The Transfiguration of Joseph, Lyman & Harvey
Salvation is to “triumph over all evil spirits”
(previously titled Part 5-a)
[Hopefully references to the documentation contained herein will be added during the next
few weeks, but feel from to find them using key word searches]
There must be opposition in all things
I have mentioned how Ezra Booth and other scoffers who appear to have denied the conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood and rejected the events of the special conference were appalled by the experience at the Morley Farm. It was a spiritual experience that was not easily comprehended by the natural man.
The possession by evil spirits was very disturbing to everyone there. According to some accounts, they struggled with possession for two days.
Some thought it inconsistent of God to allow the “Man of Sin” and his minions to crash the party and disrupt things.
However, this provides an incredible learning experience for us. As we search the scriptures we find that it is totally congruent with the gospel.
In section 29 we are taught that,
“It must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet..”
The plan of salvation, which includes the law of agency, cannot function without the opposing forces of a devil.
Agency is contingent on the opposition that comes from the temptations of the Devil.
What was happening at the Morley farm is what has happened at various times throughout religious history.
It happened to Joseph Smith at the first vision when Satan tried to destroy him.
The forces of darkness usually surface to a greater degree when a greater light shines forth.
In a sermon given in Nauvoo, Joseph Smith gave a fascinating definition of what “salvation” is and revealed how oppressive the world of spirits is….
“The spirits of the eternal world are diverse from each other as here in their dispositions: aspiring, ambitious… The spirits of the eternal world glory in bringing other spirits in subjection unto them, striving continually for the mastery….” (ref)
This spirit world is composed of aspiring and ambitious spirits who oppress those that have less knowledge and power than themselves.
The prophet also acknowledges that because of the unsurpassed power and glory of the Father, he is able to call together and organize spirits to do his will when he creates a world or has a work to do;
“Further, He who rules in heaven, when he has a certain work to do, calls the spirits before him to organize them. They present themselves and offer their services.”
The prophet reveals that because of the dynamics in the spirit world, we have enemies there, and we need to gain knowledge and power that will place us beyond their power. He states that we need to do this in order to be saved;
[Therefore] as man is liable to [have] enemies there as well as here it is necessary for him to be placed beyond their power in order to be saved…”
“What is salvation? Salvation is for a man to triumph over all his foes or be above all enemies even our last enemy which is death through power… Knowledge will do this. And until this is done you will not have obtained salvation.
Further, knowledge must be given to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved. Perhaps there are principles here that few men have thought of.” (ref)
The term salvation, as used in the New Testament and book of Mormon and most of the time in modern revelation refers to the highest salvation in the kingdom of God. According to Joseph Smith, this highest salvation has to do with overcoming all enemies through the acquisition of knowledge and priesthood power. (See also D&C 76:106 Not all are saved until Christ subdues all enemies under his feet.. only then is his work perfected)
Joseph Smith revealed a great secret in that and other discourses stating that evil spirits oppress other spirits in the world of spirits. Those with greater power often oppress the others. Unrighteous dominion runs rampant in the spirit world.
It is therefore essential that we gain the knowledge and power necessary to “triumph over all evil spirits” in the world to come.
According to testimony, Joseph Smith exclaimed;
“I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now..”
Again, it may seem odd that Joseph, while seeing the majesty of the Father and the Son in their glory in the eternal world should say “let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now”. (ref)
Who was Joseph speaking about? Who would want to kill him?
Why is he preoccupied with enemies on either side of the veil while having the heavens parted and seeing the Father and the Son?
I believe he may have seen more than just the Father and the Son when the heavens departed… or at least intelligence was pouring into him and revealing to the eyes of his understanding just how serious and real the spiritual war in heaven and on earth really is.
I believe that it is impossible to gain a perfect knowledge of God and a fulness of the Holy Ghost and and a deeper understanding of the forces of good without gaining a sure knowledge of Satan and the forces of evil that want to destroy the humble followers of Christ.
On that occasion, Joseph and others had it revealed to them just how literal the enemy in the “secret chambers” really is. He understood that evil beings on both sides of the veil are making war with the Saints and trying to destroy them and the work of God.
You will recall that the reason the Lord commanded the Saints to go to the Ohio to get the law of the Gospel (section 42) and receive the priesthood endowment (section 44 Morley Farm) was “because of the enemy” (section 37:1).
