I want to share with you an email that I received from a reader of this blog the other day who is perusing my book.
Most people that order my book are probably overwhelmed when it arrives in the mail.
It is a rather large book.
Over 600 pages long with over 1200 cross references.
Some have told me that they don’t read the whole book because it is so long. Obviously, it would be quite an undertaking for someone to also check all of the footnotes for accuracy.
This is why I love it when I hear from someone that has checked a cross reference and found a mistake.
I love to be corrected when I make a mistake because I want to be as accurate as possible. I am still making a few changes here and there based on the original comments made my peer review a few years ago.
I recently got an email from one of the few readers of the book that has been scrutinizing the cross references. Here is what he said:
On page 124 of your book, you quote Joseph Smith as having said on January 16, 1836:
“It is not necessary that God should give us all things in His first commission to us, but in His second”. Your footnote shows this sourced as TPJS 104.
TPJS lists this conversation as having occurred on November 9, 1835 (not a fatal error, but an error nonetheless).
The fatal error is that those aren’t the words of Joseph Smith!
Those are the words of “Joshua the Jewish Minister” (aka Mattias the murderer). Read the preceding paragraphs in TPJS and even better, HC 2:305 where a different font makes the words of Joshua evident. Just three sentences earlier he talks about his theory on the first resurrection that Joseph questions immediately after your quotation, and a few paragraphs later when Joshua explains it, Joseph (on page TPJS105/HC307) declared this doctrine of the devil, told him he was in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit, commanded him to leave, and even concluded that he had “cast out the devil in body shape”.
I’m not sure in how many other places you have used this quotation, but it’s presence is problematic.
If I am in error, please educate me.
Obviously I was shocked and horrified when I read his email. I immediately pulled out my TPJS and re-read the quote and then read the larger narrative for context. I then read the account in the Volume 2 of the History of the Church.
I’ll be damned if his point didn’t appear to be well taken.
The crazy thing is that even though he appeared to be correct, I continued to believe that the quote represented the words of Joseph Smith, not Joshua the Jewish Minister. When you have studied the words of Joseph Smith as much as I have, you get a feel for how he talks and what he says.
Of course it wouldn’t discredit the concept of the “three watches” is Joseph Smith wasn’t the author of the quote.
I have provided countless other evidences that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder did not begin during Joseph Smith’s ministry when he restored the church and gospel to the earth.
I have also identified many of the unconditional prophecies and promises in modern revelation stating that Joseph and his brethren would return to this earth to complete their stewardships.
Nevertheless, I love the following statement and I have quoted it several times over the years.
“It is not necessary that God should give us all things in His first commission to us, but in His second”. Your TPJS 104.
When I read the above quote out of TPJS I just assumed it was from Joseph Smith because it matches the prophetic template in scripture about him.
This was my reply to the fellow that emailed me-
Great catch. It appears as if that is the case. I had not noticed that. It is amazing that no one else has caught that over the years…. I will need to change it in the book and blog if that is correct.
I am going to need to research the original because the following snippet sounds like Joseph and in fact I think he has made similar remarks in other places about how the Lord raised him up in obscurity. Also the first commission and second commission statement is echoing what it says in section 88 and other passages.
“I have risen up out of obscurity, but was looked up to when but a youth in temporal things. It is not necessary that God should give us all things in his first commission to us, but in his second; John saw the angel deliver the Gospel in the last days. . . . . . The small lights that God has given is sufficient to lead us out of Babylon, when we get out we shall have the greater light.”
I disagree that Joseph is saying that the “second commission” [and some of the other things said ] is a doctrine of the Devil. I believe that Joseph is referring specifically to Joshua’s claim that the spirit of Mathias the Apostle was resurrected in him.
I think there is some truth in some of the things that are attributed to what Joshua taught, regardless of whether he was an evil man or not.
Thanks for the heads up!
Here is his reply to my response
I agree that Joseph was specifically referring to the resurrection doctrine when calling it of the devil. (Was trying to show they were Joshua’s words and questionable because it was right next to something truly false)
And agree that there is truth and error mixed together everywhere, which was why I was not trying to invalidate the multiple commission CONCEPT, just this specific quotation. Which made me sad because the quote was such a clear and strong identification of the concept.
And considering just how many quotations you used in your book to support these concepts, having one slip through like this still gives you a 99% success rate. I don’t want you thinking that I’m trying to throw rocks at you…on the contrary, I want to make sure your work is bullet proof.
I Almost Didn’t Check the Original Manuscript
I am currently going through a period of burn-out after 30 years of studying the scriptures and the history of the church, so I came close to simply removing the quote from my book and multiple blog posts without investigating this conundrum further, even though I intuitively believed those were the words of Joseph Smith and not Joshua the Jewish Minister.
However that little voice inside my head said, check out the original manuscript and compare it to the edited and possibly revised text in DHC and TPJS. So, I went to the Joseph Smith Papers Project and copied the text from the original into a word doc and then copied the text from the modern version (or should I say revision) right next to it so that I could see if any changes or omissions had been made.
