Neuropathology and the Scriptures

Among the papers of William E. McLellin recently discovered in the Church archives are handwritten copies of four revelations long included in the Doctrine and Covenants as sections 22, 45, 65, and 66. These texts, along with McLellin’s six journals ranging from July 18, 1831, to June 6, 1836, will be published by BYU Studies in the near future in a supplementary volume. This note features Section 65.

As a new convert, McLellin arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, in October 1831. There he copied by hand several of the revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Making such copies for use in study, preaching, and missionary work was a common practice among the early members of the Church before the Book of Commandments (1833) and the Doctrine and Covenants (1835) were printed.

The most interesting detail about this document stands in its heading. The 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants identifies Section 65 as a “revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Hiram, Ohio, October 1831,” and notes, “The Prophet designates this revelation as a prayer.” The McLellin manuscript, however, gives two further details. First, it gives the exact date: “A revelation of Joseph the Seer 30 Oct.. 1831,” and second, it specifies that this revelation is “on the 6th Matthew 10 verse.” This information allows us to recognize, for the first time, that Section 65 is not simply an ordinary or spontaneous prayer, but is deeply related to the Lord’s Prayer, especially Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

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