Doctrine and Covenants Week 15: D&C 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

1) The revelations in this week‘s reading all have to do with Joseph Smith‘s translation of the Bible. a) We‘re going to start tonight by examining the history of his translation effort and answering some of the questions that it raises.1 b) [SLIDE 2] Question 1: Why did Joseph Smith make a translation of the Bible? i) He made a translation of the Bible because the Lord directed him to do so. He considered it part of his divine calling as a prophet of God. (1) In the journal entry in the History of the Church preceding Section 71, he noted
I resumed the translation of the Scriptures, and continued to labor in this branch of my calling with Elder Sidney Rigdon as my scribe.2

ii) Although there is no record of a revelation specifically directing Joseph to begin making a translation, the work is mentioned numerous times in the Doctrine and Covenants3 and in the History of the Church.4 c) [SLIDE 3] Question 2: How did Joseph produce his translation of the Bible? i) The translation was not done in the usual manner of a scholar, but was a revelatory experience using only an English Bible. ii) [SLIDE 4] The Prophet had a large, family-size edition of the King James Version of the Bible that he and Oliver Cowdery purchased in Palmyra, New York, in October 1829.5 iii) He read from this Bible, marked certain passages, and dictated revisions and additions to a scribe, who wrote them on separate sheets of paper. (1) He began the project by dictating the entire text, with revisions, to his scribe. He later created a simpler system where only changes were recorded by the scribe. 6

1 Some of the following material is adapted from Robert J. Matthews, “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible, a History and Commentary (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1975); see especially pages xxvii– xxxii. This book is, unfortunately, long out of print, but used copies are available online for $15 to $25. The latest scholarly treatment of the Joseph Smith Translation is Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004). The FAIR web site also has some helpful articles that address the challenging questions about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Joseph_Smith_Translation 2 History of the Church 1:238; italics added (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/1/20.html#238). 3 See D&C 76:15; 93:53; 94:10; 124:89. See also D&C 9:2; 35:20; 37:1; 41:7; 42:56; 45:60–61; 73:3–4; 90:13; 91:3, 6. See also this unpublished revelation, dated 20 March 1832: http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary?target=x119 4 See HC 1:131–33, 170, 211, 215, 219, 238, 242, 245, 253, 255, 273, 295, 322, 324, 331, 341, 365, 368–69; 4:137, 164, 187, 493; 6:164–65. 5 This was a large edition of the KJV (9 inches by 11 inches by 2 inches), printed in 1828 by H. and E. Phinney Company of Cooperstown, New York, that included the Old Testament Apocrypha. A notation on the flyleaf, in what appears to be Joseph Smith‘s handwriting, states that it had been purchased from the Egbert B. Grandin Bookstore in Palmyra, New York, on 8 October 1829 for $3.75. See Kent P. Jackson, ―Joseph Smith‘s Cooperstown Bible: The Historical Context of the Bible Used in the Joseph Smith Translation,‖ BYU Studies 40/1 (2001), 41–70 (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=6687). In August 2010 Joseph‘s Bible was offered for sale by a Salt Lake rare book dealer, with an asking price of $1.5 million (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700052801/Joseph-Smiths-Bible-for-sale-at-15-million.html?pg=all). 6 See Kent P. Jackson, ―New Discoveries in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible,‖ in By Study and by Faith: Selections from the Religious Educator, Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Kent P. Jackson, eds. (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies

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Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 2

(2) [SLIDE 5] The two manuscripts that came out of the project comprise 446 pages. iv) Joseph‘s principal scribe was Sidney Rigdon (D&C 35:20), although other scribes also wrote for him, including Emma Smith (25:6).7 v) The translation was done by divine revelation to the mind of the Prophet. (1) Like Joseph‘s other revelations, the translation was not a simple, mechanical recording of divine dictation, but rather a study-and-thought process accompanied by and prompted by revelation from the Spirit. (2) There is no evidence that he used the Urim and Thummim or a seer stone during the translation.8 (3) So far as we have any evidence, Joseph Smith did not use Biblical Hebrew or Greek languages and manuscripts in the translation.9 d) [SLIDE 6] Question 3: How many changes did Joseph make to the text of the King James Version (KJV)? i) His work differs from the KJV in at least 3,410 verses.10 ii) The changes consist of additions, deletions, rearrangements, and other alterations that cause it to vary not only from the KJV but from other biblical texts. iii) These changes range from minor details like the insertion of a single word,11 to insertions of lengthy material that runs several chapters.12 iv) Although he made no changes in some of books of the Bible, he did give consideration to every book from Genesis to Revelation. e) Question 4: How long did the Prophet Joseph work on his Bible translation? i) He worked on the translation somewhat regularly for three years. ii) The earliest portion of the work was the reception of the revelation known as ―the vision of Moses,‖ which is now Moses chapter 1 in the Pearl of Great Price. This was received in June 1830, two months after the Church was founded.13 iii) Joseph then began working on the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 1 and reaching as far as Genesis 24. In March 1831 he received a revelation instructing him to translate the New Testament (D&C 45:60–62), which he began immediately.

