve apostles of the early Mormon church in the Celestial Kingdom, meaning that they were faithful to Joseph until the end of their lives. While some of these men stayed faithful to the LDS church, others such as William McClellin abandoned the church or were excommunicated by Smith. God or Smith did not see the future accurately.
One last interesting point is that Joseph Smith claims to have seen Brigham Young surrounded by “a dozen men of color, who appeared hostile. ”This statement likely reflects racist attitudes of the 19th century, rather than an eternal, heavenly perspective, where all are alike unto God.
Originally the doctrine and covenants contained the "Lectures on Faith," seven lectures given to the School of the Elders (the successor to the School of the Prophets) in Kirtland, Ohio, during the winter of 1834–35. The lectures were very popular in the early days in the church and were canonized as scripture in 1835. Bruce R. McConkie said of the lectures:
"In my judgment, [they are] the most comprehensive, inspired utterance that now exists in the English language - that exists in one place defining, interpreting, expounding, announcing, and testifying what kind of being God is. It was written by the power of the Holy Ghost, by the spirit of inspiration. It is, in effect, eternal scripture; it is true. "
(Bruce R. McConkie, 1972lecture at Brigham Young University).
According to McConkie, the Lectures should be elevated to the status of scripture – God's word to mankind. Not everyone agrees. Some of the teachings that appear in the lectures are controversial, and the lectures were removed in 1921 and have not appeared in Doctrine and Covenants since that time. The Lectures demonstrate an evolving view of the God; views that are much different than those J Smith held earlier in his prophetic career, when he “translated” the Book of Mormon.
The most controversial statement in the “Lectures on Faith” is found in lecture five. It reads:
There are two personages, who constitute the great, matchless, governing,
and supreme power over all things, by whom all things were created and
made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible, whither in
heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity
of space. They are the Father and the Son—the Father being a personage
of spirit, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fullness, the Son,
who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or rather man
was formed after his likeness and in his image; he is also the express image
and likeness of the personage of the Father, possessing all the fullness of the
Father, or the same fullness with the Father…[the son possesses] the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit...and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one..."
(Lectures on Faith Num 5, 5:2a-5:2e)
"Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation? A. It does. "
(Lectures on Faith Num 5, 5:26)
Critics point out that this reflects a change in the LDS church's view of God. Unlike later Mormon teachings, the father is described as “a personage of spirit,” and the Holy Spirit is not a “personage of Spirit,” but is described as “the mind of God. ”Critics quote the Doctrine and Covenants itself (and Bible and Book of Mormon) where it states that God “is the same yesterday, today and forever. ” (D&C 20:12, Mormon 9:9, 2 Nephi 2:4, Hebrews 13:8).
Joseph Fielding Smith, one of the men responsible for the removal of the lectures, said in an interview on 22 July 1940, that the Lectures were removed from the D&C for following reasons:
(1) The Lectures were never received by Joseph Smith as revelation;
(2) The Lectures are only instructions relative to the general subject of faith and are not the doctrine of the Church;
(3) The Lectures are not complete as to their teachings the Godhead;
(4) It was thought by Elder James E. Talmage, chairman of the committee responsible for their removal, that to avoid confusion and contention on this vital point of belief [i. e. , on the Godhead], it would be better not to have them bound in the same volume with the commandments and Revelation. (John William Fitzgerald, “A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants” (Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1940), pp. 343–45)
Some LDS leaders and apologists have suggested that the author of the Lectures on Faith was not Joseph Smith, but rather Sidney Rigdon.
Charles W. Penrose, a member of the First Presidency, wrote:
“We learn by reading the history of the early times in the Church that the lectures were delivered by Sidney Rigdon when he was in full fellowship. ”
(Heber J. Grant Letterbooks, p. 860)
John Henry Evans said
“[A]s unlike anything Joseph Smith ever wrote as was Ralph Waldo Emerson's writing different from that of his contemporary, Margaret Fuller. “Uninspired” is the only word that properly describes the pamphlet [the printed lectures]. It begins with a definition taken from Buck's [theological] dictionary, proceeds to tell us how our knowledge of God is derived, and goes on to describe the qualities of God as shown in the Bible. The treatment is just what any one of a thousand theologians of Rigdon's time could produce. It is said that Oliver Cowdery also aided in the composition of this document.
(John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet [New York: Macmillan, 1946], pp. 95–96)
Neither Penrose nor Evans offer evidence that Joseph Smith was not the author of the lectures. They received their information second or third hand, by guessing. It is possible that Joseph Smith was not the author of the lectures, but if he was not, then were they inspired revelations?If Sidney Rigdon wrote them, why did Smith take credit for inventing them and place them in the D&C, where they were to be regarded as revelations from God?If they were not revelations, then why advertise them as such?All are reasonable questions.
Joseph Fielding Smith believed that Joseph Smith at least helped craft the lectures: "Now the Prophet did know something about these Lectures on Faith, because he helped to prepare them, and he helped also to revise these lectures before they were published..." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:195). Joseph Fielding Smith also stated that “we must give the Prophet Joseph Smith credit (for the lectures)” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:304)
Doctrine and Covenants section 19 talks about the LDS perspective on Christ. The section is meant to be direct revelation from Jesus to Joseph Smith. Christ described his suffering in Gethsemane in D&C 19:18
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.
This statement refers to the account in the Gospel of Luke 22:43-44.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
If the gospel of Luke served as source material for the “revelation,” Smith was unaware that the “sweat-like-blood” verses were not originally in the Gospel of Luke. Biblical scholars indicate that these verses were added well after the Gospel of Luke was penned, because the verses cannot be found in the oldest manuscripts of Luke. Many scholars also believe that verse 44 does not mean Jesus sweat blood, but rather that his sweat was like blood - a simile.
For more information on the suffering in the garden Link is here.
The original edition of the Doctrine and Covenants regarded polygamy as a crime, as did the laws of Ohio, where J Smith lived, and where he introduced polygamy. (Richard Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History. 2nd edition; Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Wives of Joseph Smith; Valeen Tippetts Avery and Linda King Newell, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. )
Doctrine and Covenants 101:4 (1835 Edition)
4 "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband; except that in the event of death when either is at liberty to marry again. "
This revelation was removed from The Doctrine and Covenants in 1876, forty-one years after Smith began intimate associations with women other than his wife. The revelation known as Doctrine and Covenants 49 remained in the book of revelations however, and also reveals a negative view of polygamy:
Doctrine and Covenants 49:15-17
15 And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
16 Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
17 And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
If God wanted to reveal polygamy as a holy practice, perhaps this would have been a good place to announce it. It appears that either God or J Smith was confused about what constituted a God-approved-marriage in 1835.
Conditions of Polygamy
The revelation on plural marriage in D&C 132, reveals special conditions placed on these marriages. God wanted Mormon men to marry virgins as multiple wives.
61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood-if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Parley Pratt violated this rule by practicing polyandry – marrying a woman who was legally married to another man. Smith took eleven legally married women as plural wives. (Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith)
Another condition related to Mormon polygamy found in D&C 132 was that a man must have the approval of his first wife (D&C 132:61). Joseph Smith and other men ignored this directive also. Joseph Smith married perhaps two dozen other women without Emma Smith's permission. (Valeen Tippetts Avery and Linda King Newell, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. )
For more on the problems with polygamy.
Section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants records a vision that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery recorded. They said it took place in the Kirtland temple (Kirtland, Ohio). Official LDS curriculum depicts this experience as a literal appearance of heavenly beings. The phrase “the eyes of our understanding” in verse 1 is synonymous with the phrase “spiritual eyes”, or an experience that occurs in one's imagination. The vision in the temple was likely similar to friendly witnesses who claimed to see gold plates and an angel with their spiritual eyes. Later when pressed, two of the three main witnesses admitted that they did not see actual physical objects or beings – except in their imaginations or “mind's eye. ”
Both Elias and Elijah also are reported to have appeared as two separate beings in the Kirtland temple (D&C 110:12, 13):
"12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.
13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--..." [emphasis added]
However, Elias and Elijah are the same person. Elijah is the Hebrew name of Elias (Greek). But Joseph thought they were two different people and thus referred to them as such. Richard Packham explains in detail the problem of Elias and Elijah as used by Joseph Smith.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 135 records the “martyrdom of Joseph Smith”. The section was written by LDS apostle John Taylor. Taylor's account is not entirely accurate. For example, verses 4, 5, and 7 of this section picture Joseph as an innocent victim of persecution, and offer no indication that Joseph Smith was imprisoned for violating the law. Yet Smith was arrested for destroying private property; the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper and printing press. The first edition described J Smith's illegal and immoral activity in Nauvoo, Illinois, including charges that he attempted to seduce several men's wives. (Link is here.)
Verse five also leaves the reader the impression that Joseph Smith was murdered as a submissive victim or passive martyr. This is not the case. Apologist and LDS historian Richard L. Bushman:
Willard Richards saw a hundred armed men around the door. Men ran up the stairs and shots were fired through the open windows. The four men in the room sprang for their weapons—Joseph for the six-shooter, Hyrum for the single-shot, Richards and Taylor for canes. As they threw their weight against the door, musket balls from the landing punched through. Hyrum was the first to fall. A ball through the door struck him on the left side of the nose…three more balls entered his thigh, torso, and shin, killing him. John Taylor was hit in the thigh and fell against the windowsill, breaking his watch…Joseph pulled the trigger six times into the hall, dropped the pistol on the floor and sprang to the window. (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, p. 549-550)
Joseph Smith was outnumbered by his killers, but he used a gun, and according to John Taylor, he shot three members of the mob; two of whom died.
Other LDS historians indicate that Smith fully expected to be “busted” out of jail, based on orders he issued to a member of the Nauvoo Legion, John Dunham, to rescue him.
Understandably, Smith fought to stay alive. But he was not an innocent, defenseless lamb, bravely and calmly submitting to his death, portrayed by John Taylor in D&C 135.
There are sections of the D&C that describe Jesus Christ and God the Father as the same being. They may reflect Trinitarian views that Joseph Smith may have held in the early years of the LDS church. Sections 29 and 49 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
29:1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins
29:42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
49:5 - Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved, and he that receiveth him not shall be damned.
49:28 - Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen.
