Doctrine and Covenants/Textual changes/Why did Joseph Smith edit revelations/Further Reading

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Further reading

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles

Doctrine and Covenants

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Textual changes in the Doctrine and Covenants

Summary: Joseph Smith and others made revisions, additions, and deletions to his early revelations when preparing them for publication. Some claim that revelations from God are inerrant and should never be changed, and that this proves that Joseph Smith did not receive revelation.

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Why and how revelations were modified in the Doctrine and Covenants

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Oliver Cowdery and the "rod of nature"

Summary: It is claimed that a revelation received by Joseph praised Oliver Cowdery's gift of using divining talents. It is claimed that the revelation was published in the Book of Commandments in its original form, then subsequently modified in the Doctrine and Covenants in order to hide the reference to the "rod of nature." Therefore, it is claimed that Joseph attempted to "cover up" Oliver Cowdery's work with a divining rod by changing a revelation. Critics also claim that Oliver would ask questions of his divining rod in faith and it would move in response.

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Criticism of the Doctrine and Covenants

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Alleged contradictions in the Doctrine and Covenants

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Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon geography

Summary: Proponents of certain Book of Mormon geographical theories attempt to find clues in the Doctrine and Covenants.

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The Doctrine and Covenants and the Lamanites

Summary: Since in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord refers to American Indians in North America as "Lamanites" (e.g., DC 28:8-9,14, DC 30:6, DC 32:2, DC 54:8), does this cause problems for the Limited Geography Theory (LGT) or issues of Amerindian genetic data?

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The Doctrine and Covenants and the locations in the Book of Mormon

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The Doctrine and Covenants and polygamy

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1835 Doctrine and Covenants denies polygamy—D&C 101 (original)

Summary: The 1835 edition of the D&C contained a statement of marriage which denied the practice of polygamy. Since this was published during Joseph Smith's lifetime, why might the prophet have allowed it to be published if he was actually practicing polygamy at that time?

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Scriptural references to plural marriage in the Doctrine and Covenants

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Lectures on Faith

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Lecture of Faith 5 teaches the Father is "a personage of spirit"

Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along.

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Removal of the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants

Summary: Critics argue that the Lectures on Faith were "quietly" removed from the Doctrine and Covenants without general church membership consent, that the Lectures on Faith are not available to the general Church membership through Church sources, and that they can only be obtained through non-LDS sources (despite their availability at Deseret Book).

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Lectures on Faith

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Lecture of Faith 5 teaches the Father is "a personage of spirit"

Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along.

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Removal of the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants

Summary: Critics argue that the Lectures on Faith were "quietly" removed from the Doctrine and Covenants without general church membership consent, that the Lectures on Faith are not available to the general Church membership through Church sources, and that they can only be obtained through non-LDS sources (despite their availability at Deseret Book).

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External links

D&C articles with links
  • Stephen R. Gibson, "Why Did Joseph Smith Make Changes In the Doctrine & Covenants?," in One-Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 2005) ISBN 0882907840. off-site
  • Marlin K. Jensen, "The Joseph Smith Papers: The Manuscript Revelation Books," Ensign (July 2009), 46–51. off-site (Key source)
  • Boyd K. Packer, "We Believe All That God Has Revealed," Ensign (May 1974), 93. off-site; also in Boyd K. Packer, "We Believe All That God Has Revealed," in Conference Report (April 1974), 137.
  • Melvin J. Petersen, "Preparing Early Revelations for Publication," Ensign (February 1985), 14. off-site
  • Melvin J. Petersen, A Study of the Nature of and the Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955. off-site (Key source)
  • Robert J. Woodford, "Doctrine and Covenants Editions," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:425–427. off-site
  • Robert J. Woodford, "How the Revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants Were Received and Compiled," Ensign (January 1985), 27. off-site (Key source)
  • Robert J. Woodford, "The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants," Ensign (December 1984), 32. off-site

Lectures on Faith


Printed works

Doctrine & Covenants print works
  • Donald Q. Cannon, "Latter-day Visions of the Savior" in Hearken, O Ye People: Discourses on the Doctrine and Covenants (Sandy, UT: Randall Book, 1984), 119–131.
  • Robert J. Woodford, The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants, Ph.D. dissertation (3 volumes), Brigham Young University, 1974. (CD-ROM version from BYU Studies.) (Hard copy available from UMI Dissertation Express; order number 8027231.) (Key source)

Lectures on Faith

  • Larry Dahl and Charles Tate, The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1990).
    • Review of Dahl and Tate by Kevin Barney, By Common Consent, 4 November 2006 off-site
    • Noel J. Reynolds, "Review of Dahl and Tate, The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective," Brigham Young University Studies 32 no. 1—2 (1991), 285—94. off-site PDF link
  • Wayne A. Larsen and Alvin C. Rencher, "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? An Analysis of Wordprints," Brigham Young University Studies 20 (Spring 1980), 249, Appendix E ("Lectures on Faith". This was revised and reprinted in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, Religious Studies Monograph Series, vol. 7 (Salt Lake City and Provo: Bookcraft, 1982), 183-84.
  • Elinore H. Partridge, "Characteristics of Joseph Smith's Style and Notes on the Authorship of the Lectures on Faith," Task Papers in LDS History, no. 14 (Salt Lake City: Submitted to History Division, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976).
  • Alan J. Phipps, "The Lectures on Faith: An Authorship Study" (Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1977).
  • Richard S. Van Wagoner, Steven C. Walker, and Allen D. Roberts, "The ´Lectures on Faith´: A Case Study in Decanonization," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 no. 3 (Fall 1987), 71–77. off-site