Four Steps in Losing Your Naiveté- Part 5

The Jackson-Kirtland Apostasy 1829-1837

In June of 1831 the Lord began sending missionaries out with the command to meet in Missouri for the next conference where Zion, the place of their inheritance would be revealed.

On September 11 1831 the revelation known as section 64 was given in which the Lord revealed that Kirtland Ohio would only be retained as a strong hold for the space of five more years. During that time The Lord required the Saints to “go with an open heart up to the land of Zion“.

From that revelation it appeared that after the designated five year period of time, the priesthood hedge which was protecting the Saints in Kirtland, would be taken away. The obvious drift was, redeem Zion within the appointed time frame because Kirtland will no longer be a place of priesthood protection after the appointed time.

The Saints who attempted to settle in and around Jackson County would ultimately fail to consecrate, build that temple and establish Zion.

They would be forced to flee from there within a few years.

Joseph Smith later gave further clarification to that prophecy contained in section 64.

On August 16th 1834, he wrote a letter to Lyman Wight and the brethren on the High Council in Missouri telling them that the spirit had informed him that the leaders of the Church in Zion must use-

every effort to prevail on the churches to gather to those regions and situate themselves to be in readiness to move into Jackson Co. in two years from the Eleventh of September next which is the appointed time for the redemption of Zion”.

Joseph was clarifying that section 64 had designated September 11th 1836 as the appointed time for the redemption of Zion! Unfortunately, the saints attempt to redeem Zion was unsuccessful.

The Kirtland-Jackson period of the church was a time of unusual sacrifice and change,

it was also a time of unusual blessings. Some have suggested that between January and May 1836, probably more Latter-day Saints beheld visions, prophesied, and spoke in tongues than during any other similar period in the history of the Church.

In one fifteen-week period, Latter-day Saints reported that during ten different meetings men of the priesthood beheld heavenly beings. During eight of these meetings, many saw angels; and during five, the Savior appeared to members worshipping in the temple.” (See History of the Church, 2:380–83, 386–87, 391–92, 430–36.)

By following the instructions of the Prophet, many testified that they partook of spiritual blessings in a magnitude unlike anything they had previously experienced.

Some who attended the dedication of the temple wrote that they experienced a spiritual feast. William Hyde testified that this was, by far, the best meeting he had ever attended. “The gifts of the gospel,” he added, “were enjoyed in a marvelous manner and angels administered unto many.” Another who reflected on those events, Benjamin Brown, recalled that the Spirit of God was poured out profusely, as on the day of Pentecost.

We had a glorious and never to be forgotten time,” he explained. “Hundreds of Elders spoke in tongues. … Angels were seen by [a] number present, and the first endowments were received. It was during this assembly that a Saints’ favorite hymn was given by inspiration commencing—’The Spirit of God, like a fire, is burning!

Clearly, there was a brief time when a light shown forth upon the Saints although is was a lesser light than what was experienced by Lyman Wight in 1831 at the Morley Farm… but even this time of the lesser light was short lived.

Several Saints observed that six months after many members had communed with the hosts of heaven, the Spirit of the Lord was partially withdrawn from them. Daniel Tyler wrote in his autobiography that after a group of priesthood holders had received what we now know as part of the endowment, Joseph Smith cautioned them, saying:

Brethren, for some time Satan has not had power to tempt you. Some have thought that there would be no more temptation. But the opposite will come; and unless you draw near to the Lord you will be overcome and apostatize.”

Joseph Smith’s prophesy about the eventual apostasy of the church came to pass.

I have previously written about how the failure of the Church to gather and redeem Zion by the appointed time of September 11th 1836 became the literal fulfillment of the reason the Bridegroom tarried in the parable of the ten virgins.

The history of the church verifies that shortly after the failure of the church to redeem Zion at the appointed time, all hell broke out in the church.

Shortly after the five year period elapsed resulting in the failure to redeem Zion, the leading brethren of the church decided to create a financial institution called the Kirtland Safety Society. It appears their hearts had been turned away from focusing on living the law of consecration in Zion, to gaining temporal security via their own financial institution.

This decision and the events associated with how the bank was managed would play a significant role in the demise of the church in Kirtland.

In May of 1837, after the appointed time for the redemption of Zion had expired, there was a spirit of speculation in Kirtland, affecting, among others, some of the leading men of the church; and it is possible that under this influence some of them, including some of those connected with the Kirtland Safety Society, did things of questionable propriety and honesty. This spirit, with its legitimate tendencies, was condemned by Joseph Smith, and by others of high standing, although several of the leading brethren saw Joseph himself as the primary problem.

Of this Joseph wrote:-

At this time the spirit of speculation in lands and property of all kinds, which was so prevalent throughout the whole nation, was taking deep root in the church. As the fruits of this spirit, evil surmisings, faultfinding, disunion, dissension, and apostasy followed in quick succession, and it seemed as though all the powers of earth and hell were combining their influence in an especial manner to overthrow the church at once, and make a final end. Other banking institutions refused the ‘Kirtland Safety Society’s’ notes. The enemy abroad and apostates in our midst united in their schemes, flour and provisions were turned towards other markets, and many became disaffected towards me as though I were the sole cause of those very evils I was most strenuously striving against, and which were actually brought upon us by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel.