“And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless— Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high..” (section 38:31-32)
Joseph’s statement was totally congruent with what the Lord had been warning the Saints about.
The Lord gathered the infant church to Ohio and gave them the law of consecration and the higher priesthood so that they could establish Zion and be protected from the enemy that was already combined and conspiring against the Saints in secret chambers.
The Lord revealed the power of the forces of evil on the same occasion that he gave some of them the highest priesthood so that they would be sobered up to the reality of his power and be better prepared to avoid his deceptions.
Joseph’s statement that they could now kill him is somewhat ironic, or prophetic, as the time would come within the next few years when he would have the opportunity to stare death in the face, being told he would be put in front of a firing squad if he did not betray the Lords anointed. Having had the experience he had, and obtained the knowledge he gained that day, he fearlessly smiled at death and remained valiant in the faith.
Not only were the dark forces at the special farm upsetting to many of the participants, but even the things of God seemed ridiculous to them.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God”
Mocking Lyman’s Vision of the Father and the Son, Ezra Booth gave this account;
“Wight arose and presented himself a pale countenance, a fierce look, with his arms extended, and his hands cramped back, the whole system agitated, and very unpleasant object to look upon. He exhibited himself as an instance of great power of God, and called upon those around him ‘if you want to see a sign, look at me.’ He then stepped upon a bench and declared with a loud voice, he saw the Savior”
It is interesting how the natural man who is an unbeliever will characterize a spiritual event so much differently than a believer.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (ref)
Here is another account of the exact same event by a believer;
“…After he had prophesied, he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight [and ordained him] to the High Priesthood after the holy order of God. And the Spirit fell upon Lyman” (ref)
Here is Lyman’s general description of the event years later;
“On the 4th of June 1831, a conference was held at Kirtland, <Ohio> represented by all the above mamed [named] branches; Joseph Smith our modern Prophet presided; and here I again saw the visible manifestations of the power of God as plain as could have been on the day of pentecost and here for the first time I saw the Melchisedec priesthood introduced into the church of Jesus Christ as anciently..” (ref)
Lyman compared the events of this spiritual endowment to the day of Pentecost.
I would like to make two observations about this very controversial event.
The first has to do with the principle of adoption. The second has to do with the Baptism of Fire.
The Principle of Adoption
Joseph Smith once said that when;
“the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; … while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost.” (ref)
Had the experience at the Morley Farm happened in book of Mormon times among the Nephites, the physical response to the glory of God upon a Nephite might have been a more “serene” effect than what Joseph, Lyman and Harvey experienced.
I believe Lyman and Harvey and possibly Joseph were having a very visible, spiritual, physical effect taking place upon his spiritual and physical body. The gentile blood was being purged. They were becoming, once again, the Seed of Abraham and Moses which is requisite in being elected to the fullness of the priesthood.
Again, in section 84, we are informed that the first two priesthoods that were restored by John the Baptist and Peter, James and John, were lineage based priesthoods. One must magnify those priesthoods and “become” the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham in the process of being elected to the highest priesthood that is without Father and Mother….without beginning of days.
Whilst on the principle of adoption, I would like to share a speculation that I have about adoption which pertains to the principle of predestination, as taught in the New Testament.
I think everyone that is saved must possibly be adopted into the seed of Abraham.
I would suggest however, that everyone who is ultimately called and elected to the highest kingdom, even though they are adopted spiritually back into the house of Israel through the baptism of fire, were, at a previous time, literal heirs according to the flesh… they were originally of the seed of Abraham.
This explains why the Lord told the early Saints that they “are the children of Israel and the seed of Abraham…” and that the covenant of baptism was sent forth for the express purpose of recovering his people who “were of the house of Israel” (103:17 & 39:11) and yet he explained that they needed to “become the Sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham…” in the process of becoming sanctified and becoming the elect of God (88:34-34).
Why do we need to be adopted into the house of Israel if our forefathers originally came from that lineage?
I believe that the parable of the prodigal son may very well represent the two tribes of Israel that had been given the right of kingship… Judah and Joseph (Ephraim).
When the prodigal son offended his father, culture, and tribal law by requesting his inheritance prematurely, before the passing of his Father, and then exhausting his inheritance by living riotously, he lost his inheritance and place of standing in his Fathers house.
However, I believe he was adopted back into his Fathers family and back into his previous station and inheritance when he returned to ask for mercy and request the opportunity to be a servant in his Fathers kingdom,
“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”
The response of his Father was to restore him to his previous position;
“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
I believe this represented the fact that the kingdom of Israel became mingled among the nations and more specifically, “Ephraim hath mixed himself among the nations”.
The reason Ephraim is not mentioned specifically in the Book of Revelation when identifying the 12,000 High Priests from each tribe, is because Ephraim had become mixed into all 12 tribes.
All 12,000 from each tribe that are called and chosen are of mixed lineage. Each of them, in addition to maintaining their original tribal identity also have the birthright blood of Ephraim, which is the right of the first born. The 144,000 Ephraimites that gather in the terrestrial portion of the House of Israel are the firstfruits of the resurrection mentioned in section 88 and the Book of Revelation.
Joseph Smith was using the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gather the scattered remnants of those tribes who had lost their identity and birthright. They were being adopted back into the family of Israel from which they had originally been legal heirs according to the flesh. (86:8-10)
The Transfiguration of Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and Harvey Whitlock
Getting back to Joseph, Lyman and Harvey, their experiences were very strange and seemed so inappropriate and offensive to some… They were classed among the gentiles. Their lineage was originally from the house of Israel; anciently the kingdom of Israel became the “outcasts of Israel” when God scattered them among the nations. They temporarily lost their identity and their birthright.
It is very possible that these brethren were having their mixed gentile blood purged out of their systems, becoming a new creatures of the Holy Ghost and being adopted back into the tribe and kingdom from which they had originally come from.
The scriptures reveal that it is impossible for a man to see God the Father unless he is transfigured. Notice the testimony of Moses;
11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritaul 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. … 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?”
If these three brethren were telling the truth about seeing the Father and the Son, and if the above passage is true, they had to have been transfigured, just like Moses during his experience at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
Joseph, Lyman and Harvey were transfigured before God at the special conference at the Morley Farm! The glory of God fell upon them and transfigured them!
They were experiencing what Christ and Peter, James, and John had experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration when the Father bore witness of the Son.
Notice how the following scripture in JST John reveals that whenever a person sees the Father, it involves the Father bearing witness of the Son!
“And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son..”
It is virtually always Christ that deals directly with mortal man except when the will of the Father choses to sanctify someone with the baptism of the Fire and the Holy Ghost. I appears that during this process, the candidate either hears the Father bear testimony of the Son or sees the Son on the right hand of the Father.
Shortly after the Morley Farm experience, Joseph and Sidney became transfigured during the Vision known as section 76. Notice how they also saw the Father and had to become sanctified in the process by receiving the fullness of their glory;
“By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God—
Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning;
Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision….
And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.
And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness..”
During the vision that Joseph and Sidney had, which is now known as section 76, several of the Elders were walking in and out of the room and watching the event. Several mentioned that they could feel the spirit but could not see what Joseph and Sidney were seeing. I believe Joseph and Sidney were also transfigured during that vision and possibly received the baptism of fire, just as Lyman had been.
It appears that Lyman Wight received the baptism of fire, which is spoken of in the scriptures, and he experienced the “transfiguration” that Moses and every other prophet who saw the Father and the Son experienced. It is not clear to me if both of these terms represent the exact same event.
When the scriptures reveal that the baptism of fire is done according to the will of God the Father, it appears to be speaking of the sanctification that takes place when someone is being called and elected to the high priesthood by God the Father.
Again, when a person experiences the baptism of fire, they have the heavens opened and they either hear the Father bearing witness of the Son or they see the Son standing on the right hand of the Father. (Most of the time, the scriptures don’t give details of what happened to those who were baptized. But we do no that women as well as men are invited by God’s servants to be baptized. The stories pertaining to King Benjamin’s people and the people of Ammon would indicate that men and women may experience the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost and therefore are elected to this high priesthood)
Stephen is another example of someone being transfigured while seeing the Son of Man standing on the right hand of the God;
“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Lyman Wight and Harvey Whitlock received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost
As the Savior was speaking to the Nephites in 3rd Nephi after destroying the wicked, he made the following comment;
“… ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost and they knew it not.” 3 Nephi 9:19-20
I believe the Savior was not saying that the Lamanites didn’t know that they were experiencing an incredible spiritual manifestation and the preliminary effects of the Holy Ghost. He was simply pointing out that they did not understand that what they were experiencing was called the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
It is true that usually the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost follow the public confession and the baptism of water and the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, but there are times when God changes the order in which these things are received.
