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.

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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

The Great Priesthood Inversion

On the 27th of August 1843, Joseph Smith gave a sermon on the Three Grand Orders of the Priesthood.  In that sermon, he ordered them as follows from the lowest to the highest:

Aaronic (Levitical)

Patriarchal (Evangelical)

Melchizedek

Despite the clarity with which he taught this doctrine, the corporate LDS church and others continue to essentially teach that the highest form of the priesthood is the patriarchal priesthood — associated with the sealing ordinances in the temples and their connection to celestial polygamy. In other words, patriarchs such as Abraham received an even higher form of priesthood than the Melchizedek priesthood when they entered into what the church calls the “new and everlasting covenant” of marriage. Denver Snuffer also makes this argument in his talk given in Orem, Utah on priesthood on Novemeber 2, 2013.

The reason it was so important to debunk Section 132 of the D&C as a true revelation in my last post was because the justification for this great inversion rests primarily on the doctrines taught in that section.

The great patriarchs of olden times, including Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many others were evangelists (meaning “missionaries”) of the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. Joseph himself said that “an evangelist is a patriarch” (TPJS pg 38-39) which the church has interpreted to mean the man ordained in each stake to give patriarchal blessing.  This has caused confusion in the minds of many.

Instead the scriptures describe an evangelist as one who has the priesthood to minister the gospel unto the inhabitants of the earth.  It is a lineal priesthood that is passed down from father to son, and thus inferior to the Melchizedek priesthood that is confirmed upon those who are called by God’s voice out of heaven and is “without father and mother” (in other words, not a lineal priesthood).  This is not to say that the great patriarch / evangelists did not ultimately receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The distinction is that they first had the patriarchal priesthood by lineal descent and right, and may later have received the highest priesthood of Melchizedek.

Regarding the patriarchal priesthood, D&C 107:39-41 explains:

“It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation–The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.  This order was instituted inthe days of Adam, and came down by lineage…”

This scripture also makes clear that not every male member in the church should be ordained unto this priesthood, only those of the chosen seed as revealed to the Twelve by revelation.

The use of the term “evangelist” to refer to a ministry is very consistent with the New Testament in which Philip is referred to as an evangelist (Acts 21:8) and Timothy is exhorted by Paul to do the work of an evangelist and make full proof of thy ministry (2 Tim 3:5).  Additionally, Ephesians 4:11-12, refers to the Lord giving the church “some evangelists” for the “work of the ministry.”

Few members of the church own a book by Fred C. Collier entitled “Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is not cheap to purchase but has some real gems therein including the following two excerpts related to patriarchal priesthood:

“Therefore, verily thus sayeth the Lord you God, I appoint these Twelve that they should be equal in their ministry and in their portion, and in their evangelical rights...” (November 3, 1835 pg 79)

“…in his [Joseph Smith] hands shall the Urim and Thummim remain and the holy ministry and the keys of the evangelical priesthood, also for an everlasting priesthood forever, even the patriarchal: for behold, he is the first patriarch in the last days.  He shall sit in the great assembly and general council of patriarchs, and execute the will and commandment under the direction of the Ancient of Days…” (September 22, 1835 pg 77, from a revelatory patriarchal blessing given by Oliver Cowdery)

In both of these revelations you can see a direct link between the patriarchal priesthood and a ministry.  This same connection is made in the Book of Abraham relating to his priesthood and ministry.

I have puposed to make of thee [Abraham] a minister to bear my name in a strage land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice. (Abr 2:6)

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee , as their father; And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (Abr 2:9-11)

Wow!  This was quite an epiphany for me.  The Abrahamic Covenant is all about the seed of Abraham who bear this ministry (the tidings of the gospel) and thus are instrumental in providing the blessings of the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth who hearken to their voice.

I suggest that anyone who is serious about understanding about the three priesthoods invest 75 mins. to watch the video produced by Watcher entitled

The “Priesthood of Aaron” is not synonymous with the “Aaronic Priesthood”

He brings great insight to a very confusing subject, and does it with scripture and historical record.  Do yourself a favor and watch it if you haven’t already.

