For those who are Watching…

November 28, 2008

This blog is an outgrowth of its sister site  www.threewatches.blogspot.com which provides over 50 scriptural and prophetic evidences that the “Marvelous Work and a Wonder” spoken of in Isaiah and the Book of Mormon did not begin during Joseph Smith’s ministry and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the 1800’s.

The LDS restoration movement represented the laying of the FOUNDATION for the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that was to come forth four generations later. It is time for the Marvelous Work and a Wonder to happen NOW. It is our generation that will see it unfold.

After the saints failed to live the law of consecration and failed to redeem Zion during Joseph Smith’s 15 year ministry, the Lord told them they must wait for a “little season” of “chastisement” and “learning” before they could live the laws pertaining to Zion.

The Marvelous Work and a Wonder takes place when the Gentiles repent and accept the fulness of the gospel and it includes the coming forth of additional ancient records as detailed in the 4th chapter of Ether.

Behold, I have written upon these plates the very thingswhich the brother of Jared saw; and there never weregreater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.

And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.

I believe the Marvelous Work and a Wonder is about to begin.

This blog deals with deep doctrinal, historical and prophecy related issues pertaining to the LDS Restoration Movement, the Restored Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It views history through the lens of prophecy and prophecy through the lens of LDS church history.

CAUTION: One must first learn to swim before one enters into deep waters.

This blog is for those who have been weaned from the breast and yearn for the meat. Those not prepared for the meat can choke on it.

The content provided in the posts of this blog are for those who have contracted the spirit of watching and have made it through the “Third Watch Boot Camp” which consists of reading every numbered post in chronological order on the above mentioned three watches blog, beginning with the very first post which lays the foundation for the journey you are about to embark on.

If you make it that far and still want more information to read, the following resources can be considered:

  • This blog– For an incomplete listing of some of the earliest posts on both blog sites with brief descriptions click here
  • The Chief Inspector Blog  Part One and Part Two
  • My Youtube Series on “The Secret History of Mormonism Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
  • The book, “Solving the Prophet Puzzle, transforming a crisis of faith into a spiritual awakening“. This book provide the true Biblical profile of who Joseph Smith really was and what his full calling is. It documents how Joseph Smith, the latter day Moses offered up an atonement offering in behalf of latter day Israel after they rejected the fulness, much the same way the Moses offered himself as an atonement offering for ancient Israel after they rejected the fulness. The book provides answers to most of the criticisms made by skeptics of the restoration. The book can be ordered through Amazon.

book pic

 

The book, “Solving the Prophet Puzzle” reveals the secret history of the LDS restoration movement.

Three chapters of my book address the topic of the intercessory atonement offering. I feel that the documentation I have provided is beyond compelling in showing that Joseph Smith is the COVENANT SERVANT of the Lord in the last days who began the work of the Lord and will finish it under the direction of, and in conjunction with, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The book is currently being updated and should be finished by the end of 2016. The original version that was used by members of my peer review has temporarily been reduced in price from $49 to $19.

The book is over 600 pages long with over 1200 historical and scriptural references.

 The deeper doctrines of the kingdom have the ability to either enhance your “testimony” of the restored gospel or expose how frail it is, based on the doctrinal and spiritual foundation you have acquired before you read this information.

Prepare for the journey of your life…. we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto

Watcher

PS

I do the Iron Rod Podcast with a few friends. Here is a listing of Podcast Topics

Publish Date       Episode    Name

03-18-2019 Iron Rod 015 – The True Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood

03-11-2019 Iron Rod 014 – The Doctrine of the Three Watches

03-04-2019 Iron Rod 013 – The Biblical Profile of Joseph Smith (Part 2)

02-26-2019 Iron Rod 012 – The Biblical Profile of Joseph Smith

02-18-2019 Iron Rod 011 – Testing Section 132 to see if it is a true revelation

02-11-2019 Iron Rod 010 – What the scriptures say and don’t say about polygamy

02-05-2019 Iron Rod 009 – The Truth about Sidney Rigdon

01-28-2019 Iron Rod 008 – A Brief History of the Church (Part 2: 1836-1844)

01-21-2019 Iron Rod 007 – A Brief History of the Church (Part 1)

01-14-2019 Iron Rod 006 – The Nature of God

01-07-2019 Iron Rod 005 – Why Lectures on Faith is Scripture

12-31-2018 Iron Rod 004 – The True Role of prophets

12-25-2018 Iron Rod 003 – Reformatted scriptures

12-19-2018 Iron Rod 002 – Tips and tricks for searching

12-12-2018 Iron Rod 001 – Searching the scriptures

 


Doctrine of Nehor Part 2

January 8, 2020

(Youtube recording of this post provided below)

This topic is very polarizing because it strikes at the very essence of a person’s deeply rooted and very emotional beliefs about the hereafter.

Many of us have acquired a firm set of beliefs about whether or not it is essential to accept the fulness of the gospel, during mortal probation in order to inherit eternal life.

We have established beliefs about the resurrection and the judgment and how all of this effects our true eternal status.

Because this is so polarizing, the feedback I have gotten has been somewhat mixed.

One fellow who read my first post while on vacation responded thusly:

“I have rarely read something that is so completely mistaken… As Joseph taught ” God is more liberal in his views and boundless in his mercy and blessings than we are willing to believe or accept”…

Some of his complaints will be addressed during this series.

I hope I did not ruin his vacation. After all, you only get so many vacations during mortal probation!

Also a few people question the interpretation of “worlds without end“. They seem to feel that the definition of the term that I provided was strictly dependent on how Joseph defined it. I did not mean to imply that Joseph Smith was the last word on what the correct definition is. Many Biblical Christians have taught that the phrase World (s) without end is an idiom that means “forever”. That was an established belief long before Joseph Smith came along.

It appears that some people do not think that anything Joseph Smith said during the Nauvoo years is trustworthy. Perhaps I am partly responsible for that based on some of the things I have said in the past. However I feel that what I have said has been misinterpreted. I do believe Joseph taught a few things incorrectly during the Nauvoo era as part of his calling as the intercessory servant, but I still think he taught some true things as well. Discernment is essential.

On a more positive note, my post seems to have resonated with a few people. One comment is as follows:

Great post, Watcher.

For the last couple months I’ve been trying to complete two articles in regards to the doctrine of baptisms for the dead and the concept of multiple probations. I believe neither are properly understood…and I doubt that even, I, myself have clarity on the matter.

Regardless, we really must try and work these things out because a false understanding of them really are doctrines of the devil.

I decided to not post my article about multiple lives within a singular probation but find it prudent to do so quickly. Not only is Mauricio Berger introducing it via John Pratt, but Julie Rowe’s movement has embraced it full-heartedly.

The bottom line is what Nephi said in Nephi 10:20-22, in which you remark:

“We have been given a set probationary period of time in which to lay claim upon our eternal reward by the thoughts we think, our ability to discern truth from error through the Holy Ghost, and the actions we take in this life. The scriptures teach that If we seek to do wickedly and are found to be unclean before the judgment-seat of God, we will be cast off FOREVER.”

This is clearly the belief the Lord wants in the forefront of our mind.

And praise God that I have removed myself from being open-minded to the idea that the kingdoms of glory are temporary.

Here is another comment-

Dear Watcher,

I just finished listening to your recommended sermon from Pastor Andy Stanley. It was inspiring and I thank you so much for the tip.

Also, it seems to me that your ministry is taking flight to a patriarchal level wherein you are counseling and leading the way to tremendous truths. I had thought that one of your finest ministries was the post concerning the mystical understanding of the original church fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel. However, you have now embarked on a new series which I can see rivals even that tour de force. I refer to your recent “The Doctrine of Nehor Part 1”. There are so many questions which I had following my work on Section 76 that you addressed. Why does 76 refer to the three glories as beyond description yet says that the terrestrial and telestial worlds without end can never achieve the celestial kingdom? Why does 76 refer to the ministry to the two lower levels of glory from those of the celestial if there is no possibility of progression to a higher glory? And the BOM explanation that the three levels of glory are characterized by the celestial law of mercy, the law of Justice and finally the law of judgment. Fantastic and I await your part 2 and 3 with great anticipation.

As always, thank you for your steadfastness, your scholarship, your love of the scriptures and your integrity. You are a mensch!

As you can see, my interpretation of scripture on this topic resinates with some but certainly not all.

In part one of this series we discussed the doctrine of Nehor and how he taught that nobody needed to fear or tremble about salvation because everyone will eventually be saved in the highest Kingdom of God.

Others have since taught variations of that heresy including the multiple mortal probation theory which is the red-headed stepsister of the doctrine of Nehor.

Some believe that everyone will graduate from glory to glory in the eternities until they ultimately reach the highest glory to dwell in the presence of the Father.

We reviewed some very definitive passages of scripture from section 76 in our first installment showing that kingdom jumping will not be an option in the hereafter.

As previously mentioned, some do not believe that “Worlds without end” means what many bible scholars and Joseph Smith seemed to believe that it means. While I believe that it does mean that, it really doesn’t matter because I believe there is much stronger evidence than that one passage.

In that first installment we used section 76 as our primary foundational text to parse through while integrating additional evidences from other scriptural sources.

In this installment, I had planned on using section 88 as our primary foundational text while integrating additional supporting evidences from other scriptural sources. However I have been sidetracked!

Somehow I happened upon the words of Christ himself regarding this topic.

While I love the words of Christs apostles and disciples, I feel that the words of Christ sometimes strike even deeper at the heart of the matter and certainly carry greater credibility.

So I have decided to review some very pertinent teachings of Christ in this installment and then cover Sections 88 and 77 in later installments.

First I want to review two narratives spoken directly from the words of Christ from the New Testament and Book of Mormon. These narratives are very blunt and direct with no mincing of words in authoritatively declaring that few people will ultimately inherit eternal life in the kingdom of the Father.

The first two texts address the “strait gate” and “narrow way” that “leadeth to life” construct which informs us that “few there be that find it” and that after “night cometh… no man can work“:

Christ’s Words in the New Testament

22 ¶ Repent, therefore, and enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; and many there be who go in thereat.
23 Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it. (JST Matthew 7)

Christ’s Words in the Book of Mormon

32 But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt and which thieves can break through and steal. And in that day will I visit them, even in turning their works upon their own heads.

33 And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work. (3rd Nephi 27)

Few will inherit eternal life. That is what a simple-minded person like me gets from the above words of Christ. I suspect there will be those that derive something entirely different from those passages. Thankfully we all have our agency to interpret scripture as we see fit.

Notice that once night cometh, no more work can be done. I don’t know how it could be said more clearly and understandably. I guess we can debate when in the timeline of events “night” has reference to, but frankly, it doesn’t really matter because regardless of where you want to place it, it proves that there is a definitive cut off point beyond which there is no progressing into greater glory or kingdom.

Another powerful and closely related construct in the New Testament that mirrors the above declarations from Christ is demonstrated in the interchange between Christ and the rich man.

Christ was approached by the rich man who asked “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

After speaking about various commandments that one should keep, which the rich man had apparently been keeping throughout his life, the final reply from the Savior to the rich man was, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

21 And the man was sad at that saying, and went away grieved; for he had great possessions.
22 ¶ And Jesus looked round about and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of my Father!

In answer to his question, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”, the rich man was told that he must “sell whatever thou hast and give it unto the poor“, which I suspect was another way of admonishing the fellow to enter into consecration which is part of gospel law. Further, he was to take up his cross, and follow the Savior.

