I have been on a hiatus for a while, focusing all of my writing efforts on completing my book about the hidden secret of Joseph’s prophetic ministry. Given that this weekend is general conference for the LDS church, I thought it appropriate to share one chapter of my book regarding the situation we find ourselves in today—a time of no revelation even though we have 15 who claim that prophetic mantle. Note that I am not tech savvy enough to get all the footnotes that are in the book over into this post without a herculean effort, so I have taken the easy way out and omitted most of them. A quick scripture search should give you the references, at least to the scriptures. Enjoy.
It is an article of faith to Mormons today that there is a living prophet standing at the head of the church to receive revelations from the Lord himself. The words of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles given at general conference every six months are promoted as being the word of the Lord, and are even perceived by some as the equivalent of scripture. The Church today sustains these fifteen men “prophets, seers and revelators.” It wasn’t always so.
When Brigham Young made his case before the Saints in Nauvoo on August 8, 1844, he didn’t maintain that he was the rightful successor to Joseph, nor did he advance any claim that he had received an ordination as prophet, seer and revelator. No. He only argued that the Twelve should lead the church. That line of reasoning probably carried the day with the majority of the Saints in Nauvoo because many were converts from foreign lands who were most familiar with the missionaries who taught them—the members of the Quorum of Twelve. New to the gospel, these converts were still largely unschooled in the revelations canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants. A week later, Brigham Young published in the Times and Seasons the declaration presented in the previous chapter telling the Saints that they “are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you.” (Times and Seasons, 15 August 1844)
So, the question naturally follows: When did Brigham Young suddenly become a prophet, seer and revelator? Who laid hands on Brigham to give him that authority? According to the order of the Church, it had to be someone who was himself a prophet, seer and revelator. One cannot convey authority that they don’t already possess. And yet, Brigham was responsible for running the only man out of town who we can positively identify as having that prophetic authority when he excommunicated Sidney. Not only is it necessary to be ordained by a prophet, seer and revelator, the revelations teach that members of the First Presidency are to be comprised of men who have been ordained as high priests. By his own admission, Brigham was never ordained a high priest. (Journal of Discourses 1:136)
Apologists point to what has come to be known as Joseph’s “last charge” as the basis for some authority conveyed to the Twelve to lead the Church. This “charge” was given in late March 1844 to the Council of Fifty, a council comprised of up to 50 individuals, including women and several non-members. It also included members of the Quorum of Twelve. Orson Hyde claimed that it was at that particular meeting “when president Joseph Smith laid the responsibility of leading the church on the Twelve.” (See the Council of Fifty Minutes, p. 66) However, the historical record is devoid of any ordinations or ordinances accompanying the alleged statement by Joseph. Hyde went on to say that Smith “did declare that he had conferred upon the Twelve every key and every power that he ever held himself before God.” This claim, made nearly a year after the fact, is curious because it was never advanced as a reason to support the Twelve during the succession crisis. One would have thought that if indeed Joseph had conveyed “every key and every power” to the Twelve they would have presented that fact as the centerpiece of their case for leading the church—something that never happened. Instead, history was conveniently rewritten over time to support the claims of the Twelve. It is worth noting that Orson Hyde was a prolific prevaricator and embellisher of history. Van Wagoner describes him as “the quorum’s de facto agent of disinformation.” Any of his claims that are unverified through multiple other sources should be taken with extreme skepticism and caution.
We should also keep in mind that this “charge” was given to the Council of Fifty, an organization whose members were required to take oaths of secrecy upon penalty of death, a hallmark of secret combinations which are roundly condemned by the Book of Mormon. Having no precedence in the revelations of the Lord, the Council of Fifty can be most closely compared to a political assembly, not an ecclesiastical one. Its initial efforts were focused on the establishment of a theocratic kingdom of god on the earth with Joseph as the patriarchal king. To that end, colonization possibilities were explored in various locations outside the boundaries of the United States, including Oregon, Vancouver Island, Upper California and Texas.
If Joseph actually told the Twelve and others what is reported, namely that: “Upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now, but now the responsibility rests upon you” then it is entirely likely that he was referring to the theocratic political kingdom that the Council was looking to establish. Without ordinations and actual conferrals of authority via the established protocol of the laying on of hands, it’s difficult to draw any other conclusion. Unfortunately for the original claims of the Twelve, the historical record is utterly bereft of contemporary accounts of any ordinations—something we can verify in our day with access to original sources like the Council of Fifty Minutes and the entire Joseph Smith Papers Collection. Joseph said something on that occasion—that’s all. Without an ordination, there can be no transfer of keys or authority, especially in the case of a prophet, seer and revelator.