No quorum in the church was entirely exempt from the influence of those false spirits who were striving against me for the mastery; even some of the Twelve were so far lost to their high and responsible calling as to begin to take sides, secretly, with the enemy.”-Millennial Star, vol. 16, page 11.

The following segment out of the diary of Joseph Smith’s mother provides a very revealing look at one of the outward turning points in LDS church history that took place in the holy temple of God.

She recounts an astonishing prophecy from Joseph Smith about how 30% of the Church would apostatize from it. She also gives an account of a fight that broke out in the temple between two factions within the church who were trying to gain control over the Kirtland Temple.

“Soon after the house was finished, Joseph and Martin Harris took a short tour into the eastern country. As they were returning and were in Palmyra , Joseph had a vision which lasted until he besought the Lord to take it from him, for it showed him things which were very painful for him to contemplate. But it returned immediately and remained before his eyes until the middle of the forenoon.

The Church manifested great joy at his return. The news of his arrival was soon circulated among the brethren, and there was nothing to be heard but, “Brother Joseph has come back,” and “We shall hear Brother Joseph preach tomorrow.”

When we met the brethren the next day, he appeared unusually solemn, which caused them to wonder much, but he preached as he was accustomed to do. He told the congregation that had assembled that he was rejoiced to see them, and they no doubt were glad to meet him again. “We are now,” said he, “nearly as happy as we can be on earth, for we have accomplished more than we had any reason to anticipate when we began. Our lovely and beautiful house is finished, and the Lord has acknowledged it by pouring out his Spirit upon us here and revealing to us much concerning his purposes in regard to the work which he is about to perform. Furthermore, we have plenty of everything necessary to our comfort and convenience, and judging from appearances, one would not suppose that anything could occur that would break up our friendship for each other or distress us in the least. But, brethren, beware, for I tell you in the name of the Lord that there is an evil in this very congregation, which, if it is not repented of, will result in making one-third of you who are here this day so much my enemies that you will have a desire to take my life; and you even would do so, if God permitted the deed. But, brethren, I call upon you now to repent, while there is room for repentance, and cease all your hardness and turn from these principles of dishonesty and death which you are harboring in your bosoms, before it is eternally too late, for there is yet room for repentance.”

He continued to labor in this way with them, appealing to them in the most feeling and solemn manner, until the exertion of his mind and the fatigue of speaking quite exhausted him, and he sat down, leaving almost everyone in the house in tears.

The following week was much given to surmises and speculations as to who would be the traitors and why they should be, etc., etc.

In a short time, a difficulty broke out about the bank which the brethren had established in Kirtland. It seemed that a quantity of money had been taken away by fraud. When Joseph discovered this, he demanded a search warrant of Esquire Frederick G. Williams. This was flatly refused by said Williams, to which Joseph said, “If you will give me a warrant, I can get the money, but if you do not, I will break you of your office.”

“Well, break it is, then,” said Williams, “and we will strike hands upon it.”

“Very well,” said Joseph, “from henceforth I drop you from my quorum in the name of the Lord,” and Williams in wrath replied, “Amen.”

Joseph entered a complaint against him for neglect of duty as an officer of justice, on which account his ministry was taken from him and given to Oliver Cowdery.

Joseph then went to Cleveland in order to transact some business pertaining to the bank; and as he was absent the ensuing Sunday, my husband preached to the people. In speaking of the bank affair, he reflected somewhat sharply upon Brother Warren Parrish. Although the reflection was just, this incensed Mr. Parrish, and he made an attempt to go onto the stand. Mr. Smith told him that he would not be interrupted, and seeing that Parrish intended to force his way, my husband called upon Oliver Cowdery, who was justice of the peace, to have him brought to order. But Oliver paid no attention, and Parrish made a move to pull Mr. Smith out of the stand. At this, William, who was the oldest one of my sons who was present, sprang from his seat, caught Parrish in his arm, and carried him halfway across the house. He would have put him out of the room entirely had not John Boynton stepped forward and, drawing the sword from his cane, presented it to William’s breast and said, “If you advance one step further, I will run you through.” Before William had time to turn, several gathered around him, threatening to
handle him severely if he laid hands upon Parrish again. At this juncture I left the house, sick and grieved of heart, and more distressed as I found that, although a great number did not take active part against the Church, yet many were undecided.This plainly showed me that the seeds of the apostasy were already sown in the breasts of a greater number than I imagined before, just as Joseph had prophesied.

The defiling of the Kirtland Temple is undeniable. Although the actual first defiling of it probably is not certain and possibly took place sometime before the fight that broke out in it, it clearly was defiled once the fight broke out and people’s lives were threatened.

