I’m sure you all are familiar with Oliver Granger. He should be a household name in every believing home, and come up in sacrament meeting talks all the time! The Lord said so!
And again, I say unto you, I remember my servant Oliver Granger, behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.D&C 117:12
Even Elder Boyd K. Packer admitted that this is a “seldom quoted revelation” in his 2004 General Conference talk.
I find it very interesting that whenever Joseph Smith needed one of his bubbies to do something, he used “appeal to authority” to the max! It wasn’t enough to say “I’m the Prophet”, he pulled “The Lord Said” card all the time!
The D&C is full of examples of the Joseph Smith needing something, and then he gets a revelation directly from the Lord for somebody to do that exact thing. Why has this changed today? Why don’t we get get new scripture whenever the Prophet needs something done?
I would love to see a General Conference where the Prophet got up and said he was proposing a new verse be added to the Doctrine and Covenants.
Brethren and Sisters, it is propose that we accept as scripture the following: I the Lord say unto you, I remember my servants Kirton and McConkie for their working in keeping My Church out of the evil court system, and their names shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord
Why do you think D&C is full of verses that seem so mundane, yet we canonized them as scripture, and skip over them every four years, and call it a day? There are so many verses in the D&C that never see the light of day in a classroom. Why is this? Is it time for another revision of the D&C, with a good modern scrubbing like what happened in 1921 when the Lectures on Faith (the Doctrine of D&C) were removed because our view of the Godhead had changed so much. Is it time to remove section 132? What else?
Bill asks: Why there are many scriptures in the D&C that praise faithful members for doing what was right and good? The answer is: Because there were so many of the younger generation who were not.
Younger members these days like to blame the troubles of the early Church on outsiders. Indeed, when they teach this section of Gospel Doctrine, they teach that it was the wickedness of the surrounding population that was responsible for all of the Church’s troubles.
The sad truth is that much of the trouble was cause by the wickedness of younger members. Many were living licentious lives in which virtues like chastity and piety were tossed aside like old socks. They were not obedient to the commandments.
So obviously, the Lord would praise those who were doing what was right and good. Virtuous acts should always be emphasized so all may know what path leads to happiness.
Sadly, the younger generation of members of today is repeating these follies. When they say these D&C passages are worthless, they are really saying that they are not interested in anything that is not centered on themselves. The very same self-centered expectation that led to the trouble of the past.
Obviously, John Charity, you’ve never listened to that hiphop music from earbuds while slurping a Slurpee at Seven-7-11 on Sunday morning – and thus you speak from a position of ignorance. For some of us this is our worship service. Try it sometime.
My favorite JCS comments are those that come across as a recurring SNL sketch.
Today’s a pretty darn good! The hyperbole highlights the absurdity of generational conflicts when older generations claim they are so much better than, and went through much tougher times than, newbie adults.
(Youth blaming has been going on for quite some time – there’s a scripture in Deuteronomy that authorizes parents to enlist help from church elders to stone their rebellious snd gluttonous sons.)(Please don’t.)
It’s amazing how much of a micro manager the Lord seems to be per the Doctrine & Covenants. He really gets into the details. Yet, for some reason, he’s never bothered to reveal why blacks could not do the priesthood/ temple. And he’s never bothered to reveal why LGBTQ among us. Too mysterious. But thank goodness he was willing and able to comment on mr Granger.
The Lord did give a revelation about blacks and the priesthood, it just wasn’t to the Brigham Young branch of the church. It was given to Joseph Smith III. There were many revelations given to the RLDS, but of course the LDS are going to ignore them.
JCS, -you must have had a tramatic childhood.
If you had kids, I hope they were able to enjoy the freedom of youth, with appropriate boundaries but not a stranglehold of excessive rules . If you have grandkids, they should have chilled you out. Did you go from birth to 25 years old in an instant?? You had a good string of more appropriate posts lately, but this is back to your Mr. Magoo/Mr. Wilson personality. You know the TV Mr.Wilson was born in SLC, are you he? You seem more British. Either way thank todays youth for conteibutions to todays society, or you would not have this technology and still be using morse code.
