The Bible and the Restoration D&C 77, 86, 91, 113
D&C 77 • Question and Answer format • Shortly after “The Vision” • About the first of March , in connection with the translation of the Scriptures, I received the following explanation of the Revelation of St. John (4-7). • Joseph Smith, HC 1:253 • We have finished the translation of the New Testament great and glorious things are revealed. • Joseph to William Phelps, July 31, 1832, LDS Church Archives
Joseph Smith Sermon, 8 April 1843 It is a subject of great speculation as well amongst the Elders of the Church as amongst the divines of the day; it is in relation to the beast spoken of in Revelations….
Joseph Smith Sermon, 8 April 1843 I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like Methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It don’t prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine…
Joseph Smith Sermon, 8 April 1843 Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure where God has not given a revelation or interpretation on the subject.
D&C 86 • Joseph’s journal for 6 December 1832 says he spent the day "translating and received a revelation explaining the Parable [of] the wheat and the tears [Matthew 13:3-43]."
Switching the Wheat & Tares • Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. • Matthew 13:30 • First the wheat into my barn; and the tares are bound in bundles to be burned . . . • JST Matthew 13:29 • Let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned. • D&C 86:7, cross ref 64:24
The Church in the Wilderness And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon…and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born…And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. -Revelation 12:1, 2, 6
The Church in the Wilderness • “I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old” Book of Commandments 4:5 • The restoration was “the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness” D&C 5:14
The Church in the Wilderness • And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up. And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them. Now I do not say this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my church. -D&C 10:52-54
Gathering Truth I stated that the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter-day Saints and the sectarians was that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed which deprived its members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter-day Saints are ready to believe all true principles as they exist. Mormonism is truth, and every man that embrace it felt himself at liberty to embrace every truth. Consequently, the shackles of superstition, bigotry, and ignorance fall from his neck, and he is able to see the truth.
Gathering Truth If the Presbyterians have any truth, embrace that. If the Baptists and Methodists have truth, embrace that, too. Get all the good in the world, if you want to come out a pure Mormon.
Gathering Truth If you can find a truth in heaven, earth, or hell it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it, it is ours, we claim it. The business of the elders of this church is to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation wherever they may be found.
D&C 91 • The Apocrypha • Status within Protestantism • JS’s history says, "having come to that portion of the ancient writings called the Apocrypha, I received the following” revelation.
A Broader Lesson • So…is the Apocrypha scripture? • So…what is scripture? • The principle is that the companionship of the infallible Holy Spirit will enlighten and benefit those who seek truth wherever it may be. • Like Section 68, Section 91 expands traditional Christian definitions of scripture. And like Section 68, this revelation places highest priority not on parsing every ancient text, but on each individual's receptivity to the Godhead through the Holy Ghost.
D&C 113 • He quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. . . • Joseph Smith on Moroni’s Sept. 21, 1823 appearance, JSH 1:40 • In the midst of widespread apostasy and persecution, Joseph obeyed an uncanonized January 1838 revelation to leave Ohio for Missouri, arriving in the Mormon settlement of Far West on March 14. He, Emma, and their children Julia, Joseph III, and Frederick lived with George and Lucinda Harris. Within just a few days of his arrival, probably during an informal meeting with Elias Higbee and others, Joseph clarified passages of the book of Isaiah. His explanations regarding verses found in Isaiah 11 and 52 were noted in his Scriptory Book by secretary George Robinson. • Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:255
Joseph’s Patriarchal Blessing • The Book of Mormon identified Joseph as a descendant of Joseph of Egypt (2 Nephi 3:6-16). As he matured, the Prophet must have thought often of Moroni’s delivery of Isaiah’s words and seen himself in them. • Patriarchal Blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr.: “I bless thee with the blessings . . . of thy father Joseph, the son of Jacob. Behold, he looked after his posterity in the last days, when they should be scattered and driven by the Gentiles, and wept before the Lord; he sought diligently to know from whence the Son should come who should bring forth the word of the Lord, by which they might be enlightened; and brought back to the true fold, and his eyes beheld thee, my son . . . Thou shall hold the keys of this ministry, even the presidency of this Church, both in time and in eternity . . .” • From an upstate farm-boy to a fulfiller of Biblical prophecy
The Expanding Scriptural Canon • For Joseph, merely interpreting scripture was a revelatory act • “Scripture” was not bound within two covers • The true purpose of scripture was to invite us into the revelatory process, blending our life and insights with those of past dispensations. • This dramatically broadens where we should be searching for truth.