Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants – Part 12

By: Marvin Cowan; ©2013
If the Lord really revealed the message the information in the Book of Commandments the way it was originally recorded in 1833, did He make a mistake and correct it two years later or did Joseph Smith record it wrong and correct it? Either option raises serious questions about the reliability of this LDS scripture.
 

Contents

Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants – Part 12

Our last two articles showed some of the changes between the original “revelation” that Joseph Smith said he received in chapter XXIV in the 1833 Book of Commandments (B. of C.) and when it was published as Section 20 in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.). If the Lord really revealed the message the way it was originally recorded in 1833, did He make a mistake and correct it two years later or did Joseph Smith record it wrong and correct it? Either option raises serious questions about the reliability of this LDS scripture. We now continue the comparison of the 1833 B. of C. chapter XXIV with the 1835 D. & C. Section 20 beginning with verse 61. We quote the current D. & C. with the verse numbers and highlight words added to the 1835 D. & C. that are not in the 1833 B. of C. and words deleted from the 1833 B. of C. which are not in the 1835 D. & C. will be shown in bold type with a line through them.

D. & C. 20:61 says,

“The several elders composing this church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three months, or from time to time as they said conference shall direct or appoint; (62) and said conferences are to do whatever church business whatsoever is necessary to be done at the time. (63) The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences. (64) Each priest, or teacher, or deacon who is ordained by a priest, is to may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, he is to give shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference. (65) No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; (66) But the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called. (67) Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high councilor or general conference.”

Verses 68 and 69 are the same in both books. So we will go to D. & C. 20:70:

“Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and bless them in the his name of Christ. (71) There can not any No one can be received into the church of Christ who has not unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is not capable of repentance. (72) And Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent—(73) Whosoever being The person who is called of God and has having authority given them of from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with them the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling them him or her by name; Having authority given me been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. (74) Then shall he immerse them him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water. (75) And It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. (76) And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he do administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in mighty solemn prayer, saying: (77) O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (78) The manner of administering the wine: Behold they he shall take the cup also, and say: (79) O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

(80) “Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with according as the scriptures direct. (81) It shall be the duty of the several churches, composing this the church of Christ, to send one or more of their teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of this the church, (82) With a list of the names of the several members uniting themselves to with the church since the last conference; or send or send by the hand of some priest; so that there can be kept a regular list of all the names of the members of the whole church may be kept in a book kept by one of the elders, whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time; (83) And also, if any have been expelled from the church, so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names. (84) Any All members removing from the church where he they resides, if going to a church where he is they are not known, may take a letter certifying that he is a they are regular members and in good standing, which certificate may be signed by any elder or priest if the member receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the elder or priest, or it may be signed by the teachers or deacons of the church.”

That is the end of D. & C. 20. Notice that “the Lord” added new material, made minor changes and deleted other content. Couldn’t He reveal it right the first time? In the previous paragraph, verses 77-79 say “the Lord” told LDS the exact words to say in their two prayers at their Sacrament meeting every week! Didn’t the Lord say in Matthew 6:7 “Use not vain repetitions as the heathen do?” The “church of Christ” is mentioned many times in D. & C. 20 and elsewhere in the D. & C. because that was the official name of the LDS Church from 1830 when it began until 1834. It then became the Church of Latter Day Saints until 1838 when it became The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those who are interested in seeing more changes in the D. & C. can find several sites online that show them. We will show some other interesting changes next time.

Read Part 13

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