Saturday, November 25, 2017


I am grateful for what transpired Wednesday.

A passage from the original "Governing Principles" draft comes to mind when contemplating the Lord's acknowledgement given on Wednesday:

"If led by the Spirit, one may be led to share an experience, but it should not be used as a trump card to compel agreement; rather, inspiration by way of dream, vision, messenger, or His Spirit should be shared and judged by what is found in scripture, that we may remember not only to say, but also to do what was given us by God. Persuasion rather than domination is necessary to bring harmony between us [D&C 47]."

Although some may not have felt comfortable adopting this portion of the original draft statement, it may nonetheless be true. And it may be that pointing to the answer the Lord gave to this group and using it to compel others to get in line is less than helpful. It may even prove counterproductive to repairing the damage we have inflicted on one another and to bringing about unity of heart. Perhaps it could instead be enough to encourage and allow each person to carefully and prayerfully ponder the situation. Concerns others have wrestled with may not always be what is portrayed "for the sake of argument."

For example, it is possible a person might struggle with what has most recently been composed not because she or he reject any of the words of the Lord included in it but because of words the Lord specifically gave for inclusion in the statement which have instead been rejected as unsuitable. Should this inability to accept those words also be considered as "rejecting Him"?

Another way to put it: could it be somewhat hypocritical when we triumphantly celebrate the words of confirmation given by the Lord to this group of seven through a once-obscure woman while simultaneously refusing to celebrate or even acknowledge the words given by the voice of the Lord (not mere impressions) precisely for inclusion in the first GP document? (one of which quotes turns out, in fact, to have been given through the channel of David, the other of which was given through an obscure-at-the-time man)

Anything obtained by the voice of the Lord should be celebrated.

I am personally grateful for the careful, thoughtful work of those elected by lot to work on composing a document, who willingly labored under the set of constraints the majority of the body of believers were able to agree on. They have been dilligent and faithful to the comission given them.

I am also grateful that despite the initial ambiguity, in the end, the agreed list of rules did not limit this group to using only words from the Answer and Covenant (A&C) itself. There was much more that needed to be included in order for it to be "kind" and for us to be "charitible".

I believe that lots are and were a perfectly acceptable way to allow the Lord to manifest His will in a selection.

I'm thankful that, despite our collective procedural miss where we ought to have asked in advance whether David would be willing to take the draft product of this group to the Lord (prior to any vote of the body), the group of seven/eight instead humbly approached the Lord themselves in faith (and with the united faith of many others, myself included), not attempting to rely on David.

And I am personally persuaded that the Lord has, in fact, acknowledged (in words given through a "mere" woman, as well as witnesses of others) that the results of the work of this group of eight are "enough".

I believe it is evidence of His patience with us and His mercy that He is willing to accept this offering despite our collective inability to unite on a statement without first excluding pearls He initially gave us, we preferring instead to limit ourselves only to what had been given in the past and not being willing to accept anything more that hadn't already been overtly and demonstrably given by the Lord through His servant, David.

If it is enough for the Lord even with this deficiency, it is enough for me. The Lord is clearly more interested in our unity of heart at this point--that we become precious to one another.

Having said this, I do not believe that this in any way suggests that the first effort was not similarly "enough", since the Lord already clearly stated in the A&C that this should-have-been-small effort could have been complete (by virtue of being accepted) long before any covenant was offered. The words suggested it was the condition of our hearts that was at fault.

Either way, in the end, whatever is put forward must still be adopted by the voice of the people. It may yet remain more a matter of our hearts than of document revisions, although the words certainly matter. And will we continue to hold to "super-unanimity" as the meaning of the Lord's requirement for agreement?

I pray we can move on from this "small thing." But at the same time, I wonder how this precedent (should it to now be adopted) will affect us--our inability to receive the Lord's word he may choose to impart by any other men, women, or children than His servant, David. How important a principle does the Lord consider that for the establishment of Zion?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Unrecognized Gifts

From Standing Aside:

It was easy for Joseph to make himself indispensable. It was tempting to do so. But he and the saints would have been better off had he refused to shoulder responsibilities that belonged to others. There are incidents along the way that can be identified as moments when Joseph could have seen a pattern emerging. One example was in November 1831 when a conference was convened to approve publication of the Book of Commandments. The book would need a preface. A committee was assigned to draft the preface.
'[William] McLellin said that he, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery had been given the assignment to write the preface to the Book of Commandments, but when they presented their draft to the conference, the ‘Conference picked it all to pieces’ and requested that J[oseph] S[mith] petition the Lord for a preface. After J[oseph] S[mith] and the elders bowed in prayer, JS, who was ‘sitting by a window,’ dictated the preface ‘by the Spirit,’ while Rigdon served as scribe.”(Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Vol. 2: July 1831-January 1833, p. 104.) He then dictated what has become D&C Section 1. 
What if Joseph had refused? What if he told them God had a revelation, but the committee should receive it? What if Joseph insisted others perform their duties, rather than relieving them of their responsibility? Had he declined in November 1831, would the talk given in May 1842 have been necessary?
... Joseph handicapped the saints by taking too much of their responsibility on himself. The saints refused to let him alone and required him to be their answer-man. The best thing Joseph could have done would have been to keep riding when he crossed the Mississippi River with Hyrum. He should have headed to the Rocky Mountains. He didn’t. The saints continued to depend on him. When he died, they were unable to call down a revelation for themselves. No one proposed to solve succession by revelation.

