Back in February 2017, I learned of the publication of The Testimony of St. John, which appeared as a downloadable PDF on the website of Denver Snuffer. I was astonished when I read that the long-promised Testimony of St John had been revealed and shared for our edification. That is, if you believe the Lord, through Joseph, in section 93 was referring to the testimony of John the Beloved and not John the Baptist.
The preamble to section 171 in the restoration edition of the scriptures reads: “Below is a newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah, given through Denver Snuffer Jr. during the month of January 2017.” Was this scripture received in fulfillment of the promise in section 93? Some of the commentaries you can read online leave it open as to which John the Lord was referring in that section.
From an October 1999 Ensign article, we read: “The record which the Lord says ‘is hereafter to be revealed’ may be that of either or both of these faithful servants. This pattern is similar to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, wherein the writer, John the Beloved, is quoting the speaker, John the Baptist, and both are testifying of Christ.” The author of this statement is Jonn D. Claybaugh, a CES institute director at the time.
The Importance of Scripture
LDSWatchman offered us a thought exercise in his comment in part one of this series. I deferred responding to it there since I knew this very scripture would be the subject of part two in this series, A Time of Reflection. I have thought much about the apparent discrepancy between the JST version and what we have in the new TSJ from January 2017. Scripture is serious stuff, especially since those who have accepted the covenant, will be judged by what we have accepted. Here are his comments as expressed there:
Do a verse by verse comparison of the first chapter of the KJV of John, JST of John, and Denver’s TSJ. You’ll see that Denver actually changes some of the changes Joseph Smith was inspired to make back to what they were in the KJV. Any thoughts on why that is? Why would God have his servant Joseph Smith correct something only to have his Davidic Servant change it back? What is the correct version of the gospel of John? Is it the JST of John or Denver’s TSJ, because it can’t be both as they contradict each other (in multiple places).
I don’t have an answer other than to refer you to A Prophet’s Prerogative authored by Jeff Savage and the scriptures committee using the example of Isaiah 29 to answer why the Lord would inspire one dispensation head, Joseph, to translate the Testimony of St. John one way and another, Denver, to translate the same scripture another way. Read Jeff’s message carefully, especially the last paragraph or verse six in the Prerogative. You’ll note we have both versions of John’s testimony in the Restoration scriptures.
Gratitude for New Scripture
Although I’ve put a lot of pondering and prayer into this series, I intend to keep each post relatively short. The intent is simply to draw our attention to a few fundamental things that have come forth in the last few years for those who are willing to accept them. I’ve already covered the idea of the Davidic Servant. This post is to remind us of the blessing of new scripture. It is scripture because the Lord revealed it and we accepted it as such.
I distinctly remember standing in my home the morning of 3 September 2017 after the covenant was read and witnessing to the heavens that I accepted the covenant and would abide by it. I am especially grateful to acknowledge the covenant includes the Book of Mormon, which had never been previously accepted by covenant by any people until that day. It is a standard by which I guide my thoughts, words and deeds each day.
I love the Book of Mormon. I have read it almost every day of my life. I learned to read from the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee. It has been a source of guidance, help, consolation, comfort, inspiration, strength and correction throughout my life. As I read from its pages, I feel the inspiration of Lord, specifically for my walk through life. It is as a conduit to heaven. Indeed, it opens the heavens for me. I am grateful for this covenant.