No Rain

I have been on a hiatus for a while, focusing all of my writing efforts on completing my book about the hidden secret of Joseph’s prophetic ministry.  Given that this weekend is general conference for the LDS church, I thought it appropriate to share one chapter of my book regarding the situation we find ourselves in today—a time of no revelation even though we have 15 who claim that prophetic mantle.  Note that I am not tech savvy enough to get all the footnotes that are in the book over into this post without a herculean effort, so I have taken the easy way out and omitted most of them.  A quick scripture search should give you the references, at least to the scriptures.  Enjoy.

 

Chapter 14

No Rain

It is an article of faith to Mormons today that there is a living prophet standing at the head of the church to receive revelations from the Lord himself.  The words of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles given at general conference every six months are promoted as being the word of the Lord, and are even perceived by some as the equivalent of scripture.  The Church today sustains these fifteen men “prophets, seers and revelators.”  It wasn’t always so.

When Brigham Young made his case before the Saints in Nauvoo on August 8, 1844, he didn’t maintain that he was the rightful successor to Joseph, nor did he advance any claim that he had received an ordination as prophet, seer and revelator.  No.  He only argued that the Twelve should lead the church.  That line of reasoning probably carried the day with the majority of the Saints in Nauvoo because many were converts from foreign lands who were most familiar with the missionaries who taught them—the members of the Quorum of Twelve.  New to the gospel, these converts were still largely unschooled in the revelations canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants.  A week later, Brigham Young published in the Times and Seasons the declaration presented in the previous chapter telling the Saints that they “are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you.” (Times and Seasons, 15 August 1844)

So, the question naturally follows: When did Brigham Young suddenly become a prophet, seer and revelator?  Who laid hands on Brigham to give him that authority?  According to the order of the Church, it had to be someone who was himself a prophet, seer and revelator.  One cannot convey authority that they don’t already possess.  And yet, Brigham was responsible for running the only man out of town who we can positively identify as having that prophetic authority when he excommunicated Sidney.  Not only is it necessary to be ordained by a prophet, seer and revelator, the revelations teach that members of the First Presidency are to be comprised of men who have been ordained as high priests.  By his own admission, Brigham was never ordained a high priest. (Journal of Discourses 1:136)

Apologists point to what has come to be known as Joseph’s “last charge” as the basis for some authority conveyed to the Twelve to lead the Church.  This “charge” was given in late March 1844 to the Council of Fifty, a council comprised of up to 50 individuals, including women and several non-members.  It also included members of the Quorum of Twelve.  Orson Hyde claimed that it was at that particular meeting “when president Joseph Smith laid the responsibility of leading the church on the Twelve.”  (See the Council of Fifty Minutes, p. 66)  However, the historical record is devoid of any ordinations or ordinances accompanying the alleged statement by Joseph.  Hyde went on to say that Smith “did declare that he had conferred upon the Twelve every key and every power that he ever held himself before God.”  This claim, made nearly a year after the fact, is curious because it was never advanced as a reason to support the Twelve during the succession crisis.  One would have thought that if indeed Joseph had conveyed “every key and every power” to the Twelve they would have presented that fact as the centerpiece of their case for leading the church—something that never happened.  Instead, history was conveniently rewritten over time to support the claims of the Twelve.  It is worth noting that Orson Hyde was a prolific prevaricator and embellisher of history.  Van Wagoner describes him as “the quorum’s de facto agent of disinformation.”  Any of his claims that are unverified through multiple other sources should be taken with extreme skepticism and caution.

We should also keep in mind that this “charge” was given to the Council of Fifty, an organization whose members were required to take oaths of secrecy upon penalty of death, a hallmark of secret combinations which are roundly condemned by the Book of Mormon.  Having no precedence in the revelations of the Lord, the Council of Fifty can be most closely compared to a political assembly, not an ecclesiastical one.  Its initial efforts were focused on the establishment of a theocratic kingdom of god on the earth with Joseph as the patriarchal king.  To that end, colonization possibilities were explored in various locations outside the boundaries of the United States, including Oregon, Vancouver Island, Upper California and Texas.

If Joseph actually told the Twelve and others what is reported, namely that: “Upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now, but now the responsibility rests upon you” then it is entirely likely that he was referring to the theocratic political kingdom that the Council was looking to establish.  Without ordinations and actual conferrals of authority via the established protocol of the laying on of hands, it’s difficult to draw any other conclusion.  Unfortunately for the original claims of the Twelve, the historical record is utterly bereft of contemporary accounts of any ordinations—something we can verify in our day with access to original sources like the Council of Fifty Minutes and the entire Joseph Smith Papers Collection.  Joseph said something on that occasion—that’s all.  Without an ordination, there can be no transfer of keys or authority, especially in the case of a prophet, seer and revelator.

Lack of ordained authority, however, was no impediment to Brigham’s systematic efforts to create a Church hierarchy with him at the very top of the food chain.  Three years after the Saints voted to be led by the Twelve, Brigham started lobbying his fellow apostles to reconstitute the First Presidency with Brigham as President.  When asked about it, Wilford Woodruff indicated that he “thought it would require a revelation to change the order of that Quorum [the First Presidency].”  Woodruff’s opposition probably speaks most loudly to the lack of any scriptural authority for the Twelve to select the First Presidency.  (see Wilford Woodruff Journal, October 12, 1847)

Today we have become so accustomed to the idea that the Quorum of the Twelve selects the President, who then selects his counsellors, that we yawn every time the President dies, and he is succeeded like clockwork by the next most senior apostle.  But back in Brigham’s day this was a radical idea.  Brigham wanted the Twelve to appoint an apostle as an independent president who would then appoint two counsellors, something that was never authorized in any of Joseph’s teachings or the revelations.  This is probably why Wilford Woodruff thought that any change of this magnitude would require a revelation from the Lord, presumably written and canonized.  Not only was Woodruff skeptical, but Orson Pratt was also opposed.  John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt and George A. Smith were also dissenting votes as minutes from the Quorum meetings indicate.

Orson Pratt was rightfully concerned about the concentration of power and autonomy that would rest with Brigham should he be able to create a quorum superior to the Twelve.  Instead of garnering a majority of seven votes in the Twelve for any decision, Brigham would now be able to overrule anything the Twelve attempted to do by his new quorum of three, especially when he selected his best buddies, Willard Richards and Heber C. Kimball as counselors.  After months of lobbying, Young was successful at wearing down the opposition to the point that they acquiesced.  He was was now effectively king.

It’s A Miracle!  

No contemporaneous accounts of the meeting at Elder Hyde’s house on December 5, 1847 record that any miracle occurred when the Twelve voted to reconstitute the First Presidency.  When the change was announced in a Church conference later that month and put before the members for a vote there was no discussion of a revelation, a divine manifestation or any miracle to sanction what the Twelve were proposing.

Thirteen years later, however, Orson (there he goes again) Hyde and Young started to talk about a miracle which happened on that day, implying that there was a divine manifestation.  In the 1860 general conference, Brigham Young asserted that “the power came upon us, a shock that alarmed the neighborhood.”  Six months later Orson Hyde further adorned the fiction by stating that the voice of God declared “let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the presiding priesthood in my church and kingdom.” An official account of this event today even speaks of an earthquake:

“Outside, people came to the Hyde’s door and knocked, worried because they felt houses shake and the ground tremble as though there had been an earthquake.  It was the Lord speaking to his leaders, Elder Hyde assured them.”

No information is provided as to how the people who came running would actually know that Orson Hyde’s house was the epicenter of this miraculous exhibition of divine favor.  Wilford Woodruff’s diary mentions nothing unusual about the December 5, 1847, meeting, and the minutes scream silence regarding a revelation or supposed miracle.  We search in vain for any other motive except insecurity to explain why some members of the Twelve felt that they needed to fabricate a miracle to justify their actions.  Obviously, they considered it imperative to shore up their claims to authority by creating a false narrative that remains part of our lore to this day.

Let’s suppose for a second that there actually was a miracle—the earth shook, the neighbors ran to the Hyde’s house, and the Twelve heard with their very ears a voice declaring that Brigham should step forward as president of the First Presidency.  Should we believe something just because there is a miracle attached?  What do the scriptures say?  A careful reading indicates that Satan can deceive through the use of miracles—he can appear as an angel of light.  The Pharaoh’s magicians were able to channel the dark side in mimicking some of the Lord’s miracles performed by Moses and Aaron.  The Lord himself warns us that in the end times there will be false prophets who show great signs and wonders and deceive even the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

Recall the debunked miracle of Brigham Young taking on the appearance, the voice and the mannerisms of Joseph in Nauvoo.  We can’t overlook the fact that every major step of the seizure of power by the Twelve was accompanied by a “miracle”—manufactured after the fact—to supposedly signify God’s approbation of the steps taken.  I would submit that building one’s faith in the rectitude of Church leadership on the basis of a miracle is building on a shaky foundation, especially in light of the historical evidence pointing to a pattern of fabrication, and the scriptural evidence granting no authority to the Twelve to reconstitute the First Presidency.  It doesn’t matter how many times a lie is repeated…it is still a lie.

The Heavens are Closed

Once in power, Young ruled with an iron fist.  He brooked no opposition, creating some strong feelings within the Twelve who did not dare cross him.  He was extremely clever and ambitious—the strong leader that the Saints desired after Joseph’s death.  But was he a prophet? A seer? A revelator?  We are instructed by the Lord in the revelations that we are not to accept the teachings of anyone as revelations or commandments unless they have “come in at the gate” (D&C 43) and are properly ordained.  If Brigham came in at the gate, it’s the world’s most closely guarded secret.  Evidence that he was ever ordained to receive the oracles of God is conspicuously non-existent.

