Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants – Part 13

By: Marvin Cowan; ©2013
Mormon leaders claim the Bible has been corrupted and mistranslated so that it is not as reliable as their latter-day revelations. The oldest Bible manuscripts are about 2500 years old but they haven’t had changes like Joseph Smith’s revelations had in the two years between 1833 and 1835!


Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants – Part 13

Mormon leaders claim the Bible has been corrupted and mistranslated so that it is not as reliable as their latter-day revelations. The oldest Bible manuscripts are about 2500 years old but they haven’t had changes like Joseph Smith’s revelations had in the two years between 1833 and 1835! Isaiah 40:8 says, “The word of our God shall stand forever.” And Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.” If Smith’s revelations came from the God of the Bible, why did they need to be changed two years later? Smith’s revelations were published first in the Book of Commandments (B. of C.) in 1833 and then two years later in the Doctrine & Covenants (D. & C.). LDS who defend the changes in the D. & C. claim there are only a few insignificant changes, but even if that was true why was it necessary to make them? There are actually many important changes as we have shown in these articles. We will now continue to quote the current D. & C. and highlight words that are added to the 1835 D. & C. that aren’t in the 1833 B. of C. and show the words deleted from the 1833 B. of C. in bold type with a line drawn through them.

The 1833 B. of C. chapter XVI became D. & C. 19 in the current edition. The introduction in both editions say that Joseph Smith received this “revelation” for Martin Harris in March 1830, before the LDS Church was organized. In it Harris is commanded to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon or he will be severely punished by the Lord. The first three verses of Chapter XVI in the B. of C. are D. & C. 19:1-2 in the current edition. Those verses say, (1) “Yea, even I, I am he, the beginning and the end: Yea, Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord, the Redeemer of the world. (2) I having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself.”

We continue with B. of C. 19:11 which is D. & C. 19:10, “For behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. (11) Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. (12) Endless punishment is God’s punishment. (13) Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in by my name; (14) and it is by my almighty power that you have received them; (15) Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.”

Verse 32 continues, “Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life. (33) And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels, yea, even the destruction of thyself and property. (34) Impart a portion of thy property, yea even a part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family. (35) Pay the printer’s debt thou hast contracted with the printer, release thyself from bondage. (36) Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see them thy family.”

When the D. & C. was published in 1835, Martin Harris had already paid the printer for publishing the B. of M., so why did God tell him to pay it or be destroyed? The God of the Bible never threatened individuals with destruction for not paying someone else’s bill!

Chapter XXVI in the 1833 B. of C. became D. & C. 25 in 1835. We will quote just the first three verses: (1.) Harken to the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter in Zion; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom. (2.) A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion. (3.) Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.”

Notice that there were only 14 words in the first two verses of the 1833 B. of C. But when it was published in the 1835 D. & C., two of those words were deleted and 60 new words were added! In verse 6 it says of Emma,

“And thou shalt go with him (Joseph) at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will. (7.) And thou shalt be ordained under his (Joseph’s) hand to expound the scriptures, and exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit. (8.) For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and learning much. (9.) And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee from in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.”

The changes in verses 6 to 8 are subtle. In the original B. of C. Emma was commanded to go with Joseph and be his scribe, so that Oliver Cowdery could be sent other places. But the changes in the D. & C. indicates that she was to be Smith’s scribe only when no other scribe was available. Verse 7 says Emma would be ordained under Joseph’s hands to “expound the scriptures and exhort the church.” Some LDS women would like the opportunity to speak at LDS Conference, but no woman has been allowed to up to now (2013). But within the LDS Church today a group called “Ordain Women Now” have asked LDS leaders to ordain women to the priesthood so they have authority to baptize, ordain others, etc. The God of the New Testament God does not require ordination under some fallible, mortal man’s hand before He will accept ordinances like baptism, communion or anything else!

Those interested in seeing more changes in the D. &C. can find a lot of information on the internet. Next time we will discuss the changes in D. & C. 27.

Read Part 14

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