Understanding the patriarchal priesthood provides a key to knowledge about the our current state and the meaning of the phrase from Malachi “turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to the fathers.” We will address that in greater depth in our next installment.

Keep Searching

 

 

 

Section 132 – Standing Alone to Change the Simple Doctrine of Christ

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Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants has become the centerpiece for the church’s teachings on celestial marriage. It stands as the sole basis for connecting the idea of sealing to a marriage covenant. I have also blogged about this topic in “What it Means to be Sealed” which uses multiple scriptures to prove that the sealing has nothing to do with marriage.  Rather it is always used (with the exception of section 132) in the context of being sealed up unto eternal life and having one’s calling and election made sure.

Because section 132 stands as the lone pillar supporting the entire structure of the celestial marriage doctrine, it is important for any student of the gospel to understand the inconsistencies and challenges this section presents in light of other scripture. We will discuss the historical context of it being placed in the LDS canon, how it redefines previously clear and unambiguous terms in the LDS lexicon (creating confusion and uncertainty in the minds of the saints as to the true meaning), as well as point out other problematic and contradictory doctrines taught therein. At the end I believe it will be easy to conclude that this is not sound doctrine, but rather represents the Lord turning over the brethren to their own lustful and covetous desires for a period of chastisement.

So here goes.

1 – Historical Context. The revelation known as section 132 was first published in the Deseret News in August of 1852.  This was a full 8 years after the martyrdom and represented Brigham Young and his cohorts in the Twelve coming out of the closet to openly preach celestial polygamy as church doctrine. Subsequently it was placed in the 1876 edition of the D&C one year prior to Brigham Young’s death. Simultaneously, the “Article on Marriage” which previously was Section 101 was removed. It stated as follows:

Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death when either is at liberty to marry again.

This declaration was written by Oliver Cowdery and approved by a general assembly of the church on August 17, 1835. It was essentially scripture that was now being superseded by a teaching in direct contradiction.

There are many aspects of how section 132 came about that raise serious questions and cast doubt on its authenticity. We will not explore those in this posting except to say that the prophet Joseph Smith had ample opportunity to publish the “revelation” and have it canonized as scripture. He never did. Also, we don’t have the original manuscript, only a “copy” supposedly made by an avowed polygamist, Joseph Kingsbury and the corroborating testimony of other polygamists like William Clayton.  There is also evidence to suggest that the authorship of Section 132 can be most closely attributed to Brigham’s writing style as opposed to Joseph’s. This link will take you to that study.

Trying to valid or disprove the revelation based upon how it came about comes down largely to who you believe. More salient, in my view, is whether it passes the scriptural smell-test.

2 – Sidney Rigdon never “Proved” this doctrine.

One of Rigdon’s primary responsibilities as enunciated in Section 35:23 was to “call on the holy prophets to prove his [Joseph’s] words, as they shall be given him.” Don’t forget that this is the Lord giving Sidney this responsibility to use the scriptures to prove that Joseph was restoring truth that always existed and revealed to the holy prophets, thus already had in the scriptures.

As I have commented on previously in Latter-day Scapegoat, Sidney Rigdon’s reputation among the LDS people has suffered serious violence at the hands of Brigham Young and the Twelve to this very day. Given the fact that more revelations were given to Sidney than any other person besides Joseph we should not so lightly dismiss Sidney’s unwillingness to sanction spiritual wifery and polygamy. In fact, the very reason he had to be excommunicated by Brigham was his opposition to the practice. Considering how deeply entrenched it was among the Twelve at the time, Sidney’s being led off into the wilderness like a scapegoat (via excommunication) is not at all surprising.

3 – Section 132 violates the Law of Witnesses.

The law of witnesses states that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). When it comes to church doctrine this means that there are multiple scriptural sources for any doctrine being taught. Unfortunately, you will not find anything on celestial marriage or celestial polygamy in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Plain and simple, it just isn’t there anywhere.

