Saturday, June 27, 2015

Where Did The Oracles Go?

Previously: Interview With The Apostate

The year before he and his brother were murdered, Joseph Smith taught us something valuable about the kingdom of God, and how it can be detected:
"Where there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives his oracles, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles are not, there the kingdom of God is not." (Documentary History of the Church, Volume V, pg 257)
Whew. Lucky for us our leaders have assured us the oracles are right here among us. As we are reminded again and again, the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles today are the Lord's "living oracles." So we can be satisfied the kingdom of God is in good hands and all is well in Zion.

Or can we?  I wouldn't be so quick to presume what we have today is the same as it was in the days of Joseph Smith. As one of my favorite legal analysts was fond of saying, that "assumes facts not in evidence." 

What that commonly held belief does assume is that first and foremost, an oracle is a human being through whom God conveys his will. But that definition is faulty. It doesn't gel with the meaning given in scripture. Joseph Smith never made reference to a man when describing oracles.  We can see by his statement above that an oracle is not a prophet, a priest or righteous man. Rather, an oracle is something God gives to such a person.

It seems even further at odds with the meaning the Lord gave that word whenever He employed it.  You need only read Joseph Smith's words in the statement above to figure out that when the prophet spoke of oracles he was not referring to himself or any of the other Church leaders of his day. Better yet, read the prophet's entire speech beginning on page 256 of the DHC (Volume 5). Joseph uses the word oracles again and again in a lengthy talk that goes on for four pages of very tiny print, and in every instance you'll find he is referring to something God has given to man going back to the time of Adam, not something that can be easily mistaken for a man.

When attempting to get at the meaning of statements made by God and through His founding prophet, we would benefit by observing this counsel from President Spencer W. Kimball:
"Many of the misunderstandings and differences of opinion in scriptural considerations result from a lack of definition of words and terminology, far more than in difference of opinion." ( The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg 136)
But before we look into what oracles are and were always understood to be, it may be instructive to first examine the meaning of the phrase "kingdom of God," because that term is also widely misunderstood.  As the kingdom of God was predicted to eventually roll forth and consume the whole world, many members today assume that the kingdom of God spoken of in the Book of Daniel is the LDS Church they proudly belong to.  After all, isn't that the goal of our massive missionary efforts? To have our church go forth and fill the earth with converts to Mormonism?

Well no, that's not the goal.  The goal is to see the kingdom of God go forth.

This modern assumption that the church and the kingdom of God are one and the same is a false one. It was never taught by our founding prophet. Joseph Smith understood The Kingdom of God to be something distinctly separate from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As pointed out in a previous post, many of us think that a baptism performed in this church represents a person's initiation into membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when in actuality baptism has nothing to do with "joining the church."  As Charles Harrell writes in This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology, "Scholars note that baptism was initially performed by John the Baptist and Jesus's disciples as a cleansing rite to prepare them for the coming kingdom of God, which was perceptually distinct from the Church."

An adequate description of the kingdom of God is beyond the scope of this post, but a recently published book, The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History examines in detail the model Joseph Smith created in March 1844 in anticipation of the millennial reign of Christ. This model was put in place a full 14 years after the Church was organized.  So again, not the same thing as the Church.

In a conference talk given by Brigham Young in 1855, some insight into how the kingdom of God on earth might be expected to operate was revealed.  Apostle George Q. Cannon and others affirmed these basic principles had been taught to them by Joseph Smith as well.  Here are some excerpts from Brigham's talk:

"When the Kingdom of Heaven spreads over the whole earth, do you expect that all the people composing the different nations will become Latter-day Saints? If you do, you will be much mistaken. Do you expect that every person will be destroyed from the face of the earth, but the Latter-day Saints? If you do, you will be mistaken."

"Jesus taught his disciples to pray that the kingdom of heaven might come upon the earth, and when it does come, you will find that it will be very different from what many people are imagining or expecting it will be. Its spirit will be to preserve their individual rights sacred to the inhabitants of the earth."

"As observed by one of the speakers this morning, that Kingdom grows out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not the church, for a man may be a legislator in that body which will issue laws to sustain the inhabitants of the earth in their individual rights, and still not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ at all."

"The order of society will be as it is when Christ comes to reign a thousand years; there will be every sort of sect and party, and every individual following what he supposes to be the best in religion, and in everything else, similar to what it is now."

"When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established on the face of the earth, and takes the pre-eminence over all other nations and kingdoms, it will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship. If they wish to worship a god of their own workmanship, instead of the true and living God, all right, if they will mind their own business and let other people alone."

"And further, though a man may not even believe in any religion, it would be perfectly right, when necessary, to give him the privilege of holding a seat among that body which will make laws to govern all the nations of the earth and control those who make no profession of religion at all; for that body would be governed, controlled, and dictated to acknowledge others in those rights which they wish to enjoy themselves. Then the Latter-day Saints would be protected, if a kingdom of this kind was on the earth, the same as all other people."

"It will be asked, 'What do you want to do, ye strangers from afar?'  'We want to live our own religion.'  'Will you bow the knee before God with us?' 'O yes, we would as soon do it as not;'  and at that time every knee shall bow, and every tongue acknowledge that God who is the framer and maker of all things, the governor and controller of the universe. They will have to bow the knee and confess that He is God, and that Jesus Christ, who suffered for the sins of the world, is actually its Redeemer; that by the shedding of his blood he has redeemed men, women, children, beasts, birds, fish, the earth itself, and everything that John saw and heard praising in heaven.

"They will ask, 'If I bow the knee and confess that he is that Savior, the Christ, to the glory of the Father, will you let me go home and be a Presbyterian?'  'Yes.'  'And not persecute me?' 'Never.' 'Won't you let me go home and belong to the Greek Church?' 'Yes.' 'Will you allow me to be a Friend Quaker, or a Shaking Quaker?' 'O yes, anything you wish to be, but remember that you must not persecute your neighbors, but must mind your own business, and let your neighbors alone, and let them worship the sun, moon, a white dog, or anything else they please, being mindful that every knee has got to bow and every tongue confess. When you have paid this tribute to the Most High, who created you and preserves you, you may then go and worship what you please, or do what you please, if you do not infringe upon your neighbors."

"Under the influence and power of the Kingdom of God, the Church of God will rest secure and dwell in safety, without taking the trouble of governing and controlling the whole earth. The Kingdom of God will do this; it will control the kingdoms of the world."
Now of course, not having been there in person to hear Brigham's talk, we might miss the slightly facetious tone in some places; his attempts at delivering his point in a humorous way.  His point, however, is that under the benign rule of the King of Kings, the rights of all people will be respected, and religion as we know it will cease to be divisive.  It's likely all who bend the knee and confess the name of Christ will consider themselves members of the church of God if any such "church" is even deemed necessary by then.  I'm inclined to think the kingdom of God will obviate and supersede religious denominations as we know them today, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of what use would factions be in a kingdom ruled by God?

How Will We Know It's The Kingdom?
In order for there to be a kingdom, there must be a king. And in order for the king's subjects to know the kings's will, they must be able to hear his voice. That's where the oracles come in.

In the modern LDS Church today you can find no shortage of erroneous definitions for the term "oracle." Just do a word search at LDS.org, and you'll see plenty of instances where the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are referred to as "our living oracles."  Pop culture today is filled with references to oracles as living beings (the oracle Neo is seeking in The Matrix turns out to be a wizened old woman), so we can be excused for our confusion.  But we should never confuse pop culture metaphors with scriptural truth.

