I had someone contact me and ask if I could succinctly document how and why the modern church has embraced the false doctrine that it teaches about the Godhead. (namely that “the Father has a body of flesh and bones“]
I will try to condense the issue and the important “take away” that we should get from it. (thanks again to “Josh” who brought this to my attention years ago.)
Point #1 Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants was added in 1876 by Orson Pratt under the direct of Brigham Young. Prior to this, Lectures on Faith was probably the most high profile teaching about the characteristics of the Father and the Son.
Point #2 The preface of Section 130 erroneously refers to the content as “Items of Instruction given by Joseph Smith the Prophet”. The truth is that some of the content in Section 130 came from a series of talks that Orson Hyde had given in the presences of Joseph Smith in 1842. It is Orson Hyde, not Joseph Smith, who taught that “the Father has a body of flesh and blood, the Son also”
Point #3 Following Orson Hyde’s address, Joseph Smith offered some private correction. According to Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 2 page 324, on April 2, 1842, Joseph recorded that he said to Elder Hyde: “Elder Hyde I am going to offer some corrections to you.” To which Elder Hyde replied, “they shall be thankfully received.”.
Joseph Smith then said “When he (Christ) shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he (Christ) is a man like ourselves.” – (Parenthesis added). On page 326 Joseph Smith documented the corrections that he made to the false teachings of Orson Hyde. Joseph Smith said: “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven. Before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicted and when we obtain a blessing it is by obedience to the law upon which that blessing is predicated. Again reverted to Elder Hyde’s mistake. &c the Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans the son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit…”
In other words, Joseph Smith was clarifying that Orson Hyde”s teaching that the Father has a body of flesh and bone was a false doctrine. Orson Hyde had been correct about the Son having a physical body but was wrong about the Father having a physical body. Joseph was also clarifying that Orson’s teaching about the Holy Ghost being a personage of spirit was also false.
By making those two corrections, Joseph Smith was bringing Orson Hyde’s declarations into conformity with what had already been taught in Lections on Faith, namely, that God the Father is a personage of spirit who differs from the Son in that the Son has a tangle body. Also taught in Lectures on Faith is that the Holy Spirit is not personage of spirit, rather, the Holy Spirit is a spiritual essence and is the mind of God.
It is astounding and quite remarkable that after being corrected on these two doctrinal issues, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde and their brethren who became the leaders of the Utah church would eventually canonized the false doctrines and claim that Joseph Smith had taught them.
Interestingly, the false doctrine in Section 130:22 that was canonized in 1876, would eventually be used as doctrinal evidence to bring into question the credibility of teaching about the Godhead contained in Lectures on Faith.
It became instrumental in helping the committee that decided to remove the Lectures on Faith from the D&C in 1921 (without a vote) to justify their actions. They felt that the teachings in Lectures on faith were not congruent with the teachings in Section 130 and that Section 130 trumped the teachings in Lectures on Father.
Hence a teaching about the Godhead that had been originally canonized by Joseph Smith, was removed from the scriptures and replaced by a heresy taught by Orson Hyde.
We have been warned that we inherit lies from the “tradition of our fathers” but we seldom evaluate how the traditions of our fathers get integrated into a religious system that started out with doctrinal integrity.
Well, know you know.
The Lord warns us in scripture that once his people reject a higher truth, God takes away from us the truths that we have been previously taught. This is just one of many examples of how this takes place.
When the saints of the restoration rejected the fulness of the Gospel, God began taking away all of the truths that had previously been revealed.
This is why virtually every true doctrine of the restoration has now been discarded or corrupted.