Center, Brigham Young University, 2009), 169–81 (http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/study-and-faith-selections-religiouseducator/chapter-12-new-discoveries-joseph-smith-trans). 7 Other scribes who wrote for Joseph were Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Jesse Gause, and Frederick G. Williams. Jackson, ―New Discoveries.‖ 8 Elder Orson Pratt said that ―Joseph [Smith] explained to him that the experience he [Joseph] had acquired while translating the Book of Mormon by use of the Urim and Thummim had rendered him so well acquainted with the Spirit of Revelation and Prophecy, that in the translating of the New Testament he did not need the aid that was necessary in the 1st instance.‖ Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake City, 14 January 1871. Cited in Matthews, “A Plainer Translation,” 40. 9 Joseph did, however, endeavor to learn Hebrew and Greek at Kirtland in early 1836, and also later in Nauvoo. 10 There are 31,103 verses in the King James Bible (not including unnumbered material and the Apocrypha), which would mean Joseph modified approximately 10.9% of the verses. 11 See, for example, 1 Corinthians 1:26, in which the JST changes the final word of the verse from ―called‖ to ―chosen,‖ and 1 Corinthians 10:24 changes the word ―wealth‖ to ―good.‖ 12 The most prominent example is the material on Adam and Eve, Cain, and Enoch that has been canonized in Moses 5–7. 13 The earliest date in the translation manuscripts is a marginal note next to JST Genesis 5:28 that reads ―October 21, 1830.‖ This corresponds to KJV Genesis 4:18 and Moses 5:43. © 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 3

(1) He finished the New Testament July 1832,14 and then returned to the Old Testament, picking up with Genesis 24 and continuing to Malachi, which he finished in July 1833. f) [SLIDE 7] Question 5: Did Joseph finish the translation of the Bible? i) The Prophet stated in a letter of 2 July 1833 that he had that day ―finished‖ the translation of the Bible.15 ii) After this, he made no further changes or additions to the manuscripts, and all the available evidence indicates that he considered the work completed. 16 g) Question 6: Did Joseph intend to publish his Bible translation? i) Joseph and his associates made numerous statements indicating they intended to publish the translation,17 and Joseph‘s revelations indicate that he was commanded to do so (e.g., D&C 94:10; 124:89). ii) Lack of financial resources appears to be a significant factor which prevented the Prophet‘s finishing and publishing the translation. iii) Excerpts from the translation were published during the Prophet‘s lifetime in the Church newspapers.18 h) [SLIDE 8] Question 7: What happened to the translation manuscripts after the Prophet‘s death? i) After Joseph‘s death the manuscripts and marked Bible remained in the possession of Emma Smith.19 (1) The Smith family has generally held that the new translation materials are family property, not Church property. ii) The materials eventually became the property of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS).20 i) Question 8: What is the correct name for Joseph Smith‘s translation of the Bible? i) The work has been known by several names:

14 The statement in HC 1:34, dated 2 February 1833, ―This day completed the translation and the reviewing of the New Testament,‖ refers to a review process that followed the completion of the translation the previous summer. 15 ―We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father, and sat immediately down to answer your letters.‖ Letter from the presidency of the Church (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams) to ―the Brethren in Zion‖ [Missouri], 2 July 1833. HC 1:368–69 (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/1/28.html#368). 16 ―The Bible Dictionary in the English LDS Bible states that Joseph Smith ‗continued to make modifications‘ in the translation ‗until his death in 1844‘ (717). Based on information available in the past, that was a reasonable assumption, and I taught it for many years. But we now know that it is not accurate.‖ Jackson, ―New Discoveries.‖ 17 See references to the Times and Seasons in footnote 21. 18 Portions of the translation of JST Genesis 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 were published in the Evening and Morning Star at Independence, Missouri, in August 1832 (http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/27870) and March–April 1833 (http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/27954). The ―vision of Moses‖ (now Moses 1 in the Pearl of Great Price) was published at Nauvoo in the Times and Seasons in January 1843 (http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/NCMP1820-1846/id/8412). The Lectures on Faith (1835) also contains scattered passages. 19 ―Monday, 19 [July 1843].—Elder Willard Richards called on Emma Smith, widow of the Prophet, for the new translation of the Bible: She said she did not feel disposed to give it up at present.‖ HC 7:260, italics in the original (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/7/21.html#260). 20 The RLDS Church was renamed ―Community of Christ‖ in April 2001. For historic purposes, I will refer to it as the Reorganized Church or RLDS in these notes.