So here, the assignment had been given to a committee--legitimately. And the saints "picked [their result] all to pieces." We apparently don't have that draft any more.

Suppose for a moment, however, that they had, in their labors, sought revelation from heaven, and suppose in response to their earnest labors, Heaven had then given one or more revelations. (i.e., quotable words from the Lord) Would the saints have valued those words? Would they have even recognized and believed them as having come from the Lord? (They were clearly very critical of whatever was produced, even though Oliver had actually received revelation from the Lord for His church before.) Or, would the saints have even asked the Lord in the first place if they were His words before assuming they had been faked? Might they have set it aside because some were unable to perceive their origin? Or because some believed them not of God? Then perhaps reverting to only being willing to consider words already given through Joseph, because they couldn't agree that a purported revelation was from heaven or that it included the literal words of the Lord?

Well, whatever the case in this situation, we know that they ultimately demanded a replacement through Joseph, and he obliged.

A Bible, A Bible

But what if Joseph had instead refused to produce it, would they have reverted to limiting themselves to only previously accepted words of the Lord, not anything newly received through the labors of another, because no one could agree that the Lord had spoken or could speak through another? (LE Alma 32:23) Is this something we Gentiles have ever been prone to do? (LE 2 Nephi 29:3)

Public Review & Comment

It's also an interesting thought exercise to consider what might have happened had the situation been different for a separate committee tasked with authoring a document for inclusion in the scriptures. A document which repentant Gentiles now universally accept as scripture. What if the initial draft version of the "Doctrine" half of the D&C (i.e., "the Lectures on Faith") produced by the committee of Sydney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Frederick Williams had been made available to the saints for six months prior to adoption by vote in 1835? Would the saints have balked at its wordiness? Or questioned the new ideas included which didn't seem to be apparent in their reading of existing scripture? Or which were not readily ascribable to Joseph? Or would they have deemed it inadmissible as scripture when they asked and found out Joseph wasn't the sole author of it even though he was fully involved? (LDS scholars almost universally now agree Sydney was the main author and used this excuse to partially justify the LDS Church's removal of it from their scriptures without any vote of the Church) Or might others have come forward claiming they instead had been given the assignment by God and therefore the appointed committee should yield to them? Or required that it should all be summarized to a single page? Or only four pages?

All hypothetical, of course, since it was never put forward for review by all the saints in advance of the vote.

Labor to Obtain

From What's Wrong:

As I reflected further on this email and my response I thought of Oliver Cowdery’s effort to translate the Book of Mormon. The Holy Ghost does not relieve us of great effort, but instead equips us to obtain truth as the yield from our effort. 
Joseph Smith proved the pattern true. He investigated all the religions. He attended their meetings, spoke with the ministers, and paid attention to their claims. He could not determine the truth. Then he “labored” over the scriptures. “At length” he finally decided to do as James asks and prayed. His prayer was answered because he did the preliminary work, the required study, and put in the necessary labor. 
For three decades I studied and taught the scriptures. Each week between 10 and 40 hours were invested as I prepared to teach a 50 minute class. I labored, the scriptures yielded to study, and I learned more and more about God. The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead found in Section 138 was likewise obtained by study and prayer.
The scriptures are a Urim and Thummim designed to provoke revelation. You cannot divorce the process of getting revelation from necessary scripture study. God made no such thing known to Laman, Lemuel or us when we do not search the scriptures and invest our heart and mind in learning His ways.

It is apparent that significant labor should be expected to be involved before the Lord might grant His words by revelation. How much labor might be expected? A few hours of discussion in a committee meeting? A few hours of individual preparation? Perhaps a fast, too? Or what if it really did require days, weeks, months, or even years of careful study, review, and re-review of what the Lord had given them, both very recently through Joseph and over the millennia via scripture? Can someone seeking the Lord's guidance demonstrate the sincerity of their seeking and asking in any other way? Can a small group assembled, even if by lot, expect to obtain a revelation without having first labored?

Learning from or Repeating Earlier Mistakes in Our Day

And how could these principles be any different in our day, were this same sort of situation to repeat? What if such a committee were to be formed and similarly tasked (even if just initially one person) and then that committee were to proceed prayerfully, earnestly, and with great labor over long days, weeks, and months, carefully reviewing all that the Lord has recently given, in particular, not missing direction given that is specific to this new dispensing of truth but not otherwise in our scriptures or the Lord's recent revelation? What if the not-insignificant labors of such a committee were to then actually be deemed by heaven worthy of granting some further light and knowledge through the Lord's words? And what if that committee were to then faithfully complete the assignment, both correctly transmitting the key direction from the Lord for this new dispensation previously given, while also valuing the additional revelation just given as a result of those labors? Would the rest of the saints today (the body or assembly) recognize the results? Would they be able to recognize the word of the Lord newly given by heaven in recognition of those labors? Or might they be prone to repeat the same "pick[ing] all to pieces" that the saints did in Joseph's day? Not recognizing His voice? Would they even find it within themselves to ask Heaven if the proposed draft were pleasing to the Lord? Or ask if the words claimed from the Lord were actually His?