The first thing that Jumped out at me is that the narrative was changed from a second person account to a first person account, just as the narrative in section 110 had been thusly altered.
The original says “While President Smith was relating this brief history of the Church of Christ in these last days..”
The official history says “While I was relating a brief history of the establishment of the Church of Christ in these last days..”
Although this is a common occurrence in the history of the church and apparently an accepted practice in those days, it pisses me off that they did that. It does seem appropriate to me.
While comparing the official church history text with the original text, I have noticed several interesting things which I want to blog about sometime I the future.
For this post, I simply want to address the passages that I have attributed to Joseph Smith, even though, the official history seems to credit them to Joshua the Jewish Minister.
Again, here is the historical snippet in questions:
It is not necessary that God should give us all things at first, or in his first commission to us, but in his second John Saw the Angel deliver the gospel in the last days,
I would submit that Joseph Smith is declaring that his current ministry represented the “first commission“, wherein he restored the gospel and the church, and that sometime in the future, God would give him and his associates a second commission in which they would be given “all things”. During this second commission, the gospel is delivered by the angel in the LAST DAYS.
The person speaking is paraphrasing a passage from Rev 14:6-8
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication
What is the point that Joseph Smith is making relative to the angel delivering the gospel in the last days?
The concept seems somewhat disjointed and undeveloped as it transitions from the first watch and second watch, to the observation that the angel will deliver the gospel in the last days.
It becomes more clear once you see the part of the statement that was intentionally omitted in the official history of the church!
This is the quote that was originally recorded including the part that was omitted:
“It is not necessary that God should give us all things at first, or in his first commission to us, but in his second [commission to us] John Saw the Angel deliver the gospel in the last days, which would not be necessary if it were already in the world..”
I believe that is a dead giveaway that Joseph Smith is the one that was speaking.
Here is the link to the manuscript at the Joseph Smith Papers site
Joseph Smith is proving to Joshua that the reason the “angel flying in the midst of heaven” needs to deliver the gospel IN THE LAST DAYS is because the saints who previously had the gospel would be in a state of apostasy.
That is the foundational premise that the church and gospel needed to be restored in the last days!
There is no way Joshua would understood that, and been teaching it to Joseph.
Joseph was clearly revealing that to Joshua!
It appears the revisionists chose to omit that last part of the declaration.
I can think of a few reasons why they might have wanted to do what they did. But that is a topic for another day.
Bottom-line: I am sticking with my claim that those are the words of Joseph Smith because that is a mystery only Joseph Smith would have known. The whole reason for Joseph Smith’s ministry and the restoration is because the gospel had been taken from the earth!
But the mystery being revealed is even deeper than many realize.
Prophecy has a Dual Fulfillment
It is commonly believed by many latter day saints that the prophesy about the “angel flying in the midst of heaven”, in Rev 14:6-8 was fulfilled during Joseph Smith’s first commission in the LDS restoration movement.
It is believed that Moroni’s visits to bring forth the Book of Mormon fulfilled the prophecy.
Since virtually all prophecies have a dual fulfillment I would agree that a SHADOW FULFILLMENT of that prophecy had taken place before this conversation between Joseph and Joshua was taking place.
However the LITERAL FULFILLMENT of the angel flying through the midst of heaven to deliver the gospel is yet to take place in the future, in the last days, during Joseph’s second commission.
“the Scripture is ready to be fulfilled…”
I have previously documented that Joseph Smith also believed that the literal fulfillment of that prophecy was to be a future event.
Here is a prophetic statement that Joseph Smith made during the Nauvoo era. In my opinion, Joseph is suggesting that he will be the angel with priesthood keys that John saw.
Regardless of whether my interpretation of the following quote, about Joseph being the angel is correct or not, it is clear that Joseph saw the Angel flying in the midst of heaven prophecy as a future event
..all the testimony is, that the Lord in the last days would commit the keys of the Priesthood to a witness over all people—has the Gospel of the Kingdom commenced in the last days? and will God take it from the man, until he takes him, himself?
I have read it precisely as the words flowed from the lips of Jesus Christ—John the Revelator saw an angel flying thro’ the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, &c.
the Scripture is ready to be fulfilled when great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, judgements, &c are ready to be poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth—
John saw the angel having the holy Priesthood who should preach the everlasting gospel to all nations,—God had an angel, a special messenger, ordained, & prepared for that purpose in the last days—
Woe! Woe! be to that man, or set of men, who lift up their hands against God and his Witness in these last days. —for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones—my apostate enemies say that I have been a true prophet—
(12 May 1844 (Sunday Morning). Temple Stand)
It is my belief that we are now living in the time that Joseph made reference to. Great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, and judgements, are beginning to be poured out on the inhabitants of the earth and the angel that John saw is getting ready to deliver the gospel that has been lost from this world.
Thus we have another piece of revisionist history that is now exposed. It represents just one of many intentionally altered historical that have resulted in a revisionist history of the LDS restoration.
Shame on those who have altered the true history of Mormonism.
This is why I have provided a series called the secret history of Mormonism
(Those getting this post by email may need to go the blog to see the video links)