© 2013, Mike Parker

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Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 4

(1) In Joseph‘s revelations the Lord referred to it as ―the translation of my scriptures‖ (94:10) or ―the new translation of my holy word‖ (124:89). (a) Joseph and his contemporaries called it the ―new translation.‖21 (2) The RLDS Church published it in 1867 under the title Holy Scriptures. (3) The 1936 RLDS edition of the Holy Scriptures was the first to carry the subtitle Inspired Version. (4) The term Joseph Smith Translation was coined by the Robert Matthews for the LDS Scripture Committee as they were preparing the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible.22 This is abbreviated JST. j) [SLIDE 9] Question 9: Why does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not use Joseph‘s translation as its official Bible? i) This is a complex issue. ii) The primary reason is that there is no revelation that has directed the Church to replace the King James Version of the Bible with the JST. iii) The Church does accept the work of Joseph Smith as being divinely inspired, and has canonized two portions of Joseph‘s new translation: Selections from the Book of Moses23 and Joseph Smith—Matthew,24 both of which are located in the Pearl of Great Price. (1) In 1979 the Church also began publishing its own edition of the King James Version of the Bible with hundreds of JST footnotes and a seventeen-page appendix containing longer excerpts.25 iv) Another reason the JST is not our official Bible was the animosity between the LDS and RLDS churches during the 19th and early 20th centuries. (1) Brigham Young believed that the RLDS Church had tampered with the JST text and that it didn‘t accurately reflect Joseph Smith‘s original translation.26 This mistrust—along with the fact that the LDS Church did not own the copyright to the work—kept the Utah Saints from embracing the JST.
21 See, for example: HC 1:341, 365, 369; 4:164, 187, 517; 6:164; 7:xxvii. WJS 51. Times and Seasons 1/9 (July 1840), 140; 1/12 (October 1840), 192; 3/6 (15 January 1842), 667; 3/7 (1 February 1842), 677; 3/9 (15 March 1842), 715; 3/24 (15 October 1842), 958. 22 ―I took a class from Robert Matthews on the Joseph Smith Translation in the latter half of the 1980s. He claimed to have coined the term. The scripture committee wanted an abbreviation that would be distinctive and recognizable. At the time, everyone in the Church referred to it as the ‗inspired version‘ of the Bible. As an abbreviation, IV looked like a Roman numeral four. So Matthews proposed ‗Joseph Smith Translation‘ as JST would be distinctive and still more or less convey the sense of what the text was. It was largely used first in the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible.‖ John Gee, email to Mike Parker, 28 January 2009. 23 The extract in the Book of Moses is KJV Genesis 1:1–6:13 / JST Genesis 1:1–8:18. 24 The extract in Joseph Smith—Matthew is KJV Matthew 23:39–24:51 / JST Matthew 23:39–24:56. For more on this see New Testament lesson 8, pages 3–6 (https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/nt/week08). 25 The lengthy JST excerpts are found in the appendix to LDS edition of the Bible, on pages 797–813. Regarding the JST excerpts and other supplementary material in the LDS Bible, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: ―They do not of themselves determine doctrine…. They are aids and helps only.‖ Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Mark McConkie, ed., (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1989), 289–290. 26 This fear was largely unfounded. Kent P. Jackson: ―RLDS archivists later added [to the manuscripts] a few small notations for organizational purposes, like page numbers. A very few small corrections, written lightly in pencil, appear to be in the handwriting of Joseph Smith III, the Prophet‘s son and president of the RLDS Church (1860–1914). Almost all of them repair copying errors made by scribes. One small insertion he made to an awkward but correct King James phrase (perhaps thinking it was an error by a scribe) was mistakenly made into a footnote in the LDS edition of the Bible: ‗…and worthy of death‘ at Matthew 26:66.‖ Jackson, ―New Discoveries.‖

© 2013, Mike Parker

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For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 5

(2) These attitudes were reversed through Bruce R. McConkie‘s interest in and use of the Inspired Version,27 along with Robert Matthews‘ research on the manuscripts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. v) Finally, from a practical sense, adoption of the JST would be a stumbling block for converts. Not only are we asking them to accept three new volumes of scripture, but we‘d also be requiring them to abandon their traditional Bible and accept Joseph Smith‘s translation of the Bible, which no other church uses. (1) In this sense, the King James Version serves as a connection between the LDS Church and the remainder of the Christian world. vi) [SLIDE 10] A 1974 editorial in the Church News contained this statement:
The Inspired Version does not supplant the King James Version as the official Church version of the Bible, but the explanations and changes made by the Prophet Joseph Smith provide enlightenment and useful commentary on many biblical passages. …. When the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price offer information relative to biblical interpretation, these should be given preference in writing and teaching. But when these sources of latter-day revelation do not provide significant information which is available in the Inspired Version, then this version may be used. The King James Version will, of course, constitute the basic English-speaking Bible text of the Church.28

k) [SLIDE 11] Question 10: If Joseph Smith dealt basically only with an English text and language, why is his work with the Bible called a ―translation‖? i) Because Joseph himself called his work a ―translation.‖ ii) Joseph often used the words ―translated‖ and ―translation,‖ not in the narrow sense alone of rendering a text from one language into another, but in the wider sense of transmission, having reference to copying, editing, adding to, taking from, rephrasing, and interpreting. This is substantially beyond the usual meaning of ―translation.‖ (1) For example, Joseph called D&C 7 a ―translation,‖ even though it was received as pure revelation, without access to any manuscripts. (2) Likewise, some Latter-day Saints have theorized that the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price was a revelation inspired by the Egyptian papyri Joseph had, rather than an actual translation of the writings on the papyri.29 l) Question 11: There have been many discoveries of ancient Biblical manuscripts since Joseph Smith‘s time. Do any of them support Joseph Smith‘s translation?