The term “take up the cross” is an interesting one since Christ had not yet been hung on the cross!

It has been suggested by some Bible scholars that Roman crucifixion (and the carrying of the cross that preceded it) was a well-known form of punishment and that the phrase was a common expression. It is interesting to note that Christ had already predicted his own death, although not with specificity of method.

The term seems to imply that true followers of Christ suffer affliction in this life because of their consecrated life and devotion to Christ. Conversely, they will be lifted up to be saved from the wrath of God at the last day. Yet the doctrine of Nehor would have us believe that even those that don’t take up their cross and live consecration and follow the Savior in this life will somehow end up enjoying the fulness of the Father in the presence of the Father. Is that really consistent with what Christ said?

The bottom-line of the LDS restoration movement IMO is that the saints were commanded to take up their cross, enter into the gospel law which includes consecration, and follow Jesus.

As a collective group, they did not do it and hence, the Lord delivered them and the world over to Satan. Of course it is not a strict parallel with the rich man as the Lord has informed us that Satan played a significant role in hindering his servants (D&C124:49) and that many of those saints will yet come forth victoriously at a later time. (D&C 101:1-3)

The Lord has sent a “strong delusion” upon his apostate people. It is only in our delusional state of darkness that we could be confused and arrogant enough to think that most people, including those that reject the gospel and steal and cheat and commit adultery and murder, are going to eventually dwell in the presence of the Father after the judgment of this probationary experience. If that is the case, there are countless scriptures that are wrong and have no credibility.

At this point, there may be some that are feeling fearful because of all of the people who have not received of the fulness of the gospel and priesthood.

Please remember that during God’s strange act and marvelous work, amazing things are going to take place that will allow EVERYONE who has accepted Christ in their heart and who would have previously accepted the fulness of the gospel in the flesh, had it been offered, to receive the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost BEFORE the first trump. We know this is the case because the first fruits of the resurrection will all be sealed up to God during the sixth seal, prior the sound of the first trump.

“Kingdom of God” vs “Kingdom of my Father”

In the last post I noted that the terms save, saved and salvation are not always used the same way and hence become stumbling blocks for those that think they are. I would suggest that the same is true with the term “kingdom of God“.

Notice how JST of Mark 10 inserts Kingdom of my Father in the place of the term kingdom of God in only one of the three consecutive times in three consecutive verses, that the term is used.

This strongly suggests that the two phrases are not always synonymous, and that Kingdom of God does not always necessarily represent the highest kingdom where the father dwells. Rather, it appears to sometimes refer to a kingdom of glory rather than the kingdom of the Father. Again, context is critical.

Mark 10:21 And the man was sad at that saying and went away grieved; for he had great possessions.

Mark 10:22 And Jesus looked round about and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of my Father! [changed from kingdom of God]

Mark 10:23 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus spake again and said unto them, Children, how hard is it for them who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:24 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

One could interpret the above passages to be saying that they who will not give up their riches will not enter the Kingdom of the father and will even have a difficult process getting into a kingdom of glory.

Cast into the Fire

Lets return back to the words of Christ in Matthew 7. A few passages after verses 22 and 23, the Lord explains that those that bringeth not forth good fruit will be cast into the fire.

Matt 7:26 Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matt 7:27 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Matt 7:28 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

Matt 7:29 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matt 7:30 Verily, I say unto you, It is not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matt 7:31 For the day soon cometh that men shall come before me to judgment, to be judged according to their works.

Matt 7:32 And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matt 7:33 And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Those that don’t bring forth “good fruit” during mortal probation will be “cast into the fire“.

These keywords will take us to the well-known wheat and tares construct in scripture that we are going to review.

A Few Questions to Ponder

But first, let me ask a few questions about your current perception of the wheat and tares narrative.

Do you think Christ is speaking about the importance of bringing forth good fruit during this mortal probation or during the eternities after this probation?

The answer to that should be obvious.

Here is another question to ponder.

If you needed to identify out of the four categories of beings itemized in section 76, which ones are cast into the fire that Christ and the parable speaks of, where would you draw the dividing line?

Do you believe the only ones cast into the fire at the last day are the Sons of Perdition?

Timing is Everything in Understanding the Correct Context

This is where the timeline of this earth as revealed in the Book of Revelation and clarified in section 77 becomes very helpful in gaining critical context.

If the parable of the wheat and tares was speaking about the very end of time after the “little season” is completed, then the graph below would probably be an accurate depiction of who is ultimately cast into the fire. This is because, in the ultimate sense, it will only be the sons of Perdition that are cast off.

However, Christ’s words and the related parable of the wheat and the tares is not referring to the end of the earthly timeline that follows the little season.

It is referring to the end of mortal probation and the beginning period of the seventh thousand years.

We know this because the parable identifies the “end of the world” and the “destruction of the wicked” as taking place in the day of Christ’s return which is the time of harvest.

40 The reapers are the angels, or the messengers sent of heaven.

41 As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world, or the destruction of the wicked.

42 For in that day, before the Son of Man shall come, he shall send forth his angels and messengers of heaven.

43 And they shall gather out of his kingdom all things which offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out among the wicked; and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

44 For the world shall be burned with fire.

45 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Hence the above graphic is not congruent with scripture.

If you are like me, you have possibly assumed that the dividing line that separates the wheat from the tares in the parable, at the time of harvest, is depicted in the following graphic.

After all, both the terrestrial and celestial beings described in sections 76 and 84 come forth and are redeemed while the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are ended.

Sadly, even the above graphic is not congruent with scripture.

I am going to suggest, that the dividing line of who is cast into the fire that shows up in the scriptures is at the sound of the trump of the first resurrection, making the followings graphic the accurate depiction.

Pretty sober thought, no?

God’s Wrath is What Cleanses and Purifies the Wicked

As documented in the last post, everyone besides those that are lifted up at the sound of the trump are not justified and are therefore, wicked and cast into the fire.

.While that may seem shocking to some, I have come to view the wrath of God that is the fire that the tares are cast into, in a very different way than I once did. I now realize that God’s wrath is not only an extension of his justice and judgment, it is also a reflection of his mercy.

Why?

Because it is his wrath that cleanses and purifies the terrestrial spirits that refused to repent. This was the warning in section 19.

One must accept the fulness while in the flesh aor suffer at the last day.

And yet, the fire prepares those that come forth at the second trump to be cleansed and ultimately abide the day of his coming . It is his wrath that prevents the second death from ultimately have full and final power over them.

I believe the terrestrial glory that they inherit after their pain and suffering is an indescribably joyful and blissful state.

That is the wonderment of section 76.

It takes the topic of damnation and God’s wrath that is repeatedly addressed in the New Testament and Book of Mormon, and provides a much greater and deeper context. It reveals that the heaven or hell narratives in the New Testament and Book of Mormon are not necessarily describing what we think they are describing in the long term, eternal sense.

Everyone but the First Fruits of the Resurrection must be Cleansed by God’s Wrath

Keyword searches that I have performed pertaining to the topic of being cast into the fire, explain that the narrative parallels the end times timeline and it actually identifies EVERYONE accept for the elect of God that are quickened, as those that will be cast into the fire.

There are countless evidences of this that you can search out for yourself. I encourage you to do an extensive search of the “cast in the fire” narrative as it relates to the Savior’s words and the parable of the wheat and the tares as I will not have time to cover many of them.

The allegory in the Book of Jacob chapter 5 covers this cast into the fire narrative extensively and at the end of the allegory in Chapter 6 it provides a summary of who is cast into the fire as it integrates the themes of justice and mercy into the explanation:

5 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.

6 Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?

7 For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?

8 Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you?

9 Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?

10 And according to the power of justice, for justice cannot be denied, ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment.

11 O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.

The casting into the fire takes place upon those that rejected the opportunity to accept Christ while in the flesh. It is predicated upon bringing forth fruit “during the light of day“. Those that are nourished by the good word of God during this probation in flesh, yet bring forth evil fruit must be hewn down and cast into the fire.

Thank goodness for section 76 and other revelations that inform us that the wrath of God does not last forever with regard to those that qualify to inherit a telestial or terrestrial glory. The term “endless torment” refers to the exquisiteness and indescribable depth of the torment, not the duration.

Christ warned in section 19 that all those who do not repent during this probation in flesh must suffer.

I am sure that none of us can even begin to comprehend what that suffering would be like, but Section 19 and 76 and other passages in Isaiah and other scriptures give us the loving assurance that AFTER the pain and suffering takes place, most of God’s created beings will be redeemed from the suffering and enter into eternal bliss. Each will enjoy a kingdom of glory! Indeed, in the next installment we shall learn that each of us will return to the specific glory in which we were organized or from which we were organized.

All Men Must Repent While in the Flesh or Suffer

Notice the amazing sequence contained in the following passages from section 19;

1) Everyone that does not repent while in the flesh will suffer
2) But the torment of those that suffer is not endless. It will come to an end.
3) Nevertheless, the term “eternal damnation” is used “more expressly than other scriptures” to warn people for his names glory

A Great Mystery is Revealed with Regard to Two Specific Terms

4) The term “endless punishment” and “eternal punishment” simply means “God’s punishment” because God is endless and eternal.

1 I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.

2 I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—

3 Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.

4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.

5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.

6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.

7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—

11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.

12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;

15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

The above narrative is somewhat Chiastic in that it begins informing us that we must repent or suffer and ends with the warning that we must repent or suffer.

God was speaking to his servants, not to the world of skeptics and unbelievers.

Can it really be possible that everyone except those who are quickened and caught up in the first resurrection will suffer the wrath of God?

Regarding this great question, I want to point something out about section 76

As you all know, Sidney Rigdon wrote the text found in section 76 in behalf of himself and Joseph soon after they had the vision. He wrote it while in the spirit at the command of God. Joseph obviously agreed with everything that Sidney wrote as he probably was present when it was penned, probably proofed it for accuracy, and was on the committee to have it published and canonized.

We are informed by statements from Joseph and Sidney that they were shone much more than what was written. Clearly, God did not necessarily want everything publicly revealed that Joseph and Sidney saw so some restraint and prudence was used in writing down a summary of the vision.

Here is where it gets kind of curious and interesting. Later on in Nauvoo, Joseph decided to write his own description of the vision in poemic form.

A side by side comparison of Joseph’s poem with Sidneys text in section 76, shows that Joseph followed the exact same sequence of topics in his poem as Sidney had written without any contradiction.

So why did Joseph feel impressed to write his own version of the vision?

I would suggest that even though his poemic version ends up agreeing with and being a second testament of what Sidney wrote, he also used it to insert some clarifications not included in section 76.

One example of this is the clarification that Satan was a “Godified” being in the presence of God when he fell.

Section 76 Joseph Smith Poem of 76
25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, 21. And I saw and bear record of warfare in heav’n; For an angel of light, in authority great, Rebell’d against Jesus, and sought for his pow’r, But was thrust down to woe from his Godified state.

We could probably do an entire post on the implications in that clarification but that is beyond the scope of this topic.

Another very significant clarification that Joseph Smith inserted that does address this topic is as follows:

Section 76 Joseph Smith Poem of 76
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. 58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—

59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

60 And they shall overcome all things.

61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection. 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

45. They’re priests of the order of Melchisedek [sic.], Like Jesus, (from whom is this highest reward,) Receiving a fulness of glory and light; As written: They’re Gods; even sons of the Lord. .

