With the possible exception of John C. Bennett and perhaps Sidney Rigdon, William Law is arguably the most hated and despised early high profile leader of LDS restoration movement as far as Mormons are concerned.
(Don’t confuse William Law with William Marks. Law was a counselor in the First Presidency, Marks was the Stake President of the Nauvoo Stake of Zion. Both of these men encouraged Joseph Smith to repent and stop the practice of polygamy before he died)
Many believe that William Law’s public “outing” of the prophet Joseph Smith as a polygamist is the single biggest factor leading up to the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith. Some actually believe that he personally participated in the planning, if not the execution of the martyrdom itself.
In today’s terms William Law would be called a “whistle-blower”.
Remarkably most LDS people who are somewhat knowledgeable about church history hate him for telling the truth about Joseph’s involvement in polygamy, not for lying about it.
Most Mormons that are somewhat familiar with church history will acknowledge that Joseph really was secretly living polygamy and that William Law was simply exposing that truth about the secret practice.
I must confess that until I read an outstanding biographical essay about William Law several years ago done by Lindon Cook, I had pretty much despised him as well.
Effective Character Assassination
Despite many years of digging through early LDS history and even after unearthing the information on the atonement statute and the scapegoat doctrine, I still thought poorly of William Law because of all of the negative things that everyone says about him.
The bias created in my mind by the character assassination that was done so skillfully by Brigham Young and others was just too deeply embedded. Finally, I eventually broke down and actually read the notorious Expositor.
I was blown away by the content of that supposedly evil and shortlived newspaper. To my surprise I could find precious little in it that I didn’t agree with after nearly three decades of studying the crisis that took place in Nauvoo. In fact, there were times when I thought I was reading some of my own posts.
Major Issues Addressed in the Expositor
Later in this series I am going to dissect and quote from the Expositor content in great detail but for now, here are a few of the major things that jumped out at me that William Law and his associates were saying-
- The Book of Mormon is True
- The restoration of the gospel back in the early Kirtland era was true
- The original doctrines taught in the early Kirtland ear were true
- The revelations contained in the Book of Commandments were true
- The restored Church had strayed from the straight and narrow path
- The Church was associating with and participating in secret societies
- Joseph had been a true prophet but was now a fallen prophet
- Joseph was publically preaching against polygamy but was secretly practicing it
- Joseph had falsely taught that God the father is a changeable God who had progressed from a mortal state to that of Godhood. He taught that there were many Gods above God the Father.
Those are some of the major points contained in the expositor.
William Law and the members of the reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints had not lost their testimonies of the Book of Mormon or the restoration of the New Testament church.
They were simply acknowledging that the restored church had gone out of the way as prophesied in the Book of Mormon and further documented in the D&C (see 2nd Ne 28:11 & D&C 82:6)
With regard to Joseph being a fallen prophet, teaching the false spiritual wife doctrine and introducing a blasphemous doctrine concerning there being many Gods previous to the only true God of the Bible, I had already come to all of those conclusions on my own.
If I had simply read the expositor several decades ago and believed it, I could have saved myself all of the effort I went to during decades of study.
Obviously, I have no regrets.
I prefer to have discovered all of this information on my own from countless sources and to have collected all of the documentation, but it was nice to have the confirmation that William Law provides.
It is also nice to understand the prophetic calling that William Law had then and will have in the future.
I hereby repent and ask forgiveness for any false and disparaging comments I have ever made about William Law. William, if you are listening now or if you read this when you get back, I am sorry I judged you harshly without first learning the facts. I have been a victim of the false traditions of my fathers and of the lie’s and rumors that people have made about you, but that is no excuse. I judged you unrighteously and I am sorry. Please forgive me.
After spending the better part of three decades searching the history and doctrines of the church including thousands of key word searches pertaining to doctrine and history I have come to all of those exact same conclusions that are stated in the Expositor.
Was William Law perfect?
But he was inspired of God to do what he did and after years of study and searching I agree with every single one of the above suppositions in the bullet points.
The publishing of the Expositor was a very important prophetic event.
The Original Doctrines of the Restoration
One of the most important things William and his associates were trying to accomplish was to get people to return back to the original true doctrines of the restoration. Here is their declaration:
“Resolved 13th, That we call upon the honest in heart, in the Church, and throughout the world, to vindicate the pure doctrines of Jesus Christ, whether set forth in the Bible, Book of Mormon, of Book of Covenants; and we hereby withdraw the hand of fellowship, from all those who practice or teach doctrines contrary to the above, until they cease so to do, and show works meet for repentance.”
