For those who are Watching…

November 28, 2008

For general listing of all posts on both sites with brief description click here

This is the sister site of www.threewatches.blogspot.com

It contains deep doctrine pertaining to the LDS Restoration Movement and the Restored Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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

The content provided herein 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.

It is 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, this blog would be next.

If you cheat and read the information in this site first, you risk getting a big, ugly wart on the end of your nose and you will only be cheating yourself. The content in this blog will make much more sense and be much more meaningful if you lay the proper foundation first.

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

misc articles

The Bridegroom Tarried…

Seven Shepherds and an Angel

A Mystical Look at the LDS Restoration Movement

Why have ye transfigured the Holy Word of God?

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine

We have found the Messias!

The Fulness of the Father

When the Floods come and the Winds Blow and the Rains Descend
Watching for the signs in the heavens

A Second Look at the Ten Virgins
Analysing the literal meaning and time frame of the Parable of the Ten Virgins

Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests-

Part 1- Lyman Wight Sees the Father and the Son

Part 2 The Man of Sin is Revealed

Part 3- Melchizedek Priesthood required to Establish Zion

Part 4- The Highest Priesthood makes you a Possessor of All Things

Part 5- Patriarchal Priesthood Administers New and Everlasting Covenant

Part 6- The Transfiguration of Lyman Wight

Part 7- True Oath & Covenant found in True Manner of Baptism

Part 8- The Gospel of Abraham and Patriarchal Polygamy

Part 9- Three Orders of Priesthood

Part 10- Three Distinct Churches Representing Three Distinct Gospel Laws

Baneemy- The Wild Ram of the Mountains
A look at one of the most amazing personalities of the LDS Restoration Movement

The Law of Adoption and the Sealing Principles
How did the Law of Adoption and Sealing Principles evolved into “Families are Forever”?

Black and White Robes- Part One
Ancient prophesies warn that latter day Israel would be seduced into a false covenant

Black and White Robes Part Two
Ancient prophesies warn that a breach will take place between God and his people

Black and White Robes Final

“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”
Was it only the righteous in the pre-existent war in heaven that came to earth to go through moral probation?

BECOME ye therefore perfect? OR BE ye therefore perfect?
Did Christ really mean what he said when he commanded us to BE perfect instead of to BECOME perfect?

“I WILL TELL YOU IN YOUR MIND AND IN YOUR HEART”
How do we avoid being decieved? Intellectual knowledge? Warm fuzzy feelings? Or searching the word of God so the Holy Spirit can teach us through mind and our heart?

The Fulness of the Father
The doctrine of oneness and the Celestial Cloning of the Gods

“Bring AGAIN Zion”
Why is it that the Nephite Zion was not translated and caught up into heaven like the city of Enoch? Is it that they still have a mission to fulfill here on earth?

Peace and Safety
Right before the sudden destruction people will be saying “Pease and Safety”

The Return of Sidney Rigdon, God’s Spokesman- Part Four
Fourth and final part

The Unrestrained Ponderings and Pontifications of a Heretic
The mystical Union of the Sexes-Composite Beings- The Abrahamic Priesthood-

The Spiritual Wife Doctrine
The Celestial Law of Consecration requires the Holy Principle of Marital Monogamy


Notable Emails #16 “the Lord wouldn’t give a young church such responsibility so early”

May 12, 2015

Watcher,

When ever I speak to others about the fullness of the priesthood and Morely’s farm I usually get the same response that the Lord didn’t give the fulness to JS until later in his life in Nauvoo.

It’s always the Lord wouldn’t give a young church such responsibility so early. He had to grow them up first.

I like how well they know the Lord and his will for his people. :)

So I thought to do a little research and see what the Lord’s pattern really was.

Mosiah 18

Alma baptizes the people. Then immediately afterward he’s commanded them to live what looks like a form of consecration

27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.

Then in Mosiah 26 Alma is given the promise of eternal life from God’s own mouth out of heaven.

20 Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep.

So in that instance the Lord has a people willing to take upon them His name, they share their substance with one another and the Lord reveals from heaven that His servant shall have eternal life. There isn’t much more about that until Alma 13.

But it seems to me that with Alma after they’re baptized, they enter into consecration and receive of the fullness.

The same with the saints of the restoration movement.

I looks like this was the case with the saints of the New Testament time as well. After they were baptized unto the Holy Ghost in Acts 2 it says:

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

Moses, the same. He tried to give them the fullness after baptizing them in the Sea as stated in 1 Cor. 10.

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

But they rejected it.

So it seems that my superficial research has yielded me the pattern of the Lord in the matter. That He quickly moves to have His saints consecrate with him and receive of the fullness not much after their baptism.

So the idea that the Lord delayed his pattern for the Latter-day Saints is unfounded because He’s a God that changeth not.

Have you every researched out this pattern before. If so, have you blogged out it? Did I miss it somewhere? What’s missing in my approach?

“RN”

My response

Great observations!

I have always maintained that the fulness happens very quickly once the gospel is restored and I have addressed the topic in different ways but I have not really approached it in the sense that you just did.

One of the most revealing topical searches a person can do in the D&C is to chronologically list everything the Lord says about the law of consecration, including the benefits of living it, and the consequences of not living it once it is commanded.

I think Latter day Saints in general have a huge blind spot with regard to the significance of the law of consecration and how serious of a group sin it is when the law is entered into and then rejected. This comes in part from the ridiculous temple ceremony that enables people to give lip service to the law without having to actually live it. I think many people actually think they are living consecration via their temple vows. The temple endowment offers the wealthy and sophisticated, a way to sacrifice without sacrificing. They can continue to own their mansions and cabins and toys and go on cruises and trips and enjoy class distinction while still thinking they are living the law of consecration.

I think one of the things I try to point out in the fifteen year timeline of Joseph’s ministry is that within two years after the knowledge of the fulness of the gospel was restored, along with the saving ordinances, , the fulness of the gospel/priesthood was restored which lasted for exactly 3 1/2 years before it was lost to the saints.

timeline book

(Click on Graphic to Enlarge)

During the preparatory two year period that preceded the fulness, between March of 1829 and June of 1831, even though the lineal priesthood offices were restored to perform the ordinance of baptism, the Lord informs us that “all flesh” was corrupt. (D&C 38:11) That declaration of the Lord is categorical and it included the baptized members of his restored church. In other words, something more was necessary to bring about sanctification.

 

timelinebook first period

The power to sanctify people did not emerge until  the 3 1/2 year period when the Melchizedek Priesthood  was restored in June of 1831. It was not until after the fulness was restored in 1831 that Joseph and others received the confirming of their oath and covenant and received  their sanctification (See D&C 84 & 88)

“The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—” D&C 107:18

 

timelinebook8 second period

Getting back to your search in the Book of Mormon regarding the law of consecration and the pattern that you have found. It becomes apparent that any time a group of saints have the fulness, they are living consecration or getting ready to do so very soon. Conversely, there is another pattern that is provided in the Book of Mormon regarding Consecration having to do with the consequences of breaking the law once it has been entered into.

One of the most sobering historical events that is documented about this law is found in 4th Nephi where it informs us how and why the time of fulness came to an end among the Nephites after three and a half generations of being blessed by it.
1 AND it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.
2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
10 And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people.
11 And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.
12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
13 And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

 

24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
25 And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.
26 And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.

 

 

 

 

 


Notable Emails #15: “It would be so hard to do if we didn’t have the word crunching software available to us to use. Now I can see why so many are deceived. “

May 6, 2015

“Watcher,

I was studying D&C 88:52-62 about the Lord visiting different kingdoms. It brought me to OP’s remarks on the Lord visiting other planets. I don’t believe that theory. 

So I tried to make sense of it. 

If the Lord’s time is 1,000 of our years to equal 1 of His days then 12 hours for him would be 500 years to us or roughly 42 of our years for every hour He visits. 

Still nothing. LOL. 

I also stumbled upon JS’s remarks at the April 1844 conference. On April 8th he shared that all of America is Zion and that the scriptures support this. 

Have you found that to be true in your research?

At first blush I can’t see that being the case. That both South and North America are all Zion or the gathering place with Independence being the central location. 

Another thing that caught my attention is that JS make reference to the Lord giving Moses Aaron and that the Lord has given the Saints the Elders to be JS’s mouthpiece. At this specific point he names Elder Adams. 

“He will make me be god to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it. I have been giving Elder Adams instruction in some principles to speak to you.” (April 8, 1844.) DHC 6:318-320.

There’s SO much here that I have in the past just taken as scripture because the prophet uttered it. I can’t tell you how many things I’m having to re-examine and truly rely on the spirit to teach and confirm for me. Not an easy thing. Sometimes the heavens just feel like they’re mute on the subject. 

Anyway, no need to reply just passing along some of my thoughts and recent findings. 

“R”

My replay

 

“Interesting observations and questions

Just 10 years ago I hung on every word uttered in all of the Nauvoo Discourses that Joseph gave. I am now seeing things much differently.

It is interesting how in the early Kirtland era, Joseph had been commanded to receive revelations and Sidney was commanded to prove the revelations from the scriptures.

Although Joseph was allowed to expound on the revelations, it was primarily Sidneys responsibility to do so because he understood the broader context of the revelations from the Holy Scriptures. He was not only much better as an orator, he understood the scriptures much much better than Joseph.

However a transition took place.

Something happened in Far West and Sidney went silent for five years.

It appears to be at about the time when Joseph publicly disrespected Sidney and humiliated Sidney in front of the army of Israel whilst they were engaged in wrestling matches on the Lord’s Sabbath.

From about that time forward, Sidney became silent and perhaps out of necessity, Joseph took the lead role of orator and teacher and eventually became somewhat of a prolific speaker, although he never held a candle to Sidney in his style and persuasive abilities.

I am not convinced that Joseph was ever commissioned to take over Sidney’s role as the chief teacher of doctrine.

During the last several years, I have begun to see additional issues with some of the things that Joseph taught in Nauvoo.

Obviously he was deceived with regard to polygamy and masonry and certain things he taught in the King Follett Sermon about the nature of God, but I don’t think his mistakes can be limited to those things.

For example, I have previously demonstrated that Section 124 was given AFTER the saints had already started building the Nauvoo Temple, which supports the my contention that the overall narrative of Section 124 is referring expressly to the boarding house, not the Nauvoo Temple.

I frankly cannot find one verse in the entire section that has strayed from the topic of the Boarding House and switched to the Nauvoo Temple.

I have also shown that after section 124 was given, the Saints on the building committee were using section 97 as the divine commission to build the Nauvoo Temple.

The problem with that is that 97 mandates the building of the temple with the “tithing of the people“.

“Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people.” (D&C 97:11)

In other words, the saints needed to be living consecration and the fulness of the gospel and providing consecrated funds to fund the temple building project, yet, when the high council approached Joseph in Nauvoo, telling him that they were ready to re-implement the law of consecration, he told them the time was not right.

Hence, I think that either section 97 was erroneously being used as the mandate for the Nauvoo Temple OR it was the appropriate mandate, but it was not being followed properly.

In my opinion, the temple mentioned in section 97 needed to be built by those holding the fulness of the priesthood and living the fulness of the gospel, while the boarding house was a preliminary temple that could be built with patriarchal priesthood, with the ultimate goal of coming out of condemnation and restoring once again the fulness of the priesthood to the earth.

I am now frankly beginning to think that Joseph got ahead of himself on the Nauvoo temple and that the Boarding house of the Lord was really the only house God was commissioning at that time.

It looks like the Nauvoo Temple was the result of the abominations that the people were involved in, which is documented in section 124.

It never made sense to me that God was so urgent for two separate temples to be built in such a small amount of time.

Clearly the saints were dual minded to begin with, building their mansions and their masonic temples while trying to build the temple of the Lord in a “sufficient” time frame.

It simply does not make sense that the Lord was having two very different temples, requiring different priesthoods built at the same time while the fulness of the priesthood had been taken away from them.

Secondly, with regard to the Nauvoo temple, I have never felt good about all of the graven images of things in the heavens (sun moon and stars) that were put on the Nauvoo temple because that violates Gods commands in the OT that have never been revoked

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth Exod 24
 
Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Duet 5
 
Not only were those graven images forbidden, but the criticisms of skeptics claiming the use occult images and pagan images are probably true.
nauvoo images 2
Pagan Graven Image of the Sun God employed in the building of the Nauvoo Temple.
My point is that God had promised that he would cover the eyes of the seers and deliver his people over to Satan. I think that he was doing that in Nauvoo and therefore, I scrutinize EVERYTHING that Joseph did and said in Nauvoo very closely to see which of it is congruent with God’s word and which is not. “
His next response:
.
I am doing the same. It would be so hard to do if we didn’t have the word crunching software available to us to use. Now I can see why so many are deceived.  JST-M 24 

22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
25 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert [SLC]; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers [holy of holies]; believe it not.
23Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake;
37And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come,
39So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;

I wonder why much of what we teach about JS comes from the Nauvoo period?

The stuff that really sets us apart from other Christian faiths.  Like the plurality of gods, polygamy and patriarchal priesthood temple ordinances. Most, if not all, contradict the previous revelations.


It’s like what we know and remember of JS isn’t really who he was or what he taught. It’s an image in the form of the world that we esteem. Much of what we understand in general about him has been a fabrication into a religious characterization of the Prophet for people to love, trust and revere.  

Not to mention the LDS church attacks its own doctrine.  

http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/2475803-155/mormon-bishop-dismisses-teacher-for-using#sthash.rDypOF8r.gbpl&st_refDomain=m.facebook.com&st_refQuery= 

Crazy times indeed. “

That last link provided by “R” reminded me of some comments got several weeks ago by a lady we will call CC which I will share at this time:

Because the comments were closed in “The History Essays Addressing Controversial Issues”, I’d like to offer the following regarding Priesthood restrictions to the seed of Cain, omitting any remarks or quotes from Brigham Young, whom you dismiss as a valid source of legitimacy. Please address your opinion of the following:

Moses: 7:22 And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

Book of Abraham in Pearl of Great Price: “”Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.”

Joseph Smith Jr. said: “I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind—wholly unacquainted with the gospel of Christ. It is my privilege then to name certain passages from the Bible, and examine the teachings of the ancients upon the matter as the fact is uncontrovertible, that the first mention we have of slavery is found in the holy bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation, and walked with God.

And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude! ‘And he said cursed be Canaan: a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem: and Canaan shall be his servant.—God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem: and Canaan shall be his servant.’ (Gen. 9:25–27.) Trace the history of the world from this notable event down to this day, and you will find the fulfillment of this singular prophecy.” (Apr. 1836, in Latter-day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, no. 7, edited by Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Ohio: Published by F. G. Williams & Co., Apr. 1836], p. 290; paragraphing omitted.)

“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species.” (Joseph Smith Jr., 2 Jan. 1843, “History of Joseph Smith,” The Deseret News [weekly], vol. 5, no. 52, edited by Albert Carrington [Great Salt Lake City: 5 Mar. 1856], p. 409; also History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 5, introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City, Utah: Published by the Church via Deseret News, 1909], pp. 217–18.)

“The notion of amalgamation is devilish!—And insensible to feeling must be the heart, and low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion, in the embrace of a NEGRO!” (Oliver Cowdery, Apr. 1836, “The Abolitionists,” Latter-day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, no. 7, edited by Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Ohio: Published by F. G. Williams & Co., Apr. 1836], p. 300.)

In the Book of Ezra, we read that “the people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. … O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.

Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons. … And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” (Ezra 9:1–2, 10–12, 13–15.)

“The curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.” (Joseph Smith Jr., Apr. 1836, in Latter-day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, no. 7, edited by Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Ohio: Published by F. G. Williams & Co., Apr. 1836], p. 290.)”

 

My reply:

“Thank you for you comments and the quotes that you provided.

