In today’s conversation we’ll talk to BYU Church History Professor Dr. Richard Bennett. We’ll talk about the vision of Elijah. Did you know it took 40 years for that revelation to be canonized? Why did it take so long? Dr. Bennett introduced me to a concept he calls the “Reclamation of Revelation.” What does he mean by that? He also says why studying church history is so important.
And that really opens up a topic in church history about why studying our history is so important is because sometimes we miss things, and I think you’re referring here to section 110 and these other revelations. It’s wonderful that Elder Bednar makes a great point of it. These sealing keys were extremely important. They were all written down by Warren Cowdery. Joseph and Oliver didn’t write it down. Warren Cowdery wrote it down. Joseph never refers to that revelation, if you want to know the truth, although he talks a lot about the substance of it. It’s not until Orson Pratt in 76, under the direction of the President of the Church of course, says we better get that down.
A few weeks ago, I told you I became a fanboy Orson Pratt because of his position on slavery. Once again, this seems to show Elder Pratt’s unrecognized contributions to preserving Mormon history. Why do you think it took 40 years to canonize the vision of Elijah?
This is not your typical polygamy conversation. How did polygamy get started in the LDS Church? Dr. Mark Staker has a very interesting theory: he thinks it was started by a former slave, Black Pete, who joined the Mormon community in 1830. I talked about Black Pete in Part 1 and Part 2 of my discussion with Staker, an LDS Anthropologist, and Staker also makes the case that Oliver Cowdery, not Joseph Smith, wrote the Declaration on Marriage that was replaced by D&C 132 in the Doctrine & Covenants. With the LDS Church’s stance on monogamy being God’s standard, does Staker believe that this de-canonized revelation could be re-canonized? Check out the audio above, video below, or transcript (also on Amazon) to find out! You’ll learn a lot about polygamy the foundations of polygamy in this episode!
Here’s a few interesting quotes from the podcast:
GT: So wait a minute. You’re telling me that Black Pete may have been responsible for introducing polygamy into the Kirtland community?
Mark: I believe so, and I believe that’s why often we say well Joseph Smith was translating the Bible and he wants to know about Abraham and his wives, Isaac and Jacob and their wives and so he asks that.
Who authored the Declaration on Marriage?
Brigham Young believed it was all Oliver Cowdery. Did he know all the details? Scholars have disputed that but some of them have accepted his declaration. I tend to believe that Brigham Young did know enough about those details that he was right that Oliver Cowdery had played the principal if not the sole role in getting that material included.