Sunday, March 18, 2012

JSP provides additional context to D&C 130

One of a series of diagrams of observed "signs of the
times" recorded
  in  Joseph Smith's journal shortly
the concepts of D&C 130 were taught
One of the more interesting sections of the Doctrine and Covenants are "items of instruction" presented by Joseph Smith while visiting Ramus, Illinois. Just over a year before his death, Joseph Smith was teaching concepts that would further distinguish Mormonism from other religions. He had already removed the barrier between the spiritual and physical by defining spirit as imperceptible physical matter, and by placing God physically in time and space. But in April, 1843, he further solidified a theological foundation of materialism by stating that God's place of residence was a "Urim and Thummin" resembling a globe of glass and fire; that God's body is made of physical material including "flesh and bones" and that God is living in time, albeit in a time reference not associated with earth.

These, and other ideas taught in Ramus were eventually added to the Doctrine and Covenants as section 130, a rare example of concepts from informal teachings being canonized.

While these doctrines are familiar to Latter-day Saints, new information regarding the circumstances from which these instructions were taught have been made available in The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 2 (Jv2). 
Joseph Smith's journals describe a number of interesting conversations between Joseph Smith and Orson Hyde that include prophecies, doctrinal concepts and theological speculation. But only their interaction in Ramus resulted in a set of canonized teachings. 

According to the Jv2 editors, the William Clayton journal "served as the source for [Joseph Smith's] journal entries" for the trip to Ramus. Williard Richards, who was keeping Joseph Smith's journal at this time remained in Nauvoo during the trip, and after their return used Clayton's journal as well as conversations with others to construct journal entries for Joseph Smith's trip.

The Clayton journals have been unavailable to researchers since the late 1970s, and at that time access was provided to only a few. While portions of his journals have been published, much remains unavailable. Clayton's journals are valuable because of his close association with Joseph Smith and his frank observations. Historians were delighted to see ten full pages (April 1-4, 1843) of Clayton's journal published in an appendix in Jv2 that are associated with Section 130.

By reading Willard Richard's account, one can see that section 130 was the results of a number of interactions on April 2nd, 1843, including Joseph Smith correcting doctrine, answering questions, discussing dreams, recalling prophecy, etc. It becomes apparent that some of the teachings were based on passages of scripture. One also gets the sense of the informality, friendship and playfulness between these two men. 

Clayton's account provides the opportunity to compare textual reordering, changes, and omissions in D&C 130.

Below are Williard Richard's entry in Joseph Smith's journal for April 2, 1843, followed by William Clayton's corresponding journal entry. 

The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 2: December 1841-April 1843
Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, Richard Lloyd Anderson, volume editors
Church Historian's Press, Salt Lake City (2011)
Joseph Smith Journal entry, 2 April 1843 (recorded by Williard Richards)

Sunday April 2. 1843 Missouri St. Lousi Republican Ma[r]ch 24 says. At Point Petre. [Pointe-a'-Pitre] W.I. [West Indies] islands 2000 . . . ran together in the public square. The earth opend and swallowed them up the whole mass.

Wind N.E. snow fell several inches but melted more or less. –

D[imick] Huntington returned from Chicago.—

After breakfast called on Sister Sophronia [Smith McCleary]—

10 A. Am. – to meeting. Elder [Orson] Hyde Preached 1 epistle John 1. Chap ist 3 verses—when he shall appear we shall be like. Him &c. he will appear on a white horse.—as a warrior, & may be we shall have some of the same spirit.—our god is a warrior.—John. 14.23—it is our privilege to have the father & son dwelling in our hearts. &c [p.[35]]

Cloudy. Earth ½ covered with snow

Elder Hyde remarked that he read in one of the newspapers—conceng [concerning] the passage of an act in one of the eastern states for to prohibit  the citizens fr[o]m killing crows. Bec[a]use they eat up all the filth & carrion from of[f] the earth.—thusly tending to preserve the hea[l]th of the people. But offer them a piece of clean fresh meat & a crow will not touch it for he has no appitite for it. He had often thought that there was a very great resembalance between the pri[e]st of the day & these crows. For they were continually pick-ing up all the dirt & filth & meanness of the Mormons.—feasting on it if it was a precious morsel. But offer them any good and salutary <from> among—the mormns they have no appitite & will turn away from it

I think for the same reason the Legislature lets the crows live we ought to let the priests live gather up & eat up all the filth & rubbish from the Mormon people that they may be healthy. [p.[36]]

Dined at Sophronia's soon as he we arrived.—Elder Hyde I am going to offer some corrections to you. Elder H. repli[e]d – they shall be thankfully received.—When he shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.—And that same sociality. Which eists amogt [amongst] us here. Will exist amo[n]g us there only it will be coupled with eternl glory which glory we do not now enjoy.