If you know anything about me then you realize that my foundation is the holy word of God in the scriptures. Secondly, to the extent that their words are congruent with scripture, I also consider the words of modern prophets such as Joseph and Sidney. I am even willing to consider something that Brigham Young and his apostate brethren of the Utah Saints said if and when it happens to be consistent with the word of God

Let me share an observation with you regarding the three scriptural supports that you have offered to back up your supposition about priesthood restriction.

All three of them are not only pre New Testament, they were also made prior to the scattering of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel among ALL of the heathen nations.

Why does this matter?

Because CONTEXT and TIMING is everything when it comes to this particular topic.

You see, prior to Israel being scattered, it is true that the chosen had been kept separate from the other seedlines and commanded not to mingle with them. Sadly, they did eventually mingle with the other seedlines.

Things have changed since those ancient times and after Israel was scattered.

Satan thought he could thwart the gospel plan by getting the chosen seedline to mingle with the other seedlines among the gentile/heathen nations.

But the God of Israel, who is always several steps ahead of old Scratch has told us that he will mystically gather his chosen seed from among ALL nations in the latter days despite the fact that they will be packaged in tabernacles of varying colors.

Because of the traditions of his fathers, Peter made the same mistake you are making when he had a prophetic vision to prepare his heart to take the gospel to the gentile/heathen nations.

“Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
nd there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.”

Of course it was contrary to the law Peter had been taught to eat unclean animals and furthermore, the deeper meaning of the vision was that Peter was to take the Gospel to those that had previously been labeled as unclean and unworthy of the Gospel.

Hence Peter sought to instruct the Lord, or, at the very least, show the Lord that he was holding fast to the law that he had been taught. therefore Peter exclaimed:

“Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.”

But Peter was in for a huge rebuke and paradigm change

” And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,
18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
19 ¶ While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And the morrow after they entered into Cæsarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Paul also understood this great secret as he began preaching the gospel among the gentiles declaring that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men

If you will search the New Testament, the Book of Mormon and the D&C, you will not find any scriptures the support the supposition that the separation of seedlines and associated laws pertaining to that fact still apply. Quite the opposite. We are now informed that the wheat and the tares are all mingled together and that color of skin and supposed seedline is not the requisite for participation in the gospel or the priesthood. The gospel is available to all who believe and the priesthood, when the true gospel is on the earth, is determined by prophecy. Indeed we are informed that the seedline of Christ is composed and identified by the following parameter:

“And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?
11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.
12 For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?” Mosiah 15:10-12

When Jesus was approached by the hypocrites that could show their lineage from abraham, who no doubt had the appearance of being white and delightsome, he exclaimed to them

“ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep..”

He then declared that the sole qualifying attribute that identifies a person, regardless of the color of their skin as one of his elect, is that they hear His voice and follow him:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

So, I agree with the passages of scripture that you provided, when read in the proper context , realizing that they referred to the ancient times when the two general seedlines had been kept separate. However things had radically changed.

With regard to the statements of Joseph Smith, which were given in 1836 and 1844, I can also find statements by and his close associates that seem to contradict those, which were given during the early Kirtland era in the midst of the revelatory sweet spot of the restoration during a time when Blacks were given priesthood under his watch and full knowledge. However it is not necessary for me to take the time to dig through my notes to find them because the four standard works have made it very clear what the truth of the matter is on this subject.

Thank you for a thoughtful question and for visiting the blog!

 


Notable Emails #14 “who was the legal heir and successor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.?”

May 2, 2015

I sometimes get emails from people in foreign countries who are curious about the true history of Mormonism.

This is a recent email from a fellow named Yaroslav

“That was actually a nice event to visit your blog this day and to read your unique and interesting materials. Greetings you!

Thank you much for your sincere and deep work.

Let me, please, ask you a question.

Some years ago I have read in one LDS publication very brief but an interesting mention.

It was about that after the martyrdom of Prophet Joseph Smith President Sidney Rigdon re-established the Church and the Kingdom and was crowned as some other his fellow brethren.

Can you tell me some more on that subject?

Thank you much.

Respectfully,

Yaroslav.”

My response:

Hi Yaroslav 

After the succession crisis following the martyrdom, the church split into seven main factions as noted in Wiki 

 succession

 The great prophet Moses had prophesied that God’s people Israel would eventually sin and not keep the commandments and would be smitten and scattered seven ways before their enemies;

‘The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt … flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth’. 

Of course the LDS Mormon/Brigham Young faction was one of the largest of the seven major factions and has grown to be much larger than all of the rest put together. 

I think you are correct that Sidney Rigdon probably did also have himself crowned king, but I am not sure. Brigham Young and some of his successors had themselves ordained king of Israel.  

My feeling is that the eyes of the prophets and seers of the restoration were covered because of the sins of latter day Israel. 

thank you for visiting my blog!” 

His reply: 

Greetings!

Thank you for a letter.

If it is not a personal secret how do you think who was the legal and identity heir and successor of Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.? “

My response:

“Hello again Yaroslav 

Very few people realize that after Hyrum Smith was called by revelation through Joseph Smith to be the co-prophet seer and revelator of the church, (D&C 124) Joseph later released himself from that calling, leaving Hyrum as the sole President and Prophet of the Church.  

A few years after receiving the revelation making Hyrum the co-President and Prophet of the church, working in concert with Joseph, Joseph declared that he would no longer prophesy for the church and that the church must recognize Hyrum as the prophet of the church. 

This was the fulfillment of the succession prophecy contained in section 43 of the D&C  which had promised that Joseph Smith would not have a successor until the Lord took him UNLESS he failed to ‘abide in the Lord’.

It promised that if Joseph did eventually fail to abide in the Lord, another successor would replace Joseph and that if that happened, the revelation in which Joseph’s successor would be chosen would come through Joseph. 

Hence, during the months leading up to and including the time of the martyrdom, Hyrum was the sole prophet and president of the church. 

Few people realize that Sidney Rigdon, who was also a member of the 1st Presidency, had also been ordained a prophet seer and revelator with ALL of the keys and powers that Joseph had previously held. 

Hence, the Lord had actually called, by revelation, through Joseph Smith, both Joseph’s successor and Hyrum’s successor! 

However, when the saints were voting between Sidney Rigdon who was the rightful Prophet Seer and Revelator to succeed Hyrum, and Brigham Young, they voted for Brigham Young.

Since Brigham was not a prophet seer and revelator, and since he would eventually have himself ordained as the king of Israel and would basically rule the saints with an iron fist like some of the ancient kings did, the saints were basically choosing to be led by a king instead of by a prophet, just as ancient Israel had done. 

The details about the succession crisis in Nauvoo are contained in this series of articles that I wrote years ago 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/the-law-of-succession-part-one/ 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/the-law-of-succession-part-two-2/ 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/the-law-of-succession-part-three/ 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/law-of-succession-part-four/ 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/the-law-of-succession-part-five/ 

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/the-law-of-succession-part-six-william-marks-warns-the-twelve-of-the-consequences-of-cutting-of-the-last-surviving-member-of-the-first-presidency/

Here is an article showing how William Law attempted to have a reformation of the church

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/william-law-offer-a-reformation-and-bringing-about-the-chastisement-of-god-upon-the-fallen-servant-final/

 

 


Michael Quinn Speaks to Fundamentalists at Centennial Park

April 24, 2015

Mike Quinn will be coming out with his third Mormon Hierarchy book next year and he apparently just signed a book contract with the University of Utah Press to write “A detailed history of plural marriage among the Mormons from Sep 1890 to Dec 1907, or 1915 or 1925” or something to that effect.

According to the grapevine this will be a more detailed and comprehensive version of his original, famous Dialogue article on Church-authorized, post-manifesto plural marriage.

Quinn is definitely one of the great LDS Historians and he has paid a stiff price for the integrity he showed in publishing the truth.

Within the last few weeks Quinn gave a talk to a fundamentalist group that is absolutely fascinating and extremely informative.

If you are interested in finding out the real reason that Quinn was excommunicated and also some very interesting facts about relatively recent Mormon  history you will probably be spellbound listening to this talk and the following Q&A.

Quinn, who is generally not an emotional person when giving talks, begins sobbing in this talk because of some of the heart breaking information he gives about decisions that church has made about forcing polygamists who married multiple wives legally in foreign nations, to discard their other wives in order to join the church.

He reveals a personal conversation he had with Gordon Hinckley wherein Hinckley confesses that he does not know very much about church history and doubts that any of the other General Authorities do either. Of course that is quite obvious to any of us that have studied church history, however the fact that he admits it is noteworthy.

The sad part about what Quinn is doing is that it will justify fundamentalists in their polygamy and it may even provide the impetus for the Snufferites and possibly even the modern church to eventually start practicing it.

While I love the research that Quinn has done, and the controversial history that he has shared, it is sad that he is so doctrinally ignorant and unable to discern the truth about polygamy.

Here is the video smf here is the text of his talk that was recently given at Centennial Park. The audio on the video becomes corrupted for a while during the Q and A.

 

Enjoy.


“If you will listen to and obey the words of my mortal Servant, the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against you”

April 22, 2015

One of the most amazing declarations and prophecies in modern revelation is found in section 21.

In that section, the Lord commands (and prophesies about) the canonization of the revelations that Joseph had been and would in the future, be receiving.

This revelation was given on the same day that section 20, containing the articles of the church, was given. It was given on the day that the church was formally organized.

In this revelation the saints were commanded to publish and canonize the revelations that Joseph Smith was receiving.

If Joseph Smith had been an impostor, making up revelations about prophecy and doctrine and instruction, out of thin air, canonizing over 100 make-shift revelations, (some being extemporaneously given in front of others), for the whole world to see, study, search and compare to the Bible, it would have been a very foolish disaster.

This is because it is impossible for a human being to fabricate that many revelations without having many of them contradict each other and contradict the other three canons of scripture. In fact most human beings cannot even fabricate one revelation without getting tripped up by the true word of God.

Talk about putting yourself out there for scrutiny!

What charlatan that is fabricating scripture would be stupid enough to provide so much rope for people to hang him with?

Imagine canonizing over 100 revelations about doctrine and prophecy, as well as day to day counsel for the saints that needs to also be congruent with the principles, commandments and declarations previously given in ancient scripture.

This is one of the many reasons I stand amazed at the D&C as well as the Book of Mormon, the New Testament and the Old Testament. The consistency of the meticulous doctrinal and prophetic content and narratives in ALL of these canons of scripture, not only within themselves, but also cumulatively, is simply mind-boggling.

Not only is the content within the D&C consistent with the other canons of scripture, it often clarifies and adds to the content in the previously canonized snippets from the mouth of God. Many of the ancient scriptural passages don’t even make sense until they are viewed in light of modern revelation.

I have probably done over 10,000 keyword searches in the scriptures ever since my employer forced me to become computer literate many years ago to verify consistency.

I pay close attention to the exactness of words and phrases and concepts because I have been comparing these words, phrases and doctrinal concepts between the various canons of scripture to verify the consistency and congruence of God’s Holy WORD in scripture

I love it when those who are claiming to be prophets actually provide “Thus sayeth the Lord” revelations of their own for me to read because it gives me the opportunity to see how congruent their revelations are with the canons of scripture that we have sustained as the word of God.

In modern revelation we have a challenge from God for those who were to bear testimony of the truthfulness of the revelations in the book of Commandments, but were fearful and doubtful about their veracity, to find fault with one of them, or make one up out of thin air that could pass scrutiny.

“Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you; Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true; But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true.” (See Section 67)

The historical narrative of that event informs us that he who considered himself the most wise among those that were doubting, actually took it upon himself to construct a revelation and thusly humiliated himself in front of his associates with the utter foolishness of what he wrote.

In 2 Timothy, Paul gives some really important counsel

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We need to study the scriptures to be approved of God.

We need to study the scriptures to be able to “rightly divide the word of truth“. We need to correctly interpret what the passages are saying and be able to separate the meaning of passages that otherwise seem contradictory with a surface reading.

We need to become intimately familiar with the scriptures in order to detect the false prophets that arise among us claiming to be holy vessels and oracles of God.

Section 21 informs us that Joseph Smith was inspired to “lay the foundation” of the restored church and to “build it up to the most holy faith.

I would submit to you that that short sentence contained a reference to the second watch and also to the third watch. That is the amazing thing about reading the words of God because all time, past, present and future is continually before his eyes and therefore his words to us often include references to the past present and future.

I am going to suggest that the building up of the church unto the most holy faith is primarily a reference to Joseph’s calling in the third watch.

I am not taking anything away from Joseph’s efforts in the second watch.

Clearly he was successful in restoring the fulness of the gospel/priesthood for a three and a half year period of time in which an intercession was made, however, the Gentile church cumulatively rejected the fulness after receiving it and the Church and Kingdom of God fled back into the wilderness after the prophetic 3 1/2 year period.  The church and world have been in a state of darkness and apostasy from that time to the present.

I just don’t think that history or the scriptures would categorize Joseph’s effort and accomplishments during his 2nd watch ministry as having built up the church to the most holy faith. Certainly not in the long term.

Therefore, I interpret the above snippet from Section 21 to be referring to the last restoration during the Marvelous Work and a Wonder, when the cause of Zion will be realized.

That is when Joseph will ultimately be successful in building up the church to the “most holy faith”.

Section 21 notes that Joseph has been inspired to “move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good

Did Joseph move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good during the 2nd watch?

Was that accomplished following the restoration of the church back when Joseph was alive?

I would suggest not.

Clearly it is a prophecy of a future event when Joseph returns to the vineyard to complete his stewardship, as prophesied of in sections 101 and 103 and other passages..

In section 21 the saints of the newly established church are given this most sobering commandment:

“Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”

The above passage is just pregnant with inspired counsel and doctrine and prophecy.

First, it is informing us that when God establishes his church, He speaks to his people through a designated Prophet with a capital “P”.

Every Saint is commanded and expected to be inspired of the Holy Ghost, and therefore to be a prophet with a small “p”, and to be inspired for themselves, for their own personal stewardships on a day to day basis. Furthermore, they are responsible for getting a witness from the Holy Ghost that the sayings, pronouncements and teachings of the Prophet are true. But the general word of God to the church as a whole, always comes through a Prophet with a captical “P” who is a Prophet, Seer and Revelator and has been called and ordained by God’s voice out of heaven, and sustained by the church through the law of common consent.

This is why modern revelation informs us that the President of the Church is to be like Moses:

“And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.”

As you can see, Moses is the grand prototype for the President of the High Priesthood and Church, when the fulness of the Gospel is on the earth. Even if Joseph was to have successors as the Prophet and President of the Church, they would need to qualify as being “like Moses”, and they would need to be Prophets Seers and Revelators.

The above passage informs us that the saints are to receive the revelations uttered by the President of the church who is like Moses, as if they came from the mouth of God… because they did come from the mouth of God.

The next observation I would share is that the saints are only supposed to “give heed” to the “words and commandments” which the President of the High Priesthood gives, when he is “walking in holiness before [the Lord]”.

How is that for a caveat?

This is where the need for being a prophet with a small “p” becomes so critically important.

It actually makes a lot of sense to me.

This is part of the grand test, to be able to spiritually discern when a Prophet is actually speaking as a Prophet.

This means it is possible for the President and Prophet of the Church to fall from grace and teach false doctrine and give false commandments. This is completely consistent with the protocol given in the D&C which provides instructions on how to excommunicate the President of the church.

Another reason why the President of the Church who is like Moses, might stop walking in holiness before the Lord is if he, like Moses, offered up an intercessory atonement offering in behalf of Israel. That is exactly what Moses did anciently.

This would place the sins of the people upon his head, causing him  to sin, just like Moses sinned anciently.

As you can see from section 21, God actually uses fallible mortal men as his mouthpiece to give his teachings and commandments to the people and to bless and test the people.

Now then, here is the promise associated with the saints that are accepting and listening to God’s Prophet when he is walking in holiness before the Lord:

“For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you”

This is a grand principle and promise  that has been given to the saints of God in helping them to avoid being deceived anytime the true church is on the earth.