These sections reflect the early Mormon view that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are “one God”. Like the Lectures on Faith, the Godhead consisting of three distinct individuals appears to have been an evolving concept with Smith. Later in the D&C, Section 130, Smith wrote that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate personages. The Father and Son have bodies of flesh and bones, “as tangible as man's”, while the Holy Ghost is described as a “personage of spirit. ” (D&C 130:22)
Doctrine and Covenants section 1, the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, reads, "Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled" (D&C 1:37). Not all of the prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants were fulfilled. Some examples of failed prophesies are shown below.
Doctrine and Covenants 84 is a revelation given to Joseph Smith on September 22 and 23, 1832, in Kirtland, Ohio. It says the New Jerusalem and the temple are to be built by LDS members then living in Missouri. Verse 5 states, "verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord. "However, neither the temple nor the New Jerusalem were built by the generation that lived in 1832.
Apostle Orson Pratt said of the revelation:
“God promised in the year 1832 that we should, before the generation then living had passed away, return and build up the City of Zion in Jackson County, that we should return and build up the temple of the Most High where we formerly laid the corner stone" (J. of D. Vol. 13, p. 362).
Apostle Pratt and Section 84 were wrong.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:112-115 is also a part of the preceding revelation. In it Newel K. Whitney was told to go to New York, Albany, and Boston, and warn the people "with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things. For if they do reject these things, the hour of their judgment is nigh, and their house shall be left unto them desolate. " Whitney went to those cities with Joseph Smith, but their trip was unsuccessful. The people of those cities were unimpressed. New York, Albany, and Boston thrive today. This appears to be another false prophecy.
On December 25, 1832, Joseph Smith issued a "Civil War" prophecy. Most Mormons believe that this prophecy is hard evidence that Smith glimpsed the future with God's help. A close look at the prophecy demonstrates that Smith got it wrong.
The prophecy warns that destruction will begin with "the rebellion of South Carolina. "The rebellion of South Carolina, being the first to secede from the union, by firing the first shots of the Civil War are historical facts. However, the rebellion referred to was a crisis brewing in 1832, the date the prophecy was given. Four days before Smith's prophecy, the Painsville, Ohio, Telegraph printed parts of "The Crisis," from an article in the New York Currier and Enquirer. The article predicted a war between the north and the south that was supposed to begin soon in South Carolina. Smith's revelation contains similar warnings to those found in the newspapers. When the article was printed, Joseph Smith lived in Kirtland, Ohio, which is next to Painsville. The Painsville newspaper was in circulation when Smith's prophecy was given. It is likely that the newspaper article was source material for Smith's revelation. The coincidence is difficult to dismiss.
The prophecy was not original, and did not occur within the context of 1832 as predicted by the newspapers and Smith. Faithful Mormons assert that Joseph Smith was perhaps predicting a future rebellion instead of one in 1832. There other problems with the revelation and that ad-hoc theory (Section 87).
According to verse 2, "war would be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place” (South Carolina). Neither of South Carolina's rebellions instigated a world war. LDS apologists have tried to convince members that the Civil War led to World Wars I and II, but credible historians see no relationship between the conflicts.
In verse 4 the reader was warned, "slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. " The Civil War was not the result of slaves rising up against their masters, nor were huge numbers of slaves fighting for the North or the South. The Civil War was between Northern and Southern white Americans. Verse 5 states that "remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation. " The word “remnants” is common reference in Mormonism to the Native Americans. “Remnants” is used extensively in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. Unlike the prophecy claims, Native Americans did not vex white "Gentiles” during the Civil War.
Verse 5 and 6 predict, "with the sword by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine and plague and earthquake and the thunder of heaven and fierce and vivid lightening also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consummation decreed hath made a full end of all nations. " The end of nations has not come about yet. And if/when it does, it is not related to the Civil War as predicted.
Although this revelation was received in 1832, it did not appear in the 1833 Book of Commandments or the Doctrine & Covenants until after the Civil War had started. The revelation was not published until the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants came out; 15 years after the Civil War began and 11 years after it ended. Mormon apologists and critics both agree that it seemed more impressive, if released after the Civil War, and if the source of the “prophecy,” and problems within the text were not published.
Doctrine and Covenants 111 was revealed to Joseph Smith on August 6, 1836, while he was in Salem, Massachusetts. In verses 2-4 it reads:
2 I have much treasure in this city for you for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality
3 Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you
4And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.
Joseph Smith was promised wealth from the city of Salem. The only time that Smith is recorded as being in Salem was in 1836. There is no evidence that any “gold and silver” was received by Smith from this city before his death.
Doctrine and Covenants 112 is a "revelation given through Joseph Smith to Thomas B. Marsh at Kirtland, Ohio, July 23, 1837. " Verses 4 says “Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth. ” Verse 6 states that, "I the Lord have a great work for thee [Thomas Marsh] to do..." Verse 7 states, "thou art chosen..." and in verse 11 the Marsh is told, "I know thy heart..." Verse 16 says, "Thomas, thou art the man I have chosen to hold the Keys of my Kingdom, as pertaining to the twelve..." When this revelation was received Marsh was President of the Twelve, but he left the church only 15 months later (D. H. C. , Vol III, pp. 166-167). Did the Lord really know Marsh's heart? This is a failed prophecy.