This should be a BIG RED FLAG to modern Mormons considering that the doctrine of celestial marriage consumes so much of LDS theology and practice in our temples today. I haven’t yet written about what the scriptures plainly teach about celestial union of the sexes which shall become the subject of a future post. But as currently taught and practiced, the celestial marriage doctrine is justified based solely upon the shaky foundation of Section 132.

Interestingly, Joseph himself warned the saints 2 months prior to his death not to accept any doctrine that was contrary to the scriptures:

If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter.

Here I should comment that there is a distinction to be made between the doctrines of celestial polygamy (or spiritual wifey) and temporal polygamy. I believe the Lord can sanction anything He wants for His own purposes, including polygamy to “raise up seed unto me” (Jacob 2:30). This is different, however, than the doctrine taught in 132 which essentially states that if you are not a celestial polygamist you will not be “exalted” in God’s kingdom. You will not attain to the “highest level” of the celestial kingdom of God. Section 132 is all about the celestial polygamy which again, has no second witness anywhere in the scriptures.

4- Introduces a New Concept of “Exaltation”

Having heard the word extensively within the Mormon culture you might actually believe that “exaltation” is found throughout the scriptures. It is NOT. Besides Section 132 it is only found in one other place in the D&C and that reference is to the lifting up of Zion and has nothing to do with entering the highest level of the celestial kingdom (D&C 124:9). What I have learned by conducting many word searches is that various passages and doctrines are linked by common words across the books. The lack of corroborating scriptural references is telling.

5 – Redefines the “Everlasting Covenant” and “Fulness”

Ask most Mormons what the meaning of the everlasting covenant is and they will likely reply the covenant of celestial marriage. Unfortunately, they fail to understand that the everlasting covenant refers to the covenant of baptism as clearly taught in D&C 22:1:

Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this (referring to baptism) is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

Note that this section was given in April of 1830. A year later the Lord says this:

Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have lifeand be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old (D&C 66:2).

And a month later this:

And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity (D&C 133:57).

The foregoing two scriptures which reference the fulness were given after the Melchizedek priesthood was restored at the Morley Farm conference of June 1831. From that time the church had the fulness of the priesthood until it was lost (D&C 124:28) through transgressing the laws, changing the ordinance and breaking the covenant (Isaiah 24:5).

Section 132 completely changes the meaning of the new and everlasting covenant. It promises even more of the fulness, which by definition is impossible. If you are full, you are full. There is no more to be had. The Lord defined everlasting covenant and fulness long before Section 132 made it’s shaky appearance on the scriptural stage.

6 – Heavy Handed Appeal to Authority

No less than 10 times in Section 132 do we come across the phrase “I am the Lord thy God” or some minor variation. In no other chapter or section within scripture do we run across this over-the-top emphasis on who is delivering the revelation. The threatening tone of much of the revelation is also a clue as to its origins. Whatever happened to long-suffering  and gentle persuasion? (D&C 121:41)

7 – Holy Spirit of Promise

Verse 7 of Section 132 teaches us:

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred) 

The problem is that BOTH Joseph and his brother, Hyrum had this authority as per D&C 124:124 because they were co-presidents of the church for a time:

First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise…

It is also worthy to note that Section 132 seems to suggest that the Holy Spirit of Promise is dispensed purely by a man who holds the proper priesthood authority. This contradicts other scriptures which teach that the Holy Spirit of Promise is sent forth from the Father (D&C 76:53) and also the Son (D&C 88:3).

8 – The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord (Jacob 2:24, see also Mosiah 11:2)

Jacob’s entire discourse is worth a careful read. His teachings are in direct conflict with D&C 132:1 regarding the Lord justifying Abraham, Issac (who never had a plural wife. oops!), Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon in their taking multiple wives.

9 – The Law of the Celestial Kingdom is monogamy

The Law of the Lord as contained in Section 42 says this with respect to marriage:

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

This was further reiterated in D&C 49:16

Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;

Pretty clear what the celestial standard is from those two verses. Are we now to believe that after the Gentile saints broke the Lord’s celestial law He is giving them an even higher law of celestial marriage? Would that not be wholly inconsistent with the way the Lord deals with his people? Would it not be much more probable that a cursing would be in order for rejecting His holy laws?

10 – The Threats to Emma

Section 132 is not kind to Joseph’s wife, Emma Smith. Whereas, in an earlier revelation she is referred to by the Lord as “my daughter” (see D&C 25:1), she is now referred to as “mine handmaid” which is essentially a female servant. The Lord calls Joseph his servant many times so that is not such a huge deal, but the threats that she will be destroyed if she does not comply and receive polygamy as a true doctrine are troubling.

And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God (there we go again), and will destroy her if she abide not in my law. (D&C 132:54)

11 – Howlers

In the interest of not making this post too long (it’s already over 2000 words) I will just throw down a list of blunders that should tip off any thinking person to the fact that this “revelation” is the construct of men. We’ve already touched on the reference to Isaac being justified as a polygamist even though he was only married to one wife, Rebekah.

Verse 3: “for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.” This means that I must obey this law because it has been revealed. If not I am damned. What about all the prophets and patriarchs who did not abide this law? People such as Joseph of Egypt, David Patten, Edward Partridge, Joseph Smith Sr. and many, many others. Are we to believe that they too will not be “exhalted”.

Verse 29: “Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.” The scriptures make clear that the inheritance of being with God doesn’t take place until after the Zion from above unites with the Zion down below. Also, they (the patriarchal fathers) cannot be made perfect without the work that must yet take place. Thus it would be impossible for Abraham to have already received his exaltation and currently be sitting upon his throne. (See D&C 88:107 and D&C 128:15)

Verse 34: “God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife.” This statement is inconsistent with the record in the Old Testament. It was Sarah who lost faith and wanted Abraham to take Hagar. There is no record of Abraham being commanded by the Lord, nor did Joseph make any changes regarding this in the Inspired Version of the Bible.

12 – Joseph’s Stumbling Block

So after all that you are still inclined to believe in Section 132 then it most probably is on the basis that it came from Joseph. Well, we don’t know exactly what the revelation was that was read to the Nauvoo High Council. Hyrum presented it to them without Joseph at his side. The high council as a body rejected the revelation. By some accounts it was much shorter than what we have in 132. There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph introduced and practiced polygamy.

So the real question becomes: Was it from God or was it a means to test the people to see if they could be seduced into following a doctrine that was “more or less” than the simplicity of the Lord’s gospel after they had already rejected the celestial law? (See Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 18). Was Joseph acting as a means to turn the people over to a period of chastisement and cursing for their disobedience? I highly recommend reading the second chapter of Malachi which describes a prophet who brings forth the Lord’s law and then causes the people to stumble. His major mistake was “leaving the wife of his youth.” 

According to William Marks, Stake President in Nauvoo, Joseph realized before he was killed that he had been deceived regarding polygamy.

When the doctrine of polygamy was introduced into the church as a principle of exaltation, I took a decided stand against it; which stand rendered me quite unpopular with many of the leading ones of the church…Joseph, however, became convinced before his death that he had done wrong: for about three weeks before his death, I met him one morning in the street, and he said to me, “Brother Marks…we are a ruined people.” I asked, how so? He said: “This doctrine of polygamy, or spiritual-wife system, that has been taught and practiced among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow. I have been deceived,” said he, “in reference to its practice; it is wrong; it is a curse to mankind, and we shall have to leave the United States soon, unless it can be put down and its practice stopped in the church. (William Marks, “Epistle,” Zions Harbinger and Baneemy’s Organ 3 July 1853: 52-54)

When you truly understand the concept of an intercessory offering on behalf of the saints that was performed by Joseph and others then the answer to whether Section 132 is a true revelation or not is really quite simple. Unfortunately, we have 4 generations of traditions that teach us otherwise, despite the fact that Section 132 stands alone in changing the simple doctrine of Christ.  Don’t take my word for it.  But if you don’t believe me then I would suggest that you haven’t delved deeply enough into the scriptures and history. It is not enough to believe the pronouncements of men, no matter how well meaning or intelligent they may be.

