the Mormon Claim
Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants
The "Doctrine and Covenants" is the 3rd of the Mormon "standard works", or scriptures. It claims to be the publication of about 140 different revelations that have been given in modern times to Mormon leaders, mostly to Joseph Smith. Each section in the modern D&C carries a short heading indicating the date, place, and basic circumstances surrounding each modern-day revelation.
Originally, some of the revelations were published in some very early Mormon periodicals, but then in 1833 most of the revelations received up to that point were published in a book called the "Book of Commandments". "Doctrine and Covenants" was first published in 1835, and included most of the revelations received up to that point. But there was a major problem, which continues to haunt the Mormons today. Many of the "revelations" included in both books (the 1833 BofC and the 1835 and subsequent D&C) have been altered, with the most significant changes being made in the revelations that are most important to Mormon practrices.
In my last posting I quoted several times from a prominent Mormon, and in this posting I will do the same for the same basic reason. David Whitmer was one of the "three witnesses" to the original
Book of Mormon plates, and although he never denied this witness, he and several other prominent Mormons left the LDS Church in 1838 for a very important reason. They firmly believed that Joseph Smith and the other leaders became corrupted; that they were used by God to bring out the
Book of Mormon but then became high-minded and apostate themselves. Accordingly, Whitmer wrote a booklet in 1887, at the end of his life, which is one of the most heartfelt appeals I have ever read. If you don't do anything else with a Mormon, get a copy of Whitmer's booklet and have them read it. It is absolutely devastating, and you can get it at www.utlm.org for only $3. Or, write to me privately and I will send you a 24 page Word document that I have typed up which gives excerpts from his booklet. Some quotes from Whitmer:
-- "Some of the revelations as they are now in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants have been changed and added to. Some of the changes being of the greatest importance as the meaning is entirely changed on some very important matters; as if the Lord had changed his mind a few years after he gave the revelations, and after having commanded his servants (as they claim) to print them in the "Book of Commandments;" and after giving his servants a revelation, being a preface unto His Book of Commandments, which says: "Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the Book of my Commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, oh inhabitants of the earth." Also in this preface, "Behold, I am God, and have spoken it; these commandments are of me." "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful." The revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly. This I know, and will prove it to you. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received it as being printed correctly. This I know. In the winter of 1834 they saw that some of the revelations in the Book of Commandments had to be changed, because the heads of the church had gone too far, and had done things in which they had already gone ahead of some of the former revelations. So the book of "Doctrine and Covenants" was printed in 1835, and some of the revelations changed and added to. God does not change and work in this manner. The way this revelation has been changed, twenty-two words being added to it, it would appear that God had broken His word after giving His word in plainness; commanding Brother Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, and then the Lord had changed and concluded to grant Joseph the gift of a Seer to the Church."
-- "I want to tell the brethren, that when the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was published, and presesented to the church assembly in Kirtland, Ohio, in August, 1835, as recorded in the old church papers, a very few of the brethren then knew about most of the important changes that had been put in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In time it was generally found out, and the result was that some of the members left the church on account of it. A few members dissented from the church as early as 1832, on account of the spiritual blindness of some of the leaders. When it became generally known that these important changes had been made in the Doctrine and Covenants, many of the brethren objected seriously to it, but they did not want to say much for the sake of peace, as it was Brother Joseph and the leaders who did it. The majority of the members--poor weak souls--thought that anything Brother Joseph would do, must be all right; so in their blindness of heart, trusting in an arm of flesh, they looked over it and were led into error, and finally all talk about it ceased. I was told that Sidney Rigdon was the cause of those changes being made: by smooth talk he convinced Brother Joseph and that committee that it was all right."
-- "If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to "separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, so should it be done unto them." In the spring of 1838, the heads of the church and many of the members had gone deep into error and blindness. I had been striving with them for a long time to show them the errors into which they were drifting, and for my labors I received only persecutions. About the same time that I came out, the Spirit of God moved upon quite a number of the brethren who came out, with their families. All of the eight witnesses who were then living (except the three Smiths) came out; Peter and Christian Whitmer were dead. Oliver Cowdery came out also. Martin Harris was then in Ohio. Many of the Reorganized Church have wondered why I have stood apart from them. Brethren, I will here tell you why. God commanded me by his own voice to stand apart from you. Many of you think that I have a desire to lead--to lead a church that believe as I do. I have no such desire. A one-man leader to the church is not the teachings of Christ. After Brother Joseph was killed, many came to me and importuned me to come out and be their leader; but I refused."
This is the heartfelt appeal of a man who was duped in the first few years, but when he got on the inside and saw what was going on, he took all the fraud after that and believed that it was just starting! I feel for David Whitmer as much as he felt for members of the LDS.
But the point of this posting is that Mormons today have no idea that many of the D&C sections were originally printed with some very significant and serious differences. They think that the D&C sections today are printed just as Christ spoke them. What kinds of changes?
Originally, it was supposedly revealed to Smith that his "only gift" would be to translate the
Book of Mormon. But later that section was changed to read as if that was only his "first gift". (BTW, I am not giving the section numbers here because they are different in different editions of the D&C.) One of the other changes concerns Mormon "high priests", and even the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, which are some of the most fundamental parts of the overall Mormon claim. They aren't mentioned in the original versions of the revelations that contain them today.
Giving Whitmer's "An Address to all Believers in Christ" doesn't solve everything, because he still adamantly believed in the
Book of Mormon and in the original versions of revelations supposedly received prior to 1830. But his pamphlet is devastating to most of Mormonism, and understanding why actually undermines the rest f what Whitmer did believe about Mormonism, even though he didn't realize it.
Avon, Indiana, USA