D&C 112 thoughts


Here are a few thoughts after the D&C 112 lesson yesterday:

  1. I need to read the Revelations In Context chapter for this!
  2. Thomas Marsh was the head of the quorum of the 12 apostles because he was the oldest. That sounds so strange to us — we should pick who ever is the best, right? Most spiritual? Or whoever God manifests to us should be the head? And so forth. Obviously, God had a hand in picking out the whole quorum, and may very well have arranged it so that the oldest was someone he wanted to be the head. But another way of seeing the situation is that once the 12 were called, it didn’t really matter who was the head and who wasn’t. The structure of a head/council did matter — the existence of that hierarchy that then allows for revelation to come in a certain way did matter, but really, it didn’t matter who was at the head and who were the rest of the council. The structure doesn’t really work unless 1, we see the “head” as an arbitrary choice and trust the structure as such to work, or 2, there is some, somewhat logical reason why someone will be the head, so we can relax about it and let the process do its thing. So picking the oldest was maybe a way to do that. In our family there are times where Emma has more privilege or responsibility, or where Micah gets the extra cookie, or whatever, because everyone recognizes that the oldest and the youngest are somewhat different in their relation to the family. I can see how ordering the 12 by age was a good way to handle that. Also, Brigham was next, and when Thomas Marsh left we had Brigham there to get the Saints across the plains and settling new land. We look back on that and say “Only Brigham could have done that!” But we really don’t know that. It probably would have worked out fine, just done in a different way.
  3. The story of the Kirtland Bank is such a sad one! Instead of relieving debt it caused something like three times more debt. So many were affected, so many were angry, so many were in more desperate circumstances than they were before. But, this was a common problem throughout the US. It wasn’t just a Kirtland thing. Their small safety society was an attempt to avoid the problems that were going on. It didn’t work, but all that means is that they didn’t avoid something that was already going on. Should the prophet be blamed for this? I see how so many felt like he should have foreseen and protected them. He tried! As I’m reading the Book of Mormon I’m reminded how often wars happen when the people are being proud etc. So maybe the interpretation could have been that Joseph did what he could but the people weren’t righteous enough to avoid it? Or that God chastens his people and they could have been strengthened to endure it?
  4. Another lesson for me from the Kirtland banking story is that the Saints’ and prophets’ lives are always in the context of history, including the economic and political pushes and pulls of the nations. What happened in Kirtland was related to what was happening throughout the country they were living in. It affected the problem, it affected the idea Joseph had for fixing it, and it affected how people responded. All of this was in a context. That makes me think of so many things that have happened throughout the history of the Church. For example, the reason that the Relief Society started was because there were many women getting together to start charitable organizations. When a group got together to start one in Nauvoo, Joseph decided to make it something bigger and ordained by the priesthood. But it was originially started because women looked at what was going on around them, saw good in it, and started to follow suit. Things like correlation, teaching styles, Church-dress clothing styles, missionary approaches, and so on, are all products of or reactions do what is going on in the general culture. And that ought to be considered a lot more, I think. (In positive, charitable ways.)
  5. Love the words “feel after” in verse 13
  6. V. 20 sounds like D&C 84 and I want to think about that more
  7. Verses 20-21 remind me of Elder Oaks’ talk about priesthood and how women are authorized under the priesthood to do what they do. Right now I can imagine the Relief Society (as an abstract “object”) having hands laid on its “head” and being ordained.
  8.  v. 32 sounds like Abraham (he has the record that has come down from the fathers, he seeks after the blessings of the priesthood which came down from the fathers, even the first father…)

Receiveth in D&C 84


Yesterday in Sunday School Joe taught about D&C 84 and priesthood, so today I’m back to looking at some of my favorite mysterious verses in scripture!

Here’s what I’ve learned this time.

Verses 36 and 37 are a quotation or paraphrase of John 13:20:

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Also, interestingly, in John the next verses go on to tell the story of Judas leaving the last supper dinner to betray Jesus. D&C 84: 40 talks about severe consequences for breaking oath and covenant received. Maybe a connection, maybe not.

While sometimes it says “obtain” priesthood and sometimes “receive” priesthood, today I think it means the same thing.