Section 114 of the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed on April 17, 1838 according to the section heading. It is only two verses long and is addressed to David W. Patten, an apostle of the LDS church.
1 Verily thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world.
2 For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishopric. Amen.
David Patten was killed in the Mormon conflict in Missouri on October 25, 1838, and not alive to serve a mission in 1839.
Doctrine and Covenants 124 was received by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois on January 19, 1841. This section is about the command from God to build a house of entertainment (the Nauvoo House – a hotel) and the Nauvoo temple. Verses 31-33 read:
31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
33 For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me.
The Nauvoo temple burned to the ground. Brigham Young stated "they got it nearly completed before it was burned, but the saints did not enjoy it" (J. of D. Vol. 18, pp. 303-304). The temple was never completed.
Doctrine and Covenants 124 also says that the "Nauvoo House" was commanded to be built and that “Joseph Smith and his house [shall] have place therein…from generation to generation forever and ever" (D&C 124:56, 59). Joseph Smith was killed, and the Nauvoo House was never finished, and never occupied by the Smiths. Therefore, it looks like both prophecies were not fulfilled.
Joseph Smith was a religious innovator. His revelations – assertions that God explained the mysteries of the kingdom of God to him– were divine messages from God's mouth to Joseph's ear (Doctrine & Covenants 21:4-5). Mormons regard them as scripture. Smith (1) invented strange names in the Adamic, Egyptian and Reformed Egyptian, (2) invented alphabet and grammar tools for those languagesand (3) reversed the meaning of previous revelations. This pattern may help explain.
President Joseph Fielding Smith declared, “There are many cults and many false faiths, there are many strange ideas in the world, but if we will search these revelations then we will be fortified against errors and we will be made strong. ” (Conference Report, Oct. 1931, p. 17. )
Joseph Smith testified in 1834, that a revelation he received, was the same one God had revealed thousands of years earlier to the ancient prophet Enoch. It described God's economic plan; His “own way” to eliminate poverty and purify people on earth. Enoch and his people embraced God's plan and his entire city (Zion), was transported to heaven without experiencing death (D&C 104:15-16, 18; Pearl of Great Price (PGP), Moses 7:16-21).
The Lord called his plan to eliminate greed, the United Order (D&C Section Heading 104 and History of the Church, 2:54). God waited for thousands of years, until Smith came on the scene to reveal it. He wanted Joseph and the Mormons to introduce His plan, and prepare the righteous for the Second Coming of Jesus (which many believed was just around the corner).
The United Order, or revelation to Enoch / Joseph, was full of strange, ancient sounding names– Pelagoram, Shinehah, Tahhanes, Gazelam.
In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the section heading read, “Revelation given to Enoch, concerning the order of the church for the benefit of the poor. ”
One historian explained, “Except for a few leaders who knew better, the Mormons believed these to be the names of people living in the days of Enoch” (Fawn Brodie, 1971. No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, Knopf Publishing p. 141).
This is what Joseph intended.
For over 40 years Mormon church leaders hid the truth from the members. When the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published, they quietly removed the reference as a “revelation given to Enoch. ” The revised introduction read:“Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, April 23, 1834, concerning the United Order, or the order of the Church for the benefit of the poor. ”
The code names were also revealed.
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Dr. F. G. Williams
N. K. Whitney
Supposed to be New York or Buffalo
Did Smith use the same tools to produce The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham?
Consistently Smith prevaricated when it suited him, and remained quiet about the role his active imagination played in his prophetic calling. (Dan Vogel. 2004. Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet. Signature Books) He also reversed the meaning of revelations years after he received them, infuriating his closest followers. (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ)
1. The text claims to be a revelation given to an ancient prophet. This is true of the Book of Abraham, the Book of Moses, and the Book of Mormon.
2. The text uses ancient-sounding personal names (Pelagoram, Mahemson) just as the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham do.
3. The text uses ancient-sounding place names, some of which overlap with Book of Abraham place names (Shinehah, for example).
4. Joseph claimed that God revealed secret knowledge about John the Revelator, to him and Oliver Cowdery through the aid of the Urim and Thummim. (D&C Section 7)The Institute Manual for the Doctrine and Covenants comments: “It is not known whether Joseph saw the parchment referred to and was given power to translate it, or if its contents were revealed to Joseph without his seeing the original source. It makes no difference, since the material was given by revelation to the Prophet. ”
If the church had never admitted the truth would modern apologists scramble to find Near Eastern etymologies (study of word origins) for names like Mahemson and Laneshine? Would they look for parallels between the transfer of Zonbre's inheritance in the Abrahamic literature?
The code names were used in sections 75, 86, 96, and 98 of the 1835 edition of the D&C. These are currently numbered 78, 82, 96, and 104, in the current D&C.
The published headings for those early revelations were (Italics added by MT. com):
"Revelation given March, 1832. The order given of the Lord to Enoch, for the purpose of establishing the poor" (LDS D&C 78)
"Revelation given April, 1832, "showing the order given to Enoch and the church in his day" (LDS D&C 82);
"A Revelation to Enoch, showing the order of the city or stake of Zion, Shinehah, giving for a sample to the saints in Kirtland, June, 1833" (LDS D&C 96)
"Revelation given to Enoch, concerning the order of the church for the benefit of the poor" (LDS D&C 104).
