Years ago, in 1984 President Benson made the following declaration:
In the eighty-fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord decreed that the whole Church was under condemnation, even all the children of Zion, because of the way they treated the Book of Mormon. “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent,” said the Lord, “and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:57). Zion cannot fully arise and put on her beautiful garments if she is under this condemnation. (See D&C 82:14).
(President Benson, CR, Oct. 1984, pp. 4-5)
A few years later in the April 1986 general conference of the LDS Church President Benson again addressed the topic and made the following declarations:
In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, it had also brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon” (D&C 84:54–57 See Oct Conference 1986)
Apostle Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk at the Church Educational system Satellite fireside on June 1993 and quoted President Benson regarding these verses. He claimed that President Benson had declared that the Saints had brought the whole Church under condemnation and that it was still under condemnation:
” President Benson had been stressing the reading of the Book of Mormon. Repeatedly he had quoted these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants, including the Lord’s statement that the Saints’ conduct had “brought the whole church under condemnation” (D&C 84:55). In that temple meeting, President Benson reread those statements and declared, “This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent.”
Those declarations from President Benson created somewhat of a controversy among gospel scholars and students of the gospel.
Much of his interpretation of those passages has been parroted by virtually all of the LDS fringe groups to show that the LDS church has been under condemnation since Section 84 was given in September of 1832.
Even leaders from other factions of the restoration have made similar interpretations of what was being said in Section 84.
In recent times people like Denver Snuffer of the remnant movement and Joseph F. Smith of the Brazil Plates movement have also quoted this revelation as evidence that the whole church fell under condemnation beginning in September of 1832 and has remained under condemnation until now.
That narrative is simply false and it shows that those who promote it are not intimately familiar with church history or the revelations that Joseph Smith brought forth.
While I personally believe that the whole church was brought under condemnation and even eventually rejected as a church with their dead during Joseph Smith’s ministry, I do not agree with the above interpretation of section 84 that has been embraced by so many confused people.
I will show that the entire church did not fall under condemnation at that time.
Quite the opposite took place, in fact, some of the leaders of the church were actually coming out from under condemnation at that very time.
During that time period, some amazing things were taking place that would lay the foundation for the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that is about to take place.
In this post, I am going to provide incontrovertible proof to show why the whole church was definitely not pronounced to be under condemnation at that time.
Clearly, the wording of the revelation can be confusing to those that are not familiar with the revelations Joseph Smith brought forth and the true history of Mormonism. I believe the Lord in his infinite providence intended the wording to be confusing for his own purposes.
Why does it matter whether the “whole church” fell under condemnation at that time or subsequently?
One is that understanding this topic is critically important relative to understanding the events of church history and in properly interpreting passages of scripture that followed after section 84.
Secondly, we need to measure every man’s doctrine who is making claims to be God’s servant, to validate just how inspired they are in reading God’s word.
Many of us who study the scriptures and blog about our surmisings are simply trying to better understand the scriptures and we openly admit that we are on a learning curve with our understanding and we are subject to correction at any time.
Much of the reason we blog is to get feedback and cross pollination from fellow students of the gospel and we look foreword to being corrected when we are wrong.
However, those that claim to be special servants of God, such as President Benson, Denver Snuffer, and Joseph F. Smith, need to be held to a different standard because they are claiming or implying that they enjoy a higher, more intimate relationship with God and his written word.
Naturally, they should be more inspired in their doctrinal declarations and therefore they should be held accountable for the doctrine that they attempt to authoritatively declare.
The LDS church claims to be the only true church and standard with the only true priesthood keys for leading God’s people. President Benson and his fellow presidents of the church allows themselves to be sustained and revered as prophets seers and revelators.
Can that be possible when they cannot even understand a pivotal passage of scripture in the D&C?
Denver Snuffer and Joseph F. Smith are both in the process of leading their respective followers in an attempt to build a temple and establish Zion.
