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.
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)
“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)
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?
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.
Something I wonder is who else believes this???
Other than you, I, and Watcher…
How many other people believe that John the Baptist is Elijah and that the priesthood restored was the Patriarchal?
Are we the only three?
I’ll mention something of interest:
When John the Baptist is on the earth in the Gospels, the angel says in Luke 1 that he will go forth in the spirit and power of Elias and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. It DOESN’T say he will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers.
So during the Messianic years, John the Baptist turned the hearts of the prophets to the Jews– but… he never turned the hearts of the Jews to the prophets! The Jews rejected Christ and the prophets.
But Elijah, according to Malachi, is supposed to do both.
That’s why the prophecies are incomplete if you stop at the New Testament.
Elijah/JTB turned the hearts of the children to the fathers in the second watch 🙂
That’s why the angel didn’t include that part of Elijah/JTB’s mission in Luke.
How amazing is that???
I love the scriptures.
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That is an incredible insight! Thank you for sharing. These truths regarding Elijah being JTB and the Patriarchal Priesthood are available to all if only they are willing to search. So sad many choose to remain in darkness.
I too believe that Elijah is JtB. It took me a while. It took a everal years and too many emails to count, but I finally got it. It all originated from Watcher for me.
Orin Jackson said:
If you do a very little searching on Nephi or Moroni you will verify Nephi is the Angle who came to Joseph in 1823. I am not saying Moroni did not come later. Nephi is the Jerusalem educated scriptorian expert on Isaiah etc. Have a good search. Aloha Orin
On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 8:37 AM, One Who Is Searching wrote:
> [image: Boxbe] =?UTF-8?B?T25lIFdobyBJcyBTZWFyY2hpbmc=?= > (firstname.lastname@example.org) is not on your Guest List > > | Approve sender > > | Approve domain > > > onewhoissearching posted: “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 co” >
Orin jackson said:
The Angle is Nephi who visited Joseph in 1823 search it out plain as day or night. Who is Elijah? My bet he is a son of Moses and a descendant heir to the Melchizedek Priesthood through Jethro and Moses. I would like your take on this idea. Aloha Orin
Why does Joseph identify Elias as John the Beloved/Revelator in D&C 77: 9 & 14? It just makes things confusing that he didn’t change Elias in the JST to be Elijah.
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Yes, Mark, the use of Elias or Elijah can be confusing with Elias being a “forerunner” as well as the Greek form of Elijah. As the scriptures attest there are many individuals who had the calling of an Elias, including John the Beloved. I believe that God wanted these things to be unclear, just like speaking in parables so that those who were unwilling to search would be left in darkness.
Also – per Gazalem’s comment – that would mean that the LDS Saints were the reincarnation of the Jews who lived at the time of the crucifixion, no?
I do not claim that they are reincarnations.
I believe only John the Baptist can be proven to be a “reincarnation” of anyone. Though Joseph of Egypt MIGHT be Joseph Smith. Or John the Beloved is Joseph, he too being an Elias-restorer.
It goes on and on….
Let’s just leave it at Elijah/John the Baptist. The rest will be made clear when new records come forth.
The DESCENDANTS of the Jews who rejected Christ begin to believe in Christ and gather to America, the promised land. This occured post 1836 till now.
Jefferson Madison said:
Enjoying the blog, intrigued by the insights. You had me at “the Patriarchal Priesthood was restored by John the Baptist acting in the Spirit and Power of Elias/Elijah, and no other ordination occurred in the Kirtland Temple ” [paraphrasing],
but you lost me with the reincarnation/transmigration supposition.
Now don’t just chalk this up to me not praying about it enough or not being pure enough to see. That’s modern PS&R gamesmanship. There is no precedent for this idea in the canon scripture. These are not scriptural terms, and I find no reference in the Bo’M or Bible to indicate that a mortal probation ended in one body may be continued in another mortal body later. Amulek affirmed, “For behold, THIS LIFE is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of THIS LIFE is the day for men to perform their labors.” [Alma 34:32, emphasis added]. I am seeking to embrace restoration teachings from a more doctrinally-congruent pre-1835, pre-adultery, pre-prophetic fall, Book of Commandments kind of perspective, and I think we as searchers for truth need to be leery of our own “doctrinal innovations” a la Nauvoo.
