Episode 149: D&C 50 – Section 68

March 4, 2017


Episode 149: D&C 50 – Section 68

Use the new search function when reading along with us at JoelAKuhn.com/dc-compare!

Is there an immortal beings club that meets every couple of hundred years? Joseph revelates himself into a feedback loop w/r/t the bishopric. Four of Joe’s buddies get revelations, then Joe tells us all about how power structures work in the church. Are revelations personal, or are we mouthpieces of god if we feel good about it whatever we’re saying? Marie and Bryce practice their “smooth” voices.

The Simple Dog head tilt is a reference to the comic Hyperbole and a Half

Wikipedia Links:
Orson Hyde
Luke S. Johnson
Lyman E. Johnson
William E. McLellin

Lehi’s family tree is delightfully non-specific. Check it out on the LDS main site.

Opening Arguments is a highly entertaining and informative legal podcast that discusses (among many other things) immunity from prosecution. Give ’em a listen at http://openargs.com/.

Drink Count – 3, so why even bother?

Support the show by becoming a Patron over at Patreon.com/MyBookofMormonPodcast
Drop me a line at comments@mybookofmormonpodcast.com
Podcastriarchal blessing: MarsGirl
Podcastriarchal music is Our Happy Life by Maps and Transit, edited for length

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10 Comments on “Episode 149: D&C 50 – Section 68”

  1. Gottfried TheHirsute Says:

    Quick refresher, as requested:

    Abraham’s son was Isaac and Isaac’s son was Jacob, whose other name was “Israel.” Jacob had 12 sons, hence their descendants are the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

    Moses and Aaron were Levites, thus authorized to hold the Priesthood. Interestingly, current Biblical scholarship considers that many of the contrasting points of view of books of the Old Testament are the result of a power struggle over which lineage of priests – descendants of Moses vs. descendants of Aaron – would control or dominate worship in Jerusalem. But that’s another story for a different podcast. 🙂

    Initially, Joseph and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist. As the Church grew and the hierarchy began to develop, eventually Joseph needed a “higher” priesthood to keep himself and his inner circle ‘above’ the growing number of priests (this also reflects a move away from a church run upon democratic principles to a church with a centralized authority.)

    At some point, Joseph retroactively ‘remembered’ that he and Oliver had also received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John, but never recorded the exact date (oopsie…). Melchizedek was the high priest (and King of Salem) to whom Abraham paid tithes (Genesis 14:17-24), predating Aaron by six generations.

    In Jewish theology, the Priesthood of Aaron derives from Melchizedek through Moses. In Christian theology, Jesus was a priest “in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:1-10) because he wasn’t a descendant of Aaron and thus couldn’t be a priest according to Mosaic (i.e. Jewish) law. LDS theology is a ‘mash-up’ of both these positions. The Wikipedia article is quite helpful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priesthood_of_Melchizedek

    In any case, Joseph and Oliver now had the “greater” Melchizedek Priesthood and everyone else had the “lesser” Aaronic Priesthood. How convenient– “Respect my authoritah!” 😉

    But what will Joseph do when too many men receive the Melchizedek Priesthood? Stay tuned–

    And with regard to the authorship of verses 13-30 (2013 edition), remember that Oliver Cowdery studied and eventually practiced law. He had a flair for legal structures, procedures and crimes (i.e. sins) and punishments. My speculation is that these verses were authored by Oliver and are the ‘cream filling’ in Joseph’s ‘Oreo’ of Section 68 (see also Section 20).


  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    You all know I love having my ego stroked as much as any General Authority (yeah, right there, harder!), and love acknowledgment when I’ve said something awesome, but I have to say I’m kind of starting to cringe when you guys keep calling on me specifically to answer questions, since plenty of other folks are on hand, knowledgeable and capable, like our good friend Gottfried TheHirsute here. A general call for help from the Comments Section, though, is always welcome.

    This is our first mention of Melchizedek Priesthood in the D&C, and as Bryce said, even though the first published version of the revelation in the 1835 D&C uses that phrase, it does not appear in the original manuscript of the revelation. Further, there’s no mention of a “First Presidency” in the original, as that governing body of the church did not yet exist in 1831. As first written, the passage says that bishops shall be appointed by and accountable to a conference of high priests, not the First Presidency. In fact, everything in the text between the current verses 15 and 22, all that nonsense about literal descendants of Aaron, is nowhere to be found in the original either.


    I do find this descendant of Aaron business to be rather baffling. I mean, it makes sense to go back and alter the revelation to mention a First Presidency, once Joseph and his counselors had already started calling themselves that, so as to make the existence of such a group appear to have been the Lord’s intention all along. But as far as I know, no one has ever claimed a right to the bishopric by lineage from Aaron in all the history of this church, so why even bother to add all those verses? I really have no idea.

    Though I should restate, no one has ever SUCCESSFULLY claimed that right, since there are urban legends galore about various cranks with delusions of grandeur, each going up to his stake president saying, “You need to make me a bishop, because I’m a literal descendent of Aaron!” and the stake president saying “Yeah, sure you are. Please get out of my office now.” If those stories are true, then adding those verses may have been more trouble than they were worth. In any event, later on the church decided to clarify that this passage only applies to the Presiding Bishop (the dude in charge of church-wide property management concerns), and not to the numerous bishops who preside over wards.