In religious contemplation, an oracle was never a human being. An oracle is a message that comes from "the divine other" which is spoken by the mouth of a human being . It refers to the words spoken by God using a human being as his mouthpiece. The Interpreter's Bible Dictionary traces oracle to the Hebrew word for "say," literally "speech, utterance, pronouncement." Oracle, in turn, comes to us from the same latin root as the words "oral" and "oratory" by way of the sanskrit asya, meaning "mouth."

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that oracles are variously defined as "divine utterances" or "divine communications." In one or two places in the bible, the Urim and Thummim is referred to as an oracle, and oracle has been used to define the place in the ancient Jewish temple where divine utterances were received by the high priest. But an oracle is properly the "oratory" coming from the Divine, speaking through a medium such as the Urim and Thummim, or speaking through a prophet. Never is an oracle defined as the person receiving the divine utterance. That appears to have been a later etymological interpretation.

Even in Greek mythology, when we read of people seeking out the oracle at Delphi, the woman at Delphi they have come to hear is not the oracle. She was a priestess named Pythia who spoke the words put into her mouth by the God Apollo. Apollo's words were the oracles. As early as 500 B.C. we read of oracles received through a prophetess named Sybil. Again, Sybil is not referred to as the oracle; she is known as a Seer who receives the oracles from the Divine, then writes those oracles down.

In Joseph Smith's day oracles were commonly referred to as revelations, the words the prophet spoke as he received them from the Lord (D&C 21:5). These oracles were received through Joseph Smith, but spoken in the voice of God. The words Joseph spoke were not his own; they were unmistakably the words of Jesus Christ. Browse through your Doctrine & Covenants and you'll see Jesus begins every oracle by introducing Himself as the speaker.

Look at how the Lord himself used the word oracle in the 19th century, and see if you think he is referring to any person or group of persons:
"All they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them, lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall..." (D&C 90:5)
Does it appear the Lord is concerned we might stumble and fall after holding members of the Church hierarchy in our arms because we mistakenly thought they weren't going to be very heavy?  Or do you think He is warning us not to take His words lightly?

Well, it must be talking about how hard it is to hold the leaders, because the Church lesson manual for this chapter (lesson 96) states, “An oracle of God is a person through whom the Lord speaks His mind and will to the people.”

Where in that section of the Doctrine and Covenants can we deduce that definition for an oracle? Nowhere. The committee that authored the manual just made it up.



Here's a statement the authors of that manual got right:
“The Lord informs the world in this revelation that it is through His prophet that His revelations will be given unto His church.”
That's absolutely correct. But they put that statement directly over a photo of Thomas Monson and his two counselors.  The inference is clear: the revelation given to Joseph Smith in section 90 is meant to apply equally to them.  Yet anyone reading that revelation can see that what is revealed by the Lord in that oracle is directed at Joseph Smith only.  You can't even make that revelation stretch to fit any of Joseph's contemporaries, let alone some future Church executives a hundred and eighty two years later.

Even if it were true that members of the Church hierarchy today act as mediums "through whom the Lord speaks His mind and will to the people," why hasn't the Lord utilized them for that purpose in our day the same as he did when he used Joseph Smith as his mouthpiece?

In another revelation, the Lord tells Joseph that one of the purposes of the temple would be "for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations..." (D&C 124:39)  And what was Joseph expected to do after receiving those conversations?  As he always did: he conveyed them word for word to the members of the Lord's church, so that they, the members, could receive the oracles exactly as the oracles had been delivered to him.

Joseph did not keep these oracles to himself. Neither did he stand up in conference and summarize the message in his own words, or waste time quoting the wit and wisdom of his friends in the Quorum of the Twelve.  Nor did he boast about how he and his fellow general authorities were now some new-fangled mash-up of "living" oracles.

No, what the prophet of God did every time he received God's oracles was this: he repeated those oracles word for word "as he receiveth them" from God so the people could know the will of their King. 

This strange hybrid term "living oracles" was never uttered by God or by Joseph Smith.  Of course the earliest converts to the church, former acolytes of the Campbellite Baptist tradition, would have recognized "The Living Oracles" as the title Alexander Campbell had given to his 1827 Greek translation of the New Testament. Campbell gave his scriptures that title because he felt (rightly in my opinion) that the King James translation was obsolete and often inaccurate. This newer translation contained the "living"  oracles of God, so named because they proved more vital than the Jacobean translation.

The first instance I find of the phrase "living oracles" in pioneer times was by Wilford Woodruff, a full eighteen years after the prophet Joseph's death; and even he did not appear dumb enough to try and attach that label to himself and his fellow GA's.  A careful reading of Woodruff's use of the term shows the need for all members to seek continuous personal revelation, or "living oracles" to guide them in their day-to-day endeavors.  "President Young tells us that the living oracles should be our guide," declared Woodruff, "that, in fact, we should have the living oracles within us always...It is the privilege of every man and woman in this kingdom to enjoy the spirit of prophecy, which is the spirit of God," Woodruff continued, "and to the faithful it reveals such things as are necessary for their comfort and consolation, and to guide them in their daily duties."

Certainly Brigham Young did not consider himself a "living oracle" or even a seer capable of conveying divine communications:
 "I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don't profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel” (Journal of Discourses 5:77)
and, 
"The brethren testify that brother Brigham is brother Joseph's legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say that I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock... I do not think anything about being Joseph's successor." (Journal of Discourses 8:69).
Why Don't We Hear The 'Divine Utterance'?
Although many members of the church continue to receive personal revelation individually, we ought to recognize that institutionally the LDS Church today is running on fumes.  For all the talk we hear about having prophets, seers, and revelators in our midst, not one of them has presented a bona fide prophecy or revelation to the membership in over a century and a half.

Are these men in fact receiving revelations, yet keeping those oracles secret from the rest of us and choosing not to pass them on?  If so, why? Revelations are supposed to be published and presented to the body of the church so the people can get a witness from the Holy Ghost that what they are hearing is indeed an oracle from God's mouth to our ears. Without hearing the revelations word-for-word, how are we supposed to get that witness?

 "If we do not get revelations," the prophet Joseph cautioned back in 1843, "we do not have the oracles of God. And if they do not have the oracles of God, they are not the people of God." (DHC, Supra)

As members of the so-called true church, that statement should give us pause. Because if we are not the people of God, we will not be the ones helping to usher in the coming kingdom of God. The Lord will have found another people for that task.  He said nothing would stop His gospel from rolling forth; he never promised it had to roll forth at our hands. We tend to forget that in 3rd Nephi 16:10 He predicted he may have to take it from us.

I have to believe that sometime in the twentieth century, some member of the Church hierarchy took note of that statement Joseph Smith made about the importance of having oracles, and came up with what he thought must have been an ingenious solution: "since we already call ourselves the living prophets, let's just change that to 'living oracles' and make like it's the same."

Problem solved!

Beware Of Foolish Pride
When teachings of the modern Church seem to conflict with what the Lord has revealed to us in scripture, I find it helpful to consider this advice from Brigham Young:
"Our people on every hand are inquiring, 'what does this scripture mean, and how shall we understand this or that passage?' Now I wish, my brethren and sisters, for us to understand things precisely as they are, and not as the flitting, changing imagination of the human mind may frame them." (Journal of Discourses Vol 3, 336)
We hear a lot these days about foolish pride. I'm just beginning to understand how those two words -foolish pride- fit together to perfectly describe some in the church today.  Because it's one thing for a group of men to be constantly claiming they receive God's oracles while failing to produce those oracles to the church for examination. That smacks of pride to me.

