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- D&C 135:1: To seal the testimony. It is interesting to note just how thoroughly the Lord uses the "law of witnesses" (Matt 18:16 "that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established"). It is not sufficient in this case for just Joseph to be martyred, for full effect, for full sealing it takes at least two so Hyrum died as well. Furthermore note how many are left alive to "witness" the deaths: John Taylor and Willard Richards, another two witnesses.
- D&C 135:3. The claim here that Joseph Smith has done more for the salvation of men in this world save Jesus than any other man is supported by an interesting list: he translates, publishes, sends forth the fulness of the gospel (which is specifically contextualized as being contained in the Book of Mormon), brings forth revelations and commandments in the form of another book, and brings forth "many other wise documents and instructions." From that point, the support shifts to Joseph's gathering a people and founding a city.
- The majority of the support, then, for the claim is found in Joseph's work with texts: his translation, writing, recording, publishing, and sharing of texts forms a foundation for his greatness, which is in part summarized by the reception of a name that cannot be erased from the historical consciousness.
- Understanding Joseph's mission and accomplishments in terms of his ability to produce and disseminate texts brings such texts into an intriguing salvific light. Put another way, next to Christ and his atoning mission, the next most important act for the salvation of mankind has been centered around texts and their transmission. If we are in any way either to emulate Joseph or acknowledge his mission, it is likely that we are also to be involved in the production, sharing, and interpretation of texts.
- D&C 135:6. The phrase "shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified" contains an interesting image: the names, Joseph and Hyrum, being transmitted as gems—physical items of great worth.
- There are several connotations in this image. The first is found in D&C 101:3, wherein the Lord, chastening the Saints, also reaffirms their intrinsic value: "Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels." In other words, to be recognized as part of God's family / lineage leads to being Christ's (being under the atonement) at a specific time—the time when Christ will "come to make up my jewels." The imagery here is open: jewels in his crown (points that reflect the light of his authority), jewels created (carved, faceted, etc.) by Christ, jewels gathered by Christ (due to their preciousness?). In any case, being recognized by Christ, belonging to Christ, and being a jewel of Christ are all somewhat thematically parallel here. It is not far to then take this image of Christ's jewels and apply the same thematic undertones to the image of Joseph and Hyrum's names being transmuted into similar jewels or gems.
- Another intriguing connection is found in both D&C 130: 10-11 ("10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known; 11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word") and, of course, Revelation 2:17 itself ("17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it").
- The imagery of the phrase in verse 6 here relies and plays upon the imagery of the white stone inscribed with a new name—it is not Joseph and Hyrum themselves who will go down to posterity as gems, but their names. The implication is that these names—Joseph and Hyrum—will act as "gems for the sanctified." Who are the sanctified? Those who will enter the Celestial Kingdom. And what are "gems for the sanctified"? Quite possibly Urim and Thummim. How do the Urim and Thummim act? As stones inscribed with a new name, yes, but also as revelators—as a stone through which the fulness of the gospel may be seen and comprehended or translated into one's understanding. In a sense, then, what is being said here in this verse is that understanding the names Joseph and Hyrum (understanding what those names denote, namely, the Prophet and the Patriarch, their lives, and their mission) will lead to sanctification. Of course, this is not a simplistic equation whereby knowing the names Joseph and Hyrum gives one salvation. But the image of Joseph and Hyrum acting as a type of key through which the gospel is opened and understood is quite powerful. It implies that part of our heritage as Saints—the spiritual posterity of Joseph and Hyrum themselves—is the reception and care of these precious names, their history, and their mission.
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- The oldest surviving copy of D&C 134 is __. These are not updated to Sec 135.
- D&C 135 was first published in __.
- D&C 135 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
- The text of D&C 135 in significant editions of the Doctrine & Covenants can be found at: <NEED TO UPDATE REFERENCES>
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