Two Different Doctrine & Covenants 101
Many members don’t know that our current 101st section of the Doctrine & Covenants isn’t the same as it was in earlier editions. A small, yet vocal, clique are using this information to attack the Church and core doctrines.
Section 101 in editions prior to 1876 contained a statement of belief on marriage and was neither a revelation nor did it come from Joseph Smith. This statement on marriage was replaced in later editions of the Doctrine and Covenants with two revelations from the prophet on marriage found in sections 131 and 132. When sections 131 and 132 were added, the section that contained the statement on belief was replaced with the revelation we now find there given in 1833 which deals with topics such as the Constitution, life during the Millennium and a parable prophesying that those given a responsibility to protect the flock will murmur, neglect their duties and let the enemy into the flock.
Another problem with this statement of belief is the fact that it was issued prior to the return of Elijah. This restoration of the sealing keys in 1836 added new understanding to eternal marriage not understood at the time. The original statement of belief on marriage was first published in the 1835 edition of the D&C and then it was removed with the printing of the 1876 edition. Why was it removed? Because that section wasn’t revelation and it contradicted the correct, fuller knowledge revealed from the Lord in D&C 131 and 132.
Origins of Confusion
The statement of belief from D&C 101 was not written by Joseph Smith but by Oliver Cowdery. The Joseph Smith Papers project clearly documents that Oliver was not authorized by Joseph to present it to the church membership at the conference for their sustaining vote. It is important to note that he Prophet was not in attendance at the conference, as he was in Michigan at the time. (see History of the Church, 2:246–247) Indeed, the statement on marriage was NOT a revelation, was NOT written by Joseph Smith, and was also NOT authorized to be presented to the members of the Church the day it was voted on. (See Joseph Smith Papers historical background on that section of the D&C)
Many critics of D&C 132 believe the revelation to be an invention created after the death of the Prophet. However, in 1838 Oliver would be excommunicated in part for accusing Joseph Smith of adultery, though he later would return to the Church under Brigham Young’s leadership. Logic would suggest that if Brigham was teaching principles radically contrary to what Joseph taught, as critics maintain, why would Oliver choose to return to the Church led by Brigham? Oliver had nothing to gain, and much to lose by doing so.
Section 132 was revealed in 1843, five years before Oliver’s return to the Church. It doesn’t follow that an excommunicated Oliver, antagonistic to plural marriage or Brigham’s teaching of it, would return, unless he knew it was a revelation and a teaching that originated with Joseph. Oliver never opposed any of the teachings critics like to attribute to Brigham Young. There are no records of it. Oliver was one who was willing to subject himself to ostracism when he felt something went against his conscience. The only reasonable conclusion for his following Brigham Young as Joseph’s legitimate successor—and, again, not opposing any of his teachings—is that Oliver knew Brigham’s teachings originated with the scriptures and the Prophet Joseph Smith. There is no evidence to the contrary.
Why Was It In The D&C?
The Lord’s church is ruled by the principle of ‘common consent’ (see D&C 28:13 & 26:2). What is common consent? Simply put, it…
Once adopted by the common consent of those present at the conference, the statement became the law of the Church and was included in the D&C. This, however, does not make it the word of the Lord. It doesn’t even mean that Joseph agreed with it. Still, the principle of common consent, is an important law of God that must be adhered to and respected. It is not unusual that a prophet’s heeding is ignored and the people choose their own way. Another clear example of this was in 1843, when the Prophet Joseph moved to remove Sydney Rigdon from the First Presidency and call Hyrum as the new president of the Church. The members, through common consent, rejected that move, resulting in the Prophet declaring:
“I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have again put him on me, you may carry him, but I will not.” (History of the Church, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844],” p. 1749)
Doctrinal & Factual Problems
Beyond the facts that the statement of belief on marriage was not a revelation, not written by Joseph Smith, and was voted on at a conference at which the Prophet was not present, the statement contains some key false doctrines and factual errors.
“According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws…” (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, verse 1, 1835 edition)
The United States did not regulate nor even recognize marriage until 78 years after this document’s publication. When it was finally regulated, it was as an attempt to increase taxes. England didn’t have marriage licenses until its marriage act of 1753. Marriage had always been considered a religious sacrament, and its regulation by government was considered to be as blasphemous as the idea of government regulation of baptism or other sacred rites. Government has no right to regulate marriage.
The statement returns to this point once again, stating that the officiator:
“shall pronounce them ‘husband and wife’ in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the laws of the country and authority vested in him”
The concept of equating the authority of God with the authority of the government is blasphemy. God’s laws supersede and preside above all of man’s laws. Joseph Smith’s Council of Fifty—the governing body of the Kingdom of God—wrote:
“And no other government, Kingdom, Dominion, authority, power, rule, or law, shall be acknowledged by my people.” (“Minutes and Discourse, 18 April 1844,” p. )
Blasphemy Not Revelation
The idea that anyone would support a document as coming from God that says to put government above God is nonsensical. The statement’s clear disregard concerning the eternity of marriage and the family is clear when it states:
“we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”
To consider the statement on marriage above as a revelation is to reject the scriptures–both ancient and modern, the essential role Elijah played in the Restoration, and to and embrace the idea that government is above God—proving oneself an idolater. Just because the body of the Church gives consent to follow false ideas should not deter us from understanding and following the true principles given to us by the Prophet Joseph. The Lord has made his will known that marriage is a covenant meant to last into the eternities, that priesthood keys are required to perform this ordinance and that only one man, on earth, at a time has the authority to direct the use of those keys.
More articles on the deceptions being perpetrated to undermine the revelations and those whom God called to continue the works of Joseph:
Debunking Polygamy Denial
The Lord Approved of Brigham Young
Changing the Name of the Church Did Not Signal the Lords Rejection