By Marvin W. Cowan
Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, said of Doctrine and Covenants, Section 133, “At this time there were many things which the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering; and in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, on the 3rd of November, 1831, I inquired of the Lord and received the following revelation.” That is part of the current introduction to D. & C. 133. Smith called the content in D. & C. 133 a revelation, but unlike his other revelations it was put in the Appendix and labeled “Section C” (100) in the first edition of the D. & C. in 1835. It remained in the Appendix until 1921 when it was moved into the main part of the D. & C. and became D. & C. Sec. 133. Many LDS lived and died during the 90 years between 1831 and 1921 while it was in the Appendix and didn’t have the same status that Smith’s other revelations had in the main part of the D. & C. Smith died in 1844, which was 77 years before 1921, so he didn’t move it from the Appendix to the main part of the D. & C. If it really was a revelation why was it put in the Appendix in the first place? Smith “received” this document in 1831, so why did LDS wait 90 years to give it equal status with Smith’s other revelations? Did God change His mind about it or did some man decide to move it?
Joseph Smith’s revelations were first published in The Book of Commandments in 1833, but most of that edition was destroyed during the LDS conflicts in Missouri. Chapter one in it is “A Preface or instruction unto the Book of Commandments.” That Preface became D. & C. Section 1 when the first edition of the D. & C. was published in 1835. It is still Section 1 in the current edition and is a preface to the entire D. & C. Smith claimed he received D. & C. 1 as a revelation on Nov. 1, 1831 and D. & C. 133 on Nov. 3, 1831 and presented them both to the LDS conference in Hyrum, OH in November 1831. In D. & C. 1:37-38 the “Lord” said: “Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord, have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” That refers to all the prophecies in the D. & C., including D. & C. 133.
In D. & C. 133:4, 7, & 10 the “Lord” said, “Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion…Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations…Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.” That was addressed to Mormons living in November of 1831. Did they go out to meet the Bridegroom (Christ) in 1831? The official name of the Mormon Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they believed they were living in the “latter days” when Christ would return. At an annual LDS conference held in Nauvoo, IL on April 6, 1843 Joseph Smith said, “There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste of death till Christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, ‘My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.’ I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance” (History of the Church, vol. V, p. 336). When Smith said “The rising generation” wouldn’t taste death until Christ returned, he was referring to the children living in 1843 when he made this prediction. But all of the children living in 1843 died over a hundred years ago, yet the Lord still hasn’t come! Smith was killed in 1844, a little over a year after he made that prediction, so he didn’t live to be 85. He would have been 85 in 1890, but Christ didn’t come by that date either. So, was he a true prophet of God?
Joseph Smith said he received D. & C. 84: 1-5 as a revelation on September 22 & 23, 1832. It says LDS are to gather in Zion, Jackson County Missouri where they would build the New Jerusalem and a temple. Verse 5 also says the generation living then (in 1832) wouldn’t all pass away until this was accomplished. But the gathering to Zion in Missouri was aborted on July 23, 1833 when LDS leaders signed an agreement to leave Missouri. The temple and the New Jerusalem were never built there and the generation living in 1832 all died over one hundred years ago, so it is impossible for this revelation to be fulfilled now! D. & C. 101:16-20 also says Zion could never be moved, so it isn’t located in Salt Lake City or any other place. The “gathering” of the LDS to Zion is mentioned in the D. & C. many times and was a major doctrine in Joseph Smith’s time, but in the March 2000 Ensign the LDS First Presidency said: “We wish to reiterate the long standing counsel to members of the Church to remain in their homelands rather than immigrate to the United States.” So, did the Lord change His mind or did this revelation really come from God? While D. & C. 1:37-38 says the prophecies and promises in the D. & C would all be fulfilled, many like D. & C. 84:1-5 and 133:4-10 have not been fulfilled and cannot be fulfilled now because the LDS people who were to fulfill them all died over 100 years ago. That says a lot about the validity of LDS scripture and of Joseph Smith as a prophet!