Church members were not aware that Joseph and others were allowed to divide up valuable church assets undetected.
William West discussed one of the printed revelations that included the heading: "Revelation given to Enoch, concerning the order of the church for the benefit of the poor. "Somehow, West discovered that the code names represented Joseph and other church leaders who secretly divided up property among themselves.
West reported, "I conversed with two men in particular, who were very free to instruct me in the way of their belief, so I asked them the meaning of these names: one of them began to tell me that they were the names of certain persons who lived in the days of Enoch: I asked him if Pelagoram did not mean Sidney Rigdon, upon which the other advised me to learn things of less importance before I sought into such deep matters, said he was in haste, and they both left me. " (Italics added by MT)
William West discussed the revelation with Ebenezer Barr and recorded the conversation:
Ebenezer Barr, of whom I requested an explanation of this revelation, read it in full, and then handed me the book, saying there it is.
I told him that I wanted to know the meaning of those words.
"O! said he that is another thing. "
Can't you tell me what they mean?
"I shall not. "
Are they the names of men who live in Kirtland, or did they live in the days of Enoch?
"They are names of certain persons who live in Kirtland. "
Who are they?
"I shall not tell you. "
"Because if I should you would sound it to the four winds: it is not to be made known to the world. " (West, A Few Interesting Facts Respecting the Rise, Progress and Pretensions of the Mormons (1837), 13-14.
Section 78, as originally published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, read:
"The Lord spake unto Enoch, saying, hearken unto me saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the high priesthood of my church.... it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion, or in other words, the city of Enoch" (D&C 78:1-3).
The revelation continued:
"Let my servant Ahashdah, and my servant Gazelam, or Enoch, and my servant Pelagoram, sit in council with the saints which are in Zion" (D&C 78:9).
Subsequent editions inserted names of individuals in brackets after the names in the revelation. Enoch and also Gazelam were identified as Joseph Smith, Ahashdah was Newel K. Whitney, and Pelagoram was Sidney Rigdon. However, the current edition of the Doctrine and Covenants has dropped the names Enoch, Gazelam, Ahashdah, and Pelagoram, substituting the names of individuals, and eliminated the reference to the city of Enoch.
Five of the revelations using code names dealt with the "United Order": Sections 78, 82, 92, 96, and 104. The United Order was first outlined in Section 42, received on 9 February 1831, and it was intended that the surplus from the consecration of property would be administered to the poor (Italics added by MT. com). The Book of Moses had already been revealed to Joseph in December 1830, describing the righteousness of Enoch and his people:
"And the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them" (Moses 7:18).
The revelations Smith received directed him and the church to establish a new Zion. The facts suggest that the Book of Enoch contained the following information: an account of the gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman where the Lord blessed Adam, an explanation of the meanings of terms in the pure Adamic language, visions of Enoch, an exposition of the order of Enoch or the united order, and a history of the people living in the time of Enoch.
Joseph had already used a considerable amount of material from the Book of Enoch by 1835. In July 1835 the Egyptian papyri fell into Joseph's hands, and it he may have realized that he could link the writings of Abraham and Joseph to the scrolls.
The Enoch-like names almost completely disappear from the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants after 1835. However, one of these names occurs in the Book of Abraham, when the Lord shows Abraham the planets and stars:
"And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars" (Abraham 3:13).
Shinehah had been used in Sections 82 and 104 as a term designating Kirtland, Ohio, and Section 117 states:
"Is there not room enough on the mountains of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and on the plains of Olaha Shinehah, or the land where Adam dwelt.... . Therefore, come up hither unto the land of my people, even Zion" (D&C 117:8-9).
This was written in Far West, Missouri, and Joseph had already identified a site in Missouri as Adam-ondi-Ahman. The name Shinehah does not appear in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, but one of the fixed stars is called Shineflis.
However, in Section 104, Joseph seems to have been doing something very similar to what he would later do in the Grammar. The word Laneshine was used to mean a print shop, Shinelah meant "to print," and Shinelane meant "printing. " We have seen that in the Grammar Joseph created the names and definitions of the Egyptian characters.
We should also recall that when Joseph began work on the Book of Mormon, he first copied characters from the plates and gave a translation of them. David Whitmer stated, "Frequently one character would make two lines of manuscript, while others made but a word or two words" (Reverend M. T. Lamb. 1887. The Golden Bible: The Book of Mormon - Is it From God? 240).
Whitmer could not have known this unless at one time Joseph was using a system similar to that which appears in the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, in which characters and the interpretation were placed side by side. Joseph Smith also derived many lines of manuscript from just one Egyptian character.
According to Richard Bushman, Lucy Smith said in the Preliminary Manuscript for her Biographical Sketches that
"Joseph was instructed 'to take off a facsimile of the characters composing the alphabet which were called reformed egyptian Alphabetically and send them to all the learned men that he could find and ask them for the translation of the same. '
Lucy implied that once Joseph had a translation of all the basic characters, he could carry on by himself -- thus the need to copy a great number of characters" (Richard L. Bushman. 1984. University of Illinois Press, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 86).
