The 2013 edition of the scriptures has unintentionally added new scripture to the canon


I’ll make this post short and to the point.

This is how the section heading of D&C 89 used to read:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result.  The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.

The first three verses were never considered to be part of the revelation itself, therefore, when the saints later voted to make the Word of Wisdom a commandment binding upon all latter-day saints, the part that was binding started in verse 4, for that is where everyone thought the revelation started.

However, new scholarly research* has shown that the first three verses was not just an introduction written by Joseph, but actually part of the revelation itself.  In other words, verses 1-3 are the words of the Spirit**, not Joseph.  So, the scholars changed the section heading to read as such:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result.

This adds three verses to our scriptural canon and also causes the vote which bound the saints to obey the Word of Wisdom as a commandment to apply to verses 1-3.

Because the Word of Wisdom is not to be sent by commandment or constraint (according to the words of the Spirit in verse 2), the only way to break the Word of Wisdom is by insisting that people follow its proscriptions and dietary regulations.  So, smoking, drinking, coffee and tea are now allowed in the church.


Footnotes

*  The following information comes from the Explanations for the Doctrine and Covenants Section Headings page of the Joseph Smith Papers web site:

Section 89

The revised heading in the 2013 edition deletes the last sentence of the earlier heading, which stated that the first three verses of the revelation were written by Joseph Smith. The sources for this change include the versions of the revelation in Revelation Book 1, page 167, and Revelation Book 2, pages 49–50, which treat the opening statement as part of the revelation.

**  DAC 89 on the 1st Act Scriptures web site shows the Spirit’s words in black text, while the Lord’s words are in brown text.

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13 Comments

  1. Cool!

  2. Here is DAC 89 on the 1st Act Scriptures web site.

    http://1stactscriptures.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/dac89/

    In the above version, the Spirit’s words are in black text and the Lord’s words are in colored text.

    The following information comes from the Explanations for the Doctrine and Covenants Section Headings page of the Joseph Smith Papers web site:

    Section 89

    The revised heading in the 2013 edition deletes the last sentence of the earlier heading, which stated that the first three verses of the revelation were written by Joseph Smith. The sources for this change include the versions of the revelation in Revelation Book 1, page 167, and Revelation Book 2, pages 49–50, which treat the opening statement as part of the revelation.

  3. I was in a rush when I wrote this post and in all honesty, I pushed the publish button by accident. I had wanted to include in the post the things that I wrote in comment #2. I don’t like to alter a post once I publish it, but in this case, I’m going to add that information to it as a couple of footnotes. Just a heads up.

  4. You may also want to edit the “D&C 87” at the start of the post — since you’re talking about D&C 89

  5. Thanks. This is what happens when I’m in a rush.

  6. The Word of Wisdom is careful to make a distinction between itself and revelations which are given as commandments. In verse 18, it calls itself “sayings,” not commandments.

    all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments

    So, we can consider that there is only one commandment found in the entire Word of Wisdom: the Spirit’s instruction in verse 2, which says that the Word of Wisdom is to be sent not by commandment or constraint. Those who have promised to keep the Word of Wisdom, then, must obey this instruction.

    Should the people receive this teaching, this will nullify the temple recommend question concerning the Word of Wisdom. As long as a man isn’t teaching the Word of Wisdom as a commandment or forcing people to live its sayings (through extortion, for example), he can answer “yes” to the question of whether he keeps it, even if he smokes, drinks coffee or tea, or drinks wine or strong drinks.

    The missionaries will continue to teach their investigators that the WoW is a commandment and will continue to constrain them to give up the proscribed substances before they will baptize them, which brings the missionaries under condemnation, but since they will be doing this in ignorance, I expect the Lord to be merciful to them. Once a missionary is corrected and taught this teaching, that’s a horse of a different color.

    If this has any effect, at all, causing a division in the church between those who command and constrain and those who do not, it may be the hand of the Lord prepping His people for coming times. Because the church is so steeped in tradition, I don’t expect an immediate upheaval, although it has the potential to be quite the shake up, depending on how widely this teaching is accepted. This is because people can now validly argue that they obey the WoW while smoking a cigarette. Those who condemn become the sinners. In a sense, this thing has now been turned upside down, allowing the partial fulfillment of this scripture:

    And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay.

