Crushing David Whitmer’s Stumbling Block

I am taking a short intermission from the “endowment” and “temple” section of the Zion series. Doing so will give newbies to this blog additional time to seek therapy.

This post is actually part of two different series. It is part three of the COMMANDMENTS-DOCTRINE-COVENANTS series. Parts one and two of that series can be reviewed at the following links:

COMMANDMENTS-DOCTRINE-COVENANTS part One

COMMANDMENTS-DOCTRINE-COVENANTS Part Two

This post also serves as part six of the “Are You Sure You Are a Gentile?” series. The previous parts of that series can be found on the links below:

Are You Sure You Are a Gentile? Part One

Are You Sure You Are a Gentile? Part Two

Are You Sure You Are a Gentile? Part Three

Are You Sure You Are a Gentile? Part Four

Are You Sure You Are a Gentile? Part Five

[ An updated version of this post has been created in a pdf at the following location

Crushing David Whitmer’s Stumbling Block 2 ]

Choking on the Words of David Whitmer

Many an exposé has been written about Joseph Smith and Mormonism over the years but perhaps few have been as damaging as the one written by David Whitmer. Maybe that is because he was a believing Gentile that was called to be a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and because he continued believing in the Book of Mormon even after rejecting Joseph Smith as the dispensational prophet that he was.

If you have been choking on the diatribe known as “An address to All Believers in Christ“, I would suggest reading all of the above links to get a better feel for how David Whitmer plays into the prophetic role of the Gentiles rejecting the fulness.

david whitmer

Whitmer Starts his own Church

Shortly after leaving the church, following the failure of the Saints to establish Zion and the banking failure in Kirtland, David Whitmer attempted to start his own church in Kirtland Ohio, known as the Church of Christ (Whitmerite).

The church failed quite quickly.

Many years later, he would make a second attempt.

In January 1876, Whitmer resurrected the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) by ordaining his nephew, John C. Whitmer an elder, and giving him the title First Elder. That church also failed. (Deseret News; The Return, vol. 3, no. 3, October 1892, pp. 3-5; George Sweich, “David Whitmer and the Church of Christ,” Magazine of Western History, New York, vol. 14, May 1891—October 1891, p 520.)

Ten years after his second failed attempt to start up a church, in 1887, Whitmer wrote a critical exposé on Joseph Smith and Mormonism. For some strange reason, in that exposé he denied ever starting a church, or at the very least, he made a statement about a singular event calculated to make it sound as if he never started a church:

Brother Joseph ordained me his successor… it is in your records, and there are men now living who were present in that council of elders when he did it, in the camp of Zion, on Fishing River, Missouri, July, 1834. This is why many of the brethren came to me after Brother Joseph was killed, and importuned me to come out and lead the church. I refused to do so. Christ is the only leader and head of his church.

In the exposé, Whitmer never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon. Much of his contention was based on the belief that Joseph Smith was never given the gift of translating anything besides the Book of Mormon. Indeed, he claimed that Joseph was also never given any other spiritual gifts that the other elders of the restored church were given, outside of the limited, one time gift to translate the Book of Mormon. The larger narrative he presents if that Joseph was called to administer no other “work” than simply translating the Book of Mormon, aside from being equal with the other elders in patterning a church after the church in the Book of Mormon.

IWhitmer’s claims question Joseph’s commission to translate the Bible and the Book of Abraham which negates the validity of the Pearl of Great Price. They also mean Joseph’s revelations stating that he was to be a seer, translator, prophet, revelator, and apostle, were fraudulent attempts to take power unto himself and that he not ordained of God to those spiritual gifts and callings.

BEHOLD, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ..” (Section 21:1 See also Section 100 in which Joseph is identified as a revelator)

Whitmer was claiming that Joseph was NOT called to receive additional revelation for the church, or to restore priesthood keys, the law of the gospel, to gather Israel, or any other calling that requires a spiritual gift or that singles him out from the other elders, in a leadership capacity, etc.

Joseph Had No Other Calling or Spiritual Gifts?

Whitmer claimed that after the Book of Mormon was translated, all of the elders of the church were equal with each other and that they were cumulatively given the commission of using the Book of Mormon as the blueprint for establishing the Church of Christ. He maintained that Joseph Smith was called to no other work that required the following spiritual gifts and callings

  • Prophet
  • Seer
  • Revelator
  • Translator
  • Apostle

Whitmer’s Stumbling Block

Whitmer’s rejection of Joseph Smith as a prophet, apostle, seer, and revelator, negates all of the revelations given after the Book of Mormon was completed and virtually everything of significance that he ever did during his 14 year ministry. Here is perhaps the foundational stumbling block upon which he stubbed his toe:

“I will prove that God called Brother Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon only, and that he 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.”

Whitmer derived his heretical belief from misinterpreting a singular passage found in the fourth chapter of the Book of Commandments

BofC 4:2
“…he [Joseph Smith]… he has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon] , and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”

The above passage is one of the foundational suppositions upon which Whitmer builds his suppositions for the rest of his thesis.

Circular Reasoning?

Shockingly, Whitmer was challenging the validity of virtually any revelation received through Joseph Smith after the translation of the Book of Mormon was finished, which would include the revelation that the above passage and related argument was founded upon! This quasi-circular reasoning fails in my opinion. Whitmer’s supposition that all of Joseph’s revelations beyond the translation of the Book of Mormon to be questionable, negates the very passage that he uses to prove Joseph was not given additional spiritual gifts and unique callings.

circular

Whitmer’s indigestion comes from the fact that the above passage was altered by Joseph Smith when put in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. See the comparison below:

BofC 4:2 D&C 5:4
“…he [Joseph Smith] has no power over them except I grant it unto him; and he has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.” you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.5:4 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.