But for these same men to claim they themselves are the oracles?  That's pride matched with stupidity.

                                                                         *****
Related Posts:

Where's The Revelation?


Not Quite The Same


158 comments:

f4c28fd0-1cee-11e5-9af8-130f4ed08ad3 said...

To answer your question, the Lord's oracles can be found in the Book of Commandments and the Second Book of Commandments:

www.2BC.info

As always, read, ponder and pray.

Rebecca C. said...

I have never heard a definition for oracles. Thanks for bringing that to light. I will give it further study. There is a lot of value in the words of Joseph Smith and the early church in noting how things should be in the church.

Joshua Tolley said...

You mean there's something wrong with declaring (in the form of Official Declarations 1 and 2, for instance) that "we've received a revelation, and just so we don't confuse you, we'll just tell you what it means, instead of what it said?"

That idea keeps coming up lately; I read it recently here. Must be something in the water.

grindael said...

Hey Rock,

While I appreciate your thoughts here, you are mistaken when it comes to the term "living Oracles". It can be found in a letter written to the Times and Seasons in 1841 (copied into Woodruff's Journal for that date): "These things are true. -- They are not the freaks of the heated imagination; but predicated upon a long, candid, cool, unbiased investigation of the living oracles; and on the premises we throw the gauntlet to all the clergy, learned or unlearned on earth!" (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.15, 4 April 1841).
A

Brigham Young did refer to himself as a living Oracle. Here is one instance,

Without revelation direct from heaven, it is impossible for any person to fully understand the plan of salvation. We often hear it said that the living oracles must be in the Church, in order that the kingdom of God may be established and prosper on the earth. I will give another version of this sentiment. I say that the living oracles of God, or the Spirit of revelation must be in each and every individual, to know the plan of salvation and keep in the path that leads them to the presence of God. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p.279, April 7, 1862)

And of course, he used the term on January 27, 1860 which was recorded by Wilford Woodruff when they had the great Young/Pratt debate. Preface to Vol. 9 of the Journal of Discourses,

The Journal of Discoveries goes forth to the world as another record corroborating those already extant, bearing the same testimony to the immutable principles of salvation which they have borne, and giving additional light upon many points concerning the salvation of this generation on which they are silent. All men can be profited by perusing its pages and pondering over the words of truth and salvation as they flow in beautiful simplicity and power from the mouths of the Living Oracles. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p.iii)

Parley P. Pratt was using the term as early as 1853 in the JOD:

Moses and the Prophets had their miracles, gifts, powers, and oracles, men who were raised up by heaven, to direct, make laws and governments, and organise a kingdom among the Jews...showing that they lived under a dispensation of Priesthood, revealed from heaven, and handed down from the fathers, from generation to generation, which Priesthood held the Urim and Thummim, and the charge of the holy place containing, the holy things and power to inquire of God, and to instruct the people in what was for their peace, defence, welfare, government, judgment, and law. ...The Jews cannot say they have these things now. Moses and the Prophets had the ministering of angels. The Jews at this day have not. Moses and the Prophets had living oracles from heaven. (January 30, 1853)

The living oracles or Priesthood in our midst can develop these principles from time to time as we need them, for they minister in holy things, and soon they will enter with us into the holy temple, where we may learn more fully; and if we are still lacking, they will with us enjoy the great thousand years in which to teach, qualify, and prepare us for eternity. (Journal of Discouses, Vol. 1, p.263, April 10, 1853)

Heber C. Kimball,

Take away that power, take away those keys, and you cannot find your way into the celestial kingdom. The keys in his possession will unlock the door and let yon through into another existence, more excellent than this. He holds the keys. Can anybody pass without them? No, only as they get authority through him. Are they appreciated as they should be? Do this people listen to the counsel that proceeds from his mouth, as the words of the living oracles of God? (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.197, January 27, 1856)

grindael said...

Brigham Young,

We have heard Joseph the Prophet preach, have seen his face, and have the revelations given through him, and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit; we have knowledge, we have the living oracles in our midst, and with all this let me say to the Latter-day Saints that they stand upon slippery places. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.222, March 2, 1856)

Section 90 reads,

“Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears. Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time. 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, YEA, EVEN UNTO THE CHURCH. And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.” (March 8, 1833)

On March 10, 1844 Joseph gave this discourse on the sealing power of Elijah and declared,

Now for Elijah, the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, ORICLES powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God even unto the sealing of the hearts of the hearts fathers unto the children & the hearts of the children unto the fathers even those who are in heaven (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.362) See also, http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1844/10Mar44.html

This is how the keys and oracles are passed to the church.

ldsanarchy said...

Rock,

Sorry for the thread jack. I seem to recall you saying once that you were a lawyer of some kind. If that is true, I would like your legal perspective, if possible. I recently put up the NAC (the New Articles of Confederation) on my blog and I'd like to know if you see any loop-holes, vagaries, etc. It is one huge law, so, given that I alone wrote it, the chance that I made some big errors or gaping holes in it are, I suppose, quite high, though I was trying to very careful in the selection of all my words to make sure every part of the law fit every other part of the law, regardless where those parts were located. I know good law is plain law, or law that doesn't allow wiggle room for a bunch of different interpretations, so I tried to make it air-tight. If you have a chance to read the NAC, please let me know whether you think it is good law, not good as in that you like it or think it is good for Americans, but just whether it is a well-written and composed law, easy to understand, etc. Of course, you are also welcome to give your opinion on whether you think it is a law that would do good, if you want. Anyway, here is the url:

https://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/the-new-articles-of-confederation-nac/

Like I said above, it is on the long side, so if you want to read it offline, I've included a printable version clickable via the third comment of the post.

Thanks for any feedback you may give me.

LDSA

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Grindael,
Thank you for those additional references. Naturally I did not include in my piece every instance in the early church where the term was used; my argument is that "oracles" are synonymous with revelations or scripture, and not the person through which the oracles are delivered. A couple of the cites you provide were quoted in part by me, and as a reading of them shows, the oracles are not people, but the scripture that is revealed through people. The "living oracles" in the early church referred to recent revelations they had been given through Joseph Smith, including the Book of Mormon. It also seems to refer to personal revelations, and in some instances the oracle was confused with the person delivering the oracle. But that error was not made by the prophet himself.

The Book of Mormon was often part of the discussion when oracles were discussed because even though it was written anciently, it was considered new and living scripture to the early Saints and therefore a part of the living oracles for the latter days.

There's no question the word is confusing; it is often confused with "keys" for instance, and it remains confusing when we read it used by various persons in the early church after Joseph Smith was gone.

It's still difficult not to impose our modern interpretation on such an archaic term, but I feel it's safest to interpret an oracle in the way the prophet used it, and as God used it in scripture. Their usage is consistent with the usage in those days as documented in the Oxford English Dictionary. There's no doubt that in later times the word began to take on an expanded definition, but I'm concerned with what it actually meant to our founding prophet. Hence I didn't spend much time discussing how the word changed over time.

Today an oracle might be a wizard, a fortune teller, or the fortune teller's crystal ball, but none of those usages should be of concern to us when interpreting what Joseph Smith meant when he warned that where there are no oracles, they are not God's people. That is my focus in this piece.