46. So all things are theirs; yea, of life, or of death; Yea, whether things now, or to come, all are theirs, And they are the Savior’s, and he is the Lord’s, Having overcome all, as eternity’s heirs.

47. ‘Tis wisdom that man never glory in man, but give God the glory for all that he hath;

For the righteous will walk in the presence of God, While the wicked are trod under foot in his wrath.

48. Yea, the righteous shall dwell in the presence of God, And of Jesus, forever, from earth’s second birth For when he comes down in the splendor of heav’n,

All these he’ll bring with him, to reign on the earth. .

49. These are they that arise in their bodies of flesh, When the trump of the first resurrection shall sound;

These are they that come up to Mount Zion, in life, Where the blessings and gifts of the spirit abound.

50. These are they that have come to the heavenly place;

Oh my GOSH!!!

Joseph is clarifying that when the celestial souls are quickened and caught up. EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH WILL HAVE BEEN TRODDEN UNDER FOOT IN GOD’S WRATH INCLUDING THE TERRESTIALS.

I had already arrived at that conclusion from doing lots of keyword searches and yet I have vacillated back and forth on this over the years because of the traditions of my fathers in which I have been so entrenched.

The above insertion is incredibly validating to my other keyword searches.

Further, Joseph is pointing out that it is only the righteous from the first resurrection that arise in their bodies of flesh at the coming of Christ in his glory. Everyone else is dead and in their disembodied spirits.

This is our Segway into another uncomfortable topic and associated paradigm shift.

Joseph reveals that everyone that is not lifted up into the cloud at the first trump is no longer in a body of flesh!

Is that a contradiction to what we have been taught?

Aren’t the terrestrial people resurrected into bodies of flesh at the sound of the second trump?

Aren’t both the celestial souls and the terrestrial souls both resurrected into immortality during the sounding of the first two trumps?

No!

Section 88:99 informs us that the terrestrial inhabitants of this earth will all be disembodied spirits when the second trump sounds. More on this to come.

Proxy Baptisms for those who are to be Judged According to men in the Flesh

We have addressed the fact that receiving the testimony of Jesus in the flesh during our walk by faith according to the grace of God is quite different than receiving the testimony of Christ in the spirit world after having rejected the gospel in the flesh. They do not merit the same eternal reward.

Some have supposed that receiving the testimony of Jesus and having proxy baptisms done AFTER the walk of faith after having rejected the gospel in the flesh is just as good as receiving it in the flesh and hence, they will eventually dwell in the highest glory with the father.

Scripture does not seem to substantiate that theory.

Section 88 details in chronological order what happens to the four categories of souls at the time of Christ’s coming in the clouds of heaven.

First, the celestial souls are quickened and caught up into the cloud to descend with Christ. This includes those that are living on earth at that time in their physical bodies as well as the righteous souls who had previously died that come forth.

Clearly, the righteous souls such as Joseph Smith’s older brother Alvin who will be saved in the celestial kingdom will be among those that are restored to their mortal body, then receive the baptism of water, fire and Holy Ghost, then are quickened and lifted up at the sound of the trump.

Those like Alvin are not classed among those that must be judged according to men in the flesh while in their disembodied spirits. People like Alvin that would have accepted the gospel will in fact be resurrected back into their mortal bodies and will be baptized for themselves and received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost before being quickened and caught up to descend with Christ.

One of the profound things this reveals is that spiritual rebirth must take place in mortality, IN THE FLESH before the end of the sixth seal. In fact the Book of Revelation informs us that the 144,000 who are the first fruits of the resurrection are all sealed up during the sixth seal, during mortal probation.

This is why it is so important to realize that these people that come forth in the first resurrection will first be restored to their MORTAL BODIES before being quickened and caught up. We have covered these concepts before but perhaps the significance of the chronology has not been fully appreciated.

Notice the following profundities from the Book of Mormon:

Alma 11:45 informs us that we are first resurrected into our mortal body before we are raised in our immortal body.

45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body

First we are raise in our mortal bodies then we are quickened from our mortal bodies to our immortal bodies.

 

Alma 12:20 reiterates that men will be resurrected from their mortal body, not from their disembodied spirit:

20 But there was one Antionah, who was a chief ruler among them, came forth and said unto him: What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state, that the soul can never die?

There is a very significant progression here.

These passages in Alma in conjunction with what we have previously covered, are stating that we gain a mortal body in this probation, then we are eventually raised up again in our mortal body. The elect are quickened and lifted up in the first resurrection.

The details of this progression differ depending on which category a soul is in.

Judged According to Men in the Flesh

I want to point out something very curious that you may not have noticed.

After the celestial souls come forth out of their graves to be quickened from their mortal bodies to be “lifted up” into the cloud the next passage of scripture chronologically informs us that those who must fall under the law of justice will be judged according to men in the flesh:

99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

I am going to confess that for many years I interpreted the above passage to suggest that this group are being judge according to the flesh because they were men in the flesh.

Wrong!

I had assumed that they had come forth in the resurrection with bodies of flesh because of preconceived notions based on the false traditions of my fathers.

But that is not what the above passage is saying.

It is informing us that after the rapture of the elect, every single person remaining is now dead. They are disembodied spirits, including those that are classified as the terrestrial. They are no longer in their physical bodies. This is confirmed in verse 101 of section 88 which transitions to the next two divisions of people by saying “and these are the REST of the dead….”. In other words everyone in the previous group that was not raptured up is DEAD.

How can this be possible?

Weren’t they previously resurrected back to their mortal bodies when the second trump sounded? Why are they all dead when the second trump sounds?

These terrestrial souls that come forth at the sound of the second trump are in their disembodied spirit bodies because they have all been trodden under foot in the wrath of God.

Another way to confirm this is by comparing the passage in section 88 to how the exact same phrase is used in 1st Peter 4 and Section 76.

The phrase; “judged according to men in the flesh” clearly means that those in their disembodied spirits will be judged according to those who are in the flesh. This might just be the most powerful, yet subliminal baptism for the dead passage in the scriptures.

1st Peter 4 (JST) Referring to New Testament times Section 76 Referring to New Testament times Section 88 Referring to the end of the sixth seal
5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

6 Because of this is the gospel preached to them who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live in the spirit according to the will of God.

71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.

72 Behold, these are they who died without law;

73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;

 

74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

1st Peter and Section 76 are making specific reference to the disembodied spirits in prison at the time of Christ’s resurrection during New Testament times. Those spirits had to have the gospel preached to them in the spirit world and they were at the mercy of their baptismal work being done by men who were in the flesh.

Section 88 is revealing something quite mysterious and profound.

After everyone comes forth at the coming of Christ, every single person that remains after the lifting up of the elect during the beginning of the 7th seal, is brought forth to be judged is a disembodied spirit, they are not in their final resurrected body, yet.

I realize this may go against everything you have ever been taught. But I challenge you to search these things out.

Here is a harsh reality that few people understand.

Everyone living on the earth at the time of Christ’s coming in glory that is not quickened and lifted up in the resurrection of the JUST at the first trump, will be found to be under condemnation.

They are not justified by the atonement because they did not fully accept it.

They will be trodden under the foot of man or destroyed in the flesh by the wrath of God, leaving them as disembodied spirits

The righteous elect that “arise in their bodies of flesh” (lifed up) will “walk in the presence of God” while all the rest are categorized as “wicked” because they are still unclean and under condemnation. They will be “trod underfoot in his wrath“.

Praise God almighty that after they suffer for their sins, they will be cleansed and redeemed and blessed with an inheritance in a kingdom of glory!

The takeaways from this installment are as follows:

  1. Christ himself has told us that FEW will enter into the strait gate to obtain eternal life in his Father’s Kingdom.
  2. The saints of God that obtain the testimony of Christ while in the flesh will gain a greater inheritance than those that reject it in the flesh and later gain the testimony of Jesus as disembodied spirits
  3. Everyone that is not lifted up at the first trump will experience the cleansing wrath of God, although the sons of perdition will not even become clean as a result of the wrath. Hence they will inherit a kingdom of darkness instead of a kingdom of glory.

In our next installment we shall see additional proof that only few will dwell with the Father in his kingdom. Additionally, we shall see why it is impossible according to celestial physics and God’s economy for a telestial or terrestrial spirit to eventually rise up to the highest glory of the Father.

More to come, keep watching

 

PS For those sending emails or making comments, I will be out of the country for about a week and am not sure what kind of Internet access I will have.

 


Believe Again – Andy Stanley

January 1, 2020

This morning we began the new year by listening to an incredible faith promoting sermon by Andy Stanley, one of our favorite Christian Preachers.

It was a powerful sermon that reminds me of just how powerful the New Testament story of Jesus and his apostolic witnesses really is and how empty and lacking the General Conference sermons are in the latter day apostate church.

The saints of the restoration Transcended three or four steps up the ladder of illumination above protestant Christianity from 1830 to 1834, however, within a few short years after that, they were delivered over to Satan and fell off the entire ladder.

Today we hear LDS folk expound on how insignificant the Bible is in comparison to the Book of Mormon and it just makes me cringe.

The Book of Mormon is amazing and it has a very important role in the salvation of man as a SECOND witness to the Bible, but there will never be a substitute for the necessity of having the written accounts of the appearance of the resurrected Christ to a group of men who literally gave all they had including their lives in bearing witness of his divine mission and Son-ship

Enjoy

 


The Doctrine of Nehor Part 1

December 29, 2019

“..all men should have eternal life?”

[Editorial Note: For those who prefer to listen to a Vlog instead of reading a Blog, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Mrs Watcher has provided a Youtube reading of this content]

I recently got a few emails from readers who were seeing historical narratives in the Book of Mormon that they felt were typological to the events that we are seeing unfold around us right now. I have shared them in a previous post.

One of those comments directed me to the Book of Alma which I had not read for some time.

I began with the first chapter where I was reminded about an unusual event wherein a false teacher named Nehor was put to death according to the laws that had been instituted by King Mosiah before he died.

Nehor was put to death for committing murder.

The murder took place as a result of Nehor the false teacher, arguing with a man named Gideon over some points of doctrine.

Gideon was a righteous teacher in the Church of God who withstood Nehor with the words of God.

Nehor had gone forth among the people “preaching what he termed the word of God, bearing down against the church

Among the things he was teaching was that-

every priest and teacher aught to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hand, but that they should be supported by the people“.

And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.

And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money.”

Of all the heretical doctrines that Nehor could have picked to tickle the ears of the people, I find it interesting that he told the people that they should not “fear nor tremble“.

He assured the people that everyone was going to eventually categorically receive eternal life because Christ had redeemed all men. There was no need to repent, or least, there was no urgency to repent nor was there an everlasting penalty if one failed to repent within a predetermine time frame.

Contrast the comforting but false doctrine of Nehor that there is no need to fear and tremble about salvation, with the ominous and sobering but true words of Paul

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Interestingly, Paul’s admonition was not given to doubting and unbelieving sinners. It was given to his faithful fellow workers in the ministry. He admonished them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

If believers needed to work their salvation with fear and trembling, how much more should doubters be concerned about their eternal future?

This counsel provides a stark contrast to that of Nehor’s counsel while using some of the same descriptives.

Notice how Paul’s counsel was in the context of how the day would come when “every knee should bow

This and other declarations in scripture indicate that there is in fact a definitive deadline and a finality that needs to be considered with sobriety because the work of salvation is completed based on what takes place during this mortal probation. Further, the scriptures teach that not everyone inherits the same eternal reward.