Despite some problematic logic in his exposé, it is pretty compelling to those who are not well acquainted with the Book of Mormon and the history of the church, particularly those that have rejected the future the mission of Joseph the Seer. I suspect it was so compelling that it was no doubt successful in alienating many people from the believing in the divine calling that the Lord had given Joseph Smith, as a prophet, seer and revelator. A reoccurring theme in Whitmer’s thesis is that Sidney Rigdon was the culprit that adversely influenced Joseph Smith to deviate from his limited calling and take undeserved calling unto himself.

The Lord’s Spokesman

Whitmer was challenging the calling that had been given to Sidney Rigdon, as a “spokesman” to the church and to Joseph Smith, as stated in section 100:

“And it is expedient in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph.

10 And I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony.

11 And I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures, that thou mayest be a spokesman unto him, and he shall be a revelator unto thee, that thou mayest know the certainty of all things pertaining to the things of my kingdom on the earth.”

According to the above revelation, Rigdon and Smith were to have a synergistic relationship with Rigdon being the Lords spokesman in expounding the scriptures to Joseph Smith and the church, while Joseph reveals new revelation to Sidney Rigdon and the Church.

The above revelation, as well as Section 124:104, is identifying Rigdon as the “spokesman” of Joseph the Seer that was prophesied of in the Book of Mormon:

And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.

18 And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.”

As you can see, the Book of Mormon had previously prophesied that Joseph the Seer would be given a spokesman that would declare the word of God, just as Moses was given his brother Aaron to be a spokesman.

On the first day that Joseph and Sidney met each other for the very first time, the Lord revealed through Joseph Smith, that Sidney had been prepared to play a prophetic role in the LDS restoration movement:

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work.

4 Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not…

7 And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people.”

The revelation states that Joseph’s work with the Book of Mormon is not finished. He still holds the keys of the mystery pertaining to the sealed portion that will come forth at a future time.

Rigdon is commanded to watch over Joseph that his faith fail not. A warning is given that if Joseph fails to abide in the Lord, another will be planted in his stead. (this warning would be reiterated in the succession prophecy contained in Section 43 of the D&C)

And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him;

18 And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead.

19 Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things.”

Then the revelation to Sidney Rigdon reiterates the prophesy given in the Book of Mormon that Sidney, the Spokesman, shall “write for him” and “preach my gospel and call on the holy prophets to prove his words as they shall be given him” :

And a commandment I give unto thee—that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect;

23 And inasmuch as ye do not write, behold, it shall be given unto him to prophesy; and thou shalt preach my gospel and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him.”

Some historical accounts mentioned how relieved Joseph Smith felt after meeting Sidney Rigdon and getting that revelation because the burden of singularly shouldering the movement had been overwhelming to him and he needed someone deeply steeped in the Bible to testify of how the Book of Mormon was congruent with Biblical Christianity. Although people like Cowdery and Whitmer were enthusiastic and willing to help where they could, they were not as seasoned and knowledgeable in the word of God as Rigdon was. They simply were not qualified to do what Rigdon had been preparing his whole life to do.

That same day, in a revelation given through Joseph Smith to Edward Partridge, the Lord makes it clear that Sidney is called jointly to oversee the administration of the ministry in concert with Joseph Smith:

“.. as many as shall come before my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., embracing this calling and commandment, shall be ordained and sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel among the nations—”

It is not difficult to understand how jealously might have sprouted in the hearts of some of the founding fathers of the movement, that had preceded Rigdon in converting to the restored gospel. It would be difficult to be one of the leaders of the first missionary movement and then, to see a new comer enter the church and be elevated to the top leadership of the newly established church, in one day, as a result of one revelation. Sidney Rigdon had clearly been groomed by the Lord to be his spokesman to the church in expounding the scriptures. He was among the great Bible scholars and orators in the nation.

Sidney Rigdon and David Whitmer were both among an elite group of only six latter day Gentiles, that were specifically prophesied about in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, Jr., the Seer, his Father, whom he had been named after, Sidney Rigdon, the spokesman, and the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris.

Sadly, David Whitmer resented Sidney Rigdon and felt jealous of him when he entered the picture.

In Whitmer’s diatribe, Rigdon is singled out as the devious wolf in sheep’s clothing that entered into the flock to adversely influence Joseph and persuade him to introduce heretical doctrines and to take undo authority to themselves.

Whitmer’s pontifications in his “Address to all Believers in Christ” diatribe have been compelling enough that they have continued to alienate people from the prophet Joseph Smith during the last four generations, up to this very day. Sadly, there are bloggers promoting the gospel of David Whitmer even at this time, as if it contains that secret answers to what took place during the restoration movement.

I Empathize with Whitmer

Let me just say that I love David Whitmer and I empathize with the dynamics he suffered through during the restoration of the church and the dilemmas that he faced and the humiliation he endured while presiding over the Church in Zion. Given the same circumstances, I suspect that I would have arrived at some of the same conclusions he arrived at.

He correctly challenged some of the questionable things that took place during the early apostasy of the Church. Joseph Smith was not perfect before he became sanctified before the presence of the Lord, and following his atonement offering, when his eyes became covered, he appears to have been an insufferable and tyrannical piece of work.

Nevertheless, having the 20/20 hindsight that comes from two and a half decades to studying the scriptures and the history of the church, coupled with the use of scripture crunching technology, I am going have to take Brother Whitmer and his beloved stumbling block to task, by using the Book of Mormon which he is a witness of.