By extension, one must inevitably conclude that we have no basis to believe that any of the Presidents of the Church, their councilors or members of the Quorum of Twelve have since been prophets, seers or revelators either.  The only way that changes is through a heavenly visitation to convey specific prophetic keys via an ordination—something that has never been claimed by the leadership that I am aware.  Several past presidents have been asked if they are indeed prophets.  The lawyered answer is typically that they are “sustained as such by the Church,” a very weak and unconvincing answer to a direct question.

(See for example, the testimony of Joseph F. Smith when questioned in front of Congress at the Reed Smoot hearings.  United States Congress (1905). Testimony of Important Witnesses as Given in the Proceedings Before the Reed Smoot Hearings. P. 59. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Company.  President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a similar answer when asked in an interview by the San Francisco Chronicle that was published on April 13, 1997.  Question: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church? Answer: I am so sustained, yes.)

The obsessive focus on declaring the Twelve Apostles of the Church as prophets, seers and revelators commenced only relatively recently during the administration of David O. McKay in the 1950s and 1960s.  Prior to that the Church was asked to sustain the top leader as merely “President of the Church” not as a prophet.  What changed?  Did the Fifteen suddenly receive—over a hundred years after Joseph’s death—more authority from on high than they previously had been granted?

I think it is important to make clear that the Twelve have keys specific to their apostolic charge as missionaries—to preach the preparatory gospel to the world during this current dispensation—the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.  As such, they are entitled to inspiration in fulfilling their responsibility to minister to the world.  I am sure there is available inspired direction in that process, including calling other missionaries to assist in the work of spreading the “knowledge of the fulness” to the world.  But inspiration and revelation are two very different things.  Receiving the word of the Lord directly from his mouth is not the same as receiving impressions and direction from the Holy Ghost.  We often conflate the two, but they are not the same.  Ever since the days of Brigham Young, the Twelve have gone far beyond their core missionary mandate; and today they rule over both the mission field AND the stakes of Zion, having created a hierarchy that the Lord never intended.  They have become executives of a vast worldwide enterprise known as the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a “corporation sole” which means that all assets are owned by the President of the Church.  The articles of incorporation even mandate that upon the death of the President, the most senior apostle becomes the next President who now owns all the assets.  We aren’t even organized as a church.

The label “false prophet” sounds very harsh to our ears, conjuring up images of men or women who are actively trying to lead us astray.  But to the extent that anyone claims prophetic privilege to speak for the Lord, without the ordained mantle of authority, they are creating a false impression in the minds of the people regardless of their intent.  Whether their motives are notably nefarious or blindly benign makes no difference if the end result is deception.  Thus, they are false prophets, even if they are well meaning in their intent.  In the Old Testament the ancient prophet Jeremiah calls this prophetic privilege to receive direct revelation “the burden of the Lord.”  In chapter 23, the Lord rails on the leaders of His people—the prophets who claim the burden of the Lord—by teaching us that “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.“  Further, he seems to indicate displeasure at prophets who endlessly quote each other when he says: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.  Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.”

Whether it is explicitly stated, or implied, the impression left with members of the Church is that these fifteen men speak for the Lord—even to the extent that it is anathema to view them as anything other than direct spokesmen for the Lord who bear the burden of bringing forth His words to the people.  They are living scripture who will brook no “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.”  Entrance to temples is contingent upon holding fast to this belief.  If you don’t sustain these men, then you are not worthy.  Their words trump anything that has been taught in the past, including even scripture itself on occasion.  This prophet worship has worsened with time as decades of institutional inertia have codified these beliefs into Mormon orthodoxy.

No doubt that many of their words are inspirational.  But the real question is: Are they the words of the Lord directly from his mouth?  The Lord provides us with a way to know.  He actually tells us what to say to these so-called prophets.  We are to ask them this question:

What hath the Lord answered thee? And, What hath the Lord spoken?”

In other words, we are to challenge them to bring forth and present to us the actual words of the Lord, just like Joseph brought forth the revelations which were canonized and published.  Inspirational stories are not the words of Christ.  Changes in policy are not the words of the Lord.  By this measure we have had a dearth of revelation for a very long time.

Historically, the role of prophets has been to call the people to repentance, not to rule over them as judges and administrators.  Most telling to me are the messages we hear which tell us that we will have peace if we just stay on the Old Ship Zion, or if we just do our temple work and stick with the leadership of the Church.  We are rarely admonished for our materialism or for failing to live the Law of the Lord.  We are taught smooth things.  Again, Jeremiah addresses the very situation we find ourselves in when the Lord says of the prophets:

“They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto everyone that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”

Further, He states:

“But if they [the prophets] had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”

They are also admonished for causing

“…my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.”

While it is easy to dismiss the words of ancient prophets as not applicable today, Jeremiah specifically states in this chapter that “in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.”  He’s talking to us.  In subsequent chapters we will explore in depth the falsehoods that we embrace and our evil doings, even though we believe them to be good.

Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard

In Isaiah 5, we have a song about the Lord’s vineyard comprising the first seven verses of the chapter.  In the mind of the Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, this information from Isaiah was of sufficient importance to us in the last days that he included it in his book. There we learn that the Lord planted a beautiful vineyard:

“…in a very fruitful hill.  And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.”

So what does this parable have to do with the latter-day saints?  I would submit that it describes what happened when the Lord brought forth His Church and restored the fulness of the priesthood at the Morley Farm in 1831 as we have extensively chronicled in Part 1 of this book.  Think of the tower in the midst of the vineyard as the Kirtland Temple.  It was there in Kirtland that the Lord brought forth His Law to a blessed people in a choice land.  He had every right to believe that His efforts would be rewarded with a bounteous harvest of delicious fruit.  But alas, the vineyard brought forth wild grapes when the people collectively broke the covenant and rejected the Lord’s holy laws.  On seeing the yield of wild grapes, the Lord of the vineyard laments: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”  

The Lord has done all he can; he has spared no effort in trying to get the people to bring forth the precious fruit (results) that would come by living His Law, but His efforts have been in vain.  Therefore:

“I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:”

Kirtland had been declared a “stronghold” by the Lord on September 11, 1831, a protection that was to last for 5 years until September 11, 1836.  This hedge of priesthood protection was put in place for the express purpose of saving some souls.  But once the 1836 date passed, that hedge was gone, and all hell broke loose.  The temple was defiled, the Kirtland Safety Society debacle materialized, and Joseph and Sidney were forced to flee Kirtland in the middle of the night for fear of their lives.  The change occurred almost overnight.  One day the hedge was there and the next it was gone—from the transcendent light of the heavenly visitations at the Kirtland Temple to utter darkness.

“And I will lay it [the vineyard] waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.”

In other words, the Lord is not going to be working the vineyard; He is going to let it devolve and deteriorate to a state where the briers and thorns of false doctrines, false prophets and the precepts of men flourish.  And what of the heavenly rains?  They will cease.  There will be no revelations from above.  The heavens are closed by divine decree.

Knowing that the Lord called his latter-day saints “the children of Israel” puts a whole new spin on the next verse, providing a critical clue that the Lord is talking about us in the last days.

“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

Later we will explore in detail how the Lord’s people are being oppressed by their leaders.  Suffice it to say that we have a tremendous blind spot regarding the prophecies and warnings of the last days—we don’t think they apply to us in the Mormon Church.  Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, addresses this very fact when he teaches:

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

In other words, the children of Israel are going to be blinded to their own situation, until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in.  The next chapter will address the marvelous work that coincides with the fulness of the Gentiles—something that most modern Mormons believe has already happened.  However, we will document how it is really a future work that is about to come forth.

Two different books of scriptures use the term “hidden darkness” as a descriptor for our day.  It is rich with meaning, suggesting a darkness that is not even understood or recognized because it is hidden from view.  The people are completely blind to it.  Both JST Genesis 50 and 2 Nephi 3 talk of a servant from the lineage of Joseph who would do a great work in the last days to bring the Lord’s people “out of darkness into light: out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.”  Not only are the people blind while they think they see, they are in captivity.  This servant will bring them out of this hidden darkness and liberate them from the oppressors.

The parable of the vineyard is not the only scriptural evidence that the Lord ceases to speak to His people on occasion.  Isaiah also talks of the Lord hiding his face from his people:

“And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.”

Waiting on the Lord? Looking for Him?  As the scripture implies, the Lord is not around—He is hiding his face for whatever reason—thus the need to wait and watch for Him.

The Old Testament prophet, Hosea, speaks of Ephraim as being “oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.”  We are left to speculate what “commandment” the house of Ephraim willingly followed, but it was clearly a false commandment that falls into the category of contracting a “spirit of whoredoms.” As a result, the Lord has “withdrawn himself from them.” He also makes it clear that they must recognize their sins, and seek the Lord before He will return to them:

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”

It won’t be until we recognize the hidden darkness, acknowledge our offences towards God, and fully repent that we will be able to once again enjoy the bright shining light of revelation from the Lord.

Put on Thy Strength, O Zion

Section 113 of the Doctrine & Covenants is a question and answer session in the which a few obscure passages from the Book of Isaiah are brought before the Lord for clarification.  These inquiries took place in 1838, several years after the Saints had rejected the covenant. Elias Higbee asked a couple of key questions from Isaiah, chapter 52:

“Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

BRING AGAIN ZION.  The Lord is going to call men with the power of priesthood to bring again Zion.  Putting on her strength means to obtain that authority of the priesthood which was lost unto them!  This reminds us of the Lord’s word in 1841 to Joseph:

“For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”  

When Brother Higbee asked these questions of the Lord, the Saints had already been downgraded and lost the fulness of the priesthood.  Therefore, the Lord’s answer clearly indicates that this restoration of priesthood power is to be a future event.  Mormons will argue that the temple related ordinances introduced in Nauvoo represent that restoration of the fulness.  I would only point out here (a whole subsequent chapter deals with this) that what was introduced in Nauvoo was completely new and novel and had nothing to do with redeeming Zion.

