In the first two parts of this series we chronicled the importance of the Law of the Lord (Section 42), the fact that his people stumble when they don’t live it, and how the current shepherds over the flock don’t follow the scriptures in leading the people as they are required to by the Law.
This installment will explore the importance of receiving the “Fulness of the Scriptures” which the Lord addresses in Section 42 and which was given in February 1831. Joseph is commanded to move forward with inspired revisions to the Bible which is commonly referred to as the “Inspired Version” (abbreviated “IV”) or the “Joseph Smith Translation” (abbreviated “JST”):
“Thou shalt ask, and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety” (D&C 42:56)
Perhaps the last phrase “preserved in safety” refers to the fact that Emma was entrusted with the manuscript after Joseph’s death instead of Brigham Young given the fact that Brigham oversaw changes to LDS history that cast a more favorable light on himself and his doctrines. Who knows what he would have done with the Inspired Version had he been given the opportunity.
What I find interesting is that in the very next verse the Lord commands Joseph not to teach from what is revealed in the IV until it has been received in full. The fact that he didn’t preach from the IV suggests there is more yet to come.
“And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full. And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.” (D&C 42:57-58)
In Nauvoo, Joseph was trying to get the saints to consecrate of their means to allow the Inspired Version to be published along with the Book of Mormon in one volume. He knew that in order for him to teach these doctrine they needed to be published for all to read for themselves. In April 1833 he said:
“It is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new Translation in the Star [refering to The Evening and the Morning Star, a church periodical at the time]; but when it is published, it will go to the world together, in a volume by itself; and the New Testament and the Book of Mormon will be printed together.” (History of the Church, 1:341.)
Today, we have the Inspired Version which has been published by the Community of Christ (previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I highly recommend that any serious student of the scriptures pick up a copy which can be obtained HERE. An online copy is also available HERE.
“Brother Joseph Smith, Jr. said … that the promise of God was that the greatest blessings which God had to bestow should be given to those who contributed to the support of his family while he was translating the fulness of the Scriptures … that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church … and except the Church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fail.” (Far West Report, p. 16, quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, p. 9.)
The foregoing is an amazing prescient warning. When I look at the inspired changes made by Joseph, I realize just how far afield we currently find ourselves on so many issues and doctrines. So let’s now explore some of what I consider to be the most important changes that he made in the Inspired Version. This blogpost is meant to be a big-picture overview, so I will not spend much time expounded on each of these, but they could each easily be expanded and analyzed in depth.
1 – The Nature of God
All Things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.
All Things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he is whom the Son will reveal him.
The unity and oneness of the Son and the Father are clearly declared, giving us additional information on the “Mystery of Godliness.” (See also, JST 1 Timothy 3:16).
2 – We must come to “Know the Lord”
And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity.
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
3 – The Lord will send His Servant to those who are Blind
For I will send my servant unto you who are blind; yea, a messenger to open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And they shall be made perfect notwithstanding their blindness, if they will hearken unto the messenger, the Lord’s servant. Thou art a people, seeing many things, but thou observest not: opening the ears to hear, but thou hearest not. The Lord is not well pleased with such a people, but for his righteousness’ sake he will magnify the law and make it honorable.
Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant. Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law and make it honorable.
4 – The covering of the eyes of the prophets and the Marvelous Work
For, behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets, and your rulers; and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquities…And again it shall come to pass, that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him…
For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
This entire chapter has been re-written by Joseph to clearly teach that true prophets can lose their prophetic gifts when the people are unrighteous and reject their God. I highly recommend reading the entire chapter. Additionally, v.26 clarifies that the people who “draw near to him with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from him” are the one’s who have been delivered the Book of Mormon. Very sobering! See also 2 Nephi 27.
5 – Prophecy of Ancient Joseph about Joseph Smith
A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins… and he shall be great like unto [Moses]…And out of weakness shall he be made strong…for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.
This prophecy is also found in the Book of Mormon. Very revealing about the role of Joseph Smith in the salvation of the Lord’s people in the last days. Also, allusions to a future work to be accomplished in convincing the people of the truthfulness of the Lord’s word and confounding false doctrines.
6 – The True Nature of the Melchizedek Priesthood
It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
The scripture goes on to describe the great power held by those of the Melchizedek order. I have written extensively in a post entitled “I am not a High Priest“about the fact that we do not understand what it really means to be a high priest as experienced by Joseph and 22 others at the Morley farm in June 1831. To be a high priest one must be called by God himself, and then ultimately chosen if they prove faithful. One does not become a high priest with the passage of time or because one is called into a bishopric or any number of other callings in the church that are reserved for high priests. God himself must call you by his own voice, it is not by the “will of man” nor by lineage.
7 – The True Nature of Tithing
[Melchizedek] lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor. Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.
