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Beginning with the 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the book no longer contained what was called the ‘Lectures on Theology’ and later the ‘Lecture on Faith.’ I thought it would be of interest to briefly recap some of the aspects of this change to our inspired standard works. As a reference point, I have scanned the first pages of the two major sections of an 1898 edition of the D&C. You see below that the first section was composed of the Lectures on Faith with a header noting the Lectures focused “on the Doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, originally delivered before a Class of the Elders, in Kirtland, Ohio.”

The next major component of the book contains the sections as we would expect in the D&C. As you can see, this second part of the book is called the “Covenants and Commandments of the Lord, to his servants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The words ‘covenants’ and ‘commandments’ are then found at the top of all pages in this segment of the book while the first segment has ‘lectures on faith’ across the top of each page.


So, why would it be acceptable to include the Lectures on Faith in the Doctrine and Covenants for 86 years, but then remove the information? FAIR has summarized the church’s viewpoint on this matter here.

(http://en.fairmormon.org/Lectures_on_Faith_removed_from_Doctrine_and_Covenants)

From an historical perspective, the effort began in September 24, 1834 as noted in the minutes of the High Council meeting at Kirtland:

The council then proceeded to appoint a committee to arrange the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government of the Church of Latter-day Saints, which Church was organized and commenced its rise on the 6th of April, 1830. These items are to be taken from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the revelations which have been given to the Church up to this date, or that shall be given until such arrangements are made.” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts, 2:, p.165)

This committee was composed of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Little is known about the activities of this committee but one can find a reference to Joseph Smith activities subsequent to the formation of the committee in this diary note:

January, 1835.-During the month of January, I was engaged in the school of the Elders, and in preparing the lectures on theology for publication in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, which the committee appointed last September were now compiling. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts, 2:, p.180)

It appears from this entry that it was clearly Joseph’s intent to include the lectures in the replacement for the Book of Commandments to be known as the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

On August 17th, 1835, a general assembly of the church was held at Kirtland. The main purpose of the meeting was to ‘take into consideration the labors of a committee appointed by a general assembly of the Church on the 24th of September, 1834, for the purpose of arranging the items of doctrine of Jesus Christ for the government of the Church.’ The full text of the report on this meeting is found In the History of the Church, vol. 2, pages 243-246; I will attempt to summarize the proceedings.

The assembly of the church was presented with the proposal to include the ‘lectures on theology’ and the assembled revelations in the new Doctrine and Covenants. The first recorded pronouncement came from W. W. Phelps who ‘bore record that the book presented to the assembly was true.’ Other members and quorums followed suit with a similar witness acknowledging the proposal ‘as the doctrine and covenants of their faith, by unanimous vote.’

Elder John Smith, speaking for the High Council in Kirtland ‘bore record that the revelations in said book were true, and that the lectures were judiciously arranged and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine.’

The testimony of the twelve was also recorded ‘that these Commandments were given by the inspiration of God, and are profitable for all men, and are verily true.’

The report ends with this statement. ‘The several authorities and the general assembly, by a unanimous vote, accepted the labors of the committee.

The Doctrine and Covenants was then published later that year, 1835, and contained the following description of it contents addressed to the members of the church in the preface:

Dear Brethren: We deem it unnecessary to entertain you with a lengthy preface to the following volume, but merely to say that it contains in short the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe.

The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of lectures as delivered before a theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them in the following work.

The second part contains items or principles for the regulation of the church as taken from the revelations which have been given since its organization, as well as former ones.

At first glance, the two parts discussed would seem to carry at least equal weight. In the first part, we are presented with material describing the ‘important doctrine of salvation’ while the second part contains ‘principles for the regulation of the church.’

While the Lectures on Faith remained in the Doctrine and Covenants for more than 8 decades, there appears to be some concern for their placement as summarized by the following footnote from the History of the Church written by B. H. Roberts:

These “Lectures on Theology” here referred to were afterwards prepared by the Prophet, (see page 180) and published in the Doctrine and Covenants under the title “Lectures on Faith.” They are seven in number, and occupy the first seventy-five pages in the current editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. They are not to be regarded as of equal authority in matters of doctrine with the revelations of God in the Doctrine and Covenants, but as stated by Elder John Smith, who, when the book of Doctrine and Covenants was submitted to the several quorums of the Priesthood for acceptance, (August 17, 1835,) speaking in behalf of the Kirtland High Council, “bore record that the revelations in said book were true, and that the lectures judicially were written and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine.” The distinction which Elder John Smith here makes should be observed as a marking the difference between the Lectures on Faith and the revelations of God in the Doctrine and Covenants. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts, 2:, p.178)