Lack of ordained authority, however, was no impediment to Brigham’s systematic efforts to create a Church hierarchy with him at the very top of the food chain. Three years after the Saints voted to be led by the Twelve, Brigham started lobbying his fellow apostles to reconstitute the First Presidency with Brigham as President. When asked about it, Wilford Woodruff indicated that he “thought it would require a revelation to change the order of that Quorum [the First Presidency].” Woodruff’s opposition probably speaks most loudly to the lack of any scriptural authority for the Twelve to select the First Presidency. (see Wilford Woodruff Journal, October 12, 1847)
Today we have become so accustomed to the idea that the Quorum of the Twelve selects the President, who then selects his counsellors, that we yawn every time the President dies, and he is succeeded like clockwork by the next most senior apostle. But back in Brigham’s day this was a radical idea. Brigham wanted the Twelve to appoint an apostle as an independent president who would then appoint two counsellors, something that was never authorized in any of Joseph’s teachings or the revelations. This is probably why Wilford Woodruff thought that any change of this magnitude would require a revelation from the Lord, presumably written and canonized. Not only was Woodruff skeptical, but Orson Pratt was also opposed. John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt and George A. Smith were also dissenting votes as minutes from the Quorum meetings indicate.
Orson Pratt was rightfully concerned about the concentration of power and autonomy that would rest with Brigham should he be able to create a quorum superior to the Twelve. Instead of garnering a majority of seven votes in the Twelve for any decision, Brigham would now be able to overrule anything the Twelve attempted to do by his new quorum of three, especially when he selected his best buddies, Willard Richards and Heber C. Kimball as counselors. After months of lobbying, Young was successful at wearing down the opposition to the point that they acquiesced. He was was now effectively king.
It’s A Miracle!
No contemporaneous accounts of the meeting at Elder Hyde’s house on December 5, 1847 record that any miracle occurred when the Twelve voted to reconstitute the First Presidency. When the change was announced in a Church conference later that month and put before the members for a vote there was no discussion of a revelation, a divine manifestation or any miracle to sanction what the Twelve were proposing.
Thirteen years later, however, Orson (there he goes again) Hyde and Young started to talk about a miracle which happened on that day, implying that there was a divine manifestation. In the 1860 general conference, Brigham Young asserted that “the power came upon us, a shock that alarmed the neighborhood.” Six months later Orson Hyde further adorned the fiction by stating that the voice of God declared “let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the presiding priesthood in my church and kingdom.” An official account of this event today even speaks of an earthquake:
“Outside, people came to the Hyde’s door and knocked, worried because they felt houses shake and the ground tremble as though there had been an earthquake. It was the Lord speaking to his leaders, Elder Hyde assured them.”
No information is provided as to how the people who came running would actually know that Orson Hyde’s house was the epicenter of this miraculous exhibition of divine favor. Wilford Woodruff’s diary mentions nothing unusual about the December 5, 1847, meeting, and the minutes scream silence regarding a revelation or supposed miracle. We search in vain for any other motive except insecurity to explain why some members of the Twelve felt that they needed to fabricate a miracle to justify their actions. Obviously, they considered it imperative to shore up their claims to authority by creating a false narrative that remains part of our lore to this day.
Let’s suppose for a second that there actually was a miracle—the earth shook, the neighbors ran to the Hyde’s house, and the Twelve heard with their very ears a voice declaring that Brigham should step forward as president of the First Presidency. Should we believe something just because there is a miracle attached? What do the scriptures say? A careful reading indicates that Satan can deceive through the use of miracles—he can appear as an angel of light. The Pharaoh’s magicians were able to channel the dark side in mimicking some of the Lord’s miracles performed by Moses and Aaron. The Lord himself warns us that in the end times there will be false prophets who show great signs and wonders and deceive even the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Recall the debunked miracle of Brigham Young taking on the appearance, the voice and the mannerisms of Joseph in Nauvoo. We can’t overlook the fact that every major step of the seizure of power by the Twelve was accompanied by a “miracle”—manufactured after the fact—to supposedly signify God’s approbation of the steps taken. I would submit that building one’s faith in the rectitude of Church leadership on the basis of a miracle is building on a shaky foundation, especially in light of the historical evidence pointing to a pattern of fabrication, and the scriptural evidence granting no authority to the Twelve to reconstitute the First Presidency. It doesn’t matter how many times a lie is repeated…it is still a lie.
