THE CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO SOME OF THE REVELATIONS.
Some of the revelations as they are now in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants have been changed and added to. Some of the changes being of the greatest importance as the meaning is entirely changed on some very important matters; as if the Lord had changed his mind a few years after he gave the revelations, and after having commanded his servants (as they claim) to print them in the “Book of Commandments;” and after giving his servants a revelation, being a preface until His Book of Commandments, which says: “Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the Book of my Commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, oh inhabitants of the earth.” Also in this preface, “Behold, I am God, and have spoken it; these commandments are of me.” “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful.” The revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments correctly. This I know, and will prove it to you.
These revelations were arranged for publication by Brothers Joseph Smith, Sydney Rigdon, Orson Hyde and others, in Hiram, Ohio, while I was there, were sent to Independence to be published, and were printed just exactly as they were arranged by Brother Joseph and the others. And when the Book of Commandments was printed, Joseph and the church received it as being printed correctly. This I know. In the winter of 1834 they saw that some of the revelations in the Book of Commandments had to be changed, because the heads of the church had gone too far, and had done things in which they had already gone ahead of some of the former revelations. So the book of “Doctrine and Covenants” was printed in 1835, and some of the revelations changed and added to. By the providence of God I have one of the old Book of Commandments published in 1833. I will prove by a revelation in it, which is changed in the Doctrine and Covenants, a revelation that was given through the “stone” and is true — I will prove that God called Brother Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon only, and that he was not called to organize and establish the church any more than the rest of us Elders. That God commanded him that he should pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that God would grant him no other gift.
I will also show by a revelation in the Book of Commandments — afterwards changed in the Doctrine and Covenants — that we were commanded to rely upon the “things which are written” in building up the church; for “in them are all things written concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock. Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, my gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” But we did not rely upon the written word in building up the church; but Joseph went “on in the persuasions of men,” — as he did while translating, and heeded Rigdon who showed him that high priests and other offices should be added to “elders, priests and teachers;” and so we did not establish His (Christ’s) church, His gospel and His rock, so the gates of hell did prevail against the church, and it finally landed in Salt Lake in polygamy.
I will also show you by a revelation in the Book of Commandments — afterwards changed in the Doctrine and Covenants — that we had no high priests, etc. in the beginning; as if God had organized his church at first with “elders, priests and teachers,” and after we had preached almost two years, and had baptized and confirmed about 2000 souls into the Church of Christ, then God concluded he had not organized it right, and decided to put in high priests and other offices above the office of an elder. No brethren — God does not change and work in any such manner. This is man’s work. I will prove beyond a doubt that every spiritual office added to the church which is not according to the teachings of Christ to the “twelve” on this land, is the work of man, and not the work of God.
I see that some of you claim that the same power which gave these revelations, had authority to change them, and refer to Jer. xxxvi:32. By reading this passage you will see that the words which were added were “like words;” words which conveyed the same meaning — were added to that book by Jeremiah when he was writing it over again, because it had been burned in the fire by the king. But the words added to the two former revelations are not “like words,” as they change and reverse the original meaning: as if God had commanded Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that he would “grant him no other gift,” and then afterwards God had changed his mind and concluded to grant him another gift. God does not change and work in this manner. The way this revelation has been changed, twenty-two words being added to it, it would appear that God had broken His word after giving His word in plainness; commanding Brother Joseph to pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, and then the Lord had changed and concluded to grant Joseph the gift of a Seer to the Church.
This part of this revelation in the Book of Commandments reads thus: “And he (Joseph) has a gift to translate the Book and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”
But in the Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed and reads thus:
“And you have a gift to translate the plates, and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded you that you should pretend to no other gift, until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished“.
May God have mercy on the heads of the church for their transgression is my prayer.
This revelation is Section 4, Doctrine and Covenants: Chap. 4, Book of Commandments.
The next important change I will speak of, is made in a revelation which was given to Brothers Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and myself in Fayette, New York, June, 1829. I was present when Brother Joseph received it through the stone. It is Chapter 15 Book of Commandments, Sec. 16 Doctrine and Covenants. In the Book of Commandments it reads thus.
“Behold I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written; for in them are all things written, concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock. Wherefore if you shall build up my church, and my gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.”
But in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed and reads thus:
“Behold I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written; for in them are all things written, concerning ‘the foundation of ‘ my church, my gospel, and my rock; wherefore, if you shall build up my church ‘upon the foundation of ‘ my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.”