All of the abominations that were taking place in Nauvoo and all of the erroneous teachings would have dried up and blown away if the church membership would have simply returned to the true doctrines contained in the standard works at that time.
I am currently documenting the true, original doctrines that were taught during the early years in Kirtland and showing the false doctrines that have crept into the church during the 170+ years that followed. Those who are interested in reviewing them may click here
The True Nature of God
Regarding the false doctrine introduced in the King Follett Sermon, here is what William Law had to say about it:
“and inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church, such as a plurality of Gods above the God of this universe, and his liability to fall with all his creations..”
As you can see, William Law was exposing the fact that Joseph’s King Follett discourse taught the false doctrine that God the Father is not the only true God and first creator. Additionally, Law was reiterating and alluding to the truth taught in Lectures on faith that it is impossible to have faith in a changeable God who could fall just as fast as he ascended to Godhood.
I have provided scriptural documentation beyond dispute concluding that William Law’s condemnation of the King Follett multiple God doctrine was spot-on. It is the 1st of 20 doctrines that I am currently spotlighting and you can read about it here if you have not already read it.
Joseph Smith Temporarily Fell from Grace
Law and his associates were claiming that Joseph Smith had originally been a true prophet that eventually became a fallen prophet.
That is a pretty tough pill to swallow for many of us.
Nevertheless, I think there is a real misunderstanding about the concept of falling from grace.
Many people probably assume that someone who has fallen from grace cannot be saved and will be thrust into hell.
That is simply not true.
Someone can temporarily fall from grace and then be restored and redeemed.
Section 20 warns that “there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God”. That is certainly true, but that does not mean that one cannot return to the living God.
Here is an interesting observation from Paul
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal 5:1-6)
Translation: Those that believed in Christ and the atonement but then returned to relying on salvation through works are no longer under the law of Grace, rather they fall under the old covenant and the law of mercy and justice.
Paul was pointing out that the gospel of Christ was the gospel of grace through faith which works by love. Those that had initially accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and the atonement but then began putting their faith in outer works like circumcision and the Old Covenant had fallen from the law of “grace” and returned to the lesser law which is upheld by “mercy”.
Paul was not telling them there was no longer any hope for them. To the contrary he was helping them see that by redirecting their thoughts to faith in the atonement instead of works they could enter back into the gospel of grace!
Joseph and others made an intercessory offering
and temporarily fell from grace
but they retained MERCY
We latter day saints should not be too hard on Joseph Smith for falling from grace. He and his fellow servants had to provide an offering which was the literal fulfillment of the atonement statute described in Lev 16. I have attempted to explain the latter day fulfillment of the atonement statute here.
Paul knew about the atonement statute prophecy that would be fulfilled in the latter days but was constrained by the Lord and could not reveal what was going to happen with regard to the paved work and the mercyseat.
speaking particularly about the Mercy Seat and the “paved work” in the Kirtland Temple
In Galations 9 Paul began speaking about the atonement statute and made reference to the “cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”
Why couldn’t Paul speak “particularly” about the cherubims and the mercyseat?
Because God did not want him to let the cat out of the bag about the prophetic event that was going to take place in the Kirtland Temple among the apostate gentile church in the latter days. This event even had to be kept a secret from the Latter day saints when it happened!
When Christ appeared to Joseph and Oliver, he was standing above or on the “paved work”
“And under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.”
This appears to be the same “paved work” that was under the feet of the God of Israel when he appeared to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel (Exod 24:10)
“And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”
Once the restored church had rejected the fullness of the gospel as prophesied in 3rd Nephi, (Just as ancient Israel rejected the higher law at the time of Moses), the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that “something new must be done for the salvation of the church”.
This secret event necessitated the completion of the Kirtland Temple so that the atonement statute could be initiated.
During the secret event that is now publicly documented in section 110 of the D&C, God appeared over the “paved work” in the presence of angels and spoke to Joseph and Oliver, initiating the fulfillment of the atonement statute and restoring the ancient covenant of mercy since the covenant of grace had been rejected.
God’s prophetic promise to Israel was that: “ I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” (Lev 16)
Isaiah spoke about this amazing latter day event in which the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham would be restored which you can read about here.
Once you realize what happened on the eighth day following the dedication of the Kirtland Temple involving the restoration of the gospel of Abraham and the visitations and declarations that took place over the “paved work”, you will realize why the latter day Saints were protected by the mercy of God from being destroyed from off the face of the earth for rejecting the fulness of the gospel.
For four generations the latter day saints are to function under the gospel of Abraham and the law of mercy until the blindness is lifted off of Israel and the fulness of the gospel of grace is restored.
That’s right, the entire church in the latter days has temporarily fallen from grace.
We are all functioning under the Old Testament law of mercy.
That is why we don’t prophesy and speak in tongues and have true, immediate and complete healings, etc.
The true gifts of the spirit are gone.
Mercy vs. Grace
Mercy and Grace are two completely different things.
Mercy has to do with protecting those that deserve God’s wrath from the wrath of God while grace has to do with imbuing those that don’t deserve justification with justification and with the spiritual gifts of God.
When the servants return and the fullness of the gospel is restored to the earth, the grace of God will be offered once again.
Secret Societies in Nauvoo
It is clearly undisputed that Joseph Smith and many of his followers were up to their eyeballs in masonry during the Nauvoo years.
William Law and his associates declared “That we consider all secret societies, and combinations under penal oaths and obligations, (professing to be organized for religious purposes,) to be anti-Christian, hypocritical and corrupt.”
Law was clearly challenging the propriety of the saints getting involved in masonry and any modified use of the dark practices of penal oaths and obligations in the use of religious covenants, such as the Danites and the Masonic temple endowment.
As you can see, it was not Brigham Young that began the dark temple endowment with penal oaths, signs, tokens and the forbidden practice of swearing by the neck. Initially, penal oaths were introduced by Joseph.
The Inspired Version of the Bible reveals that these dark practices within secret combinations that incorporate penal oaths originated between Satan and Cain (see Moses 5)
The Book of Mormon had warned that America and the restored church would be infiltrated by a secret combination. The gentile church is admonished to repent of this wicked Masonic temple endowment and all other secret societies:
“And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.”
Clearly, the dark endowment containing Satan’s penal oaths and other nonsense infiltrated the church in Nauvoo. William Law was desperately attempting to call the people to repentance.
That dark endowment, despite changes by the brethren to try to temper some of the satanic things in it, continues in all of its dastardly glory to this day.
The Saints love it! (“..the [false] covenant whom ye delight in…” see mal 3 )
William Law was simply trying to get the saints to awake to a sense of their awful situation.
I suspect he will try to do it once again when he returns.
A great work is about to take place in America.
It may involve a president elect and a proclamation that will go to all of the leaders of nations who have been involved in a great secret combination.
Once again the saints and the world will be called upon to awake to a sense of their awful situation.
Have you partaken of the evil gift?
Will you repent and reform?
Spiritual Wife Doctrine-Polygamy
Interestingly, some well meaning apologists are trying to persuade people that Joseph did not really teach and practice spiritual wifery or polygamy. In the process they have assassinated the character and testimonies of countless eye witnesses in an effort to maintain the sanctity of their beloved prophet. They have thrown numerous testators under the bus and accused them of being liars and perjurers.
Later in this series I will provide some of this overwhelming documentation to show that these apologists are absolutely wrong and their claims are unsustainable.
In addition to the overwhelming amount of evidence already provided in history and prophecy, a new book has come out with devastating documentation that the church has tried to obscure for years.
Nevertheless, the claim the Joseph fell does not rest on the single claim that he introduced or condoned the practice of polygamy.
Indeed, the practice of polygamy may not be the greatest sin that Joseph committed in Nauvoo.
Even though it is the most controversial in people’s minds and outwardly appears to have created the most moral devastation in people’s lives, his teachings about the eternally changing nature and progression of the Gods is perhaps much more damaging from an eternal perspective according to Lectures on Faith.
Those who truly reject God’s declarations that he is the only true God who is unchangeable from everlasting to everlasting, will ultimately have their faith replace with doubt.
“An acquaintance with these attributes in the divine character is essentially necessary, in order that the faith of any rational being can center in him for life and salvation. …But it is equally as necessary that men should have the idea that he is a God who changes not, in order to have faith in him, as it is to have the idea that he is gracious and long suffering. For without the idea of unchangeableness in the character if the Deity, doubt would take the place of faith.”
Please don’t think I am judge Joseph to be an evil person. I am not. I am declaring him to be one of the intercessory servants prophesied in scripture who willingly agreed to offer himself when the saints rejected the fullness. He is one of the greatest prophets that ever lived!
In this series on William Law I am going to explain why I consider President Law to be one of the greatest and most inspired men of the LDS restoration movement and I will address the following issues and topics:
- A brief history of President Law’s life and conversion
- The unconditional promises and prophesies that God made about him in section 124
- The prophetic role he played in offering the apostate church a “reformation”
- The prophetic role he played in allowing the Seer of the Lord to be chastened by the “rod of men”
- An itemized listing of some of the things he exposed in the Expositor
Hopefully I will get this series about William Law completed before he returns.