Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Revelations in Context" - Awesome New Online D&C Resources

Ardis Parshall at Keepapitchin just posted an announcement about new resources that are being linked online to the Gospel Doctrine manual. The project is called "Revelations in Context" and was undertaken by the historians who compiled the Joseph Smith Papers. It includes extensive footnoting - really an amazing amount of footnoting, based on what I saw. Ardis' post describes the project and the resources, and it is exciting to me.

Here is the link to Ardis' post:

Revelations in Context: The Unveiling

One of the biggest reasons this is exciting to me is the way the resources have been produced. They include actual images of original source material and were written by trained, professional historians. They also talk openly about some of the odd / unique / formerly ignored elements of our history.

For example, the first comment in the thread provides a link to an article that describes the situation around Oliver Cowdery becoming Joseph Smith's scribe. In that article, Oliver's use of a divining rod is mentioned openly, along with the context of using divining rods in that time period. Further, a big part of Joseph's method of receiving revelation is described - and there is an interesting and little known example of it highlighted.

The following are the two quotes that stand out the most to me in the article:

Sometime that same month, the two men were discussing the fate of the apostle John—a topic of interest at the time. Joseph’s history records they differed in their opinions and “mutually agreed to settle [it] by the Urim and Thummim.” The answer came in a vision of a parchment that Joseph translated, which is now Doctrine and Covenants 7.

D&C 7 was the result of Joseph seeing a parchment in a vision. That simple statement and acknowledgment has SO many implications, and it's hard to explain how glad I am that it's in an article being linked to the online Gospel Doctrine manual.

Oliver Cowdery lived in a culture steeped in biblical ideas, language and practices. The revelation’s reference to Moses likely resonated with him. The Old Testament account of Moses and his brother Aaron recounted several instances of using rods to manifest God’s will (see Ex. 7:9-12; Num. 17:8). Many Christians in Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery's day similarly believed in divining rods as an instrument for revelation. Cowdery was among those who believed in and used a divining rod.

The Lord recognized Oliver’s ability to use a rod: “thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the rod.” Confirming the divinity of this gift, the revelation stated: “Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands for it is the work of God.”

The link to that article is: Oliver Cowdery's Gift

I just want to share this with everyone, since it was announced yesterday morning and you might not be aware of it yet. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Ray, but I will probably let it pass.
I've decided to read the D and C this year without historical background as far as possible as it's all become so controversial. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy to have things researched and discussed, but I think I've actually become so pre-occupied with these debates that I've started to lose sight of these texts as scripture- a measure for my own behaviour. I've actually started to enjoy experiencing them again in this way and have appreciated the way they give me a measure of my soul.