“All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office. “
Are we seeing a pattern here? The priests had to come before King David and Samuel the Seer to be ordained. Remember how the Lord said in the D&C that all those who would go forth to preach the gospel much come before Sidney and Joseph?
Is it beginning to make a little more sense why Joseph Smith was “partly” a descendant of King David but Sidney was a full blooded descendant of King David? The King and his Seer.
The Jewish legends pertaining to messiah ben Judah are shrouded in mystery as are all of the legends having to do with the mysterious lineage of the Davidic Bloodline. From this we get the legend of the Holy Grail.
There is something peculiar about the fact that the Lord sends Oliver Cowdery and others on a mission for the specific purpose of taking the gospel and the Book of Mormon to the Lamanites yet the mission to the Lamanites appears to be a complete failure while it results in the conversion of Sidney Rigdon and, ultimately hundreds of people that he has prepared to receive the gospel.
The promise was that if the Lamanites received the book of Mormon, the Lord would establish his church among them… now think about it, the mission appears to be a total failure as far as the perceived group of Lamanites is concerned, yet the very person who is to ultimately take the gospel to the Lamanites in the 3rd watch is converted during and as a result of that mission!
Consider the possibility that Sidney Rigdon is a full blooded descendent of King David and consider that the Book of Mormon reveals that the right to the Davidic throne migrated over to America via Mulek, the son of Jewish King Zeddekiah and mingled among the posterity of Lehi!
By the time the 1830’s comes along the blood of the Book of Mormon peoples has mingled among many of the Gentiles. Is it possible that Sidney Rigdon has Lehite/Mulekite blood flowing through his veins?
The Book of Mormon begins its story of the Mulekites where the Old Testament story of Zedekiah ends. Amaleki writes that Mulek, the son of Zedekiah and heir to the throne of David, came “out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” (Omni 1:15.) Amaleki continues: “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.” (Omni 1:16; italics added.)
The people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon. And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters. (Omni 1:15—16)
The people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulek, and those who came with him into the wilderness . . . (Mosiah 25:2)
The sons of Zedekiah were . . . slain, all except it were Mulek [and] . . . the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem. (Helaman 8:21)
The scriptures above are the only three references to Mulek in the Book of Mormon. The reference in Mosiah 25:2 is of interest because it specifically identifies Zarahemla as a descendant of Mulek. In other words, a direct heir to the throne of Jerusalem, Zarahemla, was ironically found in ancient America and no doubt exists today. Does it exist in the form of one Sidney Rigdon?
“the people of Zarahemla came out [not “were driven out”] from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” This would place the departure from Jerusalem of at least some of Mulek’s party, perhaps the bulk of it, sometime in late 586 BC, more than a year after the point suggested for teenage Mulek himself to have gone to Egypt.
According to the Book of Mormon, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon during the reign of Zedekiah, perhaps sometime around sometime in late 586 BC, all of the sons of Zedekiah were killed except Mulek. Along with “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord,” Mulek escaped into the wilderness and traveled “across the great waters” to the Americas, founding a new nation. The Mulekites establish their capital at Zarahemla, north of where Lehi and his people landed.
What are the chances that Sidney Rigdon could possibly be a descendent of King Zedekiah through the loins of Mulek? Would in not be poetic justice for someone of that bloodline to be the one to hold the keys of the ministry to that people?
I realize this seems bizarre, but anything is possible in the Lord. speculating further, is it possible that the bloodline could have been in many of the people in the congregations that Sidney had prepared for the restoration movement?
How odd that the promise was that God would establish his church among the Lamanites if they received the Gospel and the next thing that happens is that the Church of Christ that was organized by Joseph Smith is commanded to migrate from New York over to Kirtland where it will be established among Rigdons congregation. One would think that the Lord would have the converting congregations move to where the existing newly, legally established church was in New York.
Of course this is all speculation and doesn’t necessarily matter one way or the other how Rigdon got his divine bloodline. However the Lord seems to test people by hiding a divine bloodline and having it crop up in the most unusual and disguised ways in order to test people.
It appears that the Lord revealed this about Joseph and Sidney’s priesthood while they were working on the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible;
“Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers— For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God— Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen“
Look at how Rigdon’s real identity was so hidden and even the process of bringing his calling to light was very veiled in the 2nd watch so that a great test could take place in the 3rd watch. Realizing that many of the Latter day Saints are of the loins of Judah as well as many of the Lamanites, this give greater meaning to the following scripture which may have multiple types and fulfillments;
“Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.“
It is amazing how closely some scriptures seem to speak of Christ and his servants in such a close parallel that it is hard to distinguish whether the literal event in the scriptures is actually speaking of Christ or his servant. compare the following verse to Isaiah 11 wherein it appears to be referring to God’s Servant the root of Jesse;
“Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah. And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again the second time to recover them; wherefore, he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him; and none will he destroy that believe in him.“
Perhaps this is why we are told that whether it is by his voice or the voice of his servants it is the same… and why we are told that Christ laid his hands on someone via the hands of Sidney Rigdon… divine possession?
“The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up ajealousy like a man of bwar: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.” (Isa 42)
Again, the important thing to remember is that all who desire to preach the Gospel for the last time in the 3rd watch must come before the Spokesman and the Seer.
Are you going to accept the calling to preach the everlasting gospel to all nations when the 3rd watch opens up? The only way you can be ordained to do it is to come before the two anointed ones and be called and ordained by them.
You have probably noticed by now that this tribute is really to the Lord God of Israel and how he can take people like Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon and use them in mysterious ways to bring about his purposes.
This is a tribute to the holy and infallible word of God. It is a tribute to how God takes mortal fallible men and sanctifies them and makes them holy men and uses them to make intercession for their brethren…. sometimes covering the eyes of his holy Seers and making fools and fops out of them in the eyes of the world to bring to pass his glorious work.
He did a preparatory work with them in their state of weakness and he will bring them forth in power during the 3rd watch.
Is not Joseph Smith hated and despised by the world in general? Is not Sidney Rigdon held in derision in the eyes of most members of the Church? Yet God is going to use the weak things of the world to break down the mighty and strong ones.
It is interesting to note that all 12 of the above mentioned revelations and the wealth of information they contain about Sidney Rigdon were all given within about 3 1/2 years after he joined the church.
Section 76, also known as “The Vision” took place in February 1832, just a little over two years after he joined the church.
After reviewing the profile created from the 12 sections of the D&C, other related scriptures and related events in the LDS history, it may seem almost overwhelming just how many honors and callings and privileges the Lord heaped upon his servant Sidney Rigdon the spokesman from the loins of Judah.
With the exception of Joseph Smith, no one comes close to Sidney in the role he played in laying the foundation for the Marvelous Work that was to come forth four generations later. and the promise he has of the role he will yet play in the Marvelous Work is hard to comprehend.
If you are LDS you may be scratching your head and wondering how you grew up in the Church without realizing that Sidney was virtually equal with Joseph Smith in both priesthood and the leadership responsibilities.
In fact he was probably a mentor to Joseph in many ways in the early years of Joseph’s ministry including biblical scholarship.
His efforts in preparing hundreds of people in Ohio to accept the restored gospel, teaching the school of the prophets, using the Bible to prove the accuracy of the modern revelations being brought forth through the Seer, giving sermons, dedicating and consecrating sacred places, defending the faith, doing missionary work, giving blessings and priesthood ordinations makes him arguably every bit as important in the LDS restoration movement as Joseph Smith was.
Yet it is remarkable that many Latter day Saints know precious little about the role Rigdon played, not to mention the future role he will play. The knowledge of Sidney Rigdon in the eyes of many Latter day Saints has been reduced to a handful of disparaging remarks that various individuals have peppered throughout histories and lesson manuals.
Later in this tribute we will review how Sidney Rigdon fell from his esteemed position and became a maligned and virtually insignificant personality according to the sanitized version of the official history of the Church.
Solving the Mystery of Joseph Smith
Finding the missing pieces of the Prophet Puzzle
The Reinstitution of Blood Sacrifice in the last dispensation
The Intercessory Scapegoat Atonement
“I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people… Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for his friends. You have stood by me in the hour of trouble, and I am willing to sacrifice my life for your preservation.” [George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1907), p. 498]
“… I was in the Grand Council and was chosen and ordained to this office to be the last and greatest prophet to lay the foundation of God’s work of the last or seventh dispensation“
This rather bold proclamation was rather indicative of Joseph Smith Jr., during the last years of his ministry. Many of his loyal followers believed, as he apparently did that he was the Davidic Servant spoken of in ancient scripture through which God would restore again the kingdom to Israel. (The scriptures seem to differentiate the Davidic Servant of the 2nd watch and the Davidic King of the 3rd watch)
He was the last great prophet who was to reinstate Gods Law, gather Gods people and establish Zion preparatory for the Second Coming. In him the promises made to King David and the prophetic utterances of virtually all of the Old Testament prophets were being fulfilled. He declared that the testimony of Christ that he and Sidney Rigdon gave to the world would be the last testimony.
Smith believed that he exclusively held the key of knowledge–
“I have the whole plan of the kingdom before me, and no other person has”
“I understand the fullness of the Gospel from beginning to end. I can teach it and also the order of the Priesthood in all its ramifications. ..”
“ I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself… things in heaven, in earth and hell…”
This is consistent with his profile wherein God calls him to reveal things while Sidney is to Expound on them.
He saw himself as much more than just a teacher or prophetic instrument in the Lords hands. He saw himself as a protector of the people.
“If I were not in your midst to aid and counsel you, the devil would overcome you”
Toward the end of his ministry when the flow of revelation through him to the general church membership had all but been turned off and he was being accused by many of his own followers as being a false prophet his response was;
“My enemies say that I have been a true prophet Why I had rather be a fallen true prophet than a false prophet When a man goes about prophesying and commands men to obey his teachings he must either be a true or false prophet. False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones“
He also made statements to the effect that he had been seal up by the Holy Spirit of Promise and could not fall in the ultimate sense;
“ Earth and hell have opposed me and tried to destroy me but they have not done it and they never will”
“I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot ever overthrow or overcome this boy, for I have the promise from the eternal God.”
Acknowledging the Mysterious Prophet Puzzle
“In her provocative 1974 essay, “The Prophet Puzzle: Suggestions Leading toward a More Comprehensive Interpretation of Joseph Smith,” Jan Shipps faced the anomalies in the historical record concerning Smith, noting that “[w]hat we have in Mormon historiography is two Josephs… To resolve what she called the “schizophrenic state of Mormon history, with its double interpretive strand of Joseph Smith as a man of God and Joseph Smith as a kind of fraud who exploited his followers for his own purposes..”
In “The Prophet Puzzle” essay, religious historian Jan Shipps states that:
“The mystery of Mormonism cannot be solved until we solve the mystery of Joseph Smith”.
Shipps is one of a number of scholars, researchers, and even some members of the LDS and other various restoration churches who appear to be troubled by much of the historical evidence pertaining to Smith and the restoration movement yet they can’t bring themselves to completely write him off either.
Many struggle to accept Smith as a prophet because of the unexplainable contradictions in his life
As I have pointed out before, his teachings and personal life towards the later part of his ministry vs his teachings, his personal life and the scriptures he brought forth during the first six years of his ministry present a dichotomy that many have not been able to reconcile and virtually nobody has been able to adequately explain.
His life and teachings during the first six years of his public ministry seem to be incongruent with the last eight years of his public ministry. The incongruency presents a challenge to those who see the light in the revelations he brought forth but cannot reconcile some of his personal actions later in his life. Coupled with the fact that the heavens appeared to be closing on the Seer, the inconsistencies become problematic.
Despite these inconsistencies, or perhaps because of them, a few, serious religious scholars and historians seem be drawn to the continuous study of his life. It appears they cannot attribute his life and accomplishments to that of a true prophet yet they cannot dismiss him as a fraud or charlatan either.
When a holistic view of his dichotomous life and its impact on the church and world is taken into consideration, and the realization that he became a stumbling block to the very work God had called him to do, it is hard to find an adequate logical explanation.
There are numerous anti-Mormon groups and individuals dedicated to challenging the claims of the LDS restoration movement. As a result, the field of Mormon apologetics has also grown and become more prevalent and sophisticated as well. Both areas of scholarly research have become thriving past times if not quasi industries. In part of this paper, I am going to challenge the faulty premise upon which both groups build there case.
The life and work of the Prophet Joseph Smith creates a polarization among those who study it. At one end of the spectrum his disciples accept him as God’s latter-day servant who cannot commit any grievous sins, at the other end of the spectrum his accusers reject him as a false prophet who never had anything but evil intentions.
Joseph Smiths life seems to be filled with so many extreme contradictions that it seems strange that a world wide religion growing out of his religious experience could attract so many passionately loyal followers, weather the test of time and become one of the fasted growing and wealthiest in the world.
One contributing reason for this phenomenon is the Book of Mormon, the foundational book of scripture upon which Mormonism rests. Many Mormons who cannot reconcile or find peace in the personal life of Smith resiliently defend the faith based largely on the merits of the Book of Mormon.
Ironically, the Book of Mormon itself is one of the greatest critics of many of the actions taken by Smith and the Saints of the restoration movement, including his involvement in polyandry and masonry.
Those converted to the faith through the Book of Mormon usually become staunch defenders of Smith and categorically reject the charges of his accusers or simply shelf the questions about the incongruence found in his personal life and some of the events of the restoration movement in hopes that it will all be worked out some time in the future or in the hereafter.
Critics steeped in traditional Christianity who’s religious and ethical foundations cannot tolerate Smith’s involvement in masonry and polygamy and numerous other actions inconsistent with his own original teachings become zealous in refuting all of the fruits of the restoration movement including the Book of Mormon and the revelations received by Smith contained in the Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenants.
In addition to these types of issues, his ability to attract such a wide range of extremely talented and prolific disciples is a wonderment in and of itself. The skeptic must add to these accomplishments his ability to get three men of above average intelligence and character and standing in their respective communities to conspire with him about seeing an angel with plates and hold to that story their entire lives even after two of the three eventually apostatized from the church and became critics of Smith.
It is no wonder that many researchers continue to struggle to understand this man and the work he was involved with.
Is there a biblical explanation for the life of Joseph Smith?
One of the problems with the way that most critics and defenders of Joseph Smith view him and the restoration movement is that they do it through their own religious world-view and human logic which is seldom in sync with the word of God.
The missing pieces of the prophet puzzle cannot be identified and Smith cannot be demystified unless he is weighed in the balance by the many ancient and modern scriptures that profile the Davidic Servant of the last days. Once the scriptural profile of the Davidic Servant is catalogued, a timeline of events that took place in Smiths life should be analyzed to see if the clothes fit the man.
Understanding and acknowledging the mysterious Biblical relationship between God and his people, the role of the last Davidic Servant and the mysterious doctrines pertaining to reconciliation and atonement are essential to understanding and judging any man claiming to hold that office and position.
Until we do, we are ill equipped to judge the man. We need to identify the prophetic model of the Davidic Servant that is given in the scriptures and use that to measure the life and accomplishments of anyone claiming to be that person.
The scriptures provide many keys to God’s relationship with his people Israel that both Mormons and traditional Christians either reject or sweep under the carpet because they are either to painful, illogical or to incomprehensible for the finite mind of mortal man to feel comfortable with.
Certainly there are numerous biblical doctrines that have been scrubbed from the sanitized versions of contemporary Christianity and are not often preached over the pulpit in our Sunday sermons. These obscure teachings of the Bible remind us of God’s declaration in Amos-
“My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts sayeth the Lord”.
Before one can put the life of Joseph Smith up against a biblical profile of the Lords last messenger, to see if there is a place for him in the prophecies concerning the last days, one must first understand and accept the above-mentioned truths found in the scriptures.
Throw out human logic, throw out the false traditions of your fathers, throw out the way you think things should be and accept the fact that Gods ways are not your ways.
Something that most Mormons and Anti-Mormons have in common is the all or nothing mentality in judging Smith, the Book of Mormon and the divinity of the LDS Church. Both LDS defenders of the faith and critics usually want to have a package deal. They want it to be all true or all false. Ironically, both groups use the same all or nothing logic in reaching their opposing conclusions. The LDS Church prefers that investigators use this premise as they approach the conversion process because they want the entire decision to be based on the emotional and spiritual impact of the Book of Mormon, not on the somewhat disconcerting life of Joseph Smith or the incongruent events within the LDS restoration movement.
They teach that if the Book of Mormon is true, one can categorically accept the divine calling of Joseph Smith, the truthfulness of the restored church and the current truthfulness of the position of the corporate LDS Church without further research or investigation.
In conjunction with this analysis this paper questions the soundness of the “all or nothing” premise and presents another scenario that our culture has been conditioned to rule out, one that is strongly supported by ancient and modern scripture, one that has been a historically repetitious event.
It is the premise that the Latter-day restoration movement was endorsed by God in the beginning and the Saints were originally given the fulness of the Gospel but that the rejection of God’s Law by the Saints led to an apostasy.
It will be shown through scripture that latter-day Israel’s group rejection of God’s Law played an integral part in the actions of Joseph Smith because he was an intercessor, as such he either needed to lead his people out of sin or enter into with them.
This paper will provide scriptural documentation that accepts the challenge thrown out by Jan Shipps. It will demystify Joseph Smith and provide the missing pieces of the prophet puzzle from God’s Holy Word.
We are actually going to view the schizophrenic life of Smith and the events of the “restoration movement” through the literal interpretation of scripture. Through this process we shall indeed demystify him. We shall show that the lack of congruency in his life is completely congruent with God’s word and with the prophecies pertaining to him in the role of the prophesied messianic figure that was to come.
This paper, will demonstrate through ancient scripture, modern scripture and LDS church history that God actually used Joseph Smith to do good and bring forth much light. Then, as a result of the refusal of an apostate world to respond to God’s Law and the breaking of the everlasting covenant, God sent cursings along with the blessings just as was prophesied by Moses.
God used his servant to deliver his people over to darkness then, as an intercessory offering God put the sins of Israel upon his servants and had the servants offer an atonement for Israel. As we dissect this incredible prophetic enactment from Lev 16, we shall see that Hyrum was also offered as a sacrifice and Sidney was offered as a living scapegoat sacrifice. All three made an offering and all three took the sins of Israel upon them.
The Lord warned the Saints that if they hardened their hearts he would deliver them up unto Satan;
“And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old. And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan, for he reigneth and hath power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them. Behold I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified..” (Book of Commandments Chapter 4)
This paper will provide a biblical explanation for the general findings of Mormons and Anti-Mormons alike with regard to the general historical accuracy of the good and evil things Smith is accused of.
Then it will provide scriptural documentation to challenge the final conclusions of both groups. Joseph Smith was not an evil charlatan as the anti-mormons would have us believe nor was he outwardly, without sin as many of the loyal later day apologists would have us believe.
Indeed we shall show that as an intercessor, the sins of Israel were put upon him artificially, not because he was inwardly evil. He acted out the sins outwardly yet he retained the mercy of God, just as ancient prophecy foretells.