Under the direction of Heber J. Grant, the 1921 Doctrine and Covenants was published without the Lectures. The following comment can be found in that edition:


While this seems to be a technicality, I would submit that the Lectures on Faith were indeed accepted by the assembly of the church as representing the doctrine of their faith. The original directive was to capture ‘items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government of the Church of Latter-day Saints.’ B.H. Roberts then rejects the Lectures because they weren’t revelation? So can I assume that the definition of revelation could easily cover both the pronouncements appended to ‘thus saith the Lord’ as well as those inspired documents developed for the education of our missionaries, especially when it is directed by Joseph Smith? Are the words found in the Lectures on Faith no longer considered to be the ‘doctrine of our faith’ as they were presented in 1835?

I find it interesting that the section of the original Doctrine and Covenants which was pronounced to be ‘embracing the important doctrine of salvation’ was demoted while the section pertaining to the principles for the regulation of the church’ remained intact. Which of these two topics would you consider more valuable?

What has really happened here? Seventy-five pages of material that Joseph Smith intended to be included in the Doctrine and Covenants are summarily discarded from the Book seventy-seven years after his death. Was the exclusion of the Lectures ever put to a vote by the assembly of the church? I can find no record of this event. On the other hand, I have submitted above the record of the general assembly of the church accepting the contents of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants as true. Did Heber J. Grant have the authority to ‘trump’ the intention of Joseph Smith to include the Lectures on Theology in the sanctioned scripture of the Church?

Did this change that occurred more than 80 years ago represent a step closer to the true doctrines of the kingdom? Have you considered reading and studying the Lectures on Faith as the pronouncement from Joseph Smith as being important for our salvation?

Perhaps I should offer my opinion. I have no doubt that Joseph Smith was called to restore the fulness of the gospel as found in the Book of Mormon. Along with that charge, he was to establish an organization to assist in the teaching of the gospel. I believe that he was given a reasonably wide degree of freedom in how to achieve that. The development of the original Doctrine and Covenants was Joseph’s best idea at the time to give the members a glimpse into the theology as he understood it in 1835.

I do consider the Lectures on Faith as a valuable source for insights that Joseph and Sidney received through the variety of spiritual experiences they received. It also contains some ideas that appear to conflict with the current view. As such, it is for me a springboard for forming questions and aids in my search for understanding faith and truth. I agree with the assembly that voted to accept the Doctrine and Covenants as defined by Joseph, Oliver, Sidney, and Frederick as representing the doctrines and commandments needed for the administration of the church. Should the 1921 Doctrine and Covenants have been ‘stripped’ of its doctrine? I think we lost something in the process.

What think ye?

15 Responses to “The Book of Doctrine and Covenants – Stripped of its Doctrine”

  • OWIW:

    “I find it interesting that the section of the original Doctrine and Covenants which was pronounced to be ‘embracing the important doctrine of salvation’ was demoted while the section pertaining to the principles for the regulation of the church’ remained intact. Which of these two topics would you consider more valuable?”

    Very profound observation and related question, Spek.

    I feel those entrusted by the Lord to put together the original B of C and D&C were inspired by the Holy Ghost in their efforts and that the law of consent was utilized to confirm the action.

    That’s my 2 cents from the peanut gallery.

    Watcher

    PS I enjoyed your previous post very much as well.

  • Jettboy:

    I have studied the Lectures on Faith, but don’t think they are equal to the revelations currently included. Regardless of who wrote them (and there is a question of that) and why they were originally included, they seem like a series of complicated Sunday School lessons. The theology is outdated and superseded by new revelations. To me the question isn’t why they were taken out, but why they remained for so many years. Some major teachings in the lessons were already obsolete by the time Joseph Smith died.

  • Jettboy,
    Thanks for your comment. I do understand that the Lectures were not developed solely by Joseph Smith. I also recognize that J.S. was not present when the Doctrine and Covenants was approved by the general assembly of the church. But he did have nine years to correct any errors. Yes, it can leave room for question.

    I would be interested in what aspects of the Lectures you would consider outdated or obsolete.

    In my mind, there are two directions the general doctrinal wisdom of a dispensation can go.