  3. Julie Says:

    Jacob was the father of the Twelve tribes, except for Ephraim and Manasseh who are Joseph’s sons. They got the birthright after a few of Jacob’s sons were wicked and lost it. Aaron was Moses’ brother.


  4. dalecameronlowry Says:

    Not sure where to comment about the Patreon-only podcast, so I’ll do it here.

    On the one hand, I think the idea of Patreon-only bonus episodes is great and will encourage more people to support the show.

    On the other hand, I’m concerned about the number of spoilers that Marie will get if she keeps reading modern church documents. Obviously she’s already gotten spoilers from visiting the temple in Colorado, and because Bryce and commenters keep mentioning doctrines that don’t show up until later in the Doctrine & Covenants (or outside of it altogether)—e.g. Mormon ideas about heaven, marriage, polygamy, etc etc.

    But the spoilers that have slipped out so far have mostly been by accident. If Marie intentionally seeks out modern church teachings, she’s jumping way ahead of where she is in D&C right now.

    I am torn. I’d love to hear Marie’s reaction to For the Strength of Youth, For Young Men Only, or MormonAndGay.lds.org. But I’d rather wait until she gets to the end of D&C.

    Oh yeah, this is a good time to say, “Bryce, stop talking about heaven, resurrection, temple marriage, temple sealings, baptisms for the dead, and polygamy with Marie. It’s all spoilers!” 🙂

    And some context for The Proclamation on the Family: The anti-gay stuff you were reading into it wasn’t unintentional or a sidethought on the part of the church. Anti-gay sentiment was likely the reason that the brethren wrote the thing at all. You can read a bit more about that here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-karger/hawaii-gay-marriage_b_3932348.html, and it’s born out by the behavior of church leaders.

    The church prefers to whip out the Proclamation on the Family to decry homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the existence of transgender people. The Proclamation on the Family could just as easily be used to beat single parents and divorced members over the head, but it’s not. Sure, single parents and divorced members do feel a lot of guilt, but bishops (in my experience) treat such “errors” as expected human foibles and try to love those people back into feeling good about themselves. But if you get married to a member of the same sex …

    Well, I guess I can’t say what happens then. That would spoil Marie!


    • My Book of Mormon Says:

      Pretty sure if I get married to someone of the same gender then I’d be spoiled all over the place… and it would be AWESOME.

      I do hear you on the spoiler thing. I’ve got the next three Patron-only episodes already recorded (I know, right?) and it’s absolutely spoiler-free. Plus, the farther along we get in the D&C then the less there is to spoil, so it’s kind of a fine line I’ll figure out how to tread?


  5. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    I think we’re starting to get into stretches of the D&C that are better known by LDS church members (after the last 40 or so, which don’t get quoted much), and this section had two pretty important ones.

    The most obvious is the injunction to get your kids baptized at eight years old. Why eight? Joseph and Sydney, when working on the inspired translation of the Bible, added several verses to Genesis 17, in which Jehovah gives the commandment to circumcise children at eight days old. In their version, God outright states that circumcision is simply meant as a reminder that children are not accountable until eight years old. Whatever.

    Incidentally, aside from the potential shunning an unbaptized 9-year-old experiences among peers, one consequence of this doctrine is that anyone over age 8 who wants to get baptized has to take the full set of missionary discussions, in lieu of the five-minute conversation with their bishop that the 8-year-olds get. Just about every missionary boasting baptism notches on their belt has dunked at least a few 9-year-olds.

    The other important modern application in this section is verse 4, “whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture…” The they in question is nowadays interpreted pretty strictly as prophets and apostles. Lots of LDS members take this verse as far as meaning that every word spoken at the semi-annual General Conference is on par with the Book of Mormon, Bible, and D&C, but I don’t think most go that far.

    Though the verse says that they means “all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth”, which sounds like just about any worthy, be-penis-ed individual can speak inspired “scripture” at times. In practice, your run of the mill priesthood holder’s revelations are only good in the LDS church as far as you can throw them. The church will concede your own personal revelations might be genuine, but if so, they’re of extremely limited scope, and if they ever contradict what the apostles say, then the apostles are right and you’re wrong.

    Oh yeah, and as for Holy Ghost vs Holy Spirit (or just The Spirit), in my experience, the term Holy Ghost is usually used only if the actual person of the Holy Ghost is being referred to, like “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” or “the gift of the Holy Ghost”. But if Mormons are referring to the influence and inspiration of God, they usually call it the Spirit, I’d say. The Spirit is an “it”; the Holy Ghost is a “he”. And if that sounds confusing, it will be fun, later on, to compare D&C 130 with Lecture on Faith #5…


  6. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    It seems superfluous to post pictures of the individuals who requested this revelation, since their Wikipedia pages already have links in the show notes, but why not?

    Orson Hyde:

    Luke S Johnson:

    Lyman E Johnson:

    And William McLellin already got his picture, a couple sections back


  7. wargames83 Says:

    John the apostle is the one thought to be immortal, not John the Baptist who was beheaded.


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