Before we proceed-
It is critical to understand that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith both had their calling and election made sure… probably on or before the day the vision known today as section 76 took place.
On that day they both stood before the Lord in a sanctified state and received of his fulness, being prepared to offer themselves as sin offerings without blemish.
The Reinstitution of Blood Sacrifice in the Latter Days
When Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites he taught them that their animal sacrifices and burnt offering had been done away;
“And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.”
Some have supposed it a contradiction when Joseph Smith taught that sacrifice had not been done away with;
“..it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice … was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in [the] future: but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets.. These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built,… be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings (History of the Church, vol. 4, p.211).“
I would suggest that perhaps the reinstitution of blood sacrifice in the last dispensation actually has to do with “human blood sacrifice” instead of “animal blood sacrifice“. Originally animal sacrifices were simply typological to the perfect singular sacrifice that Christ would make as well as the temporary sacrifice that the servants of God would make in the last days.
One of the original teachings concerning this came in the form of the atonement statute in Lev 16. It is important to remember that statutes were enactments of future events.. or prophecies of future fulfillments.
While most scholars assume that the two goats mentioned in the atonement statute somehow point to the atonement of Christ, I would submit that the association of Christ is only as a type but not the literal fulfillment.
I postulate this because Christ’s atonement was a singular offering provided by him… alone….. whereas the atonement statute reveals that some kind of intercessory atonement would be provided by the concerted effort of TWO “goats” or individuals acting in concert…actually THREE or more… a Bullock and a Goat were to be offered as for a blood sacrifice while another Goat would be a living scapegoat. More on this later.
Now, getting back to the topic at hand which is the reinstitution of “blood sacrifice” in the last dispensation… I am reminded of the following scripture in section 135 announcing the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum:
“to seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith… the day previous to the assassination, he [Joseph Smith] said “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter”…and their innocent with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen“
Did that not constitute a blood sacrifice that was reinstituted during the last dispensation? Certainly the above words of John Tayor dance around the theme that Joseph and Hyrum were offered as a blood sacrifice!
First we need to acknowledge that those offered as an offering for sin were originally clean and pure when they first offered themselves. I personally believe that Sidney and Joseph had both become sanctified and probably received their calling and election early in their ministries during the 2nd watch. (Section 88 tells us they had their names enrolled in the Book of the Sanctified)
It was necessary for them to have previously received their calling and election so that they could be clean before the Lord to be offered as a sacrifice and to perform the work that God has for them.
Interestingly, I recently got a response on this blog by someone calling themselves NEPT who had come to the conclusion on his own after reading part 3 and pondering section 76 that Joseph and Sidney both must have had their calling and election made sure, entered into the rest of the Lord and been sealed up to eternal life.
His observation included how he key word searched the topic to arrive at his conclusion. Here is his response:
“The other day I followed a scripture chain which might help to extract some kind of answer to the question you asked above, “Do we even comprehend what it means to behold the glory of the Son and receive of his fullness?”
In Moroni 7 we have part of a sermon Mormon gave on faith, hope, and charity. Verse 3 states…
“Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.”
One of the scriptures that comes up if you search for “rest” in D&C is verse 24 of section 84:
“But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.“
A simple search for “fulness” and “glory” brings up, lo and behold, section 76. Here it is used to describe those who are part of the first resurrection, and who are made priests and kings.
Is it me, or does it seem that those who “receive of His fulness” have their calling and election made sure? I always thought of this as a very rare event, which made me wonder at Peter’s admonition to give diligence to this very thing (2 Peter 1:10). But in Alma 13, the prophet says,
“Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.“
Makes you wonder why this doesn’t seem to happen so frequently anymore.
I suppose my point is, poor maligned brother Sydney, in the eternal, omniscient view of the Lord, seems to have entered into the rest of the Lord while yet on earth, long before most of us will probably attain it…“
We have been commanded to search the scriptures. I love to see people unlocking the deeper meanings in the scriptures by doing key word searches! What a great example of how to take a topic, identify key words in the primary scripture and use it to begin connecting more dots..
So why is it important to understand that Joseph and Sidney were holy, sanctified men in 1832 when they had the vision and bore the last of all testimonies?
Because their state of purity, before the Lord, through the grace of God, was necessary to qualify them to offer themselves as an intercessory offering without blemish in behalf of the Children of Israel, the tabernacle, holy place and alter.
Let us now review a mystical doctrine that will lay the foundation for the rest of this tribute and explain the very strange things that happened following the Vision which is now known as section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants. I refer to this doctrine as the scapegoat doctrine. It is also known as the atonement statute and it is contained in Leviticus 16.
It is important to understand that the statutes God gave Israel are enactments of future events.
Preparatory to our dissection of Lev 16, will begin profiling the Davidic Servant as contained in the Holy Word of God. The Scapegoat doctrine will be embedded within.
As mentioned before, members of the LDS Church typically ruthlessly deny or justify Joseph Smith’s involvement with the Danites, masonry and polyandry. Even when the inner light within them tells them something isn’t right, they defend the honor and actions of the Lords anointed servant. Because to them, it needs to be a package deal. Everything about the restoration movement is true or false and Joseph was either without malignant sin or he could not be a true prophet.
Conversely, critics of Joseph Smith, see evil intent in virtually everything he did. Despite the revelations he brought forth that are overflowing with light and intelligence, and the many good thing he accomplished, they focus on the evil things he did and they force themselves to ignore the good fruits he brought forth.
I am now going to suggest that Gods word and the prophesies contained therein challenge both views of the issue. There is another scenario depicted of Joseph Smith in the Holy Word of God.
I am now going to attempt to summarize the profile that the scriptures provide of the Davidic Servant and within this profile we will also analyze the literal fulfillment of the Atonement Statute that God commanded ancient Israel to keep and the associated Scapegoat Doctrine.
The following profile of the Davidic Servant will show that if Joseph Smith did commit iniquity, it was prophesied that it would take place and it provides proof that he was exactly who he claimed he was.. the unblemished, perfect sacrifice offering who, after attempting to redeem an apostate people, offered to take their sins upon himself to prolong their days upon the earth.
THE DAVIDIC PROFILE
The Sin Offering & Servant of the Lord
Who become a Stone of Stumbling to the Work he was Called to do.
The following six evidences provide proof that the Davidic Servant of the 2nd watch was to commit iniquity as well as righteousness during his ministry in the 2nd watch.
1- KNOWN FOR GOOD AND EVIL: Early in his ministry, the prophet Joseph Smith was visited by an angel from the presence of God. In the words of Joseph Smith, this is what the angel said:
“God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all nations”
I realize that defenders of the faith interpret that statement to mean that Joseph was to be without sin but that evil people would choose to misinterpret his actions as being evil.
I am going to challenge that interpretation and suggest that what Moroni was really prophesying was that Joseph would do some of the greatest, most righteous things and manifest some of the greatest spiritual gifts of anyone that had ever lived, however, he would also, like Moses of old commit iniquity and sin before God as a result of the atonement and acceptable offering that he would make.
We shall discover from the word of God that he has the transgressions of Israel artificially placed upon his head causing him to act out the sins of apostate Israel after they reject the gospel and break the everlasting covenant
2- THE DAVIDIC PROPHECY: It is clear from many of Joseph’s statements and from the scriptures that he was to be the primary servant over the last dispensation and that he was the Davidic Servant of the 2nd watch spoken of in many of the Old Testament prophecies, while it appears that Brother Sidney was to become the Davidic King of the 3rd watch.
As part of this calling Joseph needed to be a descendent of Jesse and David as well as an Ephramite, hence, the declaration in D&C 113:4 that reveals that he is of mixed lineage and claims the birth right of a descendent of King David.
Hidden in the following verses in 2nd Samuel is perhaps the most incredibly revealing yet incredibly unnoticed secret in unlocking the mysterious profile of Joseph Smith, the Davidic Servant of the 2nd watch;
“Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them.. I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.”
Now lets see if Joseph can fit the profile of the latter day servant who is a descendent of David that we just read about
a)He is involved in the work of gathering Israel to their appointed place.. which in the 3rd watch they will return to and be planted in.
b)He restores the Kingdom of God to the earth (see Acts 1:6-7 D&C 29:5, 35:27, 38:9,15, 42:69, 62:9, 78:18,
c)He becomes one of the Sons of God by becoming sanctified and getting his calling and election made sure.
d)He successfully completes the House of God and it is accepted by God
e) He commits iniquity
f)God has him chastised and slain by the rod of men because of his transgressions
g)The mercy of God remains with him despite the fact that outward appearance would dictate that Gods mercy should be withdrawn from him just as it was withdrawn from Saul who sinned
I would suggest that Joseph Smith is the only prophet in the latter days that fits the bazaar profile contained in 2nd Samuel. The only other prophet that comes close to it is Moses who prolonged the days of the apostate children of Israel on the earth by providing an atonement for them, hence, Joseph the Seer is like Moses.
This remarkable prophecy indicates that if all of the horrible things are true that anti-mormons accuse Joseph Smith of, their documentation of unsavory historical events simply provide an even greater testimony that he was the intercessory prophet of the end times!
3- THE ATONEMENT OF MOSES: the above profile from 2nd Samuel is perhaps the most accurate and succinct summary of the life of Joseph Smith but we need to drill down further in the scriptures and get additional witnesses of this very strange thing.
As we do so, we will get a better understanding as to why Joseph committed iniquity and better understand how it is possible for the Lords holy anointed servant to outwardly commit iniquity and be chastised by the rod of man while staying within the mercy of a just God.
One of the things revealed in the JST Inspired Version of the Bible and also the book of Mormon and also section 103 is that Joseph Smith was to be LIKE MOSES! Could there be a clue in this?
Too often we have the tendency to focus on the obvious and miss other important details when reviewing a scriptural type.
Yes, Joseph was like Moses in that he delivered the law to Israel and will play a major role in leading the Children of Israel out of bondage during the 3rd Watch, but there is another event in the Life of Moses that we need to acknowledge and understand in order to comprehend the ministry and sacrifice of Joseph the Seer.
After the children of Israel refused to receive the higher law and committed Idolotry instead, God in his wrath decided to consume them from off of the face of the earth. As a sanctified servant who had spoken to God face to face, Moses pled with the Lord to spare them and he offered himself as an ATONEMENT for them.
“Ye have sinned a great sin and now I will go up unto the Lord preadventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.” (Exod 32:30)
Please note, he was not offering an animal sacrifice, this is the first recorded instance of a human atonement offering that actually took place in the Bible. He was acting as an intercessor between them and God.
This was not the infinite and eternal atonement for the eternal salvation that Christ would eventually offer, nor was it the sacrificing of Moses blood for the remitting of sins. It was a different type of temporary atonement to provide a temporary temporal means of escape from the wrath of God. It prolonged their life upon the land and enabled their posterity to come forth in later generations.
God rejected Moses suggestion of having his own name blotted out of the book of life but did in fact accept him as an offering.
The consequences of Moses’ atonement is that the sins of Israel were artificially put on Moses head and he eventually acted out their sin of idolatry when he took credit for bringing the water out of the rock at Meribah. The consequences of acting out that sin were that he was not allowed to go into the promised land but rather he had to die because of his disobedience.
The consequences of his sin cost him his life and prevented him from entering into the promised land, yet, the scriptures and the Lord continued to refer to Moses as a justified servant of God and in fact, Moses has appeared as a ministering angel several time since his death. Moses remained in the grace and mercy of God because he only sinned outwardly, not inwardly.
We have now established a strong pattern from the prophecy of Moroni the amazing prophecy in 2nd Samuel and the type of Moses Atonement in behalf of the Children of Israel.
Hopefully an adequate foundation has been laid for you to appreciate the incredible prophecy contained in the atonement statute.
4- THE ATONEMENT STATUTE: How did Moses understand the principle of atonement that allowed him to intercede for the children of Israel and temporarily take upon himself their sins in an effort to prolong their days upon the earth.. and all this without causing the mercy of God to depart from him?
The answer is the atonement statute. Read Leviticus 16 very carefully. Once you comprehend who the latter day players are, the contradictory events of the restoration movement will make perfect sense to you. It explains in vivid detail what the mission and offering of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Ridgon was.
Statutes are enactments of future events. The atonement statute given to Moses and Aaron explained a very important principle but also provides the details of a future event.
The atonement statute involves, among other things, two goats without blemish. One was to be killed as a blood sacrifice for a sin offering. Virtually all Christian theologians agree that this goat represents Christ.
Typologically that is true, however it is literally referring to an intercessory prophet in the latter days. A separate Bullock was also to be killed as a blood sacrifice as well.
The second of the two goats that were jointly doing a sin offering and jointly doing an atonement, was to be the scapegoat. The scapegoat was to have the sins of Israel placed upon his head.. then he was to be led out into the wilderness by a fit man. All of this for the purpose of providing a means of escape for the children of Israel.
Theologians have been arguing for years over who this scapegoat represents. Some for lack of a better explanation say it must also represent the Savior, others speculate that it must be an evil servant of Satan or Satan himself. Perhaps the Anti Christ, etc.
Ancient and modern scripture reveals that both speculations are wrong.
I could go on and explain why both of these explanations are equally inept but I will leave it up to you to put the atonement statute into the proper context.
Yes, Moses, Aaron and Joshua were typological fulfillments of the atonement statute, but as we have discussed before, there is virtually always a dual fulfillment to all prophecies. There was to be a prophet in the last days that would be like unto Moses! There would also be a latter day prophet that would be like Aaron and one that would be like Joshua.
Two prophets would die as sin offerings, while one would remain with the sins upon its head but would eventually be given great power like unto Joshua in the 3rd watch.
“And he shall take the two goats, [Joseph and Sidney], and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the [goat that is to be offered unto the] Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him [unto the Lord] for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him [the first goat] and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, [Hyrum] which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself“
Without going into much detail, according to the atonement statute, there were to be at least three prophets in the last days who would all offer an offering unto the Lord according to the Atonement Statute.
The first two goats would be of equal status in that either could have been the blood sin offering or the living scapegoat offering. The Seer and the Spokesman were equal before the Lord. Hence, the casting of lots.
The fact that these two goats make a joint atonement tells us that neither one is the literal representation of Christ’s atonement because his was a singular atonement, yet the atonement statute speaks of an atonement made jointly by two individuals.
It is important to remember that Moses provided an atonement offering that resulted in him taking the transgressions of Israel upon himself and resulting in his death. The purpose of his offering was to provide a means of temporal escape for an apostate people who were about to be swept off the face of the earth by the wrath of God. He preserved them.
I am suggesting that Joseph Smith did the exact same thing that Moses did. Apparently he acknowledged he was do this as well.
“I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people… Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for his friends. You have stood by me in the hour of trouble, and I am willing to sacrifice my life for your preservation.” [George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1907), p. 498]
The Seer who was chosen by lot to be the blood sacrifice goat is offered for 1) the people 2) for the tabernacle 3) for the holy place 4) the alter.
The blood sacrifice Bullock (Hyrum who was in the office of Patriarch and Priesthood) is offered for Aaron and his house.
“… shall lay both his hands upon the head of [My Spokesman ] the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of [the Spokesman or the scape] goat..”
It is not the purpose of this paper to document, itemize and find fault with all of the things Sidney Rigdon may have done and said after his excommunication, after being led away from the congregation of Israel into the wilderness, as the scapegoat.
Suffice it to say, just as Joseph Smith may have fulfilled prophecy by committing iniquity because the sins of Israel fell upon him as an intercessory sin offering, the same holds true for the Spokesman.
“..and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man, into the wilderness and the goat, shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness…“
According to the shadow enactment of a future event provided in the Atonement Statute a “fit man” would lead the scapegoat away from the congregation of Israel. One of the definitions one can derive from the Hebrew of fit man is “timely opportunist”.
According to the historical research done by Van Wagoner, the events that led to the derailment of the Lords Spokesman from leading the flock can only identify one man who acted as a timely opportunist in expelling the Lords Scapegoat away from the congregation with the sins of Israel upon his head.
“By 10:00 a.m. more than 5,000 Saints had gathered at the grove east of the temple in response to William Marks’s announcement. As Rigdon began speaking, a strong headwind muted his voice, so he relocated to the leeward side and climbed on top of a wagon box.
From that spot he addressed the Saints until 11:30 a.m. While some have painted Rigdon’s discourse as uninspired, others, including Orson Hyde, a longtime Rigdon critic, said he presented “his claims with all the eloquence and power that he was master of.”
Rigdon labored to gain a show of support from the throng of LDS faithful. Hyde reported that Rigdon was just “about to ask an expression of the people by vote; when lo! to his grief and mortification, [Brigham Young] stepped upon the stand … and with a word stayed all the proceedings of Mr. Rigdon.”
Young, recalling the event in 1860, stated: “when I went to meet Sidney Rigdon on the meeting ground I went alone, and was ready alone to face and drive the dogs from the flock.”
Jacob Hamblin’s recollection of the morning of 8 August indicates that Young’s booming voice and stunning display of brinkmanship caused the audience to turn in their seats and face his commanding presence on the stand.
“I will manage this voting for Elder Rigdon,” he bellowed. “He does not preside here. This child [meaning himself] will manage this flock for a season.”
Lonely and bereaved, more than a third of the Mormon faithful were middle and working-class British immigrants, converted by Young and his fellow apostles. These new arrivals, conditioned from their earliest years, were used to working under the direct guidance of a master’s hand in their homeland.
Young saw their dependency, their inability to provide for their own emotional and economic sustenance. Accustomed to following directions from Joseph Smith, and scarcely familiar with Rigdon who had been ill for years, being instructed what to do by Brigham Young was a relief.
Fully confident, tossing off platitudes and pronouncements, Young’s afternoon address on 8 August was a remarkable assertion of the Twelve’s right to govern as well as his personal claim to be shepherd of the Mormon flock. “For the first time since [I] became a member of the church,” Young began, “the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, chosen by revelation, in this last dispensation of the gospel for the winding up scene, present themselves before the saints, to stand in their lot according to appointment.”
Young, ever the strategist, then asked, “I now want to ask each of you to tell me if you want to choose a guardian, a Prophet, evangelist or sumthing els[e] as your head to lead you. All that are in favor of it make it manifest by raising the right hand.” No one did.
Assuming the authoritarian Mormon father role he filled so well, Young then responded, “I know your feelings–do you want me to tell your feelings?” Responding to murmurs and assenting nods of the compliant flock he continued: [H]ere [is] the 12 an independ[en]t body–who have the Keys of the K[ingdom] to all the whole world so help me God[, and] the[y] are, as the 1st pres[idenc]y of the church. … [Y]ou can[‘]t call a Prophet you can[‘]t take El[der] Rig[don] or Amas[a] Lyman they must be ord[aine]d by the 12. … God will have nothing to do with you–you can[‘] put any one at the head of the 12.
“Perhaps some think that our beloved brother Rigdon would not be honored, would not be looked to as a friend, but if he does right, and remains faithful, he will not act against our counsel, nor we against his, but act together, and we shall be as one.”
