The Sons of Moses and of Aaron

The oath and covenant of the priesthood, contained in Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-41, summarizes the blessings and responsibilities associated with receiving the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. The first two verses read:

For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.

“The renewing of their bodies” and “they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron…” are usually thought of as two separate things. For example, President Faust stated

As part of the oath and covenant of the priesthood, the Lord makes several promises to His faithful sons “which he cannot break.” First, the priesthood holders “are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.” I think President Hinckley is a great example of this. He has been renewed in body, mind, and spirit in a most remarkable manner. Second, “they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham.” (The Key of the Knowledge of God)

However, I have long felt that the concepts should be tied together. I felt like it should be understood like this: “unto the renewing of their bodies [so that] they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham…” Imagine my shock, then, when reading the newest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers I discovered that the original manuscript for the revelation read “unto the renewing of their bodies that they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham…” (p. 279 of The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations). Somehow, intentionally or not, in a later copy the word “that” was removed.

What are your thoughts? What are the implications?

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