If the Prophet of the Church is walking in holiness before the Lord and the Saints use their personal discernment to know that the Prophet is walking in holiness,and truly delivering God’s word to them,  they can avoid being swallowed up by the gates of hells by following the President of the Church who is a true Prophet of the Lord.

Imagine that! We can avoid being prevailed against by the gates of hell by listening to and following the counsel of a mortal man as long as he is ordained of God, sustained by the saints, and walking in holiness before God.

Now then, there has been a lot of chatter on the Internet of late about how Joseph Smith was only called to translate the Book of Mormon and that his “thus sayeth the Lord” revelations are false.

Those making that claim are false teachers.

There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet stating that we don’t need a main prophet to lead us and that we should all just be our own prophet and have a direct relationship with the Lord.

That is a false doctrine.

They reject the “strongman” doctrine that shows up countless times in prophecy stating that one mighty and strong, like unto Moses, will lead the saints of the church in giving doctrine and commandments from the mouth of God and ultimately, it will be one who is mighty and strong that will lead the saints out of bondage into Zion.

Those making the claim, that we don’t need a main prophet to lead us are false teachers.

They either don’t study the scriptures or they don’t understand them, or they simply don’t believe the infallible word of God.

The belief that we should each just get our own revelation and do our own thing is contrary to the pattern set in the New Testament and 3 Nephi. The belief that somehow, mystically, everyone will receive the exact same revelations with regard to how Zion will be achieved, and Zion will mystically emerge, is ridiculous. God has never worked that way in the past and his prophecies about the future establishment of Zion do not depart from the doctrinal and prophetic pattern already given.

There is now a person claiming to be a prophet that has offered up the following “thus sayeth the Lord” declaration from the Lord:

“Tell them, that they need not rely on any man, for if they do, the gates of hell will swallow them whole, leaving the Zion that could have come, desolate and bare.”

That supposed pronouncement from the Lord was followed by the following commentary:

” I mean I have to laugh, haven’t we all had enough of organized religion? Haven’t we all had enough of some leader mistakenly thinking we need them? “

While section 21 informs us that the only way for the church to avoid being swallowed up by the gates of hell is to follow the designated man that God has called as the president and prophet of the church, the revelation quoted above appears to be saying just the exact opposite.

Remember what I said about being able to spot a false revelation ifyou treasure up the word of God?

Bingo.

The above revelation and associated commentary appears to me to be 100% contrary to what the Lord says in section 21, 43, 101,103, 107 and many other passages of scripture. Indeed it mocks the words, protocol  and prophecies of God to the church. It is easy to tell that this fellow has been initiated by the same false spirit that his spiritual mentor has been initiate with.

 

The exact same doctrine about the gates of hell and the importance of following God mortal leader is found in the New Testament regarding Peter. Just Google gates of hell.

The scriptures give two very strict admonitions for those desiring to avoid being deceived by the craftiness of men and devils.

The first is to “treasure up the word of God

“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” JST 1:37

Another is to take the Holy Ghost as your guide

“And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.”

One of the great secrets pertaining to the two passages above is that it is impossible to take the Holy Spirit as ones guide and avoid being deceived, if one has not studied to be approved of God and treasured up the Word of God.

You don’t get the Holy Ghost first and then study God’s word later. You don’t get the Holy Ghost while in a state of confusion and ignorance and then bypass studying the scriptures altogether.

You first study God’s word so that you can stand justified before the Lord and stand approved. Then you will be worthy of getting the endowment of the Holy Ghost.

I simply don’t believe you can take a short cut and bypass studying the scriptures to show yourself approved of God if you are literate and have the financial means to acquire a set of holy scriptures.

IMO, people who refuse to take the scriptures seriously and study them profusely, WILL ALWAYS BE DECEIVED AND WILL NEVER BE GIVEN THE ENDOWMENT OF THE HOLY GHOST AS THEIR GUIDE. And yet many of them become led by lying spirits and begin uttering prophetic statements that contradict Gods word.

They cannot become prophets with a small “p” being able to receive true inspiration for themselves and being able and willing to follow THE Prophet, because they have neglected to nourish themselves with the word of God as we have been commanded to do. (See Jacob 5 & 6)

The doctrine of following the prophet has gotten a lot of bad press in the alternative LDS blogging world recently and justly so, but not because it is a false doctrine. When a true prophet is on the earth, it is a true and essential doctrine.

The problem takes place when a true Prophet is not on the earth and people use the doctrine to justify following pretenders who are not Prophets that have been ordained by God HIMSELF.

Anyone desiring to avoid being deceived needs to immerse themselves in the word of God while bathed  in the spirit of God. By so doing, they render themselves quite able to easily spot a false revelation from a false prophet and false teachings from false teachers. By their fruits ye shall know them.

I have pasted section 21 below:

BEHOLD, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,

2  Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith.

3  Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.

4  Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

5  For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

6  For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

7  For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.

8  Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.

9  For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart.

10  Wherefore it behooveth me that he should be ordained by you, Oliver Cowdery mine apostle;

11  This being an ordinance unto you, that you are an elder under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this church of Christ, bearing my name—

12  And the first preacher of this church unto the church, and before the world, yea, before the Gentiles; yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo!  to the Jews also.  Amen.

 


Notable Emails #14 “Baptism for the dead is illogical and pretty much impossible to ever accomplish”

April 14, 2015

I got this email a few weeks ago from a reader of this blog-

 

What do you think of this?

Baptism for the dead is illogical and pretty much impossible to ever accomplish. There is no mention of this being done in the BOM or by the people in the city of Enoch. It was first started in 1840 after the church went back into apostasy and had had its name changed twice. It was started after the church had failed to live higher laws.

According to this statistical guess the NUMBER of people WHO HAVE EVER BEEN BORN is 107,602,707,791.

LDS church has about 5 million temple worthy members who can perform baptisms for the dead. (I am sure outside of the youth very few are done by adults.)

How many baptisms would each of these members have to perform for every human born so far to receive this ordinance?21,520 assuming all names were available(absolutely impossible without huge amounts of direct revelation, which isn’t currently happening).

If every member performed 10 baptisms for the dead each time they went how many trips would it take? 2,152 trips. If each member took 1 trip per month how many years would it take to baptize their quota? 179 years. 1 trip each week would take 45years.

This isn’t even close to happening nor is it even probable of it ever happening.

It makes far more sense for each person who so desires to get baptized for themselves, either in this life or in the next, after they are resurrected and receive a body again, if they weren’t baptized here. That seems perfectly reasonable. Getting baptized for other people really doesn’t make much sense to me logistically or founded in scriptural. I think baptisms for the dead are now just used to hook kids onto the temple and to get them believing in it and the rites done there.

I have heard the church is pretty much out of names and is just doing the same ones over to keep up attendance. If that is true or even partly true what a fraud that would be.

My response

Hi G

You said:

 
“I have heard the church is pretty much out of names and is just doing the same ones over to keep up attendance. If that is true or even partly true what a fraud that would be.”

Yes I have heard the same thing and the thought of having people re-baptize the same people over and over again just to keep them busy and faithful really is a huge fraud.
 .
Of course, if one accepts the proposition that the church was rejected back in Nauvoo, then ALL ordinance work of any kind is basically a fraud because if the Lord rejects us as a church, he is basically stating that the keys of the church, ie, keys of salvation, ie, keys by which valid ordinances of salvation can be performed, have been revoked.
 .
I have struggled with this issue of BfD over the years. On the one hand, I feel the spirit bearing witness to me that section 124 is true… all of it.
 .
 There is too much profundity in it on so many different levels…. the obscure reference to the “offering”, the declaration that the fulness had been lost, the warning/prophecy that the church would be rejected, the observation that if not faithful, the saints would have to flee Nauvoo, the declaration that anything more or less than what had been revealed in the publicly accepted revelations up to that point in time cometh of evil, which makes it game, set, and match against the abomination of the spiritual wife doctrine, etc., etc., etc.
 .
So, if I accept the veracity of 124, which I do, then I have to accept the fact that there is something to the concept of baptisms for the dead… HOWEVER, I am open to the fact that they represent something quite different than what the modern corporate church teaches and possibly even different than how Joseph himself was processing the information back at that time when his eyes were being covered relative to various issues.
 .
It is obvious that the saints were at a crossing point where they would either repent and reform and usher in the fulness of times, which would unleash things that had never been revealed before, or they would be completely overcome by Satan. Therefore, I can see how there could very possibly be something to the concept that we just don’t understand.
 .
I have been entertaining several possible theories on the matter. One has to do with the declaration in 88: 96-99 about how after the elect are quickened and raptured up, the terrestrial saints of the second harvest must be “judged according to men in the flesh
 .
These are folks who apparently must be judged according to fleshly requirements, yet were are not informed if they are in the flesh at that point or of they are in spirit form. If they are in spirit form, and still must be judged according to fleshly gospel requirements, then I can see how proxy work, conditioned upon their agency to accept the gospel, would be a valid concept.
 .
Another theory I have been entertaining is that baptisms for the dead might have something to do with a literal resurrection ritual of some kind to bring forth the dead from the other side. . 1 Cor 15:29 is a very obscure and controversial passage, however, it is arguably linking BfD directly to the RESURRECTION.
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So… I cannot bring myself to reject the concept as revealed in section 124, I can only shake my head and roll my eyes at how the modern corporate church has taken a vague concept and reinvented it into part of an amazing strategy to keep the sheeple doing busy work and keep them faithful to the corporation, much the same way that they use the masonic temple endowment to bind people over to a very strange form of idolatry.
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What are your thoughts?
What have you concluded thus far?
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Before he could reply I sent another email
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One other observation.
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The way I read the following passages in section 124, the saints were NEVER commissioned to start doing baptisms for the dead prior to the completion of the Nauvoo House. The way I interpret the following verses, the Lord states that during times of cumulative prosperity, which they were clearly living in based on the sheer number of members of the church,  baptisms for the dead are only authorized to be performed inside a house specifically dedicated for that purpose.
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The Lord states three different times in the following passages that “baptisms for the dead” are only allowed in a house built and dedicated for that purpose. Furthermore, doing that kind of ordinance work is predicated on having the fulness of the priesthood that had been lost to that generation:
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28  For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
29  For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead
30  For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
31  But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms [referring to baptisms for new converts and rebaptisms for healings and re-commitments] shall be acceptable unto me.
32  But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
33  For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;
34  For therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.
35  And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
36  For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.
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As I read the above passages, the Lord was putting the saints on probation and allowing the saints to continue doing traditional baptisms for the living. During this probation period they needed to have the fulness of the priesthood which had been lost to them,  restored to them. The restoring of the fulness was contingent upon building the house.
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The fulness had been granted at the Morley Farm, without the need for a dedicated house, because the church was poor and in its infancy with only a few hundred newly ordain priesthood holders. Things had changed a decade later in Nauvoo. Cumulatively the church had the potential resources of thousands of members.
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The most problematic verse to my interpretation appears to be verse 35 which seems to be saying that the scattered saints could to bfd until the sufficient time had come and gone, but I don’t think that is what it is saying. It is simply saying that after the sufficient time is exhausted, the scattered saints had to come to the appointed places, such as stakes like Nauvoo and Jerusalem (Kirtland).
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After those passages quoted above, the Lord reiterates AGAIN that their washings, including the ordinance of baptisms for the dead, are only acceptable to the Lord in a house that is built to his name.
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37  And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?
38  For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was.
39  Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.
40  And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;
41  For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.
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I would further suggest that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead had not fully been revealed and would not be revealed until after the house had been built and the fulness of priesthood restored
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 This was his response
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“Watcher,I have been confused by this for quite some time now since I rejected the temple ordinances. The very first time I went to a temple was days before I was to enter the MTC at the age of 22. I was shocked and appalled by the whole process and found it very unsettling, disturbing, ridiculous and creepy.
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I literally felt like somebody was laughing at me behind the scenes the whole time and that it was all a joke. Watching my dear mother participating in the rites next to me was very surreal. But I rationalized that I was out of touch somehow and it would all be made clearer to me at a later time.
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That time never came and I never once had a spiritual experience in a temple. When I completed my mission I went to the Seoul temple the day before I was to return home. I spent the night in the temple there in a little dorm room and again I had a really creepy unsettling feeling about being alone(as far as I knew) in the temple. Wasn’t a pleasant night although it should have been.
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The most powerful spiritual experience I had ever had in my life took place about 4 months previously and I felt like I was leaving my mission on a spiritual high yet a night in the temple really creeped me out.
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I have asked many people what great truths they learned in the temples and nobody has ever given me anything substantive. Even my mother who has been a faithful temple goer/worker most of her life.
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Anyway back to BFD. If the other ordinances are wrong it seems to me the current proxy baptism process done in the temple should be also. Hard to believe God would have false rituals done right next to true ones.
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As I stated in my email the logistics of the whole thing also seem highly improbable and I can’t imagine anyone consenting to be baptized over and over hundreds of times a day, for weeks on end during the millennium, which seems to be a popular LDS belief.. IF proxy baptisms are necessary for salvation then there will be billions of spirits waiting for a very long time before theirs comes up. I’m sure God can come up with a better system.
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I have wondered about some of the verses you cited and what they really mean. I honestly don’t have any good theories about what those references could be in regard to. Some of yours could be right. Little children don’t need baptism and billions of them have attained eternal life simply by dying young. Don’t see why baptism has to be a physical process that needs to be done only by flesh or while in the flesh. I think we all have the power in some way or another to work out our own salvation without anybody but Jesus doing anything else for us at all. Being dependent on other men or women for ones Eternal salvation seems destined to almost guarantee disappointment.
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However, I certainly recognize my own limitations when it comes to thinking through and trying to understand the ways and works of God so I am sure there are lots of things I can’t comprehend or fathom and or find illogical, so my failings don’t limit God in an way.
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Baptism for the dead as practiced by LDS people seems like a total waste of time and completely futile in making a dent in the vast number of spirits who “need” it to gain salvation. Surely God can come up with something better. I have faith that He has.
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BFD is the gateway drug used to get young, impressionable minds hooked on the temple and its satanic rituals and false doctrines.
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G
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p.s. Thanks for all the great posts you have put out for so many of us to think about. I never did key word searches until I started reading your blogs and so many things have opened up for me because of them. Would love to hang out with you and Mrs. watcher some time but as I live in Fl and you seem to live around Utah that probably won’t happen.”
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 I can appreciate why this good brother has questions about the doctrine of Baptisms for the Dead.
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While I was reading section 128 I noticed three requisites in order for baptisms for the dead to be performed legitimately and I think it substantiates some of my previous suppositions:
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l
bfd2
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1- Baptisms for the dead must be performed during the dispensation of the fulness of times: “for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.” (verse 18)
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2- Baptisms for the Dead must be performed under ground level: “Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead, and that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another” verse 13
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3- The fulness of the priesthood that had been lost, was required to perform baptisms for the dead. This is why Baptisms for the dead were not commanded to be performed at the time of the Kirtland temple, the fulness of the priesthood had been lost. ” For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead—
30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable
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bfd1

BTW

Here is an excerpt from a post I did on the succession crisis in which I speculate that Hyrum Smith, during his brief period of revelatory leadership as the sole prophet of the church, hinted that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead is expressly for resurrecting the dead:

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Did Hyrum have the spirit of Prophesy?

Did the spirit of prophecy reside in Hyrum Smith?

Did he ever interpret scripture for the church, give them commandments and say

thus sayeth the Lord?

I believe he did.

The following prophetic counsel to the saints is one of my favorite quotes from Hyrum Smith. It was published on November 19th 1841 in the Sangamo Journal (which was quoting from the “Times and Seasons).