Rob said...

2 Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.

3 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;

4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.

5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.
(D&C 90)

So, it seems God was pretty serious about the revelations (oracles) he gave through Joseph. It seems we really should beware how we treat them lest we treat them lightly, since we can be condemned if we do that...

Log said...

Rock,

I just did a cursory survey of the use of the phrase "kingdom of God" in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the PoGP, and the D&C. Of course, the usage is equivocal.

There appear to be three categories of usage.

In order of frequency of usage,

1. The Celestial society of Heaven. Most occurrences of the phrase seem to most plausibly denote this. This also seems to be the most frequent meaning of "the kingdom of heaven," which can also mean (presumptively) "the word of God" (Matt 13:47).

2. The Celestial society on Earth, where the will of God is done - Zion. Two occurrences of the phrase seem to denote this (D&C 65:5-6). If I recall correctly, the JST of Luke 11:52 (whatever the verse number is in the JST) has the lawyers and Pharisees not entering into the kingdom of God, and hindering those who were entering in, suggesting that the kingdom of God on earth is not only Zion as a society, but also as individuals. Or something.

3. The authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel. Only one occurrence seems to denote this (Matt 21:43).

Someone might argue that D&C 65:2 belongs in category 3; however the usage of "keys" and "kingdom of God" in that verse are equivocal, requiring an interpretation that assumes the modern notion of "keys" as "licenses to exercise authority." Joseph most frequently used the word "key" or "keys" to denote items of knowledge which served to unlock the meaning of things.

The JST was unavailable to me to complete the analysis at this time.

And this is, of course, merely a cursory survey.

grindael said...

Rock,

I have to disagree with your claim that the Book of Mormon, and other modern scriptures are the "living oracles". Here is Brigham Young, who explains how this concept is wrong, (I referenced it above, but perhaps the quote itself may help):

President Young said I will tell you how I got along with Joseph. I found out that God Called Joseph to be a Prophet. I did not do it. I then said I will leave the Prophet in the hands of that God who called and ordained him to be a Prophet. He is not responsible to me and it is none of my business what He does. It is for me to follow & obey him.

I once was ashamed of one thing which I did while in Missouri in Zions Camp. I got a revelation that God excepted our offering. I had the same thing revealed to me twice & that we should not go into Jackson Co. I named this to some of the Brethren a day or two before Joseph got a Revelation upon the same subject. I felt ashamed that I named it first. I knew whare we were going and I now know that when we go to Jackson County we shall go from the west. And I will now tell you all and you may right it down that all my preaching by the Holy Ghost is revelation.

I told Brother Joseph that he had given us revelation enough to last us 20 years. When that time is out I can give as good revelation as their is in the Doctrins & Covenants.

"Elder Taylor said in one of his sermons that if we walk in the light of the Lord we should have revelations all the time." It is the light that is within you. No man Can live his religion without living in Revelation but I would never tell a revelation to the Church untill Joseph told it first.

Joseph Once told me to go to his own house to attend a meeting with him. He said that He would not go without me. I went and Hiram Preached upon the Bible Book of Mormon & Covenants and said we must take them as our guide alone. He preached vary lengthy untill he nearly wearied the people out. When he Closed Joseph told me to get up. I did so. I took the Books and piled them all up on top of Each other. I then said that I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for all those books for my salvation without the living oracles. I should follow and obey the living oracles for my salvation instead of any thing Els. When I got through Hyrum got up and made a Confession for not including the living Oracles.

[p.430] It may be thought strange by the Brethren that I will still fellowship Elder Pratt after what He has said but I shall do it. I am determined to whip Brother Pratt into it and make him work in the harvest. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Vol. 5, p. 429-30, January 27, 1860).

It is obvious that the "living oracles" are the men themselves, operating under the influence of the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood. It is also obvious from Joseph Smith's revelation in 1833 that those oracles would be given to the church, and Joseph then (in 1844) revealed how, by way of the "Fullness of the Priesthood", or the keys that were conferred upon Joseph and then others. Young above distinctly separates the two, the "standard works", verses the "living oracles", through which the revelations come. There really isn't any other way to interpret this. If the Book of Mormon was a "living oracle", then why did Hyrum apologize for not including the "living oracles" since he had already included the Book of Mormon? I agree with other things you have written here, but I think on this point, you are mistaken.

grindael said...

And yes, there is more than one definition for "oracle". It also means the word of God. But St. Paul wrote,

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:1-3)

Daniel H. Wells, Apostle and Second Counselor to Brigham Young, explains this:

“We are blessed in having the living oracles in our midst, and in having a standard erected around which we can rally. The Bible is good, and we believe in it more than any other people. The Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants are the word of God, and they contain many precious gems; every line is full of knowledge, intelligence, and truth, and is calculated to be a benefit to us; but yet, above and far beyond all, we have the living oracles in our midst to tell us what to do to-day. A great portion of the Scripture we have was the living oracles to the people in the day in which it was given, and it has become Scripture because it was given by the inspiration of the Almighty. It was applicable to the day in which it was given. We have the living oracles in our midst to give us that which is applicable to our day. Let us make our ways correspond to the Lord's, for we read that "as high as the heavens are above the earth so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts." We are blessed in having His ways made known to us, because He knows best. He has more knowledge and understanding and greater ability, and can perform and accomplish more than any other power that exists; and that people only may be said to be blessed who walk in His ways and do His bidding.” (Journal of Discourses Vol. 13, 28-29.

Log said...

Grindael,

Rock was pretty clear that his intent was to capture what the word meant in the scriptures and to Joseph Smith, laying aside Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, et al.

Conversations work better when everyone both understands and plays by the same rules.

f4c28fd0-1cee-11e5-9af8-130f4ed08ad3 said...

The Kingdom of God is more correctly called, "The Political Kingdom of God", and is simply one of the "arms" that make up Zion. All four arms include:

1. Missionary Arm - Church of Jesus Christ
2. Political Arm - Kingdom of God
3. Educational Arm - School of Prophets
4. Financial Arm - United Order


grindael said...

Log,

So a conversation that Brigham Young had in the presence of Joseph Smith with his brother Hyrum is out of bounds? That's silly. And I did quote Joseph Smith, twice. The 1844 quote by Joseph clearly shows that the oracles are given through the fullness of the priesthood. The other quotes support what Joseph said. I'm all for a complete picture of what was meant, not just bits and pieces. The importance of what Brigham Young said is that he was a disciple of Joseph, and knew him and his doctrines. Wilford Woodruff was also there, and was the one who took the minutes of the March 10, 1844 sermon. So these men can be counted on to know what Joseph Smith was talking about. And I didn't see anywhere, where Rock made it a "rule" to now quote these men.

Log said...

Grindael,

I'm simply explaining to you why you are very much beside the point of the post and the point of the conversation.

If you wish to adopt the understandings and accept the claims of Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, et al, then you're welcome to them - but to insist upon them here is to miss the point.

But that only matters if you care whether you're relevant.

Log said...

Also, Grindael:

Woodruff's credibility is questionable, at best.

Brigham's credibility is questionable, as well.

But you are perfectly welcome to accept anyone you wish as a guide.

grindael said...