An example of this is the day of Pentecost when the gift of the Holy Ghost fell upon the Gentiles causing Peter to offer them water baptism;
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:45)
Interestingly, it could be said that most of the spectators at the Morley Farm watched the glory of God fall upon Lyman Wight as he received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and they knew it not. In other words, they did not comprehend that he was being sanctified by the cleansing power of the baptism of Fire. Nor did they comprehend that he was spiritually transfigured to be able to see God with his spiritual eyes.
One might ask why it is that the Lamanites in the prison saw the fire that encircled Lehi and Nephi and saw the heavens opened and heard the voice of God and saw angels descending when, in fact, even the believing Saints at the Morley Farm didn’t appear to notice anything other than to acknowledge that the glory of God descended upon Lyman.
I don’t pretend to know the answer. It may be that the gentiles were not exercising the degree of faith that the Lamanites exercised. It might have something to do with the fact that the Lamanites have a greater predisposition for spiritual phenomena than the gentiles until the gentile blood is purged, as mentioned by Joseph Smith.
Nevertheless, if we study the events that took place in the 5th chapter of Helaman and all of the other scriptures that talk about the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, it becomes clear that Lyman was experiencing the same baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that Lehi and Nephi and others experienced.
The heavens parted, the Father bore witness of his Son and the Holy Spirit entered into their hearts as they were cleansed by a burning fire.
If you study every scripture that speaks of the baptism of Water, Fire, and Holy Ghost and document what each of them reveal, I think you will find that the spiritual baptism contains the following elements and results;
1- The Fire and Holy Ghost is given by the will of the Father through the Son
2- The heavens are opened and the Father bears witness of the Son or the Son is seen on the right hand of the Father
3- The Holy Ghost enters into the heart of the candidate-
4- The Holy Ghost showeth all things and teacheth the peaceable things
5- The Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and the Son
6- Angels descend and ye speak with the tongue of angels
7- The recipient enters into the order of the Son who is without “beginning of days or end of years”
8- After this sanctifying priesthood endowment of the water fire and Holy Ghost, if the candidate should deny Christ, it would have been better for them if they had never known him.
It is not clear whether the baptism of the Holy Ghost (which comes after the initial gift of the Holy Ghost) constitutes the other comforter which is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and is the promise of eternal life.
It is possible that the Holy Ghost is a three part event;
1- Invitation to receive the Holy Ghost initiated by laying on of hands after baptism but before the baptism of fire.
2- Baptism of the Holy Ghost which usually follows after the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost
3- The other Comforter which is the sealing of the Holy Ghost into your heart to be with you on a continual basis and is the promise of eternal life.
It appears that the Baptism of Water and the Gift of the Holy Ghost is what initiates entering into the gate.
The reason we are told that the Lord employeth no man at the gate is because Christ, under the direction of the Father, is the one that we must believe in, and he determines a persons worthiness to receive the Holy Ghost.
It appears that after confessing your sins before God and the church, declaring your determination to serve God, being baptized by water, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, you are justified.
After that you are on the straight and narrow path. The next part of baptism is the baptism of fire which is sanctification.
Those who are justified and/or sanctified can still fall from grace.
It appears to me that the last step necessary in being sealed up and having one’s calling and election sure, is the receive the “Other comforter”. It is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Receiving the Other comforter is the promise of eternal life.
(It is sometimes erroneously taught in the church that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, this is not substantiated in the scriptures)
According to section 76:69 “Just men made perfect” appears to be referring to those who become justified by entering in at the gate of baptism and then being made perfect through the sanctification of the fire and eventually receiving the promise of eternal life through the other comforter.
Again, it is not clear to me whether the term baptism of the “Holy Ghost” which is spoken of in the scriptures is synonymous with the term, “Other comforter”. If not, then the gift of the Holy Ghost and then the baptism of the Holy Ghost are two steps that take place before the final reception of the other comforter.
