Sunday Evenings with the Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130. Part 6. An Interview with Elder Orson Pratt And A Critical Text of D&C 130.

[The preceding part is here.]

This is the penultimate post in the series on Doctrine and Covenants section 130. Last time I gave you a genetic text for D&C 130. This time its a critical edition.

We’re nearly at the end of the line, people. The BCC survey results show that this sort of thing is the least popular item in our repertoire. But I really don’t care if you don’t like reading this stuff. It’s good for you. It broadens your religious horizons and it makes you wonder about your assumptions. Well, that’s what I’m selling at least.
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The Infinite. Part 11. Mormon Troubles with the Infinite.

Here is the previous part. Apologies to the huge cadre of readers who have been waiting on the edges of their collective seats for this for over a year. I just forgot to post it at the time–and then went off on other adventures. You’re welcome. To catch up with what’s here, I recommend subjecting yourself to the pain of following the link above (and similar links in it and its predecessors until you reach the “beginning”).For you, Brad.

One of the axioms of Mormonism is the existence of an infinite supply of matter. This follows from various statements like “this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.) This process, which many Mormon thinkers have seen as not only the life of God but the life of every exalted person, implies that spirits will never run out. That is, there is either an infinite supply so that the process may continue, or there is an infinite supply of material from which spirits and their corresponding bodies may be “organized.” (Sorry, ex nihilo not allowed.)
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Sunday Evenings with the Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130 Part 5. Genesis, Exodus. . .

[Note: the text below has been modified from its original version. My thanks go to Mike Parker for a nice careful reading which exposed several errors in my original edition. Particularly in verses 16 and 17, where I failed to see that the material appeared in the Clayton report. Mike also noted a few more errors (a number are html coding errors on my part) which I have taken the liberty of correcting. I noticed a couple of other puzzling things about this material that I may expand on at some other time. Some of the changes here affect succeeding parts of the post too. Hence, part 6 is slightly modified.]

The headings for D&C sections were written anew in the recent 2013 edition of the LDS scriptures. The new scriptures are an encoded banner of trust for the Joseph Smith Papers. Go JSPP.
[Part 4 is here.]

Ok, here is D&C 130, coded to reveal where it came from, a genetic text if you will. Note: some passages are clearly quotations of modified biblical pericopae. That is not what I’m about here. I’m just displaying the modern manuscript sourcing for our current text of D&C 130.
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Your Sunday Brunch Special: “Conferring the Priesthood.” When Architecture Becomes Liturgy.

Priesthood is a complex subject in Mormonism. The very meaning of the word has ebbed and flowed. Below, I focus on ecclesiastical office in a narrow sense. I only consider church structures involving the practice of ordination, not “setting apart” in the modern vernacular.
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Sunday Evenings with the Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130. Part 4. Comparing Sources for the MS History.

You can see from parts one, two and three that the text of D&C 130 is founded on the Manuscript History of the Church via its instantiation in the Millennial Star. The Manuscript History is a work of epic proportions, almost entirely due to the planning and effort of Willard Richards, apostle, private secretary to Joseph Smith and church historian and recorder. Richards procured large ledger books in which to copy edited source documents for the history. Richards did not live to see his project completed, but the History more or less followed his source plan, a plan written out in Nauvoo before the apostles journeyed west to Utah. The various scribes for the history include some well known names in Mormon lore, like Thomas Bullock, Jonathan Grimshaw, Leo Hawkins, Robert Campbell and more.[1]
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Your Sunday Brunch Special: Bishop B And the Devil.

“So what happened next?”

“He came through the doorway and stared at me.”

“Then what?”

“He started to beat me with his fists. Then he grabbed at me. But it wasn’t like being grabbed by a man, I could see him grabbing my spirit. He had one hand around my neck and was pulling on it. It stretched out, I could see him pulling it out. Then it snapped back. That hurt my head and my feet.”

“Where was Sister B?”

“She was beside me in the bed at first. She could not see him, but she could see me struggling and later she told me she knew what it was. She got out of bed and knelt down and started praying.”

“Wow. How long did this go on?”

“It was about 30 minutes.”

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Youth Conference: 1963-ish.