If Woodruff's credibility is so questioned, then throw away the very first quote Rock used for Joseph Smith as it was from Woodruff. I don't think you know what you are talking about. Sure, Woodruff had problems like everyone else, and yes I'm quite familiar with that episode, having done a far more in depth study of it myself. http://mormonitemusings.com/2014/08/17/liar-liar-part-i/

Here is The Elder's Journal, edited by Joseph Smith from 1837:

This, like many other things under the new institution, had its type. I mean the Urim and Thummim and breastplate of the Jewish high priests. Those shone with great splendor as long as he who wore them was righteous. Josephus says, "The one in the shape of a button on the high priest right shoulder shined out when God was present at their sacrifices so as to be seen by those most remote which splendor, was not before natural to the stone." The breastplate likewise shone when Israel was to be victorious in battle. "This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy as to despise divine revelation." But this breastplate and this sardonyx, left off shining about one hundred and fifty years before Christ, or from the days of the last good high priest of the family of the Macabus John Hyrcanus. Thus we see God refused to speak to the Jewish church through the oracle which he appointed by reason of their wickedness, so has he withdrawn his spirit from professing Christians, and left them without prophets and spiritual gifts because of transgression. But as he had mercy upon the Jews and sent them a prophet to announce the near approach of the kingdom of heaven and call on them to repent and flee from the wrath to come, so I trust God will not come out of his hiding place in judgment against an apostate church without first setting before her the way of life and causing the voice, "Come out of her my people that you be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues," to be heard in every part of Babylon and amongst her daughters.

Here, the oracle appointed by God is a PERSON. This letter written by Stephen Burnett and published by Joseph Smith who was the editor had a caveat at the end of it,

P.S. If you [Joseph Smith] should think proper to publish the foregoing or any part of it, you will probably find it necessary to make some corrections in my synthesis as I am unaccustomed to writing for the press and a part of the above is the first writing and not a transcript.

Joseph published it. If he did not agree with it, he would not have. The Oracles of God were given to those who were appointed by God with proper authority, therefore they were the living Oracles of God. Taught by Joseph, affirmed by his disciples.

Log said...

And, whatever one may think of Denver Snuffer, he offers what appears to me to be sound analysis of further credibility issues with Brigham: with respect to D&C 132, and with respect to Emma Smith.

These are significant issues, particularly since the Church's claims rely critically on D&C 132:7 being authentic.

Interesting times, they are a-brewin'.

Log said...

"Joseph published it. If he did not agree with it, he would not have."

An interesting claim, and one that I myself find unpersuasive, for reasons both theoretical and historical.

Joseph, if I recall correctly, allowed sectarians to preach from the pulpit to the Saints. I suppose you will, if you are consistent, claim he agreed with them? Or will you make excuses for his failure to correct them?

Log said...

Even were we compelled to say Joseph agreed with Burnett by mere virtue of the fact that Joseph did not correct him (and on both theory and history, we're not so compelled), the oracle spoken of by Burnett seems - clearly - to have been the breastplate and the Urim and Thummim set therein.

"But this breastplate and this sardonyx, left off shining about one hundred and fifty years before Christ, or from the days of the last good high priest of the family of the Macabus John Hyrcanus. Thus we see God refused to speak to the Jewish church through the oracle which he appointed by reason of their wickedness...."

grindael said...

How do you "appoint" a breastplate? And if that was what was appointed, how did that oracle become wicked? And a seer stone won't work without a person who is righteous. It didn't just work like a loud speaker with the voice of God telling them what to do, It worked through the oracle (the high priest). One does not work without the other,

Acts 7:38: "This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us."

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter)

There is not one without the other. Hence, when the term "living oracles" is used, it is a designation for those who are righteous that give God's word to the people. Yes, it is the living word also. This is why Smith told us that,

the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, ORICLES, powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God

One "holds" the Priesthood, one "holds" the keys of the kingdom, and like those, one "holds" the oracles of God. One is therefore a living oracle of God. I don't know why this is so hard to fathom.

grindael said...

One addendum, a seer stone of course will work with an unrighteous person, so that should be the urim and thummim won't work without a person.

grindael said...

As for sectarians preaching from the stand at Nauvoo and other places, Joseph did correct them, he followed many and corrected them. The HOTC is full of such incidents.

erichard said...

Here are some more statements by Jospeh about revelation and oracles:

Salvation cannot come without revelation, it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. 8 August 1839

Where there is a prophet, a priest or a righteous man unto whom God gives His Oracles, there is the Kingdom of God; and where the Oracles of God are not, there the Kingdom of God is not. 22 January 1843

Jesus in his teaching says upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. What rock? Revelation. 22 January 1843

A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world-- as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power, than many men who are on the earth. Hence, it needs Revelation to assist us and give us knowledge of the things of God. 10 April 1844

We must have revelations then, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation as far transcends the doctrine of no revelation as knowledge is above ignorance; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence. 10 March 1844

The claim that conference talks by the President of the church are as good as the D&C oracles is flawed. President Young taught Adam-God and Seed of Cain doctrine in conferences, and today these teachings are rejected. But if President Young can be wrong about serious matters, then the LDS church Presidents after him, that claim their authority through him, can also be wrong. They can be wrong about him being wrong.

Right?

The answer is we need continuous revelation just as these quotes and many others teach us. What happened to the gift restored to Joseph, Brigham, John and Wilford to recieve Word of the Lord oracles? Is it on the earth today? Or has it been taken away again after being restored?

Log said...

I am gratified to see you have dropped the credibility issues of Brigham and Wilford. Now, we're left with the fact that no statements directly from Joseph unambiguously describing human beings as "oracles" have been proffered. This leaves me back where I began, by saying you're not speaking relevantly to this post nor this conversation.

The person is not to be identified with what he holds. I hold a cup, and I am not a cup. I don't think that is difficult to fathom, myself, but opinions may differ.

As to appointing a breastplate to be an oracle, it is just as easy as, well, appointing a breastplate to be an oracle.

Appoint
1. To fix; to settle; to establish; to make fast.
When he appointed the foundations of the earth. Prov. 8.
2. To constitute, ordain, or fix by decree, order or decision.
Let Pharoah appoint officers over the land. Gen. 41.
He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world. Act. 17.
3. To allot, assign or designate.
Aaron and his sons shall appoint every one to his service. Num 4.
These cities were appointed for all the children of Israel. Josh. 20.
4. To purpose or resolve; to fix the intention.
For so he had appointed. Acts 20.
5. To ordain, command or order.
Thy servants are ready to do whatever my Lord the King shall appoint. 2Sam. 15.
6. To settle; to fix, name or determine by agreement; as, they appointed a time and place for the meeting.


As to Joseph correcting the sectarians, I'm sure you'll provide some examples. And, if you're consistent, you'll undoubtedly affirm that Joseph agreed with whatever he didn't correct, no matter who was talking in his presence, and also no matter the subject. Otherwise, you'll have engaged in special pleading for Burnett, whom you misread in the first place - and, further, it remains to be explained why you insist that Joseph should have insisted everyone use words in a manner prescribed by him, and that Joseph's failure to so insist necessarily implies that he agreed with whatever he didn't correct. Then we can have some fun finding all the little niggling doctrinal points he left uncorrected and asking you whether you accept them as Joseph's beliefs or not.

You have no unambiguous, direct, firsthand evidence which ties Joseph to using the word "oracle" to refer to human beings as such. You have already demonstrated that those whom you would rely upon to supply any evidence on the topic, at all, have credibility issues pertaining to telling the truth and understanding the gospel properly. For some reason you seem to think if Joseph didn't correct someone, or insist that others should use words in a very narrow and pedantic manner prescribed by himself, then he agreed with them, but I doubt you're consistent in this view.

