Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XIII. More Editing the 1831 Revelation.

Continued from part 6. No, just kidding. Part 12.

The second part of the November 11, 1831 revelation/D&C 107 was altered in interesting ways when published in 1835 and like the first part, these changes also reflect otherwise unknown revelation(s).

Revelation Book 1 LDS D&C 107:85-100
A few more words in addition to the Laws of the church.[1] And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of the president over the office of a Deacon, is to preside over twelve Deacons, to set in council with them, & to teach them their duty, edifying one another as it is given according to the covenants. 85 And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of a president over the office of a deacon is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty, edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants.
And also the duty of the president over the office of the Teachers, is to preside over twenty four of the Teachers, & to set in council with them, & to teach them the duties of their office as given in the covenants. Also the duty of the president over the priesthood is to preside over forty eight priests, & to set in council with them, & to teach them the duties of their office, as given in the covenants. 86 And also the duty of the president over the office of the teachers is to preside over twenty-four of the teachers, and to sit in council with them, teaching them the duties of their office, as given in the covenants.
87 Also the duty of the president over the Priesthood of Aaron[2] is to preside over forty-eight priests, and sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office, as is given in the covenants—
And again the duty of the president over the office of the Elders, is to preside over ninety six Elders, & to set in council with them, & to teach them according to the covenants. And again the duty of the president of the office of the High Priesthood, is to preside over the whole church, & to be like unto Moses. 88 This president is to be a bishop; for this is one of the duties of this priesthood. [3]
89 Again, the duty of the president over the office of elders is to preside over ninety-six elders, and to sit in council with them, and to teach them according to the covenants.
90 This presidency is a distinct one from that of the seventy, and is designed for those who do not travel into all the world.[4]
91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—[5]
behold here is wisdom: yea, to be a Seer, a revelator, a translator, & prophet, having all the gifts of God, which he bestoweth upon the head of the chuch: Wherefore now let every man learn his duly duty, & to act in the office in which he is appointed., in all diligence. he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand. & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved, shall not be counted worth to stand; even so: Amen. 92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.
93 And it is according to the vision showing the order of the Seventy, that they should have seven presidents to preside over them, chosen out of the number of the seventy;
94 And the seventh president of these presidents is to preside over the six;
95 And these seven presidents are to choose other seventy besides the first seventy to whom they belong, and are to preside over them;
96 And also other seventy, until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it.
97 And these seventy are to be traveling ministers, unto the Gentiles first and also unto the Jews.
98 Whereas other officers of the church, who belong not unto the Twelve, neither to the Seventy, are not under the responsibility to travel among all nations, but are to travel as their circumstances shall allow, notwithstanding they may hold as high and responsible offices in the church.
[6]
99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
100 He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.

Next time we look briefly at LDS ordination practices as related to D&C 107 and the important interpretive drift a President of the Church underwent.

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[1] A reference to D&C 42 and its various addenda among the revelations.

[2] This change is interesting because of the potential for historical misunderstanding. The verse, in its historical meaning has nothing to do with the “President of the Aaronic Priesthood,” an office and concept that didn’t exist in 1831. See part 6, for example.

[3] Interestingly, verse 61 (see the previous part and part 3) was not modified to reflect that the bishop presides over the priests. The subtle addition in verse 87: of Aaron, is consistent with the 1831 priesthood architecture by itself, but verse 88 identifies the change as part of the new (April 1835) classification of bishops: they are now part of the Aaronic order. In effect “bishop” merely means “presiding priest.”

[4] The added verse here may seem redundant but possibly has reference to the Mosaic appointment of “Seventy Elders,” Num. 11:16; church publications and private records also report an association of “elder” with “seventy.” Again, this played into the future difficulty of privileging the First Council of Seventy in local church administration. It was not a bothersome issue in the Joseph Smith era when the Seventy, despite technical standing in the revelations, had no authority in core districts of the church where high priests typically operated administratively.

[5] At this point the revelation suggests that the high priests served at the pleasure of the president of the high priesthood. This was true in 1832, but it is interesting that the revelation was not updated with information regarding the high council(s). Later practice in Kirtland (and then revelation) provided for a possible local internal structure for the high priests, allowing for a distancing from the president of the church. This is all a very interesting and neglected dynamic, but I need to stop this thing somewhere.

[6] The inclusion of the details of organization of the Seventy (from an otherwise unknown vision) at this point fits with the treatment of the other quorums. Observe that the apostles get no such treatment. Their internal structure was defined in a separate revelation (D&C 112). In the meantime, the Q12 had a system of rotating leadership as per Joseph Smith’s instruction. They were to be equal in everything.

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