Historical Background & Book of Commandments 4:2

In this post I am going to first give a little historical background that will show why David Whitmer was so angry at Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, and why his agenda was to discredit the revelations Joseph Smith brought forth. Secondly, this post will dissect and debunk David Whitmers interpretation of BofC 4:2, the passage of scripture that is foundational to most if not all of Whitmer’s claims about Joseph Smith.

Whitmer’s interpretation of the passage is that Joseph Smith was not commissioned to do any other work than translate the Book of Mormon during AND AFTER the translation process.

At face value, when compared with the changes Joseph made a few years later when the D&C was published, Whitmer’s concern seems justified. This is true of all of the changes made in the original revelations in the Book of Commandments. Without the proper historical context, many of them look questionable.

The Changes to the Revelations Were Inspired

In part one of the COMMANDMENTS-DOCTRINE.. series, it was demonstrated that the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was never intended to be an updated, revised, or corrected version of the 1833 Book of Commandments. If it had been, there was no need to change the name of the canon of scripture, it would only need to have the “updated edition” of the Book of Commandments and printing date acknowledged, just as was done with the various editions of  the Doctrine and Covenants.

If the altered passages of scripture in the D&C had been intended to correct problems with the Book of Commandments, then David Whitmer may have been justified in his concern. But that is not the case.

Please notice that the Book of Commandments was expressly written to the restored “Church of Christ“. Inside the cover the stated purpose was  for the government of the Church of Christ

Conversely, the Doctrine and Covenants was expressly written to the condemned “Church of the Latter day Saintscarefully selected from the revelations of God. The fact that the name of Christ had officially been removed from the name of the Church, is critical in understanding what took place between the publication of these two canons of scripture.

dandc1835Few members of the modern church are aware that in 1834, a special conference was called in which Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and other leaders of the church officially changed the name of the church.

The Kirtland Temple stands as a testimony concerning the name change of the church and the fact that the name of Christ had been taken out of the name of the Church before the Temple was dedicated.

kirtland temple

Understanding this is critical because it reveals that after the gentile church rejected the fulness, in 1834, the entire context is changed regarding what the Lord’s canon of scripture needs to say to his people.

Sadly, the modern, corporate church has indoctrinated people into thinking that the D&C was just a newer updated, corrected, and expanded edition of the Book of Commandments, despite the oddity of being given a completely different name. Because of this, when people critical of Joseph Smith compare the changes made in the revelations between these two records, they often jump to one of the two following, erroneous conclusions:

  1. The original revelations had errors in them that needed to be corrected, bring the credibility of Joseph Smith as a prophet into question

or

  1. The original revelations were accurate and authentic, but the changes that Joseph Smith made in them represented uninspired “revisionist” alterations indicating that nothing Joseph did after those changes were made can be relied upon.

Neither of the above assumptions are true.

Both of the above assumptions deny the revelatory calling of God’s anointed prophet with regard to these two different and distinct canons of scripture.

The original revelations were true in the context of the time they were given, regarding the restored Gentile Church of Christ.

The revised revelations were also true in the context of the condemned Church of the Latter day Saints, whose membership was going to quickly be changing demographics according to the prophecy of Jesus Christ as contained in 3rd Nephi 16:11-12 which fortold the gospel being taken from the Kirtland Gentiles to the converts from the House of Israel, many of which would be flowing into Nauvoo from the British Isles.

I would even suggest that there is a good possibility that the following passage of scripture in the Book of Mormon speaks singularly of the two records:

“For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; [Bible]

and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; [Book of Mormon]

and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, [Gentile Church of the Restoration descending from Pilgrims] and they shall write it; [Book of Commandments ]

and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth [coverts coming into Nauvoo from the establishment of foreign missions] and they shall write it. [Doctrine and Covenants]

 13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.”

Joseph the Seer was not Backpedaling

To the uninformed skeptic, It looks like Joseph was backpedaling and changing the original revelations to suit his evolving and emerging power base.

Not true.

It is certainly understandable how people can arrive at that conclusion based on the false assumption that the 1835 edition was simply an updated edition of the 1833 edition.

The truth is that the 1833 canon of scripture was written to the newly restored “Church of Christ” which was being given urgent COMMANDMENTS relative to establishing Zion. Hence the name Book of Commandments.

Conversely, the 1835 canon of scripture was not longer giving urgent commandments to redeem Zion. That opportunity had come and gone. The Doctrine and Covenants was written to the condemned “Church of the Latter day Saints” relative to the DOCTRINES and COVENANTS they needed to study during the “little season” of chastisement during which time they were no longer required to keep the original COMMANDMENTS necessary for establishing ZION. (See Section 105 ) Therefore the appropriate and distinctly different name of the canon, “Doctrine and Covenants“.

The term “Commandments” is not synonymous with the terms “Doctrine” or “Covenants”. That should be a huge hint to any luminaries looking for enlightenment regarding the relationship of these two canons of scripture. They clearly have a completely different purpose as well as being addressed to completely different churches, which requires a different context.

Between the printing of these two canons of scripture, the Gentile Church had rejected the fulness of the Gospel in 1834, requiring the name of Christ to be taken out of the name of the church. When that happened, the ancient dispensation of the gospel of Abraham was secretly ushered in, and the trajectory of the church was greatly altered and the whole dynamic changed in the relationship between God and his people of the restoration.

Per Section 105, given in June of 1834, the commandment to live the laws of Zion was rescinded for a little season while the Saints waited for the appointed time for the establishment of Zion to resume. The focus and purpose of the revelations changed after that and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants needed to reflect those changes. The priesthood structure and emphasis of the church appears to have changed as well.