Keep Searching

Who’s Afraid of Section 77?

Earlier this week I was doing one of my typical word searches in the scriptures, in this case on lds.org, and discovered something unbelievable. Something that suggests the LDS church is filtering scriptural searches on their website so that certain references don’t come up. It suggests active attempts to prevent the casual searcher from coming across information that does not reflect kindly on the claims of the modern church.

Here’s what I did. In the search bar on lds.org I inserted the word “restoration.”  Ten scriptures came up in the D&C. As I looked through the list I could not find a reference to D&C 77:15, a scripture I have known about for some time which refers to the two prophets who would preach to the Jews “at the time of the restoration.” Why on earth would this scripture be excluded? I checked my spelling to make sure I hadn’t made a typing mistake. I went to section 77 (which can be accessed on lds.org if you just go directly to it) and typed the exact phrase from verse 15 in the search bar “at the time of the restoration.” Nothing came up with that phrase! Now I am really curious. How about a search on any number of other key words and phrases from section 77?

I proceeded to do a search on the following terms all of which are embedded in D&C 77: sea of glass; sanctified; four beasts; figurative; felicity; seven seals; hidden; four angels; Elias; trumpets; and, two prophets.

SECTION 77 NEVER COMES UP!

Let that sink in for a minute. It NEVER EVER comes up. Someone has decided to exclude section 77 from the results of all scriptural searches on the LDS church’s official website. I wanted to think that this could just have been a coincidence, but the evidence was overwhelming for a deliberate exclusion by someone in church headquarters.

As another blogger is known to say (shout out to you Watcher):

Un-FREAKING-believable!

Why? What is contained in Section 77 that is so dangerous to the narrative of the LDS church? What’s in there that would potentially provoke a decision to try to hide information that is plainly manifest in the scriptures.

Section 77 is a bit different than most revelations in the D&C. What makes it unique is that the entire section is a question and answer session between Joseph and the Lord about various verses in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The only other example of this question and answer format in the D&C is section 113. As a test, I also ran searches on key words in section 113 and discovered that indeed, they did show up. The church is not blocking search results for section 113.

In section 77, verse 8 is the first area that could cause serious indigestion for the modern corporate church.

8. Q. What are we to understand by the four angels, spoken of in the 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; having power to shut up the heavens, to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.

As we can see, Revelation 7:1 is referring to four angels who commit the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people in the last days. Importantly, they have the sealing power to seal up individuals unto eternal life, or to damn those who do not repent.

Contrast this with what is taught in the church that:

  1. The church has the everlasting gospel to commit to the world
  2. The church is spreading the everlasting gospel through it’s missionary program
  3. The church is the sole custodian of the sealing power via the chosen 15.
  4. Via the “2nd Endowment” selected members are sealed up unto eternal life and themselves given the sealing power. (This doctrine is not openly taught, but is reported to be taking place in temples under the personal administration of one of the Twelve).

What Revelation 7:1 and the explanation given by the Lord in section 77 DOES NOT say is that the current leaders of the Lord’s people will continue to grow the ranks of the elect and dispense the everlasting gospel and administer the sealing power prior to the Lord’s return in glory. The foregoing is largely the narrative taught by the corporate church. This scripture seriously calls that into doubt which is why it could be seen as a serious threat.

9. Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse?

A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.

This verse refers to an angel (resurrected person) who is identified as Elias (Elijah) the restorer who will be instrumental in sealing the servants of God (making their calling and election sure) prior to Christ’s return. There are all sorts of heartburn-inducing truths taught in this verse. It confirms that:

  1. Elijah the restorer must return to gather the tribes of Israel. In other words, the modern church is not the one to gather the tribes of Israel.
  2. This Elijah will oversee the dispensing of the sealing power, not the chosen 15.
  3. The true purpose of sealing has nothing to do with marriage. Contrast this with church teachings that “families are forever” and that we need to seal families together via temple ordinances. I have addressed what the scriptures teach about sealing in a previous blog post accessible here.