Three months later, three apostles were disfellowshipped; and within a year, three of the original seven presidents of the seventies had been released. Before two years had passed, eight of the twenty-five General Authorities who had witnessed some of the most remarkable events in the history of the church had been excommunicated or released from their ecclesiastical responsibilities” (The Heavens Resound, by Backman)

He later made the following observation,

I returned to Kirtland on or about he 10th of December. During my absence in Missouri Warren Parrish, John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, Joseph Coe, and some others united together for the overthrow of the church. Soon after my return this dissenting band openly and publicly renounced the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints and claimed themselves to be the old standard, calling themselves the Church of Christ, excluding the word “Saints”, and set me at naught, and the whole Church, denouncing us as heretics, not considering that the Saints shall possess the kingdom according to the prophet Daniel.” (HC 2:528)

It is also worthy of Note that two of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, which included David Whitmer who service as President in Zion and also Oliver Cowdery who had been the Co-President of the church with Joseph Smith, had also left the church during this period of time.

During the seven year period from 1829 through 1836 the Lord gave about 112 published revelations to the church through the prophet Joseph smith, an average of about 13 revelations per year.

During that the next eight years, after the year the saints failed to establish Zion until the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844, only about 8 published revelations were given, with NO published revelations given to the church through Joseph Smith during the last three years of Joseph’s life.

The chart below is pretty revealing. Forgive me for showing it in multiple posts but it is such an incredible visual in depicting how the heavens were closing upon the Latter-day Saints-

It was indeed apparent that the heavens were closing.

Some of the saints realized that it was due to the apostasy of the church while others accused Joseph Smith of being a “fallen prophet”. (HC 3:228, 4:478, 5:217, 6:42, 312, 347, 354, 411)

“In mid 1837, many members living in Kirtland, including some who had been called to serve in the highest positions of responsibility, rejected the leadership of Joseph Smith, declaring that he was a fallen prophet. While Joseph was lying in bed with a debilitating illness in June, apostates circulated a rumor that he was suffering because of his transgressions”. (The Heavens Resound 325)

In defense of himself the Prophet Joseph Smith made the following statement,

“Some people say I am a fallen prophet, because I do not bring forth more of the word of te Lord. Why do I not do It? Are we able to receive it? No!” He then chastened the church for their wickedness and unbelief” (HC 4:478)

The closing of the heavens, which began during the last several years of Joseph’s ministry in Kirtland was a fulfillment of the prophecy. Speaking about the latter-day Saints who would eventually reject the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum whom the Lord had chosen to be his successor, and eventually Sidney Rigdon, Isaiah uttered the following prophecy,

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.” (Isa 29 & 2 Nephi 27)

The Book of Mormon version of the above passage from Isaiah 29 is profoundly identifying the rebelliousness of the saints as the reason God was withdrawing his spirit from the leaders of the church.

It is hard to believe that the glorious beauty of the latter-day Saints could fade so quickly after the Pentecostal experiences that were so generously bestowed, Isaiah identifies the problem of the latter-day apostasy as one of pride;

Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” (isa 28:1)

In sections 204 and 105 the Lord elaborates on the fact that the transgressions of the saints prevented them from redeeming Zion and he explains that the saints had broken the everlasting covenant by breaking the covenant of consecration.

The observation of Eliza R Snow after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple dedication has a startling similarity to those words of Isaiah,

“Many of the Saints who had received marvelous spiritual blessings anticipated that “prosperity was dawning upon them.” As economic conditions improved, some became “haughty in their spirits” and were “lifted up in the pride of their hearts“. And as individual “drank I the love and spirit of the world,” she added, the Spirit withdrew, and “they were filled with pride and Hatred toward those who maintained their integrity.” (Joseph Smith’s Kirtland pg 212)

Section 88 had informed the saints that they were under condemnation for taking the things they had been given lightly and section 112 informed them that the saving ordinances were not longer sanctifying people for “ALL flesh had become corrupt” again.

One of the mistakes that latter day saints make when they begin to investigate the latter day apostasy is that they assume that apostasy passages pertaining to the latter day apostasy are focusing primarily on our current time in the fourth phase or possibly during the third phase of the latter day apostasy.

If you will review all of those prophesies in the context of the events that took place in Kirtland, you will see that they are largely identifying the Kirtland era as the time when the church went into apostasy. In fact, may of the scriptures don’t really acknowledge that the latter day church ever really came out of apostasy and embraced the fullness of the gospel at all.

Listed below are just a few examples from the various books of scripture,

New Testament Old Testament Book of Mormon D & C
Romans 11:25-26
2nd Thes 2:3
1st Tim 4
2nd Tim 4:3; 5
Isa 24:5; 28; 59:20
Dan 7:21
Jer 5:31; 14:14; 25:29
Ezek 13:2-11
Ether 4:6
Mormon 8
2nd Nephi 28
3 Nephi 16:10
D&C 1
D&C 84:55-57
D&C 112:23

There are of course those who claim that the scriptures teach that the priesthood has been restored to the church for the last time but there is not sound basis for this belief in the scriptures.

I have previously shown that section 13 only applies to the lesser priesthood and that the actually wording does not state that it will never be taken, rather that it will never be taken UNTIL the sons of Levi offer and acceptable offering unto the Lord.

Another passage that confuses people is in section 87 which states that the priesthood “must needs remain” “until the restoration of all things”. But that is not speaking about the priesthood that is obtained through ordination for administering the ordinances of the gospel, it is speaking about lineage priesthood, which always has and always will be on the earth!