Another one of the significant changes between the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants was the inclusion of the “Lectures on Faith“, one of the most revelatory writings to ever address the subject. The Lectures on Faith represented the “doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Those lectures, given at the school of the prophets, were presented and sustained as doctrine and scripture. In my opinion, their inspired insertion into the D&C represented the following message from the Lord and his servants:

Children, you blew it on the first attempt at Zion and living the fulness, now let’s get back to basics and start preparing for the next opportunity when the light shines forth again, by studying about the principal of faith and the nature of God“.

Obviously, a new canon of scripture was needed that would address the new conditions of the newly condemned church.

Although the vast majority of the revelations did not require contextual revision or deletions, some clearly did. In addition to that, it appears as if many changes were made to add clarity. I contend that all of these changes were inspired and commissioned of God as he worked with imperfect and weak mortals.

A textbook example, of a passage that needed to be completely removed when the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was published, was the prophecy that God would deliver the Saints over to Satan if they hardened their hearts:

“…If this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan..”

That whole segment of scripture that the above prophecy was embedded in, in chapter 4 of the 1833 Book of Commandments needed to be removed before the inclusion of the chapter into the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants because the prophecy had already been fulfilled per the failure of the Saints to live consecration and the condemnation pronounced upon the saints in Section 84 and other passages.

Although God was still laboring with his Saints and giving revelations, he was also withdrawing his spirit, reducing the frequency of the revelations being offered, and taking away the priesthood hedge that can provide protection from the adversary.

Clearly the Saints were being delivered over the Satan for a little season as prophesied in the 4th chapter of the BofC. An intervention was needed and underway that would prevent the saints from being wiped off the face of the earth and enable to the knowledge of the gospel to go from the Gentiles to the Jews.

Since that particular prophecy had come to pass by the time the condemned church needed their own canon of scripture, obviously it needed to be removed from the revelation before being published into the 1835 D&C.

Taking that prophecy and related content out of the revelation for the production of the D&C was not an indicator that it was a false prophecy at the time it was given, only that it was no longer a prophecy of a future event. The removal of that prophecy is completely consistent with the new context of the condemned church.

Let’s look at another fascinating change that was made having to do with the wording of the baptismal ordinance:

Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
24:52 Whosoever being called of God and having authority given them of Jesus Christ, shall go down into the water with them, and shall say, calling them by name: 24:53

 

 

Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

20:73 The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name:

 

Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

As you can see, part of the actual wording in the baptismal ordinance was changed!

Although some people believe the change in the baptismal prayer is insignificant since the terminology essentially means the same thing, no viable explanation has ever been given as to why Joseph would change the wording in the Book of Commandments. Clearly the original wording of the ordinance in the BofC was not in error, as it was identical to the wording given in the Book of Mormon. Besides, Joseph Smith never claimed the original wording was done in error or that early members of the church needed to be re-baptized with the new wording.

The Baptism Protocol Was Also Changed

It is incredibly important to realize that it was not just the change in wording in the ordinance that took place. At, or shortly after this text was changed, the actual manner in which the ordinance was performed was also corrupted and new converts were no longer required to make a public confession prior to baptism.

Notice the following format that was commanded, as documented in both the BofC and the D&C:

Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
24:29 And again, by way of commandment to the church, concerning the matter of baptism; 24:30 Behold whosoever humbleth himself before God and desireth to be baptized, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the church, that they have truly repented of all their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the church of Christ. 20:37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism– All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

As already documented, the Saints had cumulatively rejected the law of the gospel as contained in section 42 and rejected the fulness of the Gospel, which, effectively, collectively broke the everlasting covenant that they had entered into. This change in wording is congruent with the change in context that had taken place with the condemned church. Furthermore, it documents and confirms the fulfillment of the ominous prophetic words of Isaiah who saw the future apostasy of the restored church and the breaking of the everlasting covenant:

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

References to the 3rd Watch (Marvelous Work and a Wonder)

By analyzing each of the changes made in the revelations contained in the 1833 Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants one can see that the Doctrine and Covenants had an overall different purpose and was addressing a different church in a drastically different circumstance.

Another interesting observation I have made is that instead of focusing on an urgent need to redeem Zion, the D&C begins making futuristic references to the great last work that was to take place four generations later. Notice how the following passage was changed to make reference to Oliver’s future calling in the  3rd watch or what the Book of Mormon refers to as the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.

Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
7:3 O remember, these words and keep my commandments. 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 of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God; and therefore whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, that you shall know. 8:5 Oh, remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.

8:6 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;

8:7 Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you.

8:8 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.

8:9 And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it.

The above changes give greater clarity to what the “rod of nature” is, calling it the “gift of Aaron”. Moses’ brother Aaron had also used a rod. The passage reveals that the gift the Oliver has is a revelatory gift. The passage also prophesies that during the last great work, Oliver will “do marvelous works” and “no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands”

Those are clear references to Oliver’s work that will take place when the Marelous Work and the dispensation of the fulness of times is ushered in.

All of the Revelatory Changes Conform to the Change of Context

All of the changes made by Joseph smith were simply making the revelations contextually correct and providing additional clarity for the newly condemned church. Indeed, Joseph Smith never intimated that the changes he made in the revelations were needed to correct erroneous revelations in the Book of Commandments. People have simply assumed that.

Context is everything and the context had changed once the gentile church rejected the fulness.

Could Joseph Smith have communicated the above information to the Saints so that people would not freak out?

Of course.

But the Lord did not allow him to.

The Lord wanted to provide a stumbling block for David Whitmer and the Gentiles. It was all prophesied about in the Book of Mormon. David Whitmer and his gentile brethren were fulfilling prophecy!

Sometimes God Reveals his SECRETS to the Prophets..
..but NOT the rest of the Saints!