This seems to be proof that Joseph had the text of the Book of Mormon, and also the basic characters of the Egyptian alphabet. This suggests to some that the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar may have belonged to the Book of Mormon and that Joseph deleted it and then later adapted it to the Egyptian papyri.
Is the Kinderhook plates incident another indication that Joseph likely had unpublished material at hand, which he was waiting for an opportunity to use? In 1843 some men from Kinderhook, Illinois, claimed that they had discovered some plates covered with hieroglyphs, and the plates were taken to Joseph to translate. Joseph wrote in his history:
“I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth. ” (Joseph Smith 1976b 5:372)
Joseph's interpretation of the characters on the Kinderhook plates sounds like a sequel to the Book of Abraham. Abraham Chapter 1 gives a brief account of the founding of Egypt by a daughter of Ham and states concerning the Pharaoh who lived in the time of Abraham:
"Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth" (The Book of Abraham 1:21).
The men who brought the Kinderhook plates to Joseph were likely waiting for him to publish a complete translation, but it did not happen. Thirty-six years later, one of the men, Wilbur Fugate, admitted that the whole thing was a hoax and that they had made the plates themselves. However, General Authorities at the time, such as B.H. Roberts, claimed that Fugate was lying and that the Kinderhook Plates were real as was Joseph's translation. The Church continued to support that belief until one of the plates was found in 1960 and determined to be a 19th production when tested in 1980.
This is verified by Pro-LDS historian Richard Bushman:
Church historians continued to insist on the authenticity of the Kinderhook plates until 1980 when an examination conducted by the Chicago Historical Society, possessor of one plate, proved it was a nineteenth-century creation.
Reference: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, p 490.
For more information see Kinderhook Plates
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery stated that the Egyptian papyri also contained the writings of Joseph, the son of Jacob, and it seems that the Book of Mormon provides us with a portion of this record. When Lehi blessed his son Joseph, he quoted from the prophecies of the biblical Joseph (2 Nephi 3).
Joseph Smith included these prophecies in his translation of chapter 50 of the Book of Genesis, but with variations. Moroni also quoted a prophecy of the biblical Jacob concerning the seed of Joseph (Alma 46:24-25), which is not included in the Joseph Smith Translation.
The concept of a record containing ancient prophecies is found not only in the Book of Mormon, but in the Book of Moses as well. The Book of Moses states that in the days of Enos,
"A book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration; and by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled" (Moses 6:5-6).
Enoch also declares:
"For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language" (Moses 6:46).
The Book of Abraham seems to indicate that Abraham came into possession of the book of remembrance, for it says:
"But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day" (Abraham 1:31).
The Book of Mormon also states that king Benjamin taught his sons in,
"the language of his fathers.... And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass" (Mosiah 1:2-3).
Benjamin says further that the brass plates were engraved in the language of the Egyptians. These brass plates had been in the possession of Laban and his ancestors, until they were taken from Laban's treasury by Nephi.
Thus the concept of an ancient record, passed on from one generation to another, runs through and binds together the Book of Mormon, the Book of Moses, and the Book of Abraham.
Furthermore, we are led to speculate that the Egyptian language was either the same as the language of Adam or was a modified version of it. And it seems very probable that the Book of Mormon, the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar all came from the same source.
Joseph Smith developed models for producing revelations from God. He had a vivid imagination. Early on he may have developed the idea of Egyptian characters and records (they were not decipherable in his day), that contained ancient prophecies, people, and places. Once he developed enough characters with translation possibilities, he could generate all sorts of revelatory material.
What was his motive? Did he employ invented code names to conceal his efforts to dissolve the United Order and divide the consecrated church property with his associates? Did he seek to inflate his authority in the eyes of his followers? Did he believe that he had a noble motive for misleading his flock? Or was he a con artist?
This section proves that Mormons can be fooled into thinking that Joseph Smith translated ancient scripture when he didn't. Joseph invented a story, put in some ancient sounding names, acted as if it happened long ago by stating it was a revelation given to Enoch from God. All the average members (except those in the know) thought that the original D&C 104 was real, ancient scripture. How do we know that the BOM isn't also just made up stories using ancient sounding names?
Brodie, Fawn M. 1971. No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. 2d ed. , rev. and enl. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Bushman, Richard L. 1984. Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Herodotus. 1972. Herodotus: The Histories. Translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt. Revised by A. R. Burn. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.
Howe, E. D. 1834. Mormonism Unvailed. Reprint. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, n. d.
Lamb, M. T. 1887. The Golden Bible, or, The Book of Mormon; Is it from God? New York: Ward & Drummond.
McConkie, Bruce R. 1966. Mormon Doctrine. 2d ed. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.
Smith, Joseph. 1976a. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.
Smith, Joseph. 1976b History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 6 vols. 2d ed. rev. Edited by B. H. Roberts. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.
Sperry, Sidney B. 1968. Book of Mormon Compendium. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.
Tanner, Jerald and Sandra Tanner. 1982. Mormonism -- Shadow or Reality? 4th ed. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
Link is here. - archived copy
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Link is here.