The strongest argument for that I have found from an apologist is presented in the following statement by a fellow who wrote an article on the apostasy of the church, thinking that the apostasy of the church began when the church began discarding the gospel of Brigham Young.

He says,

Later in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants we find another statement by the Lord which sheds light on the apostasy in the latter-days. Speaking of restoring the priesthood in the last days the Lord has said,

For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;

For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you. (D&C 112:30-32, underline added)

These verses seem to indicate that the priesthood that was given to the 12 Apostles and First Presidency of the church has been restored to the earth for the last time in this dispensation. This suggests that this priesthood will not be restored again prior to the second coming of Christ. Hence, if this priesthood exists on earth today, it finds its origin in the LDS church. We should not look to any other restoration of this priesthood, as is claimed by some.”

His argument seems logical and sound to those who have an elementary understanding of the scriptures.

However, on the three watches blog, I have provided over 50 evidences that the gospel and priesthood light will shine forth AGAIN and the fullness of the priesthood will be restored to the earth AGAIN during a third and distinct dispensation which is called the dispensation of the fulness of times!

Regarding the above passages that this good fellow has quoted, he derives from them that the priesthood will never be restored again to the church or to the earth again.

HOWEVER that is not what the passages are saying. Look again,

For unto YOU, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

If you have studied the diagram at the top of the threewatches blog then you understand that the dispensation of the fullness of times takes place sometime within the later part of the dispensation of the last times.

Notice carefully the point being made in the above passages, They are saying that the priesthood has come down LAST OF ALL, in the dispensation of the last times to THOSE SPECIFIC BRETHREN!

The terms “church” and “earth” are never mentioned or alluded to in the passages he quotes.

The point being made by the Lord is that the first presidency of the Church at that time, and those who are ordained in the ministry with them at that time will never need to have the priesthood conferred upon them again. They will return with that same priesthood when it is time for them to roll the kingdom forth!

It is quite simple, if you take the scriptures literally then you believe that the first presidency and the 12 will be returning in the third watch with the priesthood that they received when they were on the earth during the second watch!

Notice how this very point is taken up in the prophecy contained in section 65 about how the kingdom will roll forth,

The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence, shall the gospel roll forth

Again, the passage is not saying the keys are committed unto the church and that from that church the gospel will roll forth. It is saying those men that received the keys will be the men that will roll the gospel forth when the appointed time arrives!

Section 1:4-6 provides another witness to the above interpretation of modern revelation.

“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 my 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, inhabitance of the earth.

Who is going to go forth in so much power that none shall stay them in providing the last warning to the inhabitants of the world? Those disciples who originally published the Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenants!

They are the men that received the priesthood keys for the last days and for the last time and it is they that will be returning with those priesthood keys to roll the kingdom forth!

That is why the Lord made it so clear that the keys of the priesthood would continue with Joseph Smith even in death!

Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come.” (D&C 11:15)

The keys of the kingdom stay with Joseph Smith UNTIL the Lord comes in the third watch!

The Lord also made it clear that even in the world to come Joseph would hold the keys

Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears. Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time. Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come” (D&C 90:3)

Moving on… As previously mentioned, I had authored a booklet entitled, “The apostasy and redemption of Latter day Israel” back in 1992. Some of the above observations and many more were provided in my booklet documenting the fact that the first apostasy is easily identified as taking place in Kirtland Ohio.

According to section 64, the words of Joseph Smith and the evidences provided by the associated events in church history, the apostasy was complete when the Saints failed to redeem Zion by the appointed time of September 11th, 1836.

Shortly thereafter, many of the leaders of the church fell, 30% of the membership left the church, the temple was defiled and the Saints were forced to abandon the temple and flee to Far West.

The fact that God continued to labor with the saints, give them a few more revelations and give them an opportunity to repent and redeem themselves after the Kirtland era obscures how serious and complete the original apostasy was in the minds of many people.

I also noted in that booklet that sometime in 1835 Joseph Smith quit encouraging the saints to prepare to redeem Zion at the appointed time. It was evidently revealed to him or at least it was obvious to him that they would not be valiant in redeeming Zion.

He eventually announced that SOMETHING NEW must be done for the redemption of Zion.

How strange.

Since gathering to Zion and living consecration could not be accomplished for the salvation of the Church in the 2nd watch, something NEW must be done to save the church.

The parable of the olive trees in the book of Jacob alludes to something that would keep the tree alive for four generations until the Marvelous Work could begin and the fullness of the Gospel could shine forth again.

This brings us to the incredible pronouncement by the Lord that the tree is becoming ripened and will need to be cast into the fire unless they do SOMETHING to preserve it!

“…it will soon become ripened that it may be cast into the fire except we should do SOMETHING
for it to preserve it….” (Jacob 5:37)

Translation of the above prophecy on the context of the restoration saints: At this time in the history of the LDS restoration movement, following the Kirtland apostasy, Joseph Smith stated that the Lord had revealed to him that SOMETHING
NEW must be done for the salvation of the Church!

the Lord has revealed to me that SOMETHING new must be done for the Salvation of His Church(That quote has been taken from the History of the Church, 2:489; from “History of the Church” (manuscript), book B-1, p. 761, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Here is an interesting clip from the LDS Church website regarding this amazing pronouncement from Joseph Smith;

During the last few years the Saints lived in Kirtland, many members and even some leaders of the Church apostatized.
The Church seemed to be passing through a time of crisis.In this state of things,’ the Prophet wrote,
‘God revealed to me that something new must be done for the salvation of His Church.’ “

This “something new” was linked to a revelation to send missionaries to England to preach the gospel.