Silence about certain events was actually a trademark of Joseph Smith’s ministry. He often did things without providing an explanation.When asked by Hyrum at an early meeting of the elders of the church to stand and recount the events leading up the establishment of the church, Joseph refused and said it was not necessary for them to know all of those things.

The name change of the church in 1834 is another example of not providing a detailed commentary on what was going on. It was done opening in a special conference of the Church, but without any explanation, according to the account given in the history of the Church, even though the action was very controversial and resulted in some people leaving the church.

The account of the visitation behind the veil which is now documented in section 110 is another example. After experiencing one of the greatest spiritual endowments in the history of religion, Joseph and Oliver emerged from behind the veil and walked past a group priesthood leaders and did not utter a word about what they had just experienced. For the remainder of their lives, neither of them mentioned the experience in public.

Why didn’t Joseph explain in vivid detail why the name of Christ was being taken out of the name of the church? Why didn’t he ever publicly disclose what took place behind the veil in the Kirtland Temple?

Because God often reveals secrets to his prophets that they don’t reveal to the Saints. Doing so would prevent the fulfillment of prophecy and thwart God’s purposes.

Here is a prophecy uttered by Joseph Smith that demonstrates that he knew things about the future that he intentionally withheld from the Saints because he needed to just let things play out and let the chips fall were they may. It was a reminiscence shared in the 1892, in the #29th edition of the Juvenile Instructor by Elder Daniel D. McArthur:

“Boys, you think I am a Prophet, and want to hear all I have to say. ‘Now, said he’, “if I should tell you all I know that will come to pass within twelve years, perhaps there would not one of you believe it, and would apostatize from the Church. But I shall let you learn things as they happen, then most likely you will all stand in the Church.”

That prophecy was given in late 1836. Twelve years later takes us to 1848, the year the Nauvoo Temple burned to the ground without ever having been physically finished or spiritually acknowledged and accepted by the Lord. Those who have studied section 124 realize the significance of that. Clearly, the church had been rejected with it’s dead.

That is also the year that Brigham Young took it upon himself to create a “First Presidency” out of the quorum of the Twelve, that would pave the way for the emergence of church members sustaining presiding elders of the church, as “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, that have not been endowed by God with those spiritual gifts.

Indeed, God sometimes reveals his secrets to his prophets without allowing them to share them with his Saints.

Why Revise the Revelations Contextually?

God certainly could have simply started all over again giving new revelations to Joseph Smith, once the gentiles rejected the fulness, instead of revising them to be contextually accurate. But instead, Joseph simply made the subtle and in some cases, blatant, seemingly contradictory changes that he did in the 1835 D&C, without explanation.

It appears that God wanted to provide a stumbling block for those who needed one. We obviously don’t know the mind of God and why he does things the way he does, or why the Gentiles even needed to stumble for a little season.

That is something He has done time and again with his people that harden their hearts. In this post we shall zero in on the passage of scripture found in the 4th chapter verse 2 of the Book of Commandments because it seems to be the foundational stumbling block for David Whitmer as presented in his exposé.

Transgression resulted in a “Little Season” of Preparation

Again, it needs to be remembered that by 1835, God was accommodating a Church that had stumbled and rejected the higher law of the Gospel. They were now required to prepare themselves, during a state of condemnation for a “little season” for the redemption of Zion when the light shines forth again during the final restoration that will take place. The little season was to be a time for believers to “prepare themselves” and to be “taught more perfectly” and “have more experience“:

“Therefore, 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—

10 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…

13 Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.”

The Lectures on Faith, prepared by God’s anointed Spokesman, Sidney Rigdon and endorsed by Joseph Smith, were included in the Doctrine and Covenants for the express purpose of preparing believers and teaching them more perfectly during the little season before the light would shine forth again.

David Whitmer Leaves the Church Embarrassed

After David Whitmer became disaffected from Joseph Smith and the Church, he began to reflect on everything he had experienced in the restored Church during the seven years he had been a member of it. He began looking for answers to find out why his personal experience with the restored church had been such a disaster and why the restored Church itself had, in his opinion, been such a disaster.

To say that Whitmer had a bad taste in his mouth when he left the church would be an understatement. He had been publicly humiliated and his reputation among friends, family and society in general was negatively affected by his involvement with the LDS restoration movement.

The Whitmer Family was one of the early families to join the church and it became one of the foundational families called to help establish Zion in Missouri. When David left church, others of the Whitmer family followed suit. David’s brother John, who had been called by revelation to serve as the church historian, refused to hand the church history that he had kept, over to Joseph and Sidney when they demanded it.

The Kirtland High Priests vs. the Zion High Priests

To better understand what David Whitmer was going through and suffering from when he left the church, one needs to understand a little bit of history regarding the two quorums of High Priests that were called back in 1831.

Shortly after the Melchizedek Priesthood and office of High Priest had been restored in June of 1831, during the special conference at the Morley Farm, the Lord had divided the newly ordained High Priests into two geographical groups.

One Group of High Priests was commissioned to migrate, with their connections and others, to the Land of Zion (Jackson County, Mo.) and establish the Center Stake of Zion there.

The other group of High Priests was commissioned to establish a Stake in Kirtland, Ohio which was cryptically referred to as “Jerusalem” in modern revelation (see Sections 109, 124 & 133).

President David Whitmer

David Whitmer was designated as the President of the Church in the Stake of Zion while Joseph Smith was designated as the Presiding High Priest and President of the church in the Stake of Kirtland. This was a great honor to David Whitmer. In a blessing, Whitmer was informed that he would be the one to replace Joseph Smith if Joseph needed to be replaced. Perhaps this is what motivated Whitmer to form his own church when he left.

