It is probably time to formally announce that despite the fact I had considered myself finished with writing about Mormonism, early this year I found myself seriously thinking about the Doctrine and Covenants and how difficult it had been for me as a member to accept some of the things Joseph Smith claimed to have ‘received’ as actual words from the mouth of the Lord. I decided to review a few sections that had bothered me and sure enough, if God and/or Jesus spoke like that, then they were (and I am not overstating this) completely illiterate. I found myself looking for actual prophecies that might be located in the D&C; they are few and far between, many are just repeated and none were ever fulfilled.
That includes Smith’s supposed Civil War prophecy of 1832 (fully discussed in TMD Vol. 3:309-12) which Mormons invariably cite as a typical Smith prophecy when asked about such things. Trouble had been brewing for many years and everyone expected war to break out the following year. It was in the papers almost daily and Smith just repeated what others were saying. The fact that it did not happen for almost another three decades and Smith added nonsense that never transpired, shows just how much he knew about the future – which was nothing at all. I was surprised at the many things I did not ‘see’ as a member. This led to a detailed analysis of the ‘Lectures of Faith’ (now termed Lectures on Faith) and a foray into the D&C Sections in the original chronological order in which they were recorded – the result of which is that TMD Volume Five will be published next year. It covers an analysis of the Lectures and every Section of the D&C, except a few already reviewed in TMD Vol. 3 which are noted and cross referenced, so almost all the material in this fifth volume will be new to the reader.
As an analyst, I found myself listing certain aspects that did not fit with reality. None of it really sits well with common sense or reason of course but evidence that Smith made up the things he recorded came to light in several different aspects of his writing. Smith’s deity makes some consistently obvious mistakes which are human rather than supernatural in nature. Smith’s God spoke in very mysterious ways for a God. These have become several (at present five) different summary sections at the end of the book, entitled ‘The Final Analysis’. It has been an interesting journey. Well, it still is, as there are still a few chapters to go before editing begins. The volume should be available by spring of 2012 and it should finally complete the series – although of course I have said that before!