If these self proclaimed “prophets” completely misinterpret what the Lord is saying in a revelation, it should be a red flag to us.
The majority of this post will document the fact that the above interpretation is wrong and why the whole church was not being placed under condemnation.
First I want to point out that President Benson and many of the fringe groups often omit a very important part of the passage when paraphrasing it.
In the words of President Benson, “the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly“
That is a gross simplification and misdirection. Actually here is the list of complaints the Lord had against them:
- Their minds had been darkened because of unbelief
- They had taken lightly the “things they had received” (former commandments)
- They had forgotten the “NEW COVENANT” that is contained in the Book of Mormon AND the FORMER COMMANDMENTS, not only to say but to do.
As you can see, the Lord was not reproving the saints for simply taking the Book of Mormon lightly, with a remedy of reading it more often. The problem was much more serious than that.
The biggest problem was the taking lightly of the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is clearly detailed in BOTH the Book of Mormon AND the revelations that Joseph Smith had received as secondary witnesses to the New Testament.
The revelations that Joseph Smith received up to this point in time had been referred to as the “commandments“. They would later be published as the “Book of Commandments“.
The saints were just as guilty of taking the “revelations” that would eventually be canonized, lightly as they were for taking the Book of Mormon lightly. In fact, in a later revelation the Lord would declare that those who take the oracles of God lightly will fall under condemnation:
And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house. (D&C 90:3-5)
The main point being made in Section 84 is that it was the “New Covenant” as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Revelations, that had been taken lightly along with the saints neglect in keeping the commandments contained in the revelations..
The Lord observes that the “New Covenant” had clearly been revealed in the Book of Mormon and the “things” they had previously received.
A key to understanding that is in the term “new covenant” which is another term for “new testament“.
The meaning of the term “new covenant” would be obvious to a Biblical Christian but since Mormonism has become a cult, our minds have become darkened and we have become blinded to some of the most basic terms of Christianity. In some cases, we look past the mark and look for different definitions than what is plainly being offered. By doing this we take lightly that which is being communicated.
Prior to receiving the Book of Mormon, the saints had received the New Testament which is what their faith had been rooted in. The New Testament is a written testimony of the New Covenant that Jesus made for this fallen world.
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:24
Moses is the mediator of the first covenant, or the law. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant. JST, Galatians 3:20
To suggest that the Biblical term New Covenant was somehow being superseded by a new and improved meaning, or that it exclusively referred to the Book of Mormon is truly embarrassing for those that postulate this notion.
Even the “things” (revelations) that Joseph Smith was bringing forth concurred with the orthodox meaning of the term:
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood. Doctrine and Covenants 76:69
19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. Doctrine and Covenants 107:19
Once you realize that Section 84 was about taking lightly the New Covenant, the passages that President Benson misunderstood become much more clear. The term covenant shows up six times in the revelation. One of those times toward the end is referring to the “Old Covenant” that the Children of Israel had been under. The other five times it is referring to the “New Covenant” having to do with the atonement of Christ and the covenant he extends to them that repent and believe on his name. There is nothing mysterious about the term.
The Old Testament foretold about the time that God would make a “new covenant“.
31 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Jeremiah 31:31
One needs to understand that shortly after the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored and the office of high priest was instituted into the church, in June of 1834, the leading brethren of the Church were divided into two groups. One group was called to go to the “land of Zion” in Jackson Missouri. The other group was to remain in the Stake of Kirtland to preside there.
The bottom-line of the condemnation narrative in Section 84 is that Joseph Smith and his fellow high priests in Kirtland that were receiving the revelation were having the condemnation that they had previously been under, removed.
The covenant they had previously entered into with the Lord was now being renewed and confirmed by the voice of God out of heaven.
On the other hand, their brethren of the high priesthood in the land of Zion had taken their covenant lightly and they would remain under condemnation.
The Oath and Covenant was Being Confirmed with the Kirtland Brethren!