The following admonishing to the saints from the prophet Hyrum Smith came less than one year after he was called by God to be a prophet seer and revelator to the church in concert with his brother Joseph-

“All the saints that dwell in that land [Kirtland] are commanded to come away, for this is, ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ therefore pay out no monies nor properties for houses, nor lands, in that country, for if you do, you will lose them; for the time shall come that you shall not possess them in peace; but shall be scourged with a sore scourge; yet your children may possess them; but not until many years shall pass away; and; as to the organization of that branch of the church, it is not according to the spirit and will of God:

Hyrum is authoritatively paraphrasing elements of section 124 and also expanding upon a prophetic sermon previously given by Joseph Smith. ( See Building the Zion of the Lord given on July 19, 1840)

Hyrum was informing the saints in Kirtland and other places that the Lord wants them to come to Nauvoo and not to settle in Kirtland and other places.

Hyrum continues in his admonition and warns the saints that they have neglected the house of the Lord and the baptismal font.

Interestingly, he confirms that the dispensation of the fullness of times HAS NOT BEEN USHERED IN!

He informs them that the key of knowledge and the revealing of the mysteries of God necessary to unfold the dispensation of the fullness of times will not be turned until the temple and baptismal font have been finished!

“…and as to the designs of the leading members of that branch relative to the printing press, and the ordaining of Elders, and sending out Elders to beg for the poor, are not according to the will of God; and in these things they shall not prosper, for they have neglected the House of the Lord, the Baptismal Font, in this place, wherein their dead may be redeemed, and the key of knowledge that unfolds the dispensation of the fullness of times may be turned, and the mysteries of God be unfolded, upon which their salvation and the salvation of the world, and the redemption of their dead depends, for ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ ‘there shall not be a general assembly for a general conference assembled together until the House of the Lord shall be finished, and the Baptismal Font, and if we are not diligent the church shall be rejected, and their dead also,’ ‘saith the Lord,’ therefore, dear Brother, any proceedings otherwise than to put forth their hands with their might to do this work, is not according to the will of God, and shall not prosper; therefore, tarry not in any place whatever but come forth unto this place from all the world, until it is filled up and polished, and sanctified according to my word…”

As you can see, Hyrum is chastising the saints which is what true prophets do when the church is not obeying the commandments of God.

He is identifying things they shouldn’t be doing and reiterating the warning in section 124 that the saints will be rejected as a church with their dead if they fail to finish the temple and the baptismal font.

Hyrum, like most prophets, is not interested in tickling the ears of the saints or worrying about being liked. His words are stern. His warning is ominous.

Then Hyrum Smith reveals a grand secret that had possibly never been revealed to the Nauvoo Saints before.

He prophetically notifies them that Nauvoo, (which had been designated as the cornerstone of Zion) is the “hiding place” where the Lord will hide his elect from the “indignation” which shall punish the wicked.

It becomes obvious that Hyrum is revealing Nauvoo as the “chambers” mentioned in Isaiah 26.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

Hyrum is warning the saints that Kirtland was not to be righteously inhabited again by the saints until after the great cleansing.

Finally, Hyrum ends with these remarks-

“…saith the Lord, come ye forth from the ends of the earth, that I may hide you from mine indignation that shall scourge the wicked, and then I will send forth and build up Kirtland, and it shall be polished and refined according to my word; therefore, your doings and your organizations, and designs in printing, or any of your councils, are not of me, saith the Lord, even so, Amen
HYRUM SMITH,

Again, compare the prophetic warning of Hyrum Smith above to the prophecy in Isaiah 26

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Un-be-freakin-lieveable!

The ordinance of baptism for the dead in section 124 interrelates to the prophetic utterances of Isaiah who proclaimed that “dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise“.

It appears that the prophet Hyrum Smith was revealing that the ordinance of baptisms for the dead is not just an ordinance that enables those who missed out on the opportunity of the gospel during probation… it appears that the ordinance is an integral part of the ordinance of resurrecting or quickening people from the dead!

We learn from Hyrum that Isaiah was prophetically looking forward at Nauvoo and the temple and baptisms for the dead.


Chapter 23 “I Am that I Am

April 3, 2015

Here is a portion of an unfinished draft of chapter 23 “I AM THAT I AM”, in my soon to be released book

“…..In other passages, we learn that the Father is Christ’s God.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”[1]

 

When Christ is separated from the Father, it appears that God can infuse his fulness into Christ or withdraw his spirit from Christ, depending on the work that needs to be performed. During His earthly ministry he temporarily has the fulness of the Father taken away from him so that he can “condescend” and provide the work of intercession and atonement.

During His earthly ministry he has a differing will than the father which must be brougt into subjecting to the will of the Father. It is through the act of condescension followed by submission and subjecting himself to the will of the Father that He is able to atone, redeem and return back into the bosom of God.

When he returns to God He is restored to the fulness of the Fathers glory that he enjoyed in the Bosom of God before He was sent forth.   Christ declared during his early ministry that he had enjoyed the glory of the Father prior to being sent forth, and that He would once again be restored to the Fathers glory when he returns.

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”[2]

  Clearly, the Father had to withdraw the fulness of himself (his glory) in order for Christ to fulfill his mission.   “why has thou forsaken me..”

Things that Differentiate the Father from the Son

  Having just completed a rather extensive review of what God has told us about His character, perfections and attributes, as well as those of His Son let us review how they are differentiated from each other. The scriptures inform us that when Christ is acting in the fulness of the Father that he has been endowed with, He has all of the same attributes as the father, through inheritance. When He dwells within the Father there is no difference because He has received the fulness and actually dwells in the Father’s personage of spirit while the Father dwells within the Son’s personage of tabernacle.

On the other hand, when the Father sent His Son forth, to redeem mankind, the mission required that a portion of God’s power and glory be withheld from him so that a “condescension” could take place, and his intercessory role could be accomplished in drawing all men to God. Under these circumstances, he manifests characteristics that differentiate himself from the Father. When speaking of Christ’s creation and some of his attributes when he is sent forth from the bosom of the Father, the following formed differentiations seem to apply

1- God has always existed in his present state from eternity to eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, Christ is a created or organized being who was taken from the Bosom of God in an unorganized state and formed, or created by the Father, into the image of the Father

2- God has always been the primary source of power and glory in all creation. He has never received power and glory from another God or source of any kind. There has never been another God before the Father. Christ and all other created beings derive their power and glory from the Father

3- The Father is THE Only Self Existing – Sovereign – Omnipotent – Supreme Power in all creation. Christ , in his created state, is not self existent; He derives his power and glory from the Father. He is eternally dependent on the Father to get his glory and power from the Father. He is an extension of the Father.  

4- The Father is a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness. The Son is a personage of tabernacle, created in the image of the Father, by the Father  

Creating God after our Own Image

Section One of the D&C foretold that that after the Saints stray from the true ordinances and break the everlasting covenant, they begin to create a god after their own image:

“For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”[3]

This is exactly what happened shortly after the fulness of the gospel was rejected by the Saints of the restored church. Having now extensively reviewed what the scriptures tell us about the nature and character of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, as well as what was originally taught during the early history of the restoration, we will now review how the church departed from those basic Biblical teachings about the nature and character of God.

The Famous sermon in which Joseph contradicted the foundational teachings regarding the true nature and character of God is referred to as the King Follett Sermon. There were several accounts of the sermon that can all be viewed side by side[4]. It is one of the best documented sermons given by Joseph Smith.

King Follett was a person who had died and it was common back in those times to preach a sermon in conjunction with saying some words about the deceased. The historical setting under which Joseph taught the concepts found in the King Follett Sermon is an interesting one. The sermon took place on April 7 1844 just months before the martyrdom.

The spirit of the Lord had been withdrawing from Joseph for quite some time because of the intercessory atonement offering that he had made for the Saints, and he had been showing signs of stress, depression, paranoia, and erratic behavior. One year earlier, on July 16 1843 Joseph had announced that he would no longer prophesy for the church in concert with Hyrum. He reminded the Saints that Hyrum held the office of “prophet” to the church.

According to the testimony of Lyman Wight, the Church had been rejected by the Lord with their dead in about September or October of 1841 when Joseph announced that Baptisms for the dead would no longer by accepted by the Lord until the temple was finished. He also ominously declared that no more general conferences of the church would be held until that time.

“There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord’s House; and the church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!”[5]

Because of these considerations it is important to note that none of the gatherings where sermons were given after 1841 could be considered official “general conferences” of the church. Furthermore, even though Joseph continued to speak and teach, he technically was not doing so as one of the prophets and presidents of the Church after June 16 1843. Again, Joseph was under a lot of pressure at this time and was showing erratic behavior. Since he had not produced a revelation in quite some time, he was still being accused by some of the Saints of being a fallen prophet. In May of 1844 he had acknowledges:

“my apostate enemies say that I have been a true prophet–& I had rather be a fallen true prophet, than a false prophet”

By acknowledging that he would no longer prophesy for the church and removing himself from the First Presidency, he was making Hyrum the sole president of the Church and he was fulfilling the succession prophecy in Section 43 which foretold that if Joseph continued to abide in the Lord, he would not be replace as the prophet until he was “taken”, otherwise, his replacement would be called by the Lord through Joseph.

Adding to the pressure he was feeling, Sidney Rigdon had emerged from a five year silence to address the Saints on the previous day before the King Follett Sermon.. That previous day, when Sidney was returning from his five years of silence,  Joseph mad a few brief remarks about being accused of being a false prophet. He was trying to calm the people’s fears about his lack of revelatory fruits. At that conference Joseph was somewhat defensive about being accused as a fallen prophet. In an effort to alleviate people’s fears he proclaimed:

“I feel in closer communion, and better standing with God than ever I felt before in my life..”

Following Joseph’s opening remarks in the April 6, 1844 sermon, Sidney Rigdon arose and gave the audience a tremendous thrill as he delivered one of his vintage pontifications detailing the early history of the Church. His opening remarks are as follows:

“Elder Sidney Rigdon then rose and said, It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction, I enjoy this privilege this morning; want of health, and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.

It can hardly be expected, that when the violence of sickness having used its influence, and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me, that I can rise before this congregation.

 I am now come forth from a bed of sickness, and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character. I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character.

I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history, during life. I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me, I shall do the best I can, and the greatest can do no more. — The circumstances by which we are now surrounded points out the principles of my discourse — the history of this church which I have known from its infancy: my text is, “Behold the church of God of the last days.”[6]

There is reason to believe that the sermon was enthusiastically received by the saints and reminiscent of Sidney’s glory days in Kirtland when he would light the audience on fire with his amazing oratory skills. The emergence of Sidney Rigdon into the limelight must have been a bitter-sweet experience for Joseph who was experiencing a dark time and was under attack for his lack of revelatory fruits. Joseph and Sidney’s relationship had been pretty rocky during those last several years in Nauvoo and it may be that between Joseph’s accusers calling him a fallen prophet and Sidney new popularity, that there was a little insecurity and jealousy. Joseph was never considered to be the eloquent, articulate and well educated orator that Sidney was, and the following statement from Joseph in the early part of his King Follett discourse may have been an  innuendo aimed at Rigdon:

“I do not calculate to please your ears with superfluity of words or oratory, or with much learning; but I calculate to edify you with the simple truths from heaven.”

According to the version of the discourse that was recorded in the Times and Seasons, Joseph made the following remarks, referencing the fact that people had been calling him a false teacher and false prophet:

” The apostle says this is eternal life, to know God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. If any man enquire what kind of a being is God, if he will search diligently his own heart, if the declaration of the apostle by true, he will realize that he has not eternal life, there can be eternal life on no other principle.

 My first object is, to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and if I should be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts so that the spirit seals it upon you, let every man and woman henceforth put their hand on their mouth and never say anything against the man of God again; but if I fail, it becomes my duty to renounce all my pretensions to revelations, inspirations, &c.”

As you can see, Joseph was out to prove that he was still a true prophet by proving that he could still reveal secrets from heaven about the Living God. This was to be the great sermon that would silence his critics that were calling him a false or fallen prophet.

“If any man is authorized to take away my life, who says I am a false teacher: then upon the same principle am I authorized to take away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood, There is not a man but would breathe out an anathema, if they knew I was a false prophet; and some would feel authorized to take away my life.”

Clearly, there had been accusations about Joseph’s current station with the Lord. Rumors about Joseph’s involvement in polygamy, while making public denials were now calling Joseph’s credibility into question. Was he a false teacher? Possibly there had been threats made against Joseph’s life and he was out to pacify the masses in Nauvoo.

“If I show verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of a hundred are false teachers, while they pretend to hold the keys of God, and to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood”

Joseph was obviously feeling threatened by some of the angry Saints who were accusing him of being a false teacher. Although he is not specifically bringing up the controversial teaching of polygamy in this discourse, one has to wonder if that is the central issue that he was being accused of being a false teacher over.

Hyrum had previously presented the revelation on polygamy to the high council, at the request of Joseph, warning them that Joseph had proclaimed it to be true, and warning them that they would be damned if they did not accept it Hyrum was hoping for a unanimous acceptance of it, but three council member rejected it outright on the spot throwing a wrench in the works.

It is really quite refreshing to realize that not all of the leaders back in Nauvoo were into prophet worship. Although Hyrum would later try to back-peddle and claim that he had only been speaking about how the principle had been practiced anciently, the cat was now out of the bag.

The High Council had previously excommunicated several people for practicing polygmamy that had attributed the teaching to Joseph. Naturally, their testimonies had been rejected. It was now apparent to the high council that some of the testimonies of the excommunicated people had been true!

Nauvoo was now abuzz with rumors about Joseph’s doctrinal duplicity and lack of integrity with regard to what he taught in public and what he practiced in private.

This sermon appears to have been Joseph’s last attempt to WOW the masses and reestablished his credibility and restore the reverence that the saints had previously had for God’s anointed servant:

“I want you all to know God, to be familiar with him, and if I can bring you to him, all persecutions against me will cease; you will know that I am his servant, for I speak as one having authority–“

This was his attempt at vindication be claiming to be the link to God! Although he could not present his hearers with a new, “thus sayeth the Lord”  revelation, he could prove that he was still in good standing with the Lord and that he speaks with authority by revealing truths about God that had been previously hidden!

“What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear all ye ends of the earth; for I am going to tell you the designs of God to the human race, and why he interferes with the affairs of man.”

What sort of being was God in the beginning?

“First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret.”

This is where Joseph looses me and other Biblical Christians, because we believe the Bible and we know that God the Father is not a changeable God and He did not have a beginning and He did not become God. Sadly, the great secret that Joseph was revealing was 100% contrary to the nature and character of the Biblical God that had been revealed during the revelatory years of the restoration!

“If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God; Adam received instruction, walked talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.”

This sweeping declaration is rather vague in that Joseph does not appear to be specifying if he is referencing the Father or the Son, or if he is referring to the Father clothed in the tabernacle of the Son. Nevertheless, his reference to the “great God” would indicate that he is probably speaking about the Father, who was walking with and speaking with Adam in the Garden. That would be consistent with the narrative in the Book of Moses. It was God the Father walking and talking with Moses in the Garden. Joseph then makes the following declaration:

“I am going to tell you how God came to be God”

Wrong! God has always been God from all eternity to all eternity, everlasting to everlasting. Joseph’s next claim, according to The Times and Seasons version of the sermon next says this:

“We have imagined that God was God from all eternity.”

Of course the innuendo, according to this version of the discourse, was that we have imagined wrong, in imaging that God was from all eternity.

Three other independent dairy accounts provide greater detail and clarity. They record Joseph as “refuting” the idea that God was God from all eternity. Here is one of them:

“We suppose that God was God from eternity. I will refute that Idea, or I will do away or take away the veil so you may see. It is the first principle to know that we may converse with him and that he once was a man like us, and the Father was once on an earth like us”

Here is another entry:

“..Not God from all Eternity.”