Elias then goes on to ask a question regarding the next verse:

“What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck: 2d vers?

We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation.  See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses.  The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.”

The scattered remnants in their fallen state are strongly urged to repent and return to the Lord.  If they do, they are promised that the Lord will speak to them and provide the rains of revelation.  The fact that we, in our scattered condition among the gentiles, are currently under a curse is verified towards the end of the Lord’s answer.  Why is this not clear to everyone?  Because we are in a state of hidden darkness.  Although living in a state of darkness is a curse, in one sense it may actually be a blessing in that ignorance tends to lessens the severity of the consequences of any offense in the eyes of the law.  Sinning against the Lord in ignorance is less of a crime than knowledgeable open rebellion.

Into the Wilderness

While the stories of many pioneering latter-day saints who followed Brigham Young and made the trek west are truly heroic and inspiring, nevertheless, the fact remains that they ended up in Utah.  Both metaphorically and literally a portion of God’s people were led off into the wilderness.  Church headquarters puts a noble spin on it, painting the exodus west as the result of both internal dissent and external persecution—the Saints were victims.  Discussions rarely occurs around their own rejection of God’s laws because that would require an admission of guilt—it would mean acknowledging that we don’t have the fulness and are under a curse.  It would mean going against nearly two centuries of institutional indoctrination to the contrary.

Recall again what the Lord said in Nauvoo about how the Saints “would not be moved out of their place” if they would hearken unto the Lord.  Yet they find themselves in the dry and dusty deserts of Utah where there is no revelatory rain from on high.  I have found it highly interesting to observe that the city of Salt Lake in relation to the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake is in the same approximate location as the city of Jerusalem is in relation to the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, EXCEPT that they are exactly 180 degree off.  The religious world is turned upside down!  Flip a map of Salt Lake City top to bottom and you can see that it sits in the same general location as Jerusalem does relative to the salty lake and the fresh water lake.  Whether this has prophetic significance or not is hard to say definitively, but it makes sense when you consider how the Brighamite Church has essentially become the equivalent of the ancient Jews, with their highly educated lawyers running the show, perpetuating rules and looking beyond the mark for exaltation outside the core gospel.  Blind to their situation, they do not recognize that they have become like the scribes and the pharisees of old.

For a Small Moment

The wilderness that we find ourselves in today as a people is a temporary condition that the Lord promises will be reversed.  In numerous passages of scripture he affirms that curses extend only to the third and fourth generations of them that “hate me”.  As of this writing, nearly two hundred years after Joseph’s first vision, we are definitely nearing the end, if not past the end, of the fourth generation from those who rejected the Lord’s Law and his everlasting covenant—and is not that rejection the equivalent of “hating” the Lord?  Perhaps this is why some are starting to open their eyes to the reality of our situation.  The blinders are being removed for those who are willing to search these things out.

Fortunately in his infinite loving kindness and mercy, the Lord affirms that his anger is temporary; His back is only turned against us for a relatively short period of time:

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.  In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer…For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

Although this passage from Isaiah verifies that we will be forsaken for a period of time, it also provides tremendous hope in a future gathering which is orchestrated by the Lord himself in mercy and kindness.  Despite His divine wrath at being rejected, yet still his “bowels are filled with compassion” towards us and He will indeed “remember mercy.”

Fully understanding the fact that we are currently in a state of apostasy as a people is extremely important to recognizing what comes next.  The clues and prophecies are hidden in plain sight for all to see and observe.  The Lord is about to commence what He calls His “strange act.”  The marvelous work will soon begin.

Searcher

Elevating Jesus

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to give a talk in sacrament meeting in our local ward.  I told the bishopric that I was willing to speak, but that I wanted the freedom to pick the topic according to my own inspiration of the Spirit.  They agreed, and so the week before Christmas I spoke of having “even now” faith in Jesus Christ, just as Martha did when Jesus arrived after her brother Lazarus was already dead.

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” (John 11:22)

Martha’s great faith opened the door which allowed the great miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection to occur.  The Lord’s delay in arriving was divinely appointed to demonstrate his great power unto his disciples that they may more fully believe in His heavenly mission.  One cannot argue with a miracle of such magnitude, for Lazarus had been in the grave four days.  In fact, the leaders of the Jews sought to kill Lazarus to eliminate the living proof of Christ’s great power.

The main point of my talk was that in order to have this great faith, we need to elevate Christ in our thinking, WE NEED TO SEE HIM AS GOD, NOT AS OUR ELDER BROTHER.  How many times have you heard him characterized as our elder brother in the Mormon Church?  I believe this characterization tends to downgrade him to a demigod who is somewhere between God the Father and us mortals.  Instead we need to think of Him as the physical embodiment of God the Father.  I know this sounds trinitarian, but it fully supported by the very scriptures we claim to believe.

Take, for example, Abinadi’s teachings in Mosiah 15, where he explains that “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.”  This is powerful and bold doctrine.  Christ is God, who deigned to lower himself to come to this earth.  The angel who was teaching Nephi asked the pointed questions: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” (1 Nephi 11:16, 26)

Websters 1828 dictionary defines “condescension” as “voluntary descent from rank,” pointing to the fact that God voluntarily chose to come down among us to atone for our sins.

Abinadi goes on to explain why Christ is called the Son of God:

And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth. (Mosiah 15:2-4)

In other words, Jesus Christ is only called the Son of God because he took upon himself a body and came to this earth.  In all other respects we should think of Him as God, completely one with the Father, for they are ONE GOD, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

Image result for jesus is god pictures

 

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Philip implores the Lord to show unto the disciples the Father.  Jesus’ reply is very telling when he says:

“Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

The Father dwelleth in the Son—they are one and the same.  Few people are aware of the subtle, but significant change that Joseph Smith made to Luke 10:22 in his New Translation of the Bible (also known as the Joseph Smith Translation).  Joseph’s version reads:

“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.”

Whoa!  I can tell you that the Son has not revealed this great mystery to me personally, but I do know what the definition of “is” is.  This is an incredible testimony of oneness of the Father and the Son.  We need to think of them that way.  It will energize our faith in Christ as we do so.

I believe we tend to focus on the Father, to the downgrading and exclusion of Christ in our worship.  We should elevate Christ.  He is God.  The Book of Mormon teaches that we must worship Christ:

“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and you whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” (2 Nephi 25:29)

Unfortunately, we hear too much of the philosophies of men in the Mormon Church.  The new curriculum for this year focuses on teachings of the leadership of the Church, not on Christ or the scriptures.  This is a tragedy.  We should hear much more of Christ every week.  Go upstream people!  Go to the pure source which is unfiltered through men who claim prophetic mantle.

We can’t cast off the curse until we “begin to believe in Christ.” (2 Nephi 30:7)

Knowing that He is God who came down among us in the flesh is a necessary first step.

Keep Searching.

P.S.  The Lectures on Faith also teach this trinitarian notion of the Godhead in which there are two personages, God the Father as a personage of spirit, and Jesus Christ as a personage of tabernacle.  The Holy Ghost is the mind of God.  See Lecture 5.

 

 

 

 

Denver’s Sleight of Hand

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Occasionally, I take the opportunity to check up on the movement that is Snuffer, just to see how far afield they have wandered.  I know some of the people who follow him–believing him to be a prophet of God–and view them as good, sincere people who want to follow Christ.  The Jesus-less vacuum that has been created by modern Mormon church and their prophet worship is the environment that has led to people to seek out satisfying alternatives.  Unfortunately, their ignorance of the scriptures and their willingness to follow a man who professes audience with Christ, leaves them open to deception that is easily detected when one truly understands the scriptures.

It is, therefore, triply unfortunate that the Snufferite movement is in the process (under the guise of restoring true scripture) of actually taking out plain and precious parts that explain exactly why Denver couldn’t possibly be the privileged one he claims to be, even though he cleverly hides behind a cloak of false modesty.  It is no secret that earlier in his “prophetic” career, Denver summarily dismissed Section 110 of the Doctrine & Covenants which is the vision Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received of the LORD and the prophets Moses, Elias and Elijah.  He claimed that there was no corroborating evidence that it was true because Joseph and Oliver never spoke openly about it for the rest of their lives.  Recall that the third person account written by Warren Cowdery (Oliver’s brother) was written in Joseph’s journal of 1836 and then there was nothing written after it.  Inexplicably, Joseph stopped writing after the vision for an extended period of time.  The journals found their way to SLC with Brigham Young and were discovered in the 1850’s.  To Brigham’s credit, the vision was published (this time in 1st person) in the 1876 version of the D&C.

In producing their revision of the scriptures (they use the term restoration) Denver instructed his followers to leave out Section 110.  However, in a reversal, Denver just recently received a supposed revelation from the Lord that reveals the “true” version of the vision.  Here is Denver’s new version, the entire “revelation” can be seen HERE:

I instruct my people to add to their records the following writings:

You have eliminated the account of the revelation of April 3, 1836. Therefore add the following account to your record:

On the third day of April 1836 Joseph and Oliver were in the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, The veil was taken from their minds, and the eyes of their understanding were opened. They saw the Lord in his glory standing above them and the breastwork of the pulpit; and under his feet appeared as it were a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

I am the Alpha and the Omega; I am he who was slain, I am he who lives; I am your advocate with the Father.  Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice. Let the hearts of your brethren also rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name. For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.

