There have been a few published and unpublished editions of D&C 89 since 1833. This list includes all of the editions published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a few of the unpublished ones. Very few changes have happened over time, and none of them substantial.
The only controversial change was one that appeared in the 1921 edition where a new comma appears in D&C 89:13. See “1921 Edition” below.
(This page is a work in progress!)
Sources: Rober J. Woodford
[undated] Manuscript #1
This is an unpublished copy handwritten by Wilford Woodruff on some blank pages of the Book of Commandments. According to Robert J. Woodford, “probably the earliest one extant. All of the other manuscripts are dated at least a year after the revelation was received” (p. 1214).
December 1833 or January 1834
This is the first published edition. Published on broadsheet in advance distribution of the printing of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.
In 1921, a committee of five apostles who had recently completed a new edition of the Book of Mormon began preparing a new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Elder James E. Talmage, a member of the committee, noted that previous editions of the D&C contained “many errors by way of omission.”1 The most significant change in this new edition was the removal of the “Lectures on Faith,” but the committee also expanded the headnotes, revised the footnotes, and divided the pages into double columns.2 Numerous smaller changes were also made. As one of the many changes published in the revised 1921 edition, a new comma appeared in verse 13 of section 89. This comma was inserted between the words used and only. Later labeled the “vegetarian comma,” and also the “errant comma,” some people argued that the comma substantially changed the meaning of the verse, but this assertion is not supported by any evidence (see: A. Jane Birch, “Questioning the Comma in Verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 10 (2014): 133-149).
Text of the introduction to this edition:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. HC 1: 327–329. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.
A change was made in the introduction to Section 89. The last sentence the 1981 edition was left out. LDS Scholars now feel that the first three verses were always an integral part of the revelation. Here is the complete text:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result.
Last updated July 3, 2015
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