The Savior in Kirtland
By Karl Anderson
Book Review and Critique by OWIW
OneWhoIsWatching [at] gmail.com
In part two of this series I discussed, among other things, the fact that the “man of sin” prophecy from 2nd Thes. was literally fulfilled at the special conference at the Morley Farm when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored for the first time.
Also mentioned was Karl’s research showing that at least 22 leaders of the LDS restoration movement saw or heard the voice of Christ.
In that post I also passionately disagree with Karl about the fact that there is a very important distinction between a real-time personal visitation and communication with Christ vs. an instructive vision showing Christ in a past or future event.
I also suggest that when the church is fully organized, only high priests have the heavens opened and see the Father and the Son. Such an event requires that the person is transfigured to prevent them from being destroyed by the glory of God.
Interestingly, other people can be in the presence of a transfigured person and not see the heavens open. Conversely, it appears that some people present in the Kirtland Temple saw angels while others did not.
Now we shall continue with the observations:
8- No Eye Witnesses of Christ During the Dedication
Perhaps one of the most shocking admissions given by Karl Anderson in the book is this one:
“It is generally assumed that the Savior appeared during the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, but no eyewitness accounts can be verified. One possible reference to an appearance of the Savior comes from a family tradition that cannot be documented with certainty. Two other references to the Savior’s appearance exist, but they are also problematic”
To fully comprehend and appreciate why this is such an incredible acknowledgement for Karl to make, lets review what the saints were expecting to happen in the solemn assembly.
First of all, Joseph Smith had promised the saints that all of the pure in heart would see Christ!
Joseph promised the newly called quorum of 12 apostles that “ALL who are prepared and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Saviour will see him in the solemn assembly. (Pg. 225)
“all who are pure will see Christ… in solemn assembly” (Pg. 242)
Similar statements to other saints are documented in the book (pages 129, 139, and 141.)
Hence, the saints went to the temple that day fully expecting hundreds of people to see Christ!
Secondly, the saints were fully expecting the temple to be personally accepted by either the Father or the Son during that dedicatory solemn assembly. Within the dedicatory prayer itself this hope was articulated:
“..And now we ask thee, Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of thy bosom, in whose name alone salvation can be administered to the children of men, we ask thee, O Lord, to accept of this house”
Next, it was anticipated that a pentecostal experience similar to the one in the New Testament would result in Gods anointed servants being sealed with the endowment of power from on high so that they could go forth in POWER. Just as Peter and John went forth after their endowment of power after the day of Pentecost and started preaching with power and performing miracles, this very same things had been promised to the saints.
This is what they were expecting!
Joel had prophesied about the last great solemn assembly and acknowledged that the last great solemn assembly would “sanctify the congregation“. An obvious allusion to the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
Joel further identifies the last great solemn assembly as the time when the bridegroom goes forth out of his chamber and the bride comes forth out of her closet.
Section 38 had promised that the time would come “when men are endowed with power from on high and sent forth, all these things shall be gathered unto the bosom of the church.”
This endowment was to begin the last great gathering in power.
Section 95 had promised the same thing:
“Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow 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.”
Few people realize that prior to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the High Priests that had been “called and chosen” by the Lord, had met in the Temple to receive their anointing. They were then instructed that their anointing would be sealed with power from on high when they were endowed with power, in the temple.
Again, let us look at verbiage directly from the dedicatory prayer to confirm this:
“Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high.
Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon those on the day of Pentecost; let the gift of tongues be poured out upon thy people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof.
And let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory.
Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant, that when they go out and proclaim thy word they may seal up the law, and prepare the hearts of thy saints for all those judgments thou art about to send, in thy wrath, upon the inhabitants of the earth, because of their transgressions, that thy people may not faint in the day of trouble.”
Clearly, the promise was that those who had previously been ordained, called, chosen and anointed, were to have their anointing sealed with power from on high so that the last great gathering could commence in power.
This gathering, according to modern revelation would give God’s servants so much power, that no hand could prevent the work from going forth. (see section 1:5)
This endowment with power was to usher in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times and begin the Marvelous Work.
