Doctrine and Covenants Study
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 74
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“Doctrine and Covenants 74,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 74,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 74

Explanation of Scripture, 1830

Source Note

Explanation of Scripture, Wayne Co., NY, 1830. Featured version copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 60–61; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

This “explanation” clarifies a New Testament verse, 1 Corinthians 7:14, which historically had been an important passage for justifying infant baptism.1 Like the Book of Mormon, this document rejects the need for infant baptism by explaining that little children are made clean through the atonement of Jesus Christ, without baptism.2 Although it is possible that questions regarding 1 Corinthians 7:14 or infant baptism prompted this explanation, the precise circumstances are unknown.

The date the document was produced is also uncertain. When John Whitmer copied the document into Revelation Book 1 in 1831, he dated it simply “1830.” However, he placed it between documents dated 6 January 1831 and 4 February 1831.3 The editors of the Book of Commandments did not include this document with JS’s printed revelations in 1833, and when it was included in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, no date was mentioned. Years later, the editors of JS’s history mistakenly wrote that JS dictated this document in January 1832 in conjunction with his revision of the New Testament.4 But the location, which Whitmer identified as Wayne County, New York, indicates that the document was created before JS moved to Ohio in the second half of January 1831, and that it could have been written as early as January 1830.5


An explanation of the first Epistle to the first Corinthians 7 Chapter & 14th verse6 given to Joseph the Seer at Wayne County. N.Y 18307

[1]For the unbelieveing wife husband is sanctified by the wife & the unbelieveing wife is sanctified by the husband else were your Children unclean but now ere [are] they holy8

[2]Now in the days of the Apostles the law of circumcision was had among them all the Jews which believed not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, [3]& it came to pass that there arose a great contention among the People concerning the law of circumcision for the unbelieveing husband was desirous that his children should be circumcised & become subject to the law of Moses9 which law was [p. 60] Fulfilled [4]& it came to pass that the Children being brought up in subjection to the law of moses & gave heed to the traditions of their Fathers & believed not the Gospel of Christ wherein they became unholy [5]wherefore for this cause the Apostle wrote unto the Church giving unto them a commandment not of the Lord but of himself that a believer should not be united to an unbeliever except the law of Moses should be done away among them [6]that their Children might remain without circumcision & that the tradition might be done away which saith that little children are unholy for it was had among the Jews [7]but little children are holy being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ & this is wat these scriptures mean