Ep 221: D&C 110 – Section 137

September 1, 2018


Ep 221: D&C 110 – Section 137

Throwback to before the Kirtland Temple Dedication! Joseph lets you know that you definitely need this temple because ordinances, and do those ordinances so your ancestors have the chance to get into heaven.

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3 Comments on “Ep 221: D&C 110 – Section 137”

  1. Jeff Says:

    I mentioned this on a Patreon episode some months ago, but something I think would be interesting to visit, if maybe only in bonus episodes, is some CES material on the D&C and church history, if only to understand what current members are actually taught about Joseph Smith et al by the church, and see exactly what they leave in, what they spin, what they leave out, and through what light things are portrayed, to at least better understand why church members stay. Some of them are pretty funny in their audacity if you know the real history. Some of my favorites happen to be the videos the LDS Motion Picture studio put out as supplemental Sunday School and seminary/Institute material, which can be found here (amid a bunch of General Conference talk snippets):


    You’ve already done an episode on one of these (the Martin Harris video) on a Patreon bonus episode, but others can be even more fun to compare to the actual history (plus the cheese factor is wonderful too). Learning the church’s version of it after knowing the actual history would be a fun compare/contrast to how most exmo’s experience the church’s version first before learning the historian’s version.


  2. The Mocking Bard Says:

    Holy cow, old Mock has hit the big time! I didn’t suspect that my humble suggestions for future podcast directions would be significant enough to be read “on air,” let alone be the focus of HALF of an episode, or especially used as the foundation for a listener poll. Glad I could be of some help. (“My work here is done,” said the mysterious Mocking Bard, nodding solemnly to himself, before riding off into the sunset.)

    While I’d like to make a couple clarifications (here comes another essay!), I’d first like to look at the main text discussed in the show: D&C 137. What, no Community of Christ D&C parallel? Not a part of the big 1876 “let’s add all of Joseph’s revelations to the D&C” push? Not canonized until the late 20th century? What’s up with that??

    Context, of course, is everything. The Vision of the Celestial Kingdom is actually the first part of a larger vision reported by Joseph Smith, cutting off in the middle of a paragraph. Here are the last two paragraphs of the prophecy: “And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth, who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept.

    “I also beheld Elder M’Lellin in the south, standing upon a hill, surrounded by a vast multitude, preaching to them, and a lame man standing before him supported by his crutches; he threw them down at his word and leaped as a hart, by the mighty power of God. Also, I saw Elder Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color, who appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own tongue, and the angel of God standing above his head, with a drawn Sword in his hand, protecting him, but he did not see it. And I finally saw the Twelve in the celestial kingdom of God. I also beheld the redemption of Zion, and many things which the tongue of man cannot describe in full.” (History of the Church, volume 2, page 381)

    This would now be considered by “Brighamites” to be a “conditional prophecy,” much like a patriarchal blessing, meaning that the recipient/subject must keep certain conditions to receive the promised blessings. (Of course, to everyone else it would just be a false prophecy.) William E. McLellin (spelled M’Lellin here) publicly announced his disaffection with the First Presidency in 1838 and his excommunication soon followed. If the portion of the prophecy about him was ever fulfilled, it would have been while he was a Rigdonite, Strangite or Hedrickite (he tended to jump churches a bit during the remainder of his life). The fact that Joseph was placing Brigham Young in the future in the southwest desert among Native Americans IS very interesting, though I’ve never heard of any account of him speaking in tongues to them as prophesied. That predicted events were left unfulfilled is somewhat problematic, and is therefore likely why the vision was never canonized, at least until someone high up at LDS headquarters apparently said, “Hey, we can get away with just including the first part.”

    An interesting side note: D&C 137 & 138 were canonized in 1976 and originally added to the Pearl of Great Price (of all places!) as “Joseph Smith — Vision” (abbreviated JS—V) and “Joseph F. Smith — Vision” (JFS—V). All new printings included them, and a special insert was printed up that members could buy (I think for a quarter) and put in their scriptures. As an LDS teenager at the time, I — along with everyone I talked to about it — wondered why they just weren’t put in the D&C, which seemed to make more sense. But major revisions to the scriptures were underway in the buildup to the publication of the 1979 LDS Edition of the KJV Bible and the 1981 Triple Combination (BofM, D&C, PofGP). Previously, two sections in the PofGP were designated “Joseph Smith 1” and “Joseph Smith 2,” as though they were two related chapters. These were changed in 1976 to “Joseph Smith — Matthew” (JS—M) and “Joseph Smith — History” (JS—H). I guess it made sense to someone to lump the two “new” revelations in there with a similar naming and abbreviation structure so they could build the new footnotes for the Bible. But when the 1978 priesthood revelation came, issued in the press release style of Wilford’s Woodruff’s 1890 Official Declaration, better thinking apparently prevailed and all three were assigned in 1979 to be part of the D&C (though we had to wait two more years to actually see an edition with them in it). The designations were changed in the nick of time to be included in the footnotes and Topical Guide of the new Bible.

