Differentiating between the Divine Purpose of the
BOOK of COMMANDMENTS
DOCTRINE & COVENANTS
Part Two (See part one here)
In part one of this series we talked about how the Book of Commandments was given to the restored Church of Christ (including those called to the Melchizedek Priesthood who were referred to as the Church of God) who were endeavoring to establish Zion,
After the restored church broke the gospel covenant and failed to live the law of consecration, the name of Christ was taken out of the name of the Church and the Doctrine and Covenants was published for the downgraded Saints. It was assumed by the Saints when they fled from Kirtland to Far West and began making preparations to live consecration again, that Section 115 was putting the name of Christ back into the name of the Church, expanding the name as the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
Section 115 defines the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” as referring to those members of Gods church who are scattered abroad and not yet gathered and consecrated in one of the designated areas that are to be part of Zion. ( My interpretation of section 115 is that it was a prophecy of a future event and that the re-inclusion of the name of Christ takes place when the 3rd watch begins)
We know from sections 104 and 105 that after the saints failed to consecrate and establish Zion that they were told that they would need to wait for a little season before they could live the laws of Zion and bring about the redemption of Zion.
The Distinction Between The Two Cannons of Scripture
The Book of Commandments was a cannon of scripture that highlighted the COMMANDMENTS the Lord was giving to the restored Church of Christ when the greater light of the fulness of the gospel was coming forth. The primary focus of the book for the collective membership of the church had to do with the establishment of Zion and living the law of consecration.
Conversely, the Doctrine and Covenants was directed at the condemned, fallen church, after it had collectively rejected the greater light of the fulness of the gospel. It not longer had the focus of establishing Zion because the Lord had told the saints that they must wait for a little season before they could live the laws of Zion. It focuses on DOCTRINE and COVENANTS that the saints must become familiar with during the little season of chastisement and nourishment.
The D&C was providing a road map on how the saints were to prepare their minds and hearts for when the greater light would come forth again at a later time after the little season.
A very important historical place to start in determining what events instigated the changing of the LDS cannon of scriptures from being a commandments based cannon of scripture to a doctrine and covenants based cannon of scripture would be the period of time when the one cannon of scripture was superseded by the other.
That general transitional period would be from mid 1834 and the beginning of 1835.
As indicated in the graphic that will be shown below, I am suggesting that the Book of Commandments came forth and was written to a people who were attempting to live the law of the gospel when the greater light of the fulness of the Gospel was beginning to shine forth upon the world.
It was a time when the true Church of Christ was beginning to come forth out of the wilderness of darkness.
The underlying context of that Cannon of Scripture was that the Saints were commanded to repent, accept the FULNESS of the gospel and establish Zion.
During that brief period of time the Lord warned the saints that:
“..in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld” (Given November 12 1831 section 7)
He also admonished the Saints to:
“..call upon me while I am near—” (Given in Section 88 December 27, 1832).
The obvious implication was one of urgency, the Saints were to quickly respond to the fulness of the Gospel and the command to organize into a consecrated people and establish Zion or the time of this opportunity would soon pass.
From the coming forth of the Book of Mormon until the breaking of the covenant and the failure of the Saints to consecrate and establish Zion, the revelations given to the Saints had a very strong underlying theme built upon the COMMANDMENTS to consecrate and establish Zion.
Notice the amazing chronology documented in scripture regarding the coming forth of the true church out of the wilderness and then it return into the wilderness-
First, in section 86 given in 6 December 1832 the Lord says-
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
This is the word of the Lord explaining how the meridian Church of Christ went into apostasy shortly after the light of the fulness of the gospel shown forth among them. This passage reveals that the church was beginning to spring up again in the last days!
In section 5 given in March 1829 the Lord says-
14 And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.
In section 33 given in October 1830 the Lord says-
5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.
Finally, in 27 March 1836 the Lord reveals to the Church, in section 109, that the restored Church of Christ that had previously been brought forth out of the wilderness, would need to come forth out of the wilderness again at a future time!
