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Oliver Cowdery’s Rod of Revelation (Part 2 of 7)

In the 19th and 20th century, dowsing rods were commonly used to find water.  Apparently Oliver Cowdery believed he could get revelation from one of these rods, and Joseph Smith encouraged him to use his rod of revelation.

GT:  Okay, so let me make sure. I want to be clear on this. So, Oliver Cowdery has had a history of receiving his own revelations through this rod, or wand.

Clair:  Yes….Oliver shows up in 1829, and it’s literally, like within a month, that these revelations come out.

GT:  So, Oliver says, “Joseph, I get these revelations through my wand,” and then Joseph says, “Oh, you’re going to have this great gift, too.”

Clair:  Yes, and probably, I think, to be a translator.

GT:  So, then we get, I think it is D&C 10 where it says you must study it out in your mind.

Clair:  Right.

GT:  That’s a scripture that all of us are familiar with.

Clair:  Yeah.

GT:  I don’t think most of us are familiar with these rods.

Clair:  Right.

Clair:  So Joseph had a seer stone, through which he translated. Oliver has a rod. My guess is that was what he was supposed to translate through, because he’d been getting revelations through it already, just like Joseph had been getting revelations through his seer stone. Both are treasure seeking tools. Why wouldn’t it be? It seems the most obvious thing. So Oliver, here’s how I read it. To Joseph, it’s easy. He pops the rock into a hat and man, he’s seeing stuff.  He can see, just like that. It’s easy and revelations come popping in.  He doesn’t even have to try. Then Oliver’s is like me, right? You give me anything. {Clair picks up a can of soda and talks to the can.}  It would be like, “Tell me some stuff.” And it just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen for Oliver.  Joseph says, “It’s easy, Oliver, you just study it out in your mind, and if you feel good about it, what you think the translation is, that’s it. If you have a stupor of thought, then that’s the wrong translation. But then it never works.

GT:  So is Oliver trying to use the seer stone? Or is he trying to use the rod?

Clair:  Well, we don’t know. I think it’s the rod.

Were you aware of this history with D&C 10?  Apparently other church leaders used a rod of revelation as well.  We will learn more about this in our next conversation with Clair Barrus.

Oliver used a dowsing rod to receive revelations, as did other church leaders.

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Clair Barrus!

406:  Masonic Connections in Oliver Cowdery’s Family

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Comparing LDS and Church of Christ Theology (Part 5 of 7)

Both the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and the LDS Church accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God. But what are the differences in belief among the two churches? Jean Addams will talk about a major disagreement over the Doctrine & Covenants, among other things.

Jean: Well, I think the Book of Commandments was sent in script form to Missouri. It was Phelps’ job to get it printed. So, Phelps and probably with Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, they probably, all of them participated in trying to edit.  You can see marks in the original that show that somebody was putting a word in here or there to just clean it up. I don’t think Joseph ever officially thought that was going to be the final word.  It certainly was used as a starting point for the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Jean:  Bill Sheldon [recently deceased apostle for Church of Christ], bless his heart, he made a big deal out of out of the changes. Some of the changes, of course, are just additions and a lot of them are cleanups, words, punctuation, things like that. But it wasn’t done, I should add that.  There was more to be printed. The Church of Christ Temple Lot doesn’t buy that at all.

GT:  Oh, they think that that was the whole thing.

Jean:  They think that’s the whole thing.

GT:  Okay.  Well, I know when I spoke with Randy [Sheldon, Bill’s son], one of the things he made a big deal about was our now section 20. That has been expanded, and he has said, “You compare my Book of Commandments with your section 20, and you’re going to see a bunch of verses that have been added.” So yes, there were some grammar things, but there were definitely large sections that were added.

Jean:  Yep, and I don’t think anybody makes a big deal out of that. Latter-day revelations to Joseph got added in rather than creating a whole new section, at some point in time.  When I first was introduced to Bill Sheldon, so this is a good one…   Bill started on me with the changes. I finally said, “Bill, stop, stop, stop just for a second.” He said, “What’s that? And I said, “Can I look at your song book?”  He said, “Sure.” So he gets me a song book. I’d been to their church the day before, my first time. I happened to notice the songs that were in there. One of your songs is on page one something. “We Thank Thee Oh God…” and Latter-day Saints would say “For a Prophet.” It says, “For the Spirit.” So I said, “Who changed that?”  He laughed and smiled and he said, “Me.”  I said, “Okay, we’re even.  Can we go on to something else?” And he said, “Fair deal.” At that point time, we became good friends.

We talk further about similarities and differences between the two churches.  Check out our conversation….

Historian Jean Addams describes similarities and differences in theology between the LDS Church and Church of Christ (Temple Lot.)

Don’t miss our other conversations with Jean!

377: LDS/Church of Christ Alliance

376: Jones Flournoy’s Ties to Restoration

375: Dispute Over the Temple Lot

374: Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

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Uniquely Mormon Marriage Theology (Part 5 of 6)

Mormons have a unique theology concerning marriage.  Doctrine & Covenants 132 is a revelation to Joseph Smith stating a man can have multiple wives.  On the other hand, the Book of Mormon states that a man should have just one wife. Polygamy expert Anne Wilde and Christ’s Church apostle David Patrick will talk about these scriptures and more fully explain their beliefs that polygamy is a celestial principle.

David:  The very next Section is section 131. And it reads verse one, “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees. And in order to obtain the highest A man must enter into the order of the priesthood meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into another, but that is the end of his kingdom. He cannot have in an increase.” So, there’s a law, you live the law, you get the blessing. What is the blessing the celestial kingdom? One of the rules is you’ve got to be married. And so, Mormon doctrine in itself basically says an unmarried Jesus wouldn’t make it into the Celestial Kingdom.

Do you think Jesus was required to be married?  Check out our conversation….

David Patrick explains Mormon theology requires Jesus to be married in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom. Do you agree?

Don’t miss our other episodes with David and Anne!

344:  “There is No Marriage in Heaven”

343:  Evangelical Arguments about Marriage in Heaven

342: Was Jesus the Groom at Wedding at Cana?

341: Making the Case that Jesus Was Married