Behold and see: the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of theblessingsthat shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants will be endowed in this house. Behold: the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessings I shall pour out upon my people.

Even so. Amen.
As this vision closed, the heavens were again opened to their view, and they saw and beheld, and were endowed with knowledge from the beginning of this creation to the ends thereof. And they were shown unspeakable things from the sealed record of Heaven which man is not capable of making known but must be revealed by the Powers of Heaven.
They beheld Michael, the archangel; Gabriel and Raphael, and divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the end of time, showing in turns their dispensations, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the Powers of their Priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; endowing them with knowledge, even here a little, and there a little; holding forth hope for the work God was yet to perform, even the revelation of all things which are to come upon the earth until the return of the Lord in glory with His holy angels—to pour out judgment upon the world, and to reward the righteous.
And they were unable to take it in; therefore they were commanded to pray and ask to comprehend by the power of the Spirit, to bring all things to their remembrance, even the Record of Heaven which would abide in them. Amen and Amen.

 

The first half of the “revelation” up to the first “Amen” is very close to the original with very minor changes.  However, the subterfuge starts in the second half which completely eliminates the visits of Moses (to deliver the keys of the gathering of Israel), Elias (to deliver the keys of the Dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham) and Elijah (to declare that the time has fully come as spoken of by Malachi).

The reason, I believe, that Denver wanted to eliminate these passages revolves around his claim that the LDS Church held the priesthood up until the time that he, Denver Snuffer, was excommunicated several years ago.  What Section 110 is actually teaching is that the LDS Church was downgraded long before Denver was kicked out.  That is the secret and the blindness that are up the restorationist churches, especially the Mormons.  The Dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham is a preparatory gospel, not the fulness that Denver claimed to be part of prior to his being EXed.  This explains why the Mormons are off in the “wilderness” where the Lord is not speaking to them for a period of time until they repent and accept the true servants who will return with the Melchizedek Priesthood prior to the return of the Savior.  Additionally, the scriptures plainly testify that Zion will be redeemed WITH POWER, not through some organic process that is promoted by Snuffer.

The sophistry here is staggering, folks.  Section 110 is a true vision and revelation that conveys very important information that has been eliminated by Snuffer.  Now he says there was actually a vision but he has eviscerated the true substance and meaning of the visit of the ancient patriarchs by writing their message out of the script.  Unbelievable.

Denver also claims to have been given the new name of “David” by the Lord, a clear reference to the Davidic Servant who is to work a great work in the latter-days.  I can guarantee you that Denver is NOT the Davidic Servant.  He is not the one mighty and strong.  He is not going to lead us to Zion.  That is the purview of Joseph Smith and him alone (see D&C 101 and 103).  The marvelous work and a wonder is a future event, that will happen when the “first laborers” return to fulfill the mission they failed to complete the first time around.  The Snufferite movement is doomed to ultimate failure as it seeks ever more to re-write the word of the Lord to suit their own ends.  You will also notice, if you follow the link above that he has re-written the revelation that we know as Section 132 on marriage.

I have to hand it to Denver.  The hubris and temerity to try to get away with what he is attempting is mind-boggling.  By changing scripture he will further lead people away from the truth.  I understand the desire for fellowship among those who just want to serve Christ.  I applaud the attempts to take care of the poor and be Christians in the truest sense.  But PLEASE do not let that desire for community blind you to what is going on.

Snuffer’s sleight of hand smacks of what he really is — a very clever lawyer and an excellent deceiver.

Keep Searching.

 

 

 

Aw, Brigham. Really?

I spent the better part of last Sunday mildly, but not unexpectedly peeved at Brigham Young.  It is not that I don’t have some respect for him as a leader and a strong personality who accomplished many positive things.  My “relationship” with Brigham is very nuanced and complicated.

Reading the History of the Church, Volume 2, in preparation for completing the latest chapter of my book, I came across a passage that didn’t sit so well with me and prompted me to pull up the Joseph Smith Papers online to look at the original manuscript.  And there it was right in front of my face—19 additional words that completely changed the meaning of what Joseph said to the Twelve in a special council meeting with them held on Saturday, January 16, 1836.

The original manuscript says this:

“…also the 12 are not subject to any other than the first presidency; viz. myself, S. Rigdon and F.G. Williams—”

Pretty straightforward, right?  These comments came about largely due to a controversy in which the Twelve felt slighted because in a recent assembly they had been placed below the high councils of Kirtland and Zion in their seating assignments (sounds like the apostles of old arguing over who is the greatest in the kingdom, doesn’t it?)  In the meeting Joseph explained to them that there were practical considerations as to why they were seated in the way that they were—there was not insult intended, and that they (the Twelve) were only subject to the oversight and control of the First Presidency consisting of Joseph and his two counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams.

Here is where Brigham’s sleight-of-hand comes into play with his 19 additional words which I highlight in bold (you will notice some changes in punctuation as this is now taken directly from Vol. 2 of the History of the Church):

“…also the Twelve are not subject to any other than the first Presidency, viz., “myself,” said the Prophet, “Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who are now my Counselors; and where I am not, there is no First Presidency over the Twelve.”

Incredible!

By adding those words Brigham has completely changed the power structure of the Church and attributed it to the Prophet Joseph.  Of course, as the man who ran Sidney Rigdon out of town following the martyrdom, Brigham had to degrade any claim to authority held by the only man left in that quorum and elevate the Twelve above all else. And as we know, he succeeded in doing so and duping the saints into voting for a strong leader instead of a prophet.

Yet, the scriptures clearly teach that the First Presidency hold the keys of the kingdom and that even one remaining member can reconstitute the quorum if necessary.

In speaking to Frederick G. Williams in Section 81 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord states:

“Listen to the voice of him who speaketh, to the word of the Lord your God, and hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a high priest in my church, and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.; unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood;” 

The Lord also states in D&C 90:6 that Sidney and Frederick “are accounted as equal with thee (Joseph) in holding the keys of this last kingdom.”  The First Presidency is special.   It is not an extension of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles where the senior guy becomes the next president / prophet.

D&C 102 is not a revelation from the Lord, but as a canonized Church policy makes clear that either of the two counselors may step in as presiding High Priest when the others are absent:

“The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged in his administration by the voice of the church [note the bit about being appointed by revelation, not seniority].

And it is according to the dignity of his office that he should preside over the council of the church; and it is his privilege to be assisted by two other presidents, appointed after the same manner that he himself was appointed.

And in case of the absence of one or both of those who are appointed to assist him, he has power to preside over the council without an assistant; and in case he himself is absent, the other presidents have power to preside in his stead, both or either of them.

Not much ambiguity there.

Now on to my second discovery.  In reading through the version of Section 110 contained in Volume 2, I decided again to read the original version which is written in the third person.  The version in our scriptures has been changed to the first person.  There I noticed words of the Lord that were TAKEN OUT of the original record.  The original reads as follows:

“Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have already been endowed and shall hereafter be endowed in this House.

Brigham and his co-conspirators removed the words in bold!

But why?  Why would they feel the need to eliminate those words.  I believe for two reasons.

1- The appearance of the Lord and three prophets as recorded in Section 110 was the end of the great endowments in the Kirtland Temple.  Nothing even approaching the spiritual outpourings at that time have been experienced since.  Those words point to a future fulfillment (in the third watch) which challenges directly Brigham’s claim to the fulness of the gospel.  We have documented that future work extensively in previous blog posts.

2- By the time Brigham became aware of this vision —sealed up in Joseph’s journal and undiscovered until a decade after Joseph’s death—the Kirtland Temple was no longer in the hands of the Brigham faction of the church.  The Reorganized Church owned the Temple (still do) and Brigham likely wanted to downplay anything that had to do with the Kirtland Temple because he was full steam ahead on building temples to administer the masonic endowments that were part of turning the saints over to Satan for a period of chastisement.

Whatever the reasons, I think the Lord looks askance at anyone who would change His words for their own benefit.

You may have been a great leader, Brigham. But your changes to history are appalling.

Shame on you.

You’re one of the reasons why we Keep Searching.

Priesthood Evidence

Frankly, I didn’t know what to call this post.  It will not be an essay, but rather a quick note on something I discovered last evening reading in the History of the Church volume 2.  It may seem small and trivial to some, but it reinforces the view that the Melchizedek Priesthood was revealed at the Morley Farm conference over a year after the Church was organized, not a few months after the Priesthood of Aaron was revealed by John the Baptist aka Elijah.  It is so interesting to me to discover these little tidbits that would likely go unnoticed without a correct understanding of Church history—one that is free of the falsehoods that have been perpetuated to bolster Brigham Young’s claim that the Apostleship is all the authority needed or had on the earth.  He really did go out of his way to convince the Saints of that fact because he was never ordained a High Priest.

Anyway, the tidbit I ran across is found in the minutes of a conference held on April 21, 1834 in Norton, Medina County, Ohio, which state:

“The President (Joseph) then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the Priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in 1830, the revelation of the High Priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Ghost poured out upon the Church;”

What struck me here was the sequence.  Notice that after the Priesthood of Aaron is revealed the church is organized, followed by the High Priesthood.  This characterization is inconsistent with the teaching that the High Priesthood was revealed by Peter, James and John (who I believe only revealed the keys of Apostleship, not the Melchizedek Priesthood) sometime later in 1829.  This may seem like a small detail, but it corroborates Joseph’s characterization that he left in the first cut of his history written in 1832.

“A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand

firstly he receiving the testimony from on high [The first vision]

secondly the ministering of Angels [Moroni -Book of Mormon plates]

thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel – the Law and commandments as they were given unto him – and the ordinencs [John the Baptist (are Peter, James and John included here?)],

forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him [visit of Peter, James and John, or is this a reference to the restoration of the office of high priest?]

and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c”

You can see the confusion the compilers of history were confronted with (their notes are in brackets).  When Joseph describes his third point he references “angels” in the plural, which would include more than John the Baptist, but would likely include Peter, James and John, especially since all four of them restored the authority to administer the letter of the gospel, including the law and commandments and the ordinances.  The minutes of the conference are fully consistent with his history.  I always look for 2 or more witnesses in according with the Lord’s Law of Witnesses. 

Anyway, I thought I would share that small insight.  Recently, my blogging has been significantly curtailed because I am placing all my energies on writing my book.  The working title is:

Like a Lamb to the Slaughter

Understanding Joseph’s Intercessory Offering and the Implications for Our Day

 

It is coming along at a reasonable pace, but I don’t expect to have it ready for publication before the end of this year.  Just didn’t want anyone to think that I have dropped off the planet.  I feel a sense of urgency to get it completed.

Your prayers are appreciated to keep this project moving forward.

Thanks and Keep Searching.

The Burden of the Lord

Warning: Occasionally, I can get carried away with a topic I feel passionate about. Usually, I stick with sound reasoning and analysis. This is not one of those posts. Although it is based on Jeremiah 23 and other scriptures, you will likely sense more than a hint of sarcasm in the following which is a fault of mine that I readily admit. Proceed with caution…I don’t mean to offend.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

It must be tough being a prophet, seer, and revelator (PS&R) these days. Adulation follows you everywhere you go as you “regulate all the affairs” of the church in whatever Stake you happen to be visiting that weekend. Nevermind that Joseph taught that the Twelve are to preach the gospel to the world and had no right to rule where there was an established Stake of Zion. As of this writing there is no established Zion, so by extension there are no Stakes. By that logic the PS&Rs have a right to rule, but that means they have to admit that the church is not what it purports to be.

It must be tough to sit in the chief seats, repeating the party line about missionary work, keeping the commandments, temple work, and of course paying your tithing, all the while receiving the perks and benefits that attend the office of PS&R.  No faith is necessary to receive the living allowances that flow freely in unknown amounts from the faithful members who sacrifice to pay tithing to the unaccountable. Somehow, D&C 84:86-91 doesn’t apply anymore. There, the Lord informs us how we can tell His true disciples–they will be traveling without purse or scrip.

It must be tough not to have to answer difficult questions. When pressed, the answer is usually something akin to what Elder Bednar related to a sister missionary some years back when she asked if there were any scriptures related to women and the priesthood. David was reported to have responded “I am scripture.” End of debate. We can’t even point out what is wrong because somehow, somewhere, it became scripture that it is wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.

Besides, if you get out of line the PS&Rs have redefined apostasy to mean acting in open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders and/or teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their priesthood leaders.

NEWSFLASH: I AM AN APOSTATE!

At least according to their apostate definition of apostasy. This despite the fact that my faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been stronger. My understanding of the scriptures has never had more breadth. My testimony of Joseph and his divine prophetic roles has never been deeper. Like most of you, I am on a learning curve grounded and based on the scriptures and historically verifiable facts. But, of course, that doesn’t matter in the PS&R world. The very idea that you could hold beliefs that are outside the mainstream of PS&R thought is sufficient to cast you out from among the people, even when the doctrines change or are disavowed by the next generation ad nauseum.

Someday, I will be excommunicated for my writings. I am resigned to that fact because I don’t believe that the bulk of the leadership will repent when the servants return. I take comfort, however, in the fact that the same pattern happened in the days of Jesus when the Pharisees were equally unable to brook any sort of challenge to their claims of authority and cast many out of the synagogue.

Twice yearly, the PS&Rs have the additional burden of bringing forth the word of the Lord to His people at general conference. Members of the church wait with bated breath to hear what the Lord has to say through his chosen 15. “We are only a few days away! We must prepare our hearts to hear what He has to say through His prophets! We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet!”

Prior to conference I am reminded of what the Lord said to his servant Jeremiah in the Old Testament. He directly addressed the very situation we find ourselves in with leaders who claim the “burden of the Lord” — that awesome responsibility of receiving revelation from the Son of God himself.

In all the years I have yet to see a PS&R actually say “THUS SAYETH THE LORD.” Instead we have messages that may be inspiring or insipid, entertaining or educational, motivating or moving. But what we absolutely don’t have is the PS&Rs delivering the word of the Lord as if it came from the Lord himself. Rather, we have endless quoting of other men.

I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. (Jeremiah 23:30)

We have implications and suggestions that the prophet was moved upon to change this policy or that, or deliver the latest profound exhortation to “Keep the Commandments.” Perhaps the Lord is a fan of Lewis Carroll, I don’t know. But stories of Alice in Wonderland strike me as being a waste of our precious time, and smack of taking deeper things lightly–a condemnation that rests heavy upon the shoulders of the shepherds as well as the sheep.

“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–” (D&C 84:54)

“Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:32)

I am not here trying to suggest that talks in general conference are without inspirational messages, or bereft of the spirit. On the contrary, there are many good things to be had in meeting together as believers. However, that does not mean we are hearing the word of the Lord via those sustained as PS&Rs. Many speakers are able to influence and energize, inspire and motivate using the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. But does it mean, when we feel the spirit in our souls, that those words came from Jesus Christ himself? Hardly.

We are constantly taught that if we just keep the commandments, etc. etc. that we can find peace in this troubled world.

“They (the PS&Rs) say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:17-20)

Yes, Jeremiah is seeing us in the latter days. He is seeing us despise the Lord when we engage in masonic-based temple ordinances that have nothing to do with the Lord’s true gospel. In fact, in v. 10 it says “because of swearing the land mourneth.” In my view this does not refer to letting fly with a 4-letter word occassionally, but rather the oath swearing that takes place in LDS temples. You, and each of you do solemnly swear…

Instead of preaching messages of peace, true messengers would not let us be comfortable in our sins. They would be calling us to repentance.

“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” (Jeremiah 23:21-22)

They would be calling on us to live the Law of the Lord, including consecration and monogamy.

They would be calling on us to repent of our materialism, our greed, our pride, our lusts and our covetousness.

They would be standing as examples themselves of humble followers of Christ instead of ruling over us with their control all the tithing money.

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Yes. The people love to have it so, because not having a prophet is inconceivable to those who have been indoctrinated into placing their eternal salvation into the hands of mortal man.

So to those who claim the burden of the Lord, those of us who realize that we haven’t had a true prophet since Sidney was kicked out of the church by Brigham Young sincerely ask:

WHAT HAS THE LORD ANSWERED THEE? AND, WHAT HAS THE LORD SPOKEN? (Jeremiah 23:37)

Don’t be shy. Tell us straight up. Here is your big chance.

You are, after all, Prophets, Seers and Revelators, Right?

The Law of the Lord – Part 3

In the first two parts of this series we chronicled the importance of the Law of the Lord (Section 42), the fact that his people stumble when they don’t live it, and how the current shepherds over the flock don’t follow the scriptures in leading the people as they are required to by the Law.

This installment will explore the importance of receiving the “Fulness of the Scriptures” which the Lord addresses in Section 42 and which was given in February 1831. Joseph is commanded to move forward with inspired revisions to the Bible which is commonly referred to as the “Inspired Version” (abbreviated “IV”) or the “Joseph Smith Translation” (abbreviated “JST”):

“Thou shalt ask, and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety” (D&C 42:56)

Perhaps the last phrase “preserved in safety” refers to the fact that Emma was entrusted with the manuscript after Joseph’s death instead of Brigham Young given the fact that Brigham oversaw changes to LDS history that cast a more favorable light on himself and his doctrines. Who knows what he would have done with the Inspired Version had he been given the opportunity.

What I find interesting is that in the very next verse the Lord commands Joseph not to teach from what is revealed in the IV until it has been received in full. The fact that he didn’t preach from the IV suggests there is more yet to come.

“And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full. And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.” (D&C 42:57-58)

In Nauvoo, Joseph was trying to get the saints to consecrate of their means to allow the Inspired Version to be published along with the Book of Mormon in one volume.  He knew that in order for him to teach these doctrine they needed to be published for all to read for themselves.  In April 1833 he said:

“It is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new Translation in the Star [refering to The Evening and the Morning Star, a church periodical at the time]; but when it is published, it will go to the world together, in a volume by itself; and the New Testament and the Book of Mormon will be printed together.” (History of the Church, 1:341.)

Today, we have the Inspired Version which has been published by the Community of Christ (previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I highly recommend that any serious student of the scriptures pick up a copy which can be obtained HERE.  An online copy is also available HERE.

Brother Joseph Smith, Jr. said … that the promise of God was that the greatest blessings which God had to bestow should be given to those who contributed to the support of his family while he was translating the fulness of the Scriptures … that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church … and except the Church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fail.” (Far West Report, p. 16, quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, p. 9.)

The foregoing is an amazing prescient warning. When I look at the inspired changes made by Joseph, I realize just how far afield we currently find ourselves on so many issues and doctrines. So let’s now explore some of what I consider to be the most important changes that he made in the Inspired Version. This blogpost is meant to be a big-picture overview, so I will not spend much time expounded on each of these, but they could each easily be expanded and analyzed in depth.

1 – The Nature of God

Inspired Version
Luke 10:23
All Things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.                                                                                                                                          
KJV
Luke 10:23
All Things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he is whom the Son will reveal him.                                                                                                       

Commentary

The unity and oneness of the Son and the Father are clearly declared, giving us additional information on the “Mystery of Godliness.”  (See also, JST 1 Timothy 3:16).

 

2 – We must come to “Know the Lord” 

Inspired Version
Matt. 7:23
And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity.
KJV
Luke 10:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Commentary
See my series on what it means to “Know the Lord” Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 which include other scriptures on this point. Also, JST Matt. 25:11.

 

 

 

 

3 – The Lord will send His Servant to those who are Blind 

Inspired Version
Isaiah 42:19-22
For I will send my servant unto you who are blind; yea, a messenger to open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And they shall be made perfect notwithstanding their blindness, if they will hearken unto the messenger, the Lord’s servant. Thou art a people, seeing many things, but thou observest not: opening the ears to hear, but thou hearest not. The Lord is not well pleased with such a people, but for his righteousness’ sake he will magnify the law and make it honorable.
KJV
Isaiah 42:19-21
Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant. Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law and make it honorable.
Commentary
The Inspired Version makes this so clear that the Lord is speaking to a people who must give heed to a servant He will send to take away their blindness. Isaiah is observing us in the last days thinking that we see the truth when, in fact, we don’t. See my series on our modern day blindness and deafness HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – The covering of the eyes of the prophets and the Marvelous Work

Inspired Version
Isaiah 29:10,26
For, behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets, and your rulers; and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquities…And again it shall come to pass, that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him…                                                                                                                                          
KJV
Isaiah 29:10
For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Commentary

This entire chapter has been re-written by Joseph to clearly teach that true prophets can lose their prophetic gifts when the people are unrighteous and reject their God.  I highly recommend reading the entire chapter. Additionally, v.26 clarifies that the people who “draw near to him with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from him” are the one’s who have been delivered the Book of Mormon. Very sobering!  See also 2 Nephi 27.

 

 

5 – Prophecy of Ancient Joseph about Joseph Smith

Inspired Version
Genesis 50:24-38
A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins…   and he shall be great like unto [Moses]…And out of weakness shall he be made strong…for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.                                          

Commentary

This prophecy is also found in the Book of Mormon.  Very revealing about the role of Joseph Smith in the salvation of the Lord’s people in the last days. Also, allusions to a future work to be accomplished in convincing the people of the truthfulness of the Lord’s word and confounding false doctrines.

 

 

6 – The True Nature of the Melchizedek Priesthood

Inspired Version
Genesis 14:28-32
It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.                                                                                                                                                                                  
 

Commentary

The scripture goes on to describe the great power held by those of the Melchizedek order. I have written extensively in a post entitled “I am not a High Priest“about the fact that we do not understand what it really means to be a high priest as experienced by Joseph and 22 others at the Morley farm in June 1831. To be a high priest one must be called by God himself, and then ultimately chosen if they prove faithful. One does not become a high priest with the passage of time or because one is called into a bishopric or any number of other callings in the church that are reserved for high priests. God himself must call you by his own voice, it is not by the “will of man” nor by lineage.

 

 

7 – The True Nature of Tithing

Inspired Version
Genesis 14:37-39
[Melchizedek] lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor. Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.                               
                                                             

Commentary

The great high priest, Melchizedek, was the keeper of the Lord’s storehouse. We learn that the storehouse is for the POOR, not to build spacious buildings and make investments. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” (Malachi 3:10) takes on the meaning that contributions are to be used primarily for the poor. Additionally, tithing is to be made on one’s surplus – more than that which we have need – not on gross earnings. That is God’s eternal law.

 

 

 

 

8 – The Doctrine of the Three Watches

Inspired Version
Luke 12:41-52
For, behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in the second watch, and again he shall come in the third watch…blessed are those servants when he cometh, that he shall find so doing;…I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night…I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season. And they said, who then is that faithful and wise servant? And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.  

Commentary

Joseph’s version brings much greater clarity that the Lord will visit the earth 3 times before he comes in his glory. He comes as a thief in the night and all must be watching and waiting for His coming. Also,  he is directing his words to the shepherds of His people informing them that they must be prepared to teach and administer the law of consecration which is what I interpret “to give his children their portion of meat in due season” means. The wise servant is the one who watches for the Lord and is prepared to live the law of consecration when the time comes.

The blogger that goes by “Watcher” has taken this cyber moniker, I believe, because of the importance of this doctrine to us in the latter-days. We all must catch the spirit of watching and waiting for the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

9 – King David sinned in taking many wives and concubines. 

Note that the Lord is talking to Solomon in these verses.

Inspired Version
1 Kings 3:14
And if thou wilt walk in my ways to keep my statutes, and my commandments, then I will lengthen thy days, and thou shalt not walk in unrighteousness, as did thy father David.
KJV
1 Kings 3:14
And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
Commentary
See also and compare chapter 11 of 1 Kings. Joseph made consistent edits that David sinned (although he did ultimately repent except for the case of Uriah) whereas the KJV says that David walked after the commandments of the Lord. These changes seriously challenge the polygamy narrative of the church and Section 132.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 – John the Baptist is the Reincarnated Elijah 

Inspired Version
Mark 9:3
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.                       Inspired Version
John 1:21-22                     And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias: but confessed saying; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? and he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things.
KJV
Mark 9:4
And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.                                                                                                                       KJV Version
John 1:21-22                     And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias; And he saith, I am not.                         
Commentary
Note that “Elias” is the Greek translation of “Elijah”.  This doctrine is too fantastic for most people to believe and yet it has multiple witnesses in the scriptures and fully explains how Joseph and Oliver had the priesthood “revealed” to them when John the Baptist (Elijah) visited them in May 1829. See D&C 2:1. This amazing reveal is discussed further in a previous blogpost you can access HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 – Everyone Must Stand on Their Own 

KJVInspired Version
Mark 9:44-46
Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another. Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive. And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out.
Mark 9:47
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out:
Commentary
This is strong medicine for people who believe that if they just follow the “prophets” they will be fine. We must all be prepared to stand on the sure foundation of Christ and his Holy Word, and not place our salvation in the hands of another. “Pluck out” seems to suggest to me that we not sustain those who are failing to lead us towards the light of the Lord’s law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 – Those Who Say They are Thine Have All Gone Astray 

Inspired Version
Psalms 14:2-4
For the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, and by his voice said unto his servant, Seek ye among the children of men, to see if there are any that do understand God. And he opened his mouth unto the Lord, and said, Behold, all these who say they are thine. The Lord answered, and said, They are all gone aside, they are together become filthy, thou canst behold none of them that are doing good, no, not one. All they have for their teachers are workers of iniquity, and there is no knowledge in them. They are they who eat up my people…
KJV                               Psalms 14:2-4
The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They have all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people…
Commentary
This was a recent discovery for me. I am blown away by how clearly it describes our day when we claim to be God’s chosen church and people and yet we have all gone astray after false doctrines, including the masonic temple ordinances, celestial polygamy, etc. We don’t follow the Law of the Lord, nor do we understand the true nature of God. We are without knowledge and the poor among us are trodden down by the priests who extract tribute in order to enter the temple and bring not the tithes into the storehouse. Verse 6 says they are “ashamed of the counsel of the poor”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The foregoing is just a smattering of some of the more salient doctrines that were clarified by Joseph. We rarely preach from the Inspired Version and hardly ever explore the doctrines that in any way conflict with modern interpretations out of HQ. Instead we would rather hear insipid pep talks on keeping the commandments and doing missionary work.

I think it is appropriate to close this lengthy post with one more mind-blowing passage from the JST which condemns the lawyers who have taken away the “key of knowledge.”

Luke 11:53

Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge, the fulness of the scriptures; ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered.

Joseph added the underlined and bolded part. The key of knowledge is the fulness of the scriptures of which the Inspired Version is an important part. There is much more that we need to receive that won’t come to us until we repent. What we have right now is treated lightly and it is no wonder we have been rejected as a church (D&C 124:32)

Putting this together has been an amazing spiritual experience for me as I continue to search the scriptures and gain knowledge. My commentary is not to be taken with any authority. Rely only on the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

Happy Searching.

The Law of the Lord – Part 2

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In part 1 of this series we explored the Law of the Lord as laid down in Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  We also documented from numerous scriptures the importance the Lord places upon the Law and how his people stumble when they fail to live the Law.

One of the distinguishing features of the Law commands that His church be governed according to the scriptures.

“Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church; And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue.” (D&C 42:59-60)

From this we learn that the Lord expects that His church is governed according to the scriptures, and those who fail to do so will be damned if they do not repent. Another scripture along these lines jumped out at me just yesterday as I was out for a long walk while listening to the D&C on my phone. The Lord here is talking with Oliver Cowdery as he was writing for Joseph:

“Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true. And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written; For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock. Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” (D&C 18:2-5)

Notice how the Lord tells Oliver to rely upon the things that are written (scriptures) because the scriptures provide the foundation of His gospel and are the rock. Also, that by relying thereon the gates of hell shall not prevail. ANOTHER WITNESS OF THE PRIMACY OF SCRIPTURE!

Interestingly, the preamble description of D&C 18 indicates that “Scriptures show how to build up the Church”. Yet in many instances the LDS church fails to follow the directives of the scriptures, many doctrines having been supplanted by the traditions of our fathers and the precepts of men. Let’s chronicle a few of the ways we ignore the directives of the scriptures in the modern church today:

1- Baptism Protocol

D&C 20:37 describes the way in which one is accepted into the church by baptism:

“And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.”

A similar commandment is given in the Book of Mormon:

“And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.” (Moroni 6:1-2)

When was the last time that someone prior to baptism in the LDS church witnessed before the church that they had truly repented of all their sins? The scripture suggests that their is a public declaration / confession of some sort, not just an interview with the bishop behind the scenes. In all of my years in the church I have NEVER seen this take place. Yet this is the Lord’s protocol. Further, they are to manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of sins.