As for Bill post, which JCS .tried to hijack again, I agree with Josh. Why did the Lord respond to prayers and unimportant inquires from JS small group,
But important, life changing questions to the rest of humanity go ignored. Why is D&C even scripture. Of the 138 sections, maybe 25 of them are of revelance, most are sections which I ask….who cares?
.I took a D&C at BYU and had to memorize and rattle of the topics of sections 76 to 138 for tests. Literally, worthless information for the most part. Even in my TBM phase, its only value was for scripture chasing. No in depth discussions. Of course not wanting to approach philosophy or different points of view. Entreching the black and white approach and only pray, God answers to only the prophet, and then we are expected to obey the prophet. If God gives us a different anwser than the prophet, then we need to doubt our doubts and deny our own internal spirit.
After I read the church publication “Revelations in Context” about the D&C I felt like it should be called “Revelations of Convenience”. Poor old Jesse Gause (section 81), I’m just sayin’…
Per the wayback machine, the following did not exist in Kirtland or Nauvoo – basements, videogames, hotdogs, Bon Jovi, Irish nachos, sweatpants, or crocs.
I wonder what the perception of church members is regarding the D&C. There are a couple of options or hybrids of these two options.
A – God spoke slowly to JS, like every word appeared on the seer stone until they got it right type slow, and JS either wrote it down or had a scribe write it down. Then God told JS which of the revelations was important enough to include in the D&C. Look at the amount of material that is in the JSPP. To some, that is a waste of time because God already put the most important stuff in D&C.
B – JS rambled on and on and people jotted down short hand notes of what he was saying. Later JS would plug in the holes, piece things together, revise what he had said earlier and put together revelations. After he died other people took on the role of revising and piecing together. 50 years later a committee of old men is gathered and tasked with going through all the papers and putting together the most relevant teachings according to what they think is important but also given a strict mandate to include D&C 132. They do their best and at times include a long section that might only have one verse in the whole thing that establishes or reinforces a Doctrine they feel is important.
I feel the majority of my ward is in camp A and I am firmly in camp B. This makes Sunday School torture for me so while I am sitting there I like to find the verse that they felt was important enough to include and find the context behind why they felt it was important. I have got more meaning out of D&C through this approach.
But Chet, I thought the seer stone was the Lord’s iPhone?
Love this post. Joseph Smith and his contemporaries grew up in a strong culture of mysticism. While their visions were most likely manifestations of their imagination through that cultural lens, I don’t doubt they had them. And while we who grow up in today’s church still enjoy a healthy dose of mysticism in our culture, it’s quite watered down.
I remember as a kid wondering if I would ever be visited by an angel and feeling a lot of anxiety about it. I asked my mom what she thought. She assured me that angelic visitations were extremely rare and probably something I would never have to worry about. So far she’s been right.
For better or worse, the Q15 just aren’t the visionaries that early church leaders were. Elder Oaks basically admitted that none of them have seen Jesus or speak to God face to face even though that’s absolutely what I taught people on my mission. Instead, President Nelson has thoughts in the nighttime which he scribbles down on a notepad. I can’t imagine him ever putting a “thus saith the Lord” in front of any of them. Probably for the best.
I can’t fathom what it’s like to be The Prophet while also enjoying an absence of visions. That’s got to be one heck of a dose of cognitive dissonance. But somehow he manages it.
The Church seems to be in a pickle when it comes to the D&C. There are some gems, but the majority of it is a mix of mundane and bizarre. And it paints a very moody, sometimes even vindictive and petty, version of God. I taught this week, and the lesson outline from CFM basically was reading three verses from a section and ignoring the rest and using other materials instead. Which is exactly what I did.
If we must do a D&C-type course of study, I think we would be better off just doing a Church history year reading Saints and then an occasional D&C verse instead of reading it straight through. It’s just a slog.
Our stake just asked everyone to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I’ve heard rumblings that this is because they are seeing that the D&C isn’t really doing much for people in the stake. Of course we can’t admit that, so we are being asked to read the BoM in addition to the D&C. I wish the message had been “hey we get that this hasn’t been a great study year so how about you just read the BoM instead if the D&C isn’t uplifting for you” because that is the honest explanation, but of course we could never say that. So instead it’s “we can never be doing enough so let’s read the BoM in addition to the D&C and won’t that be amazing because both are amazing.”