The Heavens are Closed
Once in power, Young ruled with an iron fist. He brooked no opposition, creating some strong feelings within the Twelve who did not dare cross him. He was extremely clever and ambitious—the strong leader that the Saints desired after Joseph’s death. But was he a prophet? A seer? A revelator? We are instructed by the Lord in the revelations that we are not to accept the teachings of anyone as revelations or commandments unless they have “come in at the gate” (D&C 43) and are properly ordained. If Brigham came in at the gate, it’s the world’s most closely guarded secret. Evidence that he was ever ordained to receive the oracles of God is conspicuously non-existent.
By extension, one must inevitably conclude that we have no basis to believe that any of the Presidents of the Church, their councilors or members of the Quorum of Twelve have since been prophets, seers or revelators either. The only way that changes is through a heavenly visitation to convey specific prophetic keys via an ordination—something that has never been claimed by the leadership that I am aware. Several past presidents have been asked if they are indeed prophets. The lawyered answer is typically that they are “sustained as such by the Church,” a very weak and unconvincing answer to a direct question.
(See for example, the testimony of Joseph F. Smith when questioned in front of Congress at the Reed Smoot hearings. United States Congress (1905). Testimony of Important Witnesses as Given in the Proceedings Before the Reed Smoot Hearings. P. 59. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Company. President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a similar answer when asked in an interview by the San Francisco Chronicle that was published on April 13, 1997. Question: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church? Answer: I am so sustained, yes.)
The obsessive focus on declaring the Twelve Apostles of the Church as prophets, seers and revelators commenced only relatively recently during the administration of David O. McKay in the 1950s and 1960s. Prior to that the Church was asked to sustain the top leader as merely “President of the Church” not as a prophet. What changed? Did the Fifteen suddenly receive—over a hundred years after Joseph’s death—more authority from on high than they previously had been granted?
I think it is important to make clear that the Twelve have keys specific to their apostolic charge as missionaries—to preach the preparatory gospel to the world during this current dispensation—the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham. As such, they are entitled to inspiration in fulfilling their responsibility to minister to the world. I am sure there is available inspired direction in that process, including calling other missionaries to assist in the work of spreading the “knowledge of the fulness” to the world. But inspiration and revelation are two very different things. Receiving the word of the Lord directly from his mouth is not the same as receiving impressions and direction from the Holy Ghost. We often conflate the two, but they are not the same. Ever since the days of Brigham Young, the Twelve have gone far beyond their core missionary mandate; and today they rule over both the mission field AND the stakes of Zion, having created a hierarchy that the Lord never intended. They have become executives of a vast worldwide enterprise known as the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a “corporation sole” which means that all assets are owned by the President of the Church. The articles of incorporation even mandate that upon the death of the President, the most senior apostle becomes the next President who now owns all the assets. We aren’t even organized as a church.
The label “false prophet” sounds very harsh to our ears, conjuring up images of men or women who are actively trying to lead us astray. But to the extent that anyone claims prophetic privilege to speak for the Lord, without the ordained mantle of authority, they are creating a false impression in the minds of the people regardless of their intent. Whether their motives are notably nefarious or blindly benign makes no difference if the end result is deception. Thus, they are false prophets, even if they are well meaning in their intent. In the Old Testament the ancient prophet Jeremiah calls this prophetic privilege to receive direct revelation “the burden of the Lord.” In chapter 23, the Lord rails on the leaders of His people—the prophets who claim the burden of the Lord—by teaching us that “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.“ Further, he seems to indicate displeasure at prophets who endlessly quote each other when he says: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.”
Whether it is explicitly stated, or implied, the impression left with members of the Church is that these fifteen men speak for the Lord—even to the extent that it is anathema to view them as anything other than direct spokesmen for the Lord who bear the burden of bringing forth His words to the people. They are living scripture who will brook no “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” Entrance to temples is contingent upon holding fast to this belief. If you don’t sustain these men, then you are not worthy. Their words trump anything that has been taught in the past, including even scripture itself on occasion. This prophet worship has worsened with time as decades of institutional inertia have codified these beliefs into Mormon orthodoxy.
No doubt that many of their words are inspirational. But the real question is: Are they the words of the Lord directly from his mouth? The Lord provides us with a way to know. He actually tells us what to say to these so-called prophets. We are to ask them this question:
“What hath the Lord answered thee? And, What hath the Lord spoken?”
In other words, we are to challenge them to bring forth and present to us the actual words of the Lord, just like Joseph brought forth the revelations which were canonized and published. Inspirational stories are not the words of Christ. Changes in policy are not the words of the Lord. By this measure we have had a dearth of revelation for a very long time.
Historically, the role of prophets has been to call the people to repentance, not to rule over them as judges and administrators. Most telling to me are the messages we hear which tell us that we will have peace if we just stay on the Old Ship Zion, or if we just do our temple work and stick with the leadership of the Church. We are rarely admonished for our materialism or for failing to live the Law of the Lord. We are taught smooth things. Again, Jeremiah addresses the very situation we find ourselves in when the Lord says of the prophets:
“They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto everyone that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”
Further, He states:
“But if they [the prophets] had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”
They are also admonished for causing
“…my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.”
While it is easy to dismiss the words of ancient prophets as not applicable today, Jeremiah specifically states in this chapter that “in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” He’s talking to us. In subsequent chapters we will explore in depth the falsehoods that we embrace and our evil doings, even though we believe them to be good.
Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard
In Isaiah 5, we have a song about the Lord’s vineyard comprising the first seven verses of the chapter. In the mind of the Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, this information from Isaiah was of sufficient importance to us in the last days that he included it in his book. There we learn that the Lord planted a beautiful vineyard:
“…in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.”
So what does this parable have to do with the latter-day saints? I would submit that it describes what happened when the Lord brought forth His Church and restored the fulness of the priesthood at the Morley Farm in 1831 as we have extensively chronicled in Part 1 of this book. Think of the tower in the midst of the vineyard as the Kirtland Temple. It was there in Kirtland that the Lord brought forth His Law to a blessed people in a choice land. He had every right to believe that His efforts would be rewarded with a bounteous harvest of delicious fruit. But alas, the vineyard brought forth wild grapes when the people collectively broke the covenant and rejected the Lord’s holy laws. On seeing the yield of wild grapes, the Lord of the vineyard laments: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”
The Lord has done all he can; he has spared no effort in trying to get the people to bring forth the precious fruit (results) that would come by living His Law, but His efforts have been in vain. Therefore:
“I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:”
Kirtland had been declared a “stronghold” by the Lord on September 11, 1831, a protection that was to last for 5 years until September 11, 1836. This hedge of priesthood protection was put in place for the express purpose of saving some souls. But once the 1836 date passed, that hedge was gone, and all hell broke loose. The temple was defiled, the Kirtland Safety Society debacle materialized, and Joseph and Sidney were forced to flee Kirtland in the middle of the night for fear of their lives. The change occurred almost overnight. One day the hedge was there and the next it was gone—from the transcendent light of the heavenly visitations at the Kirtland Temple to utter darkness.
“And I will lay it [the vineyard] waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.”
In other words, the Lord is not going to be working the vineyard; He is going to let it devolve and deteriorate to a state where the briers and thorns of false doctrines, false prophets and the precepts of men flourish. And what of the heavenly rains? They will cease. There will be no revelations from above. The heavens are closed by divine decree.
Knowing that the Lord called his latter-day saints “the children of Israel” puts a whole new spin on the next verse, providing a critical clue that the Lord is talking about us in the last days.
“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”
Later we will explore in detail how the Lord’s people are being oppressed by their leaders. Suffice it to say that we have a tremendous blind spot regarding the prophecies and warnings of the last days—we don’t think they apply to us in the Mormon Church. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, addresses this very fact when he teaches:
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
In other words, the children of Israel are going to be blinded to their own situation, until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in. The next chapter will address the marvelous work that coincides with the fulness of the Gentiles—something that most modern Mormons believe has already happened. However, we will document how it is really a future work that is about to come forth.
Two different books of scriptures use the term “hidden darkness” as a descriptor for our day. It is rich with meaning, suggesting a darkness that is not even understood or recognized because it is hidden from view. The people are completely blind to it. Both JST Genesis 50 and 2 Nephi 3 talk of a servant from the lineage of Joseph who would do a great work in the last days to bring the Lord’s people “out of darkness into light: out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.” Not only are the people blind while they think they see, they are in captivity. This servant will bring them out of this hidden darkness and liberate them from the oppressors.