27 McConkie wrote approvingly of the Inspired Version in both editions of Mormon Doctrine (1958, p. 351–53; 1966, 383– 85), and used it extensively throughout his three-volume Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (1965–73). In his final book, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (1985), he called the JST ―the best source of biblical knowledge‖ (p. 393). 28 ―The ‗Inspired Version,‘‖ Church News, 7 December 1974, 16 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Kr1SAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L34DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3533%2C1878642 ). 29 For a review of the issues surrounding the Book of Abraham and the Joseph Smith Papyri, see

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri

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Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 6

i) There are a handful of interesting parallels, but in most instances recentlydiscovered Bible manuscripts and modern translations do not correspond to the translation by Joseph Smith.30 m) Question 12: So if the Joseph Smith Translation is Joseph Smith‘s ―correction‖ of Biblical errors, why do most of these corrections not match known Biblical manuscripts? i) Just because the new translation was a divinely inspired project does not necessarily assume (a) that it is a restoration of the original Bible text, or (b) that it is without error. ii) [SLIDE 12] The Joseph Smith Translation could be many things. For example, different portions of the work may fall into at least six categories: (1) Restorations of material once written by the biblical authors but since deleted from the Bible.31 (2) Historical events or doctrines that were not recorded anciently, or were recorded but never included in any biblical collection.32 (a) The Enoch material in Moses 5–7 could fall into this category. (3) Corrections of Biblical passages that were in error even in their original form.33 (4) ―Inspired commentary‖ by the Prophet Joseph which enlarged, elaborated, and even adapted Biblical passages to a latter-day situation. (a) This may be similar to what Nephi meant by ―likening‖ the scriptures to himself and his people in their particular circumstance (1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 11:8). (5) Joseph‘s changes to the wording of the Bible to make it more clear and understandable for modern readers.34 (6) Harmonization of historical details and attempts to clarify apparent contradictions in the KJV text.

30 See Kevin L. Barney, ―The Joseph Smith Translation and Ancient Texts of the Bible,‖ Dialogue 19/3 (Fall 1986), 85–102 (http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V19N03_87.pdf). After surveying the evidence, Barney concludes: ―The majority of JST changes lack ancient textual support. Although we cannot say with complete assurance what stood in the original text, manuscript discoveries have made the argument that there could have been massive early deletions from the text untenable, at least for the New Testament. … For these reasons, it is unlikely (with very few exceptions) that the JST represents a literal restoration of material that stood in the original manuscripts of the Bible.‖ (100.) For examples of JST material that does appear to be a restoration of ancient material, see Kent P. Jackson, ―Behold I,‖ BYU Studies 44/2 (2005), 169–75 (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=6931). 31 The assumption that large portions of Biblical text have been removed or tampered with stems from Nephi1‘s claim that ―many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God‖ (1 Nephi 13:26–29). 32 Joseph Smith indicated that, ―From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.‖ HC 1:245, italics added (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/1/20.html#245). 33 Joseph Smith stated, ―Many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelation of the Holy Ghost to me.‖ Words of Joseph Smith 211, spelling modernized. 34 Kent P. Jackson writes: ―As I examined the changes the Prophet made, I was surprised to see that more individual corrections appear to fall into [the category of modernizing the text] than into any other. Few are aware of that (nor was I), because the JST footnotes in our LDS Bible rightly focus on the more important matters of doctrine and history. There are many instances in which the Prophet rearranged word order or added words to make the text easier to read and modernized the language to replace archaic King James features with current grammar and vocabulary. There are numerous changes from saith to said, from that and which to who, and from thee and ye to you. He even modernized the language of his original dictations in some instances. When refining one passage, he changed ‗this earth upon which thou standest, and thou shalt write‘ to ‗this earth upon which you stand, and you shall write.‘‖ Jackson, ―New Discoveries.‖

© 2013, Mike Parker

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For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 7