This leads me to ask - are you an Aspie?

Log said...

I hold a cup, therefore I am a living cup.

Hmmmmmm.

Kyrie said...

I hate to be the one to point this out, that using Brigham Young's words to defend him is using bad logic. Remember, Brigham Young was smart, very smart, and experienced. He "edited" everything that he then required the membership to have, at their expense. He did everything he could to remove all evidence to the contrary of anything he had to say. He collected previous printings of the BOM, so that his own, "corrected" versions would be the only ones used by the membership and the membership not have anything for comparison. Anything and everything the membership was allowed to use for study had to have prior approval (meaning Brigham Young's stamp and seal). Even the JOD required purchase (like an encyclopedia set and just as prohibitively expensive) before the 100 years ran out, when it then became available to the public via the Internet. Thankfully a person or two also managed to obtain copies of the BOM in its original form. There was nothing to save the D&C. The original versions of the sections have been heavily edited and altered, despite the warnings that the word of God not be edited and altered. The AOF 8 states that "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, so long as it is translated correctly." You would think that the church leadership would have been above changing the word of God, but they did so blatantly.

The church leaders are also guilty of the sin of omission. The leadership will deliberately deceive by not telling the truth or deliberately lead the membership into thinking one thing without actually telling them outright, through implication. A good manipulation technique is to just provide a little bit of information and let the receiver's mind take the thought to their own logical incorrect conclusion. That would be akin to a little scripture mingled with a lot of men's false traditions and lies. Is that not what the Jews did in the days of old, in the church at the time of Christ? Is not the church guilty of the same practices that they condemn in the ancient Jewish church?

The truest definition of hypocrisy is "Do as I say and not as I do, for I am older and wiser than you, and know what I am about." The words that helped me remove the chains from my soul came from my husband, as he taught me to think for myself - "Never believe what anyone tells you outright. Always look for the agenda of that person first. Think... What does that person have to gain for telling you (fill in the blank)..."

Brigham Young had a lot to gain by changing the BOM and editing the D&C. The succeeding presidency also had/has a lot to gain by changing the definitions of words used from the time of Joseph Smith. Remember, always to "Doubt Your Doubts," and use your doubts to find the agenda behind the truth. Your intuition (you know, the Holy Ghost that has always resided with you and never left) has started to show you the inconsistencies in what you have been taught and what you now see ("Do as I say and not as I do..."). Only you can remove the scales that have formed over your eyes and remove the wool from your ears, so that you can see and hear, and remove the chains that hold you captive.

Log said...

Also, here's why "Joseph let something stand, so he agreed with it!" is a spectacularly unconvincing argument in my household.

Suppose you're a prophet of the Lord in the year 18XX, and you keep the Golden Rule meticulously, doing all things to others you want others would do to you. You leave town for a while and, in your absence, the rest of the Church united passes a resolution or adopts a declaration of faith that you do not agree with - for example, a section of the D&C on marriage. What do you do?

As my child answered, "you let it be, and don't cause a scene."

And, in the case of Pelatiah Brown, Joseph even defended a man teaching doctrine that he disagreed with from Church disciplinary action, leading to this well-known quote.

I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believe as I please, it feels so good not to be trammeled. It don't prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.

And, it need hardly be pointed out, it don't prove Joseph agreed with something simply because he failed to correct it. Joseph wasn't a crusading, contentious know-it-all imposing his superior rightness upon the benighted masses of humanity, ne'er resting lest anyone should say or believe something erroneous.

Once men have departed the divinely appointed order of things, taking strength unto themselves to do things they weren't asked to do, or to stop doing what they were asked to do, they are no longer practicing what the Lord has instituted (Isaiah 24:5). That's why the prophets, even the Lord, came not as reformers - men put things how they wanted them, and by the Golden Rule, it is just to let them have it that way. The prophets, and the Lord, simply teach truth and let men handle it as they may. Hence, new wine in new wineskins, not putting new patches on an old garment, etc.

DeeLyn said...

All truth is an oracle, a message from God, and it can come by way of any person or prophet or most especially thru Christ. His commandments & teachings he gave while he was here (in the 4 Gospels) are our most important 'true oracles', to help us prepare for the Kingdom of God. If we keep his commandments/oracles, they will enable us to gain the Spirit receive more 'truth/oracles' thru revelation.

We do not need anyone to receive 'oracles' for us. For no mortal is perfect enough to not lead us astray. Thus God commanded us to not obey anyone except Him & Christ.

To recognize true 'oracles from heaven' & discern between false ones from Satan, we must have a standard, something to compare by, and the oracles of Christ, his teachings, are the 1st oracles we compare by and discern all people & prophets by.

Christ taught us to not just assume that everything coming from the Spirit or from a so called prophet, is true, we 1st have to discern if our revelation or their's is from God or not, and not from theirs or our own mind or from Satan. We do this by comparing all revelation to the teachings & commandments of Christ, to see if they match up and are not contrary to each other.

We must also remember that just because the D&C sections might declare they are from Jesus Christ, doesn't mean any of them really are. They must agree completely with Christ's teachings in order to consider that they 'might' be from God.

The same goes for Joseph Smith or any so called prophet or anyone. They must 1st prove they are a true disciple of Christ, whether or not they really preach & practice all the commandments of Christ.

1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth (oracles) is not in him."

And I believe Brigham Young was pretty far off in his definition of the Kingdom of God, for he taught contrary to Christ (again), for Christ taught that only those who follow all His commandments will be members of God's Kingdom, either today or when Christ returns. Thus people will not be able to follow their own religions or ideas or practices, if they want to be part of the Kingdom of God. It seems Brigham just wanted people to leave him alone so he could keep practicing polygamy, so he envisioned a Kingdom that allowed all men to live whatever beliefs they want, no matter what.

True rights do come from God, but no one has 'the right to do wrong' w/o consequences, w/o banishment from the Kingdom of God. When Christ returns and sets up his Kingdom, it will be ruled according to his laws & commandments (the one's He gave us when he was here last), and anyone who doesn't obey those commandments will not be able to be in his Kingdom until they repent. Thus no polygamy will be allowed or anything else contrary to the laws of God. Once someone accepts & follows Christ they are of his Church & Kingdom, they will not be of any other Church or religion.

Though Joseph Smith did teach alot more truth then Brigham Young or any of his successors did, that didn't make JS a true prophet, for even false prophets teach mostly true things. Anyone can teach truth or 'oracles' or even do many good works, both the righteous and the wicked, so the true test of people & prophets is whether they keep all Christ's commandments or not, not whether they are nice, or do lots of good things, or teach some truth.

mark moe said...

Rock,

Please consider taking a little vacation from analysis and let the excommunication sink in more.

What about a topic that unites not divides? such as how people are doing so much for each other in the LDS and other church fellowship. How people give time and money simply to help others. IMO what Jesus would like to see. How Hod is all arounfpd U.S. and like air the absence gets noted but we overlook how God's hand is all around? The would lead others.

Unite for a while. Then if there is something historical that needs dissection it will be even more powerful when you get to it.



dx said...