Treasuring the Lord's Words

Over the past almost two years, those who have had "desires to serve" were called to the work of recovering the Lord's words as precisely and accurately as possible in the JST Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the original, unaltered revelations given through Joseph, attempting to undo the neglect and damage of the LDS Church over the last 173 years. This "scriptures committee" has demonstrated to the Lord their great love for His words and their determination to treasure them up by recovering them and not abandoning them. And He has deemed the results of that labor to be pleasing to Him.

So again, what if such a modern committee tasked with writing a replacement for D&C 20 were to actually succeed in obtaining the word of the Lord? How would we value those words given to the committee? Would we treasure them in the same way the "scriptures committee" has valued what they have worked with?

What if, instead, we were to deem those words given as unacceptable, require rewrites, and then also to determine those words given by the Lord were inadmissible for inclusion into those re-write attempts? What would that demonstrate about how we value a gift from the Lord obtained only through our labors? Would it be reasonable to expect that, in the economy of heaven, the Lord would reveal His same words a second time? Would setting it aside and deeming it unworthy of our careful preservation and heed say anything about our hearts? Or about what we treasure? Why would we treasure one set of gifts from the Lord (the RE scriptures) and deem another (what was initially given the committee of one from the Lord) to be dross?

Similarly, if the body were to make a seventh attempt to fulfill the original assignment, having once again "pick[ed] to pieces" the previous five progressively more creative re-write attempts, why would one start with the assumption that nothing but the actual words of the Lord to His people from the only direct revelation to His people given since Joseph be permitted as part of that statement? (i.e., from the "Answer") Why not any of the other critical light and truth unique to and specific to this new dispensation given through, for example, a year-long series of talks, whose content was directly given by the Lord and which content would be critical to make available to new-comers, which would be available in no straightforward way otherwise? If this one new revelation (the "Answer") is that paramount and singular in summarizing everything given before (which it does not), why not simply refer believers to read it rather than trying to summarize it and exclude other key direction given by Heaven? And why would the Lord require a "guide" to be agreed to and added?

The Document or the Hearts?

But setting aside the question of whether we could be throwing away a gift from the Giver of gifts in our zeal for re-writing:

In the "Answer", why would the Lord indicate that the assignment given could have been accomplished long before the covenant was offered if it required the work to be done only after the covenant was accepted? Why would He avoid discussing the correctness or error of the contents of the one draft voted and overwhelmingly accepted by His people but rather focus numerous times on our hearts not being right? Would it suggest that yet another (a sixth at the time) attempt to draft something was required? Or could His intent and concern been more on our hearts being softened toward His words already given and toward one another? What if the initial attempt were to have been acceptable to Him all along and it was merely our own proud hearts that needed changing? To learn something? What if the exercise were not to successively produce seven or more drafts in various old and new ways but rather to become as He is, slow to anger, unwilling to falsely accuse, patient to understand, willing to assume the best in others, kind in words, and kind in disagreement, rather than our LDS cultural training in the barely-veiled unkindness of passive aggression?

If that were the case, how successful could we expect yet another committee--selected this time by lot--to be in writing yet another document? Without a change of heart, are we any more likely to universally and unanimously be willing to accept whatever is produced? Without it, is there any less likelihood that some will protest wording or ideas they find unacceptable, even if received through a servant only willing to proclaim precisely what the Lord has directed, when effectively the same document re-authoring process has already been traversed five times? (i.e., open invitation to all to participate and help, prayerful, thoughtful work by those "who have [had] desires" and were therefore called to the work, and never having been limited to starting with a previous draft)

Portions Given

And if we continue to exclude the possibility of using words that may have already been given by the Lord in the first draft, are we demonstrating any better our willingness to both accept additional gifts from the Lord and value them? Will this be necessary for future citizens of a New Jerusalem? (Heb. 8:11) Or should they expect the Lord to only ever speak to them words through a single person, leaving the body susceptible to the same single point of failure the saints happily adopted in Joseph Smith's day? How better could the Lord test our willingness and readiness to receive more from Him than by giving and then observing the response to the gift? (LE Alma 12:10)

"For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in Him who is the Giver of the gift." (LE D&C 88:33)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

As They Suppose

Behold, there are many Called, 
 but few are Chosen. 
And why are they not Chosen?

Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, 
 and aspire to the honors of men, 
That they do not learn this one lesson—
 that the rights of the priesthood 
 are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven, 
and that the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled 
    only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, 
 it is true; 
but when we undertake 
 to cover our sins, 
 or to gratify our pride, 
 our vain [excessively prideful] ambition [desire for achievement], 
 or to exercise control 
 or dominion 
 or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, 
 in any degree of unrighteousness, 
Behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; 
 the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; 
And when it is withdrawn, 
 Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.1
Behold, ere he is aware, 
 he is left unto himself [disconnected from heaven], 
 to kick against the pricks, 
 to persecute the saints, 2
 and to fight against God.
We have learned by sad experience 
 that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, 
 as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, 
 they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are Called, 
 but few are Chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained 
 by virtue [quality] of the priesthood, 
 by persuasion, 3
 by long-suffering, 
 by gentleness and meekness [submission of our will to the Lord's], 
 and by love unfeigned;
 By kindness, 
 and pure knowledge, 
Which shall greatly enlarge the soul 
 without hypocrisy, 
 and without guile [cunning & deceitfulness]—
Reproving betimes [in short time] with sharpness [clarity], 
 when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; 
and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love 4
 toward him whom thou hast reproved, 
 lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness 
 is stronger than the cords of death.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, 
 and to the household of faith, 
 and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; 5
then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; 
 and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul 
 as the dews from heaven.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, 
 and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; 
 and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, 
 and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee 
 forever and ever.