Joseph taught “How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet…”  Notice the future tense of “will send” as Joseph taught this long after the appearance of Elijah in the Kirtland Temple. Section 77 is another witness to the futurity of these events.

11. Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?

A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.

Verse 11 teaches that the angels previously mentioned will ordain 144,000 high priests to administer the everlasting gospel and bring people in the last days into Christ’s true church. The modern corporate church claims to have the fulness of the priesthood and routinely ordains high priests within its ranks. Instead, this scripture clarifies that the restoration of priesthood power will be from heaven-sent messengers, not from the current leaseholders of the Lord’s vineyard in SLC.

This doctrine is corroborated by D&C 113:7-8:

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.

Finally, the zinger and the beginning of my scripture search which sent me down this rabbit hole.

15. Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation?

A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.

Verse 15 clearly places the “restoration” in the future. No one I know in any sector of the religious community is arguing that this prophecy about the two prophets has been fulfilled. I have written in a previous blogpost about how the marvelous work is a future event. Those additional evidences can be accessed here.

One can see how troubling this could be to church leadership. It contradicts the story we have all been told about the restoration happening at the time of Joseph Smith. It directly challenges the timelines and narratives of the church. It challenges the authority claims of the church.

Further, this should be a cautionary warning to those who believe that we need to “preserve the restoration.” While I appreciate and love those who are seeking for Zion, the scriptures make it clear that it will not be rebuilt organically. Messengers are to return with true priesthood power to usher in the Lord’s “Strange Act” and “Marvelous Work.” Understanding these things will prevent you from being led astray by voices who would convince you otherwise.

Finally, I would be intensely curious to see if anyone else has a similar experience with the church website. Clearly the church wants to direct you to certain scriptures because they always sort by “relevance” rather than by “book” and you can’t change that default setting. You have to go in and change it every time you do a search. Very annoying! Do they really think they can get away with this?

Keep Searching.

 

To Know the LORD – Part 3

In the two previous parts of this series we have discovered that knowing the Lord involves dealing justice to the poor and the needy among us. We also reviewed from scripture the condemnations that rest upon the leaders of the Lord’s people who steal from the poor by requiring tithes of those who barely have means to support themselves. In this final installment we are going to explore the law of common consent and how church leaders set at defiance the word of the Lord by failing to disclose how church finances are allocated.

In D&C 26:2 (given July 1830) the Lord says:

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

This principle is further reiterated nearly 4 years later when the laws concerning the operation of the United Order are set forth (D&C 104:71).  With regards to taking money out of the treasury the Lord states:

And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.

Here we have two witnesses from the Lord that financial affairs are not to be kept hidden from the church membership. Rather, the consent of the membership is required to appropriate moneys in the church.

In 1838 there was a proposal made to pay Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith salaries for their work on behalf of the church in the amount of $1,100 apiece which was the equivalent of three times the average workers salary at the time. Despite being approved by the high council, when it was noised abroad to the churches that such an arrangement had been made it caused such an uproar that the salary agreement was rescinded at the next high council meeting. (See Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Chapter 17. See also D. Michael Quinn, LDS Church Finances from the 1830s to the 1990s, Sunstone, June 1996, p. 21).

Anyone who is familiar with my blog will look at the date this proposal took place and realize that it was many years after the people had rejected the covenant and that both Joseph and Sidney were under the burden of making an intercessory atonement for the people. Their desire for material comforts and wealth is consistent with their taking upon themselves the sins of the people and acting them out.

Since Joseph’s death the church has been very inconsistent and sporadic in sharing financial information with it’s members.  As documented by D. Michael Quinn in LDS Church Finances cited above, the definition of tithing has changed over the years as has the application of consequences for the non-payment of tithes.  More significant, however, is the lack of transparency that has hidden from public view the poor financial decisions that plagued the church up through the 1950s and the use of tithes for private gain by some church leaders.

For example, there are a number of church leaders who took personal loans from church funds and then had those notes cancelled without repayment to the church.

