In the Fulness of Time/Part 114
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2009|
|Jesus has told His disciples before about His coming death: someone would deliver Him into the hands of evil men, these men would kill Him, but the third day He would be raised from the dead. These details had been revealed to them before, but as Luke 9:45 indicates: “It was hidden from them, that they perceived it not.|
The appendix of a book usually contains supplemental information that adds details to a subject discussed in the main part of the book. But, as our last article mentioned, there were four articles in the Appendix of the original 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants that were not supplemental to any Section of the Doctrine and Covenants but were new subjects. Two of those articles were deleted when the next edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published while the other two articles remained in the Appendix for 86 years and then in 1921 were moved into the main part of the Doctrine and Covenants. Such changes might not raise questions in an ordinary book, but the Doctrine and Covenants is not an ordinary book.
Mormons are taught that the Doctrine and Covenants is revealed scripture from God. If that is true, couldn’t God make up His mind where these articles belonged? Did God inspire Mormon leaders to put two articles in the Doctrine and Covenants and then to delete them at the next printing? Did God want the other two articles to remain in the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix for 86 years and then moved into the main part of the Doctrine and Covenants with Smith’s “revelations?” After Joseph Smith’s death, two more articles were added to the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix where they remained until 1921 when they were also moved into the main part of the Doctrine and Covenants. We will discuss those two articles now.
John Taylor, who later became the third LDS Prophet, was with Smith in jail in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, when Smith was killed. Taylor later wrote a brief article about Smith’s “martyrdom” which was put in the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix when the next edition was published. It remained in there until 1921 when it became Doctrine and Covenants 135 in the main part of the book. The title of Taylor’s article was “Martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his brother Hyrum.” In his article Taylor quoted Smith who supposedly said when he went to Carthage, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.” Since Taylor was with Smith, he knew that Smith did not go like a lamb to the slaughter. In Taylor’s more complete account of Smith’s death in the Carthage jail he said, Smith “arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times. Only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died” (The Gospel Kingdom, by John Taylor, p. 360). That certainly doesn’t sound like a lamb going to the slaughter!
The History of the Church, Volume VI, pages 617-618 not only mentions Joseph firing his six shooter, but it also mentions that Joseph’s brother, Hyrum, had a “single barrel” that he fired before he was killed. The actions of Joseph and his brother Hyrum do not measure up to the title “martyr,” since no Christian martyr used weapons against those who sought to kill them. The word martyr originally meant a witness, but came to be used of those who gave their lives as a witness for Christ. But Smith didn’t die because of his faith in Christ. He was involved in immorality and polygamy that was exposed by his former followers when they published the Nauvoo Expositor newspaper on June 7, 1844. Smith had the printing press of the Expositor destroyed and in doing so, he broke the law. When Illinois authorities tried to arrest him, he enlisted the Nauvoo Legion (LDS militia) to prevent it which resulted in a charge of treason. That is why he was in jail in Carthage, not for his faith in Christ! None of that justifies the mob that killed the Smith brothers. It just shows that Smith wasn’t killed because of his faith in Christ, so he was not a Christian martyr.
Among several things that Taylor’s article stated was that “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D. & C. 135:3). Mormonism claims to be Christian, but the Christian Bible says of Jesus, “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth [or lives forever] to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). The apostle Paul also wrote, “You are complete in Him [Jesus]” (Col. 2:10). If Christ saves to the uttermost and we are complete in Him, what did Smith or anyone else do for our salvation? Furthermore, Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.” If Jesus is the ONE Mediator between God and men, neither Smith nor anyone else has ever done anything to provide salvation for mankind!
On January 14, 1847, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor as LDS Prophet wrote, “The Word and Will of the Lord” concerning the Mormon move from Winter Quarters near Omaha, NE, to the Salt Lake Valley. It was also put in the next edition of the Doctrine and Covenants Appendix where it remained until 1921 when it became Doctrine and Covenants 136. Verse 34 indicates that the LDS were driven out of the USA to Utah, which was then part of Mexico. Verse 35 then says, “And now cometh the day of their [USA’s] calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily.” But America didn’t speedily repent for what happened to Smith or the LDS.
On page 352, the Doctrine & Covenants Student Manual says that the War with Mexico, the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I & II, Korea and Vietnam were the result of what the USA did to Smith and the LDS! But many nations who never heard of Joseph Smith or Mormonism have also had wars, famine plagues, etc., so is that a logical, unbiased statement? If Doctrine and Covenants Sections 133 through 136 were revelations equal to Smith’s in the Doctrine and Covenants, why did they remain in the Appendix for so many years? How can anyone be certain that current LDS scripture won’t be changed or deleted? LDS leaders claim there are many problems with the Bible. But, could that just be a diversion so that people won’t notice all the changes and problems in LDS scripture?
More about changes in the Doctrine and Covenants can be found in my book, Mormon Claims Answered. Next time we will discuss the newest revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants.