Doctrine and Covenants Commentary - Section 9

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
           SECTION 9

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Oliver Cowdery, at Harmony, Pennsylvania, April 1829. HC 1:37-38. Oliver is admonished to be patient, and is urged to be content to write, for the time being, at the dictation of the translator, rather than to attempt to translate.

Oliver's Attempt to Translate Fails
    1—6, Other ancient records are yet to be translated;
    7—14, The Book of Mormon is translated by study and by spiritual confirmation.
D&C 9:1 BEHOLD, I say unto you, my son, that because you did not atranslate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to bwrite for my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., even so I would that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him.
D&C 9:2 And then, behold, aother brecords have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to ctranslate.
D&C 9:3 Be patient, my son, for it is awisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time.

Ego and Super Ego 
Often what we think ourselves to be and what we are, is not the same. We may like to think of ourselves as one of the Lord's Apostles or Prophets, and think ourselves primed to such capability and capacity. That is our Super Ego, that which we think ourselves to be. The true is that alone, none of us are able to measure up to such high standards. That is our Ego, what we of ourselves really are. Like Oliver Cowdery, who was comparatively learned relative to the farm lad Joseph Smith with just 3 years of formal education, we may think ourselves at least equal to the tasks the Lords seems to assign to our 'lesser'. Oliver's Ego was put in place for the time being. And the truth of the matter was there to be seen, that with the Lord's strong arm of strength abiding with even the seemingly weakest of men, the Lord is able to raise that man up to do what the Lord would have him do if he is but meek, humble, committed and willing to work to the extent of all he can do, and then the Lord raises that man to the task which the Lord has called him to so fill.
D&C 9:4 Behold, the work which you are called to do is awrite for my servant Joseph.
D&C 9:5 And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.
D&C 9:6 Do not amurmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.

D&C 9:7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
D&C 9:8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must astudy it out in your bmind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your dbosom shall eburn within you; therefore, you shall ffeel that it is right.
D&C 9:9 But if it is not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a astupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is bsacred save it be given you from me.

D&C 9:10 Now, if you had known this you could have atranslated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
D&C 9:11 Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you afeared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;
D&C 9:12 For, do you not behold that I have agiven unto my servant bJoseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? And neither of you have I condemneda.

 12a neither of you have I condemned Unlike Martin Harris' persistence to satisfy the coureosity of men by securing the 116 pages to be shown about and Jospeh's persistence in allowing him to persuade him, this instance of Oliver and Joseph delving and taking up time was not one of wicked intent. Oliver and Joseph have been investigating and questioning with the use of the Urim and Thummim and Oliver truly desired to be able to translate as Joseph had been so doing. Oliver's 'faith' lacked the accompanying commitments of 'works' and thus he was not able to translate as he desired. The Lord shows forth here that based upon honest intentions and good faith, he does not condemn the otherwise frailties of man. It could be looked upon as a test of Oliver's strength, which was not adequate to translate. Both this desire to be on par with Joseph but not strong enough of character and spirit to be so would eventually prove to Oliver's fall. We all have such flaws, thus we always must be meek and lowly before the Lord, seeking his strong arm to strengthen us in our endivers, humbly realizing that without his aid our success it limited.
D&C 9:13 Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall aprosper. Be faithful, and yield to no btemptation.
D&C 9:14 Stand fast in the awork wherewith I bcalled you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be clifted up at the last day. Amen.