Three weeks before he died in 1877, Brigham Young obtained a cancellation of his debts to the church extending all the way back to 1849.

In 1879, John Taylor, as president of Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust, had two notes for $50,000 destroyed by the vice-president of the bank. He also convinced the Twelve to allow him a $10,000 claim for sugar machinery.

Quinn also documents:

“Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith did not use their office as Church president to cancel their personal indebtedness, yet they allowed tithing funds to serve as a loan pool for prominent Mormons.”

Among the debtors was Apostle Heber J. Grant for a cash loan of $34,000.”

As President of the Church, Heber J. Grant convinced his counselors to accept $30,000 worth of stock at face value (who knows what the true market value was) to cancel the loans.

“In 1930, First Counselor Anthony W. Ivins computed that the Church lost $900,000 in personal loans to Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley. Upon his appointment as second counselor in the First Presidency in 1925, Nibley had used stocks and bonds to repay his indebtedness to the Church.”

The point of sharing these vignettes is to highlight that there have indeed been abuses in the use of church funds that have been allowed to perpetuate largely because of the lack of transparency in the process in violation of the Lord’s stated law of common consent. Who knows what is going on today? I am not suggesting their are wholesale abuses. We just don’t know. We don’t know what amount of nepotism is reflected in the choice of contractors for building work and any number of the hundreds and thousands of contracts that the church enters into in their business dealings every year. We don’t know what the chosen 15 are paid, directly or indirectly. We don’t know how much goes to support the church bureaucracy, or how much goes to support BYU or any number of other endeavors.

What we do know is that since 1959 the church books have been completely and utterly closed to public view and scrutiny by the common membership. This was initially to disguise deficit spending to build meetinghouses under the theory that “if we build it they will come.” It took nearly a decade to recover under the leadership of financial wizard N. Eldon Tanner. The financial veil that was placed over church finances in 1959 was then firmly in place to disguise the financial successes that have been the hallmark of the church during the last 50 years.

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Every general conference we are greeted by the church auditing department with an insipid non-disclosure that assures us that “in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church for the year [insert latest year] have been recorded and administered in accordance with approved Church budgets, policies, and accounting practices.”

This is meaningless mumbo jumbo. It tells us nothing of substance about how our tithing dollars are being spent. We have no clue how much is spent on the poor which is the primary stated purpose of tithing as indicated by the Lord. When the saints rejected the covenant in 1834, Joseph and Oliver took a covenant of tithing FOR THE POOR and for the continuation of blessings.

As church members we should not sit idly by and allow our leaders to violate the law of common consent. We have been indoctrinated into believing that every change in policy or position or procedure is somehow a revelation from God. This is done subtly through implication without actually having to come out and say “Thus saith the Lord.”

Jeremiah has some choice words for those who take such liberties:

Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour [endlessly quoting one another]

Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith [directly or by implication].

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.

Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the Lord answered thee? and, What hath the Lord spoken? (Jeremiah 23:30-32, 37)

My question is therefore identical to what the Lord instructs us to ask of our leaders. Exactly what has the Lord said to you? What has he answered? Did he tell you to close the books in contravention to an earlier revelation? If so, bring forth the new revelation. Let us see it and scrutinize it and decide for ourselves as a church whether it is indeed the Lord speaking or the precepts of men. It is really very simple.

There is an online petition that you can access here to petition the leaders of the church to open the books. I have very little hope that they will do so based on prophecies within the scriptures. For me, however, I believe it is important to make our voices heard in defense of the Lord’s word to us in the latter days.

In putting together this series it has become increasingly clear to me just how far afield we have traveled from what the Lord wants us to be doing with our tithes. His economic system is one of voluntary equality via covenant which allows each to fully develop their talents as documented in the parable of the talents. The systematic oppression of the poor via today’s tithing scheme in the name of the Lord can be labelled as none other than an abomination.

Finally, the following scripture is SO APROPOS today as so many are willing to hang on every word that comes from the pulpit of the conference center:

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [church empire of businesses and wealth]; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Keep Searching.

