A Time of Reflection, Part Three


The Scripture Committee

In the spring of 2017, I became aware of, was invited to participate in, and for a time, worked with various members of the scripture committee on the scriptures project. If you go to the website for the scriptures project, you can read much about the concerns of the committee, especially if you go to the earliest posts in April of 2107. However, for a more fulsome account of the beginnings of the project, see this post on Denver’s site.

In that post we learn that the effort to bring together a restored version of the scriptures had been underway for at least a year and a half, and probably longer. It came together as a coordinated effort with all parties in late 2016 and early 2017, as Denver explained here, here and especially here in the Scripture, Prophecy and Covenant document. I highly recommend a re-reading of these documents to understand why new scripture.

I for one am deeply grateful for the online version of the scriptures, which I use almost every day in my personal studies, my communications with others about this work and as a reference source for many of my posts. While I tend to share links to the standard LDS online version for some points, I’ve switched as much as possible to the Restoration Edition, which I also have on my iPhone and plan on purchasing once it’s completed.

joseph-smith-papers

The Need to Recover

The idea of yet another edition of scripture is not without controversy, as is evidenced by the comments on Adrian’s site following his publication of the announcement that was read in the Doctrine of Christ conference in St. George in the Spring of 2017. There will always be those who outright reject the idea of scripture needing to be restored to be as true to the original revelations as possible. To them, there simply is no need for it.

I like this description: “The scriptures project is intended to show the Lord we are willing to recover … as best a reconstruction of the scriptures as we can now do. We know that will not be perfect. That opportunity was lost forever. We cannot achieve perfection. What we can do is make a good faith effort to get it as right as presently possible, given the neglect and loss of important information that cannot now be recovered.”

I know there are individuals who have invested hundreds, some even thousands of hours on this project, even before it was organized more generally into a committee. They saw the need, as have I, to recover or restore many things that were inadvertently or purposefully lost or altered from the time of the original receipt and recording. Anyone can see this need by comparing the originals with what is in LDS editions.

chronology-of-major-events

Documenting the History

As I was researching and composing this post, I wondered if there was a site dedicated to documenting the history of the restoration movement now underway. I envisioned something like a timeline of significant events with links to additional details. The archives site has some of what I was looking for, but not the highlight of significant events. The events leading up to the covenant conference would be especially helpful.

I have watched the progress of the history being documented on Wikipedia, but an internal or more fulsome account (I love that word, especially since it leans toward a more favorable or abundant view) of the events without the Wikipedia slant would be appreciated. Who knows, perhaps I’ll start my own if I am unable to find one. Part of my daily job tasks involve updating the company Intranet, including documenting history.

In any event, those who are deeply involved in this movement today will all be gone in a few years. We look back at the early history of Joseph and what the Lord intended to bring to pass through his efforts. If we are unsuccessful, will some other group of Gentiles at some future date be able to look at our history and determine where we failed in bringing about Zion? Of course failure is not the desired outcome we seek.

Reflecting as a Way to Prepare

As with each of the posts in this ongoing series, the intent is not to raise new points for consideration, but to simply reflect on what we have already been given. As of today I have reflected upon the idea of the Davidic Servant, new scripture and in this post, the work of the scripture committee. In future posts I hope to cover baptism (or re-baptism), a new covenant, preparing for Zion and a temple, all wonderful and joyous topics to me.

In April 2019, the next General Conference of the movement will take place in Colorado. The events of the Sunday session have not yet been revealed other than a general time and location. The focus thus far has been on the Friday evening Passover and workshops that will take place on Saturday. Inasmuch as I probably will not be able to attend, I am using my blog as a way to prepare myself by reflecting on what we have received so far.

The movement has no official spokesperson and no central organization. So far, there are dozens of fellowships located throughout the world, practicing what it means to worship and serve together in small local groups. Some, like me, are a hybrid of the new and the old. I still attend LDS worship services with my wife, yet I fully accept and desire to show the Lord I intend to keep the covenant I made in baptism and on 3 Sep 2017.

As always, comments are welcome…

6 Replies to “A Time of Reflection, Part Three”

  1. I am so grateful for all those who did the heavy lifting to get a restoration version of the Bible, Book of Mormon and Joseph’s revelations published, including the additions of more recent revelations. I have been able to see how much light and knowledge has been lost by not having, as much as it was possible, Joseph’s work on the fullness of the scriptures (JST).

    I have found myself wondering why the LDS Church never incorporated Joseph’s work on the Bible into an LDS version of it. With so many re-translations of the Bible today, why hasn’t the LDS Church taken on the task? I don’t mean to sound critical, and I don’t even expect to get an answer. It was something I never considered even until work on the Restoration Editions came into being.

    In Gospel Doctrine this past Sunday, the teacher shared his agreement with BYU scholars that the JST is okay but we can study the Bible without it and be fine. He mentioned church scholars have said Joseph copied verses from a Methodist Bible, so it is not exactly a “translation” of anything. I honestly had not heard that before. It hasn’t changed my own experiences with the JST and now the Restoration scriptures or my love for them. I was saddened to hear the GD teacher say he puts the JST in the same category as the Lectures on Faith and Jesus the Christ (by Talmage). They are good to read, but not necessarily essential or scripture. I guess that is what we get as a church when we diminish Joseph Smith as a prophet of the Lord, right? Or when we allow anyone else to tell us what to accept as truth or what to study?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Tim. If I may ask, what did you mean when you said, “In any event, those who are deeply involved in this movement today will all be gone in a few years”?

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  2. Hi Lori. That’s sad, but not surprising to read your report of the Gospel Doctrine teacher’s comments about the Joseph Smith translation.

    As Carol and I read the scriptures out loud together each night, we always look for additional insight from the Joseph Smith translation where it is available.

    Helps tremendously.

    See https://www.lds.org/study/scriptures/jst/introduction?lang=eng and https://www.lds.org/study/scriptures/bd/joseph-smith-translation?lang=eng

    As far as I know, the Church still places emphasis on the JST as a valid tool to enhance our gospel study. Perhaps this is the source for the Gospel Doctrine teacher’s comment:

    http://jur.byu.edu/?p=21296

    Oh, as far as my comment about “gone in a few years,” I only meant the natural result of mortality. Unless Denver is translated, he will probably pass from this life within the next twenty years or so. After all, he is 65 now 🙂

    God bless

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    1. Yes, I believe you are correct with the link you shared. It sounds like what the GD teacher was stating. Coincidentally, I have been looking at Bible commentaries recently to see what I can add to my personal gospel study library, which already includes Strong’s Concordance and Webster’s 1828 dictionary. Clarke’s, the one it is said Joseph used heavily, is one I have found mentioned often.

      So with the article (I still need to finish it), it seems like we are hard on prophets. We can muster up enough faith to believe in a miraculous translation like the Book of Mormon, then expect all other revelations to come in the same way. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. I view this “controversy” over Joseph’s translation of the Bible in the context of we are each required to study a matter out, which includes studying what others have written or said. If there is light and truth, gather it in. I don’t find it a weak thing Joseph utilized a well-respected Bible commentary. But maybe I am overthinking and reacting. I wonder if Joseph every read the writings of Josephus…

      And thanks for clarifying the statement. Ima hold out for getting way old. Moses was like 120. Noah? (Don’t know off the top of my head.) Seeing as this progression thing is slow going for me, I hope we have Denver and many others around these parts for a while yet. 🙂 Age is just a number, right?

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