Once I understood that Lyman Wight and Harvey Whitlock were experiencing the same baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost that Lehi and Nephi and the Lamanite dissenters experienced in Helaman 5, I began to experience a greater synchronization of the theology in the Book of Mormon with the theology in the Doctrine and Covenants!
Over the years, as I have studied the salvation theology in the Book of Mormon and compared it to the salvation theology in the D&C, I have been a bit perplexed. The Spirit bore witness that the doctrines in the unaltered revelations contained in both books were true, yet it didn’t seem like the process and many of the terms used were exactly the same!
Salvation theology in the Book of Mormon is very simple… Focusing almost totally on salvation through faith, repentance, and the baptism of water, fire, and the Holy Ghost.
Modern revelation contains that same salvation terminology, incorporating the baptism of water, fire, and Holy Ghost, but it also adds a very complex and, frankly, potentially very confusing component of priesthood theology. The priesthood component in modern revelation seems to be emphasized as much or more than the saving ordinances of the Gospel.
The Book of Mormon puts very little emphasis on priesthood, and the organization structure theology seems much less complex.
Once it occurred to me that the process of being elected to the high priesthood through the oath and covenant of the Father was the same thing as being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost by the will of the Father, I realized the doctrines contained in the two books were congruent, although sometimes described by different terminology.
The reason for the apparent discrepancy and differing terminology between the two cannons of scripture has to do with the fact that the Book of Mormon was a record of God’s dealings with those who were of the pure blood of Israel while the D&C is God’s dealings with the Gentiles, or the portion of Israel who had mingled among the gentile nations.
The necessity of having the gentile blood purged from the system requires the dynamics of being “called” to the priesthood and having the opportunity to “magnify” priesthood until one is “elected”. This process enables the candidates, by faith, to “become” the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham again. It also provides a sifting out process by which the tares, who are mingled among the wheat, may be sifted out and condemned for walking in darkness at noon day. It leaves them without excuse.
If a person doesn’t experience the merging together and synchronicity of the salvation theologies from these two books, they often lose faith in the revelations in the D&C and they begin to doubt their inheritance as a Gentile. It creates a natural tendency in the Gentile to assume he has an inferior birthright.
It results in a distorted lens through which to see the gospel and the events of the last days.
For instance, when reading about how the believing gentiles will assist the Book of Mormon remnant of Jacob in building up Zion, they assume an inferior role when, in fact, the righteous gentiles who receive their calling and election, obtaining the promise of eternal life, will indeed take the leadership role according to modern revelation. (of course it really doesn’t matter who has the leading role, but for the sake of trying to understand the scriptures this topic is being addressed)
It is easy to assume that the Nephites in 3rd Nephi, who consecrated and established Zion for 3 1/2 generations were more righteous than the Gentile Saints who failed to establish Zion during the early years of the restoration movement, but this is not an accurate assumption. The prodigal Son returns to his birthright!
One must remember that the Nephites had been stumbling around in darkness for a long time before Christ intervened and destroyed the tares, leaving the wheat to be taught, endowed, and organized.
Nephi was unable to get the righteous to repent among the wicked. Divine intervention was required to separate the wheat from the tares and produce the necessary miracle….
I would submit to you that Christ could certainly have provided the exact same divine intervention upon the gentiles at the Morley Farm; He could have separated the wheat from the tares however, doing so was not in accordance with his infinite and eternal plan. He makes it plain in modern revelation that in the dispensation of the last days, he must allow the wheat and the tares to grow together;
“But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;
6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.
7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned. “
The Inferiority complex of some of the Gentiles
Because of the things previously discussed, some have a tendency to assume that the gentiles of the latter days are spiritually inferior to the Nephites among whom Christ visited and establish the law of consecration.
Again, I suppose one of the reasons they arrive at this conclusion is because they were successful in establishing Zion and the Gentiles at the time of the restoration of the Church were not.
Another factor has to do with the fact that priesthood theology and salvation theology in the D&C seems complex and different than the simplistic theology presented in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.
It is because of this inferiority complex that some people reject the three watches doctrine and the return of the first laborers of the last kingdom. Instead, they see the Nephites in the leading role and see the believing gentiles (Epraimites ) in a subservient role assisting the remnant of Jacob.