“Do you want a spokesman?” Young then asked. “Do you want the church properly organized, or do you want a spokesman to be chief cook and bottle washer?” Discussing Rigdon’s calling as spokesman to the prophet, Young agreed, “Very well, he was,” but he added, “If he wants now to be a spokesman to the Prophet he must go to the other side of the vail for the Prophet is there, but Elder Rigdon is here. Why will Elder Rigdon be a fool? Who knows anything of the [fulness of the] priesthood, or of the organization of the kingdom of God? [the Council of Fifty]. I am plain.”
At the trial, it was none other than Brigham Young, acting in the seat of judgment as the one who presides over the Church that turned Sidney Rigdon over to the buffetings of Satan-
“Elder W. W. Phelps moved that Elder Sidney Rigdon be cut off from the church, and delivered over to the buttetings of Satan until he repent.
Bishop Newel K. Whitney then presented the motion to the high council (who was trying the case) and the vote was unanimous in the affirmative. * * *
President Young arose and delivered Sidney Rigdon over to the buffetings of Satan in the name of the Lord, and all the people said, Amen.”
[Editorial Note: A viewer that goes by NEPT provided the following comment and associated research;
According to the prophecy contained in the Atonement Statute, both the blood offering goat, Joseph the Seer and the blood offering Bullock, Hyrum who was equal with Joseph and Sidney in the First Presidency and held the office of Priesthood and Patriarch have the transgressions of Israel placed upon them and to be killed BEFORE the sins of Israel are pronounced upon the head of the Sidney Rigdon, the scapegoat.
This is very significant. As we take a look at the events of LDS Church history, we will notice that the effects of the transgressions upon Joseph and Hyrum take place first. The effects of the transgressions of Israel upon the head of Sidney Rigdon do not actuate until AFTER the martyrdom.. when the “fit man” places the sins of Israel upon the head of the Scapegoat servant by turning him over to the buffetings of Satan. (definition of “fit”: timely, opportune..)
This explains why the Spokesman and the Seer became estranged shortly after the defilement of the Kirtland Temple, and the failure of the Saints to live consecration and to redeem Zion at the appointed time.
Hence, after being rejected by latter day Israel, having their transgressions placed upon him and being led away from the congregation in disgrace with the sins of Israel upon his head, poor brother Sidney, try as he might to rise to the calling he knew was his, was forced to wait out his time in the 2nd watch, to wander in the wilderness and became a hiss and a byword exhibiting erratic behavior and characterized by future generations as a delusional portrait of religious excess.
5- THE SUFFERING SERVANT : One of the amazing keys that Christ gave to the Nephites and us about how to understand the words of Isaiah is in the fact that every prophecy in Isaiah has a dual fulfillment;
“all things that he spake have been and shall be”.
They each had a fulfillment prior to his visit to the Nephites and they all have a fulfillment AFTER his visit to the Nephites.
This should cause us to look at Isaiah 53 in excitement and awe! How is it possible for someone other than Christ in the latter days to meet the following profile:
“He is despised and rejected of men”
“He was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities”
“With his stripes we are healed”
“The Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all”
“for the transgressions of my people was he stricken”
“He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter” Is that not what Joseph Smith quoted when they took him to Carthage?
You will note that the Hebrew chapter actually begins in verse 13 of Isaiah 52. This reveals that the suffering servant in chapter 53 is the same servant with marred visage in Isaiah 52!
So the Davidic Servant described in section 52 that looses the bands of Scattered apostate Israel in the latter days is also the one that had previously been slain as an atonement for their sins in an effort to prevent the Lord from destroying them from off the face of the earth.
That is right, the latter day saints that rejected the higher law back in Kirtland and Jackson County deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth just as their forefathers deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth for their iniquity.
Joseph Smith and Sidney prolonged the life of the Latter- day Saints on the face of the earth by providing an atonement for them. All of this is of course made possible through the infinite and eternal atonement of Jesus Christ, the God of Israel and creator of the heavens and earth and all things that in them are.
It is interesting to note that the two atonement goats take on a secondary type in the relationship of Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Spokesman.
I don’t pretend to understand all of the ramifications and complexities of the intercessory act that took place pertaining to the fulfillment of the atonement statute that was fulfilled by Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney and possibly others. However, it does seem plain that;
1) as part of the intercession, those two atonement goats had to have the sins of apostate latter day Israel placed upon them and act them out.
2) Two of them had to provide a blood sacrifice for sin
3) One of them, the scapegoat had to provide a living sacrifice with the sins of Israel upon his head.
4) We learn from the account of Moses that the atonement provided a means of temporal escape for the children of Israel. It prevented God in his wrath from wiping them off of the face of the earth.
Again, as previously shown, the atonement statute clearly states that two people would jointly provide the atonement for Isreal, making a distinction between the singular eternal offering that Christ made vs the temporal and temporary offering that the two messiahs represented as goats were to make.
With this in mind, I would like to suggest the following interpretation of the following verses. I believe the following verses are referencing the results of the two separate offerings;
1) the eternal atonement of Christ that has the power to blot out sins and
2) The temporary atonement that stayed Gods judgment and enables a time of refreshing and the restitution of all things at the appointed time which is associated with the latter day prophet like Moses.
Yes, I realize that Christ was a type of Moses in the meridian watch but clearly there is to be another prophet like Moses in the 3rd watch.
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.“
Lastly, it appears to me that there is a type of merging together between the atonement provided by Moses, Aaron and Joshua vs the one by Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney. from the beginning of the atonement that Moses made, to the fulfillment of the atonement Joseph made there appears to be a period of Seventy Jubilees. At which the transgressions come to an end;
“Seventy [Jubilees] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins,[of Israel] and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”
6- The Davidic Lamentation in Isaiah 49- The following lamentation proves that the Lords Servant fails in his first ministry and laments his failure to to gather Israel and establish Zion.
He feels he has “laboured in vain” and yet the lamantation goes on to acknowledge that the Lord miraculously restores him and enables him to complete his mission and ot raise up the tribes of Israel and restore them. He becomes a light to the gentiles and brings salvation to the world;
“Listen O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword ; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant , O Israel, in whom I will be glorified . Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for al ight to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable atime have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a bcovenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to cinherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the aprisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor athirst; neither shall the heat nor bsun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my ahighways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the anorth and from the west; and these from the land of Sini. aSing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into bsinging, O mountains: for the Lord hath ccomforted his people, and will have dmercy upon his eafflicted.“
The above six evidences should be sufficient to show that the amazing profile of the Lords Davidic Servant of the 2nd would be righteous and then, after the rejection of the fulness of the Gospel by the Gentiles, he would take upon himself their sins and he would act out there iniquities. Furthermore, the Spokesman that he works in concern with would also take upon himself the sins of apostate Israel and become a living sacrifice.
There are many other scriptures that provide additional evidence of the Davidic Profile and also the scapegoat servant. They are to numerous to mention here. As you become familiar with this concept you will begin to see this unfold in other places in the scriptures. Here are a few you might want to reference;
“Woe is me… a man of strife.. and a man of contention.. why is my pain perpetual.. I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked..” (Jer 15)
“I have become vile..” (Lam 1)
“I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him..” (Micah 7)
” Behold my Servant whom I uphold; mine elect.. I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.. he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discourages, TILL he have set judgment in the earth and the isles shall wait for his law..” (Isa 42)
“Take away the filthy garments from him…I have caused they iniquity to pass from thee.. I will clothe thee with a change of raiment .. If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt judge my house..” (Zech 3)
With this understanding, all of the difficult parts of the history of the Church now make sense!
For much more detailed documentation about the amazing profile of Joseph Smith from the Old Testament prophets, click here
I would submit to you that if the allegations are true about Joseph Smith by his accusers and he did commit iniquity after having the Savior appear to him, grant him the promise of eternal life and accept the Kirtland Temple, that fact alone would become one of the most compelling evidences that he was who he claimed to be.. the David Servant spoken of by the prophets who was to do great things and then commit iniquity!
The Healing and Un-silencing of Gods Spokesman in the 3rd Watch
The Lord’s Latter day Vineyard Became Corrupt
“He looked that it should bring forth grapes and it brought fourth wild grapes… because they have no knowledge…. because they have cast away the Law of the Lord, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5)
Now, with the foundational knowledge that Joseph and Hyrum were to offered as blood Sacrifices for the Sins of Israel and that Sidney was to become the living scapegoat sacrifice for the sins of Israel, all of them taking the sins of the people upon themselves as part of their intercessory offering we can now review some of the otherwise painful events of the History of the Church with much greater compassion and understanding.
As we do this, remember that the Atonement Statute clarifies that the sins of Israel fall upon the blood sacrifice goat BEFORE they fall upon the living scapegoat sacrifice.
Consistent with this you will notice in section 124 given in 1841 the revelation begins by acknowledging that Joseph had already begun his offering process, yet later in the section the Lord acknowledges that Sidney offering is yet future. This is a great key and 2nd witness to the fact that the sins of Israel had already begun falling upon the head of Joseph shortly after the Kirtland Temple Defilement while the sins of Israel would not be placed upon Sidney until after the martyrdom, the completion of the Blood Sacrifice of Joseph and Hyrum.
This is a great key in understand the enmity that began taking place between the Seer and the Spokesman during the end of the Kirtland Era.
Perhaps one reason why people are largely ignorant about the role Sidney plays is partly because many Latter day Saints don’t search the scriptures as we have been commanded to do.
As you not doubt noticed as we created the profile of Rigdon, much of the important information presented about Rigdon in this paper thus far has been hidden in plain sight in the Doctrine and Covenants and other standard works.
Perhaps another reason Latter day Saints are largely ignorant of who Rigdon really is has to do with the fact that the official history of the church has been altered..
Van Wagoner claims “The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, promoting it’s own agenda after Joseph Smith’s 1844 death, rewrote Mormon History so radically that Rigdon never again mattered” There is significant evidence to support the above presupposition by Van Wagoner.
Charles Wesley Wandell, an assistant church historian, was rather disturbed at these emendations. Commenting on the many alterations made in the historical work as it was being sanitized in the Deseret News, Wandell noted in his diary:
“I notice the interpolations because having been employed in the Historian’s office at Nauvoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph’s death his memoir was ‘doctored’ to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards.”
It is amazing that while the spin zone reduced Rigdon to an insignificant flakey and un-valiant opportunist, the shortcomings of the Twelve were minimized and in some cases deleted or omitted altogether from the history of the Church.
For example, during the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society, Parley P. Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles who would become, along with Brigham Young, one of the chief accusers of Rigdon, wrote a scathing letter to Joseph Smith accusing him and Rigdon of leading the people astray and being a false prophet:
“Having long pondered the path in which we as a people have been led in regard to our temporal management, I have at length become fully convinced that the whole scheme of speculation in which we have been engaged is of the devil.
I allude to the covetous, extortionary speculating spirit which has reigned in this place for the last season; which has given rise to lying, deceiving and taking advantage of one’s neighbor, and in short every evil work.
And being as fully convinced that you and president Rigdon, both by precept and example, have been the principal means in leading this people astray, in these particulars, and having myself been led astray and caught in the same snare by your example, and by false prophesying and preaching , from your own mouths, yea having done many things wrong and plunged myself and family and others well nigh into destruction…”
The rest of the letter goes down hill from there, becoming increasingly more belligerent.
I am not suggesting that Pratt was not without some justification in his frustration and wrath, Smith and Rigdon were far from perfect and many of the things they did were misunderstood.. even before the sins of Israel began falling upon the Seer he made human mistakes…..
I’m just pointing out that numerous things like this where members of the quorum of the twelve challenged and disobeyed the Prophet were left out of the official history while any negative items about Rigdon almost seem to be highlighted.
Parley’s brother Orson, also an Apostle brought charges against the prophets leadership before a Bishops Court condemning him for “lying and misrepresentations for extortion and for speaking disrespectfully against his brethren behind their backs..”
Orson Hyde, one of the apostles who appears to have had perhaps the strongest vendetta against Rigdon and made the most disparaging remarks about him at his trial.
As we review these events in history we need to remember that all of this works into God plan. The New Testament reminds us that blindness is come upon Israel until the fulness of times.
Hyde gave anti-Mormon lectures condemning the restoration movement after he initially read the Book of Mormon. After hearing that Sidney Rigdon, his old minister and others he had known had joined the restored church, he finally reconsidered, acknowledged the error of his ways and joined himself.
Hyde went on to stumble several times just as many of his brethren did. He seemed to struggle with doctrinal issues.
Upon returning from his mission in Britain, during a period of persecution and internal dissension, Hyde wrote that he felt God was no longer with the church.
As we have demonstrated from the prophetic enactment and associated timeline contained in the atonement statute, Hyde was probably spot on with that declaration.
Because of some of the troubling things he saw taking place in the Church, he left the church in October 19, 1838 with Thomas B. Marsh, the presiding member of the Twelve.
Hyde and Marsh explained their reasons for their dissent in an affidavit which he and Hyde signed on October 24, 1838 in Richmond, Missouri. These included their contention that the Mormons had organized into a company known as the Danites, “who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong” and that Mormon and Danite vigilantes had burned and looted non-Mormon settlements in Daviess County.
The testimony of Marsh and Hyde added to the panic in northwestern Missouri and contributed to subsequent events in the 1838 Mormon War.
Because he had signed the Richmond affidavit with Marsh, Hyde was disfellowshipped (disciplined, but not removed from membership) in 1838. On May 4, 1839, a church conference in Quincy, Illinois voted to remove Hyde and William Smith from the work of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The leadership of the church invited the two to explain their actions. On June 27, Hyde returned to the church and publicly explained himself, asking to be restored.
Sidney Rigdon questioned the sincerity of Hyde and did not feel he should be admitted back into full fellowship. Despite the concerns of Rigdon, the fall conference, October 6 to 8, 1839, voted to restore both Hyde and William Smith as apostles.
Some historians feel that from that time forward Hyde waited for the opportunity to settle the score with Rigdon.
After being reinstated into full fellowship into the Church, Hyde was sent on another foreign mission, his notorious mission to Jerusalem in the Old World.
“According to the minutes of the meeting on April 6, 1840, at which Hyde was dispatched he was;
“to visit the cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem; and also other places that he may deem expedient; and converse with the priests, rulers, and elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the United States.“
Despite the fact that Hyde was specifically commissioned to obtain information in behalf of the Church, but never commissioned to dedicate the land for the return of the Jews, he became a little confused about the role of the Old World Jerusalem in end times prophecy.
He took it upon himself to dedicate the land of Jerusalem and begin the gathering of the Jews at that time. We need to remember that the various revelations were not as accessable or as easy to search back then as they are now.
The scriptures and the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught that the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah were to gather to the promised land of America. A careful reading of section 133 reveals that “Zion” and “Jerusalem” would both be located in America in the last days.
Although his prayer did go unanswered, it is true that the illuminati did begin gathering the Ashkenazi Jews en mass to the Old World over 100 years after the dedicatory prayer. Nevertheless, that gathering if not the gathering spoken of in the scriptures that takes place under the direction of the Lords servants.
Hydes dedicatory prayer is filled with doctrinal disinformation. He clearly did not understand where the gathering of the Jews was to take place or where the kings of the earth were to bring their gold and silver….
It was not until he returned from the Old World Jerusalem to Nauvoo and read about the proclamation to the kings of the earth in section 124 that he realized that the Kings of the Earth were to bring their riches to the cornerstone of Zion in America, not Jerusalem in the Old World.
Several years after returning from the Jerusalem, On 1 April 1843, Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde, and William Clayton traveled to Ramus. After spending the night at the home of Benjamin F. Johnson, they held a meeting the next morning at ten o’clock. During his remarks Elder Orson Hyde taught some false doctrine about the second coming that the Prophet needed to correct.
It is in part, from these corrections that we now have the information contained in section 130 of the D&C.
The Irony of this is not only that Sidney Rigdon had baptized Hyde into the Church, but that the descendent of King David that would rule over Israel in the end times, that Hyde mentioned in his dedicatory prayer was indeed Sidney Rigdon, the one Orson Hyde would eventually put so much energy into casting out from among the Saints!
“…Let them know that it is thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel- raise up Jerusalem as it capital and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David thy servants, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David to be their king”
An interesting historical fact that has gone unnoticed is the fact that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a quorum and as individuals fluctuated in and out of varying states of apostasy from time to time prior to the martyrdom.
At one point, Joseph Smith referred to them as a renegade quorum. Section 112 given in 1837 is actually a revelation that took place in part, because the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Thomas B. Marsh, was concerned about the status of his apostate brethren of the Twelve… little did he realize that he, himself, would be excommunicated about two years later in 1839.
In the revelation the Lord lets Thomas know that:
“there have been some few things in thine heart and with thee with which I the Lord was not well pleased…“
The Lord then goes on in the revelation to acknowledge that the other members of the quorum were functioning in a sinful state and that he needed to pray for them that after much tribulation they would be converted.
I would submit that their ultimate conversion takes place just prior to or perhaps just after the opening of the 3rd watch when they are returned to the earth.
“Pray for thy brethren of the twelve, Admonish them sharply for my names’s sake, and let them be admonished for all their sins, and be ye faithful before me unto my name. And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.”
This admonition from the Lord to President Marsh indicating that the quorum of the twelve had would become converted at a future time is remarkably similar to what Jesus said to Peter about himself and his brethren of the quorum:
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren.”
The Lord continues with a warning to Marsh and his brethren
“Rebel not against my servant Joseph Smith..“
Clearly the Lord is prophesying a future rebellion of the quorum of the Twelve coming up within a few years of this revelation.
The following verses undoubtedly are referring to the 3rd watch wherein President Marsh and his brethren would be restored to the earth after their apostasy in the 2nd watch to fulfill their callings. It is critical to understand the intercession made by Gods two anointed ones that enables the other servants of the Lord to be restored to their callings in the 3rd watch.
Notice the unconditional promise to Marsh that he will be the one in the 3rd watch to hold the keys of the kingdom pertaining to the twelve to unlock the door of the kingdom in the mission field while the 1st Presidency will preside in Zion;
“Verily I say unto you, my servant Thomas, thou art the man whom I have chosen to hold the keys of my kingdom, as pertaining to the Twelve, abroad among all nations- That thou mayest be my servant to unlock the door of the kingdom in all places where my servant Joseph, and my servant Sidney, and my servant Hyrum, cannot come..“
It is Thomas Marsh that will lead the twelve in taking the gospel to the nations of the earth in the 3rd watch.
There are numerous similar promises concerning many of the early leaders of the Church prophesying that they will return in the 3rd watch to fulfill the missions they had been given.
Getting back to the topic of how the official history of the Church has been scrubbed to put the members of the quorum of the twelve in a favorable light, it is interesting to note that when the secret diary of William Clayton was accidentally unleashed to the public years ago after having been suppressed by people in high places, it contained an astonishing revelation that Joseph Smith had declared that Brigham Young had broken the covenant!
