I recently got an email from a person who had purchased and begun reading “Solving the Prophet Puzzle“. (which has temporarily been reduced to just $19 until the final revision is ready)
In the email he said:
I recently bought your book from Amazon.
I understand it is not yet finalized and that you have people proof reading it for you…
He then made note of two minor inaccuracies that needed to be corrected in the book which I greatly appreciate. He then said:
I am now on page 34 and will report an inconsistency there that you may want to address.
You suggest that the condemnation expressed by Moroni in Mormon 8 is directed at the first generation of Mormons.
What churches did these early Saints adorn? (v37) And what of the fine apparel? Moroni is clearly describing a people other than those impoverished first generation saints.
Apart from these things I have found it an interesting read so far.
His assumption that Mormon 8 is referring to later generations of Latter day Saints is a very common one. Numerous readers of my blog have contacted me with the same view over the years. It is the reason that we have so many splinter groups running around trying to find out who currently has the priesthood keys to administer the fulness, or inventing novel ways of obtaining the priesthood. All of this in an attempt to preserve the restoration and claim the blessings thereof, that took place four generations ago.
People refuse to believe that the true Church of Christ that was restored by Joseph Smith has long since been rejected by the Lord and that the Gospel of Abraham was secretly ushered in with a preparatory gospel.
While I believe that the apostolic mandate given in Section 118 still gives a commission to leaders of the modern apostate church to spread the Book of Mormon, teach about the Gospel of Christ, and witness of the name of Christ, the fulness of the Gospel was rejected by the saints of the restoration by 1834 and God rejected the saints “as a church with their dead before the death of Joseph Smith.
This was my response to him regarding his criticism:
Thank you so much for the feedback…
It was not until my response to him that I had actually connected the dots between Moroni’s observation that the saints of the restoration were ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, with the historical fact that the name of Christ was officially taken out of the church in late 1834 as the saints were rejecting the fulness of the Gospel.
After having the name of Christ taken from them, the saints were petitioning the Lord in the dedicatory prayer in 1836, to reinstate his name back into the name of the church.
Furthermore, shortly after the dedication of the temple, the Lord would give an ominous warning to those of the leaders of the church that would profess to know the name of the Lord when in fact they don’t.
Although the Saints eventually reinserted the name of Christ into the name of the church, there is no evidence that they did so with the approval of God. ( I have demonstrated that Section 115 was a prophecy about a future time, not the reinstating of the name of Christ into the name of the church)
It is well documented that the Lord rejected the church with their dead in Nauvoo. Furthermore, they were not showing forth the fruits that are always associated with the true and living church of Christ..
Over the years I have noticed that many of the dots can be connected through the use of keyword searches while others are more difficult to find because slightly different terminology is used. Once a person becomes aware of the secret history of the church and the real historical narrative, more and more dots become connected, but it takes time, study and lots of searching.
It never fails to amaze me how many significant doctrinal, historical and prophetic nuggets have been sitting in plain sight in front of my face over the years that I have failed to see initially. It is also interesting how much of what I learn comes from attempting to articulate what I have previously learned while responding to questions that people ask me or while responding to criticisms.
The person who contacted me made a common assumption about the “impoverished first generation saints” that I want to address.
Since responding to that email, it has occurred to me that I did not address the part of his criticism about how the Saints of the restoration were guilty of ADORNING their churches. This part of the question is really quite an interesting one because it highlights parts of LDS history that many people are not familiar with.
First, lets take a look at what the 1828 Websters Dictionary has to say about the word ‘adorn’.
ADORN’, v.t. [L. adorno, ad and orno, to deck, or beautify, to dress, set off, extol, furnish.
1. To deck or decorate; to make beautiful; to add to beauty by dress; to deck with external ornaments. A bride adorneth, herself with jewels. Isa. 6. To set off to advantage; to add ornaments to; to embellish by any thing external or adventitious; as, to adorn a speech by appropriate action, sentiments with elegance of language, or a gallery with pictures.3. To make pleasing, or more pleasing; as, great abilities adorned by virtue or affability.4. To display the beauty or excellence of; as, to adorn the doctrine of God. Titus 2.
ADORN’, n. Ornament. Obs.
ADORN’, a. Adorned; decorated. Obs.
I would suggest that the word adorn as defined in the above definition could be used to refer to decorating and beautifying the church as the term refers to the saints that make up the body of Christ, or to the church buildings that the saints meet in.
The fact that the following passage make distinct mention of “very fine apparel” and “adorning of your churches” would indicate that the later is speaking about adorning meeting houses.
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
Although we often think of the saints of the restoration as being impoverished, particularly in the early New York and Kirtland years of the restoration, it is a well established fact that there was a segment of the well established members and leaders of the church in Nauvoo who had arrived from Kirtland and other places prior to the second in-gathering from across the great waters that were experiencing a degree of wealth and affluency. It is hard to believe that none of these apostate saints were adorning themselves with fine apparel and jewelry.
It is interesting to note that the New Testament addresses the importance of modesty, sobriety and and humility in the way the saints dressed and how they should not be adorning themselves with fine apparel.
In the second chapter of Timothy, Paul addresses the importance of dressing modestly and avoiding braided hair and jewelry:
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
In the third chapter of Peter, Peter reiterates a similar theme as Paul
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy womenalso, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands
Both Peter and Paul warned the women against adorning themselves with braided hair or of adorning the body with jewelry and fancy clothing. This was all vanity and pride. It was focusing on enhancing the beauty of the created instead of focusing on the majesty and mercy of our creator.
It is not inconceivable that married women who went to great lengths to look attractive in public could have been perceived as unfaithful to their husbands and to Christ when viewed the the lens of Biblical Christianity.
But it is not my desire in this post to address focus on the fine apparel and braided hair that no doubt was emerging in the city of Nauvoo as the saints of the restoration were becoming affluent.
I want to address the adorning of the church buildings, specifically the temple, since this is one of the often overlooked fruits of the LDS apostasy. The following statement from the LDS church website notes that Nauvoo went through a quick transition as the Saints continued to inhabit the area:
“After 1842 many of the early log homes were replaced with fine brick houses that still stand as evidence of the Latter-day Saint commitment to excellence.”
Is it a coincidence that the modern church refers to “FINE brick houses” and the passage in question refers to “FINE apparel“?
But again, what I want to focus on is the adorning of the Temple.
One of the amazing contrasts between Kirtland and Nauvoo is how the Kirtland Temple was a very plain and modest structure compared to the Nauvoo Temple which was adorned in various ways both within and without.
The adorning of the exterior with pagan images that violate the command of God to avoid graven images has already been addressed in previous posts.
An LDS merchandiser made the following observation while unwittingly using the term adorn:
“The beautiful inverted stained glass stars that adorn the top of the Nauvoo Temple have a meaningful history dating back to the early Christian church..”
“When the Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt and dedicated in 2002, President Gordon B. Hinckley determined that the three-color stained glass windows would once again adorn the Temple. The beautiful Morning Star windows again glow at night as they once did and remind us of the sacrifice of those early pioneers who loved the Lord.” http://www.templehousegallery.com/NAUVOO-TEMPLE-STAINED-GLASS-STAR-120.htm
I find the use of the word adorn in the above copy and think it is noteworthy with regard to the declarations in Mormon 8 that the Nauvoo Temple was adorned inside of the temple with very beautiful and costly mirrors and extravagant paintings of Brigham Young and other leaders of the church who presided over the church after the death of Joseph Smith.
The following snippets were taken from an article in BYU Studies by Jill C Major
“In the first Nauvoo Temple, the celestial room was adorned with a number of splendid mirrors, paintings and portraits”. William Clayton who wrote this description, also recorded the subjects of the twenty-two of the known portraits that hung in the celestial room.
Their it is again. The use of the term “adorned” used by Jill Major. It was not inserted by me. You just can’t make this stuff up folks.
The article continues..
Brigham young: delivering the law of the lord-
Centered among the portraits on the east wall of the celestial room according to Clayton was the portrait of president Brigham Young placed where members would see the seven foot tall full body portrait of their leader immediately upon stepping into the room
Brigham Young has a very expensive and extravagant full body painting of himself done and has it placed in the celestial room of the Nauvoo Temple. It and many other pictures of the General Authorities were used to adorn the Temple.
They were placed there for everyone to see when they enter the celestial room. I have no idea how much the painting cost but I don’t think that “impoverished” people were investing in seven foot tall paintings of themselves.
It is curious that Brigham Young who was all but poverty stricken during the early Kirtland years and was called to the apostolic ministry as a life time occupation somehow within a relatively short period of time had the means during the Nauvoo period to build a fine brick house, have his children tutored and have multiple paintings of himself commissioned.
Brigham Young Home in Nauvoo
Continuing on with the Jill Major article in BYU Studies-
A portrait of Brigham Young already existed. A bust view which was possibly created in Philadelphia on June 1 1841 to commemorate elder Youngs fortieth birthday. The president could easily have loaned this portrait for the prominent east wall of the celestial room yet the busy leader took time to pose for a second portrait in July 1845 according to the biographer of the man chosen to paint this portrait the artist Selah Van Sickle 1809
Brigham Young selected the message of his new portrait which he called “Delivering the Law of the Lord“
This was not to be a portrait of a sitting figure with hands clasping the scriptures as Nauvoo artist William W Major had portrayed other citizens.
Instead Brigham young chose to dress in formal clothes and stand solemnly in front of a large case of mostly historical books
A book of Mormon and a Bible lie on a cloth covered table to his right but Brigham young selected to emphasize a third book on the table by standing it up the book is titled law of the lord.”
There is a warped sense of irony in Brigham Young depicting himself as delivering the “Law of the Lord” since the law of the Lord had been given in section 42 requiring the saints to live consecration and to live the law of monogamy. Those are two gospel principles for which Brigham Young would not become notorious.
However, the term “Book of the Law of the Lord” had specific reference to a book created by Joseph Smith that contained the names of worthy members of the church who had contributed to the construction of the temple and was perhaps conceptually pattered after the Lambs Book of Life. It was a very prestigious book to have one’s name written in.
Starting in December 1841 the names of those contributing tithing in the form of money or goods for the building of the temple were written in a large hive five hundred plus page leather bound record called the book of the law of the lord which was kept in the counting room of Joseph Smiths brick store on water street..
The book of the law of the lord was thus an important record of the faithful it also served as a sacred text at times revelations to the prophet joseph smith were recorded in it and read in conference.
As the faithful saints entered the celestial room their eyes would focus on the face of Brigham Young and then travel down to the book he held they could feel assured that because their names were written in the the book of the law of the lord they had a right to all the promised blessings ordinances oracles and endowments which will not only benefit them but their posterity to the latest generation.
The book symbolized the beginning of the fulfillment of all the glorious covenants they had made in the temple of the lord.
A second reason to commission such a commanding portrait was to remind church members of the importance of relying on the president of the twelve apostles to lead them after Joseph Smith,s martyrdom, Sidney Rigdon, James J Strang, William Smith and Lyman Wight claimed revelations and authority to lead the church, these men opposed Brigham Young and quickly gathered small groups of followers
The life sized portrait sent a powerful message that Joseph Smith s personal record book had passed to the hands of Brigham Young and only brigham young had the authority to deliver the law of the lord to the church
Those who remembered this lesson from the Nauvoo Temple continued their spiritual and temporal journey following the westward path made by their leaders..
..those who forgot or ignored it left the church and wandered on other roads
portraits of apostles also on the prominent east wall of the celestial room positioned to the left of the Brigham Young portrait was a painting of Heber C Kimball on the right side of the president was a painting of Willard Richards on the same wall hung paintings of apostles John Taylor, Orson Hyde, and George A Smith. This grouping communicated a message of unity and leadership as if to proclaim here are your guides follow them they know the path to the celestial kingdom”
It is difficult to know if the placing of these opulent paintings was singularly the cause of ego run amok or part of a very well thought out psychology which was being used to indoctrinate the masses into supporting the radical leadership shift that had just taken place.
It can truly be said that the saints of the restoration began to adorned their churches beginning with the Nauvoo Temple, both on the exterior, with stained glass windows inverted stars and pictures of a pagan sun god, and also on the inside, with idolatrous paintings of those who claimed to be the official guides of the church holding the priesthood keys.
It is true that this tradition of adorning places of worship has been continued into future generations. numerous articles have been written about the outrageous expenditures the modern church makes on their temples and meeting houses. However the first generation of Saints clearly had the stumbling block of prosperity and pride that was so poignantly and accurately described by Moroni. Moroni was intimately familiar with the first generation of saints and he saw in vision everything that transpired in Kirtland and Nauvoo.
The Lord showed Moroni in vision what took place during Joseph Smith’s ministry. Moroni saw how the restored church failed to live the law of consecration. The Lord had warned the saints that if they refused to impart their substance according to the law of the gospel he would withdraw his spirit from them.
Moroni saw how the newly restored church was given the name, “Church of Christ” by revelation. He saw that within a few short years that name of Christ was taken out of the name of the church because the Saints of the restoration could not live the law of Christ.
Moroni saw the Saints petition the Lord during the dedicatory prayer to reinstate his name upon the Saints.
Moroni saw how the Lord warned the saints in Nauvoo that if they did not repent, reform and complete the Nauvoo Boarding House they would be rejected as a church with their dead.
He saw how the saints would need to flee from Nauvoo and the unfinished temple because of the abomination that they practiced.
Moroni became appalled and sickened at what he saw as he exclaimed “why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?”
It is truly amazing that so many believers in the Book of Mormon and members of the modern church as well as many splinter groups think that the fulness of the gospel is still on the earth.