The parable of the vineyard is not the only scriptural evidence that the Lord ceases to speak to His people on occasion. Isaiah also talks of the Lord hiding his face from his people:
“And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.”
Waiting on the Lord? Looking for Him? As the scripture implies, the Lord is not around—He is hiding his face for whatever reason—thus the need to wait and watch for Him.
The Old Testament prophet, Hosea, speaks of Ephraim as being “oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.” We are left to speculate what “commandment” the house of Ephraim willingly followed, but it was clearly a false commandment that falls into the category of contracting a “spirit of whoredoms.” As a result, the Lord has “withdrawn himself from them.” He also makes it clear that they must recognize their sins, and seek the Lord before He will return to them:
“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”
It won’t be until we recognize the hidden darkness, acknowledge our offences towards God, and fully repent that we will be able to once again enjoy the bright shining light of revelation from the Lord.
Put on Thy Strength, O Zion
Section 113 of the Doctrine & Covenants is a question and answer session in the which a few obscure passages from the Book of Isaiah are brought before the Lord for clarification. These inquiries took place in 1838, several years after the Saints had rejected the covenant. Elias Higbee asked a couple of key questions from Isaiah, chapter 52:
“Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.”
BRING AGAIN ZION. The Lord is going to call men with the power of priesthood to bring again Zion. Putting on her strength means to obtain that authority of the priesthood which was lost unto them! This reminds us of the Lord’s word in 1841 to Joseph:
“For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”
When Brother Higbee asked these questions of the Lord, the Saints had already been downgraded and lost the fulness of the priesthood. Therefore, the Lord’s answer clearly indicates that this restoration of priesthood power is to be a future event. Mormons will argue that the temple related ordinances introduced in Nauvoo represent that restoration of the fulness. I would only point out here (a whole subsequent chapter deals with this) that what was introduced in Nauvoo was completely new and novel and had nothing to do with redeeming Zion.
Elias then goes on to ask a question regarding the next verse:
“What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck: 2d vers?
We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.”
The scattered remnants in their fallen state are strongly urged to repent and return to the Lord. If they do, they are promised that the Lord will speak to them and provide the rains of revelation. The fact that we, in our scattered condition among the gentiles, are currently under a curse is verified towards the end of the Lord’s answer. Why is this not clear to everyone? Because we are in a state of hidden darkness. Although living in a state of darkness is a curse, in one sense it may actually be a blessing in that ignorance tends to lessens the severity of the consequences of any offense in the eyes of the law. Sinning against the Lord in ignorance is less of a crime than knowledgeable open rebellion.
Into the Wilderness
While the stories of many pioneering latter-day saints who followed Brigham Young and made the trek west are truly heroic and inspiring, nevertheless, the fact remains that they ended up in Utah. Both metaphorically and literally a portion of God’s people were led off into the wilderness. Church headquarters puts a noble spin on it, painting the exodus west as the result of both internal dissent and external persecution—the Saints were victims. Discussions rarely occurs around their own rejection of God’s laws because that would require an admission of guilt—it would mean acknowledging that we don’t have the fulness and are under a curse. It would mean going against nearly two centuries of institutional indoctrination to the contrary.
Recall again what the Lord said in Nauvoo about how the Saints “would not be moved out of their place” if they would hearken unto the Lord. Yet they find themselves in the dry and dusty deserts of Utah where there is no revelatory rain from on high. I have found it highly interesting to observe that the city of Salt Lake in relation to the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake is in the same approximate location as the city of Jerusalem is in relation to the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, EXCEPT that they are exactly 180 degree off. The religious world is turned upside down! Flip a map of Salt Lake City top to bottom and you can see that it sits in the same general location as Jerusalem does relative to the salty lake and the fresh water lake. Whether this has prophetic significance or not is hard to say definitively, but it makes sense when you consider how the Brighamite Church has essentially become the equivalent of the ancient Jews, with their highly educated lawyers running the show, perpetuating rules and looking beyond the mark for exaltation outside the core gospel. Blind to their situation, they do not recognize that they have become like the scribes and the pharisees of old.
For a Small Moment
The wilderness that we find ourselves in today as a people is a temporary condition that the Lord promises will be reversed. In numerous passages of scripture he affirms that curses extend only to the third and fourth generations of them that “hate me”. As of this writing, nearly two hundred years after Joseph’s first vision, we are definitely nearing the end, if not past the end, of the fourth generation from those who rejected the Lord’s Law and his everlasting covenant—and is not that rejection the equivalent of “hating” the Lord? Perhaps this is why some are starting to open their eyes to the reality of our situation. The blinders are being removed for those who are willing to search these things out.
Fortunately in his infinite loving kindness and mercy, the Lord affirms that his anger is temporary; His back is only turned against us for a relatively short period of time:
“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer…For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”
Although this passage from Isaiah verifies that we will be forsaken for a period of time, it also provides tremendous hope in a future gathering which is orchestrated by the Lord himself in mercy and kindness. Despite His divine wrath at being rejected, yet still his “bowels are filled with compassion” towards us and He will indeed “remember mercy.”
Fully understanding the fact that we are currently in a state of apostasy as a people is extremely important to recognizing what comes next. The clues and prophecies are hidden in plain sight for all to see and observe. The Lord is about to commence what He calls His “strange act.” The marvelous work will soon begin.
J Scott Malone said:
Looking forward to the book.
Orin Jackson said:
Football fame Steve Young is the 5th generation grand son of Brigham Young. He has children who are 6th generation. Is his father still alive? All I can say is we must be near the time of the Later Marvelous work and the full restoration to those who are heirs by linage. Some call it the 3rd Watch.
Brother Mike said:
Searcher, I would remark that the advent of Joseph F. Smith as presiding High Priest to the Utah Church (though born into, and embracing the false traditions of his fathers pertaining to polygamy) occurred beyond the four “generations” of usurped presiding authority after the deaths of the Prophet Joseph and the Patriarch Hyrum. Consider the sequence: 1 – Brigham Young, 2 – John Taylor, 3 – Wilford Woodruff, 4 – Lorenzo Snow, 5 – Joseph F. Smith.
Joseph F. Smith manifested the gift of Seership, if we are to accept D&C Current LDS Ed., Sec. 138 as a valid vision (I personally do). This vision makes no mention of the masonic rites as essential for salvation, though these traditions persisted; and though the aforementioned presiding figures are recognized in the vision for their contributions to building the kingdom, their status as “prophets, seers, and revelators” are not affirmed.
D&C Current LDS Ed., Sec. 107 (revealed by the Prophet Joseph at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1835) provides a proscribed priesthood hierarchy, structure and the duties of officers governing this dispensation of the Gospel. Section 107 affirms:
“9. The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.”
“22. Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.”
“23 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.”
“40 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.”
Joseph F Smith, was a duly ordained High Priest upheld by the majority voice of his people to preside, the senior living Apostle, and the son of the Patriarch Hyrum “unto whom the promises were made.” He manifested the fruit of a seer. And notwithstanding precedent, he made a deliberate showing of the fact that the presidency of the High Priesthood need not be drawn from among the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He selected John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund as first and second counselors in the Presidency (two ordained High Priests who never received the Apostleship). He further demonstrated that the ordination of a President of the Church need not come through the Twelve, as the confirmation blessing of his appointment occurred through his brother, Patriarch to the Church, John Smith acting as voice.
Joseph F. Smith, like his cousin Joseph Smith III, manifested the inhereted gift of a seership. His vision recorded in D&C 138 is filled with the light of God. Did he not have the right to preside and restore some of “the power which [Zion] had lost”?
Joseph F. Smith had the right to preside under the “Patriarchal Priesthood” which has continued in the Church.
“Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.” (D&C 86:8-10)
I have documented extensively how we have lost the fulness of the priesthood (see D&C 124:28), but in our downgraded state continue to have a lineal priesthood that continues in with Abraham’s seed among us, including the offspring of Hyrum who was named as Church President and Patriarch in Section 124. But that doesn’t equate to the gifts and calling of a Prophet, Seer and Revelator which can only come through ordination of one who has that power. Your other comment talks of “oracles” which means the revelations, not some living prophet. The revelations were given to the Church, not the right to receive revelation:
“And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.” (D&C 90:5)
This is pointing us to the revelations and how we treat them. Unfortunately, we are directed to men today in the Church, instead of to the scriptures.
I appreciate your thoughtful contributions.
Brother Mike said:
Oracles vested in the Presidency given thereafter to “the church,” as revealed at Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1833 (D&C 1835 Ed., Sec. 84; D&C 1844 Ed., Sec. 85; D&C Current LDS Ed., Sec. 90 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/90 )
1 Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears.