    It can start with some general wisdom and be added upon over time with the body of truth and understanding expanding as the church moves closer to Zion.

    Or, it can start with the fulness of the gospel and over time, the doctrines of men supplant the wisdom of God. In this case the church slowly and, perhaps, imperceptibly moves away from the original truths and principles given at the dispensation.

    As far as I can tell, every other dispensation in recorded history followed the latter path into apostasy.

    What makes this restoration any different? I do not see any scriptural support for this dispensation to end up any differently.

  • Well put together!

    I do think that the institutional church is now set up for the members to have faith in the CHURCH rather than faith in CHRIST.

    I never realized that until I discovered all the discrepencies in church history and found out just how shaky my foundation was! Luckily, I was able to rebuild on the sure foundation of Christ, but it was a rude awakening at first.

    In addition to the LoF being taken out one might ask why plain and precious truths in the BoM were taken out. It was to keep people from being confused by what appeared to be conflicting theology.
    Even with these changes it appears that LDS are still confused as to the nature of Father, Son and HG. Ask members if Jesus is God and you can get different answers.

    I think truths have been obscured so that people now depend on the church for salvation above Christ without even realizing it.

  • TST,
    I agree with you. I can’t find anything in the scriptures that encourages me to put my trust in anything other than Christ. In my opinion, the church was originally set up the teach us how to come unto Christ. That is why the doctrine of Christ spelled out in D&C 10:67 limits the definition of His church as those who come unto Him.

    Does confusion as to what is said in the scriptures lead to a need for a clarification by the ‘words of man?’

    I believe that key aspect of the LOF was to teach us who God is and how we are to exercise faith in Him. Some may call that outmoded or obsolete but I call it a fundamental principle of coming to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

  • Steve Graham:

    Thanks for the article on the lectures. I have a copy and it has been too long since I read them.

    I’m sorry to hear that it was Pres. Grant who authorized their disassociation from the D&C. Although it doesn’t surprise me.

    I long for the true messengers from the Father.

  • cds:

    Hey guys, gals,
    just coming to terms with Jesus is God as the BOM teaches. When I read the LOF the elepant in the room to me was Lecture 5 stating God was a spirit. Which would make more sense than being two physical forms. That of course contradicts the D&C that says they are seperate beings of Flesh and bone, but the question is, was that a revelation from JS or a revelation that was added after the fact like 132. Any insights would be appreciated.

  • cds,
    I have had those same questions bounce around in my feeble brain also. What I can offer is that we may be dealing with a dimensional issue here. Ever read the book ‘Flatland’ which describes a world of only two dimensions? Could there be a physical and spiritual dimension to God that is presented to us? We also have to deal with perceptions. I am not firmly convinced that the Vision gave us the ‘truth’ regarding a God’s physical body nor that resurrection is the last stop in our eternal existence.

    We are promised in the Book of Mormon that those who diligently seek will be given to know the mysteries of God. I am reminded that Alma the younger, even
    after his life changing experience fasted and prayed for many days to receive knowledge from God.

    That is my insight.

  • MelissaM:

    I loved finding the Lectures on Faith. I have read it twice and feel like I have barely understood anything. What it has done is help me to have questions I think you said it better “…it is for me a springboard for forming questions and aids in my search for understanding faith and truth.”

    I want the truth. This is has been a painful process as I have emotional attachments to the cognitive dissonance creating ideas of the modern LDS church. What a relief it is to get back to restored doctrines as I sort through my significant level of unbelief.

    I think adding the Lectures on Faith back into the publication is wisdom, but I find it unlikely that that will happen. The concern is about the people demanding to know why they were taken away in the first place. It causes a conundrum because the idea is that nothing is lost or sent away in error as we have a “Living prophet.”

  • Spektator:

    Melissa,
    Thanks for visiting the site. If you perused any of my posts, you will see that I consider the loss of the Lectures of Faith as just one of many indications of the apostasy that in which the LDS Church is now mired.

    Most LDS cannot perceive the dissonance that you see. Unfortunately, when they do see it, most seem to throw the baby out with the bath water, losing the desire/ability to rely on the spirit for that truth…

    Spek

    • MelissaM:

      Spek,

      Again, I thank you for having this blog. I have been slowly going through it. I’m sure there are more comments to come.

