I felt deeply gratified when I recently read a final review of the book from a member of the peer review.
Among other things, she had this to say-
“I really appreciate what you have accomplished here. It has made me want to jump into the Old Testament prophecies (that were skipped over in seminary) and see how they testify of our day, re-examine the D&C for keys to the past and future of the restoration, and search all the standard works to see what other mysteries can be unlocked.
I feel like an understanding of the intercessory atonement of Joseph is an immunization against loss of faith, and a strong witness that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.
Understanding that truth and error are mixed (both in modern scripture and from the voice of servants), I have permission to use the discernment God has given me to question and challenge ideas that seem to have a different spirit about them and work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.
These are exciting times to be alive.”
I was particularly touched by the eloquent and powerfully succinct declaration that the intercessory atonement of Joseph is an immunization against loss of faith.
That is what I thought when I first had my ah-ha reading the Davidic prophecy in 2 Samuel 7 and other related prophecies that detailed how Joseph Smith would first do much good and then would commit iniquity and be chastened by the rod of man. That prophecy truly provided me with a different interpretation on Moroni’s acknowledgement that Joseph Smith’s name would be “both good and evil spoken of.”
Imagine this bizarre prophetic narrative being foretold thousands of years ago.
When I first came upon those prophecies I realized that I had hit pay-dirt with regard to understanding why the Joseph Smith of the Nauvoo era was such a contradiction to the Joseph Smith of the early Kirtland era.
(Frankly, I sometimes wonder if I simply should provide a small book containing the content in chapters 3, 4, and 5 relative to the intercessory atonement offering instead of all of the other information, which may result in information overload.)
Experiencing a Loss of Faith based on Joseph’s Actions
Currently there are so many people experiencing a loss of faith because the Internet (including the official LDS Church website which hosts the new historical essays) provides easy access to disturbing historical information about LDS church history. They often get hit with a barrage of angry accusations by disaffected Mormons and ex-Mormons, against the character of Joseph Smith relative to all of the evil things he is accused of doing.
Can a Loss of Faith be Diverted?
Yes there are the philosophical intellectuals that offer lots of mental gymnastics and counsel people to doubt their doubts and there are the official apologist word-meisters that can twist the meaning of things and blow a lot of blue smoke up a person’s skirt using a little sophistry mingled with scripture, but when it comes right down to it, most sincere, intelligent people who are experiencing a crisis of faith want hard facts and real answers to difficult historical and doctrinal questions. My contention is that most if not all of the answers can be found in God’s holy word.
The caveat is that a person needs to be willing to read, study, search and believe the holy word of God to find the answers that God has provided. The answers are there, but it takes faith to understand and believe what they tell us and to accept the fact that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Finding the answers in scripture is just the first step. Perhaps even more difficult is believing them because God’s ways are not our ways.
I want to thank everyone who has provided feedback on the peer review. I feel like I have sufficient feedback to complete the final edition of the book, although I am happy to continue accept feedback. I probably have enough feedback to do at least three or four more segments of the Piece by Piece Peer Review youtube series but I am not sure when I will be able to resume it.
The Secret History of Mormonism
I feel that time is of the essence to continue and complete the Secret History youtube series. BTW I am approaching 1,000 views on my youtube channel which, on the one hand, is nothing to write home about, but on the other hand, it is better than a poke in the eye with a really sharp stick.
Here is part four of the series which covers the third period of Joseph Smith’s public ministry.
If you are new to this blog, you should listen to the first three segments of this series first. Frankly, you need to have a good understanding of the intercessory atonement doctrine before the series will make very much sense to you. I will be happy to send you a pdf of the three chapters in the book that discuss this amazing topic. Simply send an email to onewhoiswatching [at] gmail dot com and put “intercessory atonement” in the subject line. 🙂
Here are parts 1, 2, and 3