“Wisdom” in D&C 10


My plan is to unearth my Words of Mormon research and write up a paper, maybe as a short note in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies or maybe for MSH next year. As Joe and I were talking about this, I realized that D&C 10 talks a great deal about wisdom, which is the theme for MSH next year! (D&C 10 is where Joseph is told to use the small plates to make up for the missing 116 pages, and God says “my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”)

There are 6 instances of the word “wisdom” in D&C 10, and they’re all together in one part. I wonder why the word is used so repetitively, and what we are to learn about wisdom from this? I wonder why God chose to call his plan wise?

28 Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.

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.

33 Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation.

34 But behold, here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do, show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of translation.

35 Marvel not that I said unto you: Here is wisdom, show it not unto the world—for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be preserved.

36 Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous;

37 But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.

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;

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—

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.

43 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.

44 Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.

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.

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2 responses to ““Wisdom” in D&C 10

  • Karen

    I love the idea that Nephi’s writings “do throw greater views upon my gospel.” What a great description, compliment, concept. It’s not that Nephi gives something different, he gives greater views. He helps us see the gospel differently, in a “greater” way.

  • Karen

    I used to be confused that D&C 10 says the small plates have “a more particular account.” Nephi is always saying that the large plates have a more particular account. The small plates are more particular in spiritual things, yes, but I still found the way it was worded interesting.

    Then, I was thinking that D&C 10 is talking about the abridgment. It’s not clear if the large plates said that the small plates were more particular, but it is clear that the abridgment says that Nephi’s plates were more particular. And the abridgment might not have discerned between large and small plates, considering that Mormon didn’t read the small plates until he got to King Benjamin’s story. So it’s possible that the abridgment just says that “this is an abridgment. If you want the more particular account of the Nephites, read Nephi’s record itself.” God, here, might be using those words to direct Joseph to the small plates, even if those aren’t what was being talked about in the abridgment. Since they are the only plates of Nephi that Joseph has, and since they do indeed have an unabridged account, I think that’s a great use of Mormon’s words, be they originally about the large or small plates.

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