As for *why* the D&C is the way it is … well one explanation of course is that Joseph was just saying “thus sayeth the Lord” every time he wanted something done. Nelson does that too of course, more so than any other prophet in my memory, but at least it’s not canonized ;-).
I will say one thing for JCS. Although I disagree with many of his points, he is consistent in holding men and women to the same standard. Unfortunately, W&T has authors who do not. Rick B. consistently censors posts from women whom he disagrees with. That is not something the JS ever supported in the D&C.
I find the D&C and the Old Testament to be in the same camp. Neither one provides any spiritual strength to those who read them. The amount of trivia vastly outweighs the actual principles. The only reason we continue to study either one is purely tradition.
Joseph Smith had a great many natural (and developed) abilities, which included a propensity for getting people to do what he wanted (and, arguably, what he felt the Lord wanted). Therefore, dropping in a “thus saith the Lord” or equivalent when it would grease the wheels came quite naturally to him. Saying stuff like that tends to get written down at some point, maybe even canonized, for good or bad. That perspective is probably not what any of us in our various churches learned about “Joseph the Prophet,” but we’ll never really know how much was divine inspiration and how much was Joseph’s necessity.
Maybe if the Commonwealth of Virginia can finally take down Robert E. Lee from a high pedestal, then we should at least consider why JS has been placed on metaphorical pedestals by so many folks. Yes, I know, it’s not a fair comparison (General Lee was a traitor to the USA and, as evidenced by his record in battle andas a poor military tactician–regardless of what that noted military historian Donald Trump says–not to mention being a brutal slaveowner). Joseph Smith, on the other hand, responded to the call of God to bring forth a “marvelous work and wonder,” albeit while making a fair number of mistakes, as we human beings are wont to do. The easiest path is to simply label JS either a total fraud or the greatest human since Jesus. I vote for somewhere in-between. I also vote for culling insignificant portions from the D&C. Community of Christ World Conferences have taken sections out before and so it could be done again, but with care and wisdom. And I also realize our LDS “cousins” face different challenges.
Rudi: “I find the D&C and the Old Testament to be in the same camp. Neither one provides any spiritual strength to those who read them.”
I read the OT (Hebrew Bible) for its powerful prophetic words found throughout Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 so-called “minor prophets; for the metaphorical beauty and poetry of the Psalms; the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and Job; the broad scope of God’s faithfulness to the Hebrew tribes and Israel (which can speak to humankind today just as well); and then there’s the Song of Songs (but that’s a whole other discussion).
JCS calls out Joseph Smith, that 33 year old yoot, for sleeping around under the license of polygamy. If only he had kept the law of chastity and other commandments that pretty much led zion astray.
This week in section 100 we learnt about the smashing of the printing press in missouri, I wonder if it was down to similar hyperbole like jcs’ that it was smashed up over.
W. W. Phelps’s “Evening and Morning Star” was offensive to the existing residents of Jackson County, Missouri, starting with the newspaper’s name: The heathen gentiles were the “evening star” about to go down and be replaced by the “morning star” (Mormons) who believed God had given them the land as their divine inheritance. Phelps filled the paper with all kinds of apocalyptic references of hellfire and damnation. But it was his editorial “Free People of Color” which he printed as a warning to some free blacks considering moving to “Zion” that really set the slave-owning Missourians on edge. They read the editorial as a plan to abolish slavery and, well, that just wouldn’t do. Things went downhill quickly after that.
@Kirkstall, the word “prophet” used to (and outside of the Restoration movement still usually does) mean something like “someone who speaks for a god” or “messenger of a god.” A lot of similarity to apostle (“someone who is sent,” often used to describe a messenger). The “Thus saith the Lord” bit was vitally important, as it announced the prophetic calling and the god who sent the message. It wasn’t about predicting the future, even if some of the messages talked about what might happen in the listener’s future.