Elijah/Elias translates literally to “Yahweh is God (Hebrew), or Jehovah is my God (Greek).” This name-title appears to be a mark of deference and submission to the Messiah held by great prophets whose mighty works might otherwise merit worship from the unknowing faithful.
Jesus stated of John the Baptist “But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:26-28).
John the Baptist was no small player in the dispensation of the Meridian of Time
Notwithstanding, when John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver, he first made clear his subservience to the Messiah: “Upon you MY FELLOW SERVANTS, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” (Doctrine and Covenants 13:1, 1829 Reported Visitation, emphasis added). This is reminiscent of the words of the angel to John the Revelator on Patmos, responding to John’s impulsive worship in his presence: “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Rev. 22:9).
Were John the Baptist not sharing his dispensation with the Messiah himself, would he not be considered in the company of the greatest prophets– Adam/Michael, Noah/Gabriel, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Joseph Smith, and ? — as seven opening/organizing agents for new gospel dispensations [seals]? Each of these were uniquely privileged to prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight following periods of generational apostasy. And just as Enoch was an exemplar in getting his people translated (though not the head of a restorative dispensation himself), Elijah the Tishbite was exemplary of the messianic triumph over death through the raising of the widow’s son and his own deathless translation. His opening of the heavens by a pillar of fire in defiance of the Priests of Baal is exemplary of the opening of gospel dispensations in defiance of priestcrafts. “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun…” (though Elijah/Elias was not the head of a restorative dispensation himself).
Some other interconnected references for consideration:
“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD.” (Revelation 4:5)
“And Michael, the SEVENTH ANGEL, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.” (D&C 88:112, 1832 Revelation).
“Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?
A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during THE SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF ITS CONTINUANCE, or its temporal existence.” (D&C 77:6, 1832 Revelation, emphasis added.)
“And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed…
And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer… And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood..” (D&C 128:20-21, 1842 Revelation – May be Apocryphal).
Many of the heads of restorative dispensations (and other Patriarchal prophets) have had alternate names given to signify their pre-mortal or post-mortal callings. I am reticent to embrace reincarnation as a viable doctrine in the instance of John the Baptist. I am inclined to accept him as a co-head of a restorative dispensation in submission to the Messiah with whom he shared that period.
One more nugget for consideration (though now I am straying into more speculative doctrinal innovations myself):
“Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life.” (Attributed to Joseph Smith Jr., Quoted by Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Kimball Family, 1888], 322).
Blasphemy is the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God. Did Joseph Smith consider himself (or have it revealed) that he was in fact a temporary or permanent member of the Godhead? If true, what would be the implications for the other heads of restorative dispensations? Where was the Holy Ghost during the creative enterprise managed by the Father and the Son? Who/what is the Holy Ghost? Could “Holy Ghost” be a dispensational pre-mortal calling for the “SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD?”
Again, I am reticent to try to invent doctrine, but like you all I seek to connect the dots by what is given without overtly contradicting the obvious and plainly revealed truths of the pure gospel.
Yours in pursuit of eternal truth, JM
Thanks for the comment. I must confess that I had a hard time at first believing that John the Baptist and Elijah of the OT are one and the same. The turning point for me was that I chose to believe the inspired changes that JS made to the Bible that support the theory as quoted in the blog post. Combine that with Joseph’s statement that translated beings are meant for future missions and I have to come to that conclusion. I think the evidence is compelling when the JST, Joseph’s declaration about translated beings and the statement of Moroni that the Priesthood would be revealed by the Hand of Elijah are all pieced together. They support the theory. I agree it is a hard doctrine to understand and embrace, but it fits. Keep up the good work.
Regarding the Holy Ghost, I have to place priority on the teachings of the Lectures on Faith which identifies the HG as the mind of God, NOT a separate personage. Subsequent teachings that contradict that view were canonized by BY (D&C 130:22-23). They came forth after the Saints were rejected as a Church. To me, the Lectures have much more credibility because they came forth near the time that the fullness was actually experienced (June 1831 to Dec 1834).
If you read the Lectures you will also learn that the Father is a personage of Spirit and the Son is a personage of tabernacle.