The change in this revelation is of great importance; the word “them” refers to the plates — the Book of Mormon: We were commanded to rely upon it in building up the church; that is, in establishing the doctrine, the order of offices, etc.: “FOR IN THEM ARE ALL THINGS WRITTEN CONCERNING MY CHURCH, my gospel, and my rock.” But this revelation has been changed by man to mean as follows: That therein is not all things written concerning the church, but only all things concerning “the foundation of ” the church — or the beginning of the church: that you must build up the church, beginning according to the written word, and add new offices, new ordinances, and new doctrines as I (the Lord) reveal them to you from year to year: As a Seer to the Church; High Priests; Three of the First Presidency; Baptism for the Dead; Polygamy, etc., etc. When the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was compiled in 1834, the church had then received many revelations to establish new offices and doctrines that are not even mentioned in the New Covenant of either of the two sacred books. They changed this revelation in order to sustain these new doctrines: If they had not made this change, the plain language of the original revelation would have condemned the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I want to repeat that I was present when Brother Joseph received this revelation through the stone: I am one of the persons to whom it was given, therefore I know of a surety that it was changed when printed in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1834. Likewise, concerning all these changes of which I will speak, I know that these changes were made. I was present when nearly all the early revelations were received. There are several of the old Books of Commandments yet in the land; bring them to light and see for yourselves that these revelations were changed just as I tell you.
These changes were made by the leaders of the church, who had drifted into error and spiritual blindness. Through the influence of Sydney Rigdon, Brother Joseph was led on and on into receiving revelations every year, to establish offices and doctrines which are not even mentioned in the teachings of Christ in the written word. In a few years they had gone away ahead of the written word, so that they had to change these revelations, as you will understand when I have finished.
The next important change I will notice, is in a revelation given to Martin Harris, March, 1830, (Chap. 16 Book of Commandments, Sec.. 18 Doctrine and Covenants). In the Book of Commandments it reads thus: “And I command you that you preach nought but repentance; and show not these things unto the world, for they cannot bear meat, but milk they must receive: Wherefore, they must not know these things lest they perish.”
But in the Book of Doctrines and Covenants it has been changed and reads as follows:
“And I command you that you preach nought but repentance, and show not these things unto the world, ‘until it is wisdom in me,’ etc.” The words “until it is wisdom in me” have been added.
As I have stated in the previous chapter, you can readily see why they made this change.
The next change of importance is in a revelation given in Fayette, New York, June, 1830. It was not given through the stone. (Chap. 4., Book of Commandments, Sec. 17, Doctrine and Covenants). The change or addition to this revelation is of such a bold character, that the compilers of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants put it in that book without the heading, which is over it in the Book of Commandments, which heading shows it to be a revelation. They have put it in the Doctrine and Covenants as “Section 17,” but it is a revelation. The old church papers speak of it as a revelation, and the heading in the Book of Commandments shows that it is a revelation. I was present when Brother Joseph gave this revelation.
The heading over it in the Book of Commandments is as follows: “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ, given in Fayette, New York, June, 1830.” Two paragraphs have been added to it, having been thrust into the middle of it: Paragraphs 16 and 17 is the part added, which part speaks of high priests and other high offices that the church never knew of until almost two years after its beginning: As if God had made a mistake in the first organization of the church, and left out these high important offices which are all above an elder; and as if God had made a mistake and left these high offices out of that revelation when it was first given. Oh the weakness and blindness of man! This revelation as it is in the Book of Commandments, speaks of the duties of all the spiritual officers in the church; of elders, priests and teachers; but does not mention a word about the office of high priest, president of the high priesthood, high counselors, etc. The part added to this revelation was put there to give the duties of these high officers in ordinations. I repeat that the church never heard of or thought of having in it any of these offices, until we moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in the days of Sidney Rigdon. The Church of Christ upon either continent had no such offices in it, and Christ told us through the stone that he would establish his church “LIKE UNTO THE CHURCH WHICH WAS TAUGHT BY MY DISCIPLES IN THE DAYS OF OLD.”….”If the people of this generation harden not their hearts.” (Chap. 4., Par. 5, Book of Commandments).
Now brethren, the Church of Christ of old had in it only elders, priests and teachers; but the Church of Latter Day Saints, with its many new offices, doctrines, and ordinances which were not in the Church of Christ of old, is a very different church — a different order throughout. This is plain to be seen. Why, oh why will you continue to trust in the man who has erred and introduced doctrines of error into the Church of Christ? Why will you continue in blindness? But modern Israel is no better than ancient Israel. Man will not walk humbly before God and abide in his ordinances, although he has given them his word in great plainness. You are in spiritual blindness and you know it not.