    Speaking of context, a few of my statements about possible future directions for the show were slightly misunderstood, so I’d like to clarify, in no particular order:

    “Discourses of Brigham Young,” which I suggested as part of my fifth category (not included in the survey) is a SINGLE volume work, excerpting Brigham’s sermons from the 26 volume Journal of Discourses. The sound-bite format of the quotations should make it far more accessible than the full sermons, and I think his folksy approach to theology would make for at least an entertaining bonus episode or two.

    I didn’t actually suggest reading the old church magazine, “The Improvement Era.” I only referenced that it was the source for the material later published in book form as Joseph Fielding Smith’s five volume “Answers to Gospel Questions.” And I wouldn’t have even thought to bring up AGQ, except that the woman at the Sunstone Q&A suggested you read it, which sounded REALLY intriguing to me at the time, even though I knew it wouldn’t fit the format of the main podcast.

    The first category in the poll, “Supplemental Scriptures,” wasn’t really well-defined in the podcast. I was referring to things that were SORT OF scripture or things that HAD been published as scripture but were later removed in the Brighamite tradition. As mentioned in the email, this would include Lectures on Faith (soon to be covered), the pro-monogamy Statement on Marriage (already covered), the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (discussed a few times as a possible podcast topic), two revelations of John Taylor that were published as the original sections 137 and 138 in five foreign language editions of the LDS D&C (but never in English), as well as the official LDS church adaptations for kids, the Scripture Stories readers (David Michael and his son Roman read one, leaving three for Marie to hopefully cover when her son is old enough). I also included in my list the LDS Bible Dictionary, because it is published IN the scriptures, but it probably doesn’t really count. While the JST is only used in footnotes in the LDS edition of the Bible, it is considered an inspired work by Brighamites, and IS official canon of the Community of Christ, so I hope to see it highlighted sometime in the podcast (the changed portions only, of course).

    As far as the suggestion for a spotlight on Joseph Smith, I intended no slight to Bryce’s podcast! (Yikes! Sorry!!) I was meaning more of an examination of his theology, though I guess I also did say “history” in the excerpt you read. As mentioned in the email, the category came about in my mind when I thought one day, “Wouldn’t it be fun if they read ‘Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith’ on the show?” This volume, edited by then-apostle and church historian Joseph Fielding Smith, has been a standard reference for Brighamites for the last 80 years, and includes things like the King Follett Discourse, where Joseph taught some of his most distinctive and controversial ideas about God. Virtually ALL of the Mormon faith traditions can trace many of their non-canonical doctrines to teachings included in this volume. It is essentially a collection of the theological portions from the first six volumes of the History of the Church, though a few other sources are used.

    The Hugh B. Brown reference was in a list of famous LDS talks, and was specifically regarding his oft-quoted “Profile of a Prophet” speech at Brigham Young University in the 1950s. In his account of events, as a young Canadian barrister in Great Britain prior to the outbreak of World War II, he was challenged by an acquaintance of his who was a former justice of the supreme court of England to defend his belief in Joseph Smith. If you want to understand how modern Mormons (Brighamite or otherwise) can put Joseph Smith on such a high pedestal, listening to this recording would give you a pretty good idea. (I think this is probably the highest-selling “talk tape” of all time through the years in the LDS market.) It is available for free online these days, and a review and deconstruction of his arguments could be an interesting “filler” episode, even if you couldn’t play all of the audio due to copyright concerns.

    But no matter which direction the podcast goes, I’ll keep listening!


    Mocking Bard

    P.S.: I think you could give “Thus Saith the Lord” an honorary “drink” status for the drinking game in this episode. Bryce must have said it three or four times.

    P.P.S: Did I use “Brighamite” enough here to satisfy ya?? Sheesh! Sorry I insisted on calling it the “mainstream church” in my email. I didn’t know expressing my dislike of the term would become part of the podcast itself! 😉


  3. help3434 Says:

    The problem with the “Brighamite” is that this term would encompass all the sects that splintered off after Official Declaration 1 in order to continue to practice polygamy. They are very different in nature from the mainstream church but probably closer to what the church was like during the actual time of Brigham Young’s leadership.


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