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LDS Doctrine and Covenants Notes 03: D&C 3, 5, 10, 17

LDS Doctrine and Covenants Notes 03: D&C 3, 5, 10, 17

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09/28/2012

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© 2012, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Doctrine and CovenantsWeek 3: D&C 3, 5, 10 & 17
1)
 
 As will be the case with most of these lessons, there is too much material to cover all of thereading assignment in class. The best we can do is to get an overview of the background behind the reading, and hit on some of the key passages.a)
 
This week‘s lesson is about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, particularly the
loss of the 116-
page manuscript of the ―Book of Lehi,‖ how the translation was
accomplished, and the calling of three witnesses to testify of the work.
2)
 
[SLIDE 2]
Let‘s start with some historical background:
1
 a)
 
22 September 1827
: Joseph Smith obtained the plates. Several weeks later hereceived the breastplate with the interpreters (later called the Urim and Thummim). He was forced to continually move the plates from one hiding place to another to preventthem from being stolen. b)
 
[SLIDE 3] 
Early December 1827
: To escape ongoing persecution, Joseph and his wife, Emma (who was three months pregnant at the time), moved from the Smith family 
home in Manchester, New York, to Emma‘s father‘s home in Harmony, Pennsylvania.
[3.1]
 c)
 
[SLIDE 4]
December 1827
February 1828
: Joseph copied characters from theplates and translated some of them.d)
 
[4.1]
 
2 February 1828
: Martin Harris arrived in Harmony.i)
 
Mar
tin was a prominent resident of Palmyra who believed in Joseph‘s calling.
2
 ii)
 
Martin left two days later for New York City to show some of the characters toProfessor Charles Anthon.
3
 iii)
 
[SLIDE 5]
Anthon was an acclaimed classical scholar and professor at ColumbiaCollege.iv)
 
Martin Harris‘ account of what happened at that meeting differs from what Anthon
later reported,
4
but Martin was apparently satisfied by the answer he got
hereturned to Harmony on
12 April 1828
 
and began service as Joseph‘s scribe.
5
 
1
This timeline was compiled from Elden J. Watso
n‘s ―Approximate Book of Mormon Translation Timeline‖
(
http://eldenwatson.net/BoM.htm
).
2
Martin and Lucy Harris were a prosperous Palmyra family who had frequently given Joseph Smith work on their farm amile and a half north of Palmyra. Martin (1783
1875) was a veteran of the War of 1812 who, through a combination of inheritance and skill, had built a prosperous 320-acre estate near Palmyra by 1828. For a biography of Martin Harris, see
 Encyclopedia of Mormonism
 
(New York: Macmillan, 1992), s.v. ―Harris, Martin,‖ 2:574–
76(
http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Harris,_Martin
).
3
David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, possessed a slip of paper that he claimed was thetext that Martin Harris showed to Charles Anthon. This slip of paper contains seven rows of symbols, with the English heading
―Caractors.‖ This transcript does not match Anthon‘s description of what he was shown (he reported the characters were in vertical columns), but portions of the ―Caractors‖ were printed in Mormon publicat
ions, so it seems likely that they were eithercopied from the plates or from the document carried by Harris. See
 Encyclopedia of Mormonism
, s.v. ―Anthon Transcript,‖
(New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1:43
44 (
http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Anthon_Transcript
).
4
 
Martin Harris‘ account of his visit with Charles Anthon (1787–
1867) can be found in Joseph Smith
History 1:64
65. Anthon himself later gave two accounts of his visit with Martin Harris (one in 1834; another in 1841), and, while they conflict with each other on a number of important details, Anthon claimed in both that he did
not 
verify the Book of Mormon
characters as authentic. However, Martin Harris immediately returned to Harmony to begin work as Joseph‘s scribe, and later
mortgaged his farm to pay for the publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, not the sort of actions one wouldexpect if he had received a negative report from Anthon. See B.H. Roberts,
 A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus
 
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Doctrine and Covenants Sections 3, 5, 10, & 17 Week 3, Page 2© 2012, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
e)
 
[SLIDE 6]
 
 April
June 1828
: Translation commenced from Mormon‘s abridgement of 
the Book of Lehi. Joseph and Martin completed more than 116 pages in 63 days
(approximately 1.85 written pages per day). Joseph called this record ―the Book of Lehi.‖
6
 i)
 
Martin pleaded with Joseph to ask the Lord for permission to take the manuscript toPalmyra to show his wife, Lucy.ii)
 
Joseph asked the Lord three times for permission. The first two times the answer
 was ―no.‖ On Joseph‘s third request, the Lord gave him permission, on
conditionthat Martin would show the manuscript only to members of his immediate family.
7
 f)
 
