Scripture Roundtable 9: D&C Gospel Doctrine #5

(Originally published on 10 January 2013.)

This is another Scripture Roundtable from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #5, bringing in various insights to help us better understand these 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, Daniel Peterson, Martin Tanner, 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:


2 thoughts on “Scripture Roundtable 9: D&C Gospel Doctrine #5

  1. I found the discussion of Oliver’s “gift of Aaron” quite interesting. I agree that it is primarily critics that assume that Oliver had a divining rod, although I think that there are some believers that would assume that as well. Mike notes the possible relationship of Oliver’s “rod of nature” with Aaron’s staff. This agrees with the opinion of Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl. In in their book The Doctrine and Covenants, Containing Revelations Given to Joseph Smith Jr., the Prophet With an Introduction and Historical and Exegetical Notes (Salt Lake city, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1962) 44, Smith and Sjodahl have this to say:

    “Oliver Cowdery also had the “gift of Aaron.” Aaron was the elder brother of Moses. Being prompted by the Spirit of the Lord, he met his younger brother in the wilderness and accompanied him to Egypt. He introduced him to the children of Israel in the land of Goshen. He was his spokesman before Pharaoh, and he assisted him in opening up the dispensation which Moses was commissioned to proclaim (Exodus 4:27-31). This was the gift of Aaron. In some respects Oliver Cowdery was the Aaron of the new and last dispensation.”

    However, I’m wondering how the original wording of the revelation ties in with this idea. In the Joseph Smith Papers Manuscript Revelation Books, vol. 1, we see that the original reference was to the gift of “working with the sprout” and the “thing of nature”:

    “Remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands.”

    According to the Joseph Smith Papers analysis, Sidney Rigdon edited the passage, changing the phrases “working with the sprout” to “working with the rod” and “this thing of Nature” to “this rod”.

    “Remember this is your gift now this is not all for you have another gift which is the gift of working with the rod Behold it has told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this rod to work in your hands.”

    My question is: Does the original wording of the revelation further support, or does it further discount, the idea that Oliver possessed a divining rod? Does it further support the idea that the object was more like Aaron’s staff? After all, the word “spout” seems to tie in with the idea that Aaron’s staff budded or sprouted.

  2. Sorry, I wasn’t as clear as I wanted to be. I believe that it was noted that Aaron’s relationship to Moses was similar to that of Oliver Cowdery to Joseph Smith. That is what Smith and Sjodahl are referring to. Oliver had the ability to express ideas in a way that was more eloquent than Joseph could.

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