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Doctrine and Covenants/Textual changes
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Textual changes in the Doctrine and Covenants
Summary: Joseph Smith and others made revisions, additions, and deletions to his early revelations when preparing them for publication. Some claim that revelations from God are inerrant and should never be changed, and that this proves that Joseph Smith did not receive revelation.
Jump to Subtopic:
- Why and how revelations were modified in the Doctrine and Covenants
- Oliver Cowdery and the "rod of nature"
Why and how revelations were modified in the Doctrine and Covenants
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: Who made the changes to the Doctrine and Covenants?
- Question: What changes were made to the Doctrine and Covenants?
- Question: What are the reasons for the changes to the Doctrine and Covenants?
- Question: How do Mormons understand prophetic revelation?
- Question: Were the changes to the revelations hidden from the Church members?
- Question: Have edits to the revelations been discussed in the present day?
- Brigham Young (1855): "I do not even believe that there is a single revelation, among the many God has given to the Church, that is perfect in its fulness"
- Question: Was the revelation comprising the current Doctrine and Covenants 27 altered to include mention of the priesthood restoration?
- Question: If the Doctrine and Covenants contained quotations from God, why would Joseph Smith later edit God's words?
- Question: Was the removal of the name "Michael" from the original vision of the Celestial Kingdom and attempt to hide a "slip up" by Joseph Smith?
- Ensign, "Great and Marvelous Are the Revelations of God"
Oliver Cowdery and the "rod of nature"
Summary: It is claimed that a revelation received by Joseph praised Oliver Cowdery's gift of using divining talents. It is claimed that the revelation was published in the Book of Commandments in its original form, then subsequently modified in the Doctrine and Covenants in order to hide the reference to the "rod of nature." Therefore, it is claimed that Joseph attempted to "cover up" Oliver Cowdery's work with a divining rod by changing a revelation. Critics also claim that Oliver would ask questions of his divining rod in faith and it would move in response.
Jump to Subtopic:
- Revelations in Context on history.lds.org: "Cowdery was among those who believed in and used a divining rod"
- Question: Was Oliver Cowdery a "treasure hunter and 'rodsman'?
- Question: What if the "rod of nature" was indeed a physical object such as a divining rod?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith attempt to "cover up" Oliver Cowdery's work with a divining rod by changing the wording of the revelation that became Doctrine and Covenants 8:6–8?
- Question: How was the wording of the "rod of nature" revelation that became Doctrine and Covenants 8:6–8 altered over time?
- Gospel Topics: "the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God’s power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpent, holy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva"
- Dallin H. Oaks (1987): "It should be recognized that such tools as the Urim and Thummim, the Liahona, seerstones, and other articles have been used appropriately in biblical, Book of Mormon, and modern times"