1 What, then, causes someone who has a little authority "as they suppose" (they don't really have it, you see), to attempt to use that pretense to control and dominate others? The answer is contained in revelations already in print. It is their pride, their insecurities, the need to control, to be praised and celebrated, the need to gratify their vain ambition. These are character flaws. They cover up these flaws by claiming to have priestly authority from God

2 The caution in Section 121 about abuse is directed in whole at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other things, it is warning the LDS Church not to persecute the Lord's Saints, and thereby fight against God. It has been traditionally interpreted by the LDS Church to the complete contrary. The LDS teaching turns the warning on its ear, and reads it to mean that you shouldn't fight against the LDS Church! The warning, however, is addressed to the Church and warning it to exercise caution, least they find themselves fighting against the Lord's Saints, and thereby in turn fighting against the Lord. Read it carefully. It is not a caution to you or me, but a caution to the LDS Church itself. It means that there may be Saints of God who are at times at odds with, or critical of the LDS Church. When that happens, the LDS Church is warned to refrain from persecuting them, or else they may find themselves fighting against God. It is an unnoticed warning because the traditional interpretation is used to give the LDS Church protection against criticism.

3 It is always best to "control" as little as possible and to interfere with development of separate ideas as little as necessary. This is true of government, and it is true of rearing children [after you have instructed them in the foundational truths], as well. It is also true of churches, civic organizations and any cooperative human endeavor. Cooperation through persuasion, meekness, kindness, pure knowledge and love unfeigned works, whenever it is tried.

4 Most of the stuff we concern ourselves with is meaningless and time wasting. What matters are the principles and ordinances of the Gospel; and more important still, the underlying charity or pure love of Christ. Everything is attempting to get you to love your fellow man. Not in the sappy sentimental way we associate with "loving" someone. Because sometimes the most charitable thing you can do is rebuke someone, as we see from Nephi. Sometimes a sharp word comes from being moved upon by the Holy Ghost. But in the end the person rebuked should still feel they are loved and the reason for the rebuke was the concern held for them.

5 We should guard our thoughts as we guard the lives of our children. Our thoughts hold the key to everything else.

This is so important a matter that the Lord tied knowledge of priesthood itself to the thoughts we entertain in the privacy of our minds. Only when our thoughts are worthy are we able to bear the presence of God.

You should let your thoughts be such that you will be confident in His presence.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Celebrating the Cursing of the Lord

It is a terrible irony that one state of our union (the dominantly LDS one) has created a public holiday that celebrates the "cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments" that we brought upon our heads when driven out of Nauvoo. We adore, idolize, and extol those of our ancestors who failed to do as the Lord commanded and were thus rejected "as a Church" and lost the chance for Zion in their generation.

But it is a whole other thing we have moved to when it has become commonplace for LDS youth to re-enact and celebrate that cursing by "feeling what it was like" to experience the wrath of God. It's called "pioneer trek" or just "trek." Our LDS Church even has online guides on how to accurately and "safely" recreate the experience of living through the indignation of God. There have even been those who have died or almost died as part of recreating these intentionally strenuous "activities." It is not uncommon to see heat stroke or third-degree burns with participants.

If it seemed it couldn't go further, yesterday in our mail we received an advertising flyer from a prominent LDS Church-owned retail outlet that takes things to a new level: this cursing re-enactment has become so popular among LDSs, that there are now those who are fully engaged in profiting off our propensity for foolishness. Utterly remarkable.

In contrast to our Gentile folly, for the equivalent among the Jews, I can find no ancient or modern example where they have celebrated their failure at the time of Moses and their 40 years in the wilderness. I know of nowhere that they attempt to "recreate" that suffering or where they extol their ancestors for having experienced it. That 40 years of suffering is certainly remembered by the Jews, but it sobers them. And they do not use parades, fireworks, concerts, or pageants to recall it.

D&C 84: A Few Notes

(also available in PDF format)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Did the Lord Lie to the Saints in Nauvoo?

On January 19th, 1841, Joseph Smith received the only revelation in our D&C for the Nauvoo time period: section 124. The church had already been forced to flee Ohio and then Missouri due to their failures there (see D&C 101:1-8) and had begun settling Nauvoo, Illinois, in the hopes that they would finally have a safe haven.