15 June 1828
: Martin left Harmony for Palmyra with 116 manuscript pages. Josephgave the interpreters to Moroni until the manuscript was returned. Emma gave birth toher first child, a son, who died the same day.g)
 
[6.2]
 
8 July 1828
: After not hearing from Martin for nearly three weeks, Josephtraveled to Palmyra. He arrived on 15 July and learned that the manuscript has beenlost.h)
 
16 July 1828
:
 After ―pour[ing]
out my soul in supplication to [the Lord], that if possible I might obtain mercy at his hands and be forgiven of all that I had done which was contrary to his will
,‖
8
Joseph received an angelic visitation and a revelation, whichis now canonized as Doctrine and Covenants section 3. This revelation was giventhrough the interpreters, which were returned to Joseph briefly, after which they andthe plates were taken from him by Moroni.
3)
 
This was one of the lowest points in the Prophet‘s life. He had lost the manuscript
of theBook of Lehi; lost the plates, the interpreters, and the gift to translate; and had lost hisfirstborn child and almost lost Emma in childbirth.
4)
 
D&C 3.
D&C 3:3
4; 9
11
Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, butthe work of men;
4
for although a man may have many revelations, and havepower to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and setsat naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own willand carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God uponhim.
….
 
9
Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord,but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
10
But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast
Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I 
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1930),
 
1:99
109; also, Robert F. Smith, Gordon C.
Thomasson, and John W. Welch, ―What Did Charles Anthon Really Say?‖,
 Reexploring the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 73
75(
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=71&chapid=785
).
5
Martin Harris originally returned to Harmony from New York City on 4 March 1828. He went home to Palmyra on 10March, and then came back to Harmony with his wife Lucy on 16 March. They stayed until 31 March, returning to Palmyra on4 April. Martin then came to Harmony alone, arriving 12 April after 68 days of travel.
6
So named in the preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon(
http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/book-of-mormon-1830#9
).
7
Specifically, Martin was given permission to show the document to his brother, Preserved Harris, his own wife, Lucy,, his
father and mother, and his wife‘s sister.
 History of the Church
1:21 (
http://byustudies2.byu.edu/hc/1/5.html#21
).
8
Lucy Mack Smith,
 Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir,
Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed.(Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 424 (
http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=9209
).
 
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Doctrine and Covenants Sections 3, 5, 10, & 17 Week 3, Page 3© 2012, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou artstill chosen, and art again called to the work;
11
except thou do this, thou shaltbe delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.
a)
 
The first canonized revelation in this dispensation begins with the importance of humility.i)
 
 When we think we can do it just fine on our own, or that we know better than theLord does, we set ourselves up for a big fall. b)
 
Joseph was warned that he was not irreplaceable. He needed to learn early on whose work this is.i)
 
The publication of those revelations in which he was chastened by the Lord isevidence of the truthfulness of his calling. The rules that apply to us as members of the Church apply to everyone, up to and including t
he Lord‘s Prophet. No one is
exempt from the commandments of God.(1)
 
Many of history‘s false prophets have claimed to be exempt from the rules that
govern their followers.(a)
 
David Koresh of Waco‘s
Branch Davidian sect demanded sexual abstinencefrom his followers, while he himself had sexual relations with multiple womenin his group.(b)
 
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs lived a lifestyle much better than his followers, withaccess to television and the Internet. When he was caught outside Las Vegasin August 2006, he and the people in his SUV were wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts, unlike the rest of his followers who wear clothing to the wristand ankle.
5)
 
[SLIDE 7]
Historical background, continued:a)
 
22 September 1828
: Joseph waited for over two months, after which he
reported, ―
Ihad the joy and satisfacton of again receiving the urim and Thummin into my possession
9
and I have commenced translating and Emma writes for me now but theangel said that the Lord would send some one to write for me and I trust that it will beso
.‖
10
It was probably on this date that Joseph received D&C 10 (or at least the first partof it).
6)
 
D&C 10.a)
 
There has been some confusion in the past over the date when D&C 10 was received. Inall editions of the Doctrine and Covenants prior to 1921, this section was dated May 1829; thus it was placed between section 9, received in April 1829, and section 11,received in May 1829. The committee in charge of the 1921 publication of the Doctrineand Covenants recognized that section 10 had been misdated and fixed the section
heading to ―summer 1828,‖ but they did not change the numerical order of the
9
 
Lucy‘s recollection of Joseph‘s account of receiving the plates and the interpreters (―urim and Thummin‖) again conflicts with David Whitmer‘s statement in an 1885 interview that the interpreters were
not 
returned after the loss of the 116 pages.John W. Welch and Erick b. Carlson, eds.,
Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations
(Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press and Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 153.
10
Lucy Mack Smith,
 Lucy’s Book
, 428. Original spelling retained.

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