“Also B.Y. [Brigham Young] had transgressed his covenant & he pled with the Lord to spare him this end & he did so, other wise he would have died. B. denied having transgressed…” (pages 19-20)
Naturally, those kinds of things didn’t find their way into the sanitized history of the church.
Why is it that the many events like these and many others are curiously missing in the official history of the Church
How is it we are left thinking that various members of the quorum of the 12 Apostles didn’t really encounter significant problems with personal valiancy and with the filling of their stewardships when they clearly did?
In addition to deleting much of the historical significance of Rigdon and altering some of the events to place Rigdon’s character in a poor light and embellishing their own roles in the restoration movement, members of the quorum of the twelve actually changed doctrinal statements pertaining to priesthood leadership.
For example, in the original history of the Church Joseph Smith stated that “the 12 were not “subject to any other than the First Presidency, viz, myself, S Rigdon, and F G. Williams.”
When the 12 got done revising the history of the Church, it read: “The Twelve are not subject to any other than the first Presidency, viz. myself… Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who are now my Counselors; and where I am not, there is not First Presidency over the Twelve.”
The original statement in the original History of the Church was simply mirroring the doctrine of the priesthood as taught in section 107 that states that the quorum of the twelve are to function under the direction of the 1st Presidency.
Further clarification is given in section 102 that states the when one or more of the members of the 1st Presidency are absent, the remaining one has power to preside in their absence.
Obviously, this doctrine needed to be altered in order to move Sidney out of the way for the Twelve to claim their contention that he did not have authority over them and they had the right to lead the Church.
With this alteration in doctrine, it became possible to influence the leading councils and the body of the Church to actuate the principle of common consent and to first appoint the quorum of the twelve to preside over the church, secondly, 3 1/2 years later, Brigham Young would reestablish the 1st Presidency and again, via the principle of common consent, be elected President of the Church by the voice of the quorum and then by the voice of the Church.
The historical revisionism of the official history of the Church is easily demonstrable. This is because much of the History that Joseph Smith wrote was published in a variety of Mormon magazines and newspapers at the time. The revisions were made later, under the direct guidance of Brigham and were then collected and printed in their altered form beginning in 1902.
By comparing the “History of the Church” with these Mormons periodicals, it is immediately obvious that substantive changes have been made.
Another example of how history has been altered is the “Rocky Mountain Prophecy.” This was a prophecy made by Joseph Smith, but in fact was added in after the Saints migrated to the Salt Lake Valley.
It is not the purpose of this paper to extensively detail the alterations made in the Official History of the Church and other church publications. I simply mention it because you may be wondering how Sidney Rigdon could play such a major role in the restoration movement and yet be characterized in some parts of the history of the church and other publications as a relatively questionable and insignificant player, or one that had a high calling but fell through transgression.
I wonder how the Lord feels about intentionally changing historical documents and claiming that Gods anointed said something that he in fact did not say?
You will notice that the primary twelve sections of scripture we used to create the profile of Sidney Rigdon all took place prior to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.
In order to better understand what took place in the great succession issue in Nauvoo in 1844 we need to make some amazing observations about events that took place during the 14 year timeline from the legal establishment of the church until the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In the words of Wagoner, “The window of opportunity, during which Rigdon achieved co-equal billing with Joseph Smith, dated from 1831-39. During this era he and the prophet, both gifted visionaries, jointly developed the church’s infrastructure and its governing agenda”. During that period of time he notes that “they were virtually inseparable”.
Clearly, Van Wagoner, a skeptic, doesn’t acknowledge Gods hand in the work, but he nevertheless provides a valid timeline observation here. Namely, that Sidney Rigdon was a high profile leader in the work, working very closely in concert with Joseph Smith until approximately1838-9.
At that time, something significant happened to SILENCE Brother Sidney.
Another way of identifying this timeframe is to note the testimony of several of Sidney’s accusers at the time of the succession issue. They testified that Sidney had not been active in his calling as a member of the 1st Presidency during the last five years leading up to the Martyrdom. Again, this puts the silencing of God’s spokesman somewhere around 1838-9
While addressing the Saints on April 6th 1844 Sidney acknowledged that he had been silenced for the last five years and had not come before the Saints IN HIS TRUE CHARACTER because of SICKNESS and OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES:
“Elder Sidney Rigdon then rose and said It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction I enjoy this privilege this morning. Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.
It can hardly be expected that when the violence of sickness has used its influence and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me that I can rise before this congregation only in weakness I am now come forth from a bed of sickness and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character.
I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history during life I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me I shall do the best I can and the greatest can do no more.” History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints By Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Henry Roberts
“Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.”
Rigdons biographer, F. Mark McKiernan wrote that “During the five years he lived at Nauvoo Rigdon suffered the poorest health of his life. He contracted an unspecified disease (not malaria) which disabled him for months at a time”.
I want to address the two fascinating issues that Sidney referred to that suppressed his true character and silenced him for about five years. One had to do with “want of health” and the other had to do with “other circumstances”.
Let us first consider the health problems that Sidney had by spotlighting the 13th major section that provides clues about Rigdon…. section 124.
Unlike the 12 sections we used to create our profile of Sidney which all came before the defilement of the Kirtland Temple, the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion by the appointed time and the scattering of the Saints from Kirtland, this revelation came many years after that.
It is interesting to note that in this revelation, God actually acknowledges and addresses Sidney’s health problems:
God is going to heal Sidney Rigdon
“And if he will offer unto me an acceptable offering, and acknowledgments, and remain with my people, behold, I, the Lord your God, will heal him that he shall be healed;
and he shall lift up his voice again on the mountains, and be a spokesman before my face Let him come and locate his family in the neighborhood in which my servant Joseph resides. And in all his journeyings let him lift up his voice as with the sound of a trump, and warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come. Let him assist my servant Joseph, and also let my servant William Law assist my servant Joseph, in making a solemn proclamation unto the kings of the earth, even as I have before said unto you.”
From the above declaration, the Lord is obviously aware of Sidney’s health issues. Sidney has not been making them up.
The Lord promises to HEAL Sidney if he will offer an ACCEPTABLE OFFERING. He reiterates that Sidney shall be HEALED.
In section 124 Sidney is commanded to help Joseph write the PROCLAMATION to the Kings of the earth.
I want to address some of Sidney’s remarks and the events in his life that may have to do with his health issues but first I want to highlight a most remarkable Book of Mormon Prophesy that appears to be referring to the Spokesman from the loins of Judah.
In the profile that we created using 12 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants we showed how it is the Spokesman from Judah that will PROCLAIM the gospel and DECLARE the word of God. It appears that Sidney Rigdon is the one that brings forth the Bible in its purity as it originated from the mouth of the Jew as spoken of in 1st Nephi 14:23..
THe Book of Mormon tells us that the Old Testament that proceeded out of the mouth of a Jew (Moses) contained the fulness of the Gospel. This of course provides a strong testimony of the Book of Moses which comes from the inspired version of the Bible as it reveals that Adam and his posterity had the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them and Adam was baptized.
Sidney himself becomes a latter day Jew that helps to bring forth the stick of Joseph as well as the stick of Judah in its pure form. The two sticks become one with the stick of Judah.
Regarding God’s promise to heal Sidney in the 3rd watch, lets do a key word search to see of Gods promise to heal Sidney Rigdon in the 3rd watch shows up in any of the Book of Mormon Scriptures.
If you go to an LDS word cruncher and enter “will heal him” it will bring up section 124 AND 3rd Nephi 21. Notice the remarkable prophecy below and how it correlates with the prophecy above in section 124. Notice how the theme of being healed and the theme of proclaiming something to Kings both show up in both ancient and modern scriptural texts:
“And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall DECLARE it unto them.
But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3rd Nephi 21)
Remember my blog about the President Elect? Remember how I said that the Lord obviously was not talking about William Henry Harrison because he knew that the Old Testament prophesies regarding the Kings of the Earth in the last times were referring to the 3rd watch? As you can see, the kings of the earth will shut their mouths at the time that the Lords Marred Servant is healed and returns to the vineyard!
Of course 3rd Nephi 21 is an inspired rendering of part of Isaiah 52, speaking about the marred servant that ushers in the Marvelous Work… The Marred Servant in Isaiah 52 is also the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. (This is consistent with the Davidic Servant profile containing the Atonement Statute)
Sidney Rigdon was not a well man. Sidney Rigdon appears to have been in very poor health much of the time from 1838-9 up to the martyrdom in 1844… during the Nauvoo period.
Some have speculated that much of his illness was related to the brain trauma he suffered the night that local Cambellite mob got drunk and broke into Sidney and Josephs homes and beat them up.
Rigdon recalled that: “they broke into my house, dragged me out of my bed, out of the door my head beating on the floor. They dragged me over the wood pile. And on they went my head thumping on the frozen ground, after which they threw tar and feathers on me..”
His son Wicliffe recalled: “that by the time his 225 lb father was dragged by his heels to the place where he was tarred and feathered he was insensible yet is assailants pounded him till they thought he was dead and then went to get Joseph Smith”
Joseph Smith recalled: The next morning I went to see Elder Rigdon, and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those, too, so high from the ground that he could not raise his head from the rough frozen surface, which lacerated it exceedingly;
and when he saw me he called to his wife. to bring him his razor: She asked him what he wanted of it? and he replied, to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room and he asked me to bring his razor. I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife, and he continued delirious some days.”
We know that the Lord gives us challenges and weaknesses to make us strong after we finally overcome them. The Apostle Paul would make mention of the “thorn in his side” that the Lord had given him.
Before we evaluate the words of Paul, please remember section 63 when the Lord was displeased with Sidney Rigdon’s description of the land of Zion. Rigdon who had had many experiences in the spirit and was receiving revelations from the Lord along with great honors became prideful and “he exalted himself in his heart”.
Notice now how just after noting how he had been caught up into the third heaven, the Apostle Paul use the exact same term “exalted” to describe his weakness that the Lord used in describing Sidney Sidney’s weakness:
“Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (2 Cor 12)
It appears the Lord gave Paul a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble and to prevent him from becoming exalted. .
We don’t really know what the thorn in Paul’s side was. Some have suggested it was malaria, epilepsy, or a disease of the eyes. Others feel it was more of a mental or emotional problems exacerbated by being surrounded by unbelieving gentiles.
Regardless of what Paul’s thorn was, the question I want to pose is, did the Lord allow the mob to inflict an ongoing sickness upon Sidney to act as “a thorn in his side” to keep him humble like he did Paul?
Perhaps the Lord allowed the enemy to hurt Sidney and cause him prolonged illness to silence Brother Sidney for a period of time so that certain prophetic events could take place as the sins of apostate latter day Israel were falling upon the Seer.
Here is a fascinating bit of information about Sidney that really affected his life in a huge way-
It appears from credible documentation that Sidney Rigdon suffered not from one brain trauma, but from two! Additionally, these traumas appeared to have affected him both physically, and emotionally as well.
The first instance happened when he was a young boy and he got bucked off a horse. Here is the testimony of his brother Loammi who later became a physician:
“Loammi, a physician, reported that when Sidney was seven years old he had been thrown from a horse. His foot got caught in a stirrup and he was dragged some distance before the being rescued.
“in this accident he received such a contusion of the brain as ever afterward seriously affected his character, and in some respects his conduct. His mental powers did not seem to be impaired, but his equilibrium of his intellectual exertions seems thereby to have been sadly affected.”
“Alexander Campbell was the first to make public mention of Rigdon’s peculiar mental and corporeal malady, as he called it.”
“ … Newell K Whitney .. said of Rigdon..”I was well acquainted with Elder Rigdon a number of years before he came into this church… He was always either in the bottom of the cellar or up in the garret window…”
“Jedediah Grant confirmed in 1844 Rigdon’s mood swings: Elder R. would not only soar to the highest heaven in raptures of delight, but when dark clouds overspread his horizon he would also sink into the lowest state of despondency.”
How unusual it is that Sidney would have a brain trauma as a child and another one later in life… one that according to his brother, appears to have affected his moods and his outlook on life.
I personally believe that the Lord gave Brother Sidney this ailment to be a thorn in his side and possibly for other reasons as well. I believe this is the sickness the Lord was referring to when he promised Sidney that some day the Lord would heal him.
Rigdons son Wickliffe, provides… insight into his fathers eccentric nature. “Being of a bilious temperament, said Wicliffe of his father, he was sick most of the time in Nauvoo. Illinois: “for weeks at a time he would not be able to leave his bed”.
“Using modern clinical criteria to diagnose the illness of a historical figure is risky, but “bilious temperament” was a specific disease. In nineteenth-century America the malady was best known as melancholia, a syndrome encompassing dramatic mood changes and madness.
While the ailment today is usually designated manic-depression illness it has also been called mood disorder”, affective disorder,” “chronic bipolar disorder” and “bipolar affective disorder”. (Sidney Ridgon pg 116-117)
Perhaps one of the best examples of how Rigdon’s mood swings affected him is an experience that took place on On May 26 1832-
Sidney Ridgon had a virulent mood swing caused at least in part from worry over his daughter’s illness and that fact that his family had been shuffled around without a place of their own to live. It had been humiliating depending on the generosity of neighbors.
“A group had gathered into Joseph Smith Sr’s barn for a prayer meeting expecting to hear brother Sidney preach a sermon.
“We waited a long time before he made has appearance, , at last he came in seemingly much agitated. He did not go to the stand, but began to pace back and forth through the house.
My husband said, Brother Sidney, we would like to hear a discourse from you today. Brother Rigdon replied, in a tone of excitement,
“The keys of the kingdom are rent from the Church, and there shall not be a prayer put up on this house this day….
This greatly disturbed the minds of the many sisters and some brethren. The brethren stared and turned pales, and the sisters cried…. “The keys of the kingdom are taken from you and you never will have them again until you build me a new house”
“ When Joseph, who was out of town at the time returned, he assured the small group of Saints that the keys had not been taken and he “Smith took Rigdon’s license from him and said, The Devil would handle him as one man handles another- the less authority he had the better.”
Joseph then appointed council to try Sidney for “having lied in the name of the Lord”. In this counsel Joseph told him that he must suffer for what he had done and that he must be turned over to the buffetings of Satan.”
One account reported that:
“the devil did handle him by pulling him out of bed and other rough methods.”
Another account stated that:
“ Sidney was lying on his bed alone. An unseen power lifted him from his bed, threw him across the room, and tossed him from one side of the room to the other. The noise being heard on the adjoining room, his family went in to see what was the matter, and found him going for one side of the room to the other, from the effects of which Sidney was laid up for five or six weeks.”
Shortly after that Joseph Smith noted that Sidney had repented like Peter of Old and after a little suffering by the buffeting of Satan has been restored to his high standing in the Church of God.
Joseph and Hyrum re-ordained Sidney to the High Priesthood again and shortly after that Sidney did receive a church-provided home.
It is interesting to note that in recent decades it has been observed that “There is a thin line between genius and madness.”
Many of the great inventors, scientists, politicians and theologians seem to struggle, teetering on the line between genius and madness that manic depression sometimes enflames.
This phenomena of genius reminds me of the characterization of Rigdons ministry:
“No longer did he follow the old beaten track which had been traveled for ages by the religious world but he dared to enter upon new grounds called in question the opinions of uninspired men showed the foolish ideas of many commentators on the sacred Scriptures exposed their ignorance and contradictions threw new light on the sacred volume.
Particularly those prophecies which so deeply interest this generation and which had been entirely overlooked or mystified by the religious world cleared up scriptures which had heretofore appeared inexplicable and delighted his astonished audience with things new and old”
I believe the brain trauma/manic thorn in Sidney’s side was a blessing as well as a cursing. It may well have contributed to some of his wonderful attributes. Clearly he was a religious genius in addition to and of course, because of the inspiration the Lord blessed him with. Perhaps his manic fits of madness enhanced his subtle revelatory skills through which the Lord worked to have him do the preparatory work that he did in the Kirtland area.
Nevertheless, I suspect that only those who have suffered from long bouts of manic depression can begin to appreciate the burden being carried by Gods anointed servant in addition to the poverty and persecution that he suffered for the cause of Christ. Rigdon made several statements about the tremendous suffering he experienced.. it is easy for those of us in the peanut gallery to mock his statements without experiencing what he experienced.
Ok, that addresses the sickness that according to Rigdon was in part responsible for silencing him. Again, it is interesting to compare section 124 and 3rd Nephi 21 and the reoccurring themes of the servant being healed and proclaiming something to kings..
..but remember, Rigdon also made mention of the other circumstances that silenced him.
I am going to share with you my speculation on this issue as well.
I think that Sidney Rigdon felt that the Church was under condemnation and in a state of apostasy after failing to redeem Zion in Kirtland and Jackson County. And during that time when the church was in a darkened condition, various events took place that caused Sidney to become silent and to basically just shut down and observe what was happening to Joseph Smith and the Church.
There is one event in particular that may be indicative of other similar events that marked a pivotal point in Rigdon’s ministry. It was an event that greatly injured his spirit, offended him and disgraced him in front of the Elders of Israel.
As mentioned earlier, Sidney acknowledged in 1844 that “Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.
If we go back approximately five years from the statement, it takes us to a very dark period in Mormon history. It was during 1838-9 that the Mormons were fleeing from Kirtland, migrating to Far West and Adam–ondi-Ahman and entering into skirmishes with the “gentiles” and fighting the Mormon Missouri War.
During this period of time leaders of the church established the dark secretive band known as the Danites. Again, please remember, the sins of apostate Israel had begun falling upon brother Joseph by this time… he did some of the dark things he did, not because those things were naturally in his heart.. he was sinning outwardly because of the sin offering that was upon him.
The Danites were a secret order that had sworn to protect the First Presidency regardless of whether they were in the right or wrong.
In some respects the Danite oath was not unlike the Jesuit Oath . The Jesuit Order was the front for an inner secret society which has been the secret military enforcement arm of the Catholic Church since it was first founded by Ignatius of Loyola of Spain in 1534 during the reign of Pope Paul III.
We probably have less information about this period of time during the Prophets ministry because many things were done that the Church wanted to down play. One of the few histories we have of this time period is one provided in John D Lee’s book, Mormonism Unveiled.
John was the adopted son of Brigham Young who ended up becoming the scapegoat for the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He provides a heart breaking account of an incident that happened between Joseph and Sidney Rigdon that I think was a pivotal point in the ministry of Sidney Rigdon:
“During the time that we were camping a Adam-on-Diamond, waiting to see what would be the result of the quarrel between our Church and the Gentiles, one Sunday morning (it had rained heavily the night before and the air was cold) the men were shivering over a few fire-brands, feeling out of sorts and quite cast down.
The Prophet came up while the brethren were moping around, and caught first one and then another and shook them up, and said, “Get out of here, and wrestle, jump, run, do anything but mope around; warm yourselves up; this inactivity will not do for soldiers.
Those words of the Prophet put life and energy into the men. A ring was soon formed, according to the custom of the people. The Prophet stepped into the ring, ready for a tussle with any corner. Several went into the ring to try their strength, but each one was thrown by the Prophet, until he had thrown several of the stoutest of the men present.