(a) [SLIDE 13] For example, Matthew records that there was an angel waiting for the women at Jesus‘ empty tomb, while Mark says there was ―a young man…clothed in a long white garment.‖ Luke reports that there were ―two men…in shining garments,‖ and John says there were two angels. 35 (i) These are almost certainly the original readings from each Gospel, and are not errors, but simply differences in the resurrection story based on varying traditions the gospel writers received. (ii) The Joseph Smith translation harmonizes all four accounts to read ―two angels.‖36 iii) [SLIDE 14] Restoration of original ―lost‖ text almost certainly accounts for a minority of the changes Joseph made. He did not claim to be mechanically preserving some hypothetically ―perfect‖ Biblical text—rather, he used the existing King James text as a basis for commentary, expansion, and clarification, with particular attention to issues of doctrinal importance for Latter-day Saint readers. (1) This helps us understand parallel passages that read the same way in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, but differently in the Joseph Smith Translation.37 iv) This brings us to an important point: Joseph did not seem to consider one version of any scripture to be ―perfect‖ or ―the final word.‖ (1) He indicated that Moroni quoted Malachi to him ―with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles‖ (Joseph Smith—History 1:36–39). However, when Joseph quoted the same passage years later in a letter about vicarious baptism for the dead, he said:
I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. (D&C 128:18a.)

(2) In another instance, Joseph changed Revelation 1:6 in his new translation, but in a sermon in Nauvoo in June 1844 he quoted the King James reading of that verse and said, ―It is altogether correct in the translation.‖38 (3) Joseph also translated some passages more than once, with different results in each attempt.39 This suggests that Joseph was not restoring a single, original reading.

See Matthew 28:2, 5; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:12. See JST Matthew 28:2, 4; JST Mark 16:3; JST Luke 24:2; JST John 20:12. 37 For example, a portion of the Lord‘s Prayer reads ―and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil‖ in both the King James Bible (Matthew 6:13a) and in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 13:12), but the Joseph Smith Translation reads ―and suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil‖ (JST Matthew 6:14). 38 Joseph Smith, meeting in the grove, east of the Temple, 16 June 1844. HC 6:473 (http://byustudies.byu.edu/hc/6/24.html#473); Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 369; WJS 378. The King James Version of Revelation 1:6 reads, ―[Jesus Christ] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father,‖ indicating that God the Father himself has a father, and that there is a plurality of gods. (This was Joseph‘s point in his June 1844 sermon.) The JST renders the verse ―hath made us kings and priests unto God, his Father.‖ Modern Bible translations follow the JST on this point. 39 Two prominent examples are Matthew 26:1–71, translated in June 1831 and then again in September 1831, and 2 Peter 3:4–6, translated twice sometime between mid-February and late March 1832. While both translations have some areas of commonality, they produced different results. See Kent P. Jackson and Peter M. Jasinski, ―The Process of Inspired Translation: Two Passages Translated Twice in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible,‖ BYU Studies 42/2 (2003), 35–64 (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=6831).
35 36

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Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 8

(4) In summary, Joseph did not believe that there was a ―perfect original‖ Biblical manuscript that he was trying to restore. Instead, he was expanding on the King James text and revealing new concepts that may or may not have been in some of the ancient manuscript traditions. n) [SLIDE 15] Question 13: What is the place of Joseph Smith‘s translation of the Bible in the larger context of Church history? i) Joseph‘s translation of the Bible was the means by which many important doctrines of the gospel were revealed to the Prophet.40 He was translating the Bible, not because he already knew the answers and doctrines, but because, through the process and experience of the translation, he would learn things important for him to know. ii) The Bible translation work also prompted certain questions which led to revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, including the vision of the three degrees of glory (D&C 76) and other entire sections or portions of sections. iii) It is difficult to overstate the benefits and influence of the Joseph Smith Translation on the doctrinal education of the Prophet and the Church. 2) [SLIDE 16] Five of the sections in this lesson were revelations given to the Prophet as he worked on his translation of the Bible. a) As he came across Bible passages that were difficult to understand or interpret, he took his questions to the Lord, who gave him inspired interpretations. Section D&C 74 D&C 77 D&C 86 D&C 91 D&C 113 3) [SLIDE 17] D&C 74. a) This revelation is about the meaning of 1 Corinthians 7:14. i) In chapter 7 of his first letter to the early Saints in Greek city of Corinth, Paul answered several questions relating to marriage.42 ii) In verses 12–16 Paul dealt with the question of marriage to non-Christian Jews. Revealed explanation of 1 Corinthians 7:14 Revelation 4–5; 7–11 Matthew 13:24–30 The Apocrypha Isaiah 11; 52 Date c. December 1830 41 c. March 1832 6 December 1832 9 March 1833 March 1838

b) In the time remaining, let‘s briefly review what we learn from these sections.