Here is the 3rd entry

refute the Idea that God was God from all eternity” 

It is almost incomprehensible that Joseph is refuting the doctrine that God has been an unchangeable God from all eternity! Those are the very words contained in the Book of Mormon and the D&C that he was instrumental in bringing forth! Notice the following passage from the Book of Mormon, the book that Joseph translated by the gift and power of God:

“For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”[7]

Even the Son, because he has received the fulness of the Father, and because the Father dwells within him, is also from all eternity. Notice the testimony of the Book of Mormon which Joseph translated by the gift and power of God, and declared to be the more correct Book:

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.”[8]

The Savior makes the same claim in modern revelation:

“HEARKEN and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ—

The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not”[9]

Joseph then ramped things up a bit with the following declaration:

“God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did, and I will show it from the Bible.”

That claim is categorically opposed to the teachings in the four standard works that God had endorsed in section 124, in 1841. Joseph then proceeds to give a summary about how there is an endless chain of Gods who have all dwelt on an earth and atoned for the inhabitants of other worlds just a Jesus did for this world.

“I wish I had the trump of an arch angel, I could tell the story in such a manner that persecution would cease forever; what did Jesus say? (mark it elder Rigdon;) Jesus said, as the Father hat power in himself, even so hath the Son power; to do what? why what the Father did, that answer is obvious; in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus what are you going to do? To lay down my life, as my Father did, and take it up again.—- If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible; the scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom, all the combined powers of earth and hell together, to refute it. Here then is eternal life, to know the only wise and true God.

You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done; by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as doth those who sit enthroned in everlasting power”

While the diatribe was obviously a passionate one, it was irrational in light of what had already been revealed. It completely contradicts the Bible and the revealed word of God that Joseph brought forth. Interestingly, Joseph had published the following admonition in the Times and Seasons just days before this discourse:

“If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter. ” (Times & Seasons  April 1, 1844)

The reason that Joseph said “mark it elder Rigdon” when claiming to prove it by the bible is because Sidney Rigdon is the one who had been commissioned by the Lord to prove the revelations from Joseph Smith from the Bible. Sidney who had been silent for the past five years had just recently re-emerged and was now back in the lime-light.

Joseph was acknowledging Sidney’s rightful calling to test new revelation against the accepted word of God in the standard works. Rigdon must have been shocked and horrified at what he was hearing. The doctrine being espoused was blatantly contradicting scripture, it is problematic at many levels. According to a multiplicity of scriptural passages, Christ created all worlds and atoned for all of those worlds.

His atonement was infinite and eternal. There is no need for countless separate Saviors to create, people, and atone for each world. God the Father had no beginning and will have no end. He created the Son in the beginning, for the express purpose of creating all things. There is no place in that sequence for an infinite line of Saviors and Gods.

It appears to me that Joseph was not only teaching false doctrine, he was arguably committing blasphemy in his attempt to prove to the Nauvoo Saints that he is not a false teacher or a false prophet.

blas•phe•my ˈblasfəmē/ noun

  1. the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

Brigham Young would embrace this new theology while people like Rigdon, Marks and Law would be repulsed by it. Interestingly, the majority of seasoned members of the church from the Kirtland era chose not to follow Brigham Young and the apostles that followed him, while the vast majority of doctrinally illiterate converts from England, from the House of Israel, chose to follow Brigham Young and the twelve to Utah. William Law would make the following statement in the Nauvoo Expositor;

“and inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church, such as a plurality of Gods above the God of this universe, and his liability to fall with all his creations..”[10]

Conversely, the more recent, doctrinally naive converts from Canada and England loved what they heard. The sermon thrilled many of the city’s Mormons.

“Joseph Fielding, one of the Prophet’s listeners, said, ‘Any one that could not see in him the Spirit of inspiration of God must be dark, they might have known that he was not a fallen Prophet even if they thought he was fallen’.”

Those that followed Brigham would get more false doctrine fed to them. Brigham would eventually reject the literal interpretation of the creation story, calling it a fairy tale, deny the virgin birth accounts in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and teach the Adam God Doctrine. He would also canonize a section of scripture that completely contradicts what Lectures on Faith and the scriptures teach:

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit, were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us”[11]

As you can see, between the King Follett Discourse and the heretical teachings of Brigham Young, the foundational truths about the nature and character of God would be forgotten among the saints, leaving them without protection from further deception.

In closing out this chapter, it may be appropriate to remind the reader of two passages of scriptures that offer a recurring theme throughout this book. The first is the inspired version of Isaiah 29:10 which stands as a reminder that it was not Joseph’s fault that he taught the false doctrine about God. It was because of the iniquity of latter day Israel, he was simply acting out the sins of apostate latter day Israel:

“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep.  For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.”

The Lord poured out the spirit of deep sleep and closed the eyes of the prophets and seers of the restoration because the Saints refused to listen to them and obey the law of the gospel. Whether it is Joseph’s ill fated and failed banking venture in Kirtland, his silent condoning of the  Danites, in Far West, or his involvement in polygamy and masonry in Nauvoo, he and the rest of the first laborers of the last kingdom were largely victims of the latter day saint rejection of the fulness back in the early Kirtland years. The second passage we need to review for added context to this whole can of worms is as follows:

“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, for he reigneth and hath power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation”[12]

Chapter 23
I am that I am
The Importance of Understanding the True Nature of God

During the early period of Joseph Smith’s ministry leading up to and including the introduction of Lectures on Faith as the “doctrine” part of the “Doctrine and Covenants” in 1835, everything that was taught about the nature and character of God in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and the sermons of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, was 100% consistent with what is taught in the Bible. Much of those teachings about God from Joseph and Sidney’s teachings was taken directly from the Bible. Most of the content in Lectures on Faith is backed by references in the Bible.

The early part of the LDS restoration truly was about restoring Biblical Christianity. According to Lectures on Faith, it is impossible for a person to exercise faith in God unto salvation, unless they have a correct idea of the true character, perfections and attributes of God:

“Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

First, The idea that he actually exists.

Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ…

..correct ideas of the character of God are necessary in order to the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation, and that without correct ideas of his character, the minds of men could not have sufficient power with God to the exercise of faith necessary to the enjoyment of eternal life, and that correct ideas of his character lay a foundation as far as his character is concerned, for the exercise of faith, so as to enjoy the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even that of eternal glory”[1]

the Lectures continue on to inform the reader that without the knowledge of all things and having power over all things, God would not have the ability to save any portion of his creatures nor would they have the faith necessary to be saved.

Faith is the essence of God’s power

“What account is given of the attributes of God in his revelations?

First, Knowledge, secondly, Faith, or power, thirdly, Justice, fourthly, Judgment, fifthly, Mercy, and sixthly truth.” [2]

Notice how the above passage lists God’s attribute of knowledge first, followed by Faith. Notice also that faith is used interchangeably with power. Faith is the God’s power. For those who believe that the definition of faith given in Alama 32 is the exclusive and all encompassing definition of faith, the above supposition must create cognitive dissonance, for how can an all knowing God have faith? After all, “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things..[3]” right?

The truth is that faith is progressive during mortal progression. One begins with pre-knowledge faith and progresses into post-knowledge faith. The definition of post-knowledge faith is given in Hebrews 11 where the inspired version of the Bible informs us that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”[4] Joseph’s substitution of “assurance” with “substance” is an intriguing one. Using the 1828 Websters to more fully appreciate the language of his day, we are informed that the act of assuring is to furnish “full confidence” rather than mere hope:

“The act of assuring, or of making a declaration in terms that furnish ground of confidence; as, I trusted to his assurances; or the act of furnishing any ground of full confidence.

Whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Act. 17).

Paul then explains that the principle of faith is the power used by our omniscient God to create the worlds:

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”[5]

The Fulness of the Father

In Section 88 we are introduced to the doctrine of the “Fulness of the Father”:

“And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.

I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know WHAT you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.

For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.”[6]

The doctrine of the fulness of the Father is elaborated on in Lectures on Faith and it is explained that not only Christ, but the elect of God can, through faithfulness, receive the fulness of the Father.

The fifth lecture on faith is so powerful and so all encompassing with regard to the three members of the Godhead that I feel the need to quote the entire lecture because it will provides the ground work for the remaining passages that we review about the Father and His Son:

“We shall, in this lecture speak of the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son:

The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh—and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer, or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be.

But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin: Showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin. And also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God, may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one:

The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all—the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father—possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father—a Mediator for man—being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fulness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.

From the foregoing account of the Godhead, which is given in his revelations, the Saints have a sure foundation laid for the exercise of faith unto life and salvation, through the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ, by whose blood they have a forgiveness of sins, and also, a sure reward laid up for them in heaven, even that of partaking of the fulness of the Father and the Son, through the Spirit. As the Son partakes of the fulness of the Father through the Spirit, so the saints are, by the same Spirit, to be partakers of the same fulness, to enjoy the same glory; for as the Father and the Son are one, so in like manner the saints are to be one in them, through the love of the Father, the mediation of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit; they are to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”

From this amazing lecture we learn that all things were created by the Father and the Son. It informs us that the Father is a personage of spirit, glory and power and the Son is a personage of tabernacle. We are also informed that the Son was taken from the bosom of the Father and was MADE or FASHIONED by the Father in the express image and likeness of the Father. We are also informed that just as the Son has received the fulness of the Father, the Saints can, through the mediation of the Son, become JOINT HEIRS with Christ in receiving the fulness of the Father upon faith and faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God.

As one proceeds in categorizing all of the attributes of God as detailed in the bible, it becomes apparent that He is omnipotent omnipresent omniscient which is frankly not possible for the human mind to comprehend. Another attribute that God has is that all time, past present and future are continually before his eyes, enabling Him to see the future as well as the past:

“But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.”[7]

The remarkable thing about this probationary existence is that a person does not need to totally comprehend a doctrine in order to simply exercise childlike faith and believe it.

Rejecting Truth

One of the truly shocking things that I discovered during my quest to better understand the true history of Mormonism, is that after the fulness of the Gospel was rejected, the heavens slowly began closing and the Lord began covering the eyes of the prophets and seers of the LDS restoration, just as Isaiah had prophesied.

“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep.  For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.”[8]
The truths that had been revealed by revelation during the revelatory sweet spot of the restoration began to be replaced with false doctrine in fulfillment with prophecy:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”[9]
Within a decade of when the Lectures on Faith was canonized, Joseph Smith began contradicting the truths about the nature and Character of God that are in the Bible. Interestingly, he also contradicted what he and Sidney Rigdon had presented in the Lectures on Faith and he contradicted what was taught about God in the revelations he had brought forth.

During the final months before his martyrdom he actually taught that God the Father is an anthropomorphic God who had previously been a mortal man. He taught that the Father is not the first God and that there were many Gods before Him. He taught that God was not from everlasting to everlasting. This contradicted both the Bible as well as the scriptures that Joseph Smith had been instrumental in bringing forth.

Following the succession crisis, once a large portion of the Saints migrated to Utah, Brigham Young began teaching other heresies about the nature of God and he denied the virgin birth  as it is described in the Bible and Book of Mormon.

The latter day saints have now replaced the original truths about the true nature and character of God with fables. My research has led me to believe that virtually every major doctrine of the Gospel has been changed since the early days of the LDS restoration. Even the saving ordinances of the Gospel have been changed as Isaiah noted. It is disturbing to realize that Mormons are taught a false idea of the true nature and character of God. There is a passage in modern revelation that informs us that those that don’t repent, can have the light which they have already received taken away from them:

“.. he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;
And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.”[10]

The concept that a person can have their knowledge of the truth taken from them is a fascinating one. The Book of Mormon also teaches that truth can be taken away from those that are unwilling to receive more truth- ” from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”[11]

Each New Truth Builds Upon a Previous Truth

I believe that a correct understanding of God is a pre-requisite for learning additional truths about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having a correct understanding of the nature and characteristics of God and believing on his word, provides the foundation for other gospel truths that are revealed, with each truth building upon the next truth and so on.

A string of learning events take place as the student of the Gospel increases their light and knowledge through prayerful study as they search the scriptures. If at any time during the progressive acquisition of pure knowledge, a false doctrine is accepted as truth, it creates a stumbling block for gaining addition truth and in fact if that belief persists, it may potentially ultimately cause the candidate to reject or forget the true foundational beliefs that had previously been accepted.

Of all of the doctrinal links in the chain of gospel learning, perhaps none are more important than the correct understanding of God, because it is the foundational truth upon which all other truths are supported. Once the true nature and character of God is rejected, faith cannot grow and it often begins to crumble. This is why a correct knowledge of the nature and attributes of God is so critical.

Worshipping a False God

The God that is worshipped by many of the latter day saints is quite different from the God of the Bible that began introducing himself through Joseph Smith during the early Kirtland years of the restoration. The primary purpose of this chapter is to address some of the Biblical truths about the Biblical God of the early restoration, in comparison with some of the falsehoods that the Saints have inherited from the false traditions of their fathers. Note the following warning in modern revelation about how light and truth can be taken away.

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.

Light and truth forsake that evil one.

38  Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

39  And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

40  But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”[12]
The False Tradition of the Fathers

The above passage informs us that we can depart from light and knowledge through disobedience to God’s commandments or by inheriting the false doctrines of our fathers. It reminds us that light and truth forsake the evil one. If in fact the belief in true doctrine results in further light and knowledge, and the acceptance of false doctrine results in the loss of light and truth, it follows that understanding and believing true doctrine can be helpful in protecting us from the evil one, conversely, the acceptance of false doctrine gives the evil one power over us. Perhaps that is why the following passage in the JST version of Matthew identifies the importance of treasuring up the word of God as a defense from deception.

“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”[13]

The Evil One is Forsaken by Light and Truth

In the Book of Moses we have a striking example of how the evil one attempted to deceive Moses, but was forsaken by the light and knowledge that Moses had already received from God.

“THE words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?..

Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself.  And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man..

But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him”.[14]

There are many truths contained in the above account. It informs us that Moses obtained the ultimate knowledge of God by seeing and conversing with God.[15]  From the account we learn that it is impossible for the natural man to see God. In order for a person to see God they must first prove themselves faithful to God and be transfigured by the Holy Ghost. If a transfigured person was allowed to behold all of God’s glory, they would not be able to remain upon the earth in the flesh.

Avoiding the Deception of Satan

According to this account that is revealed in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, Moses was approached by Satan after he gained the ultimate knowledge of God:

12  And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

13  And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou?  For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

14  For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him.  But I can look upon thee in the natural man.  Is it not so, surely?

15  Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me?  And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.

16  Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

17  And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.

18  And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee.  Depart hence, Satan.[16]

From this account and many others in the four standard works, we learn that we are to call upon and worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, who is the only begotten of the Father. The Son is our intercessor, but it is the Father that we pray to. As you can see, from the account, light and truth forsake the evil one. Satan was forsaken and exposed by the truth and light that Moses had obtained when he entered into the presence of God. Once a person becomes a friend of God, Satan is easily detected.

There is no God beside Me

One of the fundamental Biblical truths about God the Father is that there were no Gods that existed before Him and that He never had a beginning, He has always existed.

We also learn that there is no God beside the Father.

“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me.  I am the LORD, and there is none else.”[17]

My study and research has led me to believe the term “beside me” is often misunderstood. I believe it means that there are no other Gods “apart from” the dominion of the Father. In other words, there are no other Gods that are self existent like the Father is self existent. One of the essential truths regarding God, is that He first created his Son and His Son created all other creatures in creation. All creatures derive the power that upholds and sustains them, from the Father and Son.

There are no other self existent Gods. There are no Gods that are outside his dominion.  All creatures in creation require His power to exist in their created state. There are no other Gods that have not been created by him. In other words the Father is the source of all power in all creation. The Son of God derives His power from the Father as well, and even when He separates out and is sent forth by God, He is still God, even an extension of God.