To summarize, here is what the saints came to the Solemn Assembly expecting to happen:
- Hundreds of People to See Christ
- The Father or the Son to Appear and Accept the Temple
- The Anointed High Priests to get ENDOWMENT of POWER
- The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times Ushered in
- The Marvelous Work to Begin with Ancient Records Coming Forth
- God’s spirit to be poured out-Many to receive the baptism of Fire
With this contextual understanding, Karl’s confession that no credible documentation existed of anyone even seeing Christ is absolutely paramount.
I have so much respect for Karl Anderson for making the declaration that he did.
Granted, he didn’t explain why his statement was so profoundly significant, but nevertheless, he published the statement for the world to see.
Anyone who cares enough to do their homework about the purpose and importance of the solemn assembly and associated anticipation having to do with the completion of the temple and the dedicatory service, can find out for themselves why Karl’s observation is so earth shattering.
Or can they?
On page 249 Karl Anderson makes the following observation:
“The Kirtland Temple endowment was central to the Lord’s purpose for bringing His Saints to Kirtland.
Understanding varies, however, regarding what the Lord meant when He promised such a blessing.”
It appears to me that Karl is suggesting that LDS general authorities and scholars cannot agree on what the promised blessing was that people were anticipating when they entered into the Solemn Assembly.
Karl then states:
The one thing historians seem to agree on is that the Kirtland endowment included a great spiritual outpouring- Pentecost.” (Pg 249)
I find the following statement astounding and revealing.
After decades of studying the history of the Kirtland era and the Kirtland Temple, Anderson does not appear to have a strong opinion of what the Kirtland Temple endowment was. Furthermore, he alludes to the fact that LDS general authorities and historians can’t seem to agree on what it was.
Curiously, Anderson doesn’t reference what the official stance of the church is on this most important topic, because the church does not have one.
Apparently, according to Karl, there are no general authorities or presidents of the church that have definitively and authoritatively declared what it was.
Much of the foundational understanding of the Utah Saints comes from the doctrinal instructions they received from Brigham Young and his associates. Young, who was a participant in many of the Kirtland meetings and in fact who had actually spoken in tongues in the Kirtland Temple was as confused on the issue as anyone.
Since Brigham admittedly had never been chosen and ordained as a High Priest and had never received the preparatory anointing on the 21st of January, let alone, the endowment of power on March 27th, he could not speak with clarity or authority on what it was.
Interestingly, a footnote on page 142 alludes to the possibility that the preliminary holy anointing, is to see the Father and the Son.
The prophetic significance of the Holy “Anointing” is alluded to in the dedicatory prayer (and by Daniel and Isaiah)
“O Jehovah, have mercy upon this people, and as all men sin forgive the transgressions of thy people, and let them be blotted out forever.
35 Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high.
36 Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon those on the day of Pentecost; let the gift of tongues be poured out upon thy people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof.
37 And let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory.
38 Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant, that when they go out and proclaim thy word they may seal up the law, and prepare the hearts of thy saints for all those judgments thou art about to send, in thy wrath, upon the inhabitants of the earth, because of their transgressions, that thy people may not faint in the day of trouble.
39 And whatsoever city thy servants shall enter, and the people of that city receive their testimony, let thy peace and thy salvation be upon that city; that they may gather out of that city the righteous, that they may come forth to Zion, or to her stakes, the places of thine appointment, with songs of everlasting joy;
40 And until this be accomplished, let not thy judgments fall upon that city.
41 And whatsoever city thy servants shall enter, and the people of that city receive not the testimony of thy servants, and thy servants warn them to save themselves from this untoward generation, let it be upon that city according to that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of thy prophets.” (section 109 see also Dan 9:24 & Isa 10:27 )
Members of the church that don’t understand the doctrine of the 3rd watch probably assume that the prophecy above simply wasn’t fulfilled.
Sadly they don’t understand that it is still going to be fulfilled!!!
Those servants that got their anointing in the Kirtland Temple (that remained faithful) will still return, receive their endowment of power in the final solemn assembly and gather out the elect.
It appears from research I have done that the holy anointing that took in the Kirtland Temple on January 21st, (and possibly alluding to the event that took place behind the veil on April 3rd) had been the fulfillment of one of Daniels prophecies:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, 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.”