To Know the LORD – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we explored what it truly means to know the Lord. We discovered through scripture that doing things in His name does not necessarily mean that any one of us knows His character–that the only way to know Him is to do the works which He did, especially with regards to the poor and the needy among us. This is His pure religion.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  (James 1:27)

We also learned that condemnation rests upon those who profess his name and yet fail to know Him. Continuing with that theme there are many scriptures which condemn the leaders of God’s people for actually stealing from the poor.

O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat the people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor saith the Lord God of hosts.  (Isaiah 3:12-15, 2 Nephi 13:12-15)

Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads: yea and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:12-14)

The ancient prophet, Moroni, was shown in vision our day and had this to say:

Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. (Mormon 8:35-36)

He then goes on to list their sins:

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

I used to think that these scriptures only applied to other churches. Certainly, Moroni was not talking about the LDS church, right? Through my study of scripture and the historical record I have come to know otherwise. It is hard to avoid the descriptors “all gone astray” and “even every one have become polluted”.

When the Lord brought forth His law of consecration in Section 42 it was a perfect economic law under which those who were in need received consecrated (tithed) donations from those who had a surplus. These properties were placed in the Lord’s storehouse for distribution under the direction of the bishop. This allowed the disadvantaged the basic necessities of life and the ability to develop their talents and abilities without worrying about the constant imperative to put food on the table or provide shelter.

Under the Lord’s law there was never the requirement to pay one tenth of one’s income if means were insufficient to cover basic living expenses. The poor were never called upon to show their faith by paying tithes and offerings in anticipation of the Lord stepping up and blessing them directly. Rather it was up to the leaders of the people to bless them by “bringing all the tithes into the storehouse.” In fact, Malachi 3:10 can be read as a rebuke of the priests for not placing the tithes in the storehouse for the poor. It is a rebuke for the people not living the law of consecration — they have “gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” They have rejected the Law of the Lord which requires consecration and are therefore robbing God by not living his sacred laws which provide generously for the poor.

What few understand is that the Law of Tithing found in D&C Section 119 is really just a restatement of the Law of Consecration. After consecrating surplus properties, you are required to continue year-by-year to cast one-tenth of your SURPLUS into the treasury of the Lord. No surplus means no need to contribute. If you can’t put food on the table you don’t go into debt in hopes of blessings from the Lord.

And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord. (D&C 119:4)

Websters 1828 dictionary defines interest as “surplus advantage” and “personal profit”. This was the understanding of the word in Joseph’s day. Nowhere in the definition is “income” the equivalent of interest.

Yet that is exactly how this scripture has been interpreted by those who rule over us. We are led to believe that we should tithe one-tenth of our gross income without regards to taxes, or basic living expenses.  By interpreting the scripture in that way the poor are deprived of the means to support themselves. They are being robbed and spoiled.

Instead of placing money in the storehouse for the poor, tithes are used to adorn our churches and temples with the finest of materials and workmanship. The gold leaf, the fancy designs, the expensive marble are all testament to the fact that we don’t recognize what the Lord truly sees as important.

Do we “know” the Lord more by participating in a masonic-based temple endowment ceremony in over-the-top ornate buildings or by easing the burdens of the poor and needy among us? Does the Lord really require us to build all these impressive structures in order to worship him? The greatest spiritual blessings since the restoration were poured out in the relatively plain Kirtland Temple. Those spiritual blessings haven’t been matched in subsequent generations. Does anybody not wonder why?

Our fine sanctuaries and our fine clothing testify against us. Our system of tithing has become wholly corrupt with spiritual blessings withheld from those who do not “pay” the required price in cold, hard cash.There are reports of baptisms being denied until an investigator actually pays tithes and offerings. The spoil of the poor is in our houses (temples). The priests have eaten up the vineyard and they grind upon the faces of the poor by how they their appropriate tithing funds. In Part 3 we will examine how the authorities are violating the Lord’s directives in the scriptures by withholding financial information from church members.

Keep Searching.