It is quite illogical to suggest that the Lord was pronouncing condemnation upon the seven elders receiving the revelation and the whole church in that revelation for the simple reason that the Lord was quite pleased with the brethren that had gathered during the first day to receive the revelation.
After explaining about the priesthood of God and how men can become the sons of Aaron and Moses and the seed of Abraham, and the elect of God in the opening segment of the revelation, (including the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood that these brethren had just received in June of the previous year), the Lord states-
40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.
41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.
42 And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
As you can see, these seven brethren who had previously entered into covenant with the Lord through the waters of baptism and then had their covenant confirmed through their Melchizedek Priesthood ordination that originated at the special conference at the Morley Farm, were now having that covenant confirmed upon them by the voice of God out of heaven!
God was even giving the heavenly hosts and His angels charge concerning these seven high priests!
Does that sound like those brethren of the church were under condemnation?
What does the word condemnation mean?
1. The act of condemning; the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.
For the judgment was by one to condemnation Romans 5:16.
2. The state of being condemned.
Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation Luke 23:40.
3. The cause or reason of a sentence of condemnation John 3:19.
God was not declaring these brethren to be guilty and doomed to punishment.
Quite the opposite.
It just does not make sense that these brethren who had just had the Melchizedek Priesthood endowment confirmed upon them by the voice of God out of heaven, were also being condemned in the same revelation.
If we fast forward a few verses in section 84 the Lord continues his declaration that He is renewing and confirming their callings as High Priests.
47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.
48 And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.
49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.
50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
As you can see, the Lord even explains the difference between the wicked and the righteous. The wicked (worldly) do not listen to the voice of the spirit, yet he was pleased with these brethren because they had chosen to unite in prayer and listen to the voice of the spirit!
The truth is that something very profound was taking place. It had to do with an intercession that Joseph Smith and other leaders of the church in Kirtland were doing for the entire church and the entire world. That is a topic for another day.
Nevertheless, it is important to notice how the covenant that was being renewed and confirmed that day was not only for the benefit of Joseph and his brethren that were receiving it, IT WAS BEING DONE FOR THE SAKES OF THE WHOLE WORLD!
And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.
To summarize Section 84 as a revelation that brought the whole church under condemnation from that time forward, when in fact the New Covenant was being renewed and confirmed upon men that would impact the entire world represents a huge blind spot and lack of context.
Ok, we have established the fact that it is totally illogical that the Lord is pronouncing condemnation upon these brethren at the same time that he is declaring that he is renewing and confirming the New Covenant that they had previously entered into with God.
Obviously, this revelation has been misinterpreted by President Benson, Denver Snuffer, Joseph F. Smith, and a host of other false teachers.
Lets measure the word of God and parse what is really being said.
You will notice from verses 54 and 55 that the Lord is simply acknowledging that the elders receiving the revelation had been guilty of having darkened minds and bringing the entire church under condemnation IN THE PAST.
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
As you can see, Joseph Smith and the leaders of the church in Kirtland were coming out from under the condemnation they had been under in the past, they were not going into condemnation.
In fact, in a previous post it was shown that in this revelations the word “times past” literally means “two years ago” meaning that it had been exactly two years previous since this group of seven men petitioned the Lord and received Section 29.)
In the past their minds had been darkened and in the past their darkened minds had brought the whole church under condemnation.
The next passage is now addressing a different demographic of the church and it is going to require some keyword searching to fully understand it.
56 And this condemnation [that you have been under in the past, still] resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.
The great mistake people make when they read the passages above is that they assume that the term “children of Zion” has reference to the whole church and they assume that the holy land is all of Zion including Kirtland.
Those assumptions are incorrect.
The term “children of Zion, even all..” has specific reference to all of those saints that were living in the land of Zion!