The Commandment & Time Frame

The primary direction given in section 124 was to build a temple, where the Lord explicitly commands it for that specific location:
And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar.
    And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers,
and say unto them:
    Come ye, with all your gold,
        and your silver,
        and your precious stones,
        and with all your antiquities;
        and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come,
    and bring the box tree,
        and the fir tree,
        and the pine tree,
        together with all the precious trees of the earth;
and with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc,
    and with all your precious things of the earth;
and Build a house to my name,
    for the Most High to dwell therein. [Is dwelling somewhere different than visiting it?]
The Lord points out the reason for this commandment is that he desires to restore something the church once had for a time but which had been taken away by the Lord:
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 fulness of the priesthood.
He states that the commandment must be completed within a concrete, here-unspecified time frame:
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 your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.

Promises on Failure

He next makes certain negative promises (states penalties) if it is not completed within the predesignated time frame:
And I grant unto you a Sufficient Time to build a house unto me;
        and during This Time your 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.
For verily I say unto you, that after you have had Sufficient Time
        to build a house to me,
                wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth,
                and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world,
        your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;
        for therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained,
                that you may receive honor and glory.
And after This Time,
        your baptisms for the dead,
                by those who are scattered abroad,
        are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
And it shall come to pass that If you build a house unto my name,
        and do not do the things that I say,
    I will not perform the oath which I make unto you,
        neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands
, saith the Lord.
    For instead of blessings,
        ye, by your own works, bring:
            and judgments
        upon your own heads,
            by your follies,
            and by all your abominations,
                which you practice before me, saith the Lord.
I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work,
    unto the third and fourth generation,
    so long as they repent not,
    and hate me, saith the Lord God.

Promises upon Success

Then he promises the blessings He will give if it is completed within the predesignated time frame:
... a house to my name,
    for the Most High to dwell therein.
Therefore, verily I say unto you,
    that your anointings,
    and your washings,
    and your baptisms for the dead,
    and your solemn assemblies,
    and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi,
    and for your oracles [=received revelations, not men] in your most holy places
        wherein you receive conversations,
    and your statutes and judgments,
    for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion,
        and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals,
are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house,
And verily I say unto you:
    Let this house be built unto my name,
        that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people;
    For I deign to reveal unto my church
        things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world,
        things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.
    And I will show unto my servant Joseph
        all things pertaining to this house,
        and the priesthood thereof,
If ye labor with all your might,
    I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.
And If my people will hearken unto 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.
With the consecration, or making holy, of the temple by the Lord, it was always intended that He should fulfill the promise made in D&C 84:5:
For verily this generation shall not all pass away
until a house shall be built unto the Lord
and a cloud shall rest upon it,
which cloud 
shall be even the glory of the Lord,
which shall fill the house

Summary of Consequences

If Completed In TimeIf Not Completed In Time
  • The Lord Himself will come to dwell within it
  • A cloud will both rest upon it (a pillar of fire or smoke, as in the days of Moses when the Lord visited the Tabernacle) and fill its interior
  • The Lord (not His servants in a red brick store) will reveal His ordinances within the Temple, including anointings, washings, baptisms for the dead, solemn assemblies, sacrifices, revelations/oracles, and others never revealed in any dispensation since the foundation of the world
  • The Temple will form the "foundation of Zion," the New Jerusalem
  • The location will be consecrated and made holy
  • The Lord will restore the fullness of the priesthood
  • The Lord's people "shall not be moved out of their place"
  • The promises in the left column will not be fulfilled
  • The church will be rejected by the Lord along with its dead
  • Baptisms for the dead will not be acceptable to the Lord
  • The church will receive cursings from God
  • The church will receive God's wrath
  • The church will experience God's indignation
  • The church will receive the judgments of God
  • They will experience these due to the saints' follies and abominations which they will have practiced before the Lord
  • The church will experience these penalties until the fourth generation

We are never explicitly told the time frame the Lord has in mind here.

One of two things happened, however. Either:
  1. The saints completed the Nauvoo Temple in the time frame the Lord designated, thus receiving the promised blessings in column 1, or
  2. The saints failed to do so, thus experiencing the penalties in column 2.
It should be very possible for you, the reader, to look at our LDS history and ascertain for yourself whether the events that followed represented precisely what the Lord states in the first or second scenario. 

The historical events to consider include: the murder & loss of Joseph & Hyrum, the lack of any contemporary account of the Lord ever coming to the Nauvoo Temple, the lack of any account of a cloud of the Lord in or over the Temple, the expulsion from Nauvoo in the dead of winter and incompletion of it as Zion (the New Jerusalem), the disastrous trek west, Winter Quarters, death and suffering on the plains, starvation after arriving in the Salt Lake valley (boiling leather to soften it for eating), and the eventual complete and utter destruction of the Nauvoo Temple by fire and tornado, there not being "left one stone upon another."

Fire set by arsonists in 1848 gutted the temple, and later a tornado destroyed the rest. Frederick Piercy, a 23-year-old British artist, commented in 1853 on what he saw and drew of the remains of the Nauvoo temple: "On the banks of the river lie broken blocks of stone and shattered bricks, the visitor’s first steps are over evidences of ruin and desolation."

The Only Real Question

But the easiest of all the promises of the Lord to evaluate is the one in red above: whether the Lord's people were "moved out of their place". It is utterly apparent to anyone looking into the matter: of course they were "moved out of their place!" Nauvoo was lost and abandoned and the Temple completely destroyed.

This leads to the inescapable question: Did the Lord lie to the saints in Nauvoo?

