Why have ye transfigured the Holy Word of God?
By OneWhoIsWatching www.threewatches.blogspot.com
In the 8th chapter of Mormon the Prophet Moroni speaks of the sacred records that he has been entrusted with that were to come forth at a future time.
He notes that a Prophet will bring them forth by the power of God with an eye single to the glory of God:
“For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord. And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God.” (Mormon 8:15)
He then promises that those who accept it when it first comes forth shall know of greater things:
“And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.”
When I think of the greater things that are promised to the righteous… I cannot help but think not only of the sealed portion of the plates that will come forth to those of the gentiles that repent, but also I am reminded that the more righteous portion of the Saints that were blessed with visions and spiritual manifestations after accepting the Book of Mormon when it came forth among the gentiles.
There was a small portion of the Saints that embraced the truth whole heartedly and accepted the gospel by entering into the waters of baptism and receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. A notable example would be Zebedee Coltrin who was one of several early converts that experienced the greater things in Kirtland. For a detailed listing of those who were blessed to have visions and to see God or Christ, “Joseph Smith’s Kirtland” by Anderson is a must read.
In the 8th chapter of Mormon, Moroni reveals that the Lord allowed him to see into the future and view the LDS restoration movement that took place at the time that the Book of Mormon came forth.
It appears that he was allowed to see the restoration of the Church of Christ in 1830.
As with virtually all prophesies, the ones contained in Mormon 8 will have a dual fulfillment. Many items contained therein are applicable to both the 1st commission in the 2nd Watch and the 2nd commission in the 3rd Watch. However the primary, literal fulfillment appears to take place in the 1st commission when the Book of Mormon first came forth among the Gentiles and the Church was restored to the earth. That is the context that we shall use for the purposes of this article:
“Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”
Moroni was shown the future events pertaining to those Saints who accepted the Book of Mormon when it was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith and it came forth among the Gentiles.
After Christ shows Moroni what the Saints of the restoration did, he was appalled at what he saw and he characterized the Saints as people who walk after the pride of their hearts…. Unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, strifes, malice and all manner of iniquities.
“For behold ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.”
So excruciating was the content of the vision given to the Prophet Moroni that he was led to exclaim:
“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? (Mormon 8:38)
What a sobering rebuke to the first generation of Saints that accepted the Book of Mormon and joined the restored Church at the time the Book of Mormon came forth
We are left to wonder what Moroni saw and what he was referring to…
I wonder if Moroni observed that the Saints failed to redeem Zion in Jackson County.
I wonder it he observed the declaration of the Lord in section 84 that the Saints fell under condemnation in Kirtland for taking lightly the Book of Mormon and the other revelations which included the law of consecration, which were brought forth by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I wonder if Moroni witnessed that the Saints of the restoration failed to live the law of consecration as contained in section 42 in Kirtland after being commanded to live it.
I wonder if he saw all of the events in the early days of the restoration including the fact that the Saints failed to fund the publishing of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible which needed to be done for the salvation of the Church.
I shudder to think that he saw the fight that broke out in the Lords Holy Temple in Kirtland between some of the leading Elders of the Church and the apostasy that resulted in up to 50% of the Saints leaving the Church when the Kirtland Safety Society Failed. Some have estimated that about 30% of the leadership of the Church apostatized at that time.
In the words of Joseph Smith; “No quorum in the Church was entirely exempt from the influence of those false spirits who are striving against me for the mastery; even some of the Twelve were so far lost to their high and responsible calling as to begin to take sides secretly with the enemy”.
Perhaps Moroni saw the Lords declaration in section 112 of the doctrine and Covenants shortly after the Kirtland apostasy that all flesh had become corrupted and the entire world was in gross darkness.
After the Temple was defiled Moroni might possibly have seen the Saints flee to Far West and other places as they plundered and took the spoils of the non-believing gentiles along the way feeling justified because of the unjust acts that had taken place against them in Kirtland and Jackson Co. (The autobiography of John D Lee and other diaries provide documentation that the Saints were desperate at this time and doing things they would not normally do)
I wonder if Moroni witnessed the long arm of God’s mercy extended unto the Saints giving them yet another chance to have the fulness of the priesthood which had been lost, as a result of the Kirtland apostasy, restored if they would repent and be obedient in completing the construction of the Nauvoo Temple by the appointed time.