      I have had dissonance whenever I study the scriptures. The thunder in my head reached fever pitch when I actually did as recommended but not expected and immersed myself in the scriptures a year ago. I am sad to confess that I spent 40 years just listening in church to the comments around revealed scripture and applying the constructs found there with a few out of context scriptures thrown in to drive a point home. I believe the biggest problem I see is LDS church member simply listening to the pandering regurgitated vomit from the LDS Church publications department each Sunday for 100 minutes instead of relying more fully on the words of the book from the hands of an angel through a chosen seer.

      My now teen children have reached the dissonance so quickly. They have life experience such that they have been given the gift of perceiving truth. It has caused conflict for the last 3 years as I sought to control their church attendance and learning. I finally came to myself – awakened out of the dust as it were and currently at home we only learn out of the scriptures and verify everything via scriptures or a witness of the Spirit. I believe that within the church there has been a lot of speculation by those who *should* know, and that speculation has been put forth as definitive word even if it is against revealed scripture.

      I find that the LOF have helped me to perceive the unbelief that is so rampant in the church today. For example: the true definition of faith and examples thereof versus how as members casually use the word “faithful” Faith is not showing up as a ward building every Sunday for 40 years. Examples of faith are found in Hebrews Chapter 11. Currently I don’t see examples of faith around me. I see good people blinded by the philosophies of men mingled with scripture trying doggedly to do everything “right” in the hope that they will be okay.

      “Most LDS cannot perceive the dissonance that you see. Unfortunately, when they do see it, most seem to throw the baby out with the bath water, losing the desire/ability to rely on the spirit for that truth…”

      This makes me so sad. I am deep in Utah and I have witnessed the rage that goes along with the dissonance. I decided that I could not be angry. I would not be angry and if I walked away, that I would have peace over it. The only peace I found was in feasting on the words of Christ and deep in prayer. I testify, that the “Baby” certainly is there. There is simply a lot of unbelief that needs to be sorted through that if a person is a “Lifer” like me some of that unbelief has deep emotional attachments and memories. Again, the only way for me to do that is through scriptures, fasting and prayer and acceptance of what the Spirit tells me is truth. Along the way, I have realized that there are like minded people – a few who either are struggling with or who have struggled with the same issues. A motley crew of marginalized members- myself included. I am currently praying to be led by the Spirit to find those who will hear and heed the words of the book. See 2 Nephi 3 and 2 Nephi 27. In the last week, I have felt impressed to speak with 3 others. One of which contacted me out of the blue. I am so grateful for thee opportunities.

      The gathering of the remnant must happen. I would like to be part if it. 2 Nephi 30.

      I do feel impressed to share that I found it so enlightening and somewhat comical to realize that the sects of religion that claim the Book of Mormon as canon, most- to my understanding- claim authority of God and also have one true church doctrine. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latter_Day_Saint_movement Can they all be right?

      I’m off to milk the cows and then to set this house in order on my day off. Good times.

      • Spektator:

        Melissa,
        I am about 12 years ahead of you in working through the dissonance. In regards to your children, I can only say that teaching them to value truth and to discern error will benefit them much more in the future than the social conversion the church seems to solicit.

        Given that my last child left the nest last year, I can only hope that they will be able to work through the trauma of the dissonance of which you speak and come to understand that a relationship with Christ is not predicated on any directives from Salt Lake, or any other religious structure for that manner, but found in that personal relationship driven by a desire for wisdom and knowledge.

        Being from Utah makes this journey even more arduous. Family and friends seek to impose unrighteous dominion on those who question the dogma. Acceptance socially is, many times, predicated on falling in line to receive the vomit. Why, oh why, can’t a church that preaches revelation not be willing to support those who seek it?

        I am happy to provide any support I can through this process.

        Spek

  • Lotta questions to this post.

    Are the words found in the Lectures on Faith no longer considered to be the ‘doctrine of our faith’ as they were presented in 1835?

    I don’t think they were ever the doctrine of our faith, regardless of what people might have called them. Our faith’s doctrine is found in the word of God. The LoF is not the word of God, but the word of man, at best.

    I find it interesting that the section of the original Doctrine and Covenants which was pronounced to be ‘embracing the important doctrine of salvation’ was demoted while the section pertaining to the principles for the regulation of the church’ remained intact. Which of these two topics would you consider more valuable?

    You can call any section anything you want. This section doctrine, that section regulation, but what it comes down to is what is the word of God and what is the word of man. And with that distinction in mind, only the revelations make the grade. The revelations contain both doctrine, covenants, commandments and regulations, regardless of labels people may assign to the sections of those sectional editions.

    What has really happened here?