14 John 23.—the appearing of the father and of the Son in that verse is a personal. Appearance.—to say that the father and the Son dwells in [p.[37]]  a mans heart is an old Sectarian notion. And is not correct.

There is are no angels who administer to this earth but who belong to or have belongd to this earth. The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth. But they reside in the presence of God—but on a Globe like a sea of glass. & fire. "sea of glass before the throne.-- &c." where all things are manif[e]st past present & to come,--

The place where God resides is a great Urim And Thummim.

This earth is its sanctified & immortal state. Will be a Urim & Thummim for all things below it in the scale of creation. But not above.—[p.[38]]

Related the Dream. Written on page 3d Book <B> [JS, Journal, 11 Mar 1843]

Interpretati[o]n By O. Hyde—old man.—Govermnt of these Unitd States, who will be invaded by a foreign foe. Probably England. U. S. Government will call on Gen Smith to defend probably all this western territory and offer him any am[ou]nt of men he shall desire & put them under his command.

I prophecy in the Name of the Lord God that the commenceme[n]t of bloodshed a preparat[o]ry to the coming of the son of man. Will commenc[e] in South Carolina.—(it probably may arise through the slave trade.)—this the a voice declard to me. While I was praying earne[s]tly on the subje[c]t 25 December 1832.—[p.[39]]

I earnestly desird to know concer[in]g the coming of the Son of Man & prayed. When—a foice said to me, Joseph, my, son, if thou livest until thou art 85 years old thou shalt see the face of the son of man. Therefore let this suffice & trouble me no more on this matter.—
1 P. M. attended meeting.

Joseph read chapter of Johns revelation, refring particularly to the 6[th] verse. Shewing from that. The a[c]tual existenc[e] of beasts in heaven prob-able those were beasts which had lived on another planet. Than our's—

God never made use of the figure of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven.—Beasts. 7 eyes Pr[i]esthood.—[p.[40]]

This is the fi[r]st time I have ever taken a text in Revelati[o]n.—and if the young elders would let such things alone it would be far better.—then corrected Elder Hyde as in private.—

Supped at Bro [Benjamin] Johnson's.—expected to sta[r]t for Carthage, but bad weather prevntd [prevented] called another meeti[n]g. by bell.—read Rev[elation]—between Meeti[n]gs with Elder Hyde & expou[n]ding.—during this time several came in & expressd fear that I had come in contact with the old scripture

Meeting 7. Eve resumd the subject of the beast.—shewed very plainly that Johns vision was very different from Daniels Prophecy—one referring to things ex[is]ting in heaven. The other a figure of things on the which are on the earth.—[p.[41]]

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life. It will rise with us in the revalatin [revelation], and if a person gains more knowledge and intlignce. Through his obedience & diligence. Than another he will have so much the advantage in the world to come—

There is a low irrevocably decreed in heaven. Before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicated and when we obtain a blessing it is by obedi[e]nce to the law upon which that blessing is predicated.

Again reverted to Elders Hyde mistake. &c the Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans [p. [42]] the Son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.—and a person cannot have the personage <of the H G. [Holy Ghost]> in his heart he may recive the gift of the holy Ghost. It may descend upon him but not to tarry with him.—

What is the meaning of the scriptures. He that is faithful over a few thi[n]gs shall be made ruler over many? & he that is faithful over many shall be made ruler of many more?