At times I’ve wondered if receive priesthood could mean receiving those individuals with priesthood who offer knowledge and ordinances. The reason I wondered this is because verse 33 talks about “obtaining” priesthood. It’s only 2 verses later that we read the words “receive this priesthood.” I checked Webster’s 1828 dictionary, and it emphasized a difference between the two words — obtain means some sort of effort was required, but receive could go either way.

I did some more looking around scripture, and realized that “receive” the priesthood is the language throughout the genealogy of priesthood lineage earlier in this section, as well as throughout scripture. So I settled on the idea that v. 35 and v.40, etc., are talking about receiving the priesthood itself, as in, being ordained.

So what is point of vs. 35-40?

Perhaps this is how to read these verses:

All those who receive the priesthood become the “sons of Moses” “sons of Aaron,” and “seed of Abraham” mentioned in scripture. But not only that, they receive me. Do they see me? Well, not necessarily. Remember he that receiveth my servants (such as Joseph and Oliver), receive me.

And also, remember that all that receive me, receive my Father too — just like I said in John 13:20.

And those who receive the Father receive all he has. This is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

That is, it is possible to receive this oath and covenant because once you receive him, you can receive the oath and covenant of the Father

Further question

I still don’t know what to make of the words “according to” and “belongeth to.” I’ve spent many a study and blog post coming up with possible meanings. Today, I just don’t know. 🙂 I could see it meaning that receiving the Father is what the priesthood promises. This is in accordance with vs. 22-25.


Alma 13:3-8


I felt drawn to revisit Alma 13 this morning.

Years ago, Kim and I did a study of Alma 13 together. She suggested that “manner” (that oh-so-confusing term in Alma 13) might mean the trio of “calling, ordinance, priesthood.”

Reviewing verses 3-8 with that in mind, I see the flow better than I had before (or at least, better than I have since we did those readings together….)

Verse 3 introduces the idea of “call.” Verses 1 and 2 mention ordination, but not calling. Verse 3 emphasizes that God had planned this long in advance. It was not a new idea, nor an idea that men came up with.

And beyond that, the individuals that he will call were also planned long in advance. Thus, these people are “called with a holy calling, yeah, with that holy calling which was prepared.” Calling here, not meaning what we commonly use it to mean — not a job, an temporary occupation in God’s service. But calling here meaning something more straightforward, as in God “calling” out someone, through His Spirit, through a vision, through another priest/prophet, etc. The point here, I think, is that God is initiating the process.

(?Verses 4-5 explain that God will reach out to those who will not reject this calling, knowing in advance through prior actions if we will or will not reject?)

Verse 6 introduces “ordained,” but really skips over that one to the “high priesthood or the holy order.” It explains (what I take to be) the purpose of this priesthood: “to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest.” Verse 1 said something similar: “The Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order…to teach these things unto the people.”

Verse 7 goes on to explain priesthood more. For now, the point is that it existed “from the foundation of the world.”

Verse 8 wraps these three things together: “Now they were ordained after this manner — being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is with out beginning or end — Thus they become high priests.”

Verse 8 also added slightly to the “ordain” part of the trio. They are “ordained with a holy ordinance.” Whatever that ordinance is is left unsaid, but there is some event, some moment, some procedure that makes this legitimized.

As I re-read verses 3-8, I see a clear organizational pattern, something that has often eluded me in Alma 13.


MSH paper, deliverable version


n several places in the Book of Mormon, authors pause to explain why they are writing their book. Sometimes they seem to be confident about why they are writing, and other times, they admit that God has something planned that they don’t fully understand. Nephi and Mormon call these unknown plans “wise purposes.”

These purposes are often explained by Doctrine and Covenants section 10. After Joseph Smith and Martin Harris lose part of the Book of Mormon manuscript, God reveals his plan to use the small plates in the place of the missing pages. D&C 10:43 reads, “I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”

Today I would like to argue that the way in which Latter-day Saints have connected these scriptures has influenced their understanding of wisdom. By reviewing the connections and a few commentaries, it will become apparent that this common reading sees wisdom primarily in terms of foreknowledge.

However, I would also like to suggest an alternative way of connecting these scriptures. Within this alternate reading will emerge a different view of wisdom, one which sees wisdom primarily in terms of faithfulness.