The Lord promised the Saints that if they were obedient in Nauvoo, they would not be moved out of their place. But the Prophet Joseph Smith warned the Saints:
“If the Temple and Nauvoo House are not finished you must run away..” (Words of Joseph Smith pg 179)
The Lords warning was a little more ominous. He warned in section 124 that if they failed to finish the temple by the appointed time they would be rejected as a Church with their dead…
I wonder if Moroni saw the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles plead with the Saints in Nauvoo to consecrate their time and substance to the building of the temple and petition the Saints for funds to publish the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
I wonder if he observed that many of the Saints were more concerned about other things such as building their own homes and building Masonic temples. I wonder if Moroni saw many of the early Saints swapping secret hand shakes, swearing by their throats and entering into secret oaths for the purpose of getting gain even though the Bible and Book of Mormon forbid us to do that. (Mat 5:36 , 3rd Nephi 12:36 )
I wonder if Moroni saw that the Saints were moved out of their place after they failed to complete the temple by the appointed time. I wonder it he saw that a secret combination composed of members and non-members conspired to murder Joseph and Hyrum. (see The Nauvoo Conspiracy printed in the Contributor Vol V pp 251-260)
I wonder if he witnessed the Saints flee from Nauvoo and return back into a scattered condition among the gentiles?
I wonder if Moroni saw the “doctrine” portion of the “Doctrine and Covenants” (curently known as Lectures on Faith, taken out of that holy cannon of scripture under the direction of Heber J. Grant?
I wonder if he could see that virtually very one of the original doctrines of the kingdom taught during the first seven years of the restored church would be rejected by the latter day saints?
Of course we don’t know if the window of time that Moroni was looking at was limited to that first generation of Saints or if it included all four generations that were to follow the restoration of the Church prior to the ushering in of the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
It leaves those of us living four generations after the restoration of the Church why, after 160 years we are no longer attempting to live the law of consecration as we were commanded to live it. Why is the establishment of Zion no longer a current objective of the Church?
Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we are justified in paying some tithing and some fast offerings each month while we set our hearts upon accumulating wealth, cabins, boats, vacations and toys without feeling guilty about the poor, needy, sick and afflicted that are among us. I wonder if Jesus Christ is showing Moroni our doing?
But that is a topic for another post.
The topic and focus of this post has to do with how the restored church has transfigured the holy word of God that was revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
This brings us to the curious observation Moroni makes:
“O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God…” (Mormon 8:33)
Moroni observes that the Saints would receive the word of God and then would transfigure it.
The 1828 Websters Dictionary defines the word “transfigured” to mean Changed in Form.
I suppose Moroni could have been talking about changing ordinances but I suspect that he could have also been referring to some changes that have taken place in the Book of Mormon and the Modern Revelations contained in the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants.
It is very difficult to believe that anyone would have the audacity to change or alter the punctuation or words of a revelation, or cut and paste verses in a different order in such a way as to change the meaning of the holy and infallible word of God.
“Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life…” John 5:39
We have lots of techniques and tools that we use to help us study the scriptures. One is the strong’s concordance that allows us to look up the meanings of words in the New Testament in the Greek and in the Old Testament in the Hebrew.
I have also found the 1828 version of the Webster’s Dictionary to be extremely helpful when studying the revelations given to Joseph Smith since the English language has evolved during the last 180 years.
Another invaluable reference that I have blogged about before is the importance of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. I suspect many who read this article use these same tools.
I also have copies of the original Book of Commandments and the Original Book of Mormon which have been invaluable in searching the scriptures and some of the changes therein. (You can purchase these at Deseret Book)
Perhaps one of the most incredible resources that I have come across for searching the modern revelations contained in the D&C is a dissertation on the changes that have taken place in the D&C by a BYU student back in 1974.
I first became aware of the many changes in the D&C about 18 years ago when I was walking around a used book store looking for hidden treasures and I came across a booklet entitled “The Doctored Covenants” by Greg Anderson.
As I perused that publication, I was unable to believe that people in high places would change or allow others to change Gods word. Besides, it did not look very credible to me. But it did get me thinking and wondering if in fact some of the modern revelations that came through the Prophet Joseph Smith had been tampered with and transfigured by mortal man.