Heber C. Kimball, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, recalled:

About the first day of June 1837, the Prophet Joseph came to me, while I was seated in … the Temple, in Kirtland, and whispering to me, said, ‘Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, “Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation.

Joseph’s announcement that SOMETHING NEW must be done for the salvation of the church and therefore foreign missions must be set up coincided with a secret vision that he and Oliver Cowdery received in the Kirtland Temple which currently recorded in section 110 of the D&C. During that vision, the gospel of Abraham was given to the church since they had rejected the fullness of the gospel of Christ.

After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.” (D&C 110:12)

A second witness that this vision that occurred in the Kirtland Temple was associated with the SOMETHING NEW event that was necessary for the SALVATION OF THE CHURCH is found in the following pronouncement by Rigdon,

“..We should use every effort to accomplish this building by the time appointed and if we do, the Lord would accept it at our hands, and upon it depends the salvation of the church and also the world…” (Temples of the most high pg 17 also times and Seasons 6:367-8

How interesting that because of the failure of the saints to redeem Zion, the salvation of the church and world now hinged on a revelation that needed to be received in the temple and the transferring of keys that would restore the gospel of Abraham (preparatory gospel) to the earth and begin the taking it to the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah.

In September of 1836, during the month and year when the appointed time for the redemption of Zion was to HAVE taken place, Parley P. Pratt received a revelation through a prophetic dream telling him to warn the inhabitants of America that God was about to withdraw his word from them and take his servants from their midst and send them to the nations that were afar off-

Here is a segment from his diary-

“In July, 1836, while lodging at the house of brother Joseph Fielding, the voice of the Lord came unto me in a dream, saying:


And I answered:

“Here am I;”

for I was in a vision of the Spirit and knew that it was the Lord who spake unto me. And he said:

“When did I ever reveal anything unto you in a dream and it failed to come to pass?”

And I answered:

“Never, Lord.”

“Well, then,”

He continued,

“go unto this people and cry unto them with a mighty voice that they repent, lest I smite them with a curse and they die; for, notwithstanding the present fruitfulness of the earth, there shall be a famine in the land; and not only a famine for bread, but a famine for the Word of the Lord; for I will call my servants out from their midst and send them to the nations afar off.”

Although much of the above information was covered in my book back in 1992 and I was able to identify that there was an apostasy in Kirtland and when it was complete, it is only recently, within the last 12 months that I have come to realize the significance of the restoration of the gospel of Abraham and also realize exactly when the Kirtland apostasy BEGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Furthermore, it is only recently that I have realized what the saints of the LDS restoration apostatized from!

They apostatized from the FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ!

In the 6th and final part of this series, I am going to explain in detail, what I have come to believe the fullness of the gospel is, when it shone forth, and when the saints began to reject it!

However there is something I would ask you to ponder before you read the last part of this series because it provides a critical part in helping us prepare for the restoration of the gospel again.

Would you agree that believing certain correct doctrines about the nature of God can facilitate us in seeing his face?

Conversely, would you agree that believing certain false doctrines about God can hinder us in our progression and prevent us from seeing his face?

2nd Nephi 28 warned that in the latter days the false doctrines would be introduced into the church.

I need to address a false and blasphemous doctrine that will prevent people from the highest salvation and from seeing the face of God if it is believed and not repented of.

This must be done to set the stage for part six of this series because as we study what the fulness of the Gospel is we are going to see that when one receives the fulness of the Gospel, they see the face of God. However, it is impossible to see the face of God and it is impossible to have faith unto salvation if you have a false belief about his nature and attribute of omniscience.

In a previous post I mentioned the following five people and asked what they all had in common.

  • Joseph smith
  • Sidney Rigdon
  • Lyman Wight
  • Harvey Whitlock
  • Zebedee Coltrin

They were all ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood and they all experienced an amazing supernatural spiritual epiphany in their lives. It is an epiphany and endowment that is not spoken of frequently in the scriptures… possibly because it happens so rarely and possibly because the bible had much information about it.

All of those good brethren had the heavens opened and they saw the Father and the Son.

And they all experienced this transfiguration before 1833.

All of the known accounts of priesthood holders seeing the father and the son happened exclusively to members of the school of the prophets who held the Melchizedek priesthood.

After the greater light of the fullness of the gospel dissipated, additional spiritual experiences of a lesser degree eventually took place during the years leading up to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.

Realizing this, it has occurred to me that the doctrines taught at that time that certain elders were having the heavens opened must be the most holy and pure doctrines in order to bring forth such spiritual fruits.

It occurred to me that knowledge is power.

I realized that the act of believing true doctrines conveys a mystical power to the believer. It allows the spirit to resonate and it opens up the channels of revelation.