For these reasons it is not uncommon to see some of these people view the D&C with contempt, and most of their writings are based on the Book of Mormon scriptures and theology even though the Doctrine and Covenants is much more pertinent to us and our generation.
I personally don’t care whether the gentiles are in a leadership role or a lesser role during the establishment of Zion as long as I can be there in Zion sweeping the floors, washing the dishes, and cleaning the toilets…
I believe the infallible word of God in the scriptures does indeed show forth with great clarity that the gentile first laborers of the last kingdom will take the leading role in the reestablishment of Zion in the last days. They represent “Ephraim” as outlined in section 133.
I believe that the events that took place at the special conference at the Morley Farm constituted the LDS Foundation movement’s version of the visitation of Christ to the Nephites.
Unfortunately, the light shined among those who sat in darkness and they did not comprehend the light (some did, but they were hampered because of being mingled among unbelievers and because God has put blindness upon Israel until an appointed time).
It is not fair to compare the results of what happened in 3rd Nephi to what happened at the Morley Farm.
The Joseph Smiths and Sidney Rigdons and Lyman Wights of the restoration movement would have done just fine in establishing Zion if Christ would have destroyed all of the wicked and descended from heaven to teach and organize those that remained. But that was not the will of God.
He had another program in mind for the foundation movement wherein the wheat and tares needed to grow together until the appointed time of harvest when the Marvelous Work is to take place.
This is critical to understand. Those who don’t understand this often deny their own inheritance.
There are more and more LDS who, because they don’t understand these things, subtly drop their study of the D&C and focus on the Book of Mormon, assuming that it is the more pure record and doctrine of the gospel.
I believe this is a huge error.
To deny modern revelation is to deny the word of God to our generation, specifically tailored to our circumstances.
It is true that Joseph Smith testified that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion”
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461).
It is easy to assume that statement is suggesting that the Book of Mormon is doctrinally more pertinent to our salvation, but that is not what he is saying. We need to put that statement in its proper historical, doctrinal, and textual context.
It may make us feel closer, but that does not mean that the doctrine is more pertinent to us than what is in modern revelation.
I don’t think that Joseph Smith was saying the Book of Mormon provided more important salvation theology than the literal word of God that he was receiving through direct revelation.
Here are differing perspectives about these cannons of scriptures from other general authorities;
The Book of Mormon is the “keystone” of our religion, and the Doctrine and Covenants is the capstone…, The Lord has placed His stamp of approval on both the keystone and the capstone. [In Conference Report, April 1987, 105; or “The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987, 83]
The preface of the Doctrine and Covenants introduces the message of the book:
“Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.
And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.
Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled”. [D&C 1:17]
Those verses should not be taken lightly.
The following scriptures are also very sobering;
“Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever”
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“This Doctrine and Covenants is my book and your book, it belongs to all the world, to the Catholics, to the Presbyterians, to the Methodists, to the infidel, to the non-believer. It is his book if he will accept it. . . .
The Lord has given it unto the world for their salvation. If you do not believe it, you read the first section in this book, the preface, and you will find that the Lord has sent this book and the things which it contains unto the people afar off, on the islands of the sea, in foreign lands, and his voice is unto all people, that all may hear.
And so I say it belongs to all the world, not only to the Latter-day Saints, and they will be judged by it, and you will be judged by it.” [In Conference Report, October 1919, 146]
Joseph Fielding Smith also said:
“In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, which we say are our standards in doctrine.
The book of Doctrine and Covenants to us stands in a peculiar position above them all. I am going to tell you why. When I say that, do not for a moment think I do not value the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, just as much as any man that lives; I think I do. I do not know of anybody who has read them more, and I appreciate them; they are wonderful; they contain doctrine and revelation and commandments that we should heed; but the Bible is a history containing the doctrine and commandments given to the people anciently.
That applies also to the Book of Mormon. It is the doctrine and the history and the commandments of the people who dwelt upon this continent anciently.
But this Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. It is our book. It belongs to the Latter-day Saints. More precious than gold, the Prophet says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth. I wonder if we do? If we value it, understand it, and know what it contains, we will value it more than wealth; it is worth more to us than the riches of the earth.” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:198-199)
Finally here is what Joseph Smith said about the Book of Commandments which he refereed to as the Book of Revelation;
“After deliberate consideration in consequence of the Book of Revelation now to be printed being the foundation of the Church and the salvation of the world and the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom, and the riches of eternity to the Church; Voted that they be prized by this conference to be worth to the church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally…”
Is this how you feel about the holy and infallible word of God that came through Gods latter day Seer?