―Consider the following list of doctrines for which the JST makes unique contributions or is our only or best source: the nature of God, the scope of the Father‘s work, the mission of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, the character and motives of Satan, the Fall of Adam, the antiquity of the gospel, Enoch and the establishment of Zion, the doctrine of translation, Melchizedek and his priesthood, the destiny of the house of Israel, the purpose of animal sacrifice, the age of accountability, the origin of the law of Moses, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and the degrees of glory.‖ Jackson, ―New Discoveries.‖ 41 The section heading in the current (1984) Doctrine and Covenants gives the date for section 74 as January 1832. This is based on HC 1:242, but it is incorrect. John Whitmer, the Church‘s historian, copied the text of this section into Revelation Book 1, where it is designated ―An Explanation,‖ sometime between March and June 1831. Part of the introductory note that reads ―given to Joseph the Seer Wayne County. N.Y 1830‖ is lined out by an unidentified hand (http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/revelation-book-1#44). 42 For more on this, see New Testament lesson 21, pages 5–6 (https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/nt/week21).
40

© 2013, Mike Parker

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For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113

Week 15, Page 9

(1) He counseled the believer not to divorce his or her spouse just because the spouse was not a Christian (7:12–13). (2) He told them that these ―part-member‖ marriages are holy, and the children they produced are not unclean (7:14). (3) He then exhorted them to live in peace with their non-member spouses, for they may be the instrument of saving (i.e., converting) them (7:15–16). iii) It‘s important to understand that, in verse 14, Paul was using sanctified and holy the way that Jews understood those terms.43 (1) Jewish theology divides things into categories of holy and unholy; a Jewish convert to Christianity would naturally wonder if their marriage was unholy because it was to a non-believer and if their children were unholy because they were the products of a mixed marriage. Paul answered ―no‖ to both questions. (2) Similarly, there is no unholiness to marriages performed today outside the temple and between Latter-day Saints and non-Latter-day Saints. Although these marriages are less than ideal, they are still acceptable in the sight of God. b) D&C 74:2–7 provides some additional context that is not found in 1 Corinthians: i) Paul counseled Christians not to be married to Jews unless the Law of Moses would not be practiced within the marriage, including ritual circumcision of their children (D&C 74:3–6).44 ii) Likewise today: Although marriages to non-members are not forbidden or unholy, they don‘t enjoy the blessings of the temple sealing and are more prone by nature to difficulty and division. That is not a reason to divorce, but an encouragement to date and marry within the faith, if possible. 4) [SLIDE 18] D&C 77. a) This section is a prophetic question-and-answer session about the book of Revelation in the New Testament. b) Revelation is a highly symbolic book, and D&C 77 helps us understand the meaning behind some of symbols. i) For example, in reference to the description of beasts in front of the throne of God in Revelation 4:6–9, this revelation explains that their multitude of eyes represent their knowledge (via the ability to see everything in front and behind), and their wings represent power to move and act (77:4). ii) These symbols point to the truth that God and his angels have all knowledge and all power.

43 ―Sanctification, or being made sinless and holy, in the fullest sense comes only through the atonement of Christ (see D&C 74:7). Jews of Paul‘s day, however, tended to divide the world into things clean or unclean, sacred or profane, holy or unholy. They often used these terms in ways that come close to modern distinctions between allowed and not allowed, proper and improper, or tainted and untainted. Therefore, the sense of the terms sanctified, unclean, and holy in 1 Corinthians 7:14 and in Doctrine and Covenants 74:1 is that where a nonmember spouse allows his or her partner to be active in the Church and agrees that the children will be raised in the Church, then there is no unholiness or impropriety in continuing such a marriage, nor is there any taint to the children that may come from it.‖ Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants (Deseret Book, 2001), 2:275. 44 This counsel may have been in a previous, as yet undiscovered, letter to the Corinthians. (The letter we know as 1 Corinthians was actually Paul‘s second letter to the Saints in Corinth; see 1 Corinthians 5:9.)

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Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113 Week 15, Page 10

iii) [SLIDE 19] One of the most interesting and challenging passages is D&C 77:6. This is the only passage in all of scripture that seems to directly identify the age of the earth. (1) It begins by identifying the scroll45 in John‘s vision (see Revelation 5:1) as containing ―the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.‖ (a) In other words, the scroll represented God‘s ―master plan‖ for human history. (2) To understand this passage, we need to define some of the words as they were used when this revelation was given. (a) From Noah Webster‘s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language: (i) [19.1] Economy—―Primarily, the management, regulation and government of a family or the concerns of a household.‖46 (ii) [19.2] Continuance—―A holding on or remaining in a particular state, or in a course or series. Applied to time, duration; a state of lasting; as the continuance of rain or fair weather for a day or week.‖47 (iii) [19.3] Temporal—―Pertaining to this life or this world or the body only; secular; as temporal concerns; temporal affairs. In this sense, it is opposed to spiritual.‖48 (b) [SLIDE 20] So the sealed book contained the hidden things of God‘s management, regulation, and government of his kingdom on earth during the seven thousand years of its being in this particular state, or pertaining to this period of time only. (3) There are at least two ways to interpret this: (a) [SLIDE 21] The literal interpretation would be that mankind began only 6,000 years ago, meaning that Adam and Eve walked out of the Garden of Eden about 4,000 B.C. (i) This follows the chronology created by Anglican Archbishop James Ussher in the 17th century.49 1. Bishop Ussher calculated that the first day of creation began at nightfall preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 B.C. 2. His calculations were based on the prevalent Christian belief that God created the earth in six days, therefore the earth must have a 6,000year existence from that point, with each day being 1,000 years (2 Peter 3:8).