Also, prior to confirmation and taking of the sacrament they are to have all things expounded unto them by the Elders (see D&C 20:68) something that is rarely done in my experience.

2 – Administration of the Sacrament

There have been substantial changes to how the sacrament is administered that don’t comport with the scriptures:

 

Current Church Practice What the Scriptures Teach Difference
Following the hymn, the person who blesses the bread kneels and offers the sacrament prayer for the bread. (Church Handbook of Instructions 1, p.37) “And the elder or priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it—he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying:” (D&C 20:76) The entire congregation is supposed to kneel for the sacrament prayer

 

Current Church Practice What the Scriptures Teach Difference
The presiding officer receives the sacrament first. (CHOI 1, p.38) “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:11) There is no precedent anywhere in the scriptures for this practice that gives undo deference to church leaders. Rather, we find the opposite when it is the disciples (apostles) of Jesus who administer the sacrament to the people, not receive accolades and recognition for their position.

 

Current Church Practice What the Scriptures Teach Difference
Although the sacrament is for Church members, the bishopric should not announce that it will be passed to members only, and nothing should be done to prevent nonmembers from partaking of it. CHOI 1, p.37 “And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him my flesh and blood.” (3 Nephi 18:28-30. See also Mormon 9:29 & 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) No attempt is made by the church to prevent those who have not repented or entered the waters of baptism from partaking of the sacrament, even though the Lord specifically forbids allowing those who are unworthy from partaking.  The sacrament should only be administered to those who have repented and are baptized as clearly taught in 3rd Nephi.
Current Church Practice What the Scriptures Teach Difference
Water is used as the emblem of the Lord’s blood in the sacrament. (CHOI 1, p.38) For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth. The commandment from the Lord is to not use wine that is purchased from others (your enemies) NOT to exclusively use water.  We have ample resources to make our own wine in conformance with the commandment. Obviously, when we have no wine it is appropriate to use water or anything else that is available.

3- Meetings According to the Spirit

The current handbook states “The bishopric selects topics for talks and music in sacrament meetings.” Handbook 1, p.64

How far we have strayed! Whatever happened to conducting our meetings according to the Spirit as commanded in scripture.

“The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.” D&C 20:45

“But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.” D&C 46:2

“And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.” Moroni 6:9

Anyone who has sat through a sacrament meeting filled with talk after talk on the same subject, or the regurgitation of a general conference talk can attest to the fact that we don’t follow scriptural protocol. I am not saying that meetings are bereft of the Spirit, only that the scriptures say we should be spontaneous and listen to the Spirit as to what we do and say in those meetings.

General conferences are the worst in that every talk is pre-written and must go through the correlation committee to make sure that nothing is said that isn’t approved by the Brethren. Have we not correlated the Spirit right out of our meetings?

3- The Word of Wisdom

When given by the Lord on February 27, 1833 (See Section 89), the Word of Wisdom was not a compulsory commandment. Rather it was good advice from a loving and caring God.

To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—” (D&C 89:2)

By 1921, compliance of the word of wisdom had become mandatory under the direction of President Heber J. Grant. I am still searching for the revelation wherein the Lord makes it mandatory. There is an interesting passage regarding the word of wisdom found in the journal of Wilford Woodruff dated November 7, 1841. He writes:

“I met with the Twelve and High Priest Quorum. The word of wisdom was brought up. B. Young says shall I break the word of wisdom if I go home and drink a cup of tea? No wisdom is justified of her children; the subject was discussed in an interesting manner. All concluded that it was wisdom to deal with all such matters according to the wisdom which God gave, that a forced abstinence was not making us free but we should be under bondage with a yoke upon our necks.”

Yet, here we are today under a forced abstinence with a yoke upon our necks. Can we not say that the precepts of men have prevailed, no matter how well meaning they may be? If the Lord changed his mind, bring forth the revelation please.

4- The Responsibilities of the Twelve

In D&C 107, the Lord outlines the responsibilities of the Twelve apostles.  He designates them as “traveling councilors.”

“The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.” (D&C 107:23)

“The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nation, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.” (D&C 107:33)

The high councils in the states are equal in authority to them, according to the scriptures.

“The standing high councils, at the stakes of Zion, form a quorum equal in authority in the affairs of the church, in all their decision, to the quorum of the presidency, or to the traveling high council.” (D&C 107:36)

Joseph made it very clear that the Twelve were not to rule where there were established stakes, and that the traveling high council (the Twelve) had jurisdiction only where no stakes were established. He said this in 1835:

The apostles have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes where there is a regular high council established, to regulate any matter pertaining thereto: But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate and set in order all matters relative to the different branches of the church of the Latter Day Saints. No standing high council has the authority to go int the churches abroad and regulate the matter thereof, for this belongs to the Twelve.” (Emphasis added. Minutes of the Grand High Council, 2 May 1835.  See also Patriarchal Blessing Book, p.2, Church Archives.)

The calling of the Twelve according to the Lord is to the world and the branches of the church, but has nothing to do with stakes where there is a high council. Yet today we find this hierarchy that completely subverts the authority of the high councils to make decisions for their stake. Local high councils have become puppets as everything shakes down from the top.

Further, the Twelve of the last days have been called to go forth without purse or scrip (money) in their efforts to preach the gospel, just as the apostles did in olden times.

“Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.” (D&C 84:86)

The Lord goes onto say that those who receive the Apostles, and by implication their message, shall “feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.” (D&C 84:89)

As you can see there is nothing here about stipends, living expenses, housing allowances or any of the other compensation that is paid to the highest leaders in the church, including the Twelve. Now pay attention closely because here is the zinger! The Lord specifically says that compliance with his commands to go forth without purse or scrip is how we can tell his true disciples.

“An he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.” (D&C 84:91)

5- Tithing and Common Consent

I have written in the past about how we have perverted the law of tithing, which is primarily for the poor, and how the unaccountable “Priests” that rule over us hide from the membership how their tithing dollars are spent.  This is in direct contradiction to the Lord’s commands that:

“And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith…” (D&C 26:2)

“For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (D&C 28:13)

“An there shall not any part of it [tithed funds] be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.” (D&C 104:71) 

You can read more about this topic here:

To Know the LORD – Part 3

In today’s LDS church you cannot even think about raising your hand in opposition without being viewed as an apostate or traitor. This is very different than how it was in Joseph’s day where the members of a stake would choose their own stake president. We are asked to ratify every decision as if that decision came directly from God. This is a perversion of true principles taught us in the scriptures.

There are other examples of how the church fails to comply with the scriptures, but this will suffice for now. The BIG QUESTION is:

Do we believe the Lord God or do we believe men who have changed the Lord’s directives over time?

I know who I side with. If there is any question my suggestion would be to rely on the word of God as revealed in his scriptures, which is the only way to avoid deception. (Be Not Deceived — Two Keys)

Keep Searching.

 

The Law of the Lord — Part 1

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In December 1830, the Lord commands the church to “assemble together at the Ohio” where he would “give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high. (D&C 37:3; D&C 38:32)  This, of course, meant that they were to undertake a journey of over 250 miles from New York to Ohio — quite a distance in the horse and buggy era.

Near Kirtland, Ohio, many of Sidney Rigdon’s congregants had accepted the message of the gospel and the Lord chose this place to reveal unto the saints HIS LAW.  We know today that The Law was canonized as section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants and along with the Articles and Covenants of the Church (section 20) were copied and carried by missionaries of the time who went forth to spread the good news of the gospel.

Most distinctly within The Law which the Lord reveals were commandments to live the law of consecration and the law of monogamy:

“And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.” (D&C 42:30)

“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (D&C 42:22)

There are obviously many other parts of the law and I highly recommend a carefully study of the entire section.  Consecration and monogamy stand out most starkly because these two parts of The Law are the one’s the saints failed to obey.

Knowing the importance that the Lord places upon obedience to his law, I decided to do a word search and see what I could find in His other scriptures.  Mind you, the term “the law” is very generic and I got lots of hits, but chose to focus on Isaiah and Jeremiah because of what they have to say about the last days.  Here are a few samples:

“Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 5:24)

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)

“This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:” (Isaiah 30:9)

“Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it…Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people…” (Jeremiah 6:19-21)

“…the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness…because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;” (Jeremiah 9:12-13)

This is just a small smattering of the scriptures regarding the warnings to the people who would break and reject the Holy Law of the Lord.  And indeed, it was the 1830 restored Church of Christ that had the law revealed and ultimately rejected the law.

This should be a very sobering thought to a latter-day people who believe today that they have the fulness of the gospel and yet do not seek to live the Law of the Lord regarding consecration as it was revealed from heaven.  We hardly ever hear about it over the pulpit except as it has been redefined by the precepts of men to be:

“…that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.”

So the law of consecration has been rewritten to mean that you give all you have to the corporate church so they can invest in land, buildings and stock portfolios as opposed to consecrating our properties for the support of the poor, which was the Lord’s primary stated reason for the law.

The corporate church does a masterful job of selling this fiction to the people. In the lesson manual for this year’s study of the Doctrine and Covenants there is a lesson entitled “The Law of Consecration (#14).”  Here are a few excerpts:

  • What is the law of consecration? (It is an organized way in which individuals consecrate their time, talents, and possessions to the Church to build the Lord’s kingdom and serve His children.)
  • Explain that the principles of the law of consecration have not changed since it was revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  However, the application of those principles changes from time to time.  The current prophet helps us understand how to apply these principles in our day.

