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Oliver Granger; who is he?

Stanley D. Barker

One of the silliest arguments used by critics to try to "shut up" members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the old saw about Oliver Granger and members of the Church not knowing who he is.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 117:12 we are told:

And again, I say unto you, I remember my servant Oliver Granger; behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.

Now, this writer is not old enough to have known Oliver Granger, but he is old enough to have read Section 117 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Since Oliver Granger's name appears there, and has from the first time the Doctrine and Covenants was printed, it appears that in at least one respect Oliver's name is being remembered "from generation to generation."  Moreover, this writer can remember back some 40 years ago when a speaker in Sacrament Meeting in Logan, UT (the old Logan 14th Ward) gave a whole talk about Oliver Granger in reference to what section 117 says about him.  Further, critics keep bringing his name up again and again; so how in the world can we forget this man?

Oliver Granger is recorded in Church history as well.  For example:

  • in the History of the Church, edited by B. H. Roberts, reference is made to Oliver's name no less that 14 times, in the Index.  This is many more times than most people listed therein.
  • He is noted in Church Chronology, Andrew Jensen makes three references to Oliver.
  • In The Historical Record, Andrew Jensen mentions Oliver's call to go to Kirtland, Ohio to "take the charge and oversight of the House of the Lord, and preside over the general affairs of the Church in that place," on page 738.
  • Many, many more references could be provided, but if that is necessary, then the point is lost anyway.

Beyond that, however, is an even more rational approach to the meaning of this verse.  John A Tvedtnes (FARMS/ISPART) commented as follows:

More to the point, what does "sacred remembrance" mean? Surely not my memory.  How about God's memory?  The only way to have a "sacred remembrance" is to be remembered by God, isn't it? (e-mail dated July 7, 2003)

Also, in an article appear on this web site, by John A. Tvedtnes, he comments:

It seems unlikely that the memory of any mortal can be called "sacred," so the words "sacred remembrance" most likely refer to the fact that the Lord would remember him. After all, the verse begins with the Lord saying, "I remember my servant Oliver Granger."  (The Nature of Prophets and Prophecy - section titled:  Interpreting Prophecy - [bullet 2]

See also Mr. Tvedtnes' response to critic Dick Baer (item 35).

And in a humorous vein:  if nothing else, critics themselves provide the means for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to remember Oliver Granger, "from generation to generation," by simply bringing him up again and again.