I began doing research on the topic and found that indeed there had been some changes made. I wanted to find the best and most unbiased and credible resource for learning about the alterations to the Doctrine and Covenants. (Perhaps it would be more honest to say that I was looking for the most credible resource that had a bias in favor of the LDS Church) Eventually I learned about a magnificent six volume work done by a fellow named Robert J. Woodford.
Brother Woodford did a Dissertation in 1974 which he presented to the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Melvin J. Peterson had previously done a Masters Thesis on a comparison between the text of the Book of Commandments and the sections in the D&C, however Woodford wanted to go further. He wanted to trace the history of the D&C from hand-written revelations to its current format and analyze the text of each revelation from the earliest sources available to the present composition.
He wanted to make a detailed study of the historical background of the D&C and a textual evaluation of each of the revelations.
One of the really helpful and extremely fascinating aspects of this work is that he uses the History of the Church, Times and Seasons, Millennial Star and other historical works and manuscript materials from the Historical Department of the Church as part of this work to provide context to the revelations given.
The name of this work is The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1980 I have heard you can order it in electronic format at the BYU Book Store)
In my humble opinion it is an absolute must for any serious student of the Doctrine and Covenants.
I think one of Brother Woodford’s desires in choosing this undertaking was to provide documentation for LDS apologists to combat the accusations made by anti Mormons regarding the changes in our modern revelations. Apparently he got the endorsement of the LDS Church and they allowed him to view virtually all of the available originals and copies of hand written revelations that the Church has in its possession.
His work is an amazing effort to document all of the places where the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants have been changed or transfigured since they were originally given through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I was so appreciative of the work this man did I just had to go meet him and shake his hand. At the time I met him he was serving in a Bishopric in a singles ward at the University of Utah.
I have been greatly edified in reading and studying this incredible work by Woodford.
There have been numerous times when I and my wife would be reading the D&C and the Spirit would indicate that something is not right. We would then reference this work by Woodford to view the original verse. After seeing how a verse was transfigured, everything would make sense.
It has been eloquently said by one of the contributors on this blog site that one of the callings of the Holy Ghost is to confirm to us that the scriptures are true. I would submit to you that the Holy Ghost also confirms when a scripture is NOT true.
I want to end this post by sharing two examples of where credible historical documentation makes it appear that the word of God in modern revelation has been transfigured and another similar example pertaining to the Book of Mormon. I will provide a fourth example pertaining to modern revelation where it may have been transfigured based on doctrinal evidence.. But first, let’s review how important the revelations are that Joseph Smith received. Here is an excerpt from a conference that was held concerning the publishing of the revelations
“After deliberate consideration in the consequences of the Book of Revelations now to be printed being the foundation of the Church and the salvation of the world and the keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom and the riches of Eternity to the Church. Voted that they be prized by this conference to be worth to the church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally….” (Far West Record p 22, 23)
The importance of the Book of Mormon is possibly better known and better accepted than that of the modern revelations.
It is common knowledge that there have been many changes in the Book of Mormon but that most of them have been punctuation related changes.
I frankly feel that most of the changes I have seen in the Book of Mormon, both punctuation and textual, appear to have been minor and insignificant, however the changes I want to spotlight have to do with the nature and character of God as well as the nature of Jesus Christ’s Godhood during his earthly ministry on this earth.
I have blogged about the true Godhood of Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry on this earth. I have also blogged about how leaders of the Church have taught unsound doctrines pertaining to who God is.
The first example of how scriptures have been transfigured that I want to point out has to do with some alterations in the Book of Mormon that took place in 1981, approximately 152 years after the Book of Mormon was published to the world.
I suspect some will feel that the following changes are not significant; I personally feel they are, nevertheless, I think it is a very serious thing to change Gods holy word in the scriptures if it is done without his authorization. I will not provide any other commentary on these changes other than to simply show the changes that took place in 1 Nephi 11 and also 1 Nephi 13:
1 Nephi 11:18- 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh”
1 Nephi 11:18 1981 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.”
1 Nephi 11:21 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!…”
1 Nephi 11:21 1981 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!…”
|1 Nephi 11:32- 1930 Edition of the Book of Mormon “…And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world…”
1 Nephi 11:32- 1981 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“…And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world…”
1 Nephi 13:40- 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“…and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world…”
1 Nephi 13:40- 1981 Edition of the Book of Mormon
“…and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the World…”
Many years ago there was an interesting fellow that went around giving seminars on the importance of a vegetarian diet. He claimed he had died and returned to life after being taught the truth about the word of wisdom. While dead, it was revealed to him that it is a sin to eat meats… ever!