For greater clarity and context regarding the time when every knee will bow, we can view other passages that address this event.

The D&C actually provides greater contextual detail to that phrase and perhaps explains why Paul is associating it with the need to work out one’s salvation with fear and trembling before a specified time frame. One such passage is found in section 76

109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;

110 And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;

111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared;

112 And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come,
worlds without end.

We are informed here that the inhabitants of the telestial world will ultimately bow the knee and confess to him that sits upon the throne.

But what is their reward AFTER they bow their knee and confess with their mouth? Shouldn’t they get to enter into the highest kingdom of the Father after they bow the knee and confess to him who sits on the throne?

The good news is that they inherit their own dominion within a mansion that has been prepared. We are informed in other areas of the text that their mansion will be in a telestial glory which “surpasses all understanding“.

But the glory they inherit will be limited.

They will be servants of the most high,
but where God and Christ dwell, they cannot come.

How long will they be damned or blocked from ascending to the greater glory where God and Christ dwell?

Worlds without end.

How long is “worlds without end?”

That sounds like a really long time to me.

Is there an end to the worlds that will be created?

In fact, according to Joseph Smith, the phrase means FOREVER.

Here is a snippet from a discourse of he gave about how sons of perdition will be doomed to Guolom worlds without end.

“..Many talk of any baptism not being essantial to salvation but this would lay the foundation of their damnation, There has also been remarks made concerning all men being redeemed from Hell, But I say that any man who commits the unpardonable sin must dwell in hell worlds without end
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/discourse-7-april-1844-as-reported-by-wilford-woodruff/8

Another account of the same sermon by a different listener seems to be consistent with the other account.

There have been remarks made concerning all men being redeemed from Hell; but I say that those who sin against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this world, or in the world to come; they shall die the second death— those who commit the unpardonable sin are doomed to Guolom— to dwell in Hell worlds without end

In that discourse, Joseph was speaking specifically about the eternal state of the Sons of Perdition. In his remarks, he uses the term “worlds without end” to correct the false doctrine that sons of perdition will eventually be redeemed from hell. He makes it clear that they will NEVER be redeemed. That is what worlds without end means. NEVER.

Back in section 76 the passage is using the same phrase to describe how long those that inherit the telestial glory will not be able to go where God and Christ dwell. Those that inherit the telestial glory will NEVER enter into the presence of God and Christ in this world or the world to come. They are limited to the glory they are sealed up to for eternity.

The very term inheritance, with regard to eternal reward suggests finality. In fact, the term eternal reward to the select group that are “called” suggests finality as well.

My Fundamentalist Friend

The Nehor narrative which I recently read in Alma and the above passages in section 76 reminded me of something that happened nearly three decades ago when I was just beginning to search the scriptures in much greater depth.

I had met an LDS fundamentalist fellow that I will call John. John was not a typical fundamentalist. He viewed things much differently than most LDS fundamentalists. He told me that everyone was going to eventually be saved.

He continued on to say:

“The telestial and terrestrial kingdoms alluded to in Section 76 are just temporary kingdoms”

He continued:

“Everyone will eventually progress from glory to glory and from kingdom to Kingdom”

That was the happy, hopeful news that he shared with me.

He could tell that I had some degree of indigestion about what he was postulating so he admonished me to be “open minded” about it.

His appeal to be open minded reminded me of a commenter on the Iron Rod podcast.

The commenter began expressing doubts about the fact that Joseph Smith was going to return and complete his mission and fulfill all of the unconditional promises and prophecies given by the Lord.

Despite how many times his questions were answered using the scriptures and regardless of being presented with countless revelations, prophecies, and patriarchal blessings from God declaring that Joseph Smith would return and complete his commission, he continued to be skeptical. He finally implored the podcasters and listeners of the podcast to remain “open-minded” about the possibility that things would take place differently than how God promises they will.

This admonition to be open-minded about the possibility of things happening differently than how God says they will happen has caused me to wonder if being open-minded is categorically a wise and noble virtue.

Someone once sarcastically quipped that the problem with being open minded is that your brain might fall out of your head.

Seriously though.

I have wondered if being open minded about a doctrine is categorically a good thing.

Certainly, if one has not found a definitive answer to a question from the Lord in scripture then it is a good thing to be open about the different possibilities until the truth can be revealed.

Nevertheless, if the true doctrine is clearly laid out in scripture, yet we take it lightly and choose to remain “open minded” about different possibilities that are contrary to what God has promised, it must really be offensive to God to reject his words and remain open minded. Surely there are serious consequences.

Getting back to the topic at hand-

My friend John was suggesting that everyone will eventually be saved in the highest kingdom of God, it just takes longer for some than others in the eternal realm.

He said that the telestial and terrestrial glories or kingdoms were simply temporary stops along the way to perfection.

He acknowledged that there were countless passages in the scriptures that seemed to be teaching quite the opposite, but he assured me that he had divined through deep study and prayerful meditation that there was a deeper truth hidden in the scriptures that he had discovered.

I told him that I felt the answer to this question must be clearly provided in scripture somewhere and I asked him if he had arrived at his conclusion by searching the scriptures. He said he had and he provided a passage out of Section 121.

33 How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.

He informed me that rolling waters in rivers and streams are eventually cleansed of the impurities that might be in them as they pass over the rocks and sand in the riverbed going on their journey.

That was nature’s way of cleaning water he proclaimed.

He interpreted that profundity and the way it was used in scripture to be analogous to the fact that all people that come to earth will eventually be cleansed and saved in the highest kingdom even though many will not repent and accept Christ during mortal probation. Many that don’t repent during probation will have to temporarily receive an inheritance in the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms he declared. But sometime in the future they will move up in glory and eventually be in the presence of the Father in the highest kingdom of glory.

Frankly I found the running waters passage to be a beautiful analogy and I wanted it to be true. I felt that if everyone was saved in the highest kingdom of the Father, that would surely show how merciful God is.

He assured me that after this life and the final judgment, one can Transend from a lower kingdom to a higher kingdom of glory.

Regarding Section 76, he pointed out that the text of section 76 NEVER once mentions the terms “celestial kingdom”, “terrestrial kingdom” or “telestial kingdom”.

He suggested that students of the gospel are predisposed to read those terms into the text because of orthodox indoctrination… A good example of this indoctrination is found in the Chapter header summary of section 76.

“Those who will inherit the terrestrial kingdom are described; 81–113…”

Interestingly verses 81-113 never use the term “terrestrial kingdom”

I must admit, that is a really interesting point.

On the other hand, section 88 clearly speaks of the “telestial kingdom” and “terrestrial kingdom” expressly. Furthermore, the following quote from the history of the church attributed to Joseph Smith who had just experienced the vision, shows that he did interpret the revelation, to be identifying and differentiating “kingdoms” of glory:

A vision given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, at Hiram, Ohio, February 16, 1832. Prefacing the record of this vision, Joseph Smith’s history states:

“Upon my return from Amherst conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures. From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.

It appeared self-evident from what truths were left, that if God rewarded everyone according to the deeds done in the body the term ‘Heaven,’ as intended for the Saints’ eternal home, must include more kingdoms than one.

It appears that Joseph considered the inheritance of telestial, terrestrial and celestial “glories” to be closely related if not synonymous with “kingdoms”. Certainly, there appeared to be kingdoms within those glories.

It is Not Possible to Transition from Kingdom to Kingdom

I am really grateful for the experience I had with my fundamentalist friend John because it got me thinking about the issue of whether we continue to progress from degree of glory to degree of glory in the hereafter. I have spent lots of time searching these things and I am convinced that the doctrine taught by Nehor and my friend John, along with other variations of the concept are false and contrary to the word of God.

Another outgrowth of the heretical doctrine of Nehor is the heretical multiple probations doctrine which seems to be a natural deduction once a person has convinced themselves that everyone must be saved in the highest kingdom even though they must repent and accept the fulness of the gospel during probation..

Why does it even matter whether all men are saved in the highest kingdom or not?

It appears from the warnings of the ancient prophets that such a belief causes men to procrastinate in their belief and repentance and their obedience to God’s commands. Book of Mormon prophets are quite clear about this-

20 Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment.

21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

22 And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.

We have been given a set probationary period of time in which to lay claim upon our eternal reward by the thoughts we think, our ability to discern truth from error through the Holy Ghost, and the actions we take in this life. The scriptures teach that If we seek to do wickedly and are found to be unclean before the judgment-seat of God, we will be cast off FOREVER.

We will show later in this post that only those that are lifted up at the last day are those that are found CLEAN and JUSTIFIED. Everyone else is unclean and under condemnation until a second preaching of the gospel takes place along with proxy baptisms. To be cast off forever in the above context is simply referring to being cast out of the presence of the Father forever. It does not imply roasting in hell with Satan forever.

31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

32 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.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

The above declaration seems to be referencing those that will become sons of perdition.

In other words, the scripture means exactly what it says in those instances. Those Book of Mormon prophets knew exactly what they were talking about.

These passages and other similar ones are pretty clear. They leave very little reason to be “open-minded” about the possibility that everyone that receives a telestial or terrestrial glory will eventually transcend the glory they inherited and enter into the presence of God and Christ.

There are several places in scripture that clearly teach that there is a set, specified time of probation with a clearly specified deadline in which we must exercise faith and obey the commandments of God in order to be saved in the highest glory and/or kingdom of God.

Section 76 Provides Additional Evidences

We have already noted one of the most powerful evidences in section 76 that there will be no kingdom jumping in the hereafter. It informs us that those that inherit a telestial glory will never enter into the presence of God and Christ, worlds without end.

Section 76 makes a very definitive differentiation between those that are saved in the celestial glory and everyone else. Here are just two examples to consider:

The Requisite of Obtaining the Gift of the Holy Ghost
and the Testimony of Jesus in the Flesh

Notice how a contextual reading of verses 52 and 53 state that one must receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise during mortality.

52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

Notice also how verse 74 differentiates between the celestial souls who received the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, vs the terrestrial souls who receive it after this life, in the spirit world-

74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.

76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.

From the above passages of scripture and others, we learn that if one fails to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and receive the testimony of Jesus during mortal probation, they will NEVER inherit the celestial glory even if they receive proxy baptism and the testimony of Jesus in the spirit world.

Could this explain why the Lord revealed the principle of proxy water baptisms for those in spirit prison but never said anything about proxy laying on of hands for them? Some have falsely concluded that righteous souls like Joseph Smith’s older brother Alvin are ultimately saved in the highest kingdom through proxy baptism but we will show in a later part of this series that such is not the case. Alvin will get baptized in the flesh for himself during probation. He will not need to have the gospel preached to him while he is in spirit prison or in his disembodied spirit.

Section 76 clearly informs us that one must receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by the proper authority IN THE FLESH DURING PROBATION! The elect of God seek God early and find him during this probation.

The full spiritual rebirth cannot be experienced by terrestrial souls in spirit prison after they knowingly refused to accept the gospel during mortality. Those that fail to receive the fulness in this life will gain the testimony of Jesus when they see him coming in the clouds of heaven, or some other time, but by then their opportunity for the spiritual rebirth through the walk of faith during probation is no longer available. (For those that might feel uneasy because they feel that they have not qualified according to the requisites spoken of above, I would remind you that there is much that will happen during the marvelous work, between now and the trump that will sound when the elect are quickened and lifted into the cloud)

These passages of scripture inform us that salvation is very deadline related. There is a set time by which people must accept the gospel and repent during probation in order to inherit the highest glory.