Revelation given to Enoch, concerning the order of the church for the benefit of the poor.
1 Verily I say unto you my friends, I give unto you counsel and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order, which I command to be organized and established, to be an united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of the church, and for the salvation of men until I come, with promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful, they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings; but inasmuch as they were not faithful, they were nigh unto cursing. Therefore inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant, by covetousness and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse, for I the lord have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man, belonging to the order, shall be found a transgressor; or, in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will, for I the Lord am not to be mocked in these things: and all this that the innocent among you, may not be condemned with the unjust; and that the guilty among you may not escape, because I the Lord have promised unto you a crown of glory at my right hand. Therefore inasmuch as you are found transgressors, ye cannot escape my wrath in your lives: inasmuch as ye are cut off by transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption:
2. And I now give unto you power from this very hour, that if any man among you, of the order, is found a transgressor, and repenteth not of the evil, that ye shall deliver him over unto the buffetings of satan; and he shall not have power to bring evil upon you. It is wisdom in me: therefore a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves, and appoint every man his stewardship, that every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him: for it is expedient that I the Lord should make every man accountable, as stewards over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I the Lord stretched out the heavens, and builded the earth as a very handy work; and all things therein are mine; and it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine; but it must needs be done in mine own way: and behold this is the way, that I the Lord have decreed to provide for my saints: that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low; for the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare, yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor, and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
3 And now, verily I say unto you, concerning the properties of the order: let my servant Pelagoram have appointed unto him the place where he now resides, and the lot of Tahhanes, for his stewardship, for his support while he is laboring in my vineyard, even as I will when I shall command him; and let all things be done according to counsel of the order, and united consent, or voice of the order which dwell in the land of Shinehah. And this stewardship and blessing, I the Lord confer upon my servant Pelogoram, for a blessing upon him, and his seed after him; and I will multiply blessings upon him, inasmuch as he shall be humble before me.
4 And again, let my servant Mahemson have appointed unto him, for his stewardship, the lot of land which my servant Zombre obtained in exchange for his former inheritance, for him and his seed after him; and inasmuch as he is faithful I will multiply blessings upon him and his seed after him. And let my servant Mahemson devote his moneys for the proclaiming of my words, according as my servant Gazelam shall direct.
5 And again, let my servant Shederlaomach have the place upon which he now dwells. And let my servant Olihah have the lot which is set off joining the house which is to be for the Lene-shine-house, which is lot number one; and also the lot upon which his father resides. And let my servant Shederlaomach and Olihah have the Lane-shine-house and all things that pertain unto it; and this shall be their stewardship which shall be appointed unto them; and inasmuch as they are faithful behold I will bless, and multiply blessings upon them; and this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed them, for them and their seed after them; and inasmuch as they are faithful, I will multiply blessings upon them and their seed after them; even a multiplicity of blessings.
6 And again, let my servant Zombre have the house in which he lives, and the inheritance, all save the ground which has been reserved for the building of my houses, which pertains to that inheritance; and those lots which have been named for my servant Olihah. And inasmuch as he is faithful, I will multiply blessings upon him. And it is my will that he should sell the lots that are laid off for the building up of the city of my saints, inasmuch as it shall be made known to him by the voice of the Spirit, and according to the counsel of the order; and by the voice of the order. And this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed unto him, for a blessing unto him, and his seed after him; and inasmuch as he is faithful, I will multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon him.
7 And again, let my servant Ahashdah have appointed unto him, the houses and lot where he now resides, and the lot and building on which the Ozondah stands, and also the lot which is on the corner south of the Ozondah; and also the lot on which the Shule is situated: And all this I have appointed unto my servant Ahashdah, for his stewardship, for a blessing upon him and his seed after him, for the benefit of the Ozondah of my order, which I have established for my sake in the land of Shinehah; yea, verily this is the stewardship which I have appointed unto my servant Ahashdah; even this whole Ozondah establishment, him and his agent, and his seed after him, and inasmuch as he is faithful in keeping my commandments, which I have given unto him, I will multiply blessings upon him, and his seed after him, even a multiplicity of blessings.
8 And again, let my servant Gazelam have appointed unto him, the lot which is laid off for the building of my house, which is forty rods long, and twelve wide, and also the inheritance upon which his father now resides; and this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed unto him, for a blessing upon him, and upon his father, for behold, I have reserved an inheritance for his father, and his support: therefore he shall be reckoned in the house of my servant Gazelam, and inasmuch as he is faithful, even a multiplicity of blessings.
9 And now a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as an united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise: after you are organized you shall be called the united order of the stake of Zion, the city of Shinehah. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the united order of the city of Zion; and they shall be organized in their own names, and in their own name; and they shall do their business in their own name, and in their own names: and you shall do your business in your own name, and in your own names. And this I have commended to be done for your salvation and also for their salvation in consequence of their being driven out and that which is to come. The covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words: therefore, you are desolved as a united order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour, unto them, only on this wise, as I said, by loan, as shall be agreed by this order, in council, as your circumstances will admit, and the voice of the council direct.