Jefferson Madison said:
Thank you for your timely and thoughtful reply. I believe the Lord has provided you clarity on a variety of topics germane to the foundations of the Restoration, and a gift to articulate them well… but I remain entrenched against the doctrine of reincarnation/ transmigration.
I feel this idea has deeply permeated what I will term the ‘faithful skeptic’ movement, with the leaders of various new splinter groups claiming alter-ego past personas from among the pantheon of ancient prophets. “I’m the reincarnated Hyrum Smith.” “I’m the reincarnated Inn-keeper of Bethlehem.” And so on and so on. It’s becoming an unnerving phenomena, and it appears ridiculous to me.
The Kirtland-Era Prophet Joseph Smith did not accept the concept of transmigration of souls. His encounter and repudiation of the doctrine of a Jewish teacher known as Matthias, as recorded in 1835:
“Tuesday, November 10.—I resumed conversation with Matthias, and desired him to enlighten my mind more on his views respecting the resurrection.
He said that he possessed the spirit of his fathers, that he was a literal descendant of Matthias, the Apostle, who was chosen in the place of Judas that fell; that his spirit was resurrected in him; and that this was the way or scheme of eternal life—this transmigration of soul or spirit from father to son.
I told him that HIS DOCTRINE was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit, although he professed to be the Spirit of truth itself; and he said also that he possessed the soul of Christ.
He tarried until Wednesday, 11th, when, after breakfast, I told him, that my God told me, that his god was the devil, and I could not keep him any longer, and he must depart. And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer.” (HC Vol. 2, Ch. 22, Pg. 307 [https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/volume-2-chapter-22], emphasis added).
In reference to Joseph’s public remarks on “future missions” of translated beings, reported from the Sunday, October 3, 1841 General Conference in Nauvoo, I have three objections:
Firstly, the broader context of his address, describes multiple instances of post-mortal “future” missions of translated/resurrected personages to minister to mortals, none of which are documented as having entered again into mortality to accomplish that ministry. As per the meeting recorder:
“He [Joseph Smith] explained the difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit ministering to embodied spirits—the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits. Jesus Christ became a ministering spirit (while His body was lying in the sepulchre) to the spirits in prison, to fulfill an important part of His mission, without which He could not have perfected His work, or entered into His rest. After His resurrection He appeared as an angel to His disciples. Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change EQUIVALENT TO death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions. The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body [i.e. personage], Jesus Christ went in body after His resurrection, to minister to resurrected bodies…” (HC Vol. 4, Ch. 25, Pg. 425 [https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/volume-4-chapter-25], emphasis added).
Secondly, this is 1840’s Nauvoo-Era Joseph, which we have reasonable cause to believe was not as “in-tune” as in his prophetic prime, nor as inclined toward doctrinal transparency within the Church. If we are going to discount the Doctrine and Covenants Sec.130 clarifications on the personhood of the Holy Ghost for these same reasons, we would be remiss to cherry-pick other alarming doctrines from the era. Even if the foregoing remarks may be construed as hints to indicate Joseph’s ultimate “private” acceptance of the transmigration/reincarnation doctrine– would not such a belief and doctrine be akin to the other “secret” doctrines of the time, or perhaps employed as self-justification for spiritual wifery?
The Fall 1841 journal entry of LDS Pioneer Joseph Lee Robinson is informative:
“My love for the Prophet Joseph Smith was truly stronger than death. It was greater than for any man that ever lived, except for Jesus, the first begotten of the Father.
We heard him say a great many good things. One was that if the Latter-day Saints would hold fast to him or to his garments that he would pack or carry them safe into the celestial kingdom of God. We never doubted his word. We also heard him say that God had revealed unto him that any man that ever committed adultery in either of his probations that that man could never be raised to the highest exaltation in the celestial glory and that he felt anxious with regard to himself that he inquired of the Lord that the Lord told him that he, Joseph, had never committed adultery. This saying of the prophet astonished me very much. It opened up to me a very wide field of reflection. THE IDEA THAT WE HAD PASSED THROUGH PROBATIONS PRIOR TO THIS AND THAT WE MUST HAVE BEEN MARRIED OR GIVEN IN MARRIAGE IN THOSE PROBATIONS, OR THERE WOULD BE NO PROPRIETY IN MAKING SUCH AN ASSERTION, and that there were several exaltations in the celestial kingdom of our God. The highest exaltation we suppose to be the godhead…” (The Journal of Joseph Lee Robinson, Mormon Pioneer, Pg. 40 [https://archive.org/stream/JlrBasicJournal/jlr_basic_journal#page/n39/mode/2up/search/married]).
