D&C 2:1-3

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D&C 2 is the first section in chronological order                  Next section: D&C 3

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Historical setting[edit]

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  • Received: 21-22 September 1823 in the Joseph Smith home at Manchester-Palmyra, New York[1]
  • D&C 2 is the first section in chronological order
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 3

The immediate setting of D&C 2 is recounted in Joseph Smith History 1:27-54. Three and a half years after his First Vision, Joseph Smith felt that he had fallen into many follies. He remained awake late at night on Sunday, 21 September 1823, praying to be forgiven and to know of his status before God. While praying, the angel Moroni appeared and quoted many Old Testament prophecies, including part of Malachi 3 and all of Malachi 4. Moroni appeared two more times that night and yet again the next day, repeating the same Old Testament prophecies during each of these four appearances.

For a brief overview of D&C 2 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 1 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 4.


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  • D&C 2: Interpretive paraphrase, not correction. is not a correction of a poorly transmitted Biblical text, since Mal 4:5-6 is quoted by the Lord in 3 Ne 25:5-6 without any change, and the Joseph Smith Translation of Malachi consists in its entirety of the word "correct."[2] D&C 2 is instead an interpretive paraphrase, or to use Joseph Smith's words in D&C 128:17-18, it is a "plainer translation."
  • D&C 2: Record of Moroni's changes. Section 2 is an excerpt from Moroni's quotation of Malachi 4. Section 2 does not put these verses in the context of Moroni's larger discourse, nor even in the context of the rest of Malachi chapter 4. It simply identifies the points at which Moroni's quotation of Mal 4:5-6 differs from the text of the King James version. As noted in JSH 1:37, Moroni also made a change to Mal 4:1 that is not included in D&C 2.
The changes that Moroni makes in D&C 2 while reciting Malachi 4:5-6 emphasize that: (1) what Elijah will do is restore priesthood keys, (2) those priesthood keys are necessary to fulfill the promises made to the fathers under the Abrahamic Covenant, and (3) those promises must be fulfilled in order to fulfill God's purposes in mortality.

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Previous editions.

  • D&C 2 was first published as part of the serial publication of the History of Joseph Smith in the Times & Seasons newspaper at Nauvoo on 15 April 1842 (Vol. 3, No. 12, p. 753).
  • D&C 2 was not included in the Doctrine & Covenants until the 1876 edition that was published a year before Brigham Young's death.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 2.

  • D&C 2 is one of several sections that were added to the Doctrine & Covenants for the 1876 edition, along with D&C 13, D&C 110, and D&C 132. These additions cause the Doctrine & Covenants to begin with Malachi's promise in D&C 2 that Elijah will return and restore the priesthood sealing keys and an account in D&C 13 of John restoring the first set of preparatory keys, and to finish with an account of the fulfillment of Malachi's promise in D&C 110 and with discussions of the exercise of those keys through proxy baptism in D&C 127 and D&C 128 and eternal marriage in D&C 132 (further bookended by the Preface in D&C 1 and the Appendix in D&C 133).
  • Moroni quoted several Old Testament prophecies to Joseph Smith on the occasion of his first visit to Joseph Smith, including:
  1. part of Malachi 3 and all of Malachi 4, making the changes now found in D&C 2[3]
  2. Isaiah 11, saying that it was about to be fulfilled[4]
  3. Acts 3:22-23, which quotes Deuteronomy 18:15-19, explaining that the prophet spoken of by Moses and Peter is Christ, and that the day would soon come when they who will not hear his voice will be cut off[5]
  4. Joel 2:28-32, saying that it would soon be fulfilled and that the fullness of the Gentiles would soon come in[6]
  5. Psalm 100
  6. Psalm 107
  7. Psalm 144
  8. Isaiah 1-2
  9. Jeremiah 31
  10. perhaps also Isaiah 29:11-12
  • Section 2 is a short excerpt from the last chapter of Malachi, which is again quoted in 3 Ne 25. Parallel passages are better listed there.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.


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.

  1. Joseph Smith History 1:27
  2. OT2 (Old Testament Manuscript 2 of the Joseph Smith Translation), p.119. Reproduced in Scott H. Faulring and Kent P. Jackson, eds. Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible: Electronic Library. Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2011.
  3. Joseph Smith History 1:36-39
  4. Joseph Smith History 1:40
  5. Joseph Smith History 1:40
  6. Joseph Smith History 1:41

D&C 2 is the first section in chronological order                  Next section: D&C 3