After these two possible meanings of wisdom are clear, I will return to D&C 10:43 to think about how each meaning changes the way we read the words “God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”

To begin, allow me to remind you where in the Book of Mormon we find the words “wise purposes.” The first place is in 1 Nephi 9:5-6. It reads,

5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.

Nephi here does little more than express his confidence in God’s foreknowledge. He doesn’t mention even a guess as to why he is creating a second record – only that God knows all things from the beginning. The second place is in 1 Nephi 19:3:

3 the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord.

Here Nephi expresses some opinion of why he is writing: for the instruction of his people. But he also confirms that these plates are for “other wise purposes” known only to the Lord.

The last place we find the words “wise purposes” in the small plates is in the Words of Mormon:

6 But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

All three of these verses point to God’s knowledge of the future. Both Nephi and Mormon admit that they do not understand all of God’s reasons. In fact, it’s as if God has impressed upon them the fact that they do not know all of God’s purposes.

In the most common reading of these verses, it is assumed that the “wise purposes” are primarily or even solely to provide Joseph Smith with something to translate in place of the lost manuscript pages.

For example, one commentary reads,

The loss of the manuscript clearly demonstrates why the Lord commanded Nephi to write the small plates and why Mormon was inspired to include them. Joseph Smith was told not to retranslate the portion he had already completed, but to replace it by translating the small plates of Nephi … The Lord in His omniscience had the second record, the small plates, cover the exact time period that was covered in the stolen 116 pages. (Institute manual)

Another commentary says,

Centuries before the Prophet Joseph Smith was born, Nephi testified that God had commanded him to make two sets of plates … The loss of the 116-page manuscript makes it apparent why the Lord commanded Nephi and Mormon to do what they did. … Knowing that God sees the end from the beginning should give us confidence in Him as we live in the present and work toward the future.

One reason that this reading is so popular is because of how well the Words of Mormon line up with the Book of Mosiah. It seems to many readers that the only possible explanation of this is that God told Mormon to prepare it this way.

“it seems Mormon knew we would not have access to the account of King Benjamin from the Book of Lehi, lost in the 116 pages (Sperry)”

says one. Another says,

“It was made known to Mormon ‘by the workings of the Spirit of the Lord’ that the small plates of Nephi (which ended when Benjamin was a relatively young man) might be used to replace his abridgment of the book of Lehi (which ended when Benjamin was an old man about ready to die). So that a gap would would not occur in the history of the Nephites, Mormon included the major events of the lifetime of King Benjamin in The Words of Mormon, thus connecting the account on the small plates of Nephi with Mormon’s abridgment of the book of Mosiah.” (pg 171) (Ludlow)

While I think there are other ways of reading this situation, the practical, pastoral message of this reading is clear: God knows the future and is in charge of history. In essence, the possibility of using the small plates to fill in the gap of the missing pages serves as a sign of God’s ability to see the future.

The fact that this can be used as a sign of God’s greatness is one reason I think this reading is so popular.

Recognizing all of the clear references to God’s foreknowledge in the previous reading, I would like nonetheless to offer an alternative connection between “wise purposes” and D&C 10.

First, in the verses from Nephi that I’ve already quoted, Nephi does express confidence in at least one known purpose of his record: that his small plates record will be used for the instruction of his people. Elsewhere, Nephi says that “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Ne 25:26). His audience here is more than his immediate children; it is his posterity in general.

Second, after Mormon expresses his uncertainty about the “wise purposes” of the small plates, he goes on to express his hope for future Nephites. Those two verses together read:

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

8 And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.

What I hear in that second verse is what Mormon hopes the small plates are for. “I do not know all things” says Mormon, but “my prayer to God is concerning my brethren.” His hope is that this record, like his large-plates abridgment, will bring his brethren back from their lost state.