In fact he said that you must get the animals you have killed to forgive you before you can enter into heaven. We listened to one of his lectures and invited him to speak to some of our friends. This caused us to focus on the Word of Wisdom at great length.
One day my wife was conversing with a friend who was agreeing with what the above mentioned brother had been teaching and my wife invited the person to read section 89 with her. While reading it my wife had a distinct impression that the comma in verses13 should not be there!
“Yea, flesh also of beast and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.”
You will notice that the use of the comma (in red) reverses the meaning of those verses.
With the comma the verse is saying that flesh of beasts and fowls should only be used in times of winter, cold or famine. Yet without the comma it is saying that it is not ordained for such limited use, although it should be used sparingly.
Having recently read several statements from the prophets, noticing that many of the people in the scriptures seemed to use meat during all seasons and also having recently read the following warning from the Apostle Paul my wife and I felt something was wrong:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:3)
Feeling that there was an apparent discrepancy in this verse she checked the Historical Development of the D&C by Woodford and this is what she found:
“…the only other variation in this section of any consequence is the comma following verse 13. It was never found in any text prior to the 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. According to T. Edgar Lyons, Joseph Fielding Smith, when shown this addition to the text, said: Who put that in there?”
This is a significant statement since Elder Smith served on the committee to publish that edition of the D&C. Thus the comma may have been inserted by the printer and has been retained ever since.” (Volume 2 part 2 pg 1175)
Those verses have created lively discussions between many members of the church and have caused some members to feel guilty about eating meat in all seasons.
It is disconcerting to me that someone inserted a comma that would reverse the meaning of God’s word, it is perhaps even more disconcerting in this case that the Church has never corrected this error.
(For the record, I personally feel better when I eat less meat. I have no personal agenda as far as encouraging people to eat meat. I do believe we are to eat meat sparingly. I am simply showing the facts as I see them with regard to what the original intent of the scriptures in question was verses what they appear to say after being transfigured)
The 3rd example I want to share with you of a scripture that has been altered is one where part of the text has simply been deleted from the original revelation.
If you are not aware of this particular example, I hope you are sitting down because this is a whopper!
First, let me lay a little ground work.
In previous posts we have discussed how JST Luke 12 refers to three watches or three separate and distinct gospel dispensations. The1st Watch was the Meridian of Time. The 2nd Watch was the LDS Restoration Movement when the Church of Christ was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the 3rd Watch will be the Marvelous Work.
We have also discussed how JST Matt 21 reveals that the First Watch represents the gospel going to the Gentiles after being rejected by the Jews and 2nd Watch represents the gospel going to the Jews after being rejected by the Gentiles.
JST Mat 21 seems to reveal that the gospel would be taken from the Gentiles and given to the Jews shortly after the Church was restored in the 1830’s so I began to look for another witness that the Lord had warned the restored Church about this in modern revelation. One wherein the Lord gives a stern warning to the Gentiles that they will be led into darkness just like the Jews in Jerusalem were if they don’t repent and accept the gospel..
I always like to get the testimony of at least two scriptural witnesses.
I felt that if I was interpreting JST Mat 21 correctly that the Lord would have given a warning to the Gentiles in modern revelation. There are actually lots of these types of warnings in the D&C but I was looking for something with stronger language.
Sure enough, using the Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants by Woodford I discovered that when it was time to publish the revelations that Joseph Smith had received again, the name of the cannon of scripture was changed from the Book of Commandments to the Doctrine and Covenants. At the time of that printing, the text in some of the revelations was also changed.
One of the changes that I found does in fact warn the Gentile Church with very strong language that they would be delivered over to Satan if they harden their hearts. He told the Saints that he was warning them of the sword of justice just as he had warned the people about the destruction of Jerusalem.
The following verses were taken out of what is now section 5 in our current Doctrine and Covenants. The part I red was deleted from the current editions of the D&C:
“And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old.
And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan, for he reigneth and hath power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them. Behold I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified..”
