Prophets in Mormonism/Part 29

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2009
Joseph Smith called Doctrine and Covenants 133 a revelation, but unlike his other revelations in the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, it was put in the Appendix and labeled “Section C” (100). At that time it was not considered the same as other Mormon scripture. But that changed in 1921.

Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, said of Doctrine and Covenants, Section 133,

At this time there were many things which the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering; and in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, on the 3rd of November, 1831, I inquired of the Lord and received the following revelation.

That is part of the current introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 133. Smith called Doctrine and Covenants 133 a revelation, but unlike his other revelations in the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, it was put in the Appendix and labeled “Section C” (100). It remained in the Appendix until 1921.

Many LDS lived and died between 1831 when it was put in the Appendix and 1921 when it was moved into the main “Sections” of the Doctrine and Covenants. During that time LDS people didn’t consider the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix to be the same as the main Doctrine and Covenants “Sections.” Since Smith died in 1844, 77 years before 1921, he didn’t move the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix. If it was a revelation why was it put in the Appendix instead of with the other revelations in the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants? Smith “received” this document in 1831, so why did LDS wait 90 years to give it equal status with Smith’s other revelations? Did God or man change it?

Joseph Smith’s revelations were first published in The Book of Commandments in 1833, but most of that edition was destroyed during the LDS conflicts in Missouri. Chapter 1 in it is “A Preface or instruction unto the Book of Commandments.” That Preface became Doctrine and Covenants Section 1 when the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published in 1835. It is still Section 1 in the current edition and is a preface to the entire Doctrine and Covenants.

Smith claimed he received Doctrine and Covenants 1 as a revelation on November 1, 1831 and Doctrine and Covenants 133 on November 3, 1831 and presented them both to the LDS conference in Hyrum, Ohio, in November 1831. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38 the “Lord” said:

Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord, have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

That refers to all the prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants, including Doctrine and Covenants 133. In Doctrine and Covenants 133:4, 7, & 10 the “Lord” said,

Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion…Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations…Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.

That was addressed to Mormons living in November of 1831. Did they go out to meet the Bridegroom (Christ) in 1831? The official name of the Mormon Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they believed they were living in the “latter dayswhen Christ would return. At an annual LDS conference held in Nauvoo, Illinois, on April 6, 1843 Joseph Smith said,

There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste of death till Christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, “My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.” I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance (History of the Church, vol. V, p. 336).

Since Smith was killed a little over a year after he said that, he didn’t live to be 85. He would have been 85 in 1890, but Christ didn’t come then. Smith would have been 200 years old in 2005, but Christ still hadn’t come!

Joseph Smith said he received Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5 as a revelation on September 22 & 23, 1832. It says LDS are to gather in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, where they would build the New Jerusalem and a temple. Verse 5 also says the generation living then (in 1832) wouldn’t all pass away until this was accomplished. But the gathering to Zion in Missouri was aborted and the temple and the New Jerusalem were never built, yet the generation living in 1832 all died many years ago. Doctrine and Covenants 101:16-20 also says Zion could never be moved, so it isn’t in Salt Lake City or any other location.

The “gathering” of the LDS to Zion is mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants many times and was a major doctrine in Joseph Smith’s time, but in the March 2000 Ensign the LDS First Presidency said: “We wish to reiterate the long standing counsel to members of the Church to remain in their homelands rather than immigrate to the United States.” Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38 says the prophecies and promises in the Doctrine and Covenants would all be fulfilled, but many like Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5 and Doctrine and Covenants 133:4-10 were not fulfilled and cannot be fulfilled because the LDS people who were to fulfill them all died over 100 years ago. What does that reveal about LDS scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet?

More Doctrine and Covenants prophecies that failed can be found in my book, Mormon Claims Answered. Next time we will discuss Doctrine and Covenants Sections 134 through 136.

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