I hear that same hope in Enos’s words as well. At the end of his recorded prayer, he asks God,

that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—

Nephi, Enos, and Mormon all express a similar hope that their records will be used to bring back Lehi’s children. And I don’t think that hope is far from the “wise purposes” of the small plates. D&C 3:19-20 says,

And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain these records – that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people; And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel…”

Returning now to D&C 10, verses 45-48 say,

45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

Here God impresses upon Joseph’s mind the “wisdom” of including the content of the small plates. They “throw greater views” upon the gospel, a gospel which God has covenanted he will bring forth. Note that “the remainder of this work” – that is, the rest of the large-plates abridgment – would have been sufficient to include “all those parts” which he had promised to restore. Here, including the small plates isn’t necessary to fulfilling the promise – it’s quite simply “wise.”

An earlier verse in D&C 10 says something similar. Verse 40 reads,

40 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account—

Here again, God suggests that the reason it is “wise” to include the small plates is because their content is “more particular” about certain parts of his gospel.

In these verses, the small plates aren’t being used to fill in a gap in history. They aren’t even being used to fill in a gap in spiritual content. The wisdom of including the small plates has to with with how its content will reinforce the message of the gospel, a message he has covenanted to bring forth.

I have now suggested two possible meanings for wisdom in D&C 10. The first, following the more common interpretation, amounts to wisdom being equated with God’s foreknowledge. The small plates become a sign of God’s ability to control history. The second, following an alternate interpretation, amounts to wisdom being equated with God’s faithfulness to his promises. The content of the small plates will allow God to thoroughly fulfill his promise of restoring the gospel to the Lamanites.

With these two possible interpretations clear, I’d like to turn now to the words of D&C 10:43: “I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

The main question I have for this verse is what exactly does it mean to say that God’s wisdom is greater than the devil’s cunning? Does this imply that wisdom is a higher-level version of cunning? Or that cunning is a lower-level version of wisdom? We do have at least one Book of Mormon verse that links “cunning” to the “wisdom of the world” – something lower than to God’s wisdom – but is that sufficient to explain their connection?

Put another way, does this verse imply that wisdom and cunning are on the same scale, and that wisdom is a greater amount of cunning? Or are there other ways of reading this verse? I think each of the meanings of “wisdom” in this paper will suggest a different answer to this question.

If we take the first meaning of wisdom suggested in this paper – that is, that wisdom amounts to God’s foreknowledge, then I think the answer could be yes. God’s wisdom is indeed wisdom in a greater degree than the wisdom of the devil. This is simply because God can see the future and the devil cannot. Thus, in the case of the small plates, God’s wisdom amounted to his ability to see into the future, and prepare a way to work around the devil’s cunning plan. Likewise, it would seem that God’s foreknowledge gives him the upper hand in any given situation, such that God’s wisdom is always going to be greater than the devil’s cunning.

I think the idea of showing God as “greater” than the devil is a tempting one, and it is one reason why this reading is the more popular one. It is always gratifying to have a chance to show that God triumphs over evil.

We might paraphrase D&C 10:43 as “God’s foreknowledge is greater than the knowledge of the devil.”

If we take the second meaning of wisdom suggested in this paper – that is, that wisdom amounts to God’s faithfulness to promises, then I think the answer would be no – wisdom is not a greater amount of cunning. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense to say that including the small plates shows that God is greater at being faithful. God isn’t trying to compare his faithfulness to that of the devil’s faithfulness. In this case, wisdom and cunning are not two points on a scale, but a comparison of two very different things.

That is, God’s wisdom is greater not because it is of a greater amount, but because it is something on a different plane completely. I might say that my family is greater than all the gold in the world, but I wouldn’t therefore be saying that my family is financially worth more than all the gold in the world. Family and gold are of different natures, and the word “greater” is comparing between these different natures.

In this sense, a paraphrase of D&C 10:43 would be something like “God’s ability and desire to keep covenants is greater than any meddling scheme the devil can come up with.”

My goal today hasn’t been to prove one reading over the other, though it’s probably obvious that I like the second reading. My hope today is that we have begun to ask questions about how the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants see the small plates, and how we might see the wisdom of what we’ve been given.

Thank you.


Analyze D&C 10:43, and Conclusion (MSH paper, Wise Purposes)


Now that I have laid out two possible ways of understanding the connection between wisdom in D&C 10 and the wise purposes of the Book of Mormon, I’d like to analyze the language of D&C 10:43 a little further.

