D&C 8 - 1833 vs 1835 Editions

Related Question

Did Joseph and Oliver alter D&C 8 to hide the magical rod-working elements?

Section 7 of the Book of Commandments contains wording that was changed in the Doctrine & Covenants 8 . The term “gift of Aaron” was originally “rod” and “rod of nature” in the Book of Commandments:

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 of nature, to work in your hands.

So, what is the “gift of Aaron” mentioned in D&C 8? It is a “rod of nature.” (Correct. This whole section could be summarized by this last sentence)


CES Letter, Page 88

To compare the texts of the original manuscript to the 1833 and 1835 published versions, click below:

Original manuscript: Revelation April 1829-B

Printed 1833 Book of Commandments Chapter VII

Printed 1835 Doctrine and Covenants Section XXXIV

A review of these manuscripts and published sources supports that nothing deceptive or sinister was being attempted. 

We do not understand the "rod of nature" or the "gift of Aaron" that was specifically referred to, but Oliver apparently saw no conflict. When he was later excommunicated, he made no mention of deception or revelatory irregularity.

As evidence that Joseph Smith was not a prophet or that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could not be true, this would not be considered particularly strong and perhaps even relevant.


Additional Resources:

Jeffrey G. Cannon, “Oliver Cowdery’s Gift,” Revelations in Context on history.lds.org

Oliver Cowdery and the “rod of nature”

Does being a “treasure hunter” or believing in “second sight” make one an unreliable witness?

Were the Book of Mormon witnesses not “empirical” or “rational” men because they lived in the 19th-Century?

Dallin H. Oaks, “Recent Events Involving Church History and Forged Documents,” Ensign (October 1987): 63.

“The Private Character of the Man Who Bore That Testimony”: Oliver Cowdery and His Critics–  byLarry E. Morris

The Cowdery Controversies (PDF) (2007 FAIR Conference) by Larry Morris

pt 1, The Cowdery Controversies

pt 2, The Cowdery Controversies

pt 3, The Cowdery Controversies

pt 4, The Cowdery Controversies