    On the tribal front, this has immediate application, for tribal missionaries can use this teaching to widen their teaching pool, baptizing investigators that church missionaries refuse to, because of these WoW proscriptions.

    Mormon bloggers have been discussing for over a week now the effects of the headings to Official Declarations 1 and 2 or the intro change for the Book of Abraham or the Nephite coinage heading change. No one, it appears, has noticed that this WoW heading change has real potential to open up Pandora’s box, causing a drastic change to come over the church, nor that it has actually added scripture to the canon. That’s bigger news than all the rest, in my opinion.

  7. LOL – :))

    You know, though, that it will continue to be ignored. If it is brought to anyone’s attention, the most likely reaction is to reject that point of view.

    But, technically, if we say it is a binding commandment on us, it *does* logically follow that we are not to call the rest of the revelation a commandment.

  8. Hm. That laughing smilie didn’t turn out right. I’ll try again, using different characters. 😀

  9. Toni, I told a latter-day saint about this today, wondering what the reaction would be, but expecting rejection. What I got was acceptance of the principle. Maybe I’m just persuasive when I speak, or maybe the latter-day saints still have a few surprises left in them. In other words, maybe Mormons aren’t like this or like that, according to a stereotype. Certainly some Mormons are, but there a lot of variables that make up a Mormon. Age, life experiences, former religious or non-religious background, nationality, whether they are converts or born in the church, etc., all play a part and make for quite distinct Mormons. So, I’m not certain that every Mormon will reject this outright. The only way to test it is to alert the masses, perhaps through a newspaper. This blog isn’t popular enough to get the word out. But if it were to be brought to the attention of the entire church, I would expect a church-wide discussion over the issue, with some for constraint and some against it.

  10. I told this to my wife [whom I consider as a good test of the “typical Mormon person”] — and her response was more-or-less:

    meah

    which is what I expect the response to be among most LDS.

    But whatever …

  11. I’m not so sure of that anymore. Isaiah’s “drunkards of Ephraim” prophecy (Isa. 28) comes to mind. I believe that there are very many latter-day saints who would take this teaching and run with it. Some will agree with the teaching and continue to keep the sayings, some will agree and relax a bit on keeping the sayings, some will agree and stop trying to live the sayings, while some will disagree with, and oppose, the teaching altogether. I’m not sure where the percentages lie. Much of it may depend on the age of the member and whether they are converts or not, as well as their prior experience with the proscribed substances.

    A convert may be in any of the 4 categories of people, while a life-long member, taught by his or her parents that the sayings were commandments, might be more likely to be in the last category. But even the lifelong member may use this as a way to relieve some of the oppressive pressure to conform. Even if people fall into category 1, it becomes much easier to explain why you are keeping the sayings to an unbeliever. Many people find it weird that we say it is a sin to drink coffee, so if you choose to abstain from drinking hot coffee and someone asks you about it, you can say you choose not to drink hot drinks because you are trying to keep the sayings found in the Word of wisdom, a revelatory principle that attaches promises for all those who choose to keep its dietary sayings, and you want those promises. Inevitably, the question will be, what are those promises? Which leads into a gospel discussion.

    No one finds it weird that people are trying to obtain benefits through dietary means. People do this all the time. The weird thing is if we are commanded and constrained to do it. So, this teaching will take a load of pressure off of every latter-day saint and because of that, and the pressure cooker atmosphere of Mormonism, I’m not sure how most Mormons will react to it. I’d rather withhold judgment until everyone is aware of it, which won’t happen, since this blog scares most people off, so it will remain in obscurity unless a bigger outlet with a more mainstream audience spills the beans. If and when that happens, I expect a real discussion to follow, especially if media outlets follow suit and bring up the question.

    Another thing to consider is that there has been a gradual shift in Mormon thought. Many Mormons now consider themselves Christian, so there is this push to make us more acceptable to the Christian churches. Some of that effort may come into play. Etc.

  12. […] LDS doctrines and some new stuff and embarrassing apologetics belong on the garbage pile, but the changes to the scriptures and other subtle scripture additions are sometimes […]

  13. Great, now I can eat meat again – not “only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine”. And my TBM brother in law can continue to exclude grains from his diet – since “All grain is ordained for the use of man” and “All grain is good for the food of man” no longer is a must.

    Looking forward to see the changes in baptismal- or temple recommend interviews – letting people who otherwise would been held back progress towards the Celestial Kingdom!


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