“I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil,” it says. What exactly does it mean to say that God’s wisdom is greater than the devil’s cunning? Does this imply that wisdom is a higher level version of cunning? Or that cunning is a lower level version of wisdom? That is, does this verse imply that wisdom a greater amount of cunning?

If we look at this through the lens of the first reading I laid out, then I think the answer would be yes. God’s wisdom amounted to his ability to see into the future, and prepare a way to work around the devil’s cunning plan. Likewise, it would seem that God’s foreknowledge gives him the upper hand in any given situation, such that God’s wisdom is always going to be greater than the devil’s cunning.

If we look at this through the lens of the alternate reading I laid out, then I think the answer would be no. If wisdom has to do with God’s faithfulness in keeping promises, then I don’t think we could say that wisdom is a greater amount of cunning. In this case, wisdom and cunning are not two points on a spectrum, but a comparison of two very different things. God’s wisdom is greater not because it is of a greater amount than the devil’s cunning, but God’s wisdom is greater because it is something on a different plane completely. We might say that my family is greater than all the gold in the world, but we wouldn’t therefore be saying that my family is finaincally worth more than all the gold in the world. Family and gold are of different natures, and the word “greater” is comparing between these different natures.

In this sense, a paraphrase of D&C 10:43 would be something like “God’s ability and desire to keep covenants is stronger than any meddling scheme the devil can come up with.”

 

While it’s probably obvious that I prefer the second reading, both readings provide the reader with a sense of God’s strength. Both can be reassuring in times of trial or discouragement. And both connect the Book of Mormon to events in the latter-days. The first sees God’s hand preparing the small plates for events in Joseph Smith’s life. The second sees God’s hand throughout history, fulfilling the promises he makes with his children.

Thank you.


Alternate reading (MSH Paper, Wise Purposes)


The alternate reading of these verses that I am proposing today is one focused on covenants and promises.

In D&C 10, alongside the words about translation and wisdom are promises about covenants that God made to the Nephites thousands of years earlier.

In D&C 10:

45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

47 And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;

48 Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.

God not only wants to use the small plates because their content fills in a certain time frame, he wants to use them because their content supports everything he promised he’d bring to light. That is, the abridgment fulfilled certain promises that God made with the Nephite prophets. He promised that he would bring the gospel to the Lamanites in some future time. Mormon wrote the gospel in his abrigment, and God is fulfilling his promises by having Joseph Smith translate the abridgment. Even with the 116 pages missing, “all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel” that those prophets prayed about. The small plates aren’t even necessary for that fulfillment, but, they do “throw greater views” on the gospel, and therefore it is wise to include them in this Book.

NOte the word wisdom here

Another place in D&C 10 that talks about wisdom of the content of the small plates is

39 Yea, and you remember it was said in those writings that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.

40 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account—

Once again, while the small plates do cover the same time period as the missing pages, it isn’t the history of the time period that God is focused on.

in my wisdom

Now, let’s look at the Book of Mormon passages again and see where they talk about covenant…

First, I want to jump ahead of the small plates and reading something that Mormon says in 3 ne 5:

14 And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done—

15 Yea, a small record of that which hath taken place from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem, even down until the present time.

As Mormon is writing his abrdigment, he is very aware of the purpose, and of hte fact that he is helping God fulfilll his promises.

The clearest place where we see a promise being made to a faher is Enos …… here…… context…..

12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—

…17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.

18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.

Commentary on what he prayed for, who else prayed, what was promised.

Now return to 1 Ne and Words of Mormon

Read again:

First reading focused just on the “wise purpose” but this reading will also focus on the purpose of instructing his people….. Also “write of Christ that…”

Words of Mormon — yes there’s a wise purpose he’s unsure about, but note that immediately after he says,

8 And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.

IT’s as if he’s saying I don’t know the wise purpose, but I pray it has something to do with restoring my brethren.

While the most immediate, common reading of the wise purpose is to fill in for the missing 116 pages, this alternate reading focuses on the fulfilling of the covenants. By using the small plates alongside what was left of the abridgment, God provided “greater views” and provided greater posssiblity for the latter-day Lamanties and nephites to accept the kwnoledge of God, and the redeption of Christ, and become a delightsome people unto the Lord.

Other comments…..