Thoughts to Ponder
In closing this portion of part 6 of this series let me share a few observations.
The following passages were to have a dual fulfillment;
“And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.” (section 45:28-29)
We have discussed that passage before and observed that the final literal fulfillment takes place in the 3rd watch when those that sit in darkness among the gentiles will reject the message of God’s servants when the first laborers of the last kingdom return. Many members of the Church will be deceived by those who are false prophets and apostles.
Those passages had a very distinct shadow fulfillment during the LDS foundation movement. Perhaps the most poignant event that pertains to the shadow fulfillment of those passages is how the Saints collectively responded to the priesthood endowment that was being offered at the Morley Farm.
The collective church, which was composed of wheat and tares, rejected the light that was shining forth at that time.
Just as the Book of Mormon is a record of a fallen people, the Doctrine and Covenants is also a record of a fallen people.
Even at this time four generations later, the general church membership is virtually unaware of, or, finds little value in the Morley Farm experience.
They refuse to openly acknowledge that the third and highest order of the Holy Melchizedek priesthood, which is different and distinct from the first two orders of priesthood that were restored by angels, was restored to the earth at that time by the voice of God out of heaven.
They largely refuse to teach and discuss the profound implications of this event because they don’t comprehend it.
Additionally, judging from emails and comments I get, there are those who have been following this series who consider themselves enlightened gospel scholars that are mocking my “obsession” with what the events of the Special Conference at the Morley Farm really represents.
Perhaps I have become a little obsessed. It’s been wonderful! I have been studying and meditating about this event intensely for weeks and I am loving it. Obsession is great!
I don’t want to be like those participants that took these things lightly or couldn’t comprehend them because they sat in darkness.
If it is true that Lyman Wight was indeed transfigured before the Lord and that he received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, in the process of being elected to the Melchizedek priesthood, then he had already entered into the oath and covenant of the Father that is mentioned in section 84.
He had entered into it BEFORE the special conference.
Many people feel that the “covenant” portion of the oath and covenant of the Father is what God and man jointly enter into and that an “oath” is only made by the Father when he finally grants the promise of eternal life… but the chronology of the phrase “oath and covenant” would suggest that an oath is entered into by man before the covenant is consummated.
I would suggest that both the candidate and the Lord make an “oath”.
The candidate makes an oath up front, before entering into covenant. Eventually, after being faithful, they obtain an oath from God AFTER making good on the covenant they entered into.
The process begins with an oath or promise from the disciple of Christ. He then enters into a covenant with God. Finally, after the disciple has been tested and weighed in the balance, God gives the promise of eternal life.
The humble follower of Christ must offer an oath before God in the presence of witnesses BEFORE they can enter into the covenant.
That covenant has to do with completely submitting one’s self to God… To SERVE God and not themselves. In essence they are making a promise to consecrate themselves to God and sacrifice ALL THINGS just like Abraham did, which results in obtaining the promise of eternal life from God.
In the next part of this series we will dissect what the oath and covenant of the Father is, although you have hopefully already had your epiphany and you know what it is.
Once it occurred to me what the oath and covenant of the Father really was, it was like the sun shining through on a cloudy day.
It began to make sense to me why section 84 informs us that the oath and covenant of the Father belongs to the administrative power of the patriarchal priesthood.
I could see why Lyman Wight had to make a public declaration before witnesses and enter into the baptismal covenant which had been administered by the patriarchal priesthood BEFORE he could be endowed with the highest priesthood.
It occurred to me that women enter into the exact same oath and covenant of the Father that men do… AHA!!!
The patriarchal priesthood was restored by Peter, James, and John to dispense the saving ordinances of the Gospel. It is in those saving ordinances that the oath and covenant of the Father is made available and entered… and that is what makes it possible to enter into the gate and the holy order of the priesthood after the Son of God
To be continued…
click on the link below to proceed to the next part
True Oath & Covenant found in True Manner of Baptism
Father Adam & Lyman Wight enter the gate via water, fire & Holy Ghost
(previously titled part 5-b)