For the interest of my readers, I have decided to dedicate each post to three documents found in The Joseph Smith Papers. Again, I encourage readers to buy these a read it through. The information contained inside is extremely valuable (I do understand, however, if people have lives and no time to read these things). It’s available right now for $19.99 at Deseret Book, so I would recommend getting it right now while it’s on sale. It’s also available at Amazon and the LDS Store. If anyone can find it cheaper somewhere else, feel free to share it in the comments section.
Because of the length of the text, I decided to organize my blog as follows: I will introduce each document similarly to the way they are introduced in the book. There will be a link for the original document with a historical summary of the document within the link. Read that historical summary. It’s a bit long, but it’s worth it. Then, written in a different color (say blue or something like that), I will give my thoughts and impressions.
Alright, without further adieu, I present the first document from Part 2 of the aforementioned volume.
Daguerreotype of Oliver Cowdery found in the Library of Congress, taken in the 1840s by James Presley Ball
“Agreement with Isaac Hale, 6 April 1829” (28)
In this story, Emma and Joseph Smith move from Manchester, New York to Harmony Pennsylvania during November or December of 1827. They moved into Emma’s brothers home which was recently vacated. They offered to purchase the home and made a deal to pay $200 for the land and home. The document is written mostly by the hand of Cowdrey. He was also to serve as a witness of the purchase of the land. (For a more detailed history, see the link below).
I don’t have many thoughts on this topic. It’s interesting to read, however.
“Revelation, April 1829-A [D&C 6]” (34)
The following document is a revelation given to Oliver Cowdery through Joseph Smith during an unknown date. The Revelation explained to Cowdrey that if he desired, the Lord would grant him the gift of translating the Sacred Record.
At the start of the Revelation, The Lord reminds Oliver Cowdery Who is giving this revelation. “Behold I am God.” The revelation then seeks to remind Oliver that The Lord has commandments. “Keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich.” Make a covenant with God, and he will bless you. If we desire the Kingdom of God, he will grant us blessings. There are many more things to be said about these scriptures that I simply don’t have time to expand on. I would encourage my readers to view these promptly.
“Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10]” (37)
This is probably the most widely known stories of Church history contained in this next document. I will only give a short introduction. If you are somewhat familiar with LDS history, my summary should suffice. If not, read the link!
Martin Harrison’s wife, Lucy Martin, was suspicious about this new prophet Joseph Smith. She asked her husband several times not to get involved with Joseph. But, Martin, although skeptical at times, believed in Joseph’s prophetic calling. He even switched out Joseph’s seer stone at times to see if he would notice and did a number of other tests that prove Martin’s skepticism.
After urging Joseph to let him take the manuscript to show his wife to satisfy her skepticism, Joseph prayed and received many answers from the Lord in a resound “no.” Martin Harrison would not be able to take the manuscript. But, upon Martin’s constant request for Joseph to ask the Lord, the Lord finally granted Martin permission, and said that he could only show a number of people.
In short, Martin lost the manuscript which brings us to the reason why we have the revelation we have today. In the Revelation document we have today, the Lord criticises Joseph’s lack of faith in the Lord’s plan. The Lord takes away Joseph’s “gift.”
I loved hearing and reading this Revelation. It was simply fantastic. Even though the revelation called Martin Harris a “wicked man,” it did not cast blame on Martin Harris. Instead, the Lord condemned Joseph Smith and blamed Smith. It would have been much easier if, say, Joseph Smith had made all this up to protect his own reputation and cast all the blame on Martin Harris. But, instead, the Lord scolded Joseph and commanded him to repent and told him what to do in order to correct this mistake. He also speeks of His other sheep that the Gospel speaks of.