2 Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.
3 Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come;
4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.
5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.
6 And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of this last kingdom;
As you noted, Brigham Young was never ordained a High Priest. The Church really blew it by pledging their common consent keys to re-vest the oracles of God in a President who was not duly ordained to receive them.
Brother Mike said:
There was a precedent in church history for the President of the Quorum of Twelve (Thomas B. Marsh in this case) to act as a TEMPORARY placeholder in the absence of the Presidency, when so appointed by the High Council and the Church at large. Marsh was a strong supporter of the Prophet Joseph until the Danite controversy, and Joseph affirmed the acceptability of his good-faith efforts at the time described below. But Marsh wasn’t one to attempt to hang onto power or act in “ultra vires” to expand his own short-termed appointment—unlike another who sold the Saints a bill of goods in 1844 only to switch the bait in 1847
Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 February 1838 (http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-from-thomas-b-marsh-15-february-1838/2 )
“At a meeting of the High Council, the Bishop and his Council, Feb. 10, 1838, it was moved, seconded and carried, that Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, stand no longer as Chairmen and Clerk, to sign and record liscences.
Also, voted that Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten be authorized to attend to said business for the time being.
Also, voted that Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten be Presidents, pro tempore, of the church of Latter Day Saints in Missouri, or until Presidents J. Smith Jr. and S[idney] Rigdon arrives in the land of Zion.
J. MURDOCK, Moderator.
T. B. Marsh, Clerk
Beloved Brother Joseph:
You will see by the above, that quite a change has taken place among us, of late, and we hope it is for the better; and we rejoice that we have a prospect of having things in a good degree straightened by the time you arrive here…”
Letter to the Presidency in Kirtland, 29 March 1838 (Attr. To Joseph Smith, in the hand of his scribe)
“The difficulties of the Church had been ajusted before arrival here by a Judicious High Council With T. B. Marsh & D[avid] W Patten who acted as Pres. Pro. Tem. of the Church of zion being appointed by the voice of the Council & Church.”
Brother Mike said:
Calling of a Councilor to Presidency of High Priesthood, revealed at Hiram, Ohio, March 15, 1832(D&C 1835 Ed., Sec. 79; D&C 1844 Ed., Sec. 80; D&C Current LDS Ed., Sec. 81 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/81?lang=eng )
1 Verily, verily, I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams: Listen to the voice of him who speaketh, to the word of the Lord your God, and hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a high priest in my church, and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.;
2 Unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood:
A couple of thoughts:
1) A close reading of Exodus and church history shows so many parallels, Including:
– mighty works of God demonstrated
– prophet given by God to help deliver the people out of bondage (spiritual and physical)
– God wanting to make a nation of priests, a peculiar people
– the people making a covenant with God
– the people breaking that covenant
– the promise of a land of inheritance
– a delay in obtaining their land of inheritance
– wandering in a desert place why learning perfect obedience
There are also some differences:
– Moses was an older and wiser, not so prone to please his followers, Joseph was young and heavily influenced by those around him
– Moses was able to stay and teach the people for 40 years, Joseph was taken from the people before they repented and obeyed
– It only took the children of Israel 40 years, one generation, to reach the state needed to inherit their promised land. We are still in the wilderness (and will be until one like unto Moses to help us obtain our promised land of inheritance or the land of Zion).
However, I think there are enough parallels to say without too much of a stretch, that the children of Israel coming out of Egypt is a type and shadow of the later days. That is why I look at our current condition similar to the book of Judges.
A careful reading of Judges made me realize that some of the judges were men of God, in tune with the spirit and pointed the people towards God, others, not so much so (think of Sampson). With some of the Judges, such as Ehud, it is hard to tell just how righteous they were, but the Lord used them to deliver and lead the people during their time. Others, such as Gideon, heard the voice of God and saw miracles. A similar pattern arises with our later day Judges. Some of them have been saints and obviously inspired, others seem to want to hold themselves up as a light, make questionable decisions, and even abuse their position and power. But even then, because of the faith and prayers of the people, I believe that God can and will use them for His own purposes. Even John credits Caiaphas, although he was an extremely wicked man, of prophesying because he was the high priest that year (John 11:52).
