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Explanations for the Doctrine and Covenants Section Headings

On March 1, 2013, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new edition of the Latter-day Saint scriptures. The 2013 edition includes adjustments to the headings of seventy-eight sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. For more information on these changes, see the materials posted with the First Presidency’s announcement. In particular, see Adjustments, an overview of the types of adjustments made in the new edition of the Latter-day Saint scriptures; and Side by Side Comparison, a comparison of the former Doctrine and Covenants section headings against the revised headings.

Explanations for most of the significant changes made to the headings are provided below. Detailed information supporting these changes through section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants are available in two volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831 and Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833. Further information supporting changes beyond section 88 will be made available in subsequent volumes.

Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants

For the 2013 edition, the introduction was revised to provide more information about the recording and publishing of the revelations. For more information, see “Introduction to the Manuscript Revelation Books” and “Joseph Smith–Era Publications of Revelations.”

Section 10

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation from summer 1828 to “likely around April 1829.” For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10].

Section 13

In identifying the location where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, the revised heading in the 2013 edition deletes the mention of “along the bank of the Susquehanna River.” This change is based on recent research by the historic sites group of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery described this ordination as occurring in a “woods” some distance from the river. Nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint descriptions of this ordination consistently noted that the event occurred in the “woods.” Evidence indicates that the land near the river had been cleared of trees at the time of the ordination. In contrast, there was a grove of sugar maples on Joseph Smith’s property some distance from the river. This is where the ordination likely occurred. In the early twentieth century, some Latter-day Saint sources began erroneously introducing the notion that the ordination occurred along the banks of the Susquehanna River, evidently in large part because of an unsourced statement made in a caption of a photograph of the river. For more information, see Mark Lyman Staker, “Where Was the Aaronic Priesthood Restored? Identifying the Location of John the Baptist’s Appearance, May 15, 1829,” Mormon Historical Studies 12 (Fall 2011): 143–159.

Section 18

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18].

Section 19

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation from March 1830 to “likely in the summer of 1829.” For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, circa Summer 1829 [D&C 19].

Section 20

The revised heading in the 2013 edition explains that “portions of this revelation may have been given as early as summer 1829.” For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Articles and Covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20].

Section 22

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to April 16, 1830, making the date more specific. The source for this change is a manuscript copy of the revelation in the handwriting of William E. McLellin, housed in William E. McLellin, Papers, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

Section 23

The revised heading in the 2013 edition explains that this section is constituted of five separate revelations, all received in April 1830. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, pages 29–30.

Section 32

The revised heading in the 2013 edition inserts the location of the revelation as Manchester, New York. The source for this change is Revelation Book 2, page 84.

Section 36

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to December 9, 1830, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 48.

Section 39

The heading in the 1981 edition identified the subject of this revelation as James Covill, a Baptist minister. The revised heading in the 2013 edition identifies this individual as James Covel, a Methodist minister. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 5 January 1831 [D&C 39]; and the biographical sketch for Covel.

Section 40

See the information immediately above regarding section 39.

Section 41

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 4 February 1831 [D&C 41].

Section 42

The revised heading in the 2013 edition explains that this section is constituted of two separate revelations, one received February 9, 1831, and the other received February 23, 1831. For more information, see the Historical Introductions to Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; and to Revelation, 23 February 1831 [D&C 42:74–93].

Section 47

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, circa 8 March 1831–B [D&C 47].

Section 48

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to March 10, 1830, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 79.

Section 49

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to May 7, 1831. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49].

Section 50

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to May 9, 1831, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 82.

Section 51

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to May 20, 1831, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 86.

Section 52

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to June 6, 1831. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 87.

Section 53

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to June 8, 1831, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 89.

Section 54

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54].

Section 55

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to June 14, 1831, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 91.

Section 56

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56].

Section 57

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57].

Section 59

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 7 August 1831 [D&C 59].

Section 60

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 8 August 1831 [D&C 60].

Section 63

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to August 30, 1831, making the date more specific. One source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 104.

Section 65

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to October 30, 1831, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 1, page 112.

Section 66

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 29 October 1831 [D&C 66].

Section 67

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, circa 2 November 1831 [D&C 67].

Section 68

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 1 November 1831–A [D&C 68].

Section 69

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 11 November 1831–A [D&C 69].

Section 70

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 12 November 1831 [D&C 70].

Section 72

The revised heading in the 2013 edition explains that this section is constituted of three separate revelations, all received December 4, 1831. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 4 December 1831–A [D&C 72:1–8].

Section 74

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Explanation of Scripture, 1830 [D&C 74].

Section 75

The revised heading in the 2013 edition explains that this section is constituted of two separate revelations, both received January 25, 1832. The sources for this change include early manuscript copies of the revelations made by Sidney Rigdon (Revelation A, Revelation B).

Section 77

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to “about March 1832.” For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Answers to Questions, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832 [D&C 77].

Section 78

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 1 March 1832 [D&C 78]; and the glossary entry for “United Firm.”

Section 79

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to March 12, 1832, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 2, page 12.

Section 80

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to March 7, 1832, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 2, page 18.

Section 81

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to March 15, 1832, making the date more specific. The source for this change is Revelation Book 2, page 17.

Section 82

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 26 April 1832 [D&C 82]; and the glossary entry for “United Firm.”

Section 85

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 November 1832.

Section 87

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, 25 December 1832 [D&C 87].

Section 88

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see the Historical Introductions to Revelation, 27–28 December 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; and to Revelation, 3 January 1833 [D&C 88:127–137].

Section 89

The revised heading in the 2013 edition deletes the last sentence of the earlier heading, which stated that the first three verses of the revelation were written by Joseph Smith. The sources for this change include the versions of the revelation in Revelation Book 1, page 167, and Revelation Book 2, pages 4950, which treat the opening statement as part of the revelation.

Section 92

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. In reference to the appointment of Frederick G. Williams, the heading changes “a counselor in the First Presidency” to a “counselor to Joseph Smith.” This change was made because the term “First Presidency” was not in use until later in the 1830s. See the glossary for more information on the historical development of the term “First Presidency” and for more information on the United Firm.

Section 94

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation from May 6, 1833, to August 2, 1833. The sources for this change include a letter from Joseph Smith and others dated 6 August 1833; a letter from Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, and others dated 10 August 1833; and Revelation Book 2, page 64.

Section 95

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the plural “houses” to the singular “house,” in reference to the temple then being built in Kirtland, Ohio. This change is based on the language of the revelation itself.

Section 98

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information on tensions and persecution in Missouri at this time, see, for example, the July 29, 1833, letter from John Whitmer and William W. Phelps to Joseph Smith and others; and the geographical descriptions for “Independence, Missouri,” and “Missouri.”

Section 99

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to August 29, 1832, making the date more specific, and provides information about John Murdock. The source for the date change is Revelation Book 1, page 148. For more information about John Murdock, see his biographical sketch.

Section 101

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation to December 16 and 17, 1833, and adds the detail that some Saints had tried to establish themselves in Lafayette and Ray counties. The source for the date change is Revelation Book 1, page 183. For information on the added counties, see their geographical descriptions (Lafayette County, Ray County).

Section 102

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical background. The sources for the changes include Minute Book 1, 19 February 1834, page 36.

Section 104

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information on the United Firm, see the glossary.

Section 105

The revised heading in the 2013 edition corrects and clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information on Zion’s Camp, see the editorial note preceding page 85 in Joseph Smith’s 1832–1834 journal; and the glossary.

Section 107

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For the text of the November 1831 revelation referred to in this heading, see Revelation, 11 November 1831–B [D&C 107 (partial)].

Section 108

The revised heading in the 2013 edition deletes the mention that Lyman Sherman had been ordained a high priest. For more information about Lyman Sherman, see his biographical sketch.

Section 114

The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation from April 17, 1838, to April 11, 1838. The source for this change is Joseph Smith’s March–September 1838 journal, page 32.

Sections 121–123

The revised headings in the 2013 edition clarify that the material in these sections comes from a Joseph Smith letter dated March 20, 1839.

Section 132

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. Historical evidence indicates that some of the principles regarding plural marriage were known by Joseph Smith as early as 1831.

Section 135

The revised heading in the 2013 edition removes the statement that John Taylor authored this section. Although he has been identified as its author since the early twentieth century, those later attributions were only given as tentative. When the section was first published in the 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, it did not include an attribution, and no one involved in its publication ever identified the author. Evidence of who wrote the declaration is inconclusive. While it is clear that both Willard Richards and John Taylor, the only two surviving Latter-day Saint eyewitnesses to the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, shared information that is part of this document, others may have contributed to its construction as well.

Section 137

The revised heading in the 2013 edition clarifies the revelation’s historical context. For more information, see Joseph Smith’s 1835–1836 journal, pages 136–138.