Wow. That is quite an ominous warning.
I chose this example to spotlight a very sobering principle, that if the Saints harden their hearts against Gods word, he will turn them over to Satan.. a similar warning is given to the Saints in the New Testament:
…And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Thes 2:11
Again, it is a hard doctrine that if we reject the truth from God’s servants, God will send us a strong delusion.
I do want to mention that the above change in section 5 appears to have been done under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith and I personally believe that he did it under the direction of God.
Therefore, I don’t necessarily believe this is one of the changes that Moroni was upset about when he asked the Saints of the restoration “Why have you transfigured the word of God?”
Documenting the reasons why I don’t see this alteration in the scriptures to be a problem would take too long for the purposes of this article. Suffice it to say, I think the Book of Commandments may have been primarily addressing the remnants of the Kingdom of Israel mingled among the Gentiles while the Doctrine and Covenants may have been written primarily to the remnants of the Kingdom of Judah mingled among the Gentiles. For additional info on this click here
Nevertheless, it is important for us to understand that the above text was in the original Book of Commandments, yet removed when the Doctrine and Covenants was published and we need to know about it in order to better understand what took place in the restoration movement. It obviously wasn’t removed from the chapter because God made a mistake when the revelation was first given… God is all knowing and infallible and simply does not make mistakes.
I personally believe that it was removed because something had taken place in the Church that made that warning no longer applicable as something that might happen in the future. I wish I had time to explain why I feel the Lord wanted the above text in the Book of Commandments but not in the Doctrine and Covenants but I have already made this post too long.
The last example is purely speculation and based on what I deem to be a doctrinal inconsistency pertaining to church government. It is not based on clear cut historical proof that the scripture in question was changed or fabricated. I simply offer this as something worth searching out for those who are curious about the issue of succession.
The doctrine pertaining to succession is a very sensitive subject. I made a few random observations, particularly in a recent article but have never covered this topic in depth and I don’t know that I ever will attempt to.
Before spotlighting my fourth example, let me first reiterate what I have stated before in various posts…. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints represents Gods people and Gods Church today on the earth. I accept the literal interpretation of the following declaration of the Lord in section 115:
“And also unto my faithful servants who are of the high council of my church in Zion, for thus it shall be called, and unto all the elders and people of my Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scattered abroad in all the world; For thus shall my Church be called in the last days, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (D&C 115)
I interpret the above verses to say that when Gods people are gathered under his direction into stakes of Zion, his church is called the Church of Zion.
I also believe that when his people are living in a scattered condition in the last days, they are called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I believe section 115 promises that Gods Church will be in existence in the last days and I believe we are living in the last days.
I believe the Church that has the legal claim on the above name, which I believe happens to be in a scattered condition at the present time, is in fact Gods Church.
I believe the current Apostles in the First Presidency and the quorum of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are striving to continue the mission and calling that was given to the original quorum of the Twelve that was called in 1835.
The primary commission given to them, as contained in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants is to “Bear testimony of my name and to send it abroad among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” and to “send forth my word unto the ends of the earth.”
I believe the above commission that was given to those who were not the First Laborers of the Last Kingdom is not the same Apostolic Commission given to the Apostles in the New Testament or to the Disciples in the Book of Mormon, or to the First set of Apostles appointed after the Church was restored, who were referred to as “Apostles” and “Friends” of God (see section 84).
Nevertheless, the current brethren are clearly striving, in there own way, to fulfill the mission and calling given to Brigham Young and his brethren. They are contuing to labor in the vineyard until the return of the First Elders into the vineyard.. And that commission is to bear testimony of the name of Christ and to send forth the Word of God.
To me it is not a question of whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the True Church; the real question is; what is the current state of the true Church?
Section 84 could be interpreted as identifying us as the True Church which is under condemnation.
Section 112 could be interpreted as identifying us as the True Church membership whose flesh has all become corrupt.
Section 124 could be interpreted as the True Church that has been rejected with our dead for four generations.
In the words of the Prophet Moroni who was watching the early events of the restored church: Why have ye polluted the Holy Church of God?
The scriptures often refer to God people as an unfaithful wife that is put away. Nevertheless, she is still the wife!
