I don’t seem to make much time for blogging anymore… I have several unfinished series that will apparently remain unfinished for some time. My energies have been focused in a different directions.
I recently made a Walipini (earth sheltered greenhouse) and it has really been a fun project. We should get our first freeze in this neck of the woods within the next three weeks and then I will see if all of my hard work has paid off. I hope to provide pics on one of my posts some time in the future.
I want to share a few things that have been happening and/or things that have been on my mind lately.
In this post I will be rambling about various related and unrelated things-
A month or two ago NEPT send me the following link to a newspaper article which I found very interesting.
It is also very timely since it is about polygamy and lots of people have been blogging about polygamy lately…
A fellow by the name of Mark recently sent me the following heads up
Not sure if you ever read Denver Snuffer’s posts – but his latest I thought you may find interesting: his conclusion that Joseph never taught that plural wives was a requirement for exaltation – that only came from Brigham.
Snuffer presents an interesting case that Joseph did not teach the multiple wives was necessary for the highest salvation.
By the way, Rock has been threatening to revisit the topic of polygamy again.. It will be interesting to see if he changes his stance on whether JS participated in the practice or not…. I always find his articles entertaining and thought provoking.
The above newspaper article is about a paper presented at the recent FAIR conference. It was given by a prominent BYU professor who is a high profile Mormon feminist. Valerie Hudson is really quite a high powered gal… here is her website…. http://vmrhudson.org/
She has created an organization to promote LDS scholarship. You can read about it along with some interesting article here http://squaretwo.org/
At the FAIR conference Hudson proposed a different interpretation of section 132. One that suggests that polygamy was given as a temporary sacrifice, not an ongoing blessing.
If I felt that section 132 was a valid revelation I would be sorely tempted to take her interpretation of it seriously.
I would love to see the actual transcript of the talk she gave. I noticed a comment on a blog that indicated that it was retty much the same as what is in this article on her site http://www.squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html (I don’t know if that is true)
I believe she has an amazing amount of courage to publicly dictate why the doctrine of polygamy will never be lived again by the Latter day Saints.
Rumor has it that she has really pissed of some of the brethren by her remarks.
While checking out some of her article I read an interesting one she wrote entitled
The Curious Appeal of Roman Catholicism
for Certain Latter-day Saint Intellectuals
In that article she references that fascinating conversion to Catholicism of Mormon professor Richard Sherlock.
Click on the following link to here USU philosophy professor Richard Sherlock explain why he left Mormonism and converted to Roman Catholicism http://usu-shaft.com/2011/audio-of-dr-sherlocks-conversion-story/
Frankly, I was underwhelmed with the guy and his deductive reasoning abilities. I suspect he is a Jesuit plant who never understood the Mormon religion.
The only thing of interest in his entire talk was that he made reference to the unscriptural doctrines that Joseph Smith introduced in the 1840’s.
Of course, I have pointed out in several blogs why the gospel and associated doctrines of Mormonism in the 1830’s is so incredibly and radically different than the gospel and related doctrines of Mormonism of the 1840’s… which reminds of another interesting event.
The folks at Mormon stories sponsored a tribute to D. Michael Quinn. I really appreciate the research and integrity Quinn has put forth in getting the truth out about Mormon history. I owe him big time for providing critical historical information that has helped me get down the rabbit hole more quickly and to find missing pieces of the prophet puzzel.
If you are interested in hearing Quinns story and answers to questions during his recent visit to the City of Salt, click here. http://mormonstories.org/?p=1787
When someone asked Mike about the future of the church, he said, “Historians don’t make good prophets”.
After hearing some of Quinns personal beliefs and his love for Brigham Young, I would add that “historians don’t make good theologians” either!
Speaking of the huge change between the 1830’s and 1840’s, the folks over at Mormon Expression had an essay contest where they invited folks to send in a 10 minute audio essay about anything related to Mormonism.
The Mormon Expression Podcast is largely directed to those who have lost their faith relating to Mormonism. I was curious to see if there were any disenfranchised Mormons over there that were well read in church history and the scriptures and I wanted to see what kind of response I would get if I summarized what happened at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
Hence, I sent in an audio summary of the Special Conference.
You can hear it by clicking on the link below (if I did this correctly)
Sadly, the recording did not generated much discussion. However, there was one person by the name of Jason that made a comment.
In responding to him I was able to chrystalize in my mind how differently the process and methodology is of how believers and non believers interpret LDS history. I was also able to respond to the false idea perpetuated by anti-Mormon scholars that JS never mentions the first vision or restoration of priesthood until 1835 (the comments will make more sense if you listen to the recording first).
I thought some of you might find the exchange between me and Jason interesting. I have provided our exchange below-
JASON: The June 1831 Conference always fascinated me since I first read about it for the first time in Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling. I appreciate your faith-promoting interpretation because you remain consistent with the facts.