Only One of Two Temples Completed

Both groups of High Priests were commanded to live the law of Zion and build a temple in their respective localities that had been identified by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as places of refuge in the last days. Joseph and the Saints in Kirtland would be faithful in building their temple in Kirtland. David Whitmer and the High Priests in Zion would never get the foundation laid for their temple.

Although things went relatively well for David Whitmer and the High Priests in Zion initially, eventually, the unbelieving Gentiles in that land became angry and threatened by the Saints in the land of Zion and persecution began to take place. This happened because some of the saints in Zion became verbal and boastful about their intentions of taking over all of the land of Zion despite God’s previous admonition to use prudence.

During this time of stress and persecution, David Whitmer and many of the High Priests in the land of Zion began to be critical of Joseph Smith. They were critical of the fact that Joseph Smith had not taken up residence with them in Zion where the persecution was taking place. They felt like he should be there with them facing the challenges they were facing.

At this same time, the Lord began giving revelations that were praising Joseph Smith and the High Priests in Kirtland, while lambasting David Whitmer and the High Priests in Zion.

And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all”

In section Section 84, given in September of 1832 Joseph Smith and six elders were given a mind blowing revelation about priesthood in which the Lord prophesies of the completion of the Kirtland Temple and informs these seven brethren that the Lord will use them to eventually rend the kingdoms of the ungodly at the appointed time when the stone finally rolls forth.

In that revelation the Lord reveals the “oath and covenant of the priesthood” and declares that those seven individuals had entered into it. He declares that the Father had “renewed and confirmed it upon” those individuals. It was further revealed that the confirming of this covenant upon these individuals was done not only for their sakes, but “for the sake of the whole world“. Clearly, Joseph and his associates were involved in some kind of intercessory offering that would benefit the whole world.

In the revelation, the Lord chastises the Saints for having their minds darkened in times past, for treating lightly the things they had received, referring to the Book of Mormon and the “former commandments” that had been received in the revelations Joseph Smith brought forth, which are now documented in the D&C, with special emphasis on the “Articles of the Church” in section 20 and the “Law of the Gospel” in section 42 which contains the law of monogamy and the law of consecration.

In this revelation the Lord makes the following declaration

And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. 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—

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.

For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.”

Ouch!

What do you suppose was going through the mind of David Whitmer and his fellow High Priests in the land of Zion when they read that revelation?

That rebuke towards the “children of Zion” was specifically targeting David Whitmer, his fellow High Priests and the church in the land of Zion! The Lord was declaring that they had not brought forth fruit and that a scourge and judgment was to be poured out upon them!

History verifies that such took place.

Imagine being told that you are polluting God’s holy land when you think you have been suffering for the cause of Christ!

This rebuke of the High Priests in Zion did not sit well with some of them. It was during this general time frame that angry letters were sent from some High Priests in Zion to Joseph Smith and his brethren in Kirtland, making accusations about Joseph Smith. I have covered those letters in another post.

A month after section 84 praised Joseph Smith and his brethren in Kirtland, while condemning David Whitmer and the High Priests in Zion, Section 88 was given. During this revelation, the Lord bestows the comforter upon them:

I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.

This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;

Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—”

In this revelation the Lord informs these Kirtland High Priests that their names have been “recorded in the book of names of the sanctified“.

He then gives a warning that seems to be directed at the High Priests in Zion, who have been critical of the Lord’s anointed:

“And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.”

The Lord then goes on to call the Kirtland High Priests the “first laborers in the last kingdom” and prepare themselves for a future mission in the 3rd watch:

That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you…

Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come”

Aside from the possible inference noted above, the High Priests in the land of Zion are not specifically mentioned in this revelation.

They are snubbed by the Lord.

It is difficult to even imagine what was going on in the hearts and minds of David Whitmer and the other High Priests during this time that they were being condemned, while the High Priests in Kirtland were being praised, receiving the other comforter and having their names enrolled in the book of the sanctified. Undoubtedly some began to humble themselves and repent while others hardened their hearts and chose to find fault with Joseph Smith and question the authenticity of the revelations he was bringing forth.

History testifies to the fact that David Whitmer began to harden his heart and find fault with Joseph Smith. He would ultimately reject virtually all of the revelations that Joseph brought forth, by claiming that he was only commissioned to translate the Book of Mormon and do no other work.

This brings us to the primary doctrinal and prophetic stumbling block that Whitmer stubbed his toe on.

Again, here is what David Whitmer said in his exposé about Joseph not being allowed to do any other work besides translating the Book of Commandments:

“I will prove that God called Brother Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon only, and that he 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.”

Once again, notice the passage below in the 1833 Book of Commandments compared to the altered passage in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants:

BofC 4:2 D&C 5:4
“…he [Joseph Smith] has no power over them except I grant it unto him; and he has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.” you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.5:4 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.

At face value, it really does look like Joseph Smith is back-pedaling and trying to revise the passage right?

Whitmer interprets the passage in the BofC to mean that God did not command Joseph Smith to do any other work beside bringing forth the Book of Mormon… period.

He accepts the Book of Mormon as being the word of God and yet claims that Joseph is never allowed to do anything else besides translate the Book.

The Prophecy of Joseph the Seer Trumps the BofC and D&C

What Whitmer failed to realize and acknowledge in his expose’ is that both of the above passages were derivatives of a much older prophecy in the Book of Mormon. The doctrine and prophecy of “no other gift/work” actually originates from the prophecy about Joseph the Seer contained in the 2nd Chapter of 2Nephi. Notice the comparison of the three sets of passages below:

The Doctrine/Prophecy of “No Other Work”

no other

Incredible.

As you can see, the doctrine of “no other gift/work” originates in the Book of Mormon, not the Book of commandments.