It is believed by some Mormon scholars that whenever the term LORD is used in the Old Testament, in caps, that it is referring to Jehovah, (Christ), as opposed to Elohim (The Father). I am not convinced it is that black and white, since the Father dwells within Christ, and often speaks through Christ, as an indwelling intelligence. The Book of Moses informs us that it was indeed the “Lord God” (Father) that walked with Adam in the Garden. According to Paul in the Book of Hebrews,

“GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son..”[18]

That would imply that the Father was the primary one speaking in the Old Testament times while the Son became the intercessor and communicator from New Testament time foreword. It is actually probably more accurate to say that from time to time, the Father spoke in the first person as the Son during Old Testament times than to say that from time to time, the Son spoke in the first person as the Father in Old Testament times.

when accused of blaspheme Christ quoted from the law, showing that there are other “gods” beside “God”:

“Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”[19]
Regarding the existence of multiple “g”ods under the domain of “G”od the Father, In modern revelation given the Lord said-

“God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;

Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory; A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.

All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”[20]

Following the rhetorical question of whether there are multiple Gods under the dominion of the Father the answer is embedded in the following passage

“According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.”[21]

 

Clearly there are other lesser gods that are created by the Father. The above passages were clearly given to begin preparing the minds of the Saints for the time when nothing would be withheld regarding the kingdom of God and how all things are created. The question of whether there is one “God” or many “gods”, had been revealed to Joseph as early as 1835 when the Book of Abraham was translated which included passages like the following one:

 

“AND then the Lord said: Let us go down.  And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.

And they (the gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.”[22]

I AM that I AM

In the above account Moses references his experience of speaking to God in the burning bush. This brings us to one of the most profound truths about God and what is perhaps the shortest chiasm in the Bible.

When Moses asked God

” Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name?  what shall I say unto them?”

God replied:

“I AM

THAT

I AM”

Following that chiastic declaration God said:

“Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”[23]

I believe that response contains more than just a name, I think it contains a descriptive that refers to who and what God is. I believe He was essentially declaring:

I am THE Only Self Existing – Sovereign – Omnipotent – Supreme Power in all creation”

The sovereignty of God is one of the most powerful attributes of God. He does not and never has derived his power from another God or any exterior source. His IS the power that actuates all created beings.

In God’s infallible word, it is an axiomatic verity that God is not a created being and that He has always existed. He does not derive his power from any other God or power source. He is self existing and without cause, having no beginning. He has always existed. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He has never changed, and he will never change.

Notice how “life” is self existent within the Father, while the Son needed to receive it from the Father.

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself[24]

This not only confirms the self existent nature of the Father, it also reveals Christ is not self existent. Rather, Christ draws his life and power from the Father along with all other created beings. This is quite significant.

Additional Truths about the Nature of God

We shall now address additional the truths about God’s nature and character that have been revealed in the Bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. When using the Doctrine and Covenants we shall sometimes call upon the Lectures on Faith which represented the “Doctrine” portion of the original Doctrine and Covenants. It contains valuable doctrine about faith and about the nature of God that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon wrote about within just a few years after they had received of the fulness of the father and seen and conversed with God just as Moses did.

Here is a snippet from the Lectures on Faith regarding God’s nature and attributes and why understanding these things is critical to having the faith necessary unto life and salvation:

“From the foregoing testimonies, we learn the following things respecting the character of God.

First, That he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was, after it was created.

Secondly, That he is merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting.

Thirdly, That he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday to-day and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation.

Fourthly, That he is a God of truth and cannot lie.

Fifthly, That he is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him.

Sixthly, That he is love.

An acquaintance with these attributes in the divine character, is essentially necessary, in order that the faith of any rational being can center in him for life and salvation. For if he did not, in the first instance, believe him to be God, that is, the creator and upholder of all things, he could not center his faith in him for life and salvation, for fear there should be a greater than he, who would thwart all his plans, and he, like the gods of the heathen, would be unable to fulfill his promises; but seeing he is God over all, from everlasting to everlasting, the creator and upholder of all things, no such fear can exist in the minds of those who put their trust in him, so that in this respect their faith can be without wavering.

But secondly: Unless he was merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, long suffering, and full of goodness, such is the weakness of human nature, and so great the frailties and imperfections of men, that unless they believed that these excellencies existed in the divine character, the faith necessary to salvation could not exist; for doubt would take the place of faith, and those who know their weakness and liability to sin, would be in constant doubt of salvation, if it were not for the idea which they have of the excellency of the character of God, that he is slow to anger, and long suffering, and of a forgiving disposition, and does forgive iniquity, transgression and sin. An idea of these facts does away doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong.

But it is equally as necessary that men should have the idea that he is a God who changes not, in order to have faith in him, as it is to have the idea that he is gracious and long suffering. For without the idea of unchangeableness in the character if the Deity, doubt would take the place of faith. But with the idea that he changes not, faith lays hold upon the excellencies in his character with unshaken confidence, believing he is the same yesterday, to-day and forever, and that his course is one eternal round.

And again, the idea that he is a God of truth and cannot lie, is equally as necessary to the exercise of faith in him, as the idea of his unchangeableness. For without the idea that he was a God of truth and could not lie, the confidence necessary to be placed in his word in order to the exercise of faith in him, could not exist. But having the idea that he is not man that he can lie, it gives power to the minds of men to exercise faith in him.

But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons; for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him, because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege.

And lastly, but not less important to the exercise of faith in God, is the idea that he is love; for with all the other excellencies in his character, without this one to influence them, they could not have such powerful dominion over the minds of men; but when the idea is planted in the mind that he is love, who cannot see the just ground that men of every nation, kindred and tongue, have to exercise faith in God so as to obtain eternal life?

From the above description of the character of the Deity which is given him in the revelations, to men, there is a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him among every people, nation and kindred, from age to age, and from generation to generation.”[25]

 

 

Two God’s or One God?

Scholars of the Bible have argued for centuries over whether God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ represent two separate and distinct beings [a plural God] or if they represent one being [ a singular God]. The same debate takes place within Mormonism.

I believe the answer is BOTH.

I am going to suggest that the scriptures do not present two conflicting doctrines regarding the Father and the Son, rather they reveal two separate ways that God the Father and His Son manifest themselves. I believe that we need to accept EVERYTHING that God has cumulatively taught about Himself in the Holy Scriptures, even the passages that appear to be contradictory, and that require the student of the Gospel to step outside the paradigm of their five senses and accept what is said regardless of how illogical it seems to the natural man and his carnal mind.

Hence, I have no other choice than to conclude that the Father and Son represent both, ONE GOD, that has the ability to manifest Himself as TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCT BEINGS.

How is this possible?

According to scripture, the Father is a personage of spirit and the Son is a personage of tabernacle. Christ’s physical personage dwells within the spiritual personage of the Father and the Father’s spiritual personage dwells within the physical personage of the Son which makes them ONE God. In other words, the Father cloaks himself in the tabernacle of the Son. Conversely, the tabernacle is infused with the spirit of the Father enabling Christ to inherit and manifest the fulness of the nature and character of the Father enjoying the same mind and will.

John 1:18 informs us that Christ in “in the bosom of the Father,..”

Section 76:13 of the D&C also confirms that “his Only Begotten Son” is in “the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning”

Section 93 of the D&C informs us that the Father and Son literally reside in each other:

” .. I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—”

Having documented the mystical fact that the Father and the Son reside in each other, we are informed in scriptures that we cannot fully comprehend this mystical fact unless the Son reveals it to us.

A Sure Knowledge of God’s Existence

In the ultimate sense, the sure knowledge of God cannot be acquired solely through studying the written word, with just the human intellect or through life’s typical experiences. It needs to be experienced through a profound mystical, spiritual awakening and entrance into His presence as it happened to Moses.  Before such an awakening can take place, one must have the right idea about the existence of God so that he won’t be deceived. This is why God’s written word is so important. According to Lectures on Faith:

“without the revelations which He has given us, no man by searching could find out God”[26]

This is undoubtedly why the scriptures refer to the mysteries of Godliness. The nature, character and reality of God is a mystery to the natural man. The carnal mind cannot comprehend what God has declared in scripture about His character, perfections and attributes. The declarations that God has made about Himself seem incomprehensible to the carnal mind, such as having all power[27], knowing all things[28], having no beginning, etc. Luckily, faith does not require a perfect understanding. One can have faith that something is true, without fully comprehending it.

Seeing God while in the Flesh

VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;[29]

 

Our Mystical Relationship with Christ and the Father

Mormons are sometimes criticized for making false claims about our ability become a God. Many of those accusations are well deserved. The claim that we can become what the Father has always been, as a self existent Sovereign God, which is “beside” the Father, or outside of his dominion, is patently false and probably blasphemous. However the teaching that we can become equal with Christ in receiving the fulness of the Father is actually supported in the New Testament as well as the Doctrine and Covenants.

The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.[30]

Paul actually states that the Children of God, (Saints) will become Joint-heirs with Christ:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.[31]

Remembering what was stated in lectures and backed up by scripture, the saints can “become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.”

Christ intercessory prayer in the gospel of John addresses this mysterious relationship that Christ has with the elect of God:

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”[32]

To our protestant friends who question this doctrine we would simply ask, what part of “joint-heirs” with Christ, don’t you understand? In Jewish custom, “joint heirs” has a very specific meaning: heirs who receive an identical inheritance[33].

An online commentary has this to say about the use of the word “joint-heirs”

“If two brothers inherited an estate as equal heirs, then the estate would be divided into two equal parts and each would be given the same amount. But if the two are made joint-heirs, then both of them have equal rights to the total inheritance. They both look at the total inheritance as theirs. As joint-heirs with Christ, the total inheritance of Christ is the inheritance of every believer.

As sons of God, we are joint-heirs of all that Christ possesses, and his possessions are infinite..”[34]

The mystical oneness offered to the believer is reiterated in modern revelation:

“I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.”[35]

After Adam was baptized and received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, he mystically and miraculously became one with God and was pronounced a son of God, with the promise that all who believe may become the sons of God:

“And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

65  And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

66  And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.  This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

67  And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

68  Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons.  Amen. “[36]

The fluctuating ability of Christ to be in a glorified state in the pre-existence, then condescend and take on the form of a servant in the likeness of a man, and then return to the Father anbd the fulness, is really quite a mystical concept.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

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

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[37]

The Father is Revealed by the Son

In other words, God has told us many things in His Holy Scriptures about His nature and his attributes and how a person can ultimately obtain a sure knowledge of his existence. He has also promised us that if we read and believe his word, we will be blessed with the manifestation of His spirit[38] and that eventually, through faithfulness, we shall see the Savior[39] and the Savior will reveal the father to us. One of the doctrinal profundities revealed in Joseph Smith’s inspired revision of the Gospel of Luke is that in the gospel age that began in the meridian of time, one can only be introduced to the Father, by the Son:

“All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.“[40].

This declaration separates the Father from the Son by informing us that all things are given the Son by the father, yet it also informs us that the Son is the Father and the Father is the Son. Lastly, it informs us that the Son is responsible for revealing the Father.

A variation of this passage is found in Joseph’s revision of Matthew:

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and they to whom the Son will reveal himself; they shall see the Father also”.[41]

The existence of, and relationship between, the Father and the Son can only be revealed to a person by the Son. The above two passages also inform us that all things are delivered to the Son by the Father.

One of the greatest debates that is created from a black and white, rigid, intellectually based analysis of the scriptures with regard to the relationship between the Father and the Son, is whether they constitute the same God or two separate and distinct Gods. This conundrum is created by the fact that many passages in the New Testament characterize the Father and Son as two separate and distinct beings, while many other passages appear to contradict that doctrine by claiming that there is only one God and that the Father and the Son are ONE.

The same dilemma is true of the Book of Mormon. Trinity theology is both a mystery and a paradox as it portrays one God in three persons. Biblical Christianity, as it was originally revealed in the original teachings of Mormonism is not far from that explanation, although a bit more complex. The Holy Spirit is not a “person” or “personage”, although it is still part of the Godhead. And Christ can display the fulness of the Father or have the glory of God temporarily withdrawn from him, depending on whether He is residing in the personage of the Father or whether he has been sent forth to do a work.

Even the Book of Mormon produces all of the same evidences that appears contradictory to the carnal mind. Within the following passage we are referred to the existence of Father and the Son of God, who we are informed, represents the Very Eternal Father of Heaven and Earth. as it

and yet is all throughout the text and yet, some passages declare that Christ is the very eternal Father.

1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.[42]

The Father can Withdraw His Glory from Christ

Perhaps the thing that makes the above truths so confusing and apparently contradictory, is the fact that the Father and Son have the miraculous, mystical and ineffable ability to separate from each other during the work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of Man. Even more mind-bending is the fact that the Father can temporarily withdraw a portion of his spirit and fulness from the Son in order to enable the Son to condescend and do a work.

The Father can “send forth” the Son from the center of his presence and commission him to do certain things, such as, condescend and visit a temporal world to teach, and atone. It becomes apparent in the narrative provided in the scriptures that when God sends forth the Son to do his will, God can temporarily withdraw His spirit from the Son to bring to pass the amazing condescension, suffering and atonement that is required to take place in the work of redeeming other created intelligences.

When sent forth, Christ manifests himself as a separate and independent intelligence which can carry on an authentic two-way conversation with the Father, as happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and 3rd Nephi, etc.

When separated out, the Son can manifest a separate and differing will than the Father:

“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the WILL OF HIM that SENT me” [43]

In Gethsemene He declared,

“thy will not mine…”

The above two passages demonstrated that when sent forth to fulfill His earthly ministry, Christ had a different and distinct will than His father.

The Following reminiscence of Zebedee Coltrin provides some remarkable testimony to what the scriptures tell us:

“At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, (the school being organized_ on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from east to west, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.

Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; he was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Brother Coltrin) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him.

When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Brother Coltrin said: I did not discover his clothing for he was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but his person. I saw his hands, his legs, his feet, his eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in his presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones.

The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that they exist and that they are two separate personages. [44]

It is rather significant that Joseph felt that apostles needed to know that the Father and Son are two separate personages, in order to fully testify in there callings. Here is what the Lecture on Faith teaches relative to the distinct character and attributes of the Father and Son:

“There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—

They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness:

The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—

he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh”[45]

Part of the mystery of Godliness is in understanding that although the Father and Son can manifest themselves independently as distinct beings, and although God is independently described in Lectures on Faith and in the scriptures as a personage of Spirit, while the Son  is independently described in Lectures on Faith and in the scriptures as a personage of tabernacle, they dwell in each other and constitute ONE GOD!

Section 88 speaks of the “face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.”

It points out that God “comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.”

It goes on to provide a rather esoteric, all encompassing characterization of the fact that if you have seen anything God has created, you have seen God.

The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?

Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.

Let me suggest those mystical passages contained in sections 76, 88, and 93 are not there for their poetry. They are literally true. They are not “sectarian notions”

The Father is Greater than the.. Son when they Separate
Perhaps one of the more confusing things about Jesus Christ, the Son of God is that there is a huge fluctuation in how scripture characterizes and depicts him. At the one extreme we are informed that Christ is tempted and suffers and pleads with the Father and even has a differing will than the Father that needs to be brought into submission with the Father. He declares that “My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me”[46]. He acknowledges that the Father is greater than him, indicating that He is not even in the same realm as the Father.

On the other hand, at other times He declares that He knows all things and has created all things. He proclaims that He is from everlasting to everlasting. Indeed, it would appear that He claims the exact same nature attributes and perfections as the Father has. Indeed, He often speaks as if he is the Father, oscillating back and forth between both His persona and the Father’s persona. He actually speaks as if He is the Father, particularly in modern revelation. This phenomenon has been referred to as “divine investiture”, meaning that “the Father has placed his name upon the Son, has given him his own power and authority, and has authorized him to speak in the first person as though he were the original or primal Father.”[47] I would contend, however, that in some situations, particularly having to do with modern revelation, the Son literally has the Father dwelling within Him.

