D&C 10. Part 4. Verses 20-29.

[Part 3 is here.]

In this part we consider verses 20-29 of the 1981 edition, but display the text from the Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.

Text alterations are shown in blue and red. Blue text in the Book of Commandments shows text that was removed for the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Red text in the 1835 D&C shows text that was added to the Book of Commandments. The 1981 verse numbering is superimposed on the 1835 text.[1]

Book of Commandments 1835 D&C (1981)
Verily, verily I say unto you, that satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to do iniquity against that which is good,

that he may lead their souls to destruction, and thus he has laid a cunning plan to destroy the work of God;

yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work;

yea, he saith unto them, Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy: behold this is no harm, and thus he flattereth them and telleth them that it is no sin to lie, that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him,

and thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare;

and thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.

Verily, verily I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to decieve, because he supposeth that another lieth to decieve, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.

Now, behold they have altered those words, because satan saith unto them, He hath decieved you, and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to tempt the Lord their God.

20. Verily, verily I say unto you, that satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good,
21. and their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness and abominations, and they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil: therefore they will not ask of me.
22. Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction.
23. And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work of God, but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgement:
24. yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work;
25. yea, he saith unto them, Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy: behold this is no harm, and thus he flattereth them and telleth them that it is no sin to lie, that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him,
26. and thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare;
27. and thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
28. Verily, verily I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive, because he supposes that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.
29. Now, behold they have altered those words, because satan saith unto them, He hath deceived you: and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.

There are some interesting textual matters to consider in this segment of the revelation. First, we note the impossible to ignore similarities with Book of Mormon passages. Verses 25 and 26 appear to echo a number of passages from the Book of Mormon, particularly from 2nd Nephi, for example chapter 28:22 (also Alma 30:60; Helaman 6:28, 5:12). Such similarities may point to a date that could extend to June 1829. We address this later.

Changes in verse 29 make it symmetric with the changes in verse 15, while changes in verse 23 match the changes in verse 16. The change in verse 29 moves ultimate theoretical blame for tempting God to Joseph rather than the hypothetical publishers of the original text of the Book of Lehi. The change in verse 23 indicates that blame will fall on the thieves in any case; also it casts the whole idea for the discrediting of JS as one which is in vain from the start. That raises the whole fun question of foreknowledge.

The new verse 21 is biographical in nature and places a rather nasty film over the faces of the anonymous thieves/forgers. It also puts a rather well-known phrase in play: “they love darkness rather than light, because their deed are evil: therefore they will not ask of me.” This passage is analogous to one in an 1830 revelation, D&C 29:45, whose context describes the fate of the eternally damned in the bi-judgement of Protestantism and is in turn drawn from John 3:19 (sans the “because they will not ask of me” of the present section).

The changes in these verses suggests a possible question for broader study: in the editing process, were established scriptural texts employed with any significant frequency to expand the revelations? It has been suggested that this is the case in the Book of Mormon, where one finds significant Pauline, OT and Gospel (MMLJ) passages. But it has also been suggested that those passages are not deliberate, resulting instead from direct readings in JS’s seeric objects. This question leads back to one about D&C 10. How was it (or at least some of it) received?

———————–
[1] The 1981 verse numbers are inherited from the 1876 edition.

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4 Responses to D&C 10. Part 4. Verses 20-29.

  1. ricke says:

    Interesting. Thank you.

  2. David G. says:

    Thanks, WVS. You raise interesting questions about expansions using other scriptural texts that could, as you suggest, have implications on how we understand not only the reception of the commandments but also how the BoM was translated.

    • WVS says:

      David, it would be interesting to see the missing ms for D&C 10 for any number of reasons, but I would like to know who inserted the John passage for 1835.

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