If in fact the doctrine of Nehor was true, none of these black and white deadline requirements would make any sense. Some might feel that they are not necessary.

If everyone was ultimately going to be refined and sanctified sometime during eternity to inherit the highest glory, why would the Lord provide the vision that he did to Joseph and Sidney? Why would he shame and punish people for taking longer to become saved in the highest kingdom than others? It would make no sense.

The True Definition of Save and Saved in Section 76

Section 76 is completely congruent with the urgent warnings given by the Book of Mormon and New Testament prophets. There is a designated time of probation in which we must repent if we are to receive the highest eternal inheritance. There is no secret doctrine like the one Nehor preached that provides a safety net in the hereafter to enable us to qualify for eternal life in the Father’s kingdom once we fail to qualify for it during this life’s probation.

Having detailed several places in Section 76 that make it clear that there is no progression from glory to glory in the afterlife, let us review the meaning of “save and saved” as it is used in Section 76 because these passages cause some people to stumble in their understanding of the scriptures and the plan of salvation.

LDS Students of the gospel as well as critics from biblical Christianity have been befuddled by the use of the terms save and saved as they are used in Section 76. This is because they falsely assume that the terms are always referring to salvation in the highest celestial Kingdom of the Father.

It is difficult for them to realize that some terms in the scriptures are used in different ways and that the reader must have a contextual understanding of what is being said as well as spiritual discernment.

The first definition of salvation in the Websters Dictionary only has to do with being saved from destruction, danger and great calamity:

“The act of saving; preservation from destruction, danger or great calamity.”

As we shall see, the term save and saved are used this way in scripture sometimes.

This is a tough pill to swallow for Latter day Saints who think that salvation categorically means to be saved into something, such as the highest kingdom of the Father, instead of saved from something, such as the wrath of God or the second death.

The second, broader definition of the term in Websters is in two parts. First, “redemption of man from bondage of sin the liability of eternal death“. Secondly, “the conferring on him everlasting happiness“.

“Appropriately in theology, the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness. This is the great salvation”

The first part of the above definition of salvation is largely synonymous with redemption from bondage and eternal death. However the second part of the definition includes the conferring of “everlasting happinesswhich would NOT necessarily be limited to the celestial kingdom of the Father. Even the telestial kingdom appears to be a kingdom of happiness that surpasses all understanding. Clearly, those in the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms of glory enjoy everlasting happiness.

Saved from Wrath

2 Corinthians chapter 7 provides an amazing discourse about being saved from wrath. It is referring primarily to the first definition of salvation. Never in the whole chapter does it emphasize that we must repent and be baptized or accept the fulness of the gospel. Those terms are not used. It speaks about how we are “saved from wraththrough the redeeming death of Christ.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

While being sinners, before even repenting and accepting the gospel, Christ’s blood justified and redeemed everyone who does not qualify to be a son of perdition by rejecting all light. They shall be saved from wrath because Christ died for us.

Section 76 is using the terms the same way.

Again, the terms “save” and “saved” are not always used the exact same way in scripture. Context is everything.

In review- Sometimes they refer to the act of being SAVED INTO
the kingdom of God
or possibly even another kingdom of glory, but sometimes they refer to the act of being SAVED FROM the second death, and/or the wrath of God

Some passages cover both and are contextually referring to those that will inherit the greatest kingdom.

Being saved from wrath and being saved into the highest kingdom where the Father and the Son dwell, are not necessarily synonymous. One can be saved from the second death but not saved into the kingdom of the Father. That would be true of both those that inherit a telestial glory and those that inherit a terrestrial glory.

Another Definition of Saved and Salvation

In Lectures on Faith, Joseph and Sidney used the term “saved” and “salvation” to refer to salvation in the highest kingdom as they posed the question, “what constitutes a saved being?” The definition of save and salvation that they use in that context has to do with those that are saved into the celestial kingdom. However they clearly understood that the term salvation is used in different ways which is why they prefaced their remarks thusly:

As all the visible creation is an effect of faith, so is salvation, also. (We mean salvation in its most extensive latitude of interpretation, whether it is temporal or spiritual)

In section 76, the primary topic being discussed leading up the use of the terms save and saved in verses 42-44 is the topic of REDEMPTION from the second death and being SAVED from the second death, not salvation into the kingdom of the Father . This is why the topics of Satan and his angels and the second death and the wrath of God are covered so early in the narrative.

Notice verses 36-8

36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—

37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;

38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.

Here is what Webster says about the definition of redemption:

“the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ.”

Just because someone is saved and redeemed from the second death and the eternal wrath of God, does not mean that they are saved into the highest glory.

Here is a summary of the three main topics covered in section 76 prior to the use of the terms save and saved in order to get some context for how the terms save and saved are being used:

Verses 1-14 testify of the existence of the Father and the Son and that they are merciful to those that serve them in righteousness

Verses 15-24 includes Joseph and Sidneys testimony again and then speaks of the resurrection of the dead and how it is divided into two groups, those that do good unto the resurrection of the just and those that do evil unto the resurrection of the unjust.

Verses 25-38 testifies that Satan is real and that he was in a position of authority in the presence of God and then rebelled against God and was cast down. It explains that he makes war with the saints and defines what a son of perdition is. . It warns that those that are overcome by the power of the Devil will deny the truth and defy God and will not be redeemed from the second death. They will suffer the wrath of God for eternity.

The text of this vision up to this point is now focusing on the threat of the power of the Devil in making war with the saints and the ultimate threat of the second death. This sets the stage for addressing the concept of being REDEEMED and SAVED from the wrath of God and /or the second death through the atonement of Christ’s shed blood.

After that topic is addressed, the revelatory narrative will provide a detailed breakdown of the various glories and kingdoms that the redeemed souls will inherit that have been saved from the second death.

Clearly, verses 42-44 do not appear to be congruent with the remainder of the text if one incorrectly assumes that they are referring to being saved in the highest kingdom of the Father. This is why it is so important to get this foundational interpretation correct. If one misinterprets this concept, the remainder of section 76 becomes confusing and illogical as well as other sections of the scripture, leading one down a rabbit hole of confusion and seeming contradiction.

To summarize,

  1. There is a distinct difference between being saved from the second death, vs. being saved into the celestial kingdom of the Father.
  2. The telestial and terrestrial glories and associated kingdoms are not temporary glories and kingdoms. They are everlastingly permanent. There is no jumping from kingdom to kingdom after the final judgment.
  3. There is a definitive time frame by which every man must repent and accept Christ under his own agency during probation in order to qualify for an inheritance in the celestial order, glory, and highest kingdom where the Father and Son dwell
  4. Mortal probation doesn’t necessarily end when someone dies. If they would have received the gospel during their mortal life, they will have the opportunity to be restored in the flesh to participate in the saving ordinances prior to being quickened and caught up into the cloud (more on this in a future installment)

Section 76 is not the only section in the D&C that clearly states that the judgment that follows this mortal probation is an eternal judgement resulting in an eternal and fixed inheritance.

In part two of this series we shall see what section 88 has to say about this topic. It will provide a second witness to what is taught in section 76. Additionally, it will explain WHY a telestial spirit can never inherit a terrestrial or celestial glory and why a terrestrial spirit can never inherit a celestial glory.

In part three of this series we will review the timeline of this earthly probation as given in the Book of Revelation and clarified in section 77. We shall see how the “lifting up” (rapture} interrelates to the timeline and the plan of salvation. This will provide a third witness that the judgments of the Lord and the assigned glories and kingdoms that people inherit will be final. ALL THINGS WILL BE SEALED TO THE END OF ALL THINGS and God will COMPLETE THE SALVATION OF MAN during the beginning of the seventh thousand years. There will be no jumping from kingdom to kingdom after the sealing up of all things has taken place.

Before closing this first installment, let me point out a subtle thing that is not often noticed in the section 76 which interrelates to everything we have just discussed-

The vision detailed in section 76 was prompted when Joseph and Sidney were translating the inspired version of the bible. They were working on the twenty ninth verse in the fifth chapter of John about “the resurrection of the Just

15 For while we were doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chapter of John, which was given unto us as follows—
16 Speaking of the resurrection of the dead, concerning those who shall hear the voice of the Son of Man:
17 And shall come forth; they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust.
18 Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.

Question: What was given to them in the spirit regarding the above quote from the New Testament?

Answer: The terms “just” and “unjust

You see, those terms don’t actually show up in the King James Version of the passage they are quoting!!!!!

Notice below how Joseph and Sidney inserted the terms Just and unjust in the John 5:28-29 of the King James Translation-

King James John 5:28-29 JST- Inspired Version John 5:28-29
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

28 Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all who are in their graves shall hear his voice

29 And shall come forth; they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust.

In the above changes, notice how the term resurrection of life has been changed to resurrection of the “just”.

Notice also how resurrection of damnation has been changed to the resurrection of the unjust.

I don’t think the terms in the King James version are necessarily wrong, I just think that the terms they have been replaced with provide more clarification and a broader eternal context.

Much of the orthodox New Testament salvation vs. damnation theology focuses on the urgency of being saved from the wrath of God at the last day by repenting and being “lifted up” to avoid God’s wrath. That is the urgency of the New Testament and Book of Mormon’s message to the world.

Conversely, section 76 is providing a broader, eternal view of what happens to everyone after the work of final judgment takes place. Hence the descriptives in the section 76 narrative appear to convey a more compassionate view of the plan of salvation.

Getting back to the inspired changes that were made by Joseph and Sidney. What does it mean to be “just“?

What exactly does it mean to be a “just man made perfect“?

When we get into section 88 in our next installment, we will review how each of the three degrees of glory have a law associated with then. Section 88 describes these three laws as being Mercy, Justice and Judgment. In other words-

Celestial Law is the law of Mercy.

Terrestrial Law is the Law of Justice

and telestial law is the Law of Judgment.

The Book of Mormon provides a discourse on the law of justice and how those that have not been justified by mercy during probation, must be exposed to the full law of justice. Mercy will not be able to rob Justice.

Section 19 informs us that those that don’t repent during this probation must suffer for their own sins, being exposed to the demands of the law of justice:

..For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I

We will get further into these concepts when we delve into section 88.

For now, lets simply note what section 76 tells us about who the just men that are made perfect through the law of mercy are:

49 And we heard the voice, saying: Write the vision, for lo, this is the end of the vision of the sufferings of the ungodly.

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.

58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—

59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

60 And they shall overcome all things.

61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.

65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world…

As you can see, the Lord uses the term “Just” and/or “Just men made perfect” three times as descriptives of those who will come forth and be caught up into the cloud in the first resurrection to inherit the celestial glory of the Father.

After listing those descriptives the narrative then moves on to the listing of descriptives for the terrestrial souls and then the telestial souls as distinctly separate classifications.

Not once does the term just or just men made perfect ever show up to describe those of the terrestrial glory or those of the telestial glory.

Incredible.

This means that the resurrection of the just refers exclusively to the saints that are “lifted upinto the cloud in section 88:96-98.

95 And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;
96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven
98 They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

It excludes those terrestrial souls that must be judged according to men in the flesh [according to the law of justice] in verse 99.