One of the great mysteries revealed by the Prophet Joel is that there was to be a preliminary solemn assembies that would prepare and anoint God’s servants and portend that “the great day of the Lord is at hand” (Compare Joel 1:14-15 with Section 110:16 “The great and dreadful day of the Lord is near“)
Interestingly, religious historian and apologist for the Community of Christ, (previously RLDS Church), Richard Price, has made a similar admission about the solemn assembly held in the Kirtland Temple:
“Christ told the Saints in the early Church, that He would appear to them in Kirtland Temple if they would qualify. Joseph Smith wrote,
‘You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build an house of God, and establish a school for the prophets. This is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience he has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with His own presence. We greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor, which our Master proposes to confer on us; we are seeking for humility and great faith lest we be ashamed in His presence (Church History 1:271).’
They were ashamed, for they never qualified, and Christ could not come in person to Kirtland Temple to appear to them. They did not develop the spirituality which would enable the Lord to bestow the endowment upon them, so the Lord could not bring Zion to the Church and the world at that time. For over a hundred years now we have had to wait for the time when the Saints would become righteous enough again so the Lord could bring them into His presence.
When the Lord comes to give the endowment and start moving the Church into Zion, I believe that Christ shall first appear in Kirtland Temple. That is why Kirtland Temple was built and preserved. It is a sacred, holy place; and one to which we should look for the beginning of Zion.” (Ref)
As you can see from the above statement, Richard Price also appears to believe that the prophesied endowment in the Kirtland Temple will yet take place at a future time, in the Kirtland Temple.
It is really quite exciting that remnants of people from different factions of the restoration movement are finally beginning to agree on the fact that the early Kirtland years did not result in the fulness going forth, rather, these events were laying a foundation for a future work.
I am not suggesting that there were not any spiritual manifestations in the Kirtland Temple.
I believe there were.
Clearly, the angel Peter appeared and accepted the temple.
Other lesser spiritual phenomena was reported by seemingly credible witnesses.
However, it appears that the Utah church history greatly embellishes what really took place and the major manifestations that were promised and expected did not happen.
Christ did not appear in that solemn assembly.
The baptism of fire did not take place,
the endowment of power was not bestowed upon the High Priests that were called, chosen and anointed.
Indeed, many of the saints left the dedication greatly disappointed.
Here is the testimony of Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer who was in attendance that day:
“The great heavenly ‘visitation,’ which was alleged to have taken place in the temple at Kirtland, was a grand fizzle. The elders were assembled on the appointed day, which was promised would be a veritable day of Pentecost, but there was no visitation. No Peter, James and John; no Moses and Elias, put in an appearance. ‘I was in my seat on that occasion,’ says Mr. Whitmer, ‘and I know that the story sensationally circulated, and which is now on the records of the Utah Mormons as an actual happening, was nothing but a trumped up yarn…”
Apostle William McLellin who was in attendance that day was about as impressed as David Whitmer was;
“As to the endowment in Kirtland, I state positively, it was no endowment from God. Not only myself was not endowed but no other man of the five hundred who was present—except it was with wine!”
9- Peter Accepts the Temple?
Clearly it was expected that Christ would personally accept the temple at the solemn assembly of the dedicatory pray and clearly that did not happen.
Most people that have dabbled in LDS church history are familiar with the fact that an angel was seen by some that entered into the temple during the solemn assembly. This angle sat between Frederick G. Williams and Joseph Smith Sr.
That story is commonly told however, we are normally left to wonder who the angel was and what he was doing in the Temple.
One of the juicy tidbits that Karl provides for us in his book is who the angel was and what he was doing.
On page 239 we are given the following information “a heavenly messenger who Joseph Smith said was Peter and who had ‘come to accept the dedication‘ was seen entering the temple and sat between Frederick G Williams and Joseph Smith Sr.”
This amazing truth makes perfect sense to me because in previous blog posts I have suggested that the Melchizedek Priesthood that had been restored at the Morley Farm had been lost by the time the temple was finished and the solemn assembly and dedicatory prayer took place.
As we shall see as we continue in this series, the Lord did a dispensational bait and switch on the condemned church. Although they were expecting the dispensation of the Fulness of Times to be ushered in at the dedication solemn assembly, the Lord came in secret, seven days later, and ushered in the ancient dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham.