The lesson goes on to explain the true nature of the Lord’s law of consecration and that it is an eternal law (kudos for that).  It then explains that we must be prepared and willing to live the law of consecration in its fulness, but that we do not need to wait for a future day to consecrate our lives to the Lord. “As we do all we can to live the law of consecration today, we will be better prepared to live the fulness of the law when the Lord asks us to do so.”

In other words, we are waiting for the Lord to tell us to live the law which he has already given us and condemned us for not living in the first place.  All the while we believe that we have the fulness of the gospel and all the blessings that are attendant thereto.  You can’t have it both ways people!  The law of the celestial kingdom requires equality in temporal and spiritual things.  We can’t have the fulness without living the true law of consecration. Period.

Rationalizations and the precepts of men have taken over the Law of the Lord which is plain, simple and clear.  In our next installment we will examine many of the ways in which the corporate church does not follow the scriptures even though the Lord says plainly in Section 42:59-60 that His Church is to be governed by the scriptures.

Keep Searching.

 

 

 

By the Hand of Elijah

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One of the earliest messages delivered from heaven to the prophet Joseph Smith was that the priesthood would be revealed “by the hand of Elijah the prophet”:

“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and hearts of the children shall turn to the their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” (D&C 2:1-3)

In this passage Moroni indicates that the Priesthood would be “revealed” through Elijah. A typical definition of “revealed” includes the idea of disclosing or bringing to light something that was previously unknown–in this case, the “Priesthood.” The verses don’t necessary spell out in any more specific detail what exact priesthood, but they do connect priesthood to the idea of planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers.

Ever since the 1850’s when Orson Pratt gave a talk on the Latter-day Mission of Elijah the Mormon church has linked the visitation of Elijah as recorded in Section 110 to sealing keys supposedly received by Joseph in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. This view permeates all that the church does with respect to teachings around eternal marriage, celestial polygamy and the sealing together of families for eternity. This despite the fact that Section 110 says nothing about Elijah conferring anything by hand upon Joseph and Oliver.

“After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:

Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi-testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come-

To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse-

Therefore the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (D&C 110: 13-16)

Notice that Elijah only makes the declaration that “the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands.” There is no evidence here that he laid hands upon their heads to give the priesthood or to convey authority. Read it very carefully.

A little history regarding Section 110 is in order. Many assume today that Joseph and Oliver shared this sacred experience with others after having it on April 3, 1836. This is simply not the case. This vision did not come to light until after Joseph, Oliver, and his brother, Warren were all deceased. The record we have was penned by Warren in the third person (D&C 110 is in the first person) in Joseph Smith’s journal. Following this event Joseph doesn’t make another journal entry until two years later in 1838! When he does it is in a completely new book-the previous journal being closed despite having additional pages left over. What gives? Joseph has just seen the Lord and 3 Old Testament prophets and he doesn’t tell anyone. How strange. You can read the original account here in the Joseph Smith papers.

When Brigham Young and his cohorts discovered the journal they published the account of the vision in the Deseret News on November 6, 1852. They must have realized that this event needed to be spun to support the “dispensation of the fulness of times” narrative which we have today. Section 110 (changed to the first person) was published in the 1876 version of the D&C, one year before Brigham’s death.

So where in Section 110 does it say that Elijah conveyed the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times or laid hands on Joseph and Oliver?

The answer is nowhere. Read it carefully.

Elijah only says that the keys of THIS DISPENSATION are committed into your hands. To find out what “this” refers to you must read earlier verses 11 and 12:

“After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.

After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.”

Bingo. The keys being transferred are of the gathering of Israel and the Dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham. There is no other specific reference to keys being transferred or priesthood being conferred except for those two. We have previously explored the fact that the church was under condemnation for rejecting the covenant of consecration and that they had lost the fulness. What Section 110 is really telling us is that they had been downgraded to the preparatory Gospel of Abraham and that those keys were being committed into the hands of Joseph and Oliver, not the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times as is commonly taught.

When you understand the downgrade, it is very easy to see why Joseph wanted to keep it a secret from the saints (I suspect the Lord commanded him to “seal up the vision” and not talk about it during his lifetime) and why he didn’t write in his journal for 2 years following the events of April 3, 1836.

Anciently, God made a covenant with Abraham that through him and his posterity all the nations of the earth would be blessed with the blessings of the gospel. Abraham was an evangelist (patriarch) who preached the preparatory gospel of repentance and baptism and that was what was re-instituted at the Kirtland Temple.

So the real mystery is WHEN DID ELIJAH CONVEY THE PRIESTHOOD BY HAND? What I am about to share was hard for me to believe at first. I had to dig into the scriptural evidence and cast off previous traditions of my fathers. I suggest you do the same by examining closely every evidence I am about to lay out for you that brought me to the following conclusion:

The Priesthood was conveyed to Joseph and Oliver by the hand of Elijah when they were ordained to the Priesthood that Aaron (Patriarchal Priesthood) by John the Baptist. The reason we can conclude it was the Patriarchal Priesthood is because of the all the spiritual blessings Joseph and Oliver received after being ordained — something that would not have attended an ordination under the Levitical (Aaronic) Priesthood which Joseph taught was only to administer cursings and not blessings.

In other words, John the Baptist is the reincarnation (transmigration) of Elijah the Tishbite.

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Now before you start to throw rocks let’s look at the evidence. Joseph made some startling changes to the Bible in his Inspired Version that clearly teach that John is Elijah.

In John 1:19-21 it is recorded that the Jews sent priests and Levites to inquire of John the Baptist as to who he was.  The King James Version records:

“And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? and he answered, No.” 

The Jews were asking whether or not John was Elijah (Elias is the Greek form of the Hebrew Elijah) and the Jews were sufficiently grounded in scripture to understand that Elijah would be returning. According to the account in the King James Version and other versions of the Bible, John the Baptist denies that he is Elijah. However, Joseph changes that in the Inspired Version:

“And this is the record of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed and denied not that he was Elias, but confessed, saying, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying, How then art thou Elias? and he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? and he answered, No.” (Inspired Version, John 1:20-22)

So according to Joseph Smith’s version, John confesses and denies not that he is Elijah (the preparer) but disclaims that he is that Elijah who should restore all things. A discussion of the two Elijahs (the Preparer and the Restorer) is beyond the scope of this blogpost but I will tease you with the idea that Elijah the Preparer passed the keys to Elijah the Restorer.

There is another change made be Joseph that points to John being Elijah. It is found in Mark 9 where Jesus goes up to the mountain with Peter, James and John to be transfigured. The King James Version records:

“And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.” (Mark 9:4) 

Joseph clarifies:

“And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.” (Inspired Version Mark 9:3)

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The LDS version of the bible dictionary tries to explain this away with the following:

“The curious wording of JST Mark 9:3 does not imply that the Elias at the Transfiguration was John the Baptist, but that in addition to Elijah the prophet, John the Baptist was present.”

To which I would respond: It is not an implication, rather the wording is a direct statement. How many ways can you parse “or in other words?” But these are not the only evidences. Let’s examine John’s calling more closely from the scriptures. When Zacharias was visited by an angel he was told about his future son. He was informed that:

“…he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

The original manuscript version of D&C 84:28 informs us that John was baptized “while yet in the womb.” This has subsequently been changed to while in “his childhood” by an unknown hand. Both of these scriptures strongly suggest that John was previously baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost prior to his birth. That would certainly make sense if he were the reincarnation of Elijah the Tishbite.

Continuing in Luke we receive further clues about John.

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

Holy Smokes! There is the link to Elijah and turning the hearts of the fathers to the children staring at us in plain sight. Think about John having the spirit and power of Elijah, because he was Elijah in another body with the calling to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. This is exactly what he did when he appeared to Joseph and revealed the priesthood BY HAND which would help turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.  Joseph also taught that translated beings are designed for future missions (HC 4:425). What is to prevent that from being via reincarnation after being taken up to heaven without tasting death?

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It is pretty amazing how clear the doctrine is when you actually believe the scriptures instead of the interpretations that men have placed upon them. If the fact that John the Baptist is the transmigrated Elijah is still unbelievable to you I invite you to search diligently because the puzzle really does fit together when you cast off the blinders.

As you dig deeper in the scriptures you will also discover other instances where the phrase “turn the heart” is used (I suggest you do a word search on ‘turn the heart’) which provide additional clarity:

“Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children; And again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me” (D&C 98:16)

“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and hearts of the children shall turn to the their fathers.” (D&C 2:2)

It is my contention that the promises to the fathers spoken of are associated with the Abrahamic covenant (the great Patriarchal father) whereby the gospel would be made available to the children and that through the ordinances of baptism for the dead, those who had passed on could also receive the blessings of the gospel. Joseph elaborates on this in a letter he wrote that is canonized as D&C Section 128 which links the concept of turning the hearts to the subject of baptism for the dead. After citing Malachi 4:5-6 he explains:

“I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands.  It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other–and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.” (D&C 128:18)

It all comes back to the simplicity of the baptismal covenant of the gospel. The turning that takes place is to the gospel covenant preached by the patriarchs (fathers) of old. When Elijah (John the Baptist) appeared to Joseph and Oliver on the banks of the Susquehanna River he revealed the Patriarchal Priesthood BY HAND which would unlock the key allowing for the preaching of the gospel and of turning the heart of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers in preparation for the return of the Lord in the last days.

What is plainly taught in the scriptures has been tortured into another interpretation by men to justify abominations. Cursed is he who puts his trust in the arm of flesh. Don’t trust me either. Trust the scriptures and truly believe them.  John the Baptist is the reincarnated Elijah the Tishbite.

Keep Searching