In other words, the true church that had been restored to the earth had been driven back into the wilderness again!
“…that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;
74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;
75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord”
Once the Saints failed to successfully consecrate, establish Zion and accept the fullness of the gospel containing the fullness of the priesthood, the Lord informed them that they had taken the COMMANDMENTS LIGHTLY–
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.”
Please note that the above condemnation took place because the Book of Commandments was taken lightly, not the Doctrine and Covenants!
It was the only true church of Christ, restored in 1829-30 that had taken the scriptures lightly according to section 84.
It was the true, restored church of Christ that fled back into the wilderness.
It is very important to realize that the saints stopped attempting to establish Zion during the time of the Book of Commandments.
That is why the name of the Church needed to be changed and a different book of scripture needed to be established.
Following the taking of the commandments lightly, the saints transgressed and failed to live the law of Zion resulting in the saints needing to halt their attempts at Zion for a little season-
“in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—”
The above pronouncement given in June of 1834 marked a huge shift in the direction of the church.
The greater light had come and gone, the fulness of the gospel had been rejected and Zion could no longer be established until after a little season.
This is all perfectly consistent with Christ’s prophecy that the gentiles would initially reject the fulness of the gospel but later repent. (see 3rd Nephi 16)
But God, in his infinite patience and mercy was willing to continue laboring with the saints. He had given them a period of grace leading up to September 11th, 1836 to repent and accept the New Covenant. Prior to that appointed time however, the saints failed to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times and instead, ushered in the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham and the lesser, preparatory gospel.
As illustrated in the above graphic, after the true Church of Christ went back into the wilderness by the end of 1834 the latter day saints had the opportunity to repent and usher in the fulness of the gospel by the appointed time of September 11th 1836 but failed to do so.
He informed them that the purpose of the little season of waiting, was to prepare the leaders and teach the saints.
“That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.”
The Lord then informs the saints that the time of preparation and teaching leading up to the final successful attempt to establish Zion would be completed when the elders are endowed with power from on high-
“And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high...” (105:9-11)
From that point on, the Book of Commandments which contained numerous commandments to establish Zion was no longer applicable in the context of the urgency of establishing Zion at that time, rather, a preparatory time of learning must be accompanied with a new cannon of scripture that would help the saints to learn and prepare.
the New Book of Scripture was to focus on the true DOCTRINE of the gospel and the true COVENANTS of the Gospel.
Those were the two things needed in the new cannon of scripture to teach and prepare the saints for the next opportunity, when the greater light would once again shine forth, a time that was to be marked by the endowment of power upon the first elders. Nevertheless many of the previous revelation pertaining to Zion needed to be kept in the new canon of scripture so that the condemned church could learn about Zion and learn from the mistakes of the past. Just as the Book of Mormon is a record of a fallen people, the Doctrine and Covenants is too because it documents the fact that the saints were given the fulness of the law of the gospel in section 42 , agreed to live it, attempted to live it, and ultimately failed to live it.
The Doctrine and Covenants provides prophetic details about what will take place after the little season of chastisement and learning when the light of the fulness returns to this earth.
This future occasion is clearly clarified in section one of the D&C
“And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
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.
Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.
And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;
Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure—
Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.”
We learn from the prophetic promise of the Lord in the above passages that the disciples of Christ who published the original Book of Commandments would be the ones to issue the final “voice of warning.. unto all people”.
It will be Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdry, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Lyman Wight and the others of the first elders of the church, referred to as the “first laborers of the last kingdom”, who published and testified of the Book of Commandments, that will be endowed with POWER to go forth in POWER as previously mentioned in sections 1 and 105.
Sections 104 and 105 are two of the pivotal revelations given at the transitional point when the new cannon of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants was being introduced to supersede the Book of Commandments as the official Cannon of scripture of the condemned church.
