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

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Book of Commandments Doctrine and Covenants
16:22 And I command you, that you preach naught but repentance; and show not these things, neither speak these things unto the world, for they can not bear meat, but milk they must receive:

16:23 Wherefore, they must not know these things lest they perish:

19:21 And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.

19:22 For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.


Again, this section was not received through the stone. David Whitmer said this about publishing the early revelations:

Publishing the early revelations, or any of them, was contrary to the will of the Lord, as I will show you from the revelations themselves. The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the “stone,” through which the Book of Mormon was translated. These are the only revelations that can be relied upon, and they are not law. The Lord told us not to teach them for doctrine; they were given mostly to individuals, the persons whom God chose in commencing His work for their individual instruction, and the church had no need of them. They should have been kept with the sacred papers and records of the church, and never published in a book to become public property for the eyes of the world. It was not necessary for the whole church to ever see them. The written word is full on all matters pertaining to the Church of Christ. Of course I believe in God revealing His will to His servants in these days, by the various gifts of the Holy Ghost; but I believe in it according to the Scriptures. In the revelations themselves are positive commands to keep these things from the world, that they are sacred, etc. A revelation was given to Oliver Cowdery in April, 1829, (Sec. v:11, 13), in which he is told that he would be granted a gift “to translate even as my servant Joseph,” warning him as follows: “Remember, it is sacred, and cometh from above…. Trifle not with sacred things….Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those who are of thy faith.” But they published these things in a book, and made them known to the world!

In a revelation to Martin Harris (Sec. 18 [today Sec. 19]) concerning endless punishment, are these words: “And I command you that you preach naught but repentance; and show not these things, neither speak 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.” This revelation reads as I have quoted it, in the Book of Commandments; but in the Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed to read thus: “Show not these things unto the world, until it is wisdom in me.” The words, “until it is wisdom in me,” were added to this revelation. You see they had to add these words in order to publish the revelations. Judge for yourselves, brethren: I will make no further comments to magnify the errors of the leaders of the church. My policy throughout will be to speak of no more of their errors than is necessary in order to prove all false doctrines as being false, and establishing the doctrine of Christ as it is set forth in the written word.

The main reason why the printing press was destroyed, was because they published the Book of Commandments. It fell into the hands of the world, and the people of Jackson county, Missouri, saw from the revelations that they were considered by the church as intruders upon the land of Zion, as enemies to the church, and that they should be cut off out of the land of Zion and sent away. The people seeing these things in the Book of Commandments became the more enraged, tore down the printing press, and drove the church out of Jackson county. (See Doc. and Cov., Sections 52:9, 64:7, 45:15.) “Which is the land of your inheritance. Which is now the land of your enemies.” “And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land.” “And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world, until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you.” This is sufficient. I will quote no more to show you that the leaders made a mistake in publishing the revelations in a book. It is too plain.

Brethren, does it not look strange that they should have been so blind as to go ahead and publish these revelations in the face of this plain language to keep these things from the world? It surely does look strange.

I will now tell you of a prophecy which the Lord gave through me to Brothers Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon, of what should come to pass if they printed those revelations. In the spring of 1832, in Hiram, Ohio, Brothers Joseph and Sydney, and others, concluded that the revelations should be printed in a book. A few of the brethren — including myself — objected to it seriously. We told them that if the revelations were published, the world would get the books, and it would not do; that it was not the will of the Lord that the revelations should be published.

But Brothers Joseph and Sydney would not listen to us, and said they were going to send them to Independence to be published. I objected to it and withstood Brothers Joseph and Sydney to the face. Brother Joseph said as follows: “Any man who objects to having these revelations published, shall have his part taken out of the Tree of Life and out of the Holy City.” The Spirit of God came upon me and I prophesied to them in the name of the Lord: “That if they sent those revelations to Independence to be published in a book, the people would come upon them and tear down the printing press, and the church would be driven out of Jackson county.” Brothers Joseph and Sydney laughed at me. Early in the spring of 1833, at Independence, Mo., the revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments. Many of the books were finished and distributed among the members of the church, and through some of the unwise brethren, the world got hold of some of them. From that time the ill-feeling toward us began to increase; and in the summer of 1833 the mob came upon us, tore down the printing press, and drove the church out of Jackson county. Brothers Joseph and Sydney then saw that I did have some of the Spirit of God, after my prophecy had been fulfilled. To show you that Brother Joseph and myself still loved each other as brethren after this, I will tell you that he had so much confidence in me that in July, 1834, he ordained me his successor as “Prophet Seer and Revelator” to the Church. He did this of his own free will and not at any solicitation whatever on my part. I did not know what he was going to do until he laid his hands upon me and ordained me.

Now, bear in mind, brethren, that I am not claiming this office; as I have told you, I do not believe in any such an office in the church. I was then in error in believing that there was such an office in the Church of Christ. I suppose this is news to many of you — that Brother Joseph ordained me his successor — but it is in your records, and there are men now living who were present in that council of elders when he did it, in the camp of Zion, on Fishing River, Missouri, July, 1834.

This is why many of the brethren came to me after Brother Joseph was killed, and importuned me to come out and lead the church. I refused to do so. Christ is the only leader and head of his church.

I have to say that I love the apparent frankness and honesty of David Whitmer–and also much of his discernment.  As he has detected and reported the errors he saw he seemed to do it in an unharsh way.  I don’t detect any bitterness or hatred in him.  But this didn’t prevent him from calling it as he saw it.  I’m grateful that he came to realize that Christ is the only leader and head of his church.  No man should be prophet, seer, and revelator over Christ’s church. And the events in church history, such as the one above, seem to bear this idea out. The real great and marvelous work will hopefully be in the near future when the Lamb of God manifests himself in word, power, and deed to do his own work and bring forth his own church:

1 Ne. 14:

1 And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—

7 For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.

10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

He will take away our stumbling blocks–our reliance on idols whether men, temples, institutions or false prophets.

Ezek. 14:

6 ¶Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:

8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

Part of the convincing power that he will have will be in the new records that he will bring forth.  Notice these last records come forth by the power of the Lamb.

1 Ne. 13: (vs. 40 is from 1830 edition)

39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. 40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

We must come unto him to be saved.  None will he destroy that believe in him.

2 Ne. 6:

12 And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things.

13 Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.

14 And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again the second time to recover them; wherefore, he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him; and none will he destroy that believe in him.

15 And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire, and by tempest, and by earthquakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine. And they shall know that the Lord is God, the Holy One of Israel.

I testify he has the words of eternal life.

John 6:

63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

66 ¶From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

The Book of Commandments vs. The Doctrine and Covenants - Part 4
The Book of Commandments vs. The Doctrine and Covenants - Part 6