One example of when He refers to himself as both Christ and Elohim in the same revelation, in section 29 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In it, He says, “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins”[48] . But in verse 42 he switches characters and says “I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son”. This switching of personas is completely consistent with the mystical relationship of the Father and Son wherein the scriptures have stated that the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.

Here is a passage where Christ’s depictions of Himself oscillates towards the fulness of the Father:

1  THUS saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made;

2  The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes;

3  I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me.

4  I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them.[49]

Here are some characterization oscillations that swings back toward a Son that has been “sent forth” from the Father and is subservient to the Father. In it, Christ makes it clear that the Father was in charge and that Christ was not acting on his own accord:

“I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.  But I know him:  for I am from him, and he hath sent me” [50]

“I proceeded forth and came from GOD; neither came I of myself, but he sent me”[51]

Jesus here clearly shows that the Father exercises supreme authority, and sent him to be our Savior. Christ  declares that the Father is greater than Him:

“For my Father is greater  than I” [52]

These amazingly disruptive passages in the Book of Mormon provide an apparent contradiction unless the mystical relationship between the Father and Son is understood. When Christ was sent forth from the Father, He needed to submit to the will of the Father in order to be infused with the fathers presence, making him both the Father and the Son.

AND now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.[53]

Is God a “What” or a “Who”?

In modern revelation the Lord informs us that He gives us sayings that we may know how to worship and WHAT we worship:

“I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know WHAT you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.”

We know that God is a “who”, because he is always referred to as “He”, and Father, etc., but according to the above passages, he is also a “what” which very possibly has reference to the light, life, glory and power that He innately possesses.
Was Jesus Christ a Created Being?

One of the more controversial topics among Biblical scholars is whether or not Jesus Christ was created by the Father or if he is not a created being.

Many Bible scholars claim that Christ, like the Father, is not a created being.

I am going to challenge that supposition and provide scriptures that seems to refute it.

It appears to me from this study, that Christ is a created being. I believe there is strong evidence to believe that He is. I am going to suggest that Christ was in fact created by the Father in the beginning of all creation, but He was no longer a creature of the father once he received the fulness of the Father and became assimilated into the Father. We have already noted from Lectures on Faith that the Son was taken from the bosom of the Father and was MADE or FASHIONED by the Father in the express image and likeness of the Father. I believe those terms, made and fashioned represent a beginning. It represents that taking of unorganized intelligence and organizing it, or creating it.

Only Begotten Son

Sonship signifies beginning. It is impossible to become a Son without a beginning.

I base my suspicion that Christ had a beginning and was the first creation of the Father based on several pronouncements in scripture containing terms with compelling definitions. The first has to do with the recurring declaration that Christ is “the only begotten of the Father”. I believe the term begotten represents a beginning point and a time of creation. (According to modern revelation, nothing is created from nothing. All organized intelligence has been created from unorganized intelligence which has always existed.

The term beget, typically means to procreate, as a father or sire; to generate; as, to beget a son. To produce, as an effect; to cause to exist; to generate.

The term “Only begotten” shows up 6 times in the Holy Bible, 9 times in the Book of Mormon, 13 times in the D&C and 26 times in the Book of Moses.[54] It stands to reason that if Christ had always been co-existent and co-equal with the Father as a God, there would be no reason to refer to him as the only begotten of the Father. Clearly, the term denotes a beginning point. No other beings were begotten by God because Christ is the creator of all things. Indeed the declaration seems to support the narrative in Moses that God used Christ to create all other things. Notice how God pronounces the Son to be full of grace and truth, but then strongly infers that Christ is not a self existent God.

“And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.”[55]

God is extolling Christ’s credentials of being full of grace and truth, for being a Savior, yet He makes it clear that there is no self existent God beside Him, Christ included. I would suggest that Christ is a God within the Father, but not self existent outside of the Father.

Firstborn of Every Creature

Another term the scriptures use to describe Christ is “firstborn”. In modern revelation the Savior proclaims that-

“I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn”[56]

I would suggest that he might have said “I was in the beginning [of creation] with the Father and am the [first one created]. [ I then created all other creatures]”

A similar New Testament passage describes Christ as the “firstborn of every creature” suggesting that just as all creatures have been born, or created, and have had a beginning, so has Christ. Furthermore, we are informed that after being the first one created, the Father uses Christ to create all other created things:

12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;[57]

Reiterating what is said above, Paul, claims Christ was to the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters”.[58]

In Rev 3:1 John appears to reiterate what Paul said. He seems to be referring to Christ as “the beginning of God’s creations;

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God”[59]

Christ was Made

“[Jesus] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by INHERITANCE obtained a more excellent NAME than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art MY SON, this day have I begotten thee?  And again, I will be to him a FATHER, and he shall be to me a SON? . . . But unto the SON he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever . . .”[60]
He was Prepared

Notice the definition of prepared and then notice that Christ had been prepared from the foundation of the world:

 

PREPA’RED, pp. Fitted; adapted; made suitable; made ready; provided.

“And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world”. [61]
“Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people.  Behold, I am Jesus Christ.  I am the Father and the Son.  In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters”.[62]

The Father is Christ’s God

In other passages, we learn that the Father is Christ’s God.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”[63]

When Christ is separated from the Father, it appears that God can infuse his fulness into Christ or withdraw his spirit from Christ, depending on the work that needs to be performed. During His earthly ministry he temporarily has the fulness of the Father taken away from him so that he can “condescend” and provide the work of intercession and atonement.

During His earthly ministry he has a differing will than the father which must be brougt into subjecting to the will of the Father. It is through the act of condescension followed by submission and subjecting himself to the will of the Father that He is able to atone, redeem and return back into the bosom of God.

When he returns to God He is restored to the fulness of the Fathers glory that he enjoyed in the Bosom of God before He was sent forth.   Christ declared during his early ministry that he had enjoyed the glory of the Father prior to being sent forth, and that He would once again be restored to the Fathers glory when he returns.

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”[64]

Clearly, the Father had to withdraw the fulness of himself (his glory) in order for Christ to fulfill his mission.

“why has thou forsaken me..”

Things that Differentiate the Father from the Son

Having just completed a rather extensive review of what God has told us about His character, perfections and attributes, as well as those of His Son let us review how they are differentiated from each other. The scriptures inform us that when Christ is acting in the fulness of the Father that he has been endowed with, He has all of the same attributes as the father, through inheritance. When He dwells within the Father there is no difference because He has received the fulness and actually dwells in the Father’s personage of spirit while the Father dwells within the Son’s personage of tabernacle.

On the other hand, when the Father sent His Son forth, to redeem mankind, the mission required that a portion of God’s power and glory be withheld from him so that a “condescension” could take place, and his intercessory role could be accomplished in drawing all men to God. Under these circumstances, he manifests characteristics that differentiate himself from the Father. When speaking of Christ’s creation and some of his attributes when he is sent forth from the bosom of the Father, the following formed differentiations seem to apply

1- God is has always existed in his present state from eternity to eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, Christ is a created or organized being who was taken from the Bosom of God in an unorganized state and formed, or created by the Father, into the image of the Father[65]
2- God has always been the primary source of power and glory in all creation. He has never received power and glory from another God or source of any kind. There has never been another God before the Father. Christ and all other created beings derive their power and glory from the Father
3- Christ can have his glory and power withdrawn by the Father as necessary for the condescension for the redemption of the world in necessary. The Father never has his power withdrawn by anyone or any thing.

4- The Father is THE Only Self Existing – Sovereign – Omnipotent – Supreme Power in all creation. Christ , in his created state, is not self existent; He derives his power and glory from the Father. He is eternally dependent on the Father to get his glory and power from the Father. He is an extension of the Father.

5- The Father is a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness. The Son is a personage of tabernacle, created in the image of the Father, by the Father

Creating God after our Own Image

Section One of the D&C foretold that that after the Saints stray from the true ordinances and break the everlasting covenant, they begin to create a god after their own image:

“For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”[66]

This is exactly what happened shortly after the fulness of the gospel was rejected by the Saints of the restored church. Having now extensively reviewed what the scriptures tell us about the nature and character of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, as well as what was originally taught during the early history of the restoration, we will now review how the church departed from those basic Biblical teachings about the nature and character of God.

How God became a Man

The Famous sermon in which Joseph contradicted the foundational teachings regarding the true nature and character of God is referred to as the King Follett Sermon. There were several accounts of the sermon that can all be viewed side by side[4]. It is one of the best documented sermons given by Joseph Smith.

King Follett was a person who had died and it was common back in those times to preach a sermon in conjunction with saying some words about the deceased. The historical setting under which Joseph taught the concepts found in the King Follett Sermon is an interesting one. The sermon took place on June 7 1844 just a few months before the martyrdom.

The spirit of the Lord had been withdrawing from Joseph for quite some time because of the intercessory atonement offering that he had made for the Saints, and he had been showing signs of stress, depression, paranoia, and erratic behavior. One year earlier, on July 16 1843 Joseph had announced that he would no longer prophesy for the church in concert with Hyrum. He reminded the Saints that Hyrum held the office of “prophet” to the church.

According to the testimony of Lyman Wight, the Church had been rejected by the Lord with their dead in about September or October of 1841 when Joseph announced that Baptisms for the dead would no longer by accepted by the Lord until the temple was finished. He also ominously declared that no more general conferences of the church would be held until that time.

“There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord’s House; and the church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!”[67]

Because of these considerations it is important to note that none of the gatherings where sermons were given after Joseph’s “thus sayeth the Lord declaration” 1841 could be considered official “general conferences” of the church. The funeral of a person gave the prophet the opportunity to speak at a non-official church function. Furthermore, it appears as if even though Joseph continued to speak and teach, he technically was not doing so as one of the prophets and presiding officers of the Church after June 16 1843. It is really rather shocking to realize that Joseph was not acting in an official capacity during the majority of the Nauvoo discourses that are so popularly referred to by scholar, authors and historians, myself included.

Again, Joseph was under a lot of pressure at this time and was showing erratic behavior. Since he had not produced a revelation in quite some time, he was still being accused by some of the Saints of being a fallen prophet. In May of 1844 he had acknowledged:

“my apostate enemies say that I have been a true prophet–& I had rather be a fallen true prophet, than a false prophet” [68]

By acknowledging that he would no longer prophesy for the church and removing himself from the First Presidency, he was making Hyrum the sole president of the Church and he was fulfilling the succession prophecy in Section 43 which foretold that if Joseph continued to abide in the Lord, he would not be replace as the prophet until he was “taken”, the only other prophesied possibility given, is that his replacement would be called by the Lord through Joseph. Had the saints in Nauvoo had this succession protocol/prophecy in mind in 1841 when section 124 was given, it would have been a red flag that Hyrum was being called to work to work in in lkjj with Joseph, and in kljj when Joseph announced in June of 1843, that Hyrum was the sole presiding officer and that Joseph would no longer prophesy for the church, it would have been obvious, that Joseph had fallen from his office and calling. For this reason, it is really somewhat erratic and inconsistent that Joseph was trying to restate himself as a credible and authoritative mouthpiece of God.

Adding to the pressure he was feeling, Sidney Rigdon had emerged from a five year silence to address the Saints in April the year before. During that conference when Sidney was coming back from the dead, and having a love fest with the Saints who had missed his passionate and animated sermons, Joseph was being accused of being a false prophet and trying to calm the people’s fears about his lack of revelatory fruits. At that conference Joseph was somewhat defensive about being accused as a fallen prophet. In an effort to alleviate people’s fears he proclaimed:

“I feel in closer communion, and better standing with God than ever I felt before in my life..”

Following Joseph’s opening remarks Sidney Rigdon arose and gave the audience a tremendous thrill as he gave one of his vintage sermons detailing the early history of the Church. His opening remarks are as follows:

“Elder Sidney Rigdon then rose and said, It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction, I enjoy this privilege this morning; want of health, and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.

It can hardly be expected, that when the violence of sickness having used its influence, and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me, that I can rise before this congregation.

I am now come forth from a bed of sickness, and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character. I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character.

I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history, during life. I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me, I shall do the best I can, and the greatest can do no more. — The circumstances by which we are now surrounded points out the principles of my discourse — the history of this church which I have known from its infancy: my text is, “Behold the church of God of the last days.”[69]

There is reason to believe that the sermon was enthusiastically received by the saints and that it was reminiscent of Sidney’s glory days in Kirtland when he would light the audience on fire with his amazing oratory skills. The emergence of Sidney Rigdon into the limelight must have been a bitter-sweet experience for Joseph who was experiencing a dark time and was under attack for his lack of revelatory fruits.

Joseph and Sidney’s relationship had been pretty rocky during those last several years in Nauvoo and it may be that between Joseph’s accusers calling him a fallen prophet and Sidney new popularity, that there was a little insecurity and jealousy.

Joseph was never considered to be the eloquent, articulate and well educated orator that Sidney was, and the following statement from Joseph in the early part of his King Follett discourse may have been an  innuendo aimed at Rigdon:

“I do not calculate to please your ears with superfluity of words or oratory, or with much learning; but I calculate to edify you with the simple truths from heaven.”

According to the version of the discourse that was recorded in the Times and Seasons, Joseph made the following remarks, referencing the fact that people had been calling him a false teacher and false prophet:

” The apostle says this is eternal life, to know God and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. If any man enquire what kind of a being is God, if he will search diligently his own heart, if the declaration of the apostle by true, he will realize that he has not eternal life, there can be eternal life on no other principle.

My first object is, to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and if I should be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts so that the spirit seals it upon you, let every man and woman henceforth put their hand on their mouth and never say anything against the man of God again; but if I fail, it becomes my duty to renounce all my pretensions to revelations, inspirations, &c.”

As you can see, Joseph was out to prove that he was still a true prophet by proving that he could still reveal secrets from heaven about the Living God. This was to be the great sermon that would silence his critics that were calling him a false or fallen prophet.

“If any man is authorized to take away my life, who says I am a false teacher: then upon the same principle am I authorized to take away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood, There is not a man but would breathe out an anathema, if they knew I was a false prophet; and some would feel authorized to take away my life.”

Clearly, there had been accusations about Joseph’s current station with the Lord. Rumors about Joseph’s involvement in polygamy, while making public denials were now calling Joseph’s credibility into question. Was he a false teacher? Possibly there had been threats made against Joseph’s life and he was out to pacify the masses in Nauvoo.

“If I show verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of a hundred are false teachers, while they pretend to hold the keys of God, and to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood”

Joseph was apparently feeling threatened by some of the angry Saints who were accusing him of being a false teacher. Although he is not specifically bringing up the controversial teaching of polygamy in this discourse, one has to wonder if that is the central issue that he was being accused of being a false teacher over.

Hyrum had previously presented the revelation on polygamy to the high council, at the request of Joseph, warning them that Joseph had proclaimed it to be true, and warning them that they would be damned if they did not accept it Hyrum was hoping for a unanimous acceptance of it, but three council member rejected it outright on the spot throwing a wrench in the works. It is really quite refreshing to realize that not all of the leaders back in Nauvoo were into prophet worship. Although Hyrum would later try to back-peddle and claim that he had only been speaking about how the principle had been practiced anciently, the cat was now out of the bag. Nauvoo was now abuzz with rumors about Joseph’s doctrinal duplicity and integrity. This sermon was Joseph’s attempt to WOW the masses and reestablished the reverence that they had previously had for God’s anointed servant:

“I want you all to know God, to be familiar with him, and if I can bring you to him, all persecutions against me will cease; you will know that I am his servant, for I speak as one having authority–”

This was his attempt at vindication! Although he could not present his hearers with a new “thus sayeth the Lord” revelation, he could prove that he was still in good standing with the Lord and that he still speaks with authority by revealing truths that had been previously hidden!

“What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear all ye ends of the earth; for I am going to tell you the designs of God to the human race, and why he interferes with the affairs of man.”

What sort of being was God in the beginning?

“First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret.”

