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- Prior section in chronological order: D&C 131
- Next section in chronological order: D&C 135
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- This first verse of this most important revelation is very commonly cited as the primary evidence that, as the section heading says, "the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831." Several of those who were close to the Prophet claimed that he had spoken as early as 1831 or 1832 about polygamy as a "privilege," especially pertaining, according to some accounts, to the redemption of the Lamanites (William W. Phelps explained this in an 1861 letter to Brigham Young, making reference to an unpublished revelation of July 17, 1831, which says, "For it is my will that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles"; Phelps added, "I asked brother Joseph, privately, how 'we,' that were mentioned in the revelation could take wives of the 'natives' as we were all married men?" to which Joseph apparently replied, "In the same manner that Abraham took Hagar and Keturah; and Jacob took Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpha, by Revelation"). Many scholars have connected these details up with the specifically patriarchal concern of this first verse, which seems to suggest that the question Joseph apparently asked the Lord had come up in the process of the New Translation of the Bible. Joseph was engaged in the translation of the text of Genesis up through March 7, 1831, after which he was commanded to begin translating the New Testament. Since this commandment cut short his work on the Old Testament for a time, it is important to note that he stopped precisely at the end of the story of Abraham, about whom he had apparently asked.
- From these details it appears that at least portions of this revelation ought to be read with an eye to the revelations and historical developments of 1831. At the very time Joseph was translating the Abraham story from Genesis, for example, he received section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the "law of the Church," that is, the law of consecration. This may suggest that one read the references to "law" in the first verses of this revelation in terms of that particular law (other sections of the Doctrine and Covenants certainly connect the law of consecration with the ordinance of sealing: see especially section 85). Also important is the Lamanite concern of 1831, which seems to have been, according to the above details, somehow connected with this revelation (does the wording of this first verse suggest that Joseph only asked about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and if so, does that imply that his concern was primarily covenantal, primarily a question of the place of Israel, that is, the Lamanites?). Certainly relevant is the 1831 focus on Zion (quite a different spirit from the 1843 focus of the saints in Nauvoo): what has celestial marriage to do with the land of Zion (again, cf. D&C 85)? At the very least, these comments suggest that one carefully consider the historical background of this revelation: what is at work behind the scenes?
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Prompts for further study
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- The oldest surviving copy of D&C 132 is __.
- D&C 132 was first published in __.
- D&C 132 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
- The text of D&C 132 in significant editions of the Doctrine & Covenants can be found at: <NEED TO UPDATE REFERENCES>
- Changes to the text of D&C 132:
Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 132.
Doctrinal references cited on this page.
Historical references cited on this page.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.