It appears that you are again looking for a sign for belief or certification and, in this case, you identify oracles as possibly being sufficient for that purpose. Previously, you have expressed a desire for some new general revelation to be spoken, say, at general conference. Unfortunately, signs are not given to produce faith but to confirm faith and to bless the faithful (D&C 63:9). Seeking signs (or equivalently, pointing to their absence) is a classic mocking request, but also one associated with the worst agents and events in the scriptures. In tempting Christ, Satan did it (see Matthew 4:3, 6), as did those who crucified the Christ (see Matthew 27:40, 42). And, of course, "an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 12:39). I submit for your consideration to steer far away from such an approach or anything like unto it.

Jeff said...

Some great quotes from Brigham in this essay, a prophet Rock is perfectly happy to denigrate in most other situations as being generally uninspired.

grindael said...

First of all, your argument concerning Burnett is flawed because he wasn’t a sectarian, he was a member of the church. So that is a red herring. And Joseph didn’t let members get away with proclaiming false doctrine over the pulpit or when he was editing publications. The onus is on you to prove that Joseph knowingly would include false doctrine by MEMBERS in his publications where he was Editor. Please provide a list of examples where he did so. Burnett invited him to correct anything that would have been in error, Joseph did not. Therefore it is a good assumption that Joseph did not think what Burnett wrote was in error.

And I have not “dropped” the credibility of Woodruff in this case. You have laid out another false analogy there. Woodruff was an excellent reporter. The problem that Rock had was with Woodruff exaggerating or lying about an incident that took place, not with his reporting skills. These are two totally different things. Please show examples of where Woodruff’s minutes were incorrect when he transcribed Joseph and Brigham’s sermons. Then, provide a substantial amount of them so you can affirm that it was a pattern for him to be unreliable. If you do that, then perhaps your argument has a leg to stand on. Of course Rock can quote Brigham Young when it suits him, but to me he is off limits.

As for my argument about the breastplate or stones, God of course can designate any object to be used as a medium and that is only ONE PART of the argument. The other part is that medium takes a human being to make it work. You haven’t addressed that at all. Your analogy about the cup is silly. It isn’t about holding an inanimate object. Are the keys that prophets hold an inanimate object? Is the Priesthood an inanimate object? In this instance “hold” means to bear or possess.

So, I do have unambiguous first hand evidence that Joseph used the word oracle to refer to human beings. I’ve provided it. Here it is once again,

the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold [BEAR, POSSESS] THE KEYS of the revelations ordinances, ORICLES, powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God

Therefore, when one holds the keys, one holds the oracles within himself, and thus is a living oracle. Why did Joseph stop using his seer stone? He said because he no longer needed it, that he could rely on the Holy Ghost to provide him with revelation. Did he discard his oracle? No, he became a “living oracle”, because the word of God came through Joseph FOR THE CHURCH because he held the KEYS and the ORACLES, as he claimed.

1 Peter 4:

11 If any man speak, let him speak AS THE ORACLES OF GOD; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

This means that each of us should become LIVING ORACLES. When one speaks, do so by inspiration. How does one speak as a BREASTPLATE? A ROOM? But one can speak as the living word of God, the words that God gives to man. In essence you become a living oracle. The fundamental difference that Joseph set up was that only one man held the KEYS and authority to speak for the whole Church.

Websters

Oracle, “The revelation or utterance supposed to issue from a divinity through a medium, usually a priest or priestess [PERSON] thought to be inspired.”

Dictionary.com

a PERSON who delivers authoritative, wise, or highly regarded and influential pronouncements.

7. Any PERSON reputed uncommonly wise, whose determinations are not disputed, or whose opinions are of great authority. http://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/oracle.html

grindael said...

“‘Some say that the kingdom of God was not set up upon the earth until the day of Pentecost, and that John did not preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, but I say to you in the name of the Lord that the kingdom of God was set up upon the earth in the days of Adam to the present time. Whenever there has been A RIGHTEOUS MAN, unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name, and where there is a priest of God … to administer in the ordinances of the gospel, and OFFICIATE IN THE PRIESTHOOD of God, there is the kingdom of God. … Where there is a prophet, a priest, or A RIGHTEOUS MAN UNTO WHOM GOD GIVES HIS ORACLES, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles of God are not, there the kingdom of God is not.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 271–272).

There are no oracles without the PERSON. Joseph claimed that the oracles were GIVEN to the person by way of the Priesthood. That PERSON was therefore an oracle of God. That there is no difference was revealed by Joseph Smith in the D&C, Section 1:

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word [oracles] shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice OR BY THE VOICE OF MY SERVANTS, IT IS THE SAME.
4 Nevertheless, THROUGH YOU shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church. 5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.

Through Joseph, a PERSON. How? By the KEYS he held (verse 3) which were given to others,
6 And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted AS EQUAL WITH THEE IN HOLDING THE KEYS of this last kingdom

D&C 68:

2 And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ORDAINED UNTO THIS PRIESTHOOD, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth— 3 And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. 4 And WHATSOEVER THEY SHALL SPEAK when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word [ORACLE] of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

As BH Roberts wrote,

So Joseph Smith could give the keys or oracles of the priesthood to the church and still hold them—giving the keys to the Twelve most especially, and yet stand in his place, without losing one iota of power ever conferred upon him. (Succession in the Presidency, pg. 98).

In 1844 Woodruff wrote in the Times and Seasons,

And when they [The 12] received their endowment, and actually received the keys of the kingdom of God, AND THE ORACLES OF GOD, keys of revelation, and the pattern of heavenly things; and thus addressing the Twelve, exclaimed, "upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now.

Log said...

First of all, your argument concerning Burnett is flawed because he wasn’t a sectarian, he was a member of the church. So that is a red herring.

No, it is not a red herring, but is instead another example of your misreadings. I never said Burnett was a sectarian.

And Joseph didn’t let members get away with proclaiming false doctrine over the pulpit or when he was editing publications.

Assumes facts not in evidence.

The onus is on you to prove that Joseph knowingly would include false doctrine by MEMBERS in his publications where he was Editor.

You're the one advancing the claim that whatever Joseph didn't correct, he agreed with. I have produced both theory and history showing your claim is false on its face. The burden of proof rests with you to demonstrate otherwise.

Good luck.

Please provide a list of examples where he did so.

Original D&C 101, which suffices for me.

Burnett invited him to correct anything that would have been in error, Joseph did not.

Burnett didn't necessarily make an error, but you did when you failed to realize he used the word "oracle" to denote the breastplate and the Urim and Thummim and not a human.

Therefore it is a good assumption that Joseph did not think what Burnett wrote was in error.

I am gratified you acknowledge it is a sheer assumption on your part. The quality of that assumption, well, you're welcome to it.

And I have not “dropped” the credibility of Woodruff in this case. You have laid out another false analogy there.

It's not an analogy. You are forced to choose between Woodruff being a liar, or only Woodruff, out of the whole Church, having power to be baptized for the dead.

Woodruff was an excellent reporter.

That is a value judgement that, unless you were a witness to Joseph's sermons, you have no basis to make. It is, like the rest of your position, apparently a matter of sheer assumption. In point of fact, when contrasting Woodruff's reporting with others of the same sermons in the Words of Joseph Smith, we find Woodruff omits some significant things, which to me rather implies he may very well have been a less-than-excellent reporter.

The problem that Rock had was with Woodruff exaggerating or lying about an incident that took place, not with his reporting skills.

Rock established Woodruff was a known liar. Therefore his accounts are automatically suspect.