    The president of the church at the time made the right call. That is what happened.

    Seventy-five pages of material that Joseph Smith intended to be included in the Doctrine and Covenants are summarily discarded from the Book seventy-seven years after his death. Was the exclusion of the Lectures ever put to a vote by the assembly of the church?

    I don’t think so, but no one protested or called for a recall vote, either. At any rate, the move was a righteous one, for the canon should not be cluttered with lesson manuals. In the infancy of the church, having a priesthood lesson manual published in the same book as the relevations was convenient and understandable. The LoF should have been removed from the canon much sooner than they were.

    Did Heber J. Grant have the authority to ‘trump’ the intention of Joseph Smith to include the Lectures on Theology in the sanctioned scripture of the Church?

    I don’t think it was ever considered scripture by the church, just a priesthood lesson manual, so yes, he had authority to remove it from the canon. In other words, I don’t think it was ever canonized as on par with the scriptures, it was merely published along with them for convenience. People can still get the LoF, for it is possible to obtain a published copy of them, if they want, but there is no reason for them to be placed with the scriptures. The older generations understood what they were (a priesthood lesson manual) but the newer generations might get them confused as actual, bona fide scripture, so it was a danger to leave them in. He made the right call and had authority to do it.

    Did this change that occurred more than 80 years ago represent a step closer to the true doctrines of the kingdom?

    Yes.

    Have you considered reading and studying the Lectures on Faith as the pronouncement from Joseph Smith as being important for our salvation?

    I have read the LoF, but to be honest, they are not as impressive as the word of God. As far as faith goes, or the acquisition of it, which were their main goal, I found the lessons deficient. Are their truths in the LoF? Yes. Were they written by the power of the Holy Ghost, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation? No. Were they written in the best way that Rigdon or whoever composed them could? Yes. Do the scriptures (the word of God) teach faith in a plainer and more accurate way than the LoF? Yes. I would say that anyoen following the precepts in the LoF, as best they could, would still miss the mark and never obtain faith, for faith is not taught correctly in those lectures. In other words, the LoF is a mere interpretation of the word of God, as best as the author(s) could do. The interpretation sometimes gets it right and sometimes gets it wrong. In other words, it’s just a manual and should be treated as such.

    Should the 1921 Doctrine and Covenants have been ‘stripped’ of its doctrine?

    It was never stripped of its doctrine. It was only stripped of an interpretation of men. And rightly so.

    What think ye?

    See above.

    • Spektator:

      LDSA,
      As I look at this topic, there are several key aspects I would suggest to be considered.

      1. Joseph Smith had nine years to correct what you consider to be an aberration. He didn’t.
      2. Another two generations continued to live with a book that, from your perspective, represents the words of men bundled into the latter day scripture. Why was it OK in 1910 and not OK in 1921? If the church is sliding into apostasy/further from the truth, what can we take from this episode? Is it simply a correction to an error made by the Prophet? What current church dogma does the LOF run counter to and what can we prayerfully learn from its study?
      3. There must be something of value in these words and I believe that there is.
      4. My main consideration in this blog post is to point out that items like that LOF cannot be easily dismissed as foundational in 1835 and marginalized in 1921. What was the underlying reason to dismiss the LOF after more than seven decades? I believe that the answer lies in the doctrinal migration that the church endured.

      Spek

      • Spek,

        1. I don’t know that I would say it was an aberration. Again, it was an infant church, so a concerted effort to “bring it all together” for the membership was useful. The doctrine of faith, as well as every other doctrine of the gospel, is scattered all over the place, in the scriptures. The lectures was an attempt to systematically and logically teach faith to the priesthood. Anyone who has read them can see this systematic approach. It is meant to take someone with little knowledge and guide them around the scriptures so that they finally obtain, supposedly, much knowledge about faith. So, leaving them bound with the scriptures does have a use, in the church’s infancy.

        2. Why was it OK in 1910 and not OK in 1921?

        Probably because of the law of expediency. The leadership must follow the law of expediency, otherwise they remain condemned before the Lord.

        If the church is sliding into apostasy/further from the truth, what can we take from this episode?

