Scripture Roundtable 17: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 13

(Originally published on 6 March 2013.)

This is a Scripture Roundtable from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #13, “This Generation Shall Have My Word through You,” bringing in various insights to help us better understand the scriptures. These roundtables will generally follow the 2013 Gospel Doctrine schedule of scriptures, a few weeks ahead of time.

Panelists for this roundtable include Ben McGuire, Bryce Haymond, Daniel Peterson, and Mike Parker.

This roundtable is also available as an audio podcast, and will be included in the podcast feed. You can listen by pressing the play button or download the podcast below:


Link to Creed Haymond story audio recording.

12 thoughts on “Scripture Roundtable 17: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 13

  1. Hi Guys,

    Interesting roundtable. I enjoyed it.

    Mike — thank you for your overview of some of this history surrounding the JST. Fascinating stuff. I had not previously realized that Joseph had corrected the problematic rendering of Revelation 1 in the KJV and found it fascinating that some 10 years later, it was the original KJV, and not his earlier revision that was used to support his argument for the plurality of Gods.

    You made the comment that to Joseph the correct translation was whatever translation fit the need of the current moment or teaching. Have I understood you correctly? If so, don’t you think this view of translated scripture is problematic and fraught with the possibility of gross abuse? Not but Joseph, but generally speaking.

    Either Revelation 1 reads as the JST and all modern Bible translations render it or, it doesn’t. So I guess I’m just looking for a better understanding of your point. In the example cited, we are talking about major doctrinal implications and I’m not sure that translations of ancient texts should be molded to fit a particular position/ideology. Else, Scripture loses some of its inherent authority doesn’t it?

    Anyway, perhaps I have misunderstood.



    • Hi, Seth. Great question.

      I don’t think that Joseph Smith understood “scripture” to mean what we typically find in Christian (and even Mormon) belief. His comments seem to indicate (at least to me) that he saw scripture as more of a vehicle for revealed truth, more than revealed truth in an of themselves. He felt comfortable giving completely new and unique interpretations on ancient scripture to suit a latter-day audience and setting.

      In this case he’s very much like the apostle Paul or the prophet Nephi, both of whom quoted scripture extensively and then put a new “spin” on it.

      For more on my views of this, see the notes and PowerPoint slideshow available here:

      • It seems to me frequently, that conference talks are fraught with examples of what I call, “the twisting and torturing” of the written word to suit the idea or sentiment that the speaker is attempting to convey. Some of this I chalk up to my own “adult onset curmudgeoness” but also to the idea that it is the overall message which is important, not the precise words used in conveying the idea.

  2. I wonder about your comment that Joseph had a “fluid” (my description) vision of the scriptures. Is that because we think one language or another is the source language? Might Joseph have been translating from a language different from the ones we use or know? This might explain the different “versions” of a translation, and also a comment that it “suits as it stands”.
    Different translators render a text in different manners, depending on his or her experience, skill, knowledge, the knowledge available regarding the topic (which we see with the classics), and yes, the audience for the translation. Even the same translator, when he reads back his own work, as little as a few weeks later, may want to correct certain expressions.
    In this sense, Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges told his translator ““No traduzca lo que digo, sino lo que quiero decir” (Don’t translate what I say but what I meant).

    Thank you for the roundtables, they are very enjoyable.

  3. Mike Parkers view fits perfectly with receiving personal revelation. Today we are taught that the scriptures are to be likened to ourselves. That during one struggle a verse could mean one thing, during another struggle it could mean a completely different thing. For Joseph Smith Jr. to view the scriptures as fluid teaches us that personal revelation is real.

  4. Bryce,

    You mentioned perhaps putting a link up to audio of Creed Haymond sharing his experience about his record-breaking race and the word of wisdom–would love to hear it. Thanks!

  5. Just found this website today through the website while I was working on my lesson…thank you so much for your work and time on this…I really enjoyed the scholarly, faith-filled discussion…I hope I can help bring that spirit to my class tomorrow! I will definitely be back for more.

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