That is further clarified by verse 59 where the term “holy land” is a direct reference to the “land of Zion“
The Lord was informing the saints in Jackson County Missouri, which was considered the land of Zion, that even though the saints in Kirtland were coming out from under their condemnation, the saints in Zion were still under that condemnation.
They were facing a “scourge and judgment” because they were “polluting” the “holy land” of Zion they had been sent to redeem!
Don’t believe me?
Keyword the term “Children of Zion“.
It will show up in two other revelations. Both of them are clearly using the term to refer specifically to those who were living in Zion, not Kirtland.
Doctrine and Covenants 101:41,81,85
41 Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion, even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened—
Doctrine and Covenants 103:35
35 Therefore, as I said unto you, ask and ye shall receive; pray earnestly that peradventure my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may go with you, and preside in the midst of my people, and organize my kingdom upon the consecrated land, and establish the children of Zion upon the laws and commandments which have been and which shall be given unto you.
Shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.
Read both of those revelation in their entirety for context if you cannot tell from the verses alone.
Having established the fact that “children of Zion” refers to those that went to the land of Zion, now lets fast forward to section 105 where it becomes apparent that the condemnation pronounced in section 84 was directed at those that became the “afflicted people” that would be cast out of Zion because they were transgressing and not being obedient at the time section 84 was being given.
It did not apply to the leaders of the church in Kirtland
1 Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people—
2 Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.
3 But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
4 And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.
6 And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
7 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
As you can see, the first elders of the church in Kirtland were not under the condemnation that had been pronounced.
Shortly after section 84 pronounced condemnation upon the “children of zion“, another revelation was given to the leaders of the church in Kirtland in which the Lord revealed that He was “pleased” with their desire to assemble to receive the will of the Lord. See Section 88.
He declared that “the angels rejoice over them“.
Does that sound like they were in a state of condemnation?
He informs them that the alms of their prayers have been recorded in the “names of the sanctified“.
Does that sound like they are condemned?
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.
3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son
I don’t think the Lord would be sending “another comforter” and the “promise of eternal life” upon the high priests in Kirtland if they were under condemnation.
As soon as Joseph Smith received Section 88, he sent it to the high priests in the land of Zion because they had been making accusations against him. He wanted to provide them with proof that God was pleased with the leaders in Kirtland.
As you can see, the whole church was not condemned from September of 1832 until today.
Those that have falsely interpreted Section 84 don’t really seem to be all that inspired and revelatory do they?
They seem to be oblivious to what was really taking place in church history at that time.
When Was the Whole Church Condemned
Having shown beyond dispute that Section 84 has been grossly misinterpreted by a host of false teachers, the next logical question is, did the Lord ever declare that the whole church was under condemnation during Joseph Smith’s ministry?
I believe the answer is yes.
The answer is found hidden deep in the history of the church and in the Joseph Smith Papers. It takes place when Oliver Cowdery is ordained to the office of assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood in the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS:
Friday Evening, December 5, 1834. According to the direction of the Holy Spirit, Pr[e]sident Smith, assistant Presidents, [Sidney] Rigdon and [Frederick G.] Williams, assembled for the purpose of ordaining <first> High Counsellor [Oliver] Cowdery to the office of assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints.
You will notice according to that journal entry that the Church is no longer being called the Church of Christ anymore.
Because just months before this event, a special conference was called to change the name of the church to the Church of the Latter day Saints!
Here are the minutes of the meeting as contained in the history of the church.
“During a conference held on May 3, 1834, with Joseph Smith acting as moderator, “a motion was made by Sidney Rigdon, and seconded by Newel K. Whitney, that this Church be known hereafter by the name of ‘The Church of the Latter-day Saints.’ Remarks were made by the members, after which the motion passed by unanimous vote” (History of the Church 2:62-63). er, p. 73).”
As you can see, the name of the Church of Christ that had been given by revelation and was congruent with the New Testament Church and the Book of Mormon churches of Christ, was being changed.
The name of Christ was being taken out of the name of the Church.
