Scripture Question/Answer

A question was sent to me that resulted in a lengthy discussion among members of the scriptures committee. Many of the revelations in the T&C are preceded with the introduction, i.e. Verily thus says the Lord. The question was about the beginning language in T&C 82, which has a lengthy introduction followed by the words, Verily, this is the word of the Lord. It appears that the first paragraph of that section was composed as an introduction to a revelation that begins in paragraph 2. That being the case, the revelation is about the Kirtland Temple, which was then under construction, rather than a temple that was never built in Missouri. This would mean the location of the New Jerusalem is not fixed, but changeable. Other revelations (and history) show that at one point Kirtland was the expected site, later Independence, Missouri, then Far West, then conditionally to Nauvoo, Illinois, and finally an undefined place to be set by future revelation.
The words in the first paragraph of Section 82 appear to have been added by Joseph to the actual words of Christ to give the provenance of the revelation, just as Abinadi did before delivering his message: Thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying… At the time of publishing the scriptures it was decided to leave these words in the text, even if they were an introduction by Joseph.
Our review concluded that there are three sections that have somewhat lengthy introductions, and well over 20 sections commencing with an introduction in the form of “thus saith the Lord.”
We found nothing in the early documents to show that these were added later or ever identified as an introduction. Joseph had a pattern of introducing revelations with a brief introduction as part of the wording of the revelation. For example,
Section 111 begins, The word of the Lord came unto me saying
Section 112 begins, Verily thus says the Lord unto me, his servant Joseph Smith Jr
Additionally, a large fraction of the revelations begins in a voice that is not the Lord’s in the first person and then shifts to the Lord’s voice. For example, revelations will use the third-person to describe “his church,” “his people,” and “his prophets” and then shift to the first person, “I said,” “I have,” “I now.” Since the task of the scriptures committee was to render the revelations just as Joseph presented and corrected them, we included his introductions in the same manner he prepared them for publication.
One section that clearly has an introduction by Joseph that may not be part of the actual revelation is T&C Section 89: A word of wisdom for the benefit of the saints in these last days and also the Saints in Zion to be sent greeting, not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation & the word of wisdom shewing forth the order & will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints, given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak & the weakest of all saints who are or can be called saints— This is then followed by: Behold verily thus saith the Lord
Evidence that this introduction was not part of the original revelation is that rather than “of the Saints in these last days,” the copy of this in Revelation Book 2 reads, “of the council of high Priests assembled in Kirtland and Church.”
We have determined to leave the scriptures the way they are and provide this explanation to explain Joseph’s practice to introduce the revelations he received, rather than italicize, bracket, or remove introductory language. That allows you, the reader, to consider the wording and determine for yourself the subtleties and construct of language.
Remember, the language is nuanced, and there are many segues or transitions in the scriptures, particularly in the T&C. In some places, the Lord Himself refers to “The Lord” as if speaking in third-person—and then uses “I” in speaking of Himself. Joseph’s segues reveal his understanding of the Lord’s will, and then seamlessly transition to the Lord’s explicit words and instruction. Keep in mind, the Lord both conveyed ideas that required Joseph to put them into words, and also made direct statements that Joseph would quote. Either way the content is reliable and accurate.