Then he stepped out of the ring and took a man by the arm and led him in to take his place, and so it continued – the men who were thrown retiring in favor of the successful one. A man would keep the ring so long as he threw his adversary.
The style of wrestling varied with the desires of the parties. The Eastern men, or Yankees, used square hold, or collar and elbow; those from the Middle States side hold, and the Southern and Western men used breeches hold and old Indian hug or back hold.
If a man was hurt he stood it without a murmur; it was considered cowardly and childish to whine when thrown down or hurt in the fall.
While the sport was at its height Sidney Rigdon, the mouth-piece of the Prophet, rushed into the ring, sword in hand, and said that he would not suffer a lot of men to break the Sabbath day in that manner.
For a moment all were silent, then one of the brethren, with more presence of mind than the others, said to the Prophet, “Brother Joseph, we want you to clear us. from blame, for we formed the ring by your request. You told us to wrestle, and now Brother Rigdon is bringing us to account for it.”
The Prophet walked into the ring and said, as he made a motion with his hand:
“Brother Sidney, you had better go out of here and let the boys alone; they are amusing themselves according to my orders. You are an old man. You go and get ready for meeting and let the boys alone.
Just then catching Rigdon off his guard, as quick as a flash he knocked the sword from Rigdon’s hand, then caught him by the shoulder, and. said: “Now, old man, you must go out, or I will throw you down.”
Rigdon was as large a man as the Prophet, but not as tall. The prospect of a tussle between the Prophet and the mouthpiece of the Prophet, was fun for all but Rigdon, who pulled back like a craw-fish, but the resistance was useless, the Prophet dragged him from the ring, bareheaded, and tore Rigdon’s fine pulpit coat from the collar to the waist;
then he turned to the men and said; “Go in, boys, and have your fun. You shall never have it to say that I got you into any trouble that I did not get you out of.”
Rigdon complained about the boa of his hat and the tearing of his coat. The Prophet said to him: “You were out of your place. Always keep your place and you will not suffer; but you got a little out of your place and you have suffered for it. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
Imagine how humiliated and demoralized Brother Sidney must have felt to be ridiculed in that manner by another one of the Lords anointed.
Anyone familiar with the life, history and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith during the early Kirtland years realizes that Joseph Smith was acting out of character when he publicly humiliated Brother Sidney.
The disrespect and cruelty he showed to Brother Sidney, the rejection of the teachings of the Lords Spokesman that day and the disregard for keeping the Sabbath day holy was one of many defining moments in a pivotal transition that the church was experiencing.
I believe it had a devastating effect on God’s Spokesman. I believe it is just one of many signs that the sins of apostate Israel had begun to fall upon our beloved prophet.
The Joseph Smith we know and love NEVER would have encouraged his elders to break the Lords Sabbath and he certainly would not have treated the Lords spokesman so disrespectfully.
I believe this and other similar events that took place during this darkened period played a part in the silencing of God’s anointed spokesman, Sidney Rigdon. I think this and other events really injured his spirit, hurt his feelings and destroyed much of his credibility among the Elders of the Church.
Many people of lesser character would have left the Church if treated that way after all they had suffered for the cause… in fact, many did… Not Rigdon he had been commissioned by the Lord to watch over Brother Joseph and counsel him. He had gazed into the heaven with Brother Joseph.. he knew the work was true although the Lord had covered his eyes as to what was taking place with brother Joseph.
Whether Joseph was willing to take council or not was out of Sidneys control but he stayed with the Church and quietly sat in the shadows watching for five years until the martyrdom.
It is important to realize that although Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Spokesman were inseparable during the first six or seven years after they united, there became a rift between them after that and they became estranged. The seer from the loins of Joseph would envy the Spokesman and the Spokesman from the loins of Judah would vex the Seer .
We have discussed that fact that Sidney became silenced as the Spokesman and according to his own words, it was due to health problems and other things. We have reviewed how his health plays into this scenario and I have show how his relationship with the Prophet became strained because Joseph was the first of the two anointed ones to take upon him the sins of an apostate people.
I now want to suggest that interrelating to the silencing of Sidney Rigdon is the possibility that Joseph took unto himself the calling of being the Spokesman when he had been told not to do so.
Please notice how the Lord wants to make it clear to Joseph and the Church that Joseph is limited in his stewardship;
“And he [Joseph Smith, Jr.] has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.” (Book of Commandments, Ch. 10)
Giving further foundation and clarification to this is the Spokesman prophecy in the Book of Mormon. Remember that Joseph the Seer was like unto Moses. He was given a spokesman just like Moses for the same reason as Moses.. therefore the following statement about Moses applies to Joseph the Seer;
“And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him… And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking…and I will make a spokesman for him. And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman.”
Many historical accounts verify that Joseph Smith, like Moses was not eloquent like Aaron and Sidney. Sidney was a much better orator.. but as we drill down further into the scriptures, it becomes apparent that is not the only reason why Sidney was to be the Spokesman.
According to modern revelation, it was an integral part of Sidney’s role and Joseph’s gift was limited to other things… he was not supposed to take that honor away from the Spokeman unto himself.
In addition to the enmity between the Spokesman from the tribe of Judah and the Seer from the lions of Joseph, the church membership to this day experiences a similar enmity between two separate groups of differing in lineage within the Church… those from the dispersed of Judah and those from the outcasts of Israel. Catalogue that in your mind because we may return to this as we develop this theme in future posts.
At this point, let us observe that there seems to be a correlation between several changes taking place in the church after the Saints defiled the temple ad failed to establish Zion.
After the appointed time came and went and the Saints were forced to flee Kirtland; the lack of spiritual gifts, the closing of the heavens and drying up of revelations coming through Joseph Smith and the reversal in many of the teachings of the church took place.
Now the church was plundering and stealing from the “gentiles” as their forced migration began, they began entering into secrets oaths relating to the Danites and Masonry, and eventually committing adultery via the Spiritual Wife doctrine.
The public ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith can be divided in two general periods. The first period would be from the legal restoration of the Church in 1830 to the ministering of angels in the Kirtland Temple in1836. The second period would be from 1836 to the martyrdom in 1844.
It appears the revelations and the actions of the Saints and the events that transpired ALL seem to point to the fact that 1836 was the major apex or defining moment in the LDS restoration movement and that after the general time, the God of Israel began to withdraw his spirit from the Church.
The Lord had warned the Saints:
“If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness.” (D&C 95:12)
He had also warned;
if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan, (Book of Commandments Chapter 4)
What is it about human nature that causes us to doubt that the Lord would actually deliver his Church over to Satan?
That ominous warning in contained in the orginal Book of Covenants was really just a latter day re-wording of a prophetic warning in the New Testament;
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes 2)
God does turn his people over to darkness after they choose to pleasure in unrighteousness instead of believing the truth.
While instructing the Relief Society, Joseph Smith made the following statement-
The prophet Joseph Smith, too, taught that it is possible for the president of the church to lead the church astray. From the minutes of an address to the Relief Society in 1842, we read the following:
President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel — said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church — that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls — applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall — that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 237).
There you have it from the words of Joseph Smith, the minds of many had become darkened because they were depending on the prophet! Again, prophet worship is a form of idolotry. If you are blindly believing and obeying a true prophet without getting confirmation of what he is saying and doing via personal revelation through the Holy Ghost, you mind will become darkened.
As sobering and profound as those words are, you really need to read Ezekiel 14 to get the full impact of what Joseph was warning them about;
“.. Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will anser him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols”
Please continue reading the entire chapter in the privacy of your own inner sanctum.. it is hard doctrine, but true doctrine. it is the order of heaven. A true prophet becomes a cursing and a stumbling block to an idolotrous people who come before the prophet to enquire of the Lord with impure hearts.. and God DOES use his prophets to turn apostate Israel over to darkness.
It was ultimately the closing of the heavens and the fact that the spirit of the Lord was withdrawing from the Saints that silenced Sidney Rigdon and undoubtedly inflamed his depression.
This hypothesis is substantiated by the closing up of the heavens with regard to the revelations Joseph Smith was receiving as well as the corresponding events that took place.
If you have not read my previous post entitled “The Bridge Groom Tarried” you may want to do so to get a better understanding of just how critical September 11th 1836 was.
The Lord had identified that date as the appoint time for the redemption of Zion. Unfortunately, that time came and went, but the cause of Zion was put on hold.
Another extremely significant sign that 1836 was a turning point in the Church is apostasy that followed in 1837. One third of the members had left the church and many of Joseph’s friends had turned against him. In the midst of this crisis, Joseph received a revelation instructing him that;
“something new must be done for the salvation of the Church” (Smith, History of the Church 2:489).
That something was the Church’s first foreign mission, one that eventually took nine members of the Quorum of the Twelve to the British Isles.
Now that the Saints had broken the covenants they had entered into pertaining to consecration, failed to establish Zion at the appointed time and been forced to take the preparatory gospel from the Gentiles to the Jews, the prophecy of Isaiah was now ready to be fulfilled.
“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.”
(Book of Mormon version of Isaiah 29:10)
The gospel had been rejected by the Gentiles and now, the Lord was having the lesser priesthood administer the preparatory gospel sent forth to the remnants of Judah that had been disperse among the gentile nations. The missionary efforts that began at this time would bring large numbers of foreign converts from the loins of Judah into Nauvoo.
It is interesting to note that over 100 published revelations came prior to the appointed time of September 11th 1836 while less that 10 came during the following eight years leading up to the martyrdom.
It is because of the closing of the heavens that some of the Saints began accusing Joseph Smith of being a fallen prophet:
“In mid 1837, many members living in Kirtland, including some who had been called to serve in the highest positions of responsibility, rejected the leadership of Joseph Smith, declaring that he was a fallen prophet. While Joseph was lying in bed with a debilitating illness in June, apostates circulated a rumor that he was suffering because of his transgressions”. (The heavens Resound 325)
Following the defilement of the temple in Kirtland and failure to redeem Zion by the appointed time the heavens began to close and revelation began to dry up.
From the last years in Kirtland through the Nauvoo era several people accused Joseph Smith of being a fallen prophet because he no longer brought forth revelation as abundantly as he one did.
“Some say I am a fallen prophet because I don’t not bring forth more of the world of the Lord. Why do I not do it? Are we able to receive it? No. He then chastened the church for there wickedess and unbelief“ HC 4:476
By the time we get into the Nauvoo years many of the Kirtland Saints had previously left the church because they believed that Joseph was a fallen prophet.
Finally in Nauvoo we have a repeat of the melt down that took place in Kirtland. William Law who had been one of the most loyal supporters of Joseph Smith declares that Joseph Smith is a fallen prophet along with many others. Even Brigham Young had this to say about Joseph’s decision to go to Carthage.
“If Joseph Smith, Jun., the Prophet, had followed the Spirit of revelation in him he never would have gone to Carthage…and never for one moment did he say that he had one participle of light in him after started back from Montrose to give himself up in Nauvoo.
This he did through the persuasion of others. I want you all to understand that…But if Joseph had followed the revelations in him he would have followed the shepherd instead of the shepherd’s following the sheep... he did not have one particle of spiritual light in him“
Of course Joseph was mainly following the advise of his brother Hyrum who was the acting prophet of the Church.
The following chart illustrates how the heavens began closing shortly after the defilement of the Kirtland Temple and the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion by the appointed time of Sept 11 1836-
(Click on the graphic to enlarge)
This is not to minimize the fact that the Saints were continually being chastised by the Lord prior to 1836 as well.
In section 84 the Lord had informed the Saints that the whole church had been brought under condemnation and in section 104 the Lord declared that some of the Saints had broken the covenant of consecration through transgression by covetousness and feigned words
The crowning event that seemed to be the tipping point upon which the heavens began to close was the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion at the appointed time by rejecting the law of consecration which is an appendage of the baptismal covenant.
Few Saints know about this event because it is minimized in the official histories of the church.
Following the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion by the appointed time, the Lord declared in Section 112 that;
“darkness covereth the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people”
Clearly indicating that the cleansing and sanctifying ordinances of the gospel had stopped being effective in the lives of the Latter day Saints. The salt had lost it’s savor.
The Lord went on to acknowledge that when the time comes for the Judgments of God to fall, “upon my house shall it begin and from my house shall it go forth. First among those of you who have professed to know my name and have not known me and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house saith the Lord”.
Finally, in Nauvoo, the Lord revealed that the priesthood had been lost as a result of the defilement of the Kirtland Temple;
“for there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fullness of the priesthood.” (124:2)
With what we have learned, it all begins to make sense why the latter day Saints no longer show forth the fruits of the spirit.. the salt had lost its savor.
The above declaration was a wake up call to the Saints.. it appears they had lost the fulness of the priesthood and been reduced to the preparatory gospel. Perhaps this is the significance of Abrahm bringing the Gospel of Abraham at the appointed time that the Saints should have been establishing Zion?
Could it be that the exact type of what had just happened to the Latter Day Saints had happened to the Children of Israel when they rejected the fulness of the Gospel and Moses was taken out of their midst;
“..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. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthoom also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels andthe preparatory gospel;
Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.”
Notwithstanding the fact that the Saints had failed to be obedient multiple times.. the Lord in his infinite mercy gave the Saints one more chance to repent and build another Temple with the ominous threat that they would be rejected as a church with their dead if they did not complete the temple by the appointed time:
“But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me. And during this time our baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church with your dead, saith the Lord your God” (124:31-32)
As hard as historical revisionists have tried to rewrite history and make it appear that the Temple was finished shortly before the Saints fled Nauvoo, it was clearly not finished. The following is an entry in the personal journal of Brigham Young;
“I met with the council of the Twelve in the southeast corner room of the attic of the Temple. We knelt around the altar, and dedicated the building to the most high.
We asked his blessing upon our intended move to the west; also ASKED HIM TO ENABLE US SOME DAY TO FINISH THE TEMPLE, AD DEDICATED IT TO HIM…” (HC 7:580)
Even if the temple had been finished as some historical revisionists claim, it is clear that latter day Israel was disobedient in Nauvoo because the Lord had promised the Saints that if they were obedient, they would not be moved out of their place;
“And if my people will hearken to my voice and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, THEY SHALL NOT BE MOVED OUT OF THEIR PLACE. (124:45)
To this end Joseph Smith had warned them;
“Don’t deny revelation, If the Temple and Nauvoo House are not finished you must RUN AWAY.” Words of JS 179
The sad fact of the matter is that the Saints were moved out of their place… they did run away.
In summary, the Lord had revealed to the Saints that he would use Kirtland as a stronghold for five years after which the hedge (priesthood protection) would be removed. The goal was to redeem Zion in Jackson County by the appointed time.
In conjunction with that declaration, Joseph Smith told the Saints that God had revealed to him that the appointed time for the redemption of Zion would be September 11th 1836.
Unfortunately, the Saints failed to redeem Zion at the appointed time. Once that time frame expired, a veil of darkness came over the Saints in Kirtland. Their minds became darkened and the love of the Father was withheld as promised.
After the appointed time, instead of focusing on consecration and having all things in common, they were trying to establish a banking system. The Kirtland Safety Society became one of the primary issues upon which the unraveling of Kirtland took place.
The simple and undisputable fact is that the revelations that Joseph Smith brought forth warned the Church that their salvation was contingent upon 1) Building the temple in Kirtland, 2) publishing the Joseph Smith Translation, 3) living the law of consecration and 4) redeeming Zion.
The Saints failed on three of the four mandates from the Lord. The one success they had was the completion of the Kirtland Temple but they defiled it within a few month and had to flee, ultimately loosing possession of it and resulting in the loss of the higher priesthood.
Here are some of the warnings the Lord had given the Saints through Sidney and Joseph during the 14 ministry.
1-“that we should use every effort to accomplish this building [Kirtland Temple] by the time appointed…and on it depends the salvation of the church and also of the world.
2-“except the Church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fail.”
3-“The first great object before us, and the Saints generally, is to [complete] the [Nauvoo ] Temple… to secure the salvation of the Church”
4-“The Lord would seek another people if Zion did not purify herself” AND “If Zion was not delivered the Church would be destroyed and persecuted” AND“if we don’t exert ourselves to the utmost in gathering up the strength of the Lords house that this thing may be accomplished behold there remaineth a scourge.”
We normally consider the completion and acceptance of the Kirtland Temple and the visitation of Christ and three ministering angels as a positive event even though, strangely enough the Lord apparently commanded Oliver and Joseph to keep it secret from the Saints for a generation.
There is apparently much more to this event than what was recorded in section 110. I would submit that the acceptance of the Kirtland Temple became the beginning of the Blessing and the Cursing in the 2nd watch that will eventually open the 3rd watch when the Lord descends suddenly upon his temple with a curse to judgment as was prophesied by Moses.
The importance and significance of the Kirtland Temple cannot be overstated. Brother Sidney had warned that the salvation of the Church depended upon it.
The Lord had chastised them in section 95 for not taking the commandment to build the temple seriously and then warned that the Saints did not keep the commandments to build the Temple, the Love of the Father shall not continue with the Saints and they would walk in darkness.
“..verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to those whom I have chosen with power from on high;
For this is the promise of the Father unto you; therefore I command you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem. Nevertheless, my servants sinned a very grievous sin; and contentions arose in the school of the prophets; which was very grievous unto me, saith your Lord; therefore I sent them forth to be chastened.
Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build a house. If you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it. If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness.”
If the Salvation of the Church was dependant upon the completion of the temple, it stands to reason that the defilement of the temple within months after it’s completion would also put the salvation of the Church in jeopardy.
The Church would fail if they did not receive the Inspired Version of the Bible
Having read in part one how the Spokesman from the loins of Judah was to bring forth the Bible in purity containing the vision of John, it is no wonder that Joseph Smith made the following statement about the importance of the Saints giving financial support so that they could receive the fullness of the scriptures. The consequences of the failure of the Saints to do this is that the Church would fail!
“Brother Joseph Smith, Jr. said … that the promise of God was that the greatest blessings which God had to bestow should be given to those who contributed to the support of his family while he was translating the fulness of the Scriptures… that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church … and except the Church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fail.” (Far West Report, p. 16, quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, p. 9.)
We are reminded of the importance of the JST Inspired Version
“Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen….
and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—
I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.” 1st Nephi 13
The scriptures prophecied that the Saints of the 2nd watch would stumble. But they also reveal that the day would come when they would get the plain and precious parts of the scriptures restored to them.
Strangely enough, even though the relationship between Sidney and Joseph had been strained for several years, the Lord continues to give Sidney to Joseph as a Counselor in the 1st Presidency as shown in section 124 given in 1841
Section 124 continued
The Lord gives Sidney to Joseph as a Counselor
“I give unto him for counselors my servant Sidney Rigdon and my servant William Law, that these may constitute a quorum and First Presidency, to receive the oracles for the whole church. I give unto you my servant Brigham Young to be a president over the Twelve traveling council; Which Twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom upon the four corners of the earth, and after that to send my word to every creature.“
“And again, verily I say unto you, if my servant Sidney will serve me and be counselor unto my servant Joseph, let him arise and come up and stand in the office of his calling, and humble himself before me.“
According to the 1828 Websters Dictionary. a Counselor is 1. Any person who gives advice; but properly one who is authorized by natural relationship, or by birth, office or profession, to advise another in regard to his future conduct and measures. Ahithophel was Davids counselor..