Standard Reading (MSH paper, Wise Purposes)


The standard reading is focused on showing how God’s foreknowledge was involved in the creation and usage of the small plates. In order to work through the standard reading, as I see it, it’s first important to hear the language of D&C 10 as God solved the “problem” of the missing 116 pages. The problem was twofold: first, the pages were gone, and Joseph had as yet no scripture to offer to the saints; and second, those who had the pages were planning to use them against Joseph. D&C 10:29-32 reads,

29 Now, behold, they have altered these 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.

30 Behold, I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands;

31 For, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they will say that you have lied and that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself.

32 And, behold, they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words.

Joseph clearly could not retranslate the same pages.

To solve this problem, God tells Joseph to use the other version of the history to fill in the gap — this “other version” was a smaller record started by Nephi to keep track of the ministry and revelations of the Nephites. While it did not contain the exact same information as the lost pages, the information in the small plates was a rich resource and could be used to cover the same time period that was now missing.

38 And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, is engraven upon the plates of Nephi;

…41 Therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained;

42 And behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words.”

The saints still receive scripture, and the plot against Joseph’s integrity fails. Because God’s plan worked so very well, we now have a copy of the Book of Mormon that begins with Nephi and ends with Moroni. If you haven’t read the details of the book, you might never notice that two different books have been sewn together.

Now, it is time to look at how these verses in D&C 10 are put into relationship with the Book of Mormon. 

In 1 Nephi 9, Nephi pauses his narration to tell us that he is writing two separate records. On what we call the large plates there is written a detailed history of the Nephite people and on what we call the small plates there is record of the ministry and revelations of the Nephites.

While we might be able to think of all sorts of reasons why to have two records, Nephi at first does not offer us any explanation. He simply says,

“5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.

This verse is quite easily linked up with D&C 10.

NEPHI……

cOMMENTARY

Centuries before the Prophet Joseph Smith was born, Nephi testified that God had commanded him to make two sets of plates (the large plates of Nephi and the small plates of Nephi), the purpose of which Nephi did not understand (see 1 Nephi 9:5–6). Mormon, who lived almost a thousand years after Nephi, included the small plates of Nephi with his abridgment, admitting that he did not understand why, save the Lord had commanded him to do it (see Words of Mormon 1:3–7). The loss of the 116-page manuscript makes it apparent why the Lord commanded Nephi and Mormon to do what they did. Joseph was told to leave the portion he had already translated from the large plates and start again with Nephi’s record. Knowing that God sees the end from the beginning should give us confidence in Him as we live in the present and work toward the future.

 

ADD NOTES ON COMMENTARY HERE

The next verse that gets quoted is 1Nephi 19:3

3 And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord.

 

WISE PURPOSES – talk about D&C 10

Last verse is in Words of Mormon.

set up context

6 But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

Comment – talk about foreknowledge

QUOTATIONS!!

 it seems Mormon knew we would not have access to the account of King Benjamin from the Book of Lehi, lost in the 116 pages (Sperry)
“It was made known to Mormon ‘by the workings of the Spirit of the Lord’ that the small plates of Nephi (which ended when Benjamin was a relatively young man) might be used to replace his abridgment of the book of Lehi (which ended when Benjamin was an old man about ready to die). So that a gap would would not occur in the history of the Nephites, Mormon included the major events of the lifetime of King Benjamin in The Words of Mormon, thus connecting the account on the small plates of Nephi with Mormon’s abridgment of the book of Mosiah.” (pg 171) (Ludlow)
 The loss of the manuscript clearly demonstrates why the Lord commanded Nephi to write the small plates and why Mormon was inspired to include them. Joseph Smith was told not to retranslate the portion he had already completed, but to replace it by translating the small plates of Nephi (see D&C 10:30, 38–45). The translation of the 116 pages covered 600–130 B.C.—from the time of Lehi to the time of King Benjamin. The small plates also covered 600–130 B.C.— from Lehi to King Benjamin. The Lord in His omniscience had the second record, the small plates, cover the exact time period that was covered in the stolen 116 pages. (Institute manual)
What all of these have in common is a view of God’s wisdom as foreknowledge.
Coming back to D&C 10, we might paraphrase D&C 10:43 as ”  “