Because the saints had failed to live the fulness of the gospel and were no longer worthy to be called by his name.
The saints would later petition the Lord to reinstate the name of Christ upon them during the dedicatory prayer in the Kirtland Temple. (See 109: 79)
But I digress.
The beginning of the revelation that was received just prior to Oliver Cowdery’s ordination into an office in the Church of the Latter day Saints is provided below:
‘Verily, condemnation resteth upon you, who are appointed to lead my Chu[r]ch, and to be saviors of men: and also upon the church: And there must needs be a repentance and a refor[m]ation among you, in all things..” See Joseph Smith Papers
There you have it.
The Lord pronounced the whole church, both leaders and members, to be under condemnation on December 5th 1834.
It is interesting to note that God was still laboring with the church and giving them time to repent and come out from under that condemnation.
There is no indication after that, that the Lord brought the church out from under condemnation.
Those that are familiar with the true sequence of events realize that God secretly ushered in the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham and commissioned the Quorum of the Twelve to take the KNOWLEDGE of the gospel to the dispersed of Judah and the outcasts of Israel.
Nevertheless, the church was under condemnation during the whole second wave of missionary work that began during the Nauvoo era of the church. In fact, there was a third revelation in which the Lord pronounced condemnation. It was directed at the quorum of the Twelve apostles.
The revelation was received on November 3 1835
” Behold they [The Twelve] are under condemnation, because they have not been sufficiently humble in my sight…but verily I say unto you, they must all humble themselves before me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment, to go forth in my name unto all nations”
Sadly, those apostles did not get the endowment to take the “fulness of the gospel” to the elect of God as is prophesied of. That missionary work is yet future. Rather, they were given the mandate, while in their condemned state, to take the “knowledge” of the gospel to the Jews.
Shortly after that revelation, Joseph meets with the 12 apostles just prior to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple and tells them their minds are so dark that Gabriel himself could not help them comprehend the things of God:
“the endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts” (Pg 79 Unpub Rev):
Just before the Twelve crossed the great waters the Lord gave Section 112 in which he acknowledges that the Twelve are not even converted. Shortly after that, some of them would apostatize before the foreign missions even began.
It is remarkable to realize that the Lord commissioned his condemned church and their condemned quorum of apostles to take the knowledge of the gospel to the Jews! Very few people realize that the modern church that calls themselves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is largely composed of Jews that have gathered in fulfillment of prophecy!
To this very day the apostles in the LDS church appear to be condemned for taking the oracles of God lightly and misunderstanding them and using them to teach false doctrine.
But again I digress.
The purpose of this post is to discuss the true meaning of what was said in Section 84 and to point out that those that claim to be prophets have incorrectly identified the date and correct circumstance for when the whole church fell under condemnation.
By doing so, they have made it difficult for people to understand significant events that were taking place in the history of the church and they are making it very difficult to have the proper context for the revelations that followed Section 84.
This is all according to the providence of God who fortold that God’s people would be “Sleepy” “blind” and “drunk” in the latter days just prior to the true beginning of the Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
It is impossible to understand modern revelation unless you understand the true history of the church and the prophecies that related to the history of the church. Conversely, it is impossible to understand the true history of the church without understand the true context and meaning of the revelations that Joseph Smith brought forth.
It may not be insignificant that this condemnation upon the whole church is taking place exactly 3 1/2 years to the day after the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the special conference at the Isaac Morley Farm.
I think it is significant.
I believe the 3 1/2 year period is cryptically mentioned two times in the Book of Daniel
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the Saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25)
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished (Daniel 12:7).
The saints of God entered into covenant through the waters of Baptism. Following that, the Melchizedek Priesthood and Office of High Priest was restored to the earth.
It was restored exactly 3 1/2 years to the day, prior to the declaration of condemnation that the Lord pronounced upon the leaders and members of the church.
Because the New Covenant had been taken lightly.