Why is it that even though the office of Counselor in the First Presidency seems to have been a revolving door, having been filled by various and sundry people such as Oliver Cowdery, Jesse Gause, Fredrick G. Williams, Hyrum Smith and William Law, Sidney filled his position as a member of the first Presidency for the entire 13 years until the Martyrdom?
Yet one of the charges that would be leveled against him at his Church Court would be that he had not been faithful in his calling in the 1st Presidency.
If Sidney was percieved as unvalient by Joseph and the Lord, one must wonder why he had been chosen as Joseph Smiths running mate for the Presidency of the United States and why he had been the primary orator at the April conference just two months prior to the martyrdom.
It is true that Joseph and Sidney had been estranged and that Joseph did try to kick Sidney out of the 1st Presidency. Because of the profile of the Davidic Servant contained in the scriptures, we now understand why the Seer and the Spokesman were not working in harmony. The sins of Israel fell first on Joseph’s head.. later they would fall on Sidney’s head, in the interim, they would have a little enmity between them.
The following point which was published in the Messenger and Advocate in 1844s is well taken;
“And as for Joseph saying he would have him no longer for counselor, it was not his prerogative to shake him off;
he did not call and consequently could not reject him,
but at any rate we all know when he was tried before the conference last October, every thing was there disposed of, and Elder Rigdon was sustained by the people and honorably acquitted of all charges against him…”
Section 124 continued
Sidney will once again lift up his voice
as the Spokesman
…and he shall lift up his voice
again on the mountains,and be a aspokesman before my face.“
After all the incredible experiences Sidney went through, after all he did to build up the kingdom, after being chastised and forgiven several times and then after being silenced for several years, God assures Sidney and the church that Sidney is a KEEPER!
He will once again lift up his voice on the mountains in the 3rd watch.
The other thing that surfaces again from this verse if the fact that Sidney Rigdon is the anointed spokesman.
There is so much history I would love to cover pertaining to Nauvoo and the succession issue but I need to stay focused. I suspect I have already lost most of my readers with the length of this post… which is probably meant to be
Let us now fast forward a little to the Nauvoo period.
A few years prior to the martyrdom when Sidney heard about the secret practice of Spiritual Wifery, a perverted form of Biblical Polygamy, which incorporates polyandry and allows the unrestrained passions of a married man to court his neighbors wife in the hope of a higher exaltation.
When it became apparent that Joseph Smith was involved in this practice and leading others into it, Sidney’s assessment of the doctrine was simple and to the point:
“Joseph has contracted a whoring spirit”.
You will recall that it was the responsibility of Sidney Rigdon to use the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the previously accepted revelations brought forth by Joseph Smith to prove all new revelations.
Naturally, it would be the responsibility of Gods Spokesman from the loins of Judah to endorse and prove the spiritual wife doctrine if it was true…
By virtue of his calling and the spiritual gifts pertaining to it, Sidney understood the Spiritual Wife doctrine as a heresy. He was excersized in the word of God.
The sins of Israel had not begun to descend upon him and he still had the spirit of discernment… remember, the sins of apostate Israel do not begin falling upon him until after the blood sacrifice has been completed and the fit man places the sins of Israel upon him and leads him away from the congregation.
Sidney Rigdon knew beyond doubt that the heresy known as section 132 in the current Doctrine and Covenants was a blatant contridiction of previous revelations. He also understood that it was contrary to the order of God to send an angel to FORCE somebody upon the penalty of death to do something they don’t want to do.
More importantly, he remembered the veiled warning that Lord gave to the Saints within days after he met with Joseph Smith for the first time. The following commandment is in section 38 given way back in January of 1831.
“but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old“. (38:39)
Do you understand what the Lord was warning the Saints about? Do you remember why God destroyed the wicked Nephites from off the face of the earth instead of the wicked Lamanites?
It was because the insidious sin of polygamous adultery had invested the Nephites because of the pride that had over taken them. Their pride and their sin was even greater than the pride and sin of the Lamanites! Carnal men who practice unrighteous dominion want to have dominion over as many people as possible and to let their lustful desires go unchecked while building up their domain.
Just prior to giving the veiled warning, the Lord said:
“And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.”
The above commandment should be helpful to those who don’t have enough discernment to realize what the veiled warning was about….. you are not showing your brother the type of esteem you want to be shown if you are coveting his wife and committing adultery with her.
This veiled warning was actually not the first time this most important moral law had been revealsed in modern revelation. In section 19 the Lord had said;
“And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife; nor seek thy neighbor’s life“..
But as if sections 19 and 38 were not plain enough to get the point across, the Lord revealed in the higher law of consecration contained in section 42 that monogamy in Marriage is actually part of the higher law and the higher covenant with God!
There is no law or covenant greater than the law given in section 42. The celestial consecration or oneness with God that takes place in the baptism of water and followed by the baptism of fire requires a Godly monogamous sealing between a man and a woman!
But, as if sections 19, 38 & 42 are not plain enough, in section 49 a great mystery is alluded to pertaining to the purpose of the earth and the progression of the Gods. We don’t have time to go into the mystery other than to point out yet another witness to the law of marital monogamy;
“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.“
Finally, as if four testimonies within modern revelation heaped upon the very clear statements in the New Testament and Book of Mormon are not enough, the Lord had Oliver Cowdery pen the “Article on Marriage” which states;
“Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.“
The article on “Marriage” was accepted by a special General Assembly at Kirtland and adopted by unanimous consent in the 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
It became binding upon the Saints according to the law of common consent. In this way it became the official law of the Church on the subject of marriage. It was included in all editions of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants until it was removed in 1876 and replaced with what is now known as section 132 under President Brigham Young’s administration.
There was a definite reason that the article on “Marriage” was inserted in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835. Church missionaries began converting Cochranites in Maine and other eastern states as early as 1832, some of whom gathered to Kirtland and brought their polygamous concepts with them. Therefore the “Marriage” article was included in the Doctrine and Covenants to make certain that the Church was strictly monogamous.
Oliver was a member of the committee of four chosen to select revelations and articles which became a part of the Doctrine and Covenants. The committee included Oliver, Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Even though Oliver may have written or helped write the “Marriage” article, Joseph definitely approved it. In fact, Joseph used it extensively in Nauvoo in 1842 to prove that Dr. John C. Bennett’s polygamous assertions were untrue.
It is just a little bit ironic that in section 19 the Lord forbids the Saints from committing the two sins that King David had a struggle with…. and yet a Davidic Prophet in the last days appears to be struggling with one of those sins.. does history repeat itself?
Well, we know from the Atonement Statute that Joseph was not committing this sin because he was inherently evil, rather, the Lord was using him as a sin offering and he was making good on his promise that he would turn the people over to Satan if they were not faithful and obedient. The Lord used Brother Joseph to test people. This same test is probably going to raise its ugly little head again, so now is the time to deal with it.
If the Lord chose to turn his people over to Satan as a result of their disobedience, wouldn’t he use his prophet to do it?
Why did the Saints follow the Lords anointed prophet into a sin so obvious and blatant as that one?
Because they were involved in idolatry, and prophet-worship is a form of idolotry. The Saints were functioning at a terrestrial level at best… instead of worshipping every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God, they were putting their faith in the arm of flesh.
Those who are into blind obedience will blindly do anything they are asked to do ESPECIALLY if it is something that appeals to their carnal desires!
Let me again remind you from what we have demonstrated in the Atonement Statute that Joseph was in the process of suffering from the weight of the sins he had taken upon himself as a result of the intercessory atonement offering he was making.
He was not doing what he would normally do… remember, he had previously past through the carnal temptations and become sanctified and made his calling and election sure… he was now acting as one of the sacrificial goats without blemish as mentioned in Lev 16. Part of his offering required him to take upon himself the transgressions of Israel. Had he been a God with perfect blood, the sins placed upon him could not have caused him to act themselves out.. like Christ, he would have remained sinless. But he was not a God, he was human, hence his atonement offering caused him to act out the sins of those he was providing the atonement for.
Sidney had not yet had the sins placed upon him. According to the atonement statute, Sidney was not to have the sins of apostate Israel placed upon his head until after the martyrdom and after the Saints rejected him.
Although Sidney can clearly observe that Joseph was entangled in iniquity, his eyes were no doubt blinded as to why this darkness had descended upon the prophet. He was no doubt as baffled as most people are when they read about these events.
Sidney could see prophecy that backed up what was happening in Nauvoo, but the Lord had covered his eyes from understanding the deeper reason for why Joseph himself was doing what he was doing. It appears the Lord needed to cover his eyes that prophecy could run its course… it would only be a matter of time before Sidney would get those sins placed upon him as well…
It appears that he did not go out of his way to confront the prophet publically on this issue of the spiritual wife doctrine although he and the prophet had heated words with each other in private after Brother Joseph was accused by Rigdon’s daughter of trying to seduce her into the practice.
After the prophet left the Rigdon’s house Sidney reinforced his position with his family:
“Smith could never be sealed to one of his daughters with his consent as he did not believe the doctrine” 297
Many people have wondered why Joseph Smith did not make his revelation on the spiritual wife doctrine public. Why didn’t he openly preach about it in public? Why didn’t he publish it in the D&C? Why was it that the section known to day as 132 did not replace the section renouncing polygamy until 1876?
Why did Joseph Smith and the others involved in the spiritual wife doctrine sneak around doing it in secret and deny living it in public?
Sidney Rigdon was a very important reason why Joseph Smith did not openly preach the doctrine of Spiritual Wife Polygamy.
We know this because we have used the infallible word of God to develop a profile of Sidney Rigdon and we realize that as the Spokesman appointed by the Lord, it was his responsibility to prove the revelations received by Joseph Smith according to the Bible and to expound upon them.
Sidney Rigdon played a very important part of the checks and balances that the Lord had put into place to avoid false revelations and false doctrines from entering into the Church.
It would have been difficult for Joseph Smith to publicly preach and publish the revelation on Spiritual Wife Polygamy if Sidney refused to endorese it and use the Bible to prove it was a true doctrine.. even more difficult if the Lords Spokesman was declaring it to be a false doctrine.
Rigdon was unable and unwilling to prove it to be a sound doctrine from the scriptures because it was clearly a false doctrine. Nowhere in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon or modern revelations that had been proven and endorsed by the Spokeman does it teach that you need to be sealed to multiple wives in order to inherit a greater salvation.. clearly that is another gospel than the one taught by Peter James and John. Clearly it is another gospel than the one taught in the Book of Mormon!
Here not the infallible and eternal word of God pertaining to this matter as revealed through the apostle Paul;
“But though we, or an angel from heaven [with a sword in his hand], preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8)
Eventually when it was becoming increasingly difficult for those involved in this practice to keep it secret, Joseph, the twelvites and others decided to do an end run around Sidney by getting the high council to vote on the practice of it.
They realized that if they could use the law of common consent to endorse it, they could circumvent the road block put up by the Lords Spokesman.
Interestingly, Rigdon was not the only one grounded in the word of God.
When Hyrum Smith read the revelation on polygamy to the High Council on August 12th 1844 and a vote was taken, three extremely courageous men on the high council refused to sustain it stating that they knew it to be a false doctrine… The three brethren that opposed it were William Marks, Austin Cowles, and Leonard Soby.
Considering the secrecy of polygamy, it is remarkable that Hyrum would announce it even to the high council. It is also remarkable that Marks, Cowles, and Soby would openly reject it. This was a watershed moment in Latter-Day Saint history that prevented the heresy of spiritual wifery to be publically sanctioned and sustained by the Church at that time.
Despite the public practice and acceptance of the doctrine by the Church shortly after the martyrdom, the article on marriage in the D&C which had been written by Oliver Cowdery and which proclaimed polygamy to be contrary to the laws of the Church, was not replaced by what is now known as section 132 until 1876, one year before the death of Brigham Young!
Those three brethren along with others such as Sidney Rigdon and William Law (Law is an other historical figure who has been seriously maligned) made it impossible for polygamy to become a publically endorsed and accepted practice at that time.
Few people realize just how important the spiritual wife doctrine was in the succession issue.
You need to realize that the principle of spiritual wifery had been enthusiastically embraced by Brigham Young and most of the quorum of the Twelve yet Sidney and several other high ranking leaders of the Church opposed it because they were steeped in the scriptures and they understood sound doctrine.
Despite their failed efforts to get the doctrine accepted publically by the Church, several high ranking leaders of the Church including members of the Twelve became blatant in their promotion of this doctrine after the martyrdom.
One of the many amazing examples had to do with Willard Richards shacking up with Orson Hydes wife while Orson was on a mission.
“Willard Richards nailed down the windows, and fired off his revolver in the street after dark, and commenced living with Mrs. Nancy Marinda Hyde.” (Letter from Ebenezer Robinson page 294)
Richards of course considered himself to be doing a noble thing. In his mind he was living a higher law. This emboldened him in what he was doing.
In a sarcastic letter regarding the actions of Elder Willard Richards the Lords Spokesman wrote:
“If Richards should take a notion to Hyde’s wife in his absence all that is necessary to be done is to be sealed. No harm done, not adultery committed, only taking a little advantage of rights of priesthood.
And after Richards has gone the round of dissipation with Hyde’s wife, she is afterwards turned over to Smith and thus the poor silly woman become the actual dupe to two designing men, under the sanctimonious barb of rights of the royal priesthood” pg 294
If you drill down deep enough into the real history of the church, it will become apparent that the real underlying issue at the time of the succession crisis was the spiritual wife doctrine not priesthood authority. Note the interesting statement by Joseph Newton;
“I was at Nauvoo during all the time that Elder Rigdon was there on his last visit to that place, and am well acquainted with the cause of all the difficulties that existed, and now exist between him and the twelve and their adherents. It was said to me by many that they had no objection to Elder Rigdon but his opposition to the Spiritual Wife System.”
Although the sanitized history of the Church really downplays it, the central theme of the leadership controversy in Nauvoo was centered around the spiritual wife doctrine. Here is another revealing segment of an article written in the November 1st 1844 edition of the Messenger and Advocate published in Pitsburg;
“There has been taught in the church a doctrine, which to a man with the revelations of God in his hand may be deemed the most daring and damning that could be imagined to exist among any people, because it is the prolific parent of every vice, and the whole catalogue of crime follows in its train as naturally and necessarily as water will find its level.
Need I say I allude to the spiritual wife system; to cover up this system, lying was taught to be justifiable, and a sermon was publicly preached, to inculcate the idea and establish the tenet, that under certain circumstances, it was rather meritorious to lie.
Be it remembered, that there is no sin, which has called forth the signal wrath of Almighty God, more fully than the sin of adultery; and therefore the Lord declared he would “cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush in one day. The ancient and honorable (que. Patriarch) he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed.” Was Joseph Smith cut off for transgression? I answer, if the Lord is to be believed, he was; for he expressly promises that if Joseph abided in him, he should stand in the office in which he was placed, until the coming of the Son of Man. If Joseph is not living, and the Son of Man is not come, he must, admitting the word of God, be cut off for transgression.
Admitting this fact, we must conclude, that he transgressed the law of God; the question then arises, how did he transgress the law of God? I answer, he taught the doctrine that a man could have ten wives; the Lord has declared “thou shalt have one wife, and cleave unto her and none else.” Joseph taught that David did not sin in having many wives, only in the case of Uriah.
The Lord declares, Book of Mormon, Book of Jacob, 2d chapter, “David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.”
But do these men who have arrogated to themselves the authority, who have at one fell swoop blotted the first presidency out of existence, laid violent hands on the reins of government, and delivered over to the buffetings of the devil him whom God has placed in the stead of Joseph Smith –
do these men preach and practice the doctrine of polygamy? They do. And coupled with Sidney Rigdon’s uncompromising hostility to that doctrine, gives us the key by which we can understand the otherwise incomprehensible fatuity, which could lead them to set at complete defiance the order of heaven….
Sidney Rigdon declared: “I shall feel it my duty to publish the transactions of the secret chambers, and a faithful history of the works of darkness.” Oh here lies the gist of the whole matter; treason to the cause of spiritual-wife-ism, to that accursed doctrine which makes a man’s glory depend upon the number of his wives; which makes that a stepping stone to exaltation which God has a thousand times declared is the high road to hell….
give heed to that servant whom the Lord has planted in the stead of Joseph Smith, and turn away from those who teach and practice doctrines contrary to the law and the holy commandments delivered unto us.
Your brother in the new and everlasting covenant.”
The following statements from the Lords Spokesman published in a paper provide a good explanation of how he felt about the spiritual wife doctrine;
Pittsburgh, Oct. 15, 1844.
Br. J. Gregg — Dear Sir: – Yours of the 14th inst., was received per mail this morning… I have been informed, since Mr. Page published his Bull, and subsequent departure from this place, that he had attempted to teach the doctrine of spiritual wives in this city some time since. This will account for his sudden departure from both this place and yours.
It would seem almost impossible that there could be found a set of men and women, in this age of the world, with the revelations of God in their hands, who could invent and propagate doctrines so ruinous to society, so debasing and demoralizing as the doctrine of a man having a plurality of wives…
Those who read the New Testament with care, cannot avoid seeing that the apostles have declared that a corruption like that we complain of, was to make its appearance in the last days. See Second Timothy, 3d chapter, from the 1st to the 9th verse inclusive.
These sayings which the apostles, at Nauvoo, have applied to the professing world, are as applicable to themselves as to any others now living, or any others who have lived since the days of Paul. In the 6th verse we are told that “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.”…
That the Twelve and their adherents have entered into houses and led silly women astray, is a fact susceptible of the highest proof; and we are authorized by Paul to apply all the rest he has said to them.
“For if this sort enter into houses and lead astray silly women,” what sort? we ask; the before described religionists, for says Paul,”they have a form of godliness.” The conclusion then is, that they effected the ruin of silly females by, or through a form of godliness…
It is a fact, so well known, that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry this spiritual wife business in secret, that I hardly need mention it here, and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths, to keep it from the public.
First, insulting innocent females, and when they resented the insult, these monsters in human shape would assail their characters by lying, and perjuries, with a multitude of desperate men to help them effect the ruin of those whom they had insulted, and all this to enable them to keep these corrupt practices from the view of the world…. No falsehood too great and no perjury too darying, in order to conceal these heaven-daring abuses of mankind…
Brigham and his brethren of the Twelve (with the exception of Apostle William Smith who also rejected the spiritual wife heresy) knew that if Rigdon were to preside over the church, those who had embraced the spiritual wife doctrine would be forced to repent and give it up or be cast out of the Church.