A major purpose of the Doctrine and Covenants was to historically document the failure of the saints to obey the COMMANDMENTS in the Book of Commandments.
Like the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants is a record of a fallen, apostate people.
It documents how the saints failed to live the law of Zion and the covenant of consecration resulting in the need for the church to wait for a little season of learning and preparation.
Here are some critical passages from section 104 showing why the Saints no longer qualified to by called by the name of Christ because of the breaking of covenants and transgression-
“And now, a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise—
48 After you are organized, you shall be called the United Order of the Stake of Zion, the City of Kirtland. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the United Order of the City of Zion.
49 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;
50 And you shall do your business in your own name, and in your own names.
51 And this I have commanded to be done for your salvation, and also for their salvation, in consequence of their being driven out and that which is to come.
52 The covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words—
53 Therefore, you are dissolved 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.
Here are some similar, related passages from section 105-
Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.
3 But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
4 And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.
6 And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
7 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
8 But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.”
“in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—
That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.
And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high…” 105:9-11
One way to differentiate the two cannons of scripture is to classify the Book of Commandments as an inspired book containing COMMANDMENTS. The major theme thereof is to-
-Enter into the New Covenant
These four major commandments and all other ancillary ones took place during the time of the greater light when the fulness of the gospel was shining forth and the church was coming forth out of the wilderness.
Conversely, the Doctrine and Covenants is a book of scripture that is published to a fallen people who had collectively failed to embrace the greater light.. they had failed to do the above itemized commandments.
The Doctrine and Covenants is written to a people who were living AFTER the greater light had departed, after the Church of Christ had fled back into the wilderness, after the Saints had broken the covenant and failed to keep the COMMANDMENTS leading to the establishment of Zion.
Critics of the church often point out that Joseph Smith made some very significant changes in the original revelations in the Book of Commandments when he incorporated them into the Doctrine and Covenants. Their criticism of this practice is based on the false assumption that the Doctrine and Covenants was simply an updated version of the Book of Commandments.
Once it is understood that that the Doctrine and Covenants was never meant to be an updated version of the Book of Commandments, and that the contents there of were being directed to a fallen people, virtually all of the changes made, make perfect sense and are contextually congruent. With this knowledge you can now review all of the changes that Joseph made between passages in the Book of Commandments and passages in the Doctrine and Covenants and it will make perfect sense why the changes needed to be made.
One of the most pertinent examples of a significant change that was made if the following prophecy in the Book of Commandment that was deleted from the revelation when it was put in the Doctrine and Covenants:
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.4:6 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..( BofC 4:5 See http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/boc/boc4.shtml)
Since that prophecy published in 1833 in the Book of Commandments had already been fulfilled, and the Lord had already begun the process of delivering the Saints over to Satan, it would have been inaccurate and misleading to have it contained in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Deleting it was for contextual accuracy was necessary because it no longer represented a prophecy of a future event.
The purpose of the Doctrine and Covenants is largely to document the apostate condition of the fallen church, and provide the doctrines and covenants to prepare the saints for the next opportunity, in the 3rd watch when the light shines forth again and the servants return with the fulness of the gospel.
It is to provide the TRUE “DOCTRINE” OF CHRIST and the TRUE “COVENANTS” that will lead to the salvation of the saints and the successful establishment of Zion once the light shines forth again and the first laborers of the last kingdom go forth in power for the last time, warning the inhabitants of the world and sealing the righteous and the wicked up unto their appropriate rewards.
Another one of the great historical secrets of the Mormon Church is that “Lectures on Faith” has also been deleted from the Doctrine and Covenants. It was the “Doctrine” part of the “Doctrine and Covenants” when the original Doctrine and Covenants was published. It was sustained as scripture by the law of common consent by the church, yet it was eventually take out of the cannon of scripture. Since that time, virtually every major doctrine of the restoration has been corrupted or rejected.
Those interested in reviewing a listing of 20 of the true and false doctrines of the kingdom may now do so here