        Well, here is where, perhaps, we might disagree with each other. Most people who understand that there has been an apostasy in the church since the beginning–for, if there were no apostasy, they would have established Zion at some point, therefore, the church must have been in a constant state of apostasy ever since they failed to establish it–believe that this apostasy has been worsening over time in a more or less gradual or stepped descent. However, this is not according to the natural order of things. Everything is cyclical, with cycles of righteousness (or less apostasy) followed by cycles of less righteousness (greater apostasy.) My understanding of the church is that it is currently in stage two: the works of men. In this stage, it cycles, just like everything does, between the high end (almost reaching the works of the Father) to the low end (almost reaching the works of the devil) and back again, with periods of rest in the middle ground, too. So, it has not been a high to low from the time of Joseph to now, or a descending graph over time. If we could see the righteousness of the people graphed, we’d probably see that as a group it has cycled up and down over all these years.

        Now, this is according to the scriptural pattern, for these cycles are also seen among the people of the Lord as recorded in the scriptures.

        At some point, the last downward cycle of the second stage will “dip” into the third stage, becoming the works of the devil and will cease its cycles, for then the devil will take the church and lead it to destruction. But in the meantime, the Spirit of the Lord still strives with His church and still gives inspiration to cycle the church back up into the works of the Father.

        Is it simply a correction to an error made by the Prophet?

        I don’t believe it was an error on anyone’s part. Even my feeling that they should have been removed sooner is probably incorrect. I am speaking from a time in which I can plainly see that it is not expedient that we have these lectures in our scriptures now. But, had I lived in the past, I might have, like the leaders of that time, seen that it was still expedient to keep them there. At all times, one must follow the dictates of the Spirit, and the Spirit always does things according to the conditions found among men. So, it was expedient for Joseph’s time, but not expedient for the later times.

        What current church dogma does the LOF run counter to and what can we prayerfully learn from its study?

        I, personally, wouldn’t recommend that anyone study anything about God from anything but His revealed word (the scriptures). The last time I read the entire LoF, when I was still a follow-the-leader LDS, I did not see it conflicting with anything that I understood at that time about the gospel. Even inclomplete LoF statements, such as “the Father being a personage of spirit” don’t conflict with current doctrine, because that’s true, He is a personage of spirit, but He’s also got “a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.” Etc. So, I recognized that the LoF did not present a perfectly clear picture of things. However, now, looking back at it with the knowledge I now have of faith given me of the Holy Ghost, I can plainly see that the LoF are deficient in matters of faith, also. In other words, a person who tries to follow its precepts precisely will not be able to obtain the faith to see angels, etc. Its teachings miss the mark. However, the scriptures themselves do not miss the mark. It may be that the church, as a body, having had these LoF in their scriptures for so many years, have kind of adopted a LoF approach to faith and passed it onto their children (who passed it onto their children, etc.), even with the removal of the LoF from the canon, and this is why we still don’t have members who are capable of doing what the ancients did. In other words, the damage has already been done.

        3. There must be something of value in these words and I believe that there is.

        Well, there is value in our Sunday School manuals, but we don’t equate them as of equal value with the scriptures, do we? (Of course, some people do, and that is their privilege.) Truths and errors are found all over the place, and using the Spirit we can discern what is what and extract the valuble information from it, but why do we want to have something published in our scriptures that is not the revealed word of God, which we know and believe to be 100% truth? Why put a mixed bag along with the diamonds?

        Apart from that, the LoF have historical value, but I do not recommend that anyone attempt to exercise faith by following its precepts. Follow Alma’s words on faith, not Rigdon’s words on faith. Alma had the vision of all things, Rigdon did not. The Book of Mormon prophets make the Gentile prophets look like children in comparison.

        4. I think I answered this point above.

        Now, apart from all of this that I’ve written above, let me just say that this affinity we have for extraneous material, or words that come from men, is part of what is wrong with the world. Jacob taught that

        whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches–yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

        So, we must cast away our all our learning. Our learning, meaning man’s learning, or the learning of men. It is our affinity for the learning of men that causes God to despise us, for we put man’s learning on an equal footing as the learning of God, which mocks Him, for they clearly are not equal.

        The LoF is clearly not the word of God, meaning it clearly was not written by the spirit of prophecy, nor by the spirit of revelation. It is clearly a man-made interpretation. Does it contain interesting insights (such as the division between action and power faith)? Yes, it does. Does it contain truths? Most definitely. But do these insights and truths actually help a person obtain power faith? Not one bit. Intellectually, they are interesting, but one would need to follow Alma’s words to be able to exercise “power” faith. Because of this, the LoF needs to be cast away, like all other writings and sayings that attempt to interpret the word of God, and we need to do as Jacob says so that God will open unto us.

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