The great high priest, Melchizedek, was the keeper of the Lord’s storehouse. We learn that the storehouse is for the POOR, not to build spacious buildings and make investments. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” (Malachi 3:10) takes on the meaning that contributions are to be used primarily for the poor. Additionally, tithing is to be made on one’s surplus – more than that which we have need – not on gross earnings. That is God’s eternal law.
8 – The Doctrine of the Three Watches
For, behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in the second watch, and again he shall come in the third watch…blessed are those servants when he cometh, that he shall find so doing;…I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night…I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season. And they said, who then is that faithful and wise servant? And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.
Joseph’s version brings much greater clarity that the Lord will visit the earth 3 times before he comes in his glory. He comes as a thief in the night and all must be watching and waiting for His coming. Also, he is directing his words to the shepherds of His people informing them that they must be prepared to teach and administer the law of consecration which is what I interpret “to give his children their portion of meat in due season” means. The wise servant is the one who watches for the Lord and is prepared to live the law of consecration when the time comes.
The blogger that goes by “Watcher” has taken this cyber moniker, I believe, because of the importance of this doctrine to us in the latter-days. We all must catch the spirit of watching and waiting for the Lord.
9 – King David sinned in taking many wives and concubines.
Note that the Lord is talking to Solomon in these verses.
1 Kings 3:14
And if thou wilt walk in my ways to keep my statutes, and my commandments, then I will lengthen thy days, and thou shalt not walk in unrighteousness, as did thy father David.
1 Kings 3:14
And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
10 – John the Baptist is the Reincarnated Elijah
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Inspired Version
John 1:21-22 And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias: but confessed saying; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? and he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things.
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. KJV Version
John 1:21-22 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias; And he saith, I am not.
11 – Everyone Must Stand on Their Own
Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another. Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive. And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out:
12 – Those Who Say They are Thine Have All Gone Astray
For the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, and by his voice said unto his servant, Seek ye among the children of men, to see if there are any that do understand God. And he opened his mouth unto the Lord, and said, Behold, all these who say they are thine. The Lord answered, and said, They are all gone aside, they are together become filthy, thou canst behold none of them that are doing good, no, not one. All they have for their teachers are workers of iniquity, and there is no knowledge in them. They are they who eat up my people…
The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They have all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people…
The foregoing is just a smattering of some of the more salient doctrines that were clarified by Joseph. We rarely preach from the Inspired Version and hardly ever explore the doctrines that in any way conflict with modern interpretations out of HQ. Instead we would rather hear insipid pep talks on keeping the commandments and doing missionary work.
I think it is appropriate to close this lengthy post with one more mind-blowing passage from the JST which condemns the lawyers who have taken away the “key of knowledge.”
Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge, the fulness of the scriptures; ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered.
Joseph added the underlined and bolded part. The key of knowledge is the fulness of the scriptures of which the Inspired Version is an important part. There is much more that we need to receive that won’t come to us until we repent. What we have right now is treated lightly and it is no wonder we have been rejected as a church (D&C 124:32)
Putting this together has been an amazing spiritual experience for me as I continue to search the scriptures and gain knowledge. My commentary is not to be taken with any authority. Rely only on the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
I want to thank you for your posts. I ordered a J.S. Inspired version of the scriptures and it has made a lot of difference in my scripture study. I have a set that is older, from the RLDS church times. It’s so nice to just read it and not have to look for footnotes, or read it the wrong way, then try to plug in the JST footnotes. I like how you pointed out that the translation stayed safe with Emma. I believe Brigham Young WOULD have changed it to support his way of doing business!
I do wonder this, why didn’t Joseph Smith, when he was doing the inspired version, make some of the gospels match up, like in the calling of Christ’s disciples, and there are some differences I noticed after he was resurrected. Is it because those parts don’t matter so much?
What a great collection of JST passages. Perhaps there is no need for me to continue doing my series on the topic..
I had never noticed the Psalms 14 changes thank you for bringing that to my attention.
it is sobering to see similar verbiage directed at the saints of the restored church in the Book of Mormon regarding “no not one”
24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.
25 And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.
Also, a few passages with a similarity to the following terms or meaning to “They are all gone aside”
Doctrine and Covenants 82:6
6 And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.
Doctrine and Covenants 33:4
4 And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.
An additional interpretation for your last thought about losing the fulness of the scriptures relates to the practice of proof-texting specific verses to reinforce existing beliefs, rather than searching the scriptures to have the truth unfold to our understanding.
Lawyers weren’t the ones who kept the JST from publication, but there are many lawyers making decisions on church policy and teachings today. I am thinking in particular about the recent changes to the youth curriculum, including seminary, institute, sunday school, and priesthood/young women.
I am afraid that the current approach to teaching the standard works will leave young people with NO desire to search the scriptures because every time they are taught from them, they hear the same thing.