I am going to suggest that the prophecy in the Book of Mormon trumps the Book of Commandments and provides the proper context to it. It substantiates the correctness of both passages, as contained in the Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenant, but clearly favors the broader context provided in the passage found in the D&C because the associated “Joseph the Seer” prophecy in 2nd Nephi chapter 3, clearly itemizes all of the callings and gifts that Joseph Smith would be endowed with!

It smashes David Whitmers stumbling stone to pieces.

More on that later.

There are of course, many other serious problems with Whitmers logic in his expose, when viewed against the backdrop of the prophecies in the Book of Mormon.

The first is that if Whitmer is correct about Joseph Smith being commanded to only translate the Book of Mormon, then Joseph was not allowed to bring forth “thus sayeth the Lord” revelations outside of his commission to publish the Book of Commandments.

This would mean that chapter 4 of the BofC and the whole Book of commandments represents false, un-commissioned revelations from the Lord and have no validity and credibility because Joseph Smith was never commissioned to act as a prophet and receive those revelations. That means that the very passage Whitmer uses to justify his rejection of any additional gifts or work that Joseph might do besides the translation of the Book of Mormon, is not a credible passage!

Pretty interesting attempt at circular logic don’t you think?

A second, much greater problem emerges in the fact that the Book of Mormon itself, which Whitmer hails as the word of God, testifies multiple times of the fact that Joseph’s work was to involve significantly more than bringing forth the Book of Mormon! Indeed, the Book of Mormon also addresses the topic of the Lord commanding Joseph Smith to do “none other work, save the work I shall command him”.

The truth is that the Book of Mormon provides numerous prophecies that prove that Joseph’s work transcended the translation of the Book of Mormon.

At the end of this post we will make brief mention of other prophecies in the Book of Mormon, beside the “Joseph the Seer” prophecy, that invalidate Whitmers stumbling stone. But as compelling as those passages are, the real death-nail for proving Whitmers conclusions invalid is found in the prophecy of Joseph the Seer found in 2nd Nephi 3.

“he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him”

Notice the similar wording used in the prophecy of Joseph:

“And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him

Critics that take David Whitmers accusations seriously always show the passages in the BofC and the D&C side by side to create alarm and place doubt in the minds of people.

A complete comparison of these two chapters can be made here)

The question that arises is whether the BofC passage is categorically limiting Joseph’s gift of translation of the book of Mormon until that project is complete, or if God is saying that there will be no other work for Joseph to be involved in after the Book has been translated.

That passage in the Book of Commandments was interpreted by a very angry and humiliated David Whitmer, to mean that Joseph had no right to do any other work than the translation of the Book of Mormon, even after the work of translation by the gift and power of God was completed.

Interestingly, the very revelation from the BofC that David uses to discredit the establishment of a church boldly declared that God intents to establish his church if the people of that generation will harden not their hearts:

“..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…”

Now let’s look at a comparison of the two texts in question in in light of the Book of Mormon passage from which they both originate. Keep in mind that the Book of Mormon prophecy was hundreds of years older than the other two:

no other

8   And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him”

13   And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

“…he [Joseph Smith] has no power over them except I grant it unto him; and he has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.5:4 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.

The original prophecy actually confirms the clarifications that Joseph Smith made in the D&C. Yes, it is true that Joseph the Seer is to do no other work, during the work of translating the Book of Mormon, but after that, he has much more work to do.

Notice verse 13 in 2nd Nephi 3

“..out of weakness he shall be made strong in that day when my work shall commence..”

Compare it to this passage from Section one of the D&C which is a commentary about the day when the work commences:

“Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding

And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong..”

The exciting thing about the prophecy about Joseph the Seer in 2 Nephi 2 is that it actually lists all of the things that God calls him to do after translating the Book of Mormon. This chapter completely crushes David Whitmer stumbling block into little pieces!

To understand what the work has to do with according to the original prophecy and use of the phrase “none other work“, we need to review the major aspects of the prophecy of Joseph in the Book of Mormon.

This will enable us to see what the actual work is that the Lord commands Joseph the Seer to do. We will now dissect the prophecy of Joseph the Seer in the Book of Mormon to see how it defines “none other work” and what the “other work” actually entails. We shall see that the “other work” that the Lord commands Joseph the Seer to do is significantly more than translating the Book of Mormon. Following that we will create a bullet point listing of what the work is composed of:

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.

6 For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

7 Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

9 And he shall be great like unto Moses,

10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

18 And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.

20 And they [the seer and the spokesman] shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.

24 And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.

A Bullet Point Listing of Joseph’s Prophetic Role

As you can see, the work that the Lord commands Joseph the Seer to do, according to the Book of Mormon, which David Whitmer testifies is true, is significantly more than simply translating the Book of Mormon. According to the prophecy, Joseph the Seer is given many spiritual gives and assignments. He is commanded to:

 

  • Literally manifest the Messiah
  • Produce the Spirit of Power
  • Be esteemed highly by the branch of Joseph
  • Be great like Moses
  • Bring the believing Gentiles out of darkness unto light
  • Convince the “fruit of the lions of Joseph” that the Bible is true
  • Be given a spokesman that will declare the writing that is brought forth
  • Return from the dead after many generations with his spokesman to declare repentance
  • Confound false doctrines, lay down contentions, and establish peace
  • Bring the branch of Joseph unto the knowledge of the covenants made to the fathers
  • Perform “mighty wonders”
  • Bring about “much restoration”
  • Bring the believing Gentiles out of captivity unto freedom
  • Bring “my people” to salvation

The above listing is truly mind-boggling. Most card carrying members of the church would agree that the list includes things Joseph Smith did during his past ministry.Some authors are now trying to claim that the above prophecy did not even have to do with Joseph Smith, they have to resort to that in order to justify some of their heretical beliefs about the church.