Imagine you are 16 years old. You are LDS and the church is relatively small. Youth Conference is scheduled to happen at Colby College in Maine. It’s November. There are fun things in store, and you’ll meet other Mormons. The busses gather up the attendees from all over New England. After the get-to-know-you activities, etc. the key-note speaker stands.

He begins to speak and you start hearing names like Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, and in this mix somewhere, Joseph Smith.

Truman Madsen delivers the goods: “God: Personal or Impersonal.”

It was forthwith printed as a missionary pamphlet!

Sunday Evenings with the Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130. Part 3. Spiritual Mechanics.

In honor of the Doctrine and Covenants study this year, this is the third post a series on one of the sections that doesn’t get too much play in the Gospel Doctrine course this year.

Now, in the previous part of this post, I showed you where Brother Orson got the text for D&C 130. Why did he go there you ask?[1]

In this part of the post I’m going to explore the text in a slightly different way. The Millennial Star text (Pratt’s source for D&C 130) was derived from the Salt Lake City church newspaper, The Deseret News. The News text was derived from the Manuscript History of the Church, an 1855 era construction (see part 1). The logical thing to do now is ask, where did the Manuscript History text come from? I mean this particular part. The thing as a whole is a maze of compiled texts from a whole lot of sources.
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Sunday Evenings with the Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130. Part 2. Comparing the Immediate Source with Section 130.

In honor of the Gospel Doctrine course of study this year, this is the second in a series of posts examining Doctrine and Covenants section 130.

Having fun yet? If you missed the vital part 1, better click here. In short, in part 1, you’ll find a manuscript that served as background for D&C 130. However, it is not the actual source of the section. In reality, Orson Pratt extracted his material from the History of Joseph Smith as it appeared in a church publication. Here’s a side by side with some of D&C 130 (on the left) and that source:
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Sunday Evenings With The Doctrine and Covenants. Section 130. Part I. The Manuscript Source of D&C 130.

In honor of the Doctrine and Covenants study this year, this begins a short series on one of the sections that doesn’t get too much play in the Gospel Doctrine course this year.

Sunday posts are generally doomed to obscurity. That is the conventional wisdom. And Super Bowl Sunday posts? They must be sucked into an internet black hole. That being said, enjoy: you two readers in Botswana!

Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants consists of excerpts of sermons by Joseph Smith. It found its way into the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876, 34 years after the date attached to the heading of the section.
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“There is Nothing New to Be Discovered . . . “

Ben F’s recent guest post on faith and science had an image of Lord Kelvin subtitled by his infamous prediction regarding science. That quote made me think of experiences with people in my own life. When I was a grad student, my father loved to introduce me as a budding mathematician to whoever we happened to meet in our occasional travels together. At the time, it generated dual sets of feelings. One set revolved around the fact that he had some pride in what I was doing, though he didn’t have any understanding of what exactly that was. The other set was encompassed by a straight-forward cringeyness.
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Your Sunday Brunch Special. Extempore: Knowing Beforehand What Ye Should Say, Er, Pray

Prayer is a Topic of the Day

Preaching in Mormonism during the 19th century was mostly an on-the-spot moment of preparation, following New Testament dictum that the Holy Spirit would give the words as they were needed. Gradually, that meme was broken. We still hear the extemporaneous sermon, and there is a bit of romance in it, but in large public gatherings, sermons are often preplanned at least and most often, pre-written. I frequently enjoy both. Can God inspire the preacher who prepares his sermons before the event? Of course.
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Gospel Doctrine Lesson #1: Doctrine and Covenants, Section 1.

Notes, commentary, and questions for LDS Sunday School teachers using the ‘Doctrine & Covenants and Church History’ manual.

The word “canon” is not widely used in the church in reference to its books of scripture. Perhaps part of the reason for this is the way it is used in most Christian contexts: a fixed rule by which all else is measured. Instead, we developed our own title for these books. “Standard Works” substitutes for canon and avoids the implication that the body of sacred texts is unchangeable. The term was broader initially than now, but still focused in scripture texts. Here’s George A. Smith, April conference, 1867:
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BCC Readers: Who (or What) Are You?

