There is no revelation after Joseph Smith.


One troublesome issue in the LDS church is the fact that there is essentially no revelation of scripture after Joseph Smith.  One may argue that this is not true due to the fact that there have been two Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, two “Official Declarations”, and the more recent Declaration on the Family by The First Presidency.

D&C section 136 was given to Brigham Young in January 1847 and represents a narrative of the Lord through Brigham Young in similar fashion to the revelations received by Joseph Smith.  That is, this revelation is written as though the transcriptionist is taking dictation directly from the Lord, through the prophet.

D&C Section 138 records a vision given to Joseph F. Smith in October 1918.  This section is written in first person by Joseph F. Smith describing the things he saw in his vision.  This vision does not, however, contain a narrative of the Lord as other revelations do. 

Some have suggested that Brigham Young made up the revelation in Section 136 in an effort to organize the saints in the first few years after the death of Joseph Smith.  There are some gramatical clues to this in Section 136.  In particular, the same confusion of singular and plural old english pronouns that occurs in other LDS scriptures occurs here as well.  Click here for an interesting discussion on grammar in scripture.

The point that I have here is simple.  Joseph Smith received numerous revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, not to mention the entire Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and visitations from numerous heavenly beings including God the Father (the only visit in recorded history) and Jesus Christ.  The Lord was interested in giving direction in every facet of the lives of the early saints.  That interest, however, seems to have stopped with the death of Joseph.  The lone exception seems to be Brigham Young (Section 136) trying to galvanize and mobilize the saints in Winter Quarters.  It was this mobilization that would push them  into the Salt Lake valley.

Conclusion:  I cant help but wonder why The Lord no longer delivers revelation narrative as he seemed to do with Joseph Smith.  The apologist would argue that Joseph was unique in that he was ushering in a dispensation and that these more grandiose displays were in keeping with his stature as a prophet.  Subsequent prophets are there to underscore what Joseph received.

I am left to speculate that perhaps the subsequent prophets and authorities are honest in that they publish what they receive...nothing.  If we are to assume that there is no god or that he doesn’t reveal himself in this way, then Joseph Smith was a flagrant and shameless fraud.  Those who follow, are more honest.  Brigham, on the other hand, had a problem to solve.  His goal was to push the saints on to Utah where they could be safe and together.  Left strewn along the trail west, they most certainly would have perished as a group.  The only way to do that would be to motivate the traveling saints with a mandate from the Lord.  So, he produced one.  I suppose it could be that Joseph was such a prophet and the rest since are not up to his stature.  Or is it that Joseph had absolutely no shame in what he was willing to say and do to solidify his place in history. 

I will defer judgement for now.  But I think the key will be the Book of Mormon.  If the Book of Mormon can be proven true, then we must take Joseph at his word.  A detailed discussion of Book of Mormon proof can be found later in this site.

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