With those characterizations of the latter day church in mind, I now offer the following possible example of a scripture that needs to be scrutinized because of its doctrinal content. Historical documents don’t categorically prove it is authentic one way or the other:
One day while studying the succession issue I noticed an apparent discrepancy in the doctrinal content of the following revelation:
“Dear and well-beloved brother, Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you: My servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is acceptable to me. I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings for my name. I therefore command you to send my word abroad, and take especial care of your family from this time, henceforth and forever. Amen.” (section 126)
It seemed odd to me that the Lord would release Brigham Young from traveling forth into the world as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve after only being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve or six years and traveling abroad on missions for only about two or three years! Being a traveling missionary is the very definition of what the Twelve Apostles are supposed to do:
“The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.” (D&C 107)
Joseph Smith gave the following clarification of the above scripture:
“The apostles have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes where there is a regular high council established, to regulate any matter pertaining thereto: But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate and set in order all matters relative to the different branches of the church of the Latter Days Saints. No standing high council has the authority to go into the churches abroad and regulate the matters thereof, for the this belongs to the Twelve” (Minutes of the Grand High Council, 2 May 1835. See also Patriarchal Blessing Book, p. 2, Church Archives)
It is true that Joseph Smith did give members of the Twelve assignments to do in Nauvoo between their missionary assignments, but I don’t think those assignments overlapped into the administrative callings of the First Presidency or the Presidency of the Stake or of the High Council of the Stake. These responsibilities were temporary assignments to do until they were sent into the mission field again.
Clearly, the Quorum of the Twelve is a traveling missionary quorum that has not right to officiate in an organized stake of Zion.
I have more documentation that I do not want to take the time to present here that would indicate that the content in section 126 is not congruent with the Word of God and the words of Joseph Smith regarding Brigham Young’s role as an Apostle and as the President of that Quorum.
Perhaps the 64 dollar questions is; was the traveling quorum of the twelve equal in authority with the First Presidency of the Church or were they functioning under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church
The apparent doctrinal discrepancy I saw in in section 126 caused me to research the available documentation on that revelation. What I found was very curious to me.
1- There were no witnesses to this revelation other than Brigham Young.
2- The revelation was never published or included in the Doctrine and Covenants by Joseph Smith.
3- The oldest known manuscript of the revelation was written by Thomas Bullock in about April of 1845. There are no known manuscripts of it in existence that were written within four years of July 9th 1841, when the revelation was purportedly given. The earliest manuscript in existence of this revelation that was purportedly given by Joseph Smith was written AFTER the death of Joseph Smith.
4- The oldest known manuscript of this revelation was created shortly after the succession crisis and just a few years prior to the re-establishment of the First Presidency… When according to Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young posed the following question: “I had a question put to me by President Young: What my opinion was concerning one of the Twelve Apostles being appointed as the President fo the Church with his two counselors. I answered that a quorum like the Twelve who had been appointed by revelation, confirmed by revelation from time to time – I thought it would require a revelation to change the order of that quorum..” HC Vol 7:621)
5- Another historical item that does not seem congruent with the revelation that Brigham claims to have received is the fact that after the Lord tells Brigham that his offering is acceptable and he no longer needs to leave his family, the Lord called Brigham on a political mission in 1844, after the revelation date in 1841. This is where he was when the martyrdom took place:
. “In May 1844, Brigham and other apostles left on summer missions. While they were gone, events in Nauvoo deteriorated. Joseph Smith was arrested and, on June 27, was killed with his brother Hyrum when a mob stormed the jail at Carthage, Illinois, where they were being held. Brigham began to hear rumors of the murders while in the Boston area, but did not hear definite word of the assassination until July 16 in Peterboro, New Hampshire. He and his companions immediately rushed back to Nauvoo, arriving August 6.”
6- The revelation was never included in the D&C until 1876!
I present this possible discrepancy in doctrine and the events of LDS history to illustrate the importance of using doctrine, as well as documentation in the searching process when one is testing the authenticity of the various scriptures.
Again, I do not have conclusive evidence to show that section 126 is or is not authentic; the key becomes one of discernment after searching out the events in LDS history, the words of God in the scriptures, the word of God from Joseph Smith, the Lords anointed, and most important, the guidance of the Holy Ghost in revealing what all of the evidence points to.
Again, I accept Brigham Young as the Presiding officer and President of the Church based on the principle of Common Consent because he was elected President of the Church by the voice of the people. The question is whether the keys of the kingdom as held by the First Presidency had been passed on to him as required in the law of succession as stated in section 43 and whether he was a prophet seer and revelator.
These issues are critical in determining if the current church membership is in spiritual and temporal bondage and needs to be delivered. They are critical in determining if Zion has been redeemed or if there still needs to be a future redemption and re-establishment of Zion. Does there need to be another restoration and refreshing or have we already arrived?
This concludes the examples.
Did you know that you can get copies of the original Book of Commandments and the Original Book of Mormon, with the original punctuation and without the current verse format?
I have friends who prefer to study the scriptures using the original texts and original verses and original punctuation because they feel it is easier to understand and has a much better spirit.
There you have it. I have provided three examples of where the infinite, eternal and infallible word of God in modern revelation has been transfigured and one example of an apparent discrepancy to chew on.
Although example one did not take place at very close to the time of the restoration, I used it because it provided one of the most vivid and pertinent illustrations of how the meaning of Gods word can be changed by the improper use of punctuation.
These changes represent just a few of the changes that took place. I will leave it up to those of you with inquiring minds to search, dig out and find the changes that have taken place….
November 1, 2008
Categories: Articles by OWIW . Tags: apostasy, Brigham Young, condemnation, LDS, succession, transfigured, transfigured the holy word of God . Author: onewhoiswatching Edit this entry
- Comment by LDS Anarchist on November 2, 2008 12:24 pmIn your second example, you state that “in 1851, people in high places had inserted what now constitutes verse 23″ of D&C 107, but when I consult the 1835 edition of the D&C, I find the same sentence inserted. See for yourself here. How do you explain this?
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on November 2, 2008 1:19 pmLDS AnarchistThank you for bringing this to my attention… let me get out the six volume thesis that I got this information from (or thought I got this information from) and research it.
I have made a temporary change in the article pending my response to your observation.
Thank you for checking the references and holding my feet to the fire.
I’ll return with an explanation or an apology …
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on November 2, 2008 10:00 pmLDS Anarchist-I on page 1402 of the Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants by Woodford it has a notation stating that several verses including verse 23 are only in the 1851 edition.. and on Page 1410 it shows verse 23 with most of it underlined and shows that the underlined part is “W-A” for “words added”.
Clearly, from reading the 1835 edition from the link you provided, the verse in question does appear to be in the original publication.
I can only assume that I misunderstood what Woodford was saying regarding that section of scripture. I appreciate you catching that and bringing it to my attention and I am sorry of the inaccuracy.
I did not have the advantage of the online resources way back when I first read that in his work.
I have deleted what was the second example. I have now added an example from the Book of Mormon and a different one from the D&C that deals with the same general topic pertaining to succession, although it is based on what I perceive to be doctrinal descripancy rather than is based more on a doc
- Comment by spektator on November 3, 2008 8:48 pmAs I thought about your post, I recalled my recent reading of a book by Bart D. Ehrman entitled “Misquoting Jesus.” Ehrman uses the book to examine the changes in biblical manuscripts over time. One item that caused me to ponder was his statement that the story of the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus is not found in the earliest and best manuscripts of the gospel of John. Was the story around “He that is without sin among you, let him farst cast a stone at her” be a later inclusion ni the holy writ that became the Bible? Does it belong there?Ehrman was able to cite many changes in the biblical texts over time. Some the simple error of hand transcription. Others apparently guided to clarify a passage to align with their, perhaps, imperfect view of the text and its associated doctrine. When such changes are made, do we lose or gain?
We are told that the texts that became the bible were clear and pure when it was offered by the apostles. However, the plain and precious parts were taken out before the book was make available. Do we let the same thing happen today?
On the other hand, Joseph Smith regularly edited his revelations before they were ‘approved.’
It really depends on your view of the revelatory process. Did Joseph Smith basically channel the information from the Lord or did he try to convey in words the ideas that were presented to hem from God. I think we, as humans, are not able to speak as God speaks. We are constrained to apply our human understanding and language as best we can to express the thoughts from God. Why else would we read in the scriptures of people caught up in visions not being able to express what they saw?
I would say the best thing we can do is educate ourselves on the various renditions of the scriptures and then prayerfully ask for clarification. Go to the source…
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