Conversely I realized that believing false doctrine covers a person with a veil of darkness and prevents them from gaining additional light.

As I have pondered how the above mentioned people had all seen the Father and the Son prior to 1833, it occurred to me that they had some common beliefs about the nature and attributes of God.

They shared beliefs that are necessary to have in order to part the heavens and the veil of unbelief and see the face of God

Indeed there are certain very important doctrines pertaining to the nature and character of God that were critical in enabling these five men to receive an additional portion of the gift of faith and become transfigured before God and thus see the Father and the Son.

What doctrinal beliefs had these five men embraced about the nature and character of God that enabled them to part the veil?

What was it that enabled these five men to REND THE VEIL OF UNBELIEF?

There are various stages of enlightenment below the stage of seeing God, however, if you have not seen God, your mind is at least partially blinded and, as I will contend in the next part of this series, you have not received of the fulness of the gospel if you have not seen the face of God.

Notice how the book of Mormon acknowledges that the gentiles of the restored church, just prior to the Marvelous Work, will be in a state of darkness that keeps the greater things from them because of UNBELIEF

Pay close attention,

Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.

Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief.

Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.

If we gentiles are going to arise to the occasion and rend the veil of unbelief, it might be wise to analyze what was being taught in the school of the prophets and what was being believed in the church at the time that these five brethren were able to rend the veil of unbelief.

The school of the prophets was actually the training ground for those who needed to part the veil and see God in their ministries. It was a training ground for those who would eventually be part of the 144,000 saviors on Mt Zion. The doctrines that were being taught to them were the doctrines necessary for personal revelation and for parting the heavens to see the Father and the Son.

So what was being taught about the nature of God back in the earliest years of the restored church?

What did Joseph, Sidney, Lyman, Harvey and Zebedee believe about the character and nature of God that laid the foundation for parting the veil of unbelief?

I am now going to show you a segment out of Lectures on Faith that you need to ponder very seriously if you have not already done so.

This is what Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Spokesman taught those who were aspiring to be prophets in lectures on Faith;

[Lec 3:2] 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:

[Lec 3:3] First, the idea that he actually exists.

[Lec 3:4] Second, a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

[Lec 3:5a] Third, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his [God’s]† will.

[Lec 3:5b] For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive,

[Lec 3:5c] 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.

The lectures then go on to emphasize that God is OMNISCIENT-

God is the only supreme governor and independent being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell; who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. (Lecture 2, paragraph 2.)

The Lectures clearly state that without knowledge of all things, God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures.

“. . . seeing that without the knowledge of all things, God would
not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge
which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that
understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life;

It is then explained that if we doubt that God has ALL knowledge, we cannot exercise sufficient faith to be saved,

“and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.” (Lecture 4, paragraph 11.)

Understanding the true character and attributes of God is critical to say the least.

The question of whether God knows all things or not is of paramount importance.

This brings us to one of the false and blasphemous doctrines that Brigham Young taught,

God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120).

By their fruits ye shall know them

Is it any wonder that Brigham Young never claimed to see the father or the son after denying the Omniscience of God? In fact when asked by a woman if he had seen God, he boldly said no, and then assured her that he did not even expect to see God until after he died.

Yet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Harvey Whitlock and Zebedee Coltrin all saw the Father and the Son.

Who believed the correct doctrine about the omniscience of God, Brigham young and those who embraced the gospel of Brigham Young who never saw God, or those five High Priests who saw the Father and the Son?

Please understand, my purpose here is not to hammer on poor Brother Brigham but rather to hammer on a false doctrine AND to demonstrate where and how I lost a major portion of naiveté.

Here are some of the following points I am trying to make,

I don’t expect you to believe the doctrine taught by the Seer and the Spokesman over the testimony of Brother Brigham because of their status or calling.

I want to challenge you to prayerfully search the scriptures to see who was teaching the true doctrine.

I challenge you to search the scriptures to see if God is omniscient.

Understanding this doctrine pertaining to the nature and character of God is essential to your salvation.

I challenge you to try and find one scripture that even remotely or vaguely implies that God is continually changing and that he does not know all things and that he will be progressing in knowledge for eternity rather than staying the same omniscient God that he is!

There are countless passages testifying that God knows all things and that there is not anything that he does not know.

We are informed that he has infinite foreknowledge and that all time, past present and future is continually before his eyes and that he does not change, he is the same yesterday today and tomorrow!

Look in the topical guide under “God- Omniscience of” and “God- foreknowledge of”

Look up those passages…. Ponder these things.

You cannot even have the faith to be saved until you accept the omniscience of God.

We are going to wrap things up in the next installment and see what I believe the scriptures are saying the fulness of the Gospel is and why it is so important to see God.

Keep Watching

click here for part 6


5 Responses to Four Steps in Losing Your Naiveté- Part 5

  1. Calimom says:

    I enjoyed reading these ideas again – sort of a summary of some of my favorite posts of yours. I agree that knowing God – his character and attributes- is knowledge that is most important. I was with you all the way to where you dissed Brother Brigham (I can’t believe I’m defending him here – not a position I normally take) I just don’t see how the idea of his that God continues to progress, one you consider blasphemous and false, takes away from God being omnipotent (infinate in power, ruler of all), omnipresent (present everywhere), or omniscient (complete, unlimited in knowledge). I should say I agree with you about the timing of the apostacy, but Brighams words ring true to me and seem to have been taught to him by Joseph. Do you not believe in many Gods? Or of us becoming a God? Or, of our God once being a man who progressed to become such? Could Brigham not be talking about the God we have to do with, and not THE Eternal God as the one who is expanding in knowledge? I understand you don’t believe in Adam/God so maybe that is why you find these ideas so blasphemous. (I believe it in a limited way, but think he may have not fully understood Joseph’s teachings about such things) Even if not, why couldn’t THE God Almighty not expand His experiences, His Joy (and therefore knowledge)- wouldn’t this happen as he experiences with us our progression and joy (since we are one with him). Doesn’t the universe itself continue to grow and expand?

    You say that the Lectures of Faith state that without knowledge of all things, god would not be able to save any portion of his creatures, but it goes on to say the knowledge he has of all things, FROM BEGINNING TO END, enables him to do this. Joseph Smith taught that things eternal don’t have a beginning or end. He knows all things pertaining to us his creatures and our salvation (we have a beginning and an end in this world) and of coarse ALL there is to know at any moment in time, but that doesn’t restrict that knowledge. (especially since here, he is talking about knowledge with a beginning/end).

    I may be rambling, and I, like Brigham, have not seen the face of God so I can’t say so with complete assurity 🙂 but I think that saying that unless we accept your idea of what an omnisicent God is, we don’t have the fullness of the Gospel is a mistake. I do believe in an omniscient God, but when you brought into your post Brighams quote (calling this idea and presumably the others he taught along with it of there being other gods blasphemous)I just had to respond. I read and pondered the scriptures from the topical guide as you suggested and none of them limit God or define him in a way that excludes any increase in knowledge.

    Anyway, I look forward to the completion of this series as I do any of your posts.

  2. Calimom

    Great comments!

    I had a feeling I might hit a nerve on that one.

    I really appreciate your passionate response.

    You are obviously not alone in your thoughts and feelings. I suspect there are numerous others who will leave this post with the same thoughts and feelings that you have.

    I feel the majority of the church membership would agree with you.

    I thank you for sharing how you feel as it allows greater discussion.

    One definition of blasphemy is “expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred”.

    As I mentioned in the post, God himself has defined his own attributes for us in the scriptures. Among those definitions he has told us that he knows ALL things and that there is not anything that he does not know.

    If we choose to reject his declarations about his own attributes OR to redefine his declarations, we are essentially taking it upon ourselves to correct God and, in a sense we are calling God a liar.

    That is being disrespectful and blasphemous, in my opinion.

    I believe we are sometimes guilty of reinterpreting or qualifying what God says. I will demonstrate what I mean by providing a passage of scripture and adding a qualifying statement to it in brackets;

    “God knoweth ALL things… and there in NOT ANYTHING SAVE HE KNOWS..[pertaining to this world, however there are lots of things God does not know about other worlds and other things]”

    I believe the above modification of a scripture represents how we mortals sometimes read and redefine Gods word.

    We feel God is just not that great of a communicator so we need to help him out and clarify what he really is trying to say.

    I kind of get the feeling that you desire to defend Brigham as much as the doctrinal issue being addressed here.

    That is natural.

    My comments with regard to Brigham are limited to my disagreements with him doctrinally… I make no other judgments about him personally.

    I believe the scriptures teach that during this time of apostasy we all err in doctrine. I suspect that when I see things as God does I will realize I am included in that list.

    Perhaps you perceive my words to be to harsh and disrespectful towards Brigham the man.

    It is really just the doctrine I want to engage people on, yet I realize that in order to do so, I need to address and challenge the source of what I consider to be a false doctrine. That is the only reason I feel forced into bringing Brigham into the discussion.

    It becomes impossible to address this topic without challenging the words of mortals and trying to take them off the pedestals they have been placed on.

    One of the amazing things we learn from the experience of the Brother of Jared is that understanding that God cannot lie, about anything, is one of the keys to seeing him!

    “And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.

    And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?

    And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.

    And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?

    And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.

    And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?

    And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.

    And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.”

    I doubt I can explain my reasoning for why I believe what I do about the omniscience of God any better than I did in the post so perhaps we need to just agree to disagree on this topic.

    However, in hindsight, I probably left the most important information out of the article, which are the actual statements from the word of God.

    I am a little surprised that you don’t see any contradiction in what Brigham said and the scriptures I referred you to.

    In response to your reply I will simply provide Brigham Youngs statement followed by a handful of scriptures, and finally a few passages from Lectures on Faith.

    If you don’t see a discrepancy, that is fine.

    But I do, and I think it is a very significant life changing one.

    And I think the fruits of those beliefs as mentioned in the article are profound and very telling, as seen in the lives of the five people who saw the Father and the Son vs Brigham and many other leaders who apparently did not participate in the school of the prophets and who, in my opinion deviated from some of the doctrines taught in that school.

    Please compare the words of Brigham Young with the words in the scriptures once again without providing your own qualifiers.

    Brigham Young: “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120).

    Passages from the Word of God:

    “great is our Lord… his understanding is INFINITE..”

    “..we are sure that thou knowest ALL things…”

    “… of him who knowest ALL things…”

    “God knoweth ALL things… and there in NOT ANYTHING SAVE HE KNOWS..”

    “Lord knoweth all things which are to come..”

    “all wisdom and all understanding, he comprehendeth all things”

    “God knowing all things being from everlasting…”

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

    “all things are present with me for I know them all”

    Segments from Lectures on Faith:

    “God is the only supreme governor and independent being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell; who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.“ (Lecture 2, paragraph 2.)

    “. . . seeing that without the knowledge of all things, God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge
    which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that
    understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life;

    “and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.” (Lecture 4, paragraph 11.)

  3. NEPT says:

    Time and time again, Watcher, you make a timely post that coincides with some of my own thoughts.

    Just two nights ago, Mrs. NEPT and I were discussing the very idea that believing false doctrine, no matter how sophisticated and grand, provides no protection against temptation. Unfortunately, my wife discovered first hand that someone very near and dear to her heart, and in a significant leadership position of the church, was in fact embroiled in pornography, although had kept it hidden from the world. By chance, Mrs. NEPT stumbled upon the evidence and it has broken her heart.

    As she opened up her heart to me, she asked how somebody with so much knowledge could become so easily ensnared in something so heinous. My simple reply was that only true knowledge (not a false or incorrect understanding) can save us and provide the protection that the Lord promises from the adversary. IMHO, when our minds are filled with light (truth), then darkness cannot prevail. But if our minds are filled with false notions (absence of light), then darkness is allowed to fill our minds. So, no matter how much knowledge you think you have, if that knowledge is really just a compilation of incorrect ideas, you will never be safe from temptation.

    For what it’s worth (probably not much at all), I can say that the things I have learned throughout the past year have filled my mind with such substance that my mind is continually occupied with thoughts of my standing before God. In retrospect, I realize that I haven’t even had any time to dwell on temptation. I can only attribute such a state to light and truth.

  4. Mrs Watcher says:

    I actually love this topic.

    I have done a lot of soul searching on this topic.

    I remember many years ago, about 20 years ago, when my husband and I began a deeper journey through the scriptures and I had this same discussion with my father.

    I remember talking about God being all knowing. I quoted the scriptures that said God knows all things, past, present and future.

    My dad came back with, well, in general that may be true but God doesn’t know if I’m going to have oatmeal tomorrow morning because I haven’t even decided that.

    I tried to point out that God can know what we are going to decide before we decide it!

    He has all time before him.

    He is not constrained to going through”time” like we are, He is in “eternity”.

    If a thousand years is one day to God it doesn’t seem difficult for Him to see all of time. How else could God give prophecy? He has seen it all, from the beginning to the end and has in fact shown a few of his servants this view.

    I believe God knows if we are having oatmeal tomorrow because He has already seen it!

    He states that ALL THINGS are present before His eyes and that He knows all things which are present before His eyes..

    D&C 130
    6 The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;
    7 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.

    Moses 1: 6
    6 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.

    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; D&C 38

    In Lectures on Faith I think a great key is given as far as understanding that there is only one fulness. It also provides greater clarification as to what fulness refers to:

    “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…” (The Lectures on Faith, Doctrines and Covenants, 1835, pp. 53-54).

    “Q. Do the Father and the Son possess the same mind?
    A. They do. John 5:30…
    Q. What is this mind?
    A. The Holy Spirit…” (The Lectures on Faith, Doctrines and Covenants, 1835, p. 57).

    The D&C validates that the Holy Ghost (which is the mind of God according to lectures on faith) KNOWS ALL THINGS:

    D&C 35:19 tells us that the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, knows all things. “For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son” (D&C 42:17)

    My husband explained this concept to me in a way that made sense to me. He said to picture the Holy Spirit as the mind of God. ( What I just quoted you from Lectures on Faith) When we are made equal with Jesus Christ our minds are tapped into the same mind as God’s.

    That is how each soul that attains Godhood can then truthfully declare that they have no beginning and no end as a God, because they have inherited all that God has, is and has done and are tapped into the same Eternal Mind Power and Glory which is God’s and have inherited all that God has and is and has made!

    To me, this concept is probably one of the most important concepts for me to be able to believe in prophecy.

    I firmly believe that even though I don’t know if I will have oatmeal or not tomorrow morning… or on the morning three years from today… God, in his infinite foreknowledge does.

    Mrs Watcher

  5. NEPT

    You said

    “I can say that the things I have learned throughout the past year have filled my mind with such substance that my mind is continually occupied with thoughts of my standing before God. In retrospect, I realize that I haven’t even had any time to dwell on temptation. I can only attribute such a state to light and truth.”

    I think that is a great testimony of one of the fruits that the pursuit of true gospel knowledge brings.

    I suspect all of us that are attempting to continually feast on Gods word and are trying to comprehend the mystery of the gospel and the mystery of God have less time and less desire to wander into those paths of darkness.

    I confess I still have my trails and temptations, but I do feel strengthened when I am studying the gospel or pondering the things I have learned.

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