I will now quote the two paragraphs which have been added to the revelation above mentioned:
“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; but the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high counselors, high priests and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church, that a vote may be called. Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high counselor and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference.”
In all the teachings of Christ, these high offices are not even mentioned as being in the Church of Christ.
There are other changes in this revelation, but this is the only change of importance.
The next change I will notice is one of importance. It is in Section 4, Doctrine and Covenants: Chapter 4, Book of Commandments. Half of a page has been left out of this revelation. I believe that the object of those who left it out was to strike out the following words:
“And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, etc., …. and I will establish my church, LIKE UNTO THE CHURCH WHICH WAS TAUGHT BY MY DISCIPLES IN THE DAYS OF OLD.”
They knew that the order of offices in the Church of Latter Day Saints, was not like the order in the Church of Christ of old; because the Church of Christ of old had in it only elders, priests and teachers: so they left out this part of the revelation when they published the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
There are many other changes in the revelations, but I will not take the space and time to speak of any more of them. I want to tell the brethren, that when the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was published, and presented to the church assembly in Kirtland, Ohio, in August, 1835, as recorded in the old church papers, a very few of the brethren then knew about most of the important changes that had been put in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In time it was generally found out, and the result was that some of the members left the church on account of it. A few members dissented from the church as early as 1832, on account of the spiritual blindness of some of the leaders. When it became generally known that these important changes had been made in the Doctrine and Covenants, many of the brethren objected seriously to it, but they did not want to say much for the sake of peace, as it was Brother Joseph and the leaders who did it. The majority of the members — poor weak souls — thought that anything Brother Joseph would do, must be all right; so in their blindness of heart, trusting in an arm of flesh, they looked over it and were led into error, and finally all talk about it ceased. I was told that Sidney Rigdon was the cause of those changes being made: by smooth talk he convinced Brother Joseph and that committee that it was all right.
The editors of the old church papers, Evening and Morning Star and Messenger and Advocate, admit that some changes were made in some of the revelations; that they added some items to some revelations, from other revelations. I will not accuse those who did it of being fully aware of the grievous error they were making when they added those items — that is, made those changes; I would rather believe that they were spiritually blinded when they did it: and that Satan deceived them, whispering to them that it was all right and acceptable unto God.
Some of the Latter Day Saints have claimed that God had the same right to authorize Brother Joseph to add to any revelations certain words and facts, that He had to give him any revelations at all: but only those who are trusting in an arm of flesh and are in spiritual blindness, would pretend to make this claim; that God would give his servants some revelations, command them to publish them in His Book of Commandments, and then authorize them to change and add to them some words which change and reverse the original meaning: as if God had changed his mind after giving his word. No brethren! God does not change and work in any such manner as this; all those who believe that God does work this way, my prayer for them is that they may repent, for they are in utter spiritual blindness.
I want to say a few words here in regard to section 17, in the Doctrine and Covenants. This revelation was published in the “Evening and Morning Star” in 1832, before the Book of Commandments was published, and was put in that paper as, “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ, with a few items from other revelations.” This revelation was received in June, 1830, and these two paragraphs were added in June, 1832, in that paper. Now I will explain why they did not print this revelation in the Book of Commandments in 1833, with these added parts in it. It is this: The heads of the church had not yet become sufficiently blinded to change a revelation that was given in 1830, and print it changed in God’s Book of Commandments in 1833. W. W. Phelps is the one who printed this revelation in that paper with the “items”(Paragraphs 16 and 17), added to it; but when the heads of the church changed the name of the church to “The Church of Latter Day Saints,” (leaving out the name of “Christ” entirely) when they did this, and compiled the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, God had then given them over to blindness of mind, and they could print this revelation in God’s book, as also other revelations, changed and added to with a clear conscience, as they did many other grievous things with a clear conscience after this, thinking they were all right. I have no doubt that Brother Joseph thought his works up to the time of his repentance just before his death, were acceptable unto God. Poor Joseph! He was blinded and became ensnared by proud, ambitious men. I labored hard with him to get him to see it — from 1835 — and God alone knows the grief and sorrow I have had over it. I have been told that Joseph repented just before he died. He is in the hands of a just God. If David of old could obtain salvation by repentance, so could Brother Joseph Smith.