We LDS and historically related groups have latched onto the Widtsoe retcon, that prophets are just a special group of spiritual teachers, not necessarily spokespeople who heard the message direct from the source. I imagine that helps a lot of people reconcile the cognitive dissonance.
Not sure if it’s true of everyone, but I also remember telling folks on my mission that modern prophets and apostles had all talked face to face with God. I think it would have been a bit of a shock to learn otherwise had I not already been on an unorthodox path.
As for D&C in general, I think there are a few gems of real wisdom that should stay. Maybe the rest could be treated like Hadith—things the prophet said or taught (inspired or otherwise) that weren’t part of their central, preeminent message from God.
My talk on “Prophets” in Sac Mtg today (not to threadjack) – I pointed out that the Come Follow Me program instituted in 2019 was in embryo several years prior to that (per Church News). I also pointed out that RMN has served 40% of his time after the outbreak of COVID-19.
I did not discuss D&C 132, l’affaire Holland, Snow and windows of heaven, GBH and the recession, POX, 1995 proclamation, RMN’s “time is running out, Hong Kong temple blueprint, or giving Satan an easy victory.
No apparent backlash (yet)…
If we did reevaluate the D&C, I’d vote for pulling out the sections that say the Second Coming is on the brink of happening. “the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors” (D&C 110:16) (for example). It’s been 200 years now. A teacher once explained the delay as saying the language suggesting that the 2d Coming was imminent is in proportion to the entire history of the world – the Lord is coming ‘soon’ in the Lord’s meaning of ‘soon’ and not ours. Which is kind of a copout. If the Lord wants to be understood, he could clarify something he knows the people will misunderstand.
Once in my life, I read the entire OT from beginning to end, every word. It was actually really interesting – the speed of it gave me the gist of the OT and I picked up some valuable insights. I’ve never been able to read the entire D&C, every word. I wander off with all the mundanity of telling so and so to go somewhere and etc.
Though you do get gems like Section 39, received Jan 5, 1831, telling James Covill that he’s doing great and has a fabulous calling as a missionary, and then following that up with Section 40, received the same month, basically saying Covill rejected his calling and the Lord will do with him “as seemeth me good.” Why did that get canonized?
@Melinda, I also like the idea of toning down the “end is moments away” rhetoric. It’s hard for me to keep hearing and believing those lines after so much repetition. I wonder, though, what that change would look like. I’d like to hear what you and others think.
To me, it’s hard to imagine that particular change happening. The Church has built so much of its culture, dogma, and image on the idea that these are the last days, I’m not sure if we could stop leaning on it and still stay standing. I mean, it’s in the group’s chosen, all-important name.
I wouldn’t say no to a re-branding move… getting-very-close-to-the-end-but-maybe-not-quite-there-yet-day Saints?
Bishop Bill: “Is it time to remove section 132?”
It is already too late for many, but if they want to stanch the flow of people out of the church, they should consider *at least* removing the most offensive parts. I remember seeing (maybe at By Common Consent?) a very detailed redrawing of the section. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
The thing that jumps out at me each time I read the D & C is how much the Lord paraphrases/plagiarizes himself and other scriptural writers over and over in his pronouncements. I once counted 18 straight verses where quotations from past scriptures were used in the presentation of new revelation. It’s the same words from the past, as if used to authenticate, justify, and give credence to the new information from heaven – King James style. It has just always seemed strange to me that the Lord would continually quote himself when speaking in conversation to a prophet. He’s impressive by Himself, without needing to quote Paul to make his point.
” Is it time for another revision of the D&C”
One last thought: I had never before given the idea of revising the D&C any thought, so I decided to reread it again this past week with that idea in mind. “Scrubbing” is a good word for what could take place, but that would probably be akin to throwing out huge sections of Leviticus and Numbers from the Torah (I think I spent a year one weekend reading those two books end to end). I don’t see it happening. And I really hope they continue using it in SS curriculum every four years. Even with the total irrelevance of many sections – as well as my reservations as stated above – there are sections like 76, 84, 88, 93, and 121 that I find absolutely magnificent and thought-provoking.