At BCC we constantly attend to the issues that drive people to come here, who they are, really, and what they expect from us. BCC labs has cooked up some devices to assist us in answering these questions (we’ve tentatively called them “polls”). With your assistance, darkness will be beaten back into obscurity and light will flood the secret corners of the monstrous many-roomed manor that is BCC.
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The Kitchen and the Study: Mormon Women

Just musing a bit on sermons, so here’s some stream-of-consciousness for you. I stole the title from Marion Taylor’s article on Harriet Beecher Stowe: The Mingling of Two Worlds: The Kitchen and the Study.[1] Stowe wrote to a brother, “I was made for a preacher–indeed I can scarcely keep my letters from turning into sermons”. She wrote of women as capable “priests” whose “ordination and anointing are from the Holy Spirit’s unction.” In a way, Harriet preached in the same way her seven minister brothers did: we know what they said because of what they wrote.
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Women, Preaching, Praying

Karen’s recent post made me try to think through this a little. Cynthia has posted about Mormon women and prayer and rereading her post on the subject along with the recently announced policy on missionary service age also motivated me to finish this. And look Ma! No footnotes! Daniel Howe and Catherine Brekus are the best and easiest places to look if you are inclined though.

Preaching is a favorite topic for me and quite a few of my posts at BCC have directly or tangentially touched on it. I’ve mostly focused on the long nineteenth-century in my thinking and most of what I have to say will be concentrated there.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XVII. Elijah.

Besides the “priesthood revelations,” other important texts defined how the Mormon hierarchy worked and to some degree the associated terminology and theology. Standouts among them are LDS D&C 102 and 112 in the current edition. The first of these concerned the high council system, a formal group taking the place of ad hoc groups of high priests rendering judgement on items of policy, doctrine, procedure, finances and other matters. The high council was a kind of judicial/legislative group that heard cases of complaints between church members, directed funding, regulated local church structure and tried appealed cases from lower forms of discipline like bishop’s courts.

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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XVI. Discipline and Succession – Written and Unwritten Rules.

One of the interesting issues raised by the history of Doctrine and Covenants section 107 is the question of a transgressing President of the Church. The November 11 revelation (second half of D&C 107) introduced a church court system (see parts 2 and 3 in the series). The two leading offices in the early (1831) church were the bishop and the president of the high priesthood. The revelation defined a way for each officer to be disciplined, should the need arise. This was to work by using each of the court systems attached to these officers to judge the other.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XV. Evolution of Discipline.

D&C 107 was a long time in the making and it contains many separate revelations woven together into the whole (and it didn’t finish the story: consider D&C 112 and 124). Witness: The Nov 11 revelation, itself perhaps two separate revelations, the vision of the Seventy, the vision of Adam, the esoterica of bishops, the “book of Enoch” and others. The story is one worth telling, not only to understand the process of revelation, but to understand the way Latter-day Saints speak and how that speech and its understanding were effected by the processes of textual influence.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XIV. Priesthood Ordination Praxis.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, how is a man ordained to the priesthood? This question is fraught with historical complexity both in the meaning of the terms deployed in that sentence, and the ways in which acceptable practice has evolved over the years.

For the first 90 years or so of LDS church organization, priesthood ordination ceremony gradually developed into more or less the following pattern:

By authority of the Holy Priesthood and by the laying on of hands, I ordain you an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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

When LDS D&C 107 was printed (as D&C 3) in late summer 1835, it contained both the April 1835 revelation (see part 9 of this post) and the November 11, 1831 revelation conjoined. However the terminology and priesthood architecture of the two revelations were not the same. Meanwhile, the November 11, 1831 revelation was heavily modified in D&C 107 to reflect at least some of the organizational development in the bishopric and president of the high priesthood offices. But the terminological inconsistencies were not made coherent.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part XI. Some More Detour and Evolution.

Here’s the third and last part of the detour. As an aside, if you are interested in John Pack, there is a portion of John Pack’s autobiography/journal on here It’s an interesting, if short, reminiscence which gives Pack’s patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. among other things. Those acquainted with upper division temple liturgy will find something there too, as well as “adoption.” Note that Pack’s first wife, Julia, is also represented.

In part 9 I gave some background on John Pack and Joseph F. Smith and their interaction over the issue of John Pack’s disagreement with some members of the 8th quorum of seventy early in 1880. Part 10 consisted mostly of a letter written by Joseph F. Smith to Pack regarding Pack’s decision to go back on the agreement he made with John Taylor (president of the church’s quorum of the twelve apostles).
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part X. More Detour and Evolution.