Frankly, I believe that even though many things Joseph did in the past were preliminary to, and a shadow fulfillment of, the above list, the literal fulfillment of virtually all of those things is yet future, during the 3rd watch.

The prophecy informs us that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power. I would submit that bringing forth the Book of Mormon does not constitute manifesting the Messiah in the spirit of power.

Of course there were other events that took place as well. Was the Messiah manifest in power through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith AFTER the Book of Mormon was brought forth?

One could argue that having three people testify of seeing the Father and the Son when the highest priesthood was revealed at the Morley Farm and the other testimonies given of the savior in the school of the prophets, the vision known as section 76, and the visitation behind the veil in the Kirtland Temple (Section 110), fulfilled the prophecy that the messiah would be manifest in power.

I would submit, however, that the prophecy will more fully be completed during the Marvelous Work and a Wonder, when Joseph and his associates return. At that time, the Messiah will be manifest in POWER.

What about being esteemed highly by the fruit of Joseph’s loin’s?

Prior to the legal establishment of the restored church, Joseph did not really reach a significant level of esteem in the eyes of believing Gentiles. I would suggest that he was not “..esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins..” until after he continued the work of restoration. It was not until the Kirtland era and the restoration of the church, the amazing missionary work that he oversaw and the incredible revelations and knowledge that he brought forth that he began to be esteemed highly in the eyes of the people. When thousands of people come out to listen to you speak and sustain you as a prophet, seer and revelator, you are highly esteemed.

But even the high esteem that Joseph had in the 2nd watch pales compared to what will take place when he returns. I would submit that Joseph never was great like Moses nor did he deliver Israel out of bondage during the 2nd watch. But he did bring forth a prophecy detailing how he would return in the future to bring latter day Israel out of bondage like Moses did anciently. Additionally, he did not ultimately bring the people out of darkness into light in the ultimate sense. That will happen in the future. Nevertheless all glory be to God.

The truth is that most of the prophecies mentioned in the “Joseph the Seer” prophecy are about the future when the final restoration takes place  during the 3rd watch. The Gentiles have not yet been convinced that the Bible is true. Joseph did not confound false doctrines, lay down contentions, or establish peace.

That is all future.

Although there were some amazing healings that took place and other metaphysical events, such as people levitating off of their beds and a 200 lb man being thrust across the room by an evil spirit, I would contend that the “mighty wonders” that Joseph the Seer is to perform is largely futuristic when he returns with fulness of priesthood that has been manifest through prophets like Enoch, Elijah and Melchizedek.

While Joseph the Seer did bring forth “much restoration” during the second watch, he will need to once again restore most of what was brought forth since the kingdom of God was caught up to heaven as quickly as it was brought forth.

Interestingly, one needs to have the knowledge that Joseph Smith is going to return from the dead to fulfill the work that the Lord has called him to in order to understand and make sense of the Joseph the seer prophecy. Once a person has this understanding, vague prophetic utterances that were previously hard to understand begin to come to light.

In closing, here are a few more passages from the Book of Mormon that seem to validate the fact that Joseph had a much greater work to do besides translating the Book of Mormon:

Mormon 8

Mormon 8 establishes the fact that the Gentiles of the restoration polluted the “holy Church of God”, using the same phrase “Church of God” that was introduced into the D&C shortly after the fulness was restored at the Morley Farm. This provides verfication that Joseph did restore the Church of God, before the Gentiles polluted it. That was a work, requiring the gift of prophecy and the restoration of priesthood.

 3rd Nephi 16

In 3rd Nephi 16 the Lord prophesies about the Gentiles rejecting the fulness followed by the gospel being taken to the House of Israel. The History of the Church verifies that Joseph fulfilled that prophecy by declaring that “something new must be done for the salvation of the church” and establishing foreign missions. That would show that Joseph fulfilled a very important work of restoring the House of Israel to the knowledge of the gospel after the translation of the Book of Mormon

 1 Nephi 13

1 Nephi 13 states that the Gentiles that attempt to bring forth Zion, despite their failure, will be blessed for their effort. History demonstrates that the Saint attempted and failed at Zion. The 3rd chapter of Nephi proves that Christ needed to bestow priesthood before Zion could be redeemed. Hence, if the Gentiles, under the direction of Joseph Smith were blessed in their attempt at establishing Zion, clearly they had priesthood restored typological to how it was restored when Christ appeared to the Nephites, showing that Joseph was commissioned to establish Zion and restored the necessary priesthood to do so.

Those sections in the Book of Mormon are just a few of the other testimonies in the Book of Mormon that demonstrate that David Whitmer was wrong about Joseph not having other spiritual gifts and works to perform, that set him apart from Cowdery, Whitmer and the other elders, as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

I believe we have reviewed scriptural documentation that crushes the stumbling block that David Whitmer stubbed his toe on and it saddens me to see people still rejecting the fulness because of Whitmers “Address to all believer in Christ”.

As you can see, David Whitmer was a textbook fulfillment of the Saviors prophecy in 3rd Nephi

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations..

Nevertheless, the prophecy states that after the gospel is taken from the Gentiles to the House of Israel some of the Gentiles will repent.. The foreign missions set up by Joseph Smith began taking the gospel to the House of Israel. This began happening during the Nauvoo era, and has been happening for four generations.  In the 3rd watch, the light will shine forth and the last restoration will begin. At that time, some of the Gentiles will repent:

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”

I believe there is a significant amount of evidence to show that David Whitmer has not yet finished his assignment as a witness to the Book of Mormon. I believe David Whitmer will yet repent, accept the fulness of the gospel and complete his calling as a witness of the Book of Mormon.

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