What is the mea[n]ing of the Parable of the 10 talents? [blank] Also [blank]  conversation with Nicodemus. Except a man be born of water & of the spi[ri]t.—

I shall not tell you?—

Closed by flagellating the audience [p. [43]] for their fears. -- & calld upon Elder Hyde to get up. & fulfill his covenant to preach 3/4 of an hour.—otherwise I will give you a good whipping.—

Elder Hyde arose & said Brothe[r]s & Sisters I feel as though all had been Said that can be said. I an say nothing but bless you.—

To B. F. Johnsons ---- one the 144000 seald are the pri[e]sts who are appointed to administer in the daily sacrifice.—[6 lines blank] [p. [44]]

The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 2: December 1841-April 1843
Appendix 2: William Clayton, Journal Excerpt, 1-4 April 1843
Entry for 2 April 1843

2 April 1843 . Sunday

Sunday 2— 1 Heard E[lde]r Hyde preach <on 1 Epistle of John 1 chap— 1,2.3 verses in the A. M. dined at sister [Sophronia Smith] McCleary's Pres. Josephs sister. P. M. Joseph preached on Revelations chap. 5. he called on me to open the meeting. He also preachd on the same subject in the evening. During the day President Joseph made the following remarks on doctrine. "I was once praying very earnestly to know to the time of the comeing of the son of man when I heard a voice repeat the following 'Joseph my son, if thou livest until thou art 85 years old thou shalt see the face of the son of man, therefore let this suffice and trouble me no more on this matter.' [p. 66] I Was left thus without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the Millenium, or to some previous appearing, or wether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the son of man will not be any sooner than that time" In correct<ing> two points in E[lde]r Hydes discourse he observed as follows, "The meaning of that passage where it reads 'when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is' is this, When the savior appears we shall see that he is a man like unto ourselves, and that same sociality which exists amongst us here will exist among us then {possibly "there"} only it will be coupled with eternal glory which we do not enjoy now. [p. 67]  Also The appearing of the father and the son in John c. 14 v 23 is a personal appearing, and the idea that they will dwell in a mans heart is a sectarian doctrine and is false"

In answer to a question which I proposed to him as follows, 'Is not the recokoning of Gods time, Angels time, prophets time & mans time according to the planet on which they reside he answered Yes "But there is no Angel ministers to this earth only what either does belong or has belonged to this earth And the Angels do not reside on a planet like our earth but they dwell with God and the planet where  he swells is like crystal, and like a sea of glass before the throne.  This is the great Urim & Thummim whereon all things [p.68] are manifest both things past, present & future and are continually before the Lord. The Urim & Thummim is a small representation of this globe. The earth when it is purified will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim & Thummim whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order will be manifest to those who dwell on it. And this earth will be with Christ Then the white stone mentioned in Rev. c 2 v 17 is the Urim and Thummim whereby all things pertaining to an higher order of kingdoms even all kingdoms will be made known and the a {or "a the"} white stone is given to each of those who come into this the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name [p.69] written which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

Whatever principal of intelligence we obtain in this life will rise with us in the resurrection: and if a person gains more knowledge in this life through his diligence & obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. 

The Holy Ghost is a personage, and a person cannot have the personage [p.70] of the H. G. in his heart. A man may receive the gifts of the H. G, and the H. G. may descend upon a man but not to tarry with him.["]

He also related the following dream "I dreamed that a silver-headed old man came to me and said he was invaded by a gang of robbers, who were plundering his neighbors and threatening destruction to all his subjects. He had heard that I always sought to defend the oppressed, and he had come to see  if the General would call out his Legion and protect him, and he had come to hear with his own ears what answers I would give him. I answered, if you will make out the papers and shew that you are not the aggressor I will call out the Legion [p.71] and defend you while I have a man to stand by me. The old man then turned to go away. When he got a little distance he turned suddenly round and said I must call out the Legion and go and he would have the papers ready when I arrived, and says he I have any amount of men which you  can have under your command.["]

E[lde]r Hyde gave the this interpretation "The old man represents the government of these United States who will be invaded by a foreign foe, probably England. The U. S. government will call on you to defend probably all this Western Territory, and will offer you any amount of men you may need for that purpose.["] [p.72]

Once when Prest Joseph was praying earnestly to know concerning the wars which are to preceed the coming of the son of man, he heard a voice proclaim that the first outbreak of general bloodshed would comence at South Carolina -- see Revelation

The sealing of the 144000 was the number of priests who should be anointed to administer in the daily sacrifice &c.

During prest Joseph's remarks he said there was a nice distinction between the vision which John saw as spoken of in Revelations & the vision which Daniel saw. The former relating only to  things as they actually existed in heaven – the latter being a figure representing things on the earth. God never made use of the figure [p.73] of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven – when they were made us of it was to represent an apostate church.

We slept at B. F. Johnsons [Benjamin F. Johnson's].