45 The KJV uses the word ―book‖ in Revelation 5:1 and the verses that follow, but this is an anachronism. The modern book as we know it, with loose pages bound together on one edge, was just coming into use in the last first century A.D. What John saw was a scroll. See New Testament lesson 28, pages 4–5 (https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/nt/week28). 46 Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 ed., s.v. ―Economy,‖ def. 1 (http://www.1828dictionary.com/d/word/economy). 47 Webster, Dictionary, s.v. ―Continuance,‖ def. 1 (http://www.1828-dictionary.com/d/word/continuance). 48 Webster, Dictionary, s.v. ―Temporal,‖ def. 1 (http://www.1828-dictionary.com/d/word/temporal). 49 For more information on Ussher‘s chronology, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology

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Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113 Week 15, Page 11

(ii) This has been widely accepted among fundamentalist Christians and Latter-day Saints, but it‘s not the only way to interpret the scriptures. (b) [SLIDE 22] A figurative or symbolic interpretation of D&C 77:6 could include the following: (i) That the time periods of the seven seals are not strict 1,000-year periods, but are dispensations of great length, some longer than 1,000 years, some shorter. 1. For example, the dispensation of the gospel by Jesus Christ in the flesh lasted over 1,800 years, from his birth and death, through the apostasy of the early Church, until the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. 2. This is strengthened by the understanding that the number 1,000, as used anciently in the Bible, didn‘t represent a strict, exact amount, but simply a very large number.50 a. Similarly, many Latter-day Saints accept that the six days of creation were not six 24-hour days, or even six 1,000-year ―days,‖ but could be long periods of time, perhaps even millions of years each.51 3. Finally, there is also this passage in the Book of Mormon:
Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them.” (Helaman 8:18; italics added.)

a. Question: Would four thousand years (as in 4,000 B.C.) constitute ―a great many thousand years‖ before his coming? Or does this imply something longer? (ii) That the information in the sealed book only contained information about the world in this particular state or period of time, and that there was a time before the first dispensation of the gospel to Adam, during which the earth and the Lord‘s creations upon it existed.

Keith A. Burton, ―Numbers,‖ in Eerdmans Diction of the Bible, David Noel Freedman, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 974. 51 ―The term ‗day‘ (Hebrew yom ) for the seven ‗days‘ of creation is given as ‗time,‘ a permissible alternative in both Hebrew and English; and it is explicitly pointed out that the ‗time‘ in which Adam should die if he partook of the forbidden fruit ‗was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob [a great star that Abraham had seen nearest to the throne of God, whose revolution, one thousand years by our reckoning, is a day unto the Lord]; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning‘ (Abraham 5:13; 3:2–4). ―On the basis of the above passage, which clearly excludes the possibility of earthly twenty-four-hour days being the ‗days‘ or ‗times‘ of creation, some Latter-day Saint commentators have argued for one-thousand-year periods as the ‗times‘ of creation as well as the ‗time‘ of Adam's earthly life after the fall; others have argued for indefinite periods of time, as long as it would take to accomplish the work involved.‖ F. Kent Nielsen and Stephen D. Ricks, ―Creation, Creation Accounts,‖ in Encyclopedia of Mormonism 1:341–42;
50

http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Creation,_Creation_Accounts

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Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113 Week 15, Page 12

(c) The point here is not to force a specific interpretation of D&C 77:6 upon anyone in this room, but to open up different possibilities that are acceptable to those who believe the earth is relatively young and to those who believe it is very old. 52 5) [SLIDE 23] D&C 86. a) This section is a revealed ―reinterpretation‖ of Jesus‘ parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew 13:24–30. b) In this parable, Jesus compared wheat growing in a field with believers in the world: Just as it is difficult to tell the difference between wheat and tares (a poisonous weed), it is difficult to distinguish in this world the followers of God from the followers of Satan. In the parable, the division between wheat and tares comes at the harvest, and not before; so likewise the good and the evil will be separated and ―the end of the world [or age].‖53 c) Jesus explained the symbolism behind the parable in Matthew 13:36–43. The JST adds some additional information to Jesus‘ explanation, and D&C 86 reinterprets the parable for a Latter-day Saint audience and setting: Matthew 13 symbol Sower of wheat (24) The field (24) Good seed (24) Sower of tares (25) Tares (25) KJV meaning The Son of man
(37)

JST meaning The son of man
(36)

D&C 86 meaning The NT apostles
(2)

The world (38) Children of the kingdom (38) The devil (39) Children of the wicked one (38)

The world (37) Children of the kingdom (37) The devil (38) Children of the wicked (37)

The world (2)

Satan (3)

The springing up/sprouting of the grain (26) The harvest (30) The end of the world/age (39) The reapers (30) The angels (39)

The last days (4) The end of the world/age (39) The angels, or the messengers sent of heaven
(40)

The angels (5)

d) This is a perfect example of how the King James Version, the Joseph Smith Translation, and Joseph‘s revelations can give different, legitimate interpretations of a Bible passage.

