The Book of Commandments vs. The Doctrine and Covenants – Part 4

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Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
15:1 Now behold, because of the thing which you have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:

15:2 Behold I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true:

15:3 Wherefore you know that they are true; and if you know that they are true, 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.

15:4 Wherefore if you shall build up my church, and my gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

18:1 Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:

18:2 Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.

18:3 And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;

18:4 For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.

18:5 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 following is from David Whitmer about the above changes:

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 [today it is Sec. 18] 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.

Whitmer talked about spiritual blindness.  We discussed that in the first post.  It is quite revealing what he said about going ahead of the written word.  This reminds me of what Zenos said about the cause of the corruption of the Lord’s vineyard:

47 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?

48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted? (Jacob 5)

The roots provide nourishment.  They are the word of God:

7 For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?

8 Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you? (Jacob 6)

However, when you begin to grow faster than the strength of the roots, either by changing the revelations (and in practice going beyond them) or by ignoring the Book of Mormon, you take strength unto yourself which causes the corruption of the vineyard.  You are not properly grafted and grounded.  You can begin to think that you have the power of God which can eventually cause you to reject the Redeemer when he comes to do his work:

5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. (2 Ne. 28)

It is very interesting to note that in the Book of Mormon are written all things concerning the Lord’s church, gospel and rock. You are to build on this.  Elsewhere the Lord has given a warning for adding to (or taking away from) this rock which is precisely what is occurring with changing these revelations and going beyond what the Lord specified.

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. (3Nephi 11)

If you do this the result is evil and the gates of hell prevail against you.  This aligns perfectly with the original words of the BOC that were deleted from our current section five of the D&C that we discussed in the second post:  “And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan.”

Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
16:13 Wherefore, I command you by my name, and by my Almighty power, that you 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: 19:13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

19:14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;

19:15 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.

This change props up Joseph as the mouthpiece for the Lord in giving commandments.  As Whitmer said it was an error for Joseph to be ordained a prophet, seer, and revelator to the church.  He went beyond the mark the Lord had established in section 18 above and in section 5.  Again, he was to pretend to no other gift but the translation of the Book of Mormon.  The evidence of the tampering to give a different spin in this regard is becoming astonishing. The entirety of section 19 was not received through the stone and was something Smith concocted on his own.

The Book of Commandments vs. The Doctrine and Covenants – Part 3
The Book of Commandments vs. The Doctrine and Covenants - Part 5