D&C 10:21 similar to Laman and Lemuel


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.


D&C 10 cunning vs wisdom


God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

What the devil has is not wisdom, it is cunning. (Elsewhere in scripture we do have wisdom of the world and cunning mentioned together.) That might be a good point — the kind of wisdom that the devil can have or give is of the world, but God’s wisdom is always something greater than that. God’s wisdom is always greater than the devil’s cunning/wisdom.

There are at least four ways that wisdom is talked about in D&C 10:33-48. The first comes in verses 34-35. God says, “Here is wisdom” don’t show the translation to the world. And, don’t marvel because I said that — I’m trying to preserve your life! The second comes in verse 40. God says that the things which are on Nephi’s plates are the very things that he, in his wise view of the world, thinks should be brought to light. The third is in verse 43….and here we get to what is most commonly associated with God’s wisdom and the small plates. God is wise enough so that the devil can’t destroy his work. But if his wisdom so far has meant who Joseph shows this to, and the knowledge he wants brought forth, what does verse 43 mean now? The last of the four is in verse 45, and again has to do with knowledge he wants to bring forth. Because Nephi’s record “throws greater views” on his gospel, therefore God sees it as wise to include them.

So how do the verses around D&C 10:43 help us understand how God’s wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil? Does it mean anything more than outsmarting? Is it that God put a lesser version into Joseph’s hands on purpose so it could be lost? Is it that God had multiple copies and it’s handy that the one that remained was so great? If the small plates had been lost, would we be hearing good reasons why we had the abridgment still?


John Taylor – quote from his talk on wisdom. Have trust, and be willing to sacrifice


We have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. Well, he does keep showing that from time to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.
Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion.
“But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come.
Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?

John Taylor talk on wisdom – if God can command in great things, why can’t he help us in all things?


I came across this talk by John Taylor when I was looking for things on wisdom for my MSH paper.

….

Well, we are here, and God is going to build up his kingdom. He will do it, and we need not trouble ourselves about outsiders and their notions, or about foolish men or their thoughts, practices and calculations. It is a matter of very little difference to us. God is at the helm—he manages, he guides, he directs and controls, he influences his people, and he will continue to influence them. Well, we are here, in the capacity, say, of a kingdom, and people tell us that we are different from anybody else. Of course we are; we do not expect to be like others. It is true that smoke goes out of our chimneys, as out of the chimneys of others, because it is a law of nature. It is true that potatoes, wheat and corn grow here as elsewhere. It is true

we have to attend to the common affairs of life—eat, drink, sustain ourselves, clothe and keep ourselves warm, as others do, and we have to take care of and protect ourselves from the incursions and machinations of those who seek to destroy us. In all these respects we have to take the same course that other people do; but the difference between us is—we have an organization, a Church organization, given by revelation from God, and which does not exist anywhere else in this little world.

But what about other things relative to temporal affairs? If God can organize us as a Church, if he can unveil the heavens to us, draw aside the curtain of futurity, and enable us to penetrate the veil and gain a certain knowledge in regard to the future, certainly he can make known or reveal something about a few temporal things, such as plowing, sowing, building, planting, trading, manufacturing, making railroads, and a thousand other little things that have to be attended to in this world. If he can do the bigger things, I think he can do the less.
“Well, we are capable of doing that ourselves,” say some people, some of these philosophers I have referred to—they are all wise men, and you would think wisdom would die with them, but it will not be entirely extinguished when they are gone, not quite. God will still lead, govern and direct his people. “But,” say they, “we think we could do things so much better than somebody else.” Well then, go at it and try; there is plenty of room in the world for you to exhibit your intelligence.
We are in the hands of God. We have come here. What for? The Lord says, “I will take them one of a city, and two of a family, and bring them to Zion.” Jer. 3:14 What will you do with them? “Give them pastors