However, I believe an alternative explanation is more plausible. Namely, Smith actually believed the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored for the first time in 1831 when he declared it so at that time.
It isn’t until later that Smith retroactively claimed that he received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John in 1829. In his traditional fashion, Smith fashioned a more charismatic, more grandiose story of priesthood restoration to gain a following at a time when members were leaving in droves.
Martin Harris and David Whitmer had never heard of angelic beings who restored the higher priesthood until quite later. Indeed, few members had ever heard of this account until well after the alleged date of the priesthood’s restoration in 1829. Indeed, Oliver Cowdry and others later retrofitted the Book of Commandments with the higher priesthood’s restoration by the hands of Peter, James, and John. D. Michael Quinn thoroughly addressed this problem in the first Mormon Hierarchy book.
However, Smith’s problem was that he already claimed to have received the Melchizedek priesthood “for the first time” in June of 1831. It’s a quandary that even Bushman couldn’t really comfortably resolve in Rough Stone Rolling.
OWIW: That is an interesting theory Jason.
Can you be more specific about when Joseph changed his story at a “later” time, because people were leaving in droves?
I don’t think he ever changed his story, I think there was perhaps a problem with semantics. Joseph did say that all priesthood was Melchizedek. In that context, it is true that the patriarchal priesthood restored by PJ&J was a portion of Melchizedek, however, I think it is easily documented that Joseph did not deviate from the concept that there were three separate and distinct divisions of priesthood, nor did he deny that the Melchizedek priesthood was restored for the first time at the Morley Farm.
Joseph Smith gave a very detailed explanation of the three divisions of priesthood very late in his life, during the Nauvoo period, on August 27 1843. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parall…
Additionally, section 124 also indicates that the fulness of the priesthood had been lost from the earth, yet the second priesthood which governs the saving ordinances was clearly still on the earth and being used and spoken of in revelation during the Nauvoo period.
Richard Bushman raises this theory in Rough Stone Rolling when he writes, “the late appearance of these accounts [referring to the accounts of restoration by Peter, James and John] raises the possibility of later fabrication.” (Pg. 75).
The current version of Priesthood restoration does not appear until around 1835. The Book of Commandments was a chronological recording of all of Joseph Smith’s revelations and would have covered the time that Smith alleges to have received the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1829. However, such an account makes no appearance.
Grant Palmer writes in, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, that “Accounts of angelic ordinations from John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John are in none of the journals, diaries, letters, or printed matter until the mid-1830s.” Pgs. 223-24).
When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery complied the 1835 D&C, they added a significant amount of verses to D&C section 27 from the original chapter in the Book of Commandments. Of the 649 added words, Smith and Cowdery provided account of the visit from Peter, James, and John. This link provides a comparison of the later additions and alterations of the 1835 D&C with the original Book of Commandments: http://www.saintswithouthalos…..
Anyway, Mormonthink.com provides a comprehensive review of this problem and raises other significant issues that suggest Smith retroactively added the angelic account of priesthood revelation after the June 1831 conference. As for the members leaving at this time, I believe that information is generally accepted, but I cannot provide an immediate source.
As discussed above, we know that no account of the angelic restoration appeared until the mid 1830s, and I believe that this was a time of great upheaval in Kirkland. It’s also the same year in which Smith tells more grandiose stories of the First Vision and purchases the Egyptian Papyri and announces that he found a text written by the hand of Abraham. Add all of these events together, and we see a pattern of Smith making grandiose claims as a method to instill zeal and belief in its membership during a time when doubts and disenchantment with Mormonism pervaded.
Thank you for a more detailed response.
I am not questioning that people left in droves during the Kirtland era. Indeed I have seen estimates of up to 50% of the membership and 30% of the leadership that left during the Kirtland apostasy.
My point was that the Kirtland apostasy was pretty much completed by 1838-9 and yet we have Joseph still teaching about the three levels of priesthood in 1843. Joseph was still clearly teaching about the three levels of priesthood long after the Kirtland apostasy.
I also agree with you that Joseph did not speak about certain things until later in his ministry which understandably causes lots of people indigestion.
One of the intriguing aspects of the LDS restoration movement is how Joseph intentionally withheld information at times and then revealed it later.
I realize this makes him look like a deceiver who is back tracking and trying to revise history… Your logic is very understandable… I get it.
I am simply suggesting that there is another possibility. Not the sanitized possibilities provided by the corporate apologists, but rather a third possibility.
In one of the very early meetings of the church, 1830 or earlier, Hyrum got up in front of the first elders and invited Joseph to get up and give all of the particulars of what had happened to bring the church up to the point of having it ready to be legally organized. Hyrum saw this as an incredibly fortuitous opportunity for Joseph to strengthen the testimonies and knowledge base of the new converts who were to take the gospel to the nations.
To the shock and dismay of Hyrum, Joseph flatly declined and said something to the effect of “it is not necessary that the elders should know all of the particulars at this time”.
I apologize for not having the exact quote and the reference handy on that event, I suspect that you may be familiar with it since you appear to be pretty well read in the history of the church.
Again, Joseph’s decline to take that opportunity to clearly lay out what happened in the first vision and the visitation of angels restoring the priesthood is disconcerting at best.
A similar scenario took place with the visitation of angels in the Kirtland Temple many years later.
How strange that the two people who experienced the visitation and the scribe who recorded it NEVER ONCE PUBLICLY MADE MENTION OF IT DURING THE REMAINDER OF JOSEPH’S LIFE!!!!
It would be published for the first time about 16 years later and not canonized for 40 years!
There was apparently a congregation of people sitting on the other side of the veil during the visitation and yet Joseph and Oliver quietly got up and left instead of sharing the event with the congregation… go figure.
Why would Joseph not want to the contemporary saints that event??
They had labored hard to complete the Temple and the Savior accepted their efforts… why not publish the event?
Yet he obviously wanted future generations to know about it by virtue of the fact that he had it recorded and documented in the history which obviously had a good chance of surviving him.
I believe that skeptics of the restoration movement, who reject it, view and judge the scriptures in modern revelation through the eyes of their own interpretation of the associated historical events… thereby assuming that Joseph was simply making up the revelations.
Conversely, I believe that skeptics of the restoration movement (like myself), who accept the basic storyline, as presented in the scriptures, view the history through the eyes of modern revelation.
I believe that is why skeptic believers and skeptic non-believers interpret historical events in an opposite way.
I really appreciate the fact that you have researched these issues and that you have sound reasons why you are rejecting the storyline.
Although there is little chance of either of us changing the views of the other, I love to dialogue with people like you because I love having my views challenged and I love challenging the contrary views… that is how we all pick up additional information that we may not have previously had and we have the ability to examine things at a deeper level.
Regarding the claim that Joseph really did not make mention of the first vision or the restoration of the priesthood by angels until years after the fact,.. I agree. However, regarding the claim that he did not do so until approximately 1835ish, I don’t think that is accurate.
Here is a quote taken from one of the journals of Joseph Smith. I believe he is in fact alluding to the first vision, the restoration of the priesthoods by angels and, interestingly enough, he then alludes to the restoration of the third priesthood, making a distinction between the third priesthood and the previous two priesthoods.
The statements in brackets are provided by believing contributors of Boap.org who seem to be somewhat baffled by what is being said…
“When Joseph Smith dictated his first attempt at a personal history in 1832 he made this remark:
‘A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand firstly he receiving the testimony from on high
[The first vision]
secondly the ministering of Angels
[Moroni -Book of Mormon plates]
thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel – the Law and commandments as they were given unto him – and the ordinencs
[John the Baptist (are Peter, James and John included here?)],
forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him
[visit of Peter, James and John, or is this a reference to the restoration of the office of high priest?]
and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c”
As you can see from the comments in brackets, it was difficult for traditional Mormon scholars to believe what they were reading but they had no other alternative than to accept the possibility that the reception of the “holy” priesthood, by angels, (plural), had to probably be referring to BOTH of the first two priesthoods since the Aaronic priesthood was the first to be restored, and it was restored by just one angel.
This set up the next part of Joseph’s statement which speaks of the restoration of a “high” priesthood which is separate and distinct from the two previous priesthoods that were both restored by angels.
He identifies it as the “High Priesthood after the holy order of the son of God“
Again we see question marks in the brackets from the LDS scholars postulating that the third priesthood was possibly referring to the restoration of the office of “High Priest” which is how the modern corporate church inaccurately defines the event that took place at the Morley Farm.
Finally, notice how the first two priesthoods were for the purpose of administering the “letter of the Gospel – the Law and commandments.. and the ordinencs” while the priesthood after the order of the Son of God was to “preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit”
I believe the above entry by Joseph Smith in 1832 demonstrates that he did in fact make reference to these experiences long before 1835.
————-END OF EXCHANGE BETWEEN WATCHER AND JASON
Tomorrow is the 22nd of September which is a very special and holy day. It is the day of the year that Moroni came to visit Joseph Smith seven years in a row!
According to author and self proclaimed Davidic Servant, Dr. David B. Cohen MD, a major event will be marked by September 22 2011. I have noticed other prophecy enthusiasts claiming that we will have three days of darkness and earthquakes, etc. some claim it marks the opening of the sixth seal while other claim it will be the opening of the seventh seal… they claim that much of the turmoil this month will be because of the so-called commet Elinen.
I guess we don’t have long to wait and see if anything of significance happens.
Lastly, I have been pondering the tree of life vs the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lately… naturally my finding are quite heretical…
Many people thing that the tree of life represents love and grace while the tree of knowledge represents works and law.
I hope to do a short post about it in the future.