Nauvoo Stake President William Marks was one of the noble brethren that rejected the principle and believed it to be a false doctrine.
He testified in 1853 that Smith came to have doubts about polygamy before his death:
“When the doctrine of polygamy was introduced into the church as a principle of exaltation, I took a decided stand against it; which stand rendered me quite unpopular with many of the leading ones of the church…
Joseph, however, became convinced before his death that he had done wrong; for about three weeks prior to his death, I met him one morning in the street, and he said to me, “Bro. Marks, we are a ruined people.”
I asked, how so?
He said, “this doctrine of polygamy, or Spiritual-wife system, that has been taught and practiced among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow. I have been deceived,’ he said, ” in reference to its practice; it is wrong, it is a curse to mankind, and we shall have to leave the United States soon, unless it can be put down and its practice stopped in the church..
Now Brother Marks, you have not received this doctrine, and I want you to go into the high council, and I will have charges preferred against all who practice this doctrine; and I want you to try them by the laws of the Church, and cut them off, it they will not repent, and cease the practice of this doctrine…
I will go into the stand and preach against it with all my might, and in this way, we may rid the Church of this damnable heresy.” (Zion’s Harbinger and Baneemy’s Organ, Vol. 3 (July 1853), pp. 52-53)
During the succession crisis when Sidney was in the process of being rejected by the majority of the church through the law of common consent he made several statements that did not endear him to the Saints. Among other things he said;
“he had known for some years that Joseph had not been led by the spirit of God [and gave this] as the reason why he did not attend with him as his counselor”
As mentioned previously in this article, the spokesman from Judah vexed the Seer from Joseph while the Seer from Joseph envied the Spokesman from Judah… the two had grown apart. The reason they grew appart is explained in the atonement statute, the sins of Israel began falling upon Joseph shortly after the failure of the Saints to live consecration and redeem Zion. They did not begin to fall upon Sidney until after the martyrdom, so naturally the two of them became estranged.
Sidney shared the belief that others had been more bold about stating, namely, that Joseph’s eyes had been covered. He felt that Joseph had not been led by the Lord for quite some time.
This is quite an indictment upon both the church membership and Brother Joseph our beloved prophet of the last dispensation.
Let us remember Sidney’s statement about why he had been silenced and then lets hold the Spokesmans feet to the fire and see if there are any other prophets throughout history that will stand by the ominous declarations that Sidney made.
As mentioned before, at the April Conference two months prior to the martyrdom Sidney was quoted as saying;
“Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.”
After the martyrdom he said;
“he had known for some years that Joseph had not been led by the spirit of God [and gave this] as the reason why he did not attend with him as his counselor”
Clearly, according to his own words, the apostasy of the restored Church contributed to Sidney’s silence. Notice his statements again:
“Elder Sidney Rigdon then rose and said It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction I enjoy this privilege this morning Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years.
It can hardly be expected that when the violence of sickness has used its influence and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me that I can rise before this congregation only in weakness I am now come forth from a bed of sickness and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character.
I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history during life I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me I shall do the best I can and the greatest can do no more.” History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints By Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Henry Roberts
Rigdon felt that his reputation and general visage in the eyes of the world had been distorted and marred by the acusations made about him.. sadly, after he became officially rejected and cast out by the Church, the sins of Israel would fall upon him and he would become perceived by Mormons and Non Mormons alike as a deluded religious fanatic, a would be usurper and a portrait of religious excess.
Of course, if Rigdon was correct about Joseph not being led by the Spirit for a long time, this would explain why the teachings and actions of the Church membership changed so radically after 1836 when the Saints failed to establish Zion at the appointed time, defiled the Temple and had to flee Kirtland.
The contrast between the first six years of the church and the last 8 years of the church is pretty glaring.
Prior to September 11th 1836 The major focus of the Church was on the gifts of the spirit, the law of consecration and laboring for the redemption of Zion. After that period of time, the Church put their faith in money by trying to establish a banking system.
Prior to the appointed time, leaders of the Church preached against secret organizations, in fact the Book of Mormon had become known as the anti-Masonic Bible. Yet after the defilement of the Temple, leaders of the Church organized a secret organization called the Danites built on the foundation of secret oaths and penalties and began encouraging it’s members to participate in Masonry.
The Church established four Masonic lodges during the Nauvoo years when they were supposed to be putting all of their efforts and resources into financing the publication of the inspired version of the Bible and the building of the temple and the Nauvoo House.
Prior to the defilement of the Kirtland Temple, the Church taught and lived the higher law of monogamy as specified and required in the higher law of consecration contained in section 42 and reiterated in section 49. The Book of Mormon had also been thought of as the anti-polygamy bible as well since it takes such a hard line against it.
After the failure to establish Zion and the defilement of the Kirtland Temple, the insidious practice of spiritual wifery infected the leading quorums of the Church.
Praise the Lord God for men like Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, William Smith, William Law and others who knew unsound doctrine, perversion and abomination when they saw it.
According to Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith contracted a whoring spirit and had not been led of the Lord for many years.
Again, that is quite and indictment. Brother Sidney was declaring that the Church had been in a darkened state of apostasy for some time leading up to Nauvoo.
It is a serious things for someone to accuse Joseph Smith, the Seer of the Lord, of transgression.
I would suggest that we call upon the prophets to prove or disprove the claims of Sidney Rigdon. We know that all of the great prophets looked upon the events of the restoration movement and prophesied about it. Lets see if the prophecies of the prophets prove or disprove the claims of Sidney Rigdon
Lets take a few minutes and see if Brother Sidney has the endorsement of any of the prophets and apostles in the Bible and the Book of Mormon that prophesied about the LDS Restoration Movement.
Was Sidney Rigdon correct when he declared that Joseph and the Church had not been led by the spirit and was in apostasy?
Who stands with God’s Spokesman in this issue?
If indeed all of the ancient prophets had prophesied about the latter day Saint restoration movement surely they would either prove of disprove the accusation of Sidney Rigdon. Let’s check to see if any of them can validate the claims of God’s Spokesman Sidney Rigdon-
Daniel observed that the horn would prevail against the latter day Saints UNTIL the ancient of Days returns:
“I Beheld and the same horn made war with the Saints and prevailed against them Until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was given to the saints of the most High and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” Dan 7:21-22
That prophecy from Daniel is hard to refute. The Saints were to be overcome sometime before the Ancient of Days returns to the earth, and they would not possess the kingdom until that time. The D&C tells us that the Saints were given the kingdom, yet Daniel verifies that the Saints would be overcome and not possess the kingdom again until the return of the Ancient of Days. The prophet Daniel appears to stand with Brother Sidney on this issue.
The following promise in the D&C confirms the prophecy of Daniel. The Kingdoms of the world began overcoming the Church back in 1834;
“But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
And by hearkening to observe 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 under my feet, and the earth is given unto the possess it forever and ever.
But inasmuch as they akeep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.”
Jeremiah notes that prior to the final restoration in the 3rd watch, the Saints will “defile” the promised land because of their “detestable” and “abominable” things and because they put their trust in the arm of flesh.
Therefore the Lord will “reject” them and “cast” the Saints out of the promised land and they will inherit “parched places” in a “salt land” not “inhabited” where they will have a false sense of security claiming “temple of the Lord, temple of the Lord, Temple of the Lord”.
Modern Revelation provides a 2nd witness that the Saints were practicing “abominations” in Nauvoo and that they would be “rejected” if they did not repent. All of this leads up to the day of “Jacobs Trouble” he will not leave the Saints “unpunished” in the day when he “makes an end of all nations”
The Prophet Jeremiah stands by the Lords Spokesman Sidney Rigdon.
Ezekiel Prophesied about the same things that Daniel and Jeremiah did. The Latter day Saints become polluted after the manner of their fathers (the children of Israel) they commit “whoredom and abomination” and are polluted in their gifts.
All of this leads them into spiritual and temporal bondage. When the 3rd watch comes God will needs to deal with the “false shepherds” and God people will need to finally be led out of with a “mighty hand” and a “stretched out arm”… yet, modern revelation confirms the words of Jeremiah that the Moses-Pharaoh scenario must be repeated in the latter days. Stretched out arm (D&C) strangely enough, the latter day descendant of pharaoh who oppresses the latter day children of Israel well be established in the promised land and be referred to as the “honorable President Elect”.
The Prophet Ezekial stands with Gods Spokesman Sidney Rigdon.
Isaiah see the same things that Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Sidney saw.
We have the words of Daniel, Jeremiah Ezekiel and Isaiah that all seem to be congruent with what Sidney Rigdon was saying… but what about Hosea?
Hosea Perhaps one of the most cryptically profound things that Sidney uttered was that Joseph had “contracted a whoring spirit”.
Remember, Sidney was a walking bible. When he spoke he would often paraphrase or use similar phrases as the the ancient prophets.
The words he uttered were carefully chosen. Go to the LDS word cruncher and punch in those two words “whoring spirit” and it will lead you to two references.. one of them is found in the book of Hosea.
“My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the bspirit of whoredom hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God… therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.. for the spirit of whoredom is in the midst of them” (Hosea 4:12)
This is the perfect description of what was happening in Nauvoo. A lustful spirit of whoredom overcame the Saints as they entered into adulterous relationships.
As hard as it is to believe that latter day Israel could become so corrupted after having been given so much light, they had done exactly what the ancient children of Israel had done. How can this happen? The answer is in this same chapter:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt beno priest to me; seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children“
Hosea provides one of the more clear and concise commentaries on the Latter day Saints. I strongly urge you to read the 13 chapters of Hosea. We don’t have the time to spend anymore time on it other than to share this little tidbit;
““They have set up kings, but not by me…. For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples...” That pretty much says it all.
Hosea, just like all of the others notes that in the 3rd watch, a remnant of the Saints will “acknowledge their offence” when the trumpet sounds against those who have “transgressed my covenant and trespassed against my law”
The entire Book of Hosea is a commentary on the Nauvoo era of the restoration movement. It is absolutely heart breaking to compare the LDS history with the commentary in Hosea. .sso and so shacked up with Hydes wife while he was on his mission. Elder Smith, another leader who rejected the spiritual wife made the following observations…
I realize that Brother Sidneys accusations against brother Joseph are very offensive. However, we have documented from the biblical profile of the Davidic Servant and from the Atonement Statute why and how it all happened.
The Spokesman from the loins of Judah was right when he declared that the Church had not been led by the Spirit for a long time.. and he is in good company with the likes of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah Hosea.
I have provided similar witnesses from the Book of Mormon, the New Testament and the D&C in other articles and posts.
We have addressed the two reasons that Sidney gave for being silenced, poor health and his feeling that Joseph and the Church had not been led by the spirit for a long time.
Obviously, in light of the prophecies we reviewed pertaining to the Davidic Servant PROFILE and the ATONEMENT STATUTE, it all makes perfect sense. The sins of apostate latter day Israel had fallen upon Joseph, preparing him to offer up a blood sacrifice for sin.
As part of the sin that was placed upon Joseph, it appears that another more specific reason that Sidney was silenced in fulfilling his role as the Scapegoat is because Joseph overstepped his bounds and began fulfilling the role of the Scapegoat himself. Notice the very clear warning the Lord gives regarding his limitation put on his :
“Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice aseer will I braise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the cknowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do anone other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto aMoses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to bdeliver my cpeople, O house of Israel.Of course the Book of Mormon defines a Seer as a prophet, revelator and translator. The prophecy give us context.. the other major role was that of the Spokesman.. Joseph was to be the Seer, not the Spokesman.”
During the first six years leading up the Kirtland Temple dedication Sidney was clearly the Spokesman. Shortly after that things began to change.. Joseph began to be more comfortable speaking and giving gospel orations.. as he began doing this, Sidney’s role began to fade.
Here is another similar admonition in the D&C;
“And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.” D&C 5: 4
There is not revelation ever given after this restriction was put on Joseph wherein God commanded Joseph to begin acting as the Spokesman..
It is not clear whether Joseph began doing more public expounding of the scriptures because Sidney began to fade from his calling or if Joseph simply began taking the opportunities previously extended to Sidney
|Four Obscure Historical Documents
“the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.”
August 8th 1844 was the pivotal day in history on which the succession issue was settled. For an interesting expose by Van Wagoner on why he thinks the transformation of Brigham Young into the image of Joseph Smith is a myth, click here.
To me it is not an issue, the Lord gave the law pertaining to priesthood succession in section 43 and other places an not of the succession laws that he gave state that the anointed person becomes transformed into the likeness of someone else.
According to Van Wagoner;
“Several sets of minutes of the afternoon meeting, each in the hand of a different scribe, make it clear that they saw no mystical occurrence during that gathering. Furthermore, virtually all retrospective accounts mention that Young was “transfigured” when he began to speak after Rigdon had spoken.
Rigdon only addressed the congregation in the morning session, he did not speak in the afternoon. While minutes of the morning gathering do exist, in stenographer Thomas Bullock’s shorthand, they have never been transcribed. By order of the current LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles they remain unavailable “for public scrutiny.” Nevertheless, several other accounts of the morning’s events survive.”
It is almost incomprehensible that people in high places would try to suppress the Thomas Bullocks account of the morning session wherein Sidney Rigdon spoke to the Saints and declared himself to the the Lords spokesman and successor to the Prophet Joseph Smith. I fully believe that people will be held accountable for such acts.
I have in my possession what is purported to be hand copied copies of the un-transcribed notes taken by Thomas Bullocks in the pitman shorthand.
I have decided to make them public, to my knowledge, for the first time in history.
At this time, I want to provide a graphic of part of this document that has been suppressed for approximately 166 years.
I question what right anyone has to deprive me or the rest of the world of the opportunity to know what God’s Spokesman had to say in a public meeting on that most important occasion!
I believe the notes taken by Thomas Bullock rightfully belong to the entire Church and to the entire world. It is a travesty that they have been suppressed.
What kind of a message does it send when the brethren feel a need to hide and suppress historical documents that reveal the facts about important religious events?
It is heart breaking to me that the words of Sidney Rigdon continue to be silenced even after his death and don’t appear to have any importance to those in high places, or even worse they may feel the content would be a threat. It is also disconcerting that those in high places would feel a need to protect me from the facts… and to prevent me from making my own determinations.
We have all been given the agency and power of discernment to determine what we want to believe, so why cover up historical documents?
I am now making a portion of it available to public scrutiny.
Anyone that has the ability to transcribe these documents and provide them to me to post in this article is welcome to the rest of the notes.
You may be wondering, what is the purpose of releasing this document since it cannot be read by the average person?
1- I am hoping that by making it public, that it will find it’s way into the hands of someone capable of transcribing it. I am hoping that my readers will think of anyone they may know, that may know someone who can transcribe this document.
Perhaps you know someone that works with historical documents or publishers, etc. If necessary, I am hoping that this article will become viral in order to get this transcribed..
If you are a professional Pitman transcriber please provide me with a bid. I may be able to raise the funds for your services. The following graphic contains approximately 1/3 of the document in questions. I will provide the rest of the document to anyone able to transcribe it for the use of the general public.
2- Secondly, I believe that there is a very real, specific, definable power associated with written documents, regardless of whether they can be read and understood or not.
By making this document public, I am sending a statement into the universe. Symbolically this represents the fact that brother Sidney is not going to remain silent. His voice will be heard again.
Sidney, can you hear me? There is a remnant that cares about what you have to say. Your voice is important, it needs to be heard. It is going to be heard! I realize you will be back very soon and that your voice will be heard upon the mountains again, this gesture simply represents my desire and the desire of others to hear the voice of Gods Spokesman.
Click here to see larger view
Having released a document having to do with what God’s Spokesman had to say just before he was rejected by the voice of the Church, I now want to share with you segments of another document that has been obscured for many years.
We often hear about how Sidney did not act in his calling during the last few years of the Nauvoo era while Joseph was alive but you might be surprised to realize that Sidney was the principal speaker at the April Conference held on the 6, 7, 8 and 9th in 1844 just two months prior to the martyrdom.
According to Van Wagoner, “The Clayton and Bullock reports of the Conference were amalgamated and began to appear serially in the Times and Seasons, commencing with the May 1st Issue, which was prior to the Prophet’s death. However, before all of Rigdon’s discourse was published, the Prophet was murdered, and the Succession problelm between Rigdon and the Twelve developed, which resulted in the remiainder of Rigdon’s remarkes at the Conference being deleted from the published account of the minutes.“
In Sidney’s remarks during several days on which the conference convened he acknowledged that-
“it was with no ordinary feelings he arose to speak- a privilege which he had not before enjoyed in the same capacity for five years..“
He began recounting various events in the early years of the Church and acknowledged that;
“Had we told openly and talked openly of the things of God that he and will come to pass our blood would have been shed. We should not have been here this day. But we hid ourselves up in secret. There we talked, wept, and prayed and the Angels administered unto us and the Spirit of God was with us and the heavens opened unto us.
But we should now be in our grave had we proclaimed unto the world what God showed unto us; notwithstanding it was for the benefit of man, and for his salvation, and not for evil….Have I not seen God’s glory by the visions of Heaven? Yea, I have…. those were the beginning of good days- shut up in a little shop with nothing to eat but a little jonny cake and mild and water, only as we would occasionally shoot a squirrel and we lived in an old smokey house.
Still we rejoiced in the things God was revealing unto us….I have seen the time when the Presidency of the Church sitting now before me, were locked up with them in secret practices waiting upon God.
We did not go out at all but to eat and etc. But it was soon found out, and a mob came saying God damn you to hell, and threatened our lives. It was at this time that we sat for hours in the Visions of heaven abound the throne of God and gazed upon the scenes of Eternity.
One evening a Mexican called upon us and he went out armed to see a dozen armed men in the corner of the fence. He wanted to shoot them. Afterwards the mob came in and broke the door, took me and dragged me out through the streets by my heels and with my head pounding over the frozen ground.
Another company took President Smith, and tarr and feathered him. They tried to turn aquiphertos down our throats. This is the reason why we were in secret under lock and key.
Now if you will let us work openly we will not work in secret. We will work openly as much as you want. I think I have said enough already to show that the Church has come up through great tribulation. Let this suffice then upon this subject.
There is men standing in your midst who are not afraid of men or devils and men whose mouths cannot be stopped unless you take their lives. For they will speak in defense of the innocent of virtue and truth while they live.
there is men in your midst who have learned there is a great God who can do as He pleases- He can take up the hills as a little things, and such men do not fear death. they know about heaven. They have seen it and know all about it.
There is men in your midst which you must sustain or go to Hell.
Save them and you save yourselves.
Reject them and you go to Hell..
You have just men in your midst…”.
Those are pretty sobering words.
Later in Rigdon’s sermon he makes some very curious statements in light is the fact that he was currently running for the Vice Presidency of the United States and he probably had at least some degree of understanding pertaining to his priesthood right through the loins of Judah to eventually rule on the throne of Israel;
“God teaches his servants to respects kings, Governors, Presidents and men in authority,
But I have a right to proclaim myself a King and a Priest unto the Most High God.
Yet I will not transgress your laws….