Because, as our LDS Church teaches today, we were never rejected as a Church, never cursed, never experienced wrath, indignation, or judgments, the Nauvoo Temple was completed, and all is going fantastic in Zion. And yet the saints, including many of my ancestors, were "moved out of their place" in Nauvoo and suffered exquisitely.

What gives? The answer to this question, according to our LDS Church, is a clear, bold YES! The Lord worshiped by our LDS Church therefore cannot be a god of truth. It teaches that this god did not keep his promise to the saints in Nauvoo, and so we should expect that such a fickle, shifting god may not always be reliable in the future either. (which is why we need a church president/prophet to keep up with our changeable, unreliable god)

The only way it could be otherwise would be if our LDS Church assessment of this were somehow wrong. You might then need to consider what else the scriptures predicted would happen and when four generations could be considered to have passed.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

D&C 84: An Interpretation

Freed from its unjust justified captivity:

A revelation of Jesus Christ
    unto his servant Joseph (Smith Jr)
    and six elders
as they united their hearts
    in lifting their voice on high.
Yea the word of the Lord concerning his church established in the last days,
    for the restoration of his people
    as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets,
    and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion,
        which shall be called the city New Jerusalem,
        which city shall be built beginning at the temple lot
            which is appointed by the finger of the Lord in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri,
            and dedicated by the hand of Joseph (Smith Jr.)
                and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
Verily this is the word of the Lord,
    that the city New Jerusalem shall be built
    by the gathering of the saints beginning at this place,
    even the place of the temple,
        which temple shall be reared in this generation,
        for verily this generation shall not all pass away
            until a house shall be built unto the Lord
            and a cloud shall rest upon it,
                which cloud
                    shall be even the glory of the Lord,
                        which shall fill the house
                and the sons of Moses
                    according to the holy priesthood
                        which he [Moses] received under the hand of his father-in-law Jethro
                        and Jethro received it under the hand of Caleb,
                        and Caleb received it under the hand of Elihu,
                        and Elihu under the hand of Jeremy,
                        and Jeremy under the hand of Gad,
                        and Gad under the hand of Esaias,
                        and Esaias received it under the hand of God;
                            Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham
                                and was blessed of him,
                        which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek,
                            who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah,
                        and from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers,
                        and from Enoch to Abel
                            who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother,
                        who received the priesthood by the commandment of God
                            by the hand of his father Adam
                        who was the first man,
                    which priesthood continueth in the church of God
                        in all generations
                        and is without beginning of days
                        or end of years.
                    and the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron
                        and his seed
                        throughout all their generations,
                        which priesthood also continueth
                            and abideth for ever
                            with the priesthood which is after the Holiest Order of God.
                    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 man in the flesh,
                        for without this no man can see the face of God,
                            even the Father,
                            and live. [because it is while in the flesh]
                        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,
                                which Rest is the fullness of His glory,
                        while in the wilderness.
                        Therefore He took Moses out of their midst
                            and the Holy Priesthood also,
                        and the lesser priesthood continued,
                            which priesthood holdeth the keys of the ministering of angels
                        and the 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 [the Baptist],
                            whom God raised up
                            being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb,
                                for he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood
                                and was ordained by the angel of God
                                    at the time he was eight days old
                                    unto this power:
                                        to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews
                                        and to make strait the way of the Lord
                                            before the face of his people,
                                        to prepare them for the coming of the Lord
                                            in whose hand is given all power.
                    And again, the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages [="something added to a principal or greater thing, though not necessary to it, as a portico to a house"]
                        belonging unto the High Priesthood.
                    And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages
                        belonging to the lesser priesthood,
                        which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons
                Therefore as I said concerning the sons of Moses:
                    for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron
                        shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice
                        in the House of the Lord,
                            which House shall be built unto the Lord
                                in this generation
                                upon the Consecrated Spot as I have appointed,
                    and the sons of Moses and of Aaron
                        shall be filled with the glory of the Lord
                        upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house,
                    whose sons are ye,
                        and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up My church,
                    for whoso is faithful
                        unto the obtaining of these two priesthoods
                            of which I have spoken,
                        and the magnifying their calling,
                    are sanctified by the Spirit
                        unto the renewing of their bodies,
                        that they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron,
                        and the seed of Abraham,
                        and the church and Kingdom and the Elect of God.
                And also ALL they who receive This [now singular] Priesthood
                    receiveth Me, saith the Lord,
                for he that receiveth My Servants [angels, not prophets; see D&C 1:14]
                    receiveth Me,
                and he that receiveth Me
                    receiveth My Father,
                and he that receiveth My Father
                    receiveth My Father's Kingdom,
                therefore all that My Father hath
                    shall be given unto him,
                and this is according to the Oath and the Covenant
                    which belongeth to The Priesthood.
                Therefore all those who receive The Priesthood
                    receiveth this oath and covenant OF [="from or out of"] My Father
                    which He cannot break,
                    neither can it be moved,
                but whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it,
                    and altogether turneth therefrom,
                shall not have forgiveness in this world
                    nor in the world to come.
                And all those that come not unto This Priesthood
                    which ye have received,
                    which I now confirm upon you who are present this day,
                        viz. the twenty-third day of September one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two,
                        eleven high priests, save one,
                    by Mine Own Voice out of the Heavens,
                    and even I have given the Heavenly Host and Mine angels charge concerning you
                    and I now give unto you a commandment
                        to beware concerning yourselves,
                        to give diligent heed to the words of Eternal life,
                    for you shall live by every word
                        that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God,
                    for the word of the Lord is truth,
                        and whatsoever is truth is light,
                        and whatsoever is light is Spirit,
                            even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
                    and the Spirit giveth light
                        to every man that cometh into the world,
                    and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world
                        that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit,
                    and everyone that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit
                        cometh unto God,
                        even the Father,
                    and the Father teacheth him of the covenant
                        which he hath renewed
                        and confirmed upon you,
                    which is confirmed upon you for your sakes,
                        and not for yours only,
                        but for the sake of the whole world.
                    and the whole world lieth in sin
                        and groaneth under darkness
                        and under the bondage of sin,
                    and by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin,
                        because they come not unto Me,
                    for whoso cometh not unto Me
                        is under the bondage of sin,
                    and whoso receiveth not My Voice
                        is not acquainted with My Voice
                        and is not of Me