99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

I am sure this causes some people consternation. Some of us have possibly assumed that the souls who come forth in the “morning of the first resurrectionAND those souls who come forth in the “afternoon of the first resurrection” are all part of the same resurrection of the Just.

Not according to section 76!

Despite this harsh reality, section 76 greatly softens the harshness of New Testament damnation terminology. We often think of those that are eternally “damned” as those that are in hell for eternity with Satan.

NOT necessarily so!

In the case of telestial and terrestrial souls, eternally damned simply means eternally blocked or prevented from entering into the highest kingdom of the father but nevertheless enjoying dominion in a kingdom of glory that surpasses all understanding“.

Praise God almighty!

I find it interesting how Joseph and Sidney were bold enough to quote from the bible using the inspired clarifying terms they inserted working on the inspired version. After all, it was not yet published and the deeper things were not to be publicly proclaimed.

Joseph had been commanded two separate times in scripture to stick with the basics and not teach about the deeper things:

D&C 6:9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

D&C 11:9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

Also interesting is the fact that section 76 did virtually nothing to further the missionary work at the time it was brought forth. In fact, it appears to have been a detriment. Some converts fell away because of it and some potential converts rejected the message of the restored gospel because of it. They felt it was contrary to the orthodox biblical doctrine which only posits to outcomes, eternal life, vs. the wrath of God.

Realizing how disruptive the deeper concepts in section 76 and other revelations were, Joseph sent directives to the missionaries overseas to not teach about the gathering, the vision (Section 76) and book Doctrine and Covenants

my instructions to the brethren were, when they arrived in England, to adhere closely to the first principles of the Gospel, and remain silent concerning the gathering. the vision, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, until such time as the work was fully established, and it should be clearly made manifest by the Spirit. &c.

Even today, people stumble over the information contained in section 76 and end up misunderstanding the deep, sobering, yet hopeful and blissful eternal concepts revealed in it. It leads one to wonder if in fact Joseph had made a mistake in making the revelation public at that time.

Nevertheless, we have been given it and we have accepted it as inspired scripture, so it now behooves us to try and understand it the best we can. We are informed that Joseph and Sidney received the vision while in the spirit and I am now convinced that one can only fully understand it if they read it “in the spirit”.

A left-brain scripture search and deductive reasoning may not be enough to divine the full significance of the inspired narrative. (I don’t pretend to fully understand everything in it, I am only sharing a few concepts that I believe I understand each one of us needs to interpret it by the spirit)

Read section 88 in preparation for the next installment as we continue to put the damnable doctrine of Nehor to bed.

Those that take comfort in thinking that everyone in the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms will eventually be saved in the kingdom of the Father are in very dangerous territory. It is only human nature to use such a belief to take the urgency of the day of our salvation lightly.

Keep Watching and be sober

PS

Historian Robert Woodford notes that the copies of section 76 that were published in Times and Seasons and the Millennial Star, “have the Sons of Perdition coming forth in the first resurrection“. Later in this series we shall review why that possibility is not altogether unlikely when we discuss how all of this fits into the timeline. (Pg 940 Vol 2 Part 2 The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants)

 


Trump: Sound the Alarm

December 18, 2019

Someone sent this pick of President Trumps latest Tweet to me today. The title of the email was “Sound the Alarm”

We live in crazy times

 

Trump


Ensign Peak Advisors: 100 Billion Dollars?!?!

December 17, 2019

A reader recently sent me this video. It is pretty self explanatory


Were the Restoration Saints and the Entire World Condemned by God Because they Neglected to Enter Into Covenant with the Book of Mormon? Part 2

December 16, 2019

In part 1 of this series I talked about how a previous post of mine really hit a nerve with a Snufferite reader of my blog.

He apparently felt that I was attacking the doctrine that Denver Snuffer introduced a few years ago. That was actually not my intent. I had long since forgotten about Denver Snuffers claim that the saints of the restoration had failed to enter into covenant with the Book of Mormon.

Snuffer used the following passage from Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants to claim that the saints of the LDS restoration had been condemned for failing to receive the Book of Mormon by covenant:

54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

The above passage of scripture is being grossly misinterpreted by Denver Snuffer on many different levels.

First of all, the church was not brought under condemnation for taking the Book of Mormon lightly. It is the seven elders being addressed in verse 54 that had treated lightly the things they had received two years previously. It is because these leaders of the whole church had previously been brought under condemnation.

You can back up two years and read the first revelation given to those seven elders (section 29) to see what promises they had taken lightly.

Secondly, the entire church did not remain under condemnation from that time forth. A portion of the church was brought out from under condemnation at that very time. (read verses 60-62)

It would not be until December of 1834 that the Lord would declare in a revelation to Joseph Smith, that the entire church was under condemnation:

‘Verily,  condemnation resteth upon you, who are appointed to lead my Chu[r]ch,  and to be saviors of men: and also upon the church: And there must needs be a  repentance and a refor[m]ation among you, in all things..” See Joseph Smith Papers

( click here for a blog post identifying and clarifying the three times that the Lord declared various divisions of his church to be under condemnation)

Third- It was the “children of Zion” that remained under condemnation until they repented and brought forth the fruits of Zion that had been revealed in the D&C and the Book of Mormon. That term “children of Zion referred specifically to the portion of the saints who had been sent to live in the land of Zion in Missouri. When they arrived in that land they made a covenant to live the laws of Zion but they failed to do so.

Lastly, the passage is not referring specifically to the “Book of Mormon” as being the “new covenant” it is referring to the “Book of Mormon AND the former commandements which I have given them

The “former commandments” incorporates the inspired version of the Bible and the revelations received by Joseph Smith, most notably, the “Articles and Covenants of the Church” contained in section 20. and the “law of the Church” contained in section 42.

Those two revelations had been copied by hand and taken by the first missionaries as the word of the Lord to be used in concert with the Book of Mormon in the conversion process while doing their proselytizing.

Continuing on with the Snufferite claims:

In Section 157 of the Snufferite scriptures the Lord presumably says:

The Book of Mormon was given as my covenant for this day and contains my gospel, which came forth to allow people to understand my work and then obtain my salvation.”

According to that passage, Christ gave the Book of Mormon as a separate and distinct covenant to the latter day saints through Joseph Smith. One that differs from the covenant given to the new testament saints.

We have already proven that statement to be false, nevertheless as we parse through the technicalities of this heresy we need to ask the question, is the passage suggesting that the Book of Mormon overrides the New Testament as the new covenant, or simply that the content in the Book of Mormon overrides and is superior to the content in the New Testament as the new covenant?

Or both?

However you slice it, there are serious problems with the interpretation and the conclusions made.

What about the Doctrine and Covenants which was sustained as scripture by the church. Wouldn’t that be more applicable to the saints of the restoration than the Book of Mormon???

There is a multiplicity of problems associated with the supposed revelation that Denver received.

His claims of course are not substantiated by any revelations that came through Joseph Smith nor anything that Joseph Smith said. In fact, it contradicts what the Lord has told us about the importance of the revelations that came through Joseph Smith Jr.

Here is a valid observation made by Joseph Fielding Smith that is supported by scripture:

Joseph Fielding Smith said:

In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book of Doctrine and Covenants to us stands in a peculiar position above them all.

I am going to tell you why. When I say that, do not for a moment think I do not value the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, just as much as any man that lives; I think I do. I do not know of anybody who has read them more, and I appreciate them; they are wonderful; they contain doctrine and revelation and commandments that we should heed; but the Bible is a history containing the doctrine and commandments given to the people anciently. That applies also to the Book of Mormon. It is the doctrine and the history and the commandments of the people who dwelt upon this continent anciently.

But this Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints. More precious than gold, the Prophet says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth. I wonder if we do? If we value it, understand it, and know what it contains, we will value it more than wealth; it is worth more to us than the riches of the earth. [Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 3:198–99]

On another occasion President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

This Doctrine and Covenants [is not a book just for the Latter-day Saints. It is more than that. It] belongs to all the world, to the Catholics, to the Presbyterians, to the Methodists, to the infidel, to the non-believer.

It is his book if he will accept it. . . . The Lord has given it unto the world for their salvation. If you do not believe it, you read the first section in this book, the preface, and you will find that the Lord has sent this book and the things which it contains unto the people afar off, on the islands of the sea, in foreign lands, and his voice is unto all people, that all may hear.

And so I say it belongs to all the world, not only to the Latter-day Saints, and they will be judged by it, and you will be judged by it. [In Conference Report, October 1919, 146]

President Joseph Fielding Smith uses the words of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants to show that the whole world will be judged by the word of the Lord in the revelations that Joseph Smith Jr. brought forth.

Denver Snuffer is clearly misinterpreting a few passages from Section 84 and using those misinterpretations to preach another gospel.

Continuing on with the Snufferite claims, here is an official statement from the Snufferite movement given to me by Mark Peterson, the alias of the commenter that wanted to defend the claims of Denver Snuffer:

On Saturday, September 2, 2017, during the Covenant of Christ Conference held in Boise, Idaho, this volume was canonized as scripture by affirmative vote of the general assembly of the body of believers, both assembled there and participating by video stream throughout the world. This marked the first and only time, to that point in history, that the Book of Mormon had ever been formally voted upon and accepted as a canon of scripture by any group of believers.

That is quite a claim. The Book of Mormon had never been formally voted upon and accepted by any group of believers???

I will show later in this post that that claim simply is not true. The Book of Mormon was voted on and accepted by the saints of the restoration.

Contiuing on with the official statement by the Snufferites:

Those professing to believe in the Doctrine of Christ formally received the Book of Mormon not only as a canon of scripture, but also as a covenant from God. This fulfilled the last prerequisite necessary in obtaining a new covenant from Him that would commence the grafting of the gentiles into the house of Israel to be numbered among His people (see Jacob 3; also Answer and Covenant). The following morning, the Lord offered His grafting covenant to the world, which was authoritatively administered by his servant Denver Snuffer Jr. and continues to be available to all who will receive it (see T&C 158).

This declaration is very revealing. It explains why Denver Snuffer has done some of the things he has done in the past.

After his missionary efforts dried up with card carrying Mormons, and then failed with the LDS fundamentalists and the RLDS crowd, Denver decided to conduct a mass conversion of the protestants. This is apparently why he made his video presentations commemorating the 500th year anniversary of the Christian reformation. This is why has asked his followers to sponsor three grand talks geared towards converting biblical Christians. After all of the their efforts, I am not aware of one single protestant that they have converted.

But getting back to the topic at hand-

Obviously, if Denver is speaking about literally making a covenant with a physical book, then he is suggesting idolatry. So we must assume that he is simply using a figure of speech and that he is really saying that the saints of the restoration failed to make a covenant to accept the content in the Book of Mormon as scripture.

Of course that supposition is not accurate.

It is a matter of historical record that the Book of Mormon was received by covenant as a canon of scripture by the saints of the restoration by virtue of the fact that on June 9th 1830, at the first conference of the church, the Articles and Covenants” (Section 20) was presented to the church for approval.

The minutes of that meeting recorded-

“Articles and Covenants ready by Joseph Smith Jr. and received by unanimous voice of the whole congregation, which consisted of most of the male members of the Church” (See JosephSmithPapers )

Incorporated within the Articles and Covenants was the declaration that the Book of Mormon was translated by power from on high and that it contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jew and Gentiles. (verse 8)

It claims that the Book of Mormon proves that the Holy Scriptures are true!