It only makes sense, therefore, that it was the patriarchal/evangelical priesthood that had been restored through Peter James and John that was presiding over the Kirtland Temple dedication and that Peter would be the one to accept the Kirtland Temple.
Had the Melchizedek Priesthood been presiding and the endowment of power from on high administered to God’s High Priest/Apostles, the assembly would probably have taken place in the upper chamber of the temple, rather than the lower chamber:
“And let the lower part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for your sacrament offering, and for your preaching, and your fasting, and your praying, and the offering up of your most holy desires unto me, saith your Lord.
And let the higher part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for the school of mine apostles, saith Son Ahman; or, in other words, Alphus; or, in other words, Omegus; even Jesus Christ your Lord. Amen.” (Section 95:16-17)
It is no coincidence that the condemned church held few if any meetings in the upper court of the temple.
10- The restoration of an ancient Dispensation
Karl does a great job of showing that the Old Testament ordinance of anointing with oil was restored in the Kirtland Temple. I would add to that the historical evidence that Joseph Smith also restored the Old Testament ordinance of animal sacrifice.
This is a touchy subject that few LDS authors want to address.
Anderson is no exception.
Those two rituals of anointing and animal sacrifice were apparently done under the authority and direction of the Evangelical or Patriarchal priesthood that had been restored by Peter James and John!
Isaiah saw the events of the Kirtland temple which I have previously blogged about.
Here is the testimony of Wandle Mace regarding the restoring and actuating of temple sacrifices in the Kirtland Temple.
Wandle Mace suggested in his journal that animal sacrifices were actually performed in the Kirtland Temple:
“The Quorum of the Twelve had been filled, but of the number selected one–Willard Richards–was in England and Joseph was instructing those present of that Quorum how they must proceed to prepare themselves, that they might ordain Willard Richards to the Apostleship when they should reach that country. Joseph told them to go to Kirtland and cleanse and purify a certain room in the temple, that they must kill a lamb and offer a sacrifice unto the Lord which should prepare them to ordain Willard Richard a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Sidney made some remarks, when Joseph spoke with great power and spirit, said he, ‘I know the law’. To a remark made by Heber C. Kimball he said, ‘It will be the sweetest smelling savor you ever smelled.’ [Journal of Wandle Mace, typescript, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, pg. 32.]
I would suggest that needing to do an animal sacrifice in order to ordain an apostle, is certainly not consistent with the fulness of priesthood authority.
Clearly, the condemned church had slide back to a lesser priesthood protocol, even an ancient one.
Not only does the above quote verify that the Kirtland temple had to do with the ancient Evangelical-Patriarchal priesthood and the dispensation of Abraham, it also supports another hidden truth.
Some of the members of he quorum of the Twelve were not High Priests and they were not endowed with the holy anointing. They were not even in the running for what the High Priests were hoping for at that time.
The ministry they were sent on to foreign lands shortly after the defiling of the Kirtland Temple was not the final one spoken of about the 3rd watch during the Marvelous Work. They did not go forth in POWER with FULNESS of POWER.
Notice that members of the quorum of the 12 would be ordaining their fellow apostle, not Joseph or Sidney and notice that the priesthood that they would be ordaining him with was associated with animal sacrifice!
They were functioning under the Abrahamic evangelical/patriarchal priesthood that had been handed down by the fathers, not by the Melchizedek priesthood that the High Priests had been given via the voice of God from the heavens.
Notice this subtle reference that would be made regarding the quorum of the 12 after the Kirtland Temple period, in section 112:
“For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
31 Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;
32 For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you.
33 Verily I say unto you, behold how great is your calling. Cleanse your hearts and your garments, lest the blood of this generation be required at your hands.
34 Be faithful until I come, for I come quickly; and my reward is with me to recompense every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.”
Clearly, the priesthood dispensation that the 12 apostles were functioning under as they took their ministry to foreign lands was the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham that had been handed down through the fathers! It was the evangelical priesthood that was restored by Peter and James and John having to do with the keys of the gospel of Abraham that were given to Joseph and Oliver in the Kirtland Temple!!!!
In our next and final post on this series we will briefly touch on the historical events having to do with how the “called” high priests became “chosen” and “anointed” prior to the solemn assembly, and some other interesting historicity brought to light by brother Anderson.