                    and by this you may know the righteous from the wicked,
                    and that the whole world groaneth under sins and darkness even now
                And your minds in times past have been darkened
                    because of unbelief
                    and because you have treated lightly the things you have received,
                which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation.
                And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion,
                    even all,
                and they shall remain under this condemnation
                    until they repent and remember the new covenant,
                    even the Book of Mormon
                    and the former commandments
                        which I have given them,
                    not only to say, but to do
                        according to that which I have written,
                    that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's Kingdom.
                Otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment
                    to be poured out upon the children of Zion,
                For shall the children of the Kingdom pollute My holy land?
                    Verily, verily I say unto you, Nay.
                Verily, verily I say unto you who now hear My words, which is My voice:
                    Blessed are you inasmuch as you receive these things,
                    for I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment,
                    that you remain steadfast in your minds
                        in solemnity and the spirit of prayer,
                        in bearing testimony to all the world
                            of those things which are communicated unto you.
                    Therefore go ye into all the world,
                    and whatsoever place ye cannot go into ye shall send,
                        that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.
                    And as I said unto Mine apostles even so I say unto you,
                    For you are Mine apostles, [though the 12 were not organized for 3 more years!]
                        even God's high priests,
                    Ye are they whom My Father hath given me,
                        ye are My friends.
                    Therefore as I said unto Mine apostles I say unto you again,
                    that every soul who
                        believeth on your words
                        and are baptized by water for the remission of their sins
                    shall receive the Holy Ghost. [not the gift...]
                    And these signs shall follow them:
                        in My name they shall do many wonderful works,
                        in My name they shall cast out devils,
                        in My name they shall heal the sick,
                        in My name they shall open the eyes of the blind
                            and unstop the ears of the deaf,
                            and the tongue of the dumb shall speak,
                        and if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them,
                        and the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.
                    But a commandment I give unto them [those who believe on the apostles' words]
                        that they shall not boast themselves of these things,
                        neither speak them before the world,
                        for these things are given unto you for your profit
                        and for salvation.
                    Verily, verily I say unto you, He who believeth not on your words,
                        and are not baptized by water in My name
                        for the remission of their sins
                        that they may receive the Holy Ghost,
                    shall be damned and shall not come into My Father's Kingdom
                        where My Father and I am.
                    And this revelation unto you,
                        and commandment,
                    is in force from this very hour upon all the world,
                    and this gospel is unto all who have not received it.
                But verily I say unto all those to whom the Kingdom has been given,
                    From you it must be preached unto them
                        that they shall repent of their former evil works,
                    for they are to be upbraided
                        for their evil hearts of unbelief,
                    and your brethren in Zion
                        for their rebellion against you
                        at the time I sent you.
                And again I say unto you My friends,
                        for from this time forth I shall call you friends,
                    It is expedient that I give unto you this commandment
                        that you become even as My friends in days when I was with them
                        in travelling to preach this gospel in My power,
                    for I suffered them not to have
                        purse [=small money bag]
                        or scrip, [=satchel]
                        neither two coats.
                Behold I send you out
                    to prove the world and the laborer is worthy of his hire,
                    and ANY man that shall go and preach this gospel of the Kingdom
                        and fail not to continue faithful in all things
                    shall not be weary in mind,
                        neither darkened,
                        neither body, limb or joint, and an hair of your heads shall not fall to the ground unnoticed.
                        and they shall not go hungry, neither athirst,
                    therefore take no thought for the morrow,
                        for what ye shall eat,
                        or what ye shall drink,
                        or wherewithal ye shall be clothed,
                    for consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
                        they toil not,
                        neither do they spin,
                    and the kingdoms of this world in all their glory
                        are not arrayed like one of them,
                    for your Father who art in Heaven
                        knoweth that you have need of all these things,
                    therefore let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
                Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say,
                    but treasure up in your minds continually
                        the words of life
                    and it shall be given you in the very hour
                        that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
                Therefore let no man among you
                    (for this commandment is unto all the faithful
                        who are called of God in the church unto the ministry),
                    therefore let no man from this hour take purse or scrip
                    that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the Kingdom.
                Behold I send you out
                    to reprove the world
                        of all their unrighteous deeds
                    and to teach them
                        of a judgment which is to come.
                And whoso receiveth you,
                    there I will be also,
                    for I will go before your face,
                    I will be on your right hand and on your left,
                    and My Spirit shall be in your hearts,
                    and Mine angels round about you to bear you up.
                Whoso receiveth you receiveth me,
                    and the same will feed you
                    and clothe you
                    and give you money.
                And he who feedeth you,
                    or clothes you,
                    or giveth you money,
                shall in no wise lose his reward.
                And he that doeth not these things
                    is not My disciple.
                By this you may know My disciples.
                He that receiveth you not,
                    go away from him alone by yourselves
                    and cleanse your feet,
                        even with water,
                        pure water,
                    whether in heat or in cold,
                and bear testimony of it unto your Father which is in Heaven,
                    and return not again unto that man.
                And in whatsoever village or city ye enter,
                    do likewise.
                Nevertheless search diligently and spare not.
                Wo unto that house,
                        or that village,
                        or city
                    that rejecteth you,
                        or your words,
                        or testimony concerning me.
                Wo I say again unto that house,
                        or that village,
                        or city
                    that rejecteth you or your words,
                        or your testimony of me.
                For I the Almighty have laid My hand upon the nations
                    to scourge them for their wickedness,
                    and plagues shall go forth,
                and it shall not be taken from the earth
                    until I have completed My work
                        which shall be cut short in righteousness,
                    until all shall know me who remain,
                        even from the least to the greatest,
                    and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
                    and shall see eye to eye
                    and shall lift up the voice,
                    and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
                        The Lord hath brought again Zion
                        The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel
                            According to the election of grace
                            Which was brought to pass by the faith and covenant of their Fathers
                        The Lord hath redeemed his people
                            and Satan is bound,
                            and time is no longer
                        The Lord hath gathered all things in one
                            The Lord hath brought down Zion from above
                            The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath
                        The Earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength
                            And truth is established in her bowels
                            And the heavens hath smiled upon her
                            And she is clothed with the glory of her God
                        For He standeth in the midst of His people
                        Glory, and honor, and power, and might
                            be ascribed to our God!
                        For He is full of mercy,
                            justice, grace, and truth,
                            and peace,
                        for ever and ever! Amen.