The 3 1/2 years of spiritual nourishment represents the time when revelation was flowing and the fulness of the priesthood and gospel was on the earth despite the saints struggle to live it.
Following that 3 1/2 year period of time, the whole church fell under condemnation and the heavens began to close and the power of the holy people was scattered.
The latter day corporate church and all of the factions of the restoration only talk about their claims of priesthood AUTHORITY because they have no priesthood POWER.
Because the priesthood power has been scattered.
We are informed in the book of Daniel that the saints would be deceived by Satan from the time the New Testament church went into apostasy until a 3 1/2 year period of time of revelatory nourishment that would take place after the church was restored through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith.
Following that 3 1/2 year period of nourishment, the “power of the holy people” would be “scattered” and the saints would be condemned and deceived again, until the ancient of days returns to the Lords vineyard.
This 3 1/2 year period when the restored church would receive and strive to live the fulness, and would ultimately cumulatively reject the fulness, was mentioned by Christ in 3 Nephi 16. He foresaw and foretold that the saints of the restored church would ultimately sin against and reject the fulness.
Are there any historical landmarks during 1834 that preceded the Lord’s declaration that the whole church was under condemnation?
Here is a very brief and incomplete listing of events relating to the entire church and church leadership being brought under condemnation:
February 24 1834 (Section 103) Conditional promise given, if Saints “hearken to obey all the words which I the Lord their God shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued…But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.” Who began to prevail from that time? Clearly, the kingdoms of the world have overcome the saints.
April 23rd 1834 (Section 104) The Lord announces that “the covenants [had been] broken through transgression. (This brings the two year attempt to live consecration to an end by the breaking of the covenant See section 82 April 26th 1832 and Isaiah 24)
May 3, 1834 (HC 2:62-63) Conference of the Church held ten days after breaking law of consecration and officially removes the name of Christ from the name of the Church and changes name to “Church of the Latter day Saints”. (The Lord had previously told the saints that if they did not obey his law and commandments they were not worthy to be called by His name)
June 22,1834 (Section 105) Revelation given to Zion’s Camp. The expedition to redeem Zion is called off. Because of Transgression-Zion and her laws must wait for a little season of learning and chastisement.
November 29 1834 HC Joseph and Oliver enter into “Covenant of Tithing [consecreation]” “for the continuance of [gospel] blessings“. This covenant was part of an intercession made on behalf of the Latter day saints that prevented the saints from being destroyed from off the face of the earth and enabled the completion of the Kirtland Temple and some very important events. It made possible the continuance of spiritual gospel blessings under the gospel of grace despite the breaking of the covenant of consecration by the collective church. It enabled the fulfillment of the prophecy, that the Lord would come “suddenly” and “secretly” to his temple after which the saints had the keys of the Gospel of Abraham and the law of mercy, ( see Section 110 April 3 1836)
After rejecting the fulness of the Gospel, the saints found themselves in the same situation that ancient Israel found themselves in when they refused to go up the mount and see the face of God.
The Old Testament records the fact that the Lord was going to wipe all of ancient Israel off of the face of the earth until Moses made an atonement offering in their behalf and pleaded with the Lord to spare them.
The same happened during Joseph Smith’s ministry.
He and his brethren were instrumental in receiving a priesthood endowment and having it renewed and confirmed upon them that would impact the entire church and world.
It was critical in providing an atonement offering and intercession that prevented the latter day saints from being wiped off the face of the earth for their disobedience.
This latter day intercession of the condemned and rejected church is briefly mentioned in the allegory in the book of Jacob:
49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard?
50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.
51 And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it a little longer
During Joseph’s ministry, the trees of the vineyard were spared instead of burned.
According to the same allegory the appointed time is fast approaching when that same servant will gather others and return to the vineyard and “will labor with their mights” and the Lord of the vineyard will return to labor with them and they will preserve the natural fruit before the vineyard will be burned with fire.