52 LDS blogger Bryce Haymond shared some good insights on this issue; see: ―The Age of the Earth? First Impressions,‖ TempleStudy.com, 24 September 2012 (http://www.templestudy.com/2012/09/24/age-earth-impressions/). 53 The phrase ―end of the world‖ appears five times in the KJV New Testament (Matthew 13:39, 49; 24:3; 28:20; Hebrews 9:26). It is a translation of the Greek phrase σσντέλεια αἰῶνος (sunteleia aionos). Aion (from which we get our English word aeon) means ―a long period of time‖ or ―eternity.‖ The idea behind this phrase is that our world is in a state of existence that will continue for a long period of time, but that God will end age that and create a new, better existence over which he personally rules. The world will not ―end‖ in the sense of being destroyed, but it will fundamentally change. Most modern Bible translations render this phrase ―end of the age.‖

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For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113 Week 15, Page 13

i) Notice that the JST doesn‘t change the meaning of the parable at all from the KJV. The JST only adds a phrase to expand on the meaning of the reapers, but the overall thrust and direction of the parable isn‘t altered. ii) D&C 86, however, puts the parable in a brand new context, just for Latter-day Saints: It identifies the choking of the wheat by the tares as the New Testament church being driven into the wilderness (86:3; cf. Revelation 12:6), and the sprouting of the wheat and tares, when they can be told one from the other, as the time of Joseph Smith and the Restoration (86:4). e) So what is the actual meaning of the parable? It‘s both, depending on what context in which you wish to put it. There‘s an original meaning (found in the KJV and JST) and an additional meaning for the Saints in the latter days (found in D&C 86). 6) [SLIDE 24] D&C 113 does the same thing: It takes Isaiah‘s prophecy of scattered Israel and their Messiah, and reinterprets it to refer to Christ and the servant of Christ who will help gather Israel in the last days:54 Isaiah 11 symbol The stem of Jesse Rod Root of Jesse Isaiah’s original meaning A stump or root stock (scattered Israel) (11:1) The Davidic king or Messiah (Christ) (11:1) The Davidic king or Messiah (Christ) (11:10) Joseph Smith’s revealed reinterpretation Christ (113:1–2) Christ’s servant (Joseph Smith) 55
(113:3–4)

One who holds the keys and is an ensign (Joseph Smith) (113:5–6)

a) As with D&C 86, both interpretations are legitimate; which one you use depends on the context in which you apply it. b) This is what Nephi called ―liken[ing] all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning‖ (1 Nephi 19:23). 7) [SLIDE 25] D&C 91. a) Apocryphal writings are those whose origin, authorship, and authenticity have been questioned. i) The word apocrypha is a loan-word from Greek (ἀπόκρσυα) that refers something that is hidden.56 ii) When used in the specific context of Judeo-Christian theology, the term apocrypha refers to a text that some group at some time has considered scripture, but that has not been accepted as canon by the majority of believers. (1) There are hundreds of apocryphal texts that have been accepted by various Jewish and Christian groups over the centuries.

54 For more on interpreting Isaiah 11 in the context of D&C 113, see Old Testament lesson 18, pages 7–11 (https://sites.google.com/site/hwsarc/home/ot/week18). 55 Joseph Smith is not identified by name in D&C 113:4 and 6, but the context leads inevitably to him being the servant spoken of. 56 Etymologically, it is the opposite of apocalypse, which refers to something that is uncovered or revealed.

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Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class

Doctrine and Covenants Sections 71, 73–75, 77, 86, 91, 113 Week 15, Page 14

b) ―The Apocrypha,‖ however, usually refers to 14 books of scripture, written in Greek between the Old and Testaments, that have been accepted by some Christian denominations (most notably the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox57), but have been not included in the canon of most Protestant churches.58 i) [SLIDE 26] These include: • • • • • • • • I Esdras II Esdras Tobit Judith The Rest of Esther Wisdom Ecclesiasticus Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah • • • • • • The Song of the 3 Children The Story of Susanna The Idol Bel, and the Dragon The Prayer of Manasses I Maccabees II Maccabees

c) Joseph Smith‘s King James Bible59 contained these 14 apocryphal books, and he inquired of the Lord if he should include them in his translation. He was told that they contain much truth, but they also contain some spurious, uninspired writings, and that it was not necessary for him to translate these books. 8) [SLIDE 27] Next week: a) Section 76 (―The Vision‖).

57 Of the 14 books listed, Roman Catholics accept all except 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasses. Eastern Orthodox Churches accept all 14, with various denominations also accepting a handful of other apocryphal works. 58 These books are also called deuterocanonical, meaning ―belonging to the second canon.‖ 59 For more on Joseph‘s Bible, see footnote 5.

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