My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 27-28
Excerpt:Joseph went to find wine for a Sacrament service. Along the way, he was stopped and told that wine was not necessary, but water could be used instead. The little church had a growing list of enemies, to obtain wine for the service from a trustworthy source was becoming more and more difficult.. Here we see that the Lord is a pragmatic God. If something isn’t available, the Lord will often make allowances.
In the early days of Nauvoo, the saints were allowed to do baptisms for the dead in the Mississippi River. The Word of Wisdom was initially given as guidance, and not a commandment. When Joseph lost the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, the Lord had him translate Nephi’s record instead.
What we find in all of these instances is that God will work with us, according to our need and diligence.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 23-26
In this revelation, Joseph is called to visit the congregations of the Church that were beginning to grow. He is told that he would never have abilities concerning temporal things, but only in spiritual things. We will see many of his temporal adventures will fail – such as the Kirtland Safety Society (a bank). At his death, Joseph held all the debt of the Church, which included loans for building the Nauvoo temple. Even as a prophet in Missouri, he would be forced to make ends meet by chopping wood for others in winter, so his own family could eat.
Imagine being the chosen one of God as a prophet, and being told this. If Joseph Smith were a fraud, one would imagine he would instead seek to be financially secure by receiving the tithes and offerings of his followers. Instead, he worked harder than most temporally, just to make ends meet, and then tack upon that his spiritual role that had him traveling, and often in hiding from his persecutors.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 20-22
Ever since Elders B.H. Roberts and James Talmage gave their opinion on this verse about a century ago, many members have understood it to mean that Jesus was born on April 6, AD 1. However, early Church members, including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young never seemed to read this revelation in this manner.
First, a problem arises when one considers archaeology and history. According to the Bible, King Herod the Great sought to kill the infant Jesus, and slaughtered all children from 2 years and under in Bethlehem. Archaeology shows that Herod died in 4 BC, so either the Bible is wrong on this story of Herod, or Jesus was more likely born around 6 BC.
Next, with the new Joseph Smith Papers Project, we now see that D&C 20: was not intended to be part of the revelation initially, but was an introduction header to the section provided by John Whitmer, the scribe. Somewhere along the line of publishing, it was included as part of the revelation. The question then becomes, does an introduction approved by the Church membership as doctrine equate to a revelation establishing the date of Jesus’ birth? Thanks to the JSPP and the Church’s recent 2013 online scripture updates, we will be able to understand the revelations we have even better, and perhaps reduce the amount of speculation on just what the scriptures say.
So, when was Jesus born? Around 6 BC, and we do not know exactly which day, although April 6 may be as good a day as any.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 18-19
Excerpt:As we continue studying the revelations of Joseph Smith, we see that some doctrines are expanded and some are completely reinvented, as God gives us higher understanding of his kingdom. Joseph’s revelations will become more complex, intricate, and expansive as the years go by.
This revelation was given in June 1829, about the time the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored by the ancient apostles, Peter, James and John. The Book of Mormon translation was not yet finished. With these two key ideas in mind, let’s see what the Lord taught Oliver Cowdery.
My blog post for Come Follow Me: D&C 14-17
Excerpt:Mary and Peter Whitmer Senior had five sons: David, Peter junior, John, Christian and Jacob. Through Oliver Cowdery’s close relationship with David, the Whitmers would become closely engaged in the early work of the Church.
Because of opposition in Pennsylvania, Oliver asked David if he and Joseph could move in with the family. Though the Whitmers never had met Joseph, they agreed. Before being able to fetch Joseph and Oliver, David had to finish plowing and preparing the spring fields. Miracles were employed, For as David found much of the work already done overnight, prior to beginning the work early in the morning.
This would be the first of many miracles for the Whitmers. Mary would be a witness of Moroni and the gold plates. Several of the Whitmer sons would physically handle the gold plates. David would be one of the Three Witnesses.