after my own heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding.” Jer. 3:15 It is a fact, today, that the wise men and great men, and statesmen, and men in position in various parts of the world, as they come here to visit, us with all our failings and infirmities, tell us that we are the best and most orderly people they have ever seen. And they say we have a beautiful country, and that we are governed by wisdom, by sage counsels, and by a high order of intelligence. That is the opinion of the leading statesmen of this day who pass through our midst, and many of them come through here. The question naturally arises, Where does this wisdom come from? Why, God inspired Joseph Smith; then he inspired President Young with the same kind of spirit and feeling. Then he inspired the devil, or the devil inspired his imps—one of the two—and drove us from our former possessions, and it all worked together, the Lord inspired on the one hand, and the devil on the other, and by hook or by crook, we got here, just as we are today.

We commenced to build a temple in Kirtland, and we built it. We built another in Nauvoo, and we are building another here. We are attending to the ordinances pertaining to the Church of God, temporal and spiritual, ordinances pertaining to the body, and ordinances pertaining to the spirit. And then, as men having to do with the world on which we live, with the Territory that we possess, we have to enact laws, and we have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. D&C 10:43 Well, he does keep showing that from time

to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.

Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion. “But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. D&C 103:9 To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come. Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?
I am glad we have come here. I am pleased that these meetings have been instituted, that the people get together, and that we have a chance to talk with them, in their assemblies, about the things of God. We are God’s people, God is our Father, and we should spend a little time in these things. This is our duty, and we should feel an interest in them. That is what we set out for, and we mean to go forward, and we will go on and

on, for our motto is eternal progress. This kingdom will advance, the purposes of God will roll forward, and no power on this side of hell, or the other either, can stop it. God will sustain his people, and Israel will rejoice and be triumphant.

Now then, we come to the management of our affairs. Talking of the wise men of the world, why we have had many of them ever since the world was. And what have they accomplished in the nations of the earth? They have built cities, and some have raised themselves to fame by trampling under foot thousands of others. They have waded through seas of blood sometimes to get upon the throne of power. What to do? That they might trample still lower poor humanity, and bring men down, as it were, to the dust of death, and make serfs of them. What else have they done? They have established every kind of government, as they have every kind of religion. Do you not think that we need revelation about government as much as anything else? I think we do. I think we need God to dictate to us as much in our national and social affairs as in church matters. Some people are willing to have their souls looked after, but they think they are smart enough to look after temporal affairs themselves. In the world they want a doctor to look after their bodies, a parson to look after their souls, and a lawyer to take care of their property. In these respects we differ from them. We begin with God. Our light comes from him, our religion is from him, and we need his guidance and instruction in all these other matters. Is not that simple, plain and reasonable?

Extra notes from study group


original 116 pages might not have had so much explict christ

1828 Martin Harris to typesetter — book to confirm OT

Joseph says that his mission is to gather Jews

Not foundation for Church, not another testament of Christ

D&C 10 — there’s something in this small plates that wasn’t in 116 pages and also isn’t in the rest of the book of mormon

why misdirect? plot is thicker than it looks

ANOTHER COPY because so important?  (Me)

3 Nephi, Malachi, future generations (but already have it?) -maybe for Joseph/Oliver’s sake. Maybe so latter-day saints take Malachi seriously

function of words “wise purpose” is to entice us, like things Mormon does where he says “this is only 1%” etc….

when we read small plates it outstrips us..wise purpose beyond us

wise purpose…keep covenants…show power…

preserve texts to show that he’s powerful enough to preserve texts….

D&C 10 gospel is preserved…content

Alma 32 seed, etc., plant tree in your heart and it grows


It might be that D&C 10 was received between Alma and Helaman

So Alma 37 is helpful to get Joseph thinking

D&C 5 wise purpose after lost but before any of this, any more translation, D&C 10, etc.

(sealed part, plates themselves, held back = D&C 5)


world might tamper with gold plates, like Bible, so holding back is wisdom

holding back is wisdom

Allegory — sometimes decisions don’t make sense. my wisdom

small plates preserve parts that large plates abridgment lost

brass plates and portions preserve parts that Bible lost!