In the previous part I introduced John Pack and his dilemma. Briefly, John Pack was in the presidency of the 8th quorum of Seventy in 1879 when his quorum asked the apostles to move him out for a couple of reasons. The apostles, then the presiding quorum in the church (no First Presidency at this time between Brigham Young’s death and John Taylor becoming church president in 1880) voted to move Pack out of the seventies quorum and make him a high priest. Pack agreed after some convincing but then reneged (more details in the previous part).
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part IX. Detour and Evolution.

In the next three posts before returning to the discussion of D&C 107, I’ll observe an interesting transition in the way LDS scripture was read and its effects on Mormon Correlated Texts today.

Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) (JFS) was the son of Hyrum Smith, brother to Joseph Smith the Prophet. JFS was an independent thinker. Growing up in Utah, he became more or less a street urchin following his mother’s death in 1852. At age 15 (1853) church leaders called him on a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) to redirect his life. The contacts and experience he had there would color his future writings and speeches, even drawing later experience back into his narratives of that mission (yes, he had memory time-slips). Smith led an interesting and provocative life, divorcing his first wife but becoming a relatively successful and prolific polygamist as such things went.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part VIII. The April 1835 Revelation.

Continues Part 7.

Joseph Smith founded two new priesthood groups early in 1835, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy. While the apostles had been presaged before the formal organization of the church (D&C 18) the first ordinations took place in February 1835. The apostles felt the need for some more detailed direction regarding their standing and duty in the church and asked Joseph Smith for this direction. Heber C. Kimball reminisced about the experience in his journal as follows:
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part VII. The First Presidency.

Continued from part 6.

The revelation of November 11, 1831 was accepted in Zion (Missouri) as an addition to the law of the church on July 3, 1832 (see Far West Record or in JSP parlance, Minute Book 2) but remained unpublished to the body of the church. The office of president of the high priesthood stood vacant until a January 25, 1832 conference at Amherst, Ohio when it was voted that Joseph Smith fill the office. Sidney Rigdon “ordained” Smith at the time (Joseph Smith was ordained a high priest in June 1831). Between that time and March 8, 1832, Smith became acquainted with the idea of having counselors, forming a presidency of the high priesthood. (Caveat: the word “presidency” in early documents was quite often used in the sense of an office, as in so and so holds the office of the presidency.) A revelation received on March 5, 1832 reads in part,
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part VI. Oath and Covenant of What?

So far I have noted that D&C 107 is a compilation of revelations. There are two major parts in the compilation, one from November 1831 and another from April 1835. In D&C 107 these are arranged in reverse chronological order. So, we’ve spent some time looking at the last part of D&C 107 (which came first!). Later we will look at the 1835 segment which has a rather different character than the 1831 segment. As these two revelations were combined in the 1835 D&C, still other revelations and regulations were interleaved in these texts to form what we now know as D&C 107. But for now we consider what happened in between these two major components. You probably need to read the previous parts to understand (and believe) what I’m going to say here.

Between the ca 1831 texts of the November 11 revelation and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants text (section 3 of that first edition, 107 of the present edition) there were several developments. One was the important revelation of September 22, 23, 1832. (LDS D&C 84) In this text we see the beginnings of a taxonomy of priesthood, more nuanced than previous classifications but not yet mature.
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part V.

Part 4 is here.

Here I give the “second” revelation of November 11, 1831, again in comparison with the KRB text. The KRB text is in the hand of Frederick G. Williams and it suggests perhaps more strongly that the November 11 revelation represents two revelations.[1] Observe again that the text never uses the word “quorum.” My use of the word in reference to these texts is only to provide context. The word appears in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Meanwhile, like the word “priesthood,” during Joseph Smith’s lifetime it came to be used in a much looser way than Latter-day Saints use it now.[2]
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Your October Conference Prep: Textual Origins of LDS Priesthood Organization, Part IV.

The Genesis of Modern Mormon Bureaucratic Structures

After the revelation of November 11, 1831 was dictated by Joseph Smith (see parts,1, 2, and 3), it did circulate to some degree and was to be a part of the proposed Book of Commandments (BC) but didn’t make it – see JSP, Revelations and Translations vol.2 for an argument that the revelation was set to appear in the BC and would have done so if the printing had not been disrupted.
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