Sadly, the great secret that Joseph was revealing was 100% contrary to the nature and character of the Biblical God that had been taught during the revelatory years of the restoration! This is where Joseph loses Biblical Christians like me.

“If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God; Adam received instruction, walked talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.”

This sweeping declaration is rather vague in that Joseph does not appear to be specifying if he is referencing the Father or the Son, or if he is referring to the Father clothed in the tabernacle of the Son. Nevertheless, his reference to the “great God” would indicate that he is probably speaking about the Father, who was walking with and speaking with Adam. That would be consistent with the narrative in the Book of Moses. It was God the Father walking and talking with Moses in the Garden.

Joseph then makes the following declaration:

“I am going to tell you how God came to be God”

The Father never became God! The Father is not a changeable God and He did not have a beginning. He has always been God from all eternity to all eternity, everlasting to everlasting.

The Times and Seasons version of the sermon next says this:

“We have imagined that God was God from all eternity.”

However, three other independent dairy accounts provide greater detail. They record Joseph as “refuting” the idea that God was God from all eternity. Here is one of them:

“We suppose that God was God from eternity. I will refute that Idea, or I will do away or take away the veil so you may see. It is the first principle to know that we may converse with him and that he once was a man like us, and the Father was once on an earth like us”

Here is another entry:

“..Not God from all Eternity.”

Here is the 3rd entry

refute the Idea that God was God from all eternity”[70]

It is almost incomprehensible that Joseph is refuting the doctrine that God is from all eternity!

Those are the very words contained in the Book of Mormon and the D&C that he was instrumental in bringing forth! Notice the following passage from the Book of Mormon, the book that Joseph translated by the gift and power of God:

“For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”[71]

Even the Son, because he has received the fulness of the Father, and because the Father dwells within him, is also from all eternity. Notice the testimony of the Book of Mormon which Joseph translated by the gift and power of God, and declared to be the more correct Book:

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.”[72]

The Savior makes the same claim in modern revelation:

“HEARKEN and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ—

The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not”[73]

Joseph then ramped things up a bit with the following declaration:

“God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did, and I will show it from the Bible.”

Joseph then proceeds to give a rather innovative, if not disruptive interpretation of what Jesus was inferring in John chapter 5,

“I wish I had the trump of an arch angel, I could tell the story in such a manner that persecution would cease forever; what did Jesus say? (mark it elder Rigdon;) Jesus said, as the Father hat power in himself, even so hath the Son power; to do what? why what the Father did, that answer is obvious; in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus what are you going to do? To lay down my life, as my Father did, and take it up again.—- If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible; the scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom, all the combined powers of earth and hell together, to refute it. Here then is eternal life, to know the only wise and true God.

To summarize the storyline, the Pharasees were upset at Jesus for healing a man with an infirmity at a pool during a feast that the Jews were having because it was the sabbath, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”

In responding to his accusers, “Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”

Joseph’s interpretation would seem logical without the backdrop of all of the scriptures  about the nature and character of God that so blatantly contradict the interpretation that Joseph is giving.

I would submit that what Jesus was really saying, is that “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise… For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”

That declaration is substantiated in many of the passages we have reviewed in this chapter. Christ is a created being that did not always have life dwelling in him, the Father had to bestow it.

Joseph’s interpretaton is suggestiong that the Father also had to receive his life power and glory from his father, but that is not consistent with God the Fathers declaration to Moses:

“I am that I am”

There is a wealth of scriptural documentation that God is THE Only Self Existing – Sovereign – Omnipotent – Supreme Power in all creation”

Joseph’s claim that there is an endless chain of Gods who have all dwelt on an earth and atoned for the inhabitants of other worlds just a Jesus did for this world.

You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done; by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as doth those who sit enthroned in everlasting power”

While the diatribe was obviously a passionate one, it was irrational in light of what had already been revealed. It completely contradicts the Bible and the revealed word of God the Joseph brought forth.

The reason that Joseph said “mark it elder Rigdon” when claiming to prove it by the bible is because Sidney Rigdon is the one who had been commissioned by the Lord to prove the revelations from Joseph Smith from the Bible. Sidney who had been silent for the past five years had just recently re-emerged and was now back in the lime-light. Joseph was acknowledging Sidney’s rightful calling to test new revelation against the accepted word of God in the standard works.

Rigdon must have been shocked and horrified at what he was hearing.

The doctrine being espoused was blatantly contradicting scripture, it it problematic at many levels.

According to a multiplicity of scriptural passages, Christ created all worlds and atoned for all of those worlds. His atonement was infinite and eternal. There is no need for separate Saviors to create, people, and atone for each world.

God the Father had no beginning and will have no end. He created the Son in the beginning, for the express purpose of creating all things. There is no place in that sequence for an infinite line of Saviors and Gods.

The confusing thing about all of this is that just days prior to this sermon, Joseph had the following Joseph gave the following counsel in the Times and Seasons:

“If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter.[74]

It appears to me that Joseph was not only teaching false doctrine, is was arguably committing blasphemy in his attempt to prove to the Nauvoo Saints that he is not a false teacher or a false prophet.

blas•phe•my
ˈblasfəmē/

noun

  1. the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

Brigham Young would embrace this new theology while people like Rigdon, Marks and Law would be repulsed by it. Interestingly, a large portion of the more doctrinally seasoned members of the church from the Kirtland era chose not to follow Brigham Young and the apostles that followed him, while a large portion of the more doctrinally illiterate converts from the House of Israel chose to follow Brigham Young and the twelve to Utah.

Veteran members and leaders of the church that were grounded in the word of God like William Law were quite disturbed by the new doctrine being taught. He made the following statement in the Nauvoo Expositor;

“and inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church, such as a plurality of Gods above the God of this universe, and his liability to fall with all his creations..”[75]

On the other hand, the more recent, doctrinally naive converts from Canada and England loved what they heard. The sermon thrilled many of the city’s Mormons.

“Joseph Fielding, one of the Prophet’s listeners, said, ‘Any one that could not see in him the Spirit of inspiration of God must be dark, they might have known that he was not a fallen Prophet even if they thought he was fallen’.”

Those that followed Brigham would get more false doctrine heaped upon them in the years to come. Brigham would eventually reject the literal interpretation of the creation story, deny the virgin birth accounts in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and teach the Adam God Doctrine. He would also canonize a section of scripture that completely contradicts what Lectures on Faith and the scriptures teach:

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit, were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us”[76]

As you can see, between the King Follett Discourse and the heretical teachings of Brigham Young, the foundational truths about the nature and character of God would be forgotten among the saints, leaving them without protection from deception.

In closing out this chapter, it may be appropriate to remind the reader of two passages of scriptures that offer a recurring theme throughout this book. The first is the inspired version of Isaiah 29:10 which stands as a reminder that it was not Joseph’s fault that he taught the false doctrine about God because he was simply acting out the sins of apostate latter day Israel:

“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep.  For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.”

The Lord poured out the spirit of deep sleep and closed the eyes of the prophets and seers of the restoration because the Saints refused to listen to them and obey the law of the gospel. Whether it is Joseph’s ill fated and failed banking venture in Kirtland, his silent condoning of the  Danites, in Far West, or his involvement in polygamy and masonry in Nauvoo, he and the rest of the first laborers of the last kingdom were largely victims of the latter day saint rejection of the fulness back in the early Kirtland years.

The second passage we need to review for added context to this whole can of worms is as follows:

“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, for he reigneth and hath power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation”[77]

Listed below is a chronology of major events and proclamations just prior to and following the King Follett Sermon:

January 19 1841 Section 124

*Joseph’s Offering is Accepted

*Hyrum to act in concert (succession Prophecy)

*Fulness of Priesthood Lost

*Saints will not moved out of their place if obedient

*Saints Rejected w/ their dead if Temple not completed

* Teaching more or less than in accepted D&C commeth of evil

June 1 1841 Sidney Rigdon is ordained a prophet seer and revelator

October 1841 Joseph declared that Baptisms for Dead no longer allowed and that there will be no more general conferences until the temple is finished- Lyman Wight claims the Church was rejected with its dead at that time

October 15 1841 Grand Master Jonas grants Nauvoo a charter to open a lodge of Free Masons in Nauvoo

March 16 1842 Joseph rises to the sublime degree of Master Mason in one day

April 1842 President Hyrum Smith declares that the Nauvoo endowment would be the same as it’s Kirtland predecessor

July 1842  Joseph Declares that “We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying His commands, although we never violated any human law, or transgressed any human precept; yet we have treated lightly His commands, and departed from His ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt His arm and kissed the rod“.

August 8 1842 Joseph is arrested in relation to attempted murder based on a warrant from Gov Carlin based upon a requisition by Gov Reynolds of Missouri, based upon affidavit of ex-Governor Boggs. He is released but this begins four months of arrest attempts.

February 21 1843 “.. If the Temple and Nauvoo house are not finished you must run away.. our salvation depends upon it… ” “if we did not build the temple & Nauvoo house it would proove the ruin of the place that if we did not build those buildings we might as well leave the place & that it was as necessary to build one as the other..””

July 16 1843 Joseph proclaims he will not prophecy for the church- Hyrum is the prophet

March 27 1843 Joseph falsely accuses Sidney Rigdon of conspiring with William C Bennett against Joseph

January 29 1844 Joseph Smith decides to run for President of the United States

April 5 1844 Joseph attends dedication of Masonic Temple
April 6 1844 Sidney Rigdon emerges to give discourse after five years of silence
**April 7 1844 King Follett Discourse**

April 11 1844 Joseph Smith is crowned King of Israel

June 7 1844 Nauvoo Expositor: William Law publishes the Nauvoo Expositor and exposes Joseph’s polygamy and false teaching about nature of God and calls for a reformation of the church. Points covered in the Expositor:

1. The Book of Mormon is True

2. The restoration of the gospel back in the early Kirtland era was true

3. The original doctrines taught in the early Kirtland ear were true

4. The revelations contained in the Book of Commandments were true

5. The restored Church had strayed from the straight and narrow path

6. The Church was associating with and participating in secret societies

7. Joseph had been a true prophet but was now a fallen prophet

8. Joseph was publicly preaching against polygamy but was secretly practicing it

9. Joseph had falsely taught that God the father is a changeable God who had progressed from a mortal state to that of Godhood. He taught that there were many Gods above God the Father.

10 The Church needed to repent and reform

June 27 1844  Martyrdom

[1] See Lectures 3 & 4

[2] Lecture 4:4-10

[3] Alma 32:21

[4] Hebrews 11:1

[5] Hebrews 11:3

[6] D&C 88:75

[7] D&C 130:7

[8] 2 Nephi 27:5 See also Isa 19:10

[9] 2 Tim 4:3

[10] D&C 1:32,33 See also D&C 93:36-39

[11] 2nd Nephi 28:30

[12] D&C 93:36-40

[13] JST Matt 1: 37

[14] Moses 1:1-11

[15] Many Biblical Christians deny that God can be seen by man which is curious given the fact that the Bible contained testimony that some of the ancient prophets have. See Gen 32:30, Exod 33:11

[16] Moses 1:12-18

[17] Isaiah 45:5-6

[18] Hebrews 1:-2

[19] John 10:32-36 See also Psalm 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High

[20] D&C 121:12-18

[21] D&C 121:32

[22] Abraham 4:1-3 The term Gods was changed to use a lower case “g” by the author for clarity. It is his opinion that that is the appropriate way to spell the word in that text.

[23] Exodus 3:14

[24] John 5:26

[25] Lecture 3:12-25 http://lecturesonfaith.com/3.php

[26] Lecture 3:7 See also Job: 11:7-9 and Romans 10:14-15

[27] Jer 32:17 Ps 147:5, , Mormon 8:17, Alma 26:35

[28] 2 Nephi 2:24, D&C 38:22

[29] D&C93:1

[30] D&C 88:106-107

[31] Romans 8:16-17

[32] John  17:20-24

[33] http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/946/what-does-it-mean-to-be-an-heir-of-god-and-a-joint-heir-with-christ

[34] http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/jac_arnold/NT.Arnold.Rom.40.pdf

[35][35] D&C 35:2

[36] Moses 6:64-68

[37] Philippians 2:5-11

[38] D&C 5:16 “And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit—”

[39] 1  D&C 93:1 “VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am”

[40] JST Luke 10:23

[41] JST Matthew 11:28

[42] Mosiah 15:1-5

[43] John 5:38

[44] http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/ZebC.html

[45] Lecture 5:2

[46] John 5:43

[47] http://ldsscriptureteachings.org/2010/11/16/jesus-christ-father-by-divine-investiture-of-authority/

[48] D&C 29:1

[49] D&C 38:1-4

[50] John 7:28-29

[51] John 8:42

[52] John 14:28

[53] Mosiah 14: 1-6

[54] See John 1:18, 3:16, 18, Hebrew 11:17 1 John 4:9, 2 Nephi 25:12,  Jacob 4:5, 4:11, D&C 20:21, 29:42, etc.

[55] Moses 1:6

[56] D&C 93:2,

[57] Colossians 1:16

[58] Romans 8:29

[59] According to some scholars, these verses, at referring to  Jesus Christ AS THE LOGOS, that was the very FIRST ACT OF PRODUCTION OR CREATION, the very FIRST CREATION of the Father — His FIRSTBORN SON WAS CREATED BY A SEMINAL ACT OF CREATION! How the Father, the ONE GOD, brought into being the Word, Logos, or Son, we have not been told, it is a mystery.  Apparently, He took “part” of Himself, from within His own eternal spirit, and fashioned it into the “Logos.”  When He made Him, He made Him to be VERY GOD — even as He, the Father, is very God — but lesser in authority!  In the beginning, there was ONE GOD.  Then, in subsequent time of “beginning,” God “reproduced” Himself, and formed or created a SON!  Thus the Son was indeed the “first BORN” of all creation — the BEGINNING of the Creation and the First Step in God’s Creative Plan!

[60] Heb.1:4-7

[61] Mosiah 4:6

[62] Ether 3:14

[63] John 20:17, D&C 88:75

[64] John 17:5

[65] “The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father…” Implying that before Christ was “made” or “fashioned” he was in the bosom of the father. “There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father”

[66] D&C 1:15-16

[67] See October 3, 1841 sermon http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1841/3Oct41.html

[68] http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1844/12May44.html

[69] General Conference Minutes of the Church, April, 1844  http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/History_of_the_Church/Vol_VI

[70]  In 1893 the RLDS church published their abstract of the “TempleLot Case” which included this testimony from James Whitehead:

I heard what is known as the ‘King Follett’ sermon preached. That sermon was published. Joseph Smith did not in that sermon teach the plurality of gods. This was only a partial report of Whitehead’s statement, however. The following significant lines in the original transcript were omitted in the abstract: He did not that I know of. If he did I did not hear it, but I was not there all the time he was preaching for I was called out for a time.” Transcript of the “Temple Lot Case, ”James Whitehead Testimony, p. 45, LDS Church Ar-chives See also http://www.academia.edu/10306396/MORMON_MISCELLANEOUS_1_JOSEPH_SMITHS_KING_FOLLETT_DISCOURSE_TEXTUAL_HISTORY_AND_CRITICISM

[71] Moroni 8:18

[72] Mosiah 3:5-8

[73] D&C 39:1-2

[74] Times & Seasons, April 1, 1844,

[75] http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm

[76] D&C 130:22

[77] Book of Commandments 4:5

[1] John 20:17, D&C 88:75 [2] John 17:5 [3] D&C 1:15-16 [4] http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1844/7Apr44.html [5] See October 3, 1841 sermon http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1841/3Oct41.html [6] General Conference Minutes of the Church, April, 1844  http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/History_of_the_Church/Vol_VI [7] Moroni 8:18 [8] Mosiah 3:5-8 [9] D&C 39:1-2 [10] http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm [11] D&C 130:22 [12] Book of Commandments 4:5


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