Alma 37 might point to this idea.

Our OT might be a hybrid of Northern and Southern records, and that’s why there’s some oddity about record. Edit out Josephite priviledge? Ezra compiles after exile? But Nephi sees this happening after Christ, right? But also 130 AD is a good spot to look.

 

 


Alma 37 — which plates?


Alma 37 is a little confusing to me.

When is Alma talking about the brass plates, and when is he talking about the large Nephite plates? And it seems like he’s never talking about the small plates, is he?

1 And now, my son Helaman, I command you that ye take the records which have been entrusted with me;

2 And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people, according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them; for it is for a wise purpose that they are kept.

3 And these plates of brass, which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning—

4 Behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers, that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon.

5 And now behold, if they are kept they must retain their brightness; yea, and they will retain their brightness; yea, and also shall all the plates which do contain that which is holy writ.

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

8 And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls.

9 Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.

10 And who knoweth but what they will be the means of bringing many thousands of them, yea, and also many thousands of our stiffnecked brethren, the Nephites, who are now hardening their hearts in sin and iniquities, to the knowledge of their Redeemer?

11 Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me; therefore I shall forbear.

12 And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Here’s the part of the Lamanite conversion story where they use records. Are they carrying plates with them? A paper copy? (We have this reference to records and also another one, where the sons of Mosiah had become men of understanding because they had searched the scriptures…)

36 Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.

37 And he also rehearsed unto them (for it was unto the king and to his servants) all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness, and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst, and their travail, and so forth.

38 And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time.

The word “rehearse” though, sounds like repeating something orally that you have memorized, doesn’t it? Laid before him the records sounds like they are physically holding records, but rehearse doesn’t. He didn’t read, he rehearsed. Thoughts?


Jacob and the Lamanites


Last Friday’s study group was on Jacob 6:9. I could record a hundred little insights, but mostly I want to focus on what we learned about the book of Jacob and how it relates to the Lamanites.

We were looking at why Jacob is talking about “shame” as well as “guilt.” Joe’s philosophical reading defines shame as something you are responsible for, but you aren’t in control of (your mere mortality, weakness, etc., or something you inherited from previous generations, etc.). We came to a point where we wondered if all of chapter 6 was aimed at the (future) Lamanites, rather than his current Nephite brethren. We looked before Chapter 5’s allegory of the olive tree, and found that chapter 4 could be read as written to the future Lamanites. This would mean that chapter 5, though about the Jews, could be “likened” to the Lamanites specifically. That led us to read Chapter 6 as also directed to future Lamanites, so we could read 6:9 as Jacob trying to help the Lamanites not be ashamed of their fathers (and the curse that they inherited from them for a time) and rather receive the covenant that God is extending to them (also because of their fathers). (See Jacob 4:3.)

Beyond this, I suggested that perhaps all of Jacob’s writings could be aimed at softening the blow to the Lamanites so that they would read and accept this book. Joe is often pointing out how Jacob, in chapters 2-3, is criticizing the Nephites for how they are treating the Lamanites. Jacob explains that the Nephites are not keeping certain commandments that the Lamanites are keeping; the Nephites don’t treat their families well and that will have future consequences; the Lamanites behavior was taught them by their parents and they aren’t responsible for much of their tradition, etc. So what if we read all of that as Jacob’s attempt to invite the Lamanites into this book where their people will so often be described in a negative light? What if Jacob is trying to reach out to them through his contribution to this book? What if he wants them to know that the Nephites were often wrong in how they viewed their people? But, none the less, there was a curse brought on by their first parents that did affect them, and necessitated a book being written and brought to them?

We all liked that idea a lot, and thought it made good sense of Jacob 4:2-3:

“but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—

Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first parents.”

Joe and I summed it up yesterday by saying it’s as if Jacob and Nephi are playing “good cop bad cop” with the Lamanites. 🙂