It also declares that “those who received it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life, but those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject, it shall turn to their own condemnation” (verses 14 &15″

As you can see, the Book of Mormon was received by covenant via the law of common consent when section 20, known as the “Articles and Covenants of the Church” was received by covenant.

However the acceptance of the Book of Mormon by covenant does not end there. In section 38:32 given on January 2, 1831 that Lord had promised that he would give the LAW once the saints got to Ohio:

32 Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high;

33 And from thence, whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.

The law promised in the above passages was given on February 9th 1831.

In that revelation (section 42) which would become a binding law upon the church, this is what the Lord said about the Book of Mormon:

12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

As you can see.

The LAW OF THE CHURCH commands the priesthood leaders to teach the principles of the Gospel that are contained in both the Bible and Book of Mormon!

It is a historical fact that we have previously covered in this blog that both the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants which both contained the above passages, were sustained by the church through the law of common consent.

Since the importance of the Book of Mormon and the commandment to accept it as scripture, and to teach from it, had been incorporated into the revelations Joseph Smith received, and since those revelations have been accepted by covenant through the law of common consent, the saints of the restoration did enter into covenant to accept the Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel that it contains.

But wait!

In a sense, what Denver Snuffer said does in fact apply to those that have followed his directives because they have rejected the Articles and Covenants of the church in section 20, setting them aside as a thing of naught.

By so doing, they have also set aside the law of the church in section 42 because in that section, the Lord commands the saints to observe the Articles and commandments of the church”, which the Snufferites have rejected! (see verse 12 above)

By doing so, the Snufferites have in fact, failed to enter into covenant with the Book of Mormon.. this is a very strange turn of events indeed!

Continuing on with this issue-

Having shown that the Snufferites have introduced a heresy based on a gross misinterpretation of scripture, I could end this post right now.

However, it would not do justice to the term “new covenant” which has been taken lightly.

Let’s actually do a keyword search on the phrase “new covenant” in the scriptures to fully appreciate what a holy and sacred term it is.

If we actually understand when it originated and what it means, and the following the historical and scriptural progression of the use of the term, we are less likely to be deceived by those that want to bastardize it by superimposing a different meaning upon it in the latter days.

The first mention of this phrase is in Jeremiah 31. The Lord says to Jeremiah-

31 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ and the emergence of Christianity, God is telling Jeremiah about a new covenant that he will make in the latter days with his people. The prophecy informs us that the covenant will be different than the old covenant made through Moses before the house of Israel became divided.

It informs us that when the new Covenant is made in the latter days, it will be after the house has been divided into the House of Israel and the House of Judah. (In the latter days these two houses will be referred to the “jew” and “gentile”.

33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

We are told that the new covenant that will be given in the latter days will not be a tangible item. It won’t be metal or gold or a statue made of stone or metal, or a tangible book or any kind of physical idolatry. The new covenant when fully actuated is going to be a spiritual change of heart that is placed by God in their “inward parts” and written in their “hearts“.

The result of this mystical download which is being referred to as the new covenant, is that God forgives his people and each person knows the Lord personally. The recipients become the people of God in a higher, literal sense.

As is the case with so many prophesies, we are not given all of the messy details of what takes place between Old Testament times and when the new covenant is finally successfully entered into by both gentile and Jews.

Any biblical Christian will tell you that the term New Covenent has specific reference to the mediation of Jesus Christ through his suffering, death and resurrection. It has very clear reference to the atonement that he offered for mankind.

The New Testament Saints understood Christ’s Offering
Represented the New Covenant

Lets review some New Testament passages that shed light on this new covenant that is placed in a person’s inward parts and written in their hearts

First the magnificent discourse given by Paul in Galatians 3 which informs us that-

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that they might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Not surprisingly, the new law brought by Christ redeems people from the curse of the old law which makes possible the blessing of Abraham on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. The promise of the new law and associated covenant is the promise of the spirit through faith in Christ.

Protestants who place their faith and authority on the New Testament as a book, instead of the promise of the spirit through faith in Christ would do well to note that nothing about a book is being mentioned.

Snufferites would be wise to do the same.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet when it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance is of the law, then it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

19 Wherefore then the law was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made in the law given to Moses, who was ordained by the hand of angels to be a mediator of this first covenant (the law).

20 Now this mediator was not a mediator of the new covenant; but there is one Mediator of the new covenant, who is Christ, as it is written in the law concerning the promises made to Abraham and his seed. Now Christ is the Mediator of life; for this is the promise which God made unto Abraham.

As you can see, the mediator of the new covenant which will be placed in the inward parts and written on the heart, is Christ. It is the covenant of Christ’s offering. Nothing about a Book is being mentioned regarding the new covenant.

Continuing on

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster until Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.:

Clearly the New Testament Saints were offered the New Covenant and it was not the Book of Mormon as a tangle item. or even the New Testament, as a physical book, which had not even been canonized yet, it was the blood of Christ.

Where else is the new covenant mentioned in the New Testament?

It is discussed again by Paul in Hebrews 8 and 9.

Here is a snippet from Hebrews 9

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant,
that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a covenant is, there must also of necessity be the death of the victim.

17 For a covenant is of force after the victim is dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the victim liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

As you can see, the shed blood of Christ of the new covenant is what purges us . Christ’s death is what redeems us from our transgressions.

We are informed that both covenants, the old covenant through Moses, and the new covenant through Christ, required the death of a victim.

During Old Testament times the old covenant offering victim was an animal sacrifice. In New Testament times, the offering victim was Christ.

So far, this is all pretty straight forward and consistent from Old Testament times to New Testament times. The new Covenant was Christ’s sacrifice.

According to the prophecy in the Jeremiah, when the New Covenant is fully actuated, it is followed by a spiritual change of heart that is placed by God in the believers “inward parts” and written in their “hearts“.

The definition of the term “New Covenant” is so basic that any biblical Christian can tell you what it means. And yet many Mormons cannot.

Why?

Because those of us that grew up in modern day Mormonism have been raised in a cult that is not truly bible based. Modern Mormonism is not build upon the foundation of Biblical Christianity and therefore, it has misinterpreted and modified the meaning of so many sacred scriptures that need to be viewed through the lens of biblical theology in order to be fully understood in the correct context. This is why people who are raised in Mormonism are doctrinally confused and scattered in their thinking.

The same is true of people converted to Mormonism who were not steeped in biblical Christianity before joining.

The only people so deluded as to think that the biblical term new covenant could be referring to a physical object or to the Book of Mormon as some kind of superior book of scripture to the bible or the revelations that Joseph Smith Jr. received, are those that never really understood the simplicity and power of the gospel of Christ that was taught in the New Testament.

Here is Pauls admonition:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Was Paul deluded?

Was the gospel that he accepted and preached inferior to the gospel taught in the Book of Mormon? Did he need something more that would come forth in the latter days? Did he need a new and improved new covenant”? Do we need a new and improved new covenant?

Section 76 Validates the Definition of New Covenant Did Not Change

In section 76 which was given years after the Book of Mormon came forth, a listing of descriptives is given pertaining to those who qualify to have their names written in heaven. Incorporated in this listing is the reminder that the new covenant is what actuates this amazing redemption.

68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

The above passage is clearly defining new covenant that was pertinanet to the saints of the restoration and to us, as the atonement of Christ through the shedding of his blood, not the Book of Mormon.

It is evident that the new covenant being spoken of in section 76 is the same one that the Book of Jeremiah prophesied about and the same one that was spoken of by Paul in the New Testament. This new covenant was rejected by the Jews and it was ultimately collectively broken by the gentiles of the New Testament church and the gentiles and the LDS restoration.

But we are promised that it is going to be restored to the earth when God returns his servants to the vineyard.

As you can see, the definition of the new covenant is really not that difficult to understand. The prophecy about it in Jeremiah was speaking about the same covenant that was offered to the New Testament gentiles and the LDS restoration gentiles.

When Joseph Smith’s ministry began, the Lord made the game plan very clear, he said-

And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old. And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I WILL DELIVER THEM UP UNTO SATAN

The Lord did not offer a different or improved covenant to the latter day saints than he did to the new testament saints. The game plan was to restore biblical Christianity in it’s purity along with the new covenant of Christ’s shed blood. There wasn’t to be another “new covenant” that was superior or different than the last “new covenant”.

The warning was that if the people of that generation hardened their hearts towards the truth, they would be delivered up to Satan.

God promised that he would send strong delusion.

Clearly this new definition of new covenant and the glorifying of a book of scripture as being superior to the Bible is a strong delusion.


Were the Restoration Saints and the Entire World Condemned by God Because they Neglected to Enter Into Covenant with the Book of Mormon? Part 1

December 7, 2019

I recently did a blog about the unique and strangely silent role of the Book of Mormon during Joseph Smith’s ministry with regard to public discourse about it’s doctrinal content.

In short, I basically pointed out that after translating and publishing the Book of Mormon, and using it as the bedrock of missionary work, it pretty much fades into the background with regard to the foundational doctrine of the church as canonized in the Doctrine portion of the Doctrine and Covenants, (Lectures on Faith).

It was also rarely used as the scriptural authority, in favor of the Bible, in virtually all of the major known sermons of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. The Nauvoo discourses for instance were based primarily on the Bible not the Book of Mormon.

I then speculated on why this was the case.

I had no other agenda than to point out what seems to be a real historical oddity on the surface.

I find this to be very curious and historically significant and I love to ponder and discuss these types of things even though they may cause indigestion and consternation in the hearts and minds of those that want to rigidly uphold the orthodox narratives.

Shortly after posting my observations, a reader made the following comment:

You are welcome to interpret “most correct book” how you want. But you have neglected the remainder of Joseph’s quote, namely that the Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.”

There is not a lot of wiggle room in this portion of Joseph’s quote.
However you slice the quote it is apparent that he meant that the Book of Mormon is supreme among scripture and can help us get closer to God than any other book of scripture (regardless of how much or how little he used the Book of Mormon as a source for his public discourses).

I obviously had hit a nerve with this person.

This was my response to him in the comment section:

I figured I would get some blowback on this

I am well aware of the rest of the quote. I only provided the snippet because I wanted to focus on that specific topic.

I have covered this general topic [including the remainder of the quote] before in previous posts.

I do not agree that Joseph’s statement about getting closer to God was an explanation of why it was the most correct book. He was making two distinct points about the Book of Mormon.

The second point after addressing the accuracy of the translation process, was simply that a person can get closer to God by reading it.

(to my point in the post, it was promoted as a book of scripture to be read on an individual basis, not publicly parsed)

I agree with the statement that you can get closer to God by reading that book of scripture.

The style and feel of the Book of Mormon prophets does provide a softer, more emotional tone that is better for getting closer to God. But that does not take away from the fact that the NT provides the most powerful witness of the life, teachings, crucifixion, resurrection and atonement of Christ, not to mention his instructions to his apostles who still play an important role in the final watch.

They are two different and distinct books of scriptures [that both testify of Christ] with different purposes.

The Book of Mormon is a second witness, that makes the New Testament the first and primary witness of Christ.

Here is a previous post where I touched on this before

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/notable-emails-part-3-have-you-ever-read-letter-to-a-ces-director-yes-and-it-has-strengthened-my-testimony/

The commenter then responded thusly:

The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, because it was received directly from God. All other volumes of scripture are vastly inferior due to the changes and emendations that have been made to them by men. The Book of Mormon is the covenant that mankind has been condemned for neglecting, and it is a great loss when it is defined as just another volume of scripture or just another book. It contains the means whereby mankind can return into the presence of the Lord.

At this point it occurred to me why I had hit a nerve with this person.

His declaration that the Book of Mormon was the covenant that mankind has been condemned for neglecting revealed that this guy was a Snufferite!

Now it became clear as to why I had hit a nerve with him. I was showing in my article that the Bible was the foundational witness of Christ and doctrinal authority upon which the LDS restoration took place with the Book of Mormon playing a secondary role.

I was show that the “New Covenant” brought forth through Christ’s crucifixion, atonement and resurrection as contained in the New Testament was the foundation of Christianity and the latter day restoration of the Christian Church through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith.

Those facts completely contradict and refute the supposition that the Book of Mormon was some kind of distinct and superior covenant that needed to be entered into.

Although I can see now why this commenter felt so threatened by my post, I can honestly say that I was not intentionally attacking the heresy that Denver Snuffer has taught. Frankly, I had forgotten about it.

Nevertheless, he was bringing this fascinating dichotomy to my attention.

I couldn’t help but respond point by point to his comment:

“The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, because it was received directly from God. ”

Is that not the point I was making about the superior translation process by which the BofM came forth??

“All other volumes of scripture are vastly inferior due to the changes and emendations that have been made to them by men”

I would suggest that it was the translation process of the Bible was inferior to that of the Book of Mormon, NOT the importance of the content.

It seems very unfair and inaccurate to me to state that the Bible is inferior to the Book of Mormon simply because the translation process was not as good. Further, the D&C did not need to go through a translation process..

It is those kinds of comments that cause Christians to look at us as a cult that does not take the Bible seriously and that kind of thinking is why Mormons have become biblically illiterate.

One of the problems with latter day Mormonism is that Mormons take the Bible for granted and they don’t realize just how important and profound the content really is.

If your claim was true Joseph Smith would have spent his ministry publicly focusing on the Book of Mormon instead of the Bible.

While the Book of Mormon is a very important secondary witness of Christ which provides the lesser things… The Bible is the first and primary witness of Christ.

One of the most important roles of the Book of Mormon is to prove that the Bible is true.

“The Book of Mormon is the covenant that mankind has been condemned ..”

I think you are greatly limiting the definition of what the “New Covenant” refers to.

The term is not referring to a singular book. It is referring to the New Covenant that Christ established through his atonement which is expounded upon in all of the books of scripture, D&C and NT included.

Do a keyword search on the term “new covenant” and you will see that the definition is much broader than how you are using it. It was an established term long before the BofM came forth.

The passage of scripture in Section 84 that you reference refers to the “Book of Mormon” AND the “scriptures” as the New Covenant.

Shortly after my reply, I got a long diatribe from him in the comment section which I left in moderation and did not approve to be posted in the comment section.

This is what it said:

The Book of Mormon was intended to be studied and followed as the means to reassert a covenant between God and man. The Book of Mormon points to a recovery of the covenants made to Abraham. It was intended to restore knowledge that would make it again possible for mankind to enter into a covenantal relationship with God, vindicating the promises that were made to the Fathers.

The Book of Mormon reveals that God made a covenant with Abraham in the beginning and that, at the end, God intends to uphold that covenant by changing gentiles into the house of Israel, by covenant; and that through the gentiles, he will gather in the scattered branches of Israel.

Therefore, the Book of Mormon must be received by covenant to accept the gospel given to Abraham and to participate in what the Lord has set out to do in this day.

The adoption of latter-day scriptures as a law and covenant is a necessary step foretold by the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon was preserved to come forth in the last days to restore the covenant people. Six months after publication of the Book of Mormon, the first missionary assignment was given by revelation. The Lord commanded,

“And now behold, I say unto you that thou shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them and cause my church to be established among them. And thou shall have revelations…” (September 1830)

The purpose of the first missionary work was to announce the fullness of the gospel to the scattered remnants, and the first remnant of Israel to be sent the invitation was the Lamanites. That mission failed to produce any Lamanite converts.

Instead, gentile, Campbellite disciples of Sidney Rigdon in Kirtland, Ohio joined by the hundreds. The focus quickly changed from recovering remnants of Israel, to successfully growing a large gentile church. This was not a temporary change. Its lasting effect has skewed the entire gentile effort. While some limited gestures have been made, recovering the remnants of Israel has been secondary. Once the focus left the Lamanites, all subsequent Mormon sects have likewise failed to fulfill the covenant in the Book of Mormon to seek to reclaim the remnants of Israel. They have remained intent on converting gentiles.

It was necessary for the Nephite record to come forth to the gentiles first, not to the remnant. Before it will go to the remnant the gentiles must accept the new covenant. The record does contain Christ’s gospel. But the gentiles are conditionally blessed if they seek to bring forth Zion. The record is to facilitate only that purpose for the gentiles. If the gentiles failed to focus on that, they would fail altogether.

The Book of Mormon is not entrusted to the gentiles to create an institution, or to build numerous chapels, or construct hundreds of temples before seeking to bring forth Zion, nor to enable a gentile body of millions to be assembled. It was entrusted to the gentiles for the purpose of gathering the remnant and establishing Zion. For that end alone, the gentiles are required to endure in the approved course until they reach the end. Or, in other words, endure and labor for the purpose of establishing Zion. When gentiles pursue any end other than establishing Zion, the Book of Mormon calls it “priestcraft”. That is what the gentiles have accomplished with the Book of Mormon thus far.

Moses recovered Israel from captivity in Egypt. They had been enslaved for generations, and lost a proper understanding of their covenant with God. He read the law to Israel and asked them to accept God’s word as a covenant. When he did, Israel responded, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” (Exo. 4) The Book of Mormon records a pattern for establishing a covenant between the people willing to obey the Lord and God. King Benjamin gathered together those who were willing to receive a covenant from God. King Benjamin inquired to “know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them.” In both examples, the words of the covenant were read to the people.

When King Benjamin asked the people if they believed, …they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. And we, ourselves, also, through the infinite goodness of God, and the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things. And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy. And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.

The people of King Benjamin willingly agreed to the covenant. They had a desire to be obedient to the covenant. They wanted to receive blessings from God. In the act of accepting the covenant with full purpose of heart, intending to repent and follow God, they had gifts poured out upon them from heaven.

The Book of Mormon is intended to be received as a covenant. The covenant MUST first be delivered to, and accepted by the gentiles in order for the gentiles to be numbered among the remnant of God’s people. (3 Ne. 21:22) The gentiles must have a covenant, or they cannot assist in any way to establish the New Jerusalem. (Id. v. 23) It will be former gentiles who are called “Ephraim” once restored, to whom all other tribes must come to receive their part in the covenant. (D&C 133:30-34) This will happen once the gentiles have been given the land as their land of promise, an inheritance from God given only to covenant people. (3 Ne. 21:22) At present, the gentiles have been condemned and rejected by the Lord. Therefore, some few must repent and return.

The Book of Mormon IS a covenant. In it we have examples of covenant making provided to us so we can understand the process. There have never been any people who have received the covenant offered through The Book of Mormon. When the 1835 conference adopted scriptures, they adopted only the D&C and not the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon as an offered covenant to the gentiles is an essential step required for the gentiles to become numbered with the remnant and obtain the right to inherit the promised land. If it is not received as a covenant by the gentiles, they have no right to be here on this land, or on any other land of promise.

I did not release the above discourse out of moderation in the comment section. Instead, I sent this Snufferite a personal email. This is what I said to him:

Dear Arelius11 alias (Mark Peterson)

I appreciate your desire to indoctrinate my readers to your beliefs, however, I really don’t agree with your hypothesis. There is no scriptural basis for it.

I don’t want to use my comment section for that purpose or for arguing points of doctrine to an excess.

Having said that, I think the theory you are presenting is an interesting one and worthy of examination. Particularly since it has influenced the thinking of several hundred people, having been promoted by the Denver Snuffer personally and the Snuffer Remnant Movement generally (of which I suspect you are associated)

 

For that reason, I am going to present your diatribe in a blog post and then I will dissect and parse it and show why I don’t agree with your assessment.

Before I do so, I want to give you a heads up so that you can be preparing any rebuttal that you may wish to provide.

If there is a more complete and detailed explanation of these concepts on Denver’s blog or in his writings or by any other followers of his, please provide me with the links so that a full and fair review of the doctrine can be made.

I can tell you once again that the foundational issue stems from a gross misinterpretation of the following passage in section 84:

57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—

The above passage is using the term “new covenant” exactly the same way that the New Testament uses the term “new covenant“. In fact, that is what the term “New Testament” actually has reference to.

Even the Old Testament prophetically told about the time when the New Covenant would come forth.

There is no newer, updated, separate, or more important definition of the term than the one given in the New Testament.

Section 84 was simply referencing the fact that the New Covenant of Christ’s atonement and commanded covenantal entry point of being born again through the multi-part baptism, was contained in the Book of Mormon and the FORMER COMMANDMENTS. ( which are contained in the Inspired Version of the Bible and the revelations that Joseph Smith brought forth. What were the commandments? To repent and get baptized and to partake of the sacrament… see section 20 which Joseph Smith declared to have been received by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, which the Snufferite movement has rejected. ).

To assume that some kind of new covenant beyond the one already presented in the New Testament and the related commandments given in the revelations Joseph had brought forth which is to accept the covenant and be baptized and enter into the strait gate, is simply overthinking and undervaluing the real
new covenant that had been taken lightly by the restoration saints and therefore had brought the restored church under condemnation.

Hence, the following suppositions that you have made about the physical Book of Mormon representing some kind of a covenant that is separate and distinct from the New Covenant of Christ that had already been given to the new testament saints and the restoration saints, simply is not accurate. It is a doctrine of the devil devised to take our minds and hearts and focus off of the New Covenant of Christ.

Here are some of your proclamations:

“..the Book of Mormon must be received by covenant to accept the gospel given to Abraham and to participate in what the Lord has set out to do in this day..

..The Book of Mormon is intended to be received as a covenant..

..The Book of Mormon IS a covenant..

..There have never been any people who have received the covenant offered through The Book of Mormon.

Those claims are patently false.

I look forward to any other supporting documentation that you would like to provide and to your rebuttal.

May I suggest that you have Denver help you and proof read what you say [if he has not already been intimately involved in helping you in this discusson]. .

Mark the Snufferite then responded with some links to revelations that Denver claimed to have from the Lord on this subject. This was my response to the links that he sent me:

LOL  You must have misunderstood me. Or perhaps I did not communicate very well.

I do not accept Denver Snuffer as a prophet and I don’t care what any of his revelations from the Lord say. What I was asking is, do you or does Denver, have any references from the true scriptures to support the false interpretation of the passage in Section 84 specifically or the thesis you have provided generally.

I was asking you if Denver has provided anything more detailed regarding scriptural validation of what you are claiming.

I am assuming that you have learned all of this theory from Denver and his writings. If in fact you are the original presenter of this info and that Denver has reviewed and endorsed it, I would be interested to know that. However, I suspect that Denver and the entity that inspires him is the one behind it.

Thank you for your consideration.

In a follow up post, I will continue to address the depth, holiness and profundity of the scriptural term “New Covenant“.

I will show why Denver Snuffer’s new teaching that glorifies a book and promotes idolatry instead of focusing on the sacrificial offering of Christ as contained primarily in the Bible and secondarily in the Book of Mormon, is a doctrine of the Devil.