Abstract of Anderson, Trever R. “Doctrine and Covenants Section 110: From Vision to Canonization.”

Anderson, Trever R.  “Doctrine and Covenants Section 110: From Vision to Canonization.”  M.R.E thesis, Brigham Young University, 2010. [Mormon/Elijah/Kirtland/Theology/Priesthood/Salvation of the Dead]

This Master’s thesis make some interesting and valuable contributions to Mormon understanding of the background and use of section 110.  The first chapter traces D&C 110 from its recording in 1836, through its inclusion in the Manuscript History of Joseph Smith, and its first publications in the Deseret News and Millennial Star, to its eventual inclusion in the 1876 D&C and its canonization in the 1880 D&C.  The study continues to trace how the section was used by leaders of the Church in the forty years between these two dates.  Interestingly, it was not mentioned by Joseph Smith during his life time, though he taught much about Moses, Elias, and Elijah.  In fact, it was not used a great deal, even after it was published in the Deseret News (November 1852) and Millennial Star (November 1853).  Orson Pratt was the first to directly teach from and about Section 110, on 28 August 1859.  Anderson points out that several factors may have led to the production of the 1876 and 1880 editions of the D&C, which included Section 110.   The brethren were concerned with the rise of materialism and apostasy due to the long time it took to establish the Church physically in the west, the coming of Johnston’s Army and the railroad which brought a significant gentile population to Utah permanently, and as leaders tried to establish the Order of Enoch and encountered resistence from the younger generation who thought this was a “new” idea. They began teaching the need for “reformation” and a return to “ancient” or “old” Mormonism. The rise of Spiritualism in the United States also became an issue in the Church with Amasa Lyman and the Godbeites, and the brethren  seemed to feel the necessity to show that they possessed the same authority as Joseph Smith, and legitimate contact with the spirit world was appropriately done in the temple.  So, the 26 revelations added to the 1876 D&C largely stressed authority, keys, and the temple.  Once Section 110 was in the Doctrine and Covenants and soon after canonized, it was used more extensively in the teachings of the brethren and became one of the key documents for the doctrine of priesthood authority and temple work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *