I have a tendency to think things through in my mind and then abbreviate them when I articulate them in writing. Sometimes I do more than abbreviate. Sometimes I completely leave them out, leaving it up to my readers to read my mind on certain issues.
This is particularly true when I am in the process of learning new things and discovering documentation not previously considered.
A recent case in point is when I announced that I believed that section 124 was a revelation primarily about the Nauvoo House rather than about the Nauvoo Temple. When I addressed that very peculiar narrative having to do with strangers living in a house of the Lord that was Holy, I acknowledged that a surface reading of the narrative seemed very strange. No pun intended.
I was so excited to show the keyword links in the scriptures showing that the posterity of Abraham was referred to as strangers, that I completely left out my thinking as to how the Lord could dwell in a holy house that traveling strangers were living in.
A very good friend of mine who is as, or more analytical, as me sent me an email containing the following sentiments:
” I must admit, the whole idea of the Nauvoo House really has had me totally flummoxed. None of it makes any sense to me. A house for wayfaring strangers to lodge in that will also be a Holy house for ordinances too sacred to perform outside it? It seems an inherent contradiction in terms (like Jumbo Shrimp or Military Intelligence)!”
It is when I read the above statement that it dawned on me that I neglected to explain in detail why these children of Abraham could be allowed in the holy temple. I can only assume that others of my readers had the same disconnect that this friend had.
Here is my response to this friend:
“I can see that I did not do a very good job of portraying my interpretation of what was being said because I agree with you that a surface reading, assuming the word strangers to mean what we commonly think it means, does not make sense.
I believe the “strangers” that are referred to are the “children of Abraham” that have been converted to the gospel and have been cleansed by the baptism of fire and the holy ghost and have now traveled from afar and are now ready to receive the “second ordinances” that have been hidden from the foundation of the world, and to be taught the mysteries.
Indeed, I strongly suspect that the “strangers” that come from “afar” in verse 23 are synonymous with the “saints” that come from “afar” in verse 25.
If the governor of the house is responsible for preventing pollution from entering into the house that it may remain holy enough for the Lord to continually dwell there, these are converts to the gospel that have been cleansed. They are not your everyday, lying, stealing, fornicating and blaspheming strangers that are staying down at the Motel 6. (No offense to motel 6 , they offer a great rate and do not discriminate!) ”
This friend of mine also pointed out another gap that I did not take very much time to explain. He said:
“Help me out on Section 97. I don’t see how that could possibly have been about the Nauvoo temple since when it was given (maybe I’m wrong – just going by the date), they hadn’t even settled in Nauvoo. Since it only speaks of establishing a temple in “Zion” (and Nauvoo is a cornerstone), I see a good case to be made that it was originally for one of the temples in Missouri and was then changed to Nauvoo – isn’t that perhaps what the scripture about evil enemies making impossible to fulfill the commandment saying? IE, You no longer have to do it (in Mizzou) but you still have to do it asap, just now in Nauvoo … ”
This brings up several issues.
Let’s begin with the quote that blew my socks off when I saw it.
I now quote from Volume 2 Number Seven of the Times and Season Page 295 under the date of
February 1, 1841:
“To show more fully the will of God concerning the house which is to be built, we make an extract from the book of Covenants, page 209, which reads as follows:
10 Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you.
11 Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people.
12 Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion—
13 For a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices;
14 That they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth..’
Now, I would candidly ask the Saints, and all who desire to do the will of God, will we lay hold with our mights to accomplish this mighty, this glorious work, and show by our works, that we, who enjoy the glorious privilege of living in these latter days, (in which God has begun his work to bring to pass the gathering of his elect,) are worthy of the high privileges which we enjoy, by coming up like men of God and sacrifice, and by our works show that we are such a people as the Lord would have gathered together, as described in the 50th Psalm which says: “Gather my Saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice?” Among the sacrifices which God requires at this time is the tithing for the building of this house.”
Why Is Elias Higbee a Credible Source?
Let me say that I don’t believe Elias Higbee was a loose canon taking the liberty of forcing his own interpretation on section 97 to make it applicable to the Nauvoo Temple. After all, the Times and Seasons was the official church publication that was under the close scrutiny of Joseph Smith.
We know that Joseph was quite bold in correcting people that taught false doctrine in public regarding really important matters. Section 130 reminds us of that.
An example of this is the well known event that took place in early 1843 having to do with some false teaching by Orson Hyde.
“After hearing Orson Hyde preach on the Second Coming, Joseph Smith kindly corrected him in private and at a public meeting. Some of his instructions to Elder Hyde became Doctrine and Covenants 130. ” (April 2n 1843. History of the Church, 5:323–26; D&C 130; Paulsen, BYU Studies 35.4: 7)
Elias Higbee certainly knew that if he was speculating on section 97 he would be called on the carpet and corrected. More than likely, his comments had been reviewed and approved by Joseph Smith before they were published.
In my opinion, Elias Higbee had either heard Joseph state that section 97 was speaking about the Nauvoo Temple, or, Joseph specifically taught this to Higbee, since Higbee had been given the stewardship of being on the Temple Committee.
It is important to remember that Higbee’s article in the Times and Season’s was allowed and possibly even mandated because of his calling on the temple committee. He certainly could have quoted section 124 in his remarks but he chose section 97.
Furthermore, his statement in the Times and Seasons came after section 124 was given, so this give a strong implication that section 124 was not being interpreted by Joseph and his contemporaries as being the initial commandment to build the Nauvoo Temple.
Additionally, 124 comes long after the revelation and subsequent attempt to build the Far West Temple.
The fact that a separate revelation had been given for the Far West Temple during the interim, with a separate pattern given to Joseph Smith as to what the temple should look like, adds even more credibility to the fact that section 97 had always contained the commandment to build the Nauvoo Temple and that Elias Higbee knew exactly what he was talking about.
It is interesting to Note that section 113 of the Doctrine and Covenants given on March of 1838, emerged as a result of the questions that Judge Higbee asked Joseph Smith about Isaiah 11. This demonstrates that Higbee had access to the prophet and was not shy about asking questions:
“Questions by Elias Higbee; What is meant by the command in Isaiah…” (113:7)
In addition to having the privilege of serving on the building committee, Higbee was an intimate friend of Joseph’s and had learned much sitting at the feet of the Lord’s anointed and asking questions.
Remember, it was Judge Elias Higbee that went with Joseph Smith to Washington to meet with the President of the United States and ask for a restoration of the losses the Saints had experienced in Jackson and other places. This was fulfillment of the admonition of the Lord and associated parable of the unjust judge in Section 101. Higbee was with Joseph and was no doubt being taught by him about all of these things.
Clearly, there is strong reason to suppose that Joseph is the originator of the interpretation given by Higbee, and, at the very least, Joseph would have reproved Higbee, had the declaration been erroneous.
Furthermore, we have already established that if a specific revelation had been given about building the Nauvoo Temple, it had to have been given before Joseph publicly gave the command for the saints to begin building the temple in 1840…
It has been established that the purchase of the land for the temple and the beginning of its erection had begun before section 124 was given.
Hence, that facts are that
1- Section 124 definitely did not contain the original revelation to build the Nauvoo Temple
2- The revelation had to have been given sometime before Joseph commanded the saints to build the temple in 1840
3- There is no other claim of a revelation being given other than the one that Elias Higbee gave in the official church periodical in which these types of announcements were to be spotlighted. (other than modern day interpretations that claim that 124 refers to the Nauvoo Temple)
Those are the two things that I did not elaborate on very well in my earlier comments about the two houses that were to be built in Nauvoo. I am glad my friend helped me realize I needed to give more information about why “strangers” would need to live where the Lord was personally dwelling and why I find the claim of Judge Elias Higbee to be credible.
Speculations for the Mystics that Read this Blog
Now, I want to quote a few more statements from the email that a friend sent me. Everything else that follows in this post is highly speculative.
“But the thing that really struck me as incredibly fascinating and possibly profound was the following comment of Sog:
“This means to me that the Nauvoo House will be a place where true eternal marriages and sealings will occur. It could be said that the Nauvoo Temple is a house of patriarchy, and the Nauvoo House, a house of matrimony.” !!!!
“A temple is obviously SO patriarchal, with its various levels and orders of priesthood, etc. But, a “house of MATRIMONY”!!! What a concept! …. I just think that it fits so nicely with the Lord’s purpose statement in 124:38 “… that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was“.
Because, so many true principles seem to have an evil/carnal, counterfeit, counterpart that is very close to it and therefore very attractive (e.g., United Order and Communism, love and lust, to name just the first two that pop to mind).
It just seems like it would be a kind of spiritual poetic symbiosis if the true intent of those words were referring to “true eternal marriages and sealings” that would be revealed to occur in accordance with the law of monogamy in the Nauvoo House while “blind and drunk” Israel, in accordance with its abominable desires, ended up with counterfeit “sham” eternal marriages and sealings to many “spiritual wives” according to the law of polygamy …
Anyway, it’s all just wild speculation on my part, but fascinating stuff, no doubt.”
Those observations that my friend made, which were motivated by the comments of Fabledsob got my wheels turning on the subject also.
If Ye are Not ONE Ye are Not Mine
The declaration that ” if ye are not one ye are not mine”, may have a deeper meaning than the law of consecration, relating to the saints having all things in common. The level of being one may have to do with the composite mystery of Godliness.
The mystical Bridal Chamber
After reading those comments by my friend, it occurred to me that I had missed the profundity of some of the things that fabledsog had said. Upon further pondering, it really does make sense that the Nauvoo House could be used to ponder the word of the Lord where the second ordinances may be revealed and performed. It may even be where the mystical chamber is, wherein the mystical union of the sexes takes place.
I have previously speculated that the righteous man and woman are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost without ceremony, however, why not a literal ceremony?
Why wouldn’t that be one of the holy ordinances hidden from the beginning?
“The discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices (a group of ancient texts found in an urn) in Upper Egypt 60 years ago has sparked some fascinating debates about Christianity’s central mystery. One of the most intriguing candidates for that mystery is the Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber. It is described specifically in the Gospel of Philip as the means to attain Christhood. It is also alluded to in the Exegesis on the Soul and, apparently, the Gospel of Thomas.” (Ref)
70. Christ came to rectify the separation that had been present since the beginning and join the two; and to give life unto those who had died by separation and join them together. Now,a woman joins with her husband in the bridal bedroom, and those who have joined in the bridal bedroom will not reseparate. (Gospel of Philip)
“If the woman had not separated from the man, she would not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death.
Because of this Christ came to repair the separation which was from the beginning and again unite the two and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. ” (The Nag Hammadi Library James M. Robinson General Editor)
We know that at some point in time the commandment for righteous married couples must once again BECOME ONE FLESH, which was given in the beginning of time shortly after the fall, must be fulfilled before the end of time.
Those who are to become equal with Christ in the mystery of godliness (with a minor “g”) must receive the “binding”/”sealing” union that makes them composite. This is done in the mystical bridal chamber spoken of in some of the ancient texts.
We know that the 2nd watch restoration, and the four standard works, revealed what JS referred to as the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel, or what God refers to as the “first ordinances”, but section 124 informs us that sacred ordinances that have been hidden from the foundation must be made known and performed in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
“Behold, these are the first ordinances which you shall receive; and the residue shall be made known in a time to come, according to your labor in my vineyard. And again, I would that ye should learn that he only is saved who endureth unto the end. Even so. Amen.” (53:6-7)
The mystery of godliness
God bestowed the priesthood to enable the valiant saints to have the mysteries of godliness manifested to them.
19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. (section84)
The Revealing of the Mystery of Godliness shall be Finished
John the Revelator makes a declaration that the mystery of God shall be finished that had previously been declared by his servants before the seventh angel begins his sound:
“In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (Revelation 10:7).”
We have been promised that it shall be revealed whether there be one god or many. Does the fulfillment of this promise take place in Nauvoo?
In section 93 we are given in part, the testimony of John regarding the mysterious nature of God with the promise that we will receive the fulness of the record of John pertaining to this great mystery.
Does this book come forth in preparation for the gathering to Nauvoo?
Is it revealed in Nauvoo?
Does it reveal an ordinance that takes place in Nauvoo?
In section 93 it we are informed that “.. when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy“. (Although some interpret that passage to mean the separation of spirit and element which is being referred to in the previous passage, that is not necessarily what verse 34 is referencing)
Is it possible that the “mystery of Godliness” and the nature and ordinance of uniting males and females to become the “Sons of God” must take place in the bridal chamber in the Nauvoo House, where they can be prepared and be taught by the Savior of the world that dwells there?
While most ordinances pertaining to the house of the Lord in scriptures are very male oriented, the Nauvoo House is for the “strangers” who are “saints”, which implies, both male and female. Hence the ordinances thereof would be for both genders to participate in.
It has previously been pointed out that Isaiah 60 shares multiple keywords with section 124. Isaiah 57 speaks of declaring the acceptable day of the Lord, section 93 mandates Sidney to “proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”.
We know that many of the ending chapters of Isaiah pertain to the content in section 124.
“Thy Land Shall be Married”
The following passage shows up in Isaiah 62:4 declaring that the LAND shall be MARRIED.
FOR Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5 ¶ For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
The land shall be married?
There are obviously multiple possible levels of meaning here, some mystical.
An obvious surface meaning of the land being married might be found in section 133: 24
However, another meaning might have to do with the fact that the male/man and the female/man were created from the dust of the earth and then separated from each other.
In other words, a man or woman is just a blob of animated dust, earth, or land, walking around.
Eventually, the land will have the curse taken off of it and be sanctified when it is married. That could pertain to the land we walk on, or, to us as individual clumps of animated dust.
“Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.” (49:16-17)
It is the consecrated people upon the land, that sanctify the land of Zion (D&C 119)
Why would the converted strangers (children of Abraham) need to contemplate the word of God in a holy, undefiled house where Christ dwells?
Because the veil of unbelief needs to be completely removed and they need to see and converse with God. Should we be surprised if there is actually an appointed time, in the designated holy place when and where this takes place?
“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
13 Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.”
Again, this is all very speculative. I only offer it to get the creative, revelatory juices flowing for the mystics that read this blog. 🙂