10 And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you: behold all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken: and if the properties are mine then ye are stewards, otherwise ye are no stewards. But verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house, even stewards indeed: and for this purpose I have commanded you to organize yourselves, even to shinelah my words, the fullness of my scriptures, the revelations which I have given unto you, and which I shall hereafter, from time to time, give unto you, for the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth and to prepare my people for the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.
11 And ye shall prepare for yourselves a place for a treasury, and consecrate it unto my name; and ye shall appoint one among you to keep the treasury, and he shall be ordained unto this blessing: and there shall be a seal upon the treasury, and all the sacred things shall be delivered into the treasury, and no man among you shall call it his own, or any part of it, for it shall belong to you all with one accord: and I give it unto you from this very hour: and now see to it, that ye go to and make use of the stewardship which I have appointed unto you, exclusive of the sacred things, for the purpose of shinelane those sacred things, as I have said: and the avails of the sacred things shall be had in the treasury, and a seal shall be upon it, and it shall not be used or taken out of the treasury by any one, neither shall the seal be loosed which shall be placed upon it, only by the voice of the order; or by commandment. And thus shall ye preserve all the avails of the sacred things in the treasury, for sacred and holy purposes: and this shall be called the sacred treasury of the Lord: and a seal shall be kept upon it that it may be holy and consecrated unto the Lord.
12 And again, there shall be another treasury prepared and a treasurer appointed to keep the treasury, and a seal shall be placed upon it; and all moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties which I have appointed unto you, in houses or in lands, or in cattle, or in all things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as you receive moneys by the hundreds or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by fives, or in other words, if any man among you obtain five talents let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise; and let not any man among you say that it is his own, for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it; and there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order. And this shall be the voice and common consent of the order: that any man among you, say unto the treasurer, I have need of this to help me in my stewardship: if it be five talents, or if it be ten talents, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires, to help him in his stewardship, until he be found a transgressor, and it is manifest before the council of the order plainly, that he is an unfaithful, and an unwise steward; but so long as he is in full fellowship, and is faithful, and wise in his stewardship, this shall be his token unto the treasurer that the treasurer shall not withhold. But in case of transgression the treasurer shall be subject unto the council and voice of the order. And in case the treasurer is found an unfaithful, and an unwise steward, he shall be subject to the counsel and voice of the order, and shall be removed out of his place, and another shall be appointed in his stead.
13 And again, verily I say unto you, concerning your debts; behold it is my will that you should pay all your debts; and it is my will that you should humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility, and the prayer of faith, and inasmuch as you are diligent and humble, and exercise the prayer of faith behold I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, until I shall send means unto you for your deliverance. Therefore write speedily unto Cainhannoch, and write according to that which shall be dictated by my spirit, and I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, that it shall be taken away out of their minds to bring affliction upon you. And inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful and call on my name, behold I will give you the victory: I give unto you a promise, that you shall be delivered this once, out of your bondage: inasmuch as you obtain a chance to loan money by hundreds, or thousands, even until you shall loan enough to deliver yourselves from bondage, it is your privilege, and pledge the properties which I have put into your hands, this once, by giving your names, by common consent, or otherwise, as it shall seem good unto you: I give unto you this privilege this once, and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up: even so. Amen.
See also United Order.
We regret that we could not find this issue mentioned in any church publication or website. We found some of the issues discussed on the LDS apologist website FAIR. Several issues are discussed here:
Both the critics and defenders of the faith have compelling points to make. The editors of this section give their own opinion:
The Doctrine & Covenants is unique Mormon scripture in that it is not based on ancient documents. The Book of Mormon claims to be translated from ancient Nephite writings 2,000 years old. The Book of Abraham claims to be translated from Abraham's writings 4,000 years old. Even the Book of Moses, although not based on a translation of a physical document, is still an amalgamation of the "Vision of Moses" recording God's dealings with Moses thousands of years ago.
If the gospel was indeed restored though Joseph Smith, then it stands to reason that God would continue to give revelation to be recorded as sacred scripture in this last dispensation, as was reportedly done in the others. That's essentially what the D&C is - God's dealings with his chosen people in this period of time.
If there are no ancient documents to examine such as the Anthon document, Egyptian papyri or Kinderhook plates to examine, then how is the scientifically-inclined researcher to ascertain the validity of the D&C scripture? What can be analyzed to look for evidence to either support the D&C or discredit the D&C as really coming from God?
For God's revelations to have any real meaning they need to be accurate. God tells his prophet what to record, the prophet records it and there it should remain unchanged. Except for scribal errors, which should be corrected expeditiously, we believe there should not any fundamental changes to canonized scripture. Yet the D&C seems to betray it's origins as more likely coming from man and not from God as there have been many, many substantive changes to the D&C with no explanation.
Also troubling is that official, written revelation seems to have ceased. After being needed for thousands of years, there are virtually no 'new' revelations recorded in the D&C. You would think that with all the dilemmas facing our modern world, we would need divine guidance on issues like stem-cell research, homosexuality, cloning organs, etc. Yet, the D&C has been stagnant for decades and likely to remain that way.
In light of the numerous changes and problems associated with this modern-day scripture, a belief that its words are divinely-dictated revelations to its prophets must remain a matter of pure faith.
LDS Church website: