Abide #1: Doctrine and Covenants Section 76

  • On February 16, 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were working on the Prophet’s “translation” of the Bible. This wasn’t a translation in a linguistic sense, where someone takes a text from one language and presents it in another. No, this was a project about seeking out meanings and insights that had been lost over hundreds of years of Christian thought and practice. Smith sought to expand upon what he had learned as an American Christian by increasing his spiritual knowledge through a concentrated reading of the Bible, clarifying and expanding the Old and New Testaments from 1830-1833.

    Part of the Prophet’s translation process included asking questions—what does this verse mean? What else did the Lord have to tell him about figures like Melchizedek and Abraham? On February 16, 1832, Smith and Rigdon sought clarification on the text of John 5:29, where Jesus Christ speaks on the resurrection saying that those who “have done good” would receive the resurrection of life,” and those who had done evil, would reap “the resurrection of damnation.” As the Prophet and his scribe, Sidney Rigdon, pondered what the two resurrections might mean, they beheld a vision of what awaited humankind after death, what has been canonized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Doctrine and Covenants Section 76, or what contemporary Saints called “The Vision.”