I have considered this, I have considered that. I have felt changes, additions, and deletions needed to be made to this book or that section. I have questioned logic used to put one thing in this order or that, and why that same logic wasn’t used consistently on another thing of the same type. I have felt to question grammar, spelling, capitalization or lack thereof, and tense. I have questioned the deleting of certain early prominent names and things they wrote, which my whole life I’ve considered to be revelatory, and again questioned the addition of individual’s names I barely know from among us and stuff they supposedly had revealed to them. I have worried about this and I have worried about that. All this now in the short space of about three weeks.
I have found or have had pointed out to me obviously incorrect teachings by Paul in the New Testament regarding Marriage and Circumcision which in the view of many must be eliminated, and “opinion” in the Book of Mormon offered by Alma on the topic of resurrection which certainly can’t be left to stand, because it’s only his opinion. These things are considered by many, at their worst, to negate those books as being worthy to stand in any revised set of Restoration Scriptures, and at least many think these inconsistencies should be corrected before those books can be considered as part of a covenant.
But, you know what – I’ve had a revelation for myself to myself that there is a completely different way of judging the worthiness of any of the four books and their parts, and whether in the final voting I will be voting for or against any proposed changes. The criteria I will be using is:
Will this or that change negate this book as a book containing a fullness of scripture, or that book as containing a fullness of the gospel. or this other book as being explanatory of the covenant I am making, or that other book giving me knowledge of how God covenanted with others? For me, this is somewhat like the Temple Endowment Joseph left as part of his legacy to the Gentiles. No man to this point has been able to batter it so badly that it stops the seeking person from learning how to find God. In the matter of what you do to the peripheries around the the four books constituting the covenant, you probably won’t be able to butcher it badly enough that it won’t still contain a recognizable Covenant by God to me.
That’s it for me! Only one criteria.
If I were to list another criteria it would be something on the order of whether eliminating or sustaining a suggestion might cause more or less jarrings or contentions. But then I don’t really think I will list this, because we all know that those things would be anathema to the whole prospect of a covenant.
So just as I probably won’t spend a lot of time in the Book of Mormon reading the report of Omni who tells us he was a wicked man who had not kept the statutes and commandments of the Lord as he ought, or Paul’s treatise on circumcision and marriage; I will spend much effort on the changes Joseph Smith made to the Bible which inspired him to call it a “fullness of scripture,” and on the Book of Mormon which has always been intended as “The Covenant” God desires to make with the Gentiles, and which by using the 1840 edition brings us closer than before or since to the real intent and meaning of that covenant. I will spend a great deal of time with the “Doctrine” and Covenants because the Lectures on Faith give me a a better view of the path to becoming more like Jesus Christ and getting into His presence than any other scripture I know. And the arrangement of the “Commandments” gives more order and sense to me than previously, of why and when Joseph received those revelations.
I will read the Pearls of Great Price with relish, because regardless of what else may have been inserted there by others it can’t dim my enthusiasm for the Joseph Smith History, Book of Abraham or the Lord’s brilliant illumination by revelation of the Book of John through Denver. After all, what I am seeking is a Covenant to myself from God, and am not particularly interested in whether you all think this or that or your pet should be brought to shine forth as an opportune moment for yourself.
Now I don’t imagine this all will catch on very much because after all we are Gentiles. Our views are important, and the louder we shout the more we think we are heard. After all It’s important to us that we be heard. But…….
These are my current inclinations.