Brigham Young appears to have grasped onto some of these notions, with claim on spiritual wives from a prior realm being portable into physical mortality, a basis for the so-called “Adam-God” doctrine:
“ Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man… When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family…. From the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone.”
(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, Pg. 50 [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/JournalOfDiscourses3/id/1865])
Not sure where Brigham got his “truth,” but I’m not buying what he’s selling.
O.W.I.S. – I hope I don’t appear adversarial in my analysis. I consider you an ally in this endeavor to embrace sound doctrinal light, while eschewing extra-scriptural suppositions. I have learned much as a result of your diligent study on these and other matters, and look forward to future mutually beneficial dialogue.
Jefferson Madison said:
I will accept your invitation to read the Lectures on Faith in depth, and I am open to re-evaluating my views on the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
A few additional thoughts just occurred to me, which I would like to offload while our dialogue is open.
A hallmark of the Elijah/Elias ministry was the shedding of authority to be born by a successor. In his incredible ministry we see raising of the dead to life, bold confrontations with ungodly kings and king-men, the calling down of heavenly fire to consume the errors of false priests, organization of the Sons of the Prophets, making straight the path through the waters of Jordan, ascension into the presence of God, and transmission of a visceral token of authority to his successor with a “double portion” of his own spirit to attend. What a legacy! What Pentecostal power in ministry!
“He [Elisha] took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.” (2 Kings 2:13-15)
There just seems to be something so compelling about this spirit and power of Elijah/Elias, that the unknowing faithful can’t help but want to worship it.That his mantle and spirit have rested upon others in varying degrees, who have taken up his name in fulfillment of their assignment is indicative of the honor God bestows upon those who fully honor him. “Yahweh is God.”
But there are simply too many Elijahs/Eliases in the scriptures for them to all be the same spirit personage. “Elijah the Preparer passes the keys to Elijah the Restorer”– They can’t all be Elijah the Tishbite. Why must John the Baptist therefore literally be that same personage, to bear his name and wield his authority? When you stand with Elijah/Elias in his mantle, in his name, with a double portion of his spirit resting upon you, ELIJAH STANDS WITH YOU!. As was the case with Melchizedek being a namesake for the priesthood order itself, the Lord has granted the name-title Elijah/Elias to those who make straight his paths in a preparatory role to open the heavens.
Jefferson Madison said:
According to the previously quoted statement by John the Baptist during the ordination of Joseph and Oliver, “…the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; …shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” (Doctrine and Covenants 13:1, 1829 Reported Visitation).
I have experienced profound evidence these limited keys are still present in the LDS Church, though my doctrinal understanding is beginning to align more closely with that of the Church of Jesus Christ which traces it’s authority through Sidney Rigdon and William Bickerton. Much of the views you have expressed align with their teachings:
Where do you believe the above “keys which shall never be taken again from the earth” properly reside? The growing list of denominations which claim roots in the founding of the 1830 Church of Christ is astounding:
Very good question regarding where the keys of the preparatory gospel reside. Ask yourself this: Do they have to be in just one organization or could they be scattered among the many restorationist churches? Because the priesthood associated with the preparatory gospel is patriarchal in nature and is traced through lineage I can’t conclude that it is just with the modern Mormon church, as only about 50% of the Saints in Nauvoo followed Brigham. There were many other factions as you know. The Brighamites were most successful, but that doesn’t mean that they have exclusive access to those keys. I too, have experienced the benefits of the preparatory gospel through the LDS Church, but again that doesn’t lead me to conclude that those benefits are exclusive to it, despite their consistent claims to the contrary.
Jefferson Madison said:
Compelling article by LDS Anarchist for your consideration:
In yogic tradition (Paramhansa Yogananda) he also taught that John the Baptist was Elijah. Interestingly he also taught that Jesus was Elisha. Biography of a Yogi. He also wrote a book called the Yoga of Jesus about Jesus’s travels to north India where he was called master Issa. Maybe. 😉
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