Again verily, verily I say unto you,
    It is expedient that every man who goes forth
        to proclaim Mine everlasting gospel,
    that inasmuch as they have families
        and receive monies by gift,
    they should send it unto them
        or make use of it for their benefit
        as the Lord shall direct them,
    for thus it seemeth Me good.
    And let all those who have not families who receive money,
        send it up unto the bishop of Zion
            or unto the bishop in Ohio,
        that it may be consecrated for
            the bringing forth of the revelations
            and the printing thereof,
            and for establishing Zion.
    And if any shall give unto any of you a coat or a suit,
        take the old and cast it unto the poor
        and go your way rejoicing.
    And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit,
        let him take with him he that is weak,
        that he may be edified in all meekness,
        that he may become strong also.
    Therefore take with you
        those who are ordained unto the lesser priesthood,
    and send them before you to make appointments,
        and to prepare the way,
        and to fill appointments that yourselves are not able to fill.
    Behold this is the way that Mine apostles in ancient days built up My church unto me.
    Therefore let every man stand in his own office
        and labor in his own calling,
        and let not the head say unto the feet
            it hath no need of the feet,
            for without the feet,
            how shall the body be able to stand?
        Also the body hath need of every member,
            that all may be edified together,
            that the system may be kept perfect.
    And behold the high priest should travel,
        and also the elders,
        and also the lesser priests,
    but the teachers and deacons should be appointed to watch over the church,
        to be standing ministers unto the church.
    And the bishop also should travel round about
        and among all the churches,
        searching after the poor
        to administer to their wants
        by humbling the rich and the proud.
    He should also employ an agent,
        for to take charge
        and to do his secular business as he shall direct.
    Nevertheless let the bishop go unto the city of New York,
        and also to the city of Albany,
        and also to the city of Boston,
    and warn the people of those cities
        with the sound of the gospel with a loud voice,
    of the desolation and utter abolishment which awaits them
        if they do reject these things.
    For if they do reject these things,
        the hour of their judgment is nigh
        and their house shall be left unto them desolate.
    Let him trust in me
        and he shall not be confounded,
        and an hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed.
And verily I say unto you, the rest of My servants:
    Go ye forth
        as your circumstances shall permit
        in your several callings
    unto the great and notable cities and villages,
        reproving the world in righteousness
            of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds,
        setting forth clearly and understandingly
            the desolation of abomination in the last days.
    For with you, saith the Lord Almighty,
        I will rend their kingdoms.
    I will not only shake the earth,
        but the starry Heavens shall tremble also,
    for I the Lord have put forth Mine hand
        to exert the Powers of Heaven.
    Ye cannot see it now,
        yet a little while and ye shall see it
        and know that I am
        and that I will come and reign with My people.
I am Alpha and Omega,
    the beginning and the end.