I don’t want any office in this government,
for I am determined to be a King in the Kingdom of God.
What, be a King in Heaven and quarrel about the office of constable on Earth?
Rigdon then gives the great key in identifying where the Kingdom of God is… namely that it is with those who hold the power over death, plagues, sickness and miracles;
“Then one of the main things in the Kingdom of God is to let a man know what to do, what glory kingdom and power he can gain. Man is taught a principle so that when it enters the mind if has the power over death, plagues, sickness. The gift of miracles, this is one great evidence of the work the power of God. This then is the Kingdom of God“
Rigdon then points out that all religions that have anything less than the power over life and death and miracles can only bring hurt instead of doing good;
“All religions then that there is in the world that has not these tings, has a tendency to do hurt instead of doing good, for it teaches those things are done away.“
Hence, if a religion looses the fulness of the priesthood and is left with the preparatory priesthood administering the preparatory gospel it becomes a cursing to the people rather than a blessing. it can only bring forth hurt instead of good.
Rigdon went on to warn that God would;
“take all kingdoms of the world out of the way- He would break in pieces and subdue and He would teach the kings and all powers the way that they may have a chance. There is no power anywhere else unto Salvation.”
Rigdon then came back to the subject of miracles and the power of the holy ghost and proved thru the scriptures that if the Church is not experiencing prophecy dreams and healings it does not have the authority to save;
“The doctrine Peter taught was different from sectarians. His doctrine was repent and be Baptized and you shall received the Holy Ghost. Take a view of this subject. Look at the spirit of promise. View the congregation on that day . They were strangers not having a knowledge of Salvation.
They were strangers to the power of God and did not know that Jesus Christ was crucified and all they knew about it was what Peter told them on the day of Pentecost, 14 verse of 2 ch. of Acts.
The only knowledge they had about the Holy Spirit was what Peter taught them by quoting the prophet Joel 37 verse. Now mark this, Peter had defined the spirit of God of the fruits of it be prophecy, dreams, visions, revelations, and etc.
Yes this is the spirit of God the spirit of Prophecy, dreams, visions, heal the sick, and all the great things, and I will in the last days pour out my spirit upon all flesh. This is the definition oft he Spirit. All were called to be baptized without any exceptions, villains, Harlots, scoundrels and all.”
He then gives a very clear explanation of the fruits of the Spirit when the fulness of the Gospel is on the earth;
“I will now sum up the testimony. What is a man to preach when they go out? Tell the people to repent, quit their iniquity , be Baptized and you shall received the Holy Ghost, dream dreams, see visions, and prophecy and it they don’t tell them this, they preach another gospel“
There you have it. From the mouth of God’s Spokesman two months before the martyrdom and his excommunication, he is clearly the principal speaker at the April Conference warning that any church that does not have the gifts of the spirit, dreams, visions, prophesying, miracles, does not have the power to save.
Any group teaching that such things are not required in the church is preaching another gospel.
It is truly sad that the above remarks have become obscure and not easily available to Latter day Saints.. and sad that the remainder of his remarks were not made available in print as a result of the succession issue that broke out while the Times and Seasons was in the process of publishing periodic segments of the conference talks.
Now that we have produced the un-transcribed minutes of the August 8th 1844 Morning Session oration of the Spokesman as a sign and token of the un-silencing of Sidney Rigdon and we have provided some of the incredible words he spoke as the primary speaker in the April 1844 Conference, let us now look at some of the amazing things that transpired in this Church Trial.
The next document I want to address sheds an amazing amount of light on the succession issue.
It is the transcript of the Trail of Sidney Rigdon.
Like the Bullock document, it had been unavailable “for public scrutiny by order of those in high places for four generations.
It is my understanding that several years ago a Mormon Fundamentalist and his helpers were able to sneak a copy of this document out of the Church Historical Library. They now sell this and a host of other obscure documents for those with enquiring minds.
I thought it would be valuable for people to be aware of some of the surface issues that were discussed at the trial that people in high places don’t want people to know about.
Again, as mentioned earlier, the real issue was the Spiritual Wife Doctrine, but since the the twelve could not make that the main issue publicly, they needed to challenge his right to preside over the Church and/or they needed to find a reason to cut him off for transgression.
Of course the Quorum of the Twelve according to revelation and according to the mandate of the Prophet Joseph Smith, were not allowed to preside or officiate in Zion without special permission from the First Presidency. Their calling was to be a traveling missionary quorum.
They therefore conspired with other local leaders to hold the court even though the twelve were really dictating what was taking place.
There are several fascinating things you need to know about the trial and excommunication of Sidney Rigdon. The first is that when they sent notice to him that a trial was being held he notified them that he was not well… they decided to proceed anyway in his absence leaving him without the opportunity to defend himself. Rigdon was tried in absentia.
Secondly, most of the charges brought up by the Twelve were either the same ones that had been made when he had been tried previously by Joseph Smith. Some were from even earlier times.
Although the members of the High Council trying brother Sidney were almost unanimous in their desire to thrust him out of the Church, there was a red herring that took Brigham and his fellows by surprise. It came in the form of William Marks, one of the most noble and well respected leaders of the Church. He was the Stake President of Nauvoo. When previous charges were brought up Brother Marks made the following comment;
“Now I think if Brother Rigdon was restored at that time [referring to the previous council that Joseph Smith had held against Rigdon during the previous fall] we ought not to go beyond the conference to fetch up charges today; but there are charges fetched up for years back.
It is known that he was restored to full faith and fellowship last fall. I have heard Brother Joseph say repeatedly since that time, that all things was right between them. Just before Elder Rigdon left here I heard Brother Joseph say that all things were right between them.
Sister Emma had a good many feelings against Elder Rigdon, but they are all done away. She has said within a few months, and in fact within one week that she was on as good terms with Elder Rigdon as she had ever been since be was a member of the church.“
Feeling a little frustrated and desperate realizing that there was an advocate of Sidney Rigdon’s in the proceedings, another charge was that Rigdon had claimed to have had revelations in Pittsburg just prior to his return to Nauvoo.
Several of Rigdon’s accusers claimed that his revelations were from the Devil. They asserted that the Quorum of the Twelve had authority to lead the Church without being under the direction of the First Presidency. There contention was that the Church could function just fine without a First Presidency.
Again President Marks boldly responded;
“..as to his revelations being from the Devil, I am sure I don’t know whether they are from God or the Devil.
The Twelve and High Council both know my mind differs from theirs respecting the organization. I had always been taught that the First Presidency would remain and always be with the Church.
I had always understood that the Church would be imperfect without a quorum of three to stand as a First Presidency, and I cannot find any law to say that this quorum should ever be dropped (D&C 107:2- 22 65-66)
I LAID MY HANDS ON BROTHER SIDNEY WITH BROTHER JOSEPH AND HE ORDAINED HIM TO BE A “PROPHET SEER AND REVELATOR” AND BE EQUAL WITH HIM IN HOLDING THE KEYS AND AUTHORITY OF THIS KINGDOM (D&C 90:6)
This testimony by Marks was actually nothing new to anyone. The revelation making Rigdon a Prophet Seer and Revelation was a matter of public record. Furthermore, Joseph Smith had the following annoucement published in the …. for all to see.
After testifying that he participated in the ordination wherein Sidney was ordained a prophet seer and revelation, Marks then tackled the questions of transgression;
I have known for two years, and according to my understanding he has not lost it through transgression. I still feel that he is a member of the quorum of the First Presidency, and I always expected that the quorum would be filled up the same as at the commencement.
I always felt that there was a power and responsibility in that quorum which did not exist anywhere else. I will read an extract from the 84th section of the book of Doctrine and Covenants:
“Verily I say unto you, the Keys of this Kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come: nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another” (D&C 90:3-4)
This is what I ever supposed would be the case that through him the oracles should be given to another who should be Prophet, and a Seer and Revelator, and through him to the Church.
I have always felt since last special conference (when the twelve took control of the church) that the order was not according to this pattern.. .
I always supposed that one would receive the oracles from Joseph and give them to the Church. Now brethren, I have served diligently to get at the right of the matter, and I know I am honest and wish to know how it should be. I will read another extract from the Doctrine and Covenants, which you will find on the ninety-sixth page.
I never supposed that this quorum (the quorum of the 1st Presidency) could be disorganized while there was one or two left. I have ever felt that Elder Rigdon sustains his authority;
I never believed he has lost it through transgression; I believe he is the man to receive the oracles from Brother Joseph and give them to the Church (D&C 90:3-6) all I want is to have the thing right, and when I believe it is right, I am as ready to confess it as any other man. (He then read several extracts from D&C 102:9-11);
“The president of the church, who is also the president of the council is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged in his administration by the voice of the church and it is according to the dignity of his office that he should preside over the council of the church and it is his privilege to be assisted by two other presidents, appointed after the same manner that he himself was appointed.
And in case of the absence of one or both of those who are appointed to assist him, he has power to preside over the council without an assistant; and in case he himself is absent, the other presidents have power to preside in his stead, both or either of them (D&C 102:9-11)
When this organization is broken up there is a quorum broken up which is of great power and authority, and I always thought it ought to have been continued. The church has always supposed that the Twelve were to bear the gospel to all the world (107:23,33), and when they are absent, who will preside over the church? (D&C 126:1-3)
We know that it is necessary for individuals to preside over the whole Church, now, we are losing this office and power and authority, but I feel as though we don’t want to lose anything.
I feel that we ought to keep up the organization, if it is right to do so. When Elder Rigdon first came from Pittsburgh he said it was his place to receive the oracles, but there was a delicacy in Brother Rigdon in presenting his claims to the people; he supposed there would have been some individual who would have taken up the case.
It appears from what has been stated this morning, that questions have been put which seems to bring a contradiction. If Elder Rigdon has done anything worth of being severed from the Church, I feel to go with the church, and to be satisfied with what they do.
I don’t know that I can see anything worthy of cutting him off at the present time. Probably I am prejudiced in his favor; if it is wrong I hope the brethren will forgive me. When I have set with the High Council I have always tried to divest my self of prejudice.
President Marks then brings up a very important principal in church administration that had been overlooked. The D&C tells us that when a High Priest is being tried, six men on the high council should be appointed to make sure that the accused is being treated fairly;
” I am willing that the high Council and church should act on this case, if they think best. I felt as though there was a great many men here who were saying hard things against him and nobody to speak a word for him, and I have volunteered to say a few words in his defense.
I have had a conversation with Elder Rigdon and I cannot find that he has committed a crime. The Church has never cut off any person without a crime was proven against him.
Now is there a man in the Church who has received the ordination of a Prophet, Seer and Revelator? if there is I want to see him. There has been ordained Prophets, Priests and Kings, but I have never heard of anyone being ordained a Seer and Revelator.
I think I am knowing to all the ordinations, but I don’t know of a man who has been ordained to the office and calling Brother Sidney has; and if he is cut off, who will we have to obtain revelations?”
The pressure on William Marks must have been horrendous. He knew that those conspiring against Rigdon had made up their minds to sever Rigdon from the Church before the trial was even convened.. their minds were made up, yet Marks was standing up among all of these strong personalities and challenging them.
He was providing a testimony that he was personally aware of every man living that had been ordained a prophet seer and revelator and he says he knows for a fact that Sidney Rigdon is the only man living in the Church that holds those keys!
If Brigham Young or anyone else in the room disagreed with that statement, that was the time to set things right yet they all sat silent. What Marks says next is a priceless tid bit of information relating to the priesthood and church government.
He points out that if they cut Rigdon off, the Church can never have a legitimate First Presidency because THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE DON’T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ORDAIN SOMEONE A PROPHET SEER AND REVELATOR!
“A man must be in possession of this power to be able to ordain a Prophet, and a Seer and a Revelator. If there is a man ordained to lead this people, [other than Sidney Rigdon] I do not know it.
I don’t believe there are sufficient revelations given to lead this people, and I am fully of the belief that this people cannot build up the kingdom except it is done by revelation.”
Little did Marks realize it but he was setting the foundation of his own excommunication. His unwillingness to accept the spiritual wife doctrine and his refusal to ultimately submit the the authority of the quorum of the Twelve would result in him being cut off from the Lords Church.
What a sobering time in Church history! On August 8th 1844 the voice of the people had rejected Sidney Rigdon as the presiding president of the Church. Now exactly one month later on September 8th 1844 Rigdon was severed from the membership of the very church he had presided over in concert with the prophet Joseph Smith.
Parley Pratt acknowledged that the “salvation of the church was on the line“. This observation was quite profound, the consequences of the action they were about to take had much more to do with the future of the church than the membership of one man.
The Church had rejected Sidney Rigdon as the presiding president of the Church via the law of common consent. They had the opportunity to follow a living “Oracle” or choose to be ruled by “Kings” the way ancient Israel was ruled. Now …the outcome of that trial would determine if Gods Spokesman from the loins of Judah was to be cast out from among them.
Joseph Smith had been the type and shadow of Moses. Hyrum had been typological to Aaron. Sidney will be typological to Joshua when he returns in the 3rd watch. Brigham Young was a very strong personality who was a great organizer colonizer, religious reformer and leader.
He is charactorized in Leviticus 16 as a “fit man”. Some feel that Brother Brigham might be typological to Hezekiah or one of the other kings of Judah or Israel.
During the succession debate Brigham Young assured the church that Joseph would have no successor and assured them that the twelve apostles would stand at the head and lead the Church as a quorum, but three and half years later, he reversed his position; and by the vote of man was elected to be their First President;
“I was unanimously elected President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints with authority to nominate my two counselors, which I did by appointing Heber C Kimball my first counselor and Willard Richards my second Counselor, and the appointments were unanimously sustained.” (HC vol 7 pg 287 & 7:24)
To his credit, Brigham Young never claimed to be a prophet seer and revelator nor did he claimed to be the legal successor of Joseph Smith;
“A person was mentioned to-day who did not believe that Brigham Young was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. I wish to ask every member of this whole community, if they ever heard him profess to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as Joseph Smith was?…Who ordained me to be First President of this Church on earth? I answer, It is the choice of this people, and that is sufficient.” “The brethren testify that Brother Brigham is Brother Joseph’s legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 320)
Some of these issues will probably be arising again very shortly. Keep in mind that as I pointed out earlier in this article, the real underlying issue of the succession controversy was over the spiritual wife doctrine, it didn’t have to do with authority or transgression on the part of Ridgon, Brigham Young and the Twelve realized that if they didn’t cut Rigdon off, they would have needed to stop practicing adultry or been cut off themselves.
Had Rigdon embraced the spiritual wife doctrine there is a good chance the quorum of the Twelve would have been happy to continue working under his direction.
Nevertheless, the sensitive issue of the spiritual wife doctrine was still being covered up by those who were secretly practicing it so the twelve and those conspiring with them needed to create a reason to get Rigdon out of the way. While they did mildly challenge his authority, the strongest argument they had of excommunicating him was to show that he was a transgressor… The ultimate finding of the court was that …
Having reviewed the profound testimony of Stake President William Marks at the trial of Sidney Rigdon, we can look back at the fateful day that the Spokesman from the loins of Judah was on the stand declaring his priesthood right.
A fit man, jumped on the stand and wrested the kingdom away under the law of common consent which enabled the Saints to cast their voices for something else.
Essentially the following question was asked by Brigham Young;
Would you rather be led by a prophet-spokesman or by a guardian?
“We are 14 years of age now. Ch[o]use your guardeen and when you get to be 21 then do business for youselves. You can save yourselves or Damn yourselves.”
As brother Sidney sat in his chair, with his face buried in his hands in disbelief, one can only wonder what he was thinking.. and what the Lord was thinking..
The words of the Lord to the Prophet Samuel come to mind;
“Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
I now want to share a few excerpts from a fascinating unpublished revelation that has been lost and forgotten simply because virtually everyone in Nauvoo at the time of the succession issue rejected it. I doubt there are 1000 people in the Church today that have heard of it.
It was purportedly received on April 7 1841, several years before the martyrdom. It appeared in the “Messenger and Advocate” and also was copied from that publication into the May 10th edition of “The Prophet”. The instructions given to Joseph and those with him when it was recieved were to keep it secret and make it public at the death of Joseph.
The revelation was to be kept in John C. Bennetts safe-keeping until the death of Joseph Smith.
There are several reasons why the revelation never gained any traction; one is that Bennett was not seen as a credible source by most members of the church by the time of the martyrdom, secondly the wording in it was extremely odd and quite different from previous revelations. Words such as Imperial Primate, Triumvirate, viceroys, executive dominion, halcyon order, and illuminati are sprinkled throughout.
The wording is clearly talking about a KINGDOM coming forth.
Lastly, it states that Sidney Rigdon was the rightful successor to the prophet Joseph Smith. That, of course was not a popular belief for those hoping to maintain their station among Gods people.
I am not hoping you will believe it is true nor am I announcing that I have accepted it to be true. I am simply allowing others the agency to read it and judge for themselves if they think it is true… I feel it is worth mentioning because
a) it has some remarkable prophecies and doctrines that need to be examined in light of the 20/20 hindsight that comes four generations later.
b) it played a role in church history. There is reason to believe that Rigdon, if only for a short period of time may have believed it.
Here are a few of the remarkable things contained in this enigma:
1-Joseph Smith is to be a Great King and Imperial Primate over all Israel
2-One of them (speaking of Sidney and Hyrum) shall survive Joseph and shall be as Joseph unto my people
3-As the “key of doctrine” has been given unto Joseph so shall the key of “conquest” be given to Sidney and the great “key of the father” shall be given to Hyrum.
4-“..seal up this revelation and preserve it while Joseph yet pure and sacred and at his decease thou shalt give it to him who may be appointed to receive it..”
5-“My people will reject their prophet and refuse council, they will follow rulers that will usurp authority for filthy lucre’s sake”
6-“The apostasy shall be great and shall be ruled by 12 horns pushing them to destruction”
7-eventually “many of the apostasy shall return to God and he who holdeth the Key of Conquest shall prevail”
8-“The remnant of my people who follow not that leader (Key of Conquest” shall be cut off from the true fold’
9-The True Church shall be gathered to a delightsome city and afterwards many shall will go unto the land that I will tell them of by my servants the prophets in that day.. a land flowing with milk and honey
10-Emma shall be great, for she holdeth records and a great key of knowledge that the apostasy know not of.
11-“The glory of Zion doth not yet appear, for the kingdom that shall be set up shall be dissolved, and the kingdom holding the new keys shall prevail
12-“My servant the prophet, holding the key of conquest, shall consummate all these things, and all who will not hearken to the voice of that king shall be cut off from amongst the people”
I will be posting this revelation on a website since it is nowhere to be found at the present time. I will be providing the link HERE
In closing, let me remind you that the folly of the Gentiles has begun to manifest itself and the time is soon at hand when God will set his hand again, a second time to recover his people.
“…the Savior said, when those tribulations should take place, it should be committed to a man, who should be a witness over the whole world, the keys of knowledge, power, and revelations, should be revealed to a witness who should hold the testimony to the world;”