Steven C. Harper – 2009

David Whitmer said Joseph gave some ridiculous revelations, so ridiculous he dared not mention them. In a recent article at Mormon Times entitled “Newly found revelation of Joseph Smith” by Michael De Groote (Friday, Oct. 16, 2009) Steven C. Harper (one of the three volume editors for the Joseph Smith Papers Project) had the following disparages to lay against David:

Whitmer, Page and McLellin were all excommunicated in 1838. 

David was not excommunicated. See Excommunicated?

Harper continues:

Whitmer never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon, but the Canadian copyright revelation was, in Whitmer’s view, the best example of a bad revelation

David never said that. It was merely one of many examples cited in his pamphlet.

Harper continues:

Whitmer said Joseph “enquired of the Lord about it” and received a revelation that said, “Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.”

“David Whitmer puts those words into Joseph Smith’s mouth,” Harper said. “That’s exactly what I expect out of David Whitmer.”

That’s a mean thing for someone to say about David, particularly in the context in which David reiterated it. The context being, he and Joseph both had the spirit of prophecy (See Prophesied), which spirit could be tainted if the heart was not right. The point being, the state of the heart was key for receiving a true word from God.

David gave an example of an accurate prophecy by Hiram Page:

Hiram Page prophesied a few days before the stars fell in November, 1833, that the stars would fall from heaven and frighten many people. This prophecy was given in my presence. (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 32) 

David wanted others to appreciate this dynamic, so they would not trust in man more than God, as he did with Joseph Smith.

Harper continues:

Whitmer’s memory of Joseph’s response to “revelation” is similar to a later revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 46:7 that says some commandments “are of men, and others of devils.” He also erroneously remembered Toronto was the destination.

Harper tries to draw into question David’s accuracy of the “God, man, devil” revelation because he (allegedly) was inaccurate about which city they went to. That is hardly a fair supposition when one considers which of the two David experienced firsthand. David did not travel to Canada, but he was there for the revelation.

Harper continues:

There was no other side to this story — until the revelation was discovered in the newly found “Book of Commandments and Revelations” manuscript that had been used to prepare the Book of Commandments. The manuscript was found in the First Presidency’s archive when the archive was recently catalogued. 

In other words, they did not wish to acknowledge the testimonies of David Whitmer, Hiram Page, or William McLellin (which Harper did cite) because of the conclusion’s they drew. Harper, like his mentors, play the disparaging card against David so as not to deal with Joseph’s failure (see False Revelations for details).