For me the awakening has been a process, from anger and resentment towards church leaders for not knowing\realizing\confessing our true condition so we could repent and claim our rightful inheritance, to just being grateful for what the Lord has given me. I eventually realized that I am not even living up to the knowledge and standards that I already have, much less reaching the point of being ready to inherit Zion. I am now in the process of letting go of my idolatry, both in terms of admiring men and wanting others to admire me, and becoming more humble, meek, and lowly in heart (which is such a hard, hard process in our culture). I am trying the best I can to cast off my unbelief and trusting more in the Lord and in His promises. Until the day that the Lord fulfills His promise to send another Elias to deliver His people, I will try to look for the good in all men, accept that which inspires and uplifts, and discard that which doesn’t point me towards God.
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Brother Mike said:
“N” You have spoken truth here and provided a model which is now part of my personal canon–thank you. Old Testament Judges as a type for Latter-day presiding authorities: what a brilliant insight! As one determined to remain active among the Latter-day Saints, I recognize the apostolic interreignum authority to administer the saving ordinances in the Church, yet I am aware bonafide revelations, prophecies, visions, manifestations, and inspired translations are conspicuously absent from modern “prophetic” ministry. Not all presidencies are created equal, and an appointment does not make one a prophet.
I believe that Watcher’s latest work on the Eternal Law of Certification and Record Keeping justifies why the brethren had to come up with a “miracle” or three, haha!
The Brethren admit openly by their “sustaining” commentary that they have not been “ordained and anointed” and that common consent is why they have given themselves sacred titles that the sheeple have bought because they take the oracles lightly.
The wilderness that God prepares for the Tribal Kingdom that hates Him, is 180 degrees off for sure! It takes 180 degrees to turn from darkness and the false teachings of the brethren, for the brethren and each of us to face God and repent of our folly. Also, 2018-180= 1838, by then they had clearly 180’d from God.
I believe that we must know with a certainty the rain that we have received in abundance in the D&C, as that is the most rain ever given to one Prophet from God for His people to discern His Words, ever!
I pray daily for the servants to return so that I can commence in my works through the proper order and manner of being baptized by the proper authority and ordination, to become a new creature in Jesus Christ which requires 180 degrees literally, from standing to being submerged and buried to arising, becoming “upright” (an upright heart is a righteous heart) and resurrected, is a total of 180 degrees, and by so doing we have have committed our souls unto Him by turning 180 degrees from this world.
Thank you Searcher for your work in assisting each of us in understanding correct principles more fully and preparing ourselves to receive the rains of revelation that are coming forthwith, as we diligently discern the rain of revelation that can be found on every smartphone in this world, if one chooses to do so . . . Talk about taking the word lightly? Accountability will be a $&@#% for those who think they were not given the resources.
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Brother Mike said:
Searcher, as I review your comments I realize how significantly your writing has impacted my thinking. We may diverge on some finer points, but this blog has been a significant springboard in my quest for understanding. Thank you.
Tom Barrera said:
My name is Tom and I read most of these posts. I am LDS. I have a few questions with no judgments on your work. I finished my Book, Let There Be Light. The unification of Gods Religions with each other and with science. A major premise of unification is a God with divine authority for all Planet Earths peoples. I name the LDS Church as the one authorized by God with a universal priesthood. Am I wrong now? So my questions are, Why are you still a Mormon? Do you attend Temple?
The overview I get is you believe Bible, BOB and Joseph Smith to a point and like the Catholics who fell into apostasy so has the current LDS Church and its leadership. Maybe authority could revert back to the original church? The Pope!
My book is about my 3 day experience at St Peter’s Hospital where I documented many signs and wonders and revelations and given a mission. Prove God exists Scientifically with Hidden Plain Math Code. You hinted at it with the marvelous work and wonder to come forth after Joseph Smith. And like him when he went and talked to the 4 corners ministers and was totally rejected. I felt the same way when I after years away from the Church but not Christ, I did return to share my amazing story with them. It was fast and testimony sunday and I was cut short as to allow kids time to bear testimony. Excuse me. Just thought I would take a few minutes and introduce myself. I was told not to share my story or book with anyone inside but ok out. If your interested I would like your input into the work.
1 Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the Authorized Church of God to teach his, the world’s children truth?
2 Are the 3 degrees of Glory true? if Temple ceremonies rituals and signs may not? Can a Jew or a Baptist or evangelical or any non mormon who accepts Christs attain celestial glory?
3. Are Temples still needed? If so for what purpose.?
Hi Tom: Send me an email directly to email@example.com and I will reply to your questions.