These are two totally different things. Please show examples of where Woodruff’s minutes were incorrect when he transcribed Joseph and Brigham’s sermons. Then, provide a substantial amount of them so you can affirm that it was a pattern for him to be unreliable.

I don't feel the need to show a proven liar was ever anything else. But you may yourself do your own homework to prove your star witness, while an acknowledge liar, was not always a liar.

If you do that, then perhaps your argument has a leg to stand on. Of course Rock can quote Brigham Young when it suits him, but to me he is off limits.

You misunderstand the burden of proof in the issue of Woodruff's credibility. He's been caught lying. You're the one who wishes to say he was entirely reliable on the topic at hand. That's yours to prove, not mine to disprove.

Log said...

As for my argument about the breastplate or stones, God of course can designate any object to be used as a medium and that is only ONE PART of the argument. The other part is that medium takes a human being to make it work. You haven’t addressed that at all.

I have no need to, and now I am growing increasingly less interested in pursuing a conversation with someone who is disputing where they have already been demonstrated to have been in error. Burnett referred to the breastplate and Urim and Thummim as the "oracle." You have yet to acknowledge your misreading, and are perpetuating it instead.

Your analogy about the cup is silly. It isn’t about holding an inanimate object.

I could have sworn the breastplate and Urim and Thummim were inanimate. Therefore, the cup analogy was exact.

Are the keys that prophets hold an inanimate object?

Define and describe the keys that prophets hold, and then we can say whether they are objects at all, and probably come to some kind of understanding whether they are animate or inanimate.

Is the Priesthood an inanimate object? In this instance “hold” means to bear or possess.

Can you bear or possess a neighborhood? Is a neighborhood an inanimate object? Is a neighborhood an object at all?

So, I do have unambiguous first hand evidence that Joseph used the word oracle to refer to human beings. I’ve provided it. Here it is once again,

the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold [BEAR, POSSESS] THE KEYS of the revelations ordinances, ORICLES, powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the Kingdom of God on the Earth & to receive, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God


Not only can this statement be taken multiple ways, he is not unambiguously saying "ye" are "oracles" through having "power to hold the keys." This, like your misreading with Burnett, simply says you are so invested in the idea that "oracles" = "people" that you cannot entertain any other reading. It's as though you do not see the actual words used, but only see your traditions.

Therefore, when one holds the keys, one holds the oracles within himself, and thus is a living oracle.

That assumes facts not in evidence (ie, that Joseph was referring to people as "oracles"), and begs the question (in the formal logical sense - it must be proven that Joseph used the word "oracles" to refer to people).

Why did Joseph stop using his seer stone? He said because he no longer needed it, that he could rely on the Holy Ghost to provide him with revelation. Did he discard his oracle? No, he became a “living oracle”, because the word of God came through Joseph FOR THE CHURCH because he held the KEYS and the ORACLES, as he claimed.

And he never referred to himself, or anyone else, as "a living oracle," or "an oracle" at all. Or, if he did, nobody's provided a citation - and no, those you have provided are not most naturally read that way.

Remember - that's the issue. Whether the scriptures or Joseph ever referred to people as oracles at all.

Log said...

Now, your only substantial point.

KJV 1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak AS THE ORACLES OF GOD; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

NIV 1 Peter 4:11 "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

I went and looked up the word translated "oracle" in the KJV. It is "logion," or "words [of God]." The person is not the oracle, but the words are.

Don't take my word for it: http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3051&t=NIV

This means that each of us should become LIVING ORACLES. When one speaks, do so by inspiration. How does one speak as a BREASTPLATE? A ROOM? But one can speak as the living word of God, the words that God gives to man.

Uh...

And that is precisely what actually ma In essence you become a living oracle. The fundamental difference that Joseph set up was that only one man held the KEYS and authority to speak for the whole Church.

In claiming humans should be "living oracles," in the sense you apparently use it above, you commit what philosophers call a "category error."

Humans are not living oracles in the sense of "words of God," which words themselves aren't properly described as animate objects until written down. QED.

And, in citing the modern dictionaries, we add "presentism" to the list of errors you have committed - misreadings, begging the question, and category errors.

"In literary and historical analysis, presentism is the anachronistic introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past."

So let's use the words as Joseph would have more closely understood them to mean.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the English Language


OR'ACLE, n. [L. oraculum, from oro, to utter.]

1. Among pagans, the answer of a god or some person reputed to be a god, to an inquiry made respecting some affair of importance, usually respecting some future event, as the success of an enterprise or battle.
2. The deity who gave or was supposed to give answers to inquiries; as the Delphic oracle.
3. The place where the answers were given.
4. Among christians, oracles, in the plural, denotes the communications, revelations or messages delivered by God to prophets. In this sense it is rarely used in the singular; but we say, the oracles of God, divine oracles, meaning the Scriptures.
5. The sanctuary or most holy place in the temple, in which was deposited the ark of the covenant. 1Kings 6.
6. Any person or place where certain decisions are obtained.
7. Any person reputed uncommonly wise, whose determinations are not disputed, or whose opinions are of great authority.
8. A wise sentence or decision of great authority.


We have no record of Joseph using "oracle" in the sense of definitions 6 through 8 - but I can see an easy road to equivocation - another fallacy, by the way - if someone were to assert THAT'S what he meant when he used the word, when in context he clearly meant the words of God.

Log said...

So, let's see - category errors, equivocation, begging the question, misreadings...

Where there is a prophet, a priest, or A RIGHTEOUS MAN UNTO WHOM GOD GIVES HIS ORACLES, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles of God are not, there the kingdom of God is not.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 271–272).

There are no oracles without the PERSON.

So, if God speaks in a forest and there's nobody there to hear his words, he actually doesn't speak at all?

Joseph claimed that the oracles were GIVEN to the person by way of the Priesthood. That PERSON was therefore an oracle of God.

And if God gives me a cup, I am therefore a cup of God, by your "reasoning," which is not reasoning at all, but mere question-begging assertion, or, alternatively, a persistent category error on your part which tells me that I am quite literally wasting my time on this.

Joseph nowhere unambiguously called people "oracles," "living" or otherwise. Neither do the scriptures. While the KJV 1 Peter 4:11 can be misread (sigh) the word "as" indicates nonliteral usage of the word "oracles," not "becoming oracles," but rather one's speech should be like unto the utterance of God. Other translations of 1 Peter 4:11 clear up this confusion.

And now we get to the embarrassing bits: where you cite multiple things that are utterly irrelevant to the issue whether Joseph ever unambiguously called people "oracles," "living" or otherwise, or whether the scriptures ever do so.

4 Nevertheless, THROUGH YOU shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church. 5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.

D&C 68:

2 And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ORDAINED UNTO THIS PRIESTHOOD, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth— 3 And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. 4 And WHATSOEVER THEY SHALL SPEAK when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word [ORACLE] of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

As BH Roberts wrote,

So Joseph Smith could give the keys or oracles of the priesthood to the church and still hold them—giving the keys to the Twelve most especially, and yet stand in his place, without losing one iota of power ever conferred upon him. (Succession in the Presidency, pg. 98).

In 1844 Woodruff wrote in the Times and Seasons,

And when they [The 12] received their endowment, and actually received the keys of the kingdom of God, AND THE ORACLES OF GOD, keys of revelation, and the pattern of heavenly things; and thus addressing the Twelve, exclaimed, "upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now.


All these are examples of the word