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D&C 8 is addressed to Oliver Cowdery.
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- Received: April 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
- Prior section in chronological order: D&C 7
- Next section in chronological order: D&C 9
Oliver Cowdery taught school at Manchester, New York during the 1828-1829 school year. A portion of his compensation was received in the form of free lodging at the homes of his students. During his stay with the Joseph Smith Sr. family he obtained a testimony that Joseph had been called of God and that he (Oliver) had a role to play in assisting Joseph.
Once school let out for the spring planting season, Oliver traveled with Samuel Smith to Harmony, Pennsylvania. They arrived, and Oliver first met Joseph, on April 5. Two days later they began translating as a team on April 7. Almost all of what we have today as the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph and Oliver during the months of April to June 1829.
During the first month of April 1829 Joseph received three revelations directed to Oliver Cowdery. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After Oliver's attempt to translate ended in failure, D&C 9 explained why.
For a brief overview of D&C 8 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 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.
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- D&C 8:6: Gift of working with the rod. In the original Book of Commandments, this revelation refers to Oliver as having the "gift of working with the rod"--this was changed to the "gift of Aaron" in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
- There has been much speculation about Oliver's "gift of Aaron" or "gift of working with the rod", with some claiming that it was a diviner's rod, while others have referred to it as a rod used for revelation like that used by Aaron, the brother of Moses. From the description in these verses, it appears that Oliver had a rod that he could hold in his hand and through which he would be able to receive divine revelation.
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- D&C 8:6: What is the "gift of Aaron"?
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- The oldest surviving copy of D&C 8 is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1, p. 12-13, presumably during the summer of 1830.
- D&C 8 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.
- The text of D&C 8 in significant editions of the Doctrine & Covenants can be found at:
Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 8.
- D&C 6, D&C 8, and D&C 9 comprise a group of three revelations all directed to Olivery Cowdery during April 1829 regarding his participation in the Book of Mormon translation. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After he tried to translate but was unable, D&C 9 explained why.
Doctrinal references cited on this page.
Historical references cited on this page.
- In his address to BYU students Cast Not Away Thy Confidence, Elder Holland talks about Moses's revelation to bring the children of Israel through the Red Sea as a prototype of revelation.
- Question about the Gift of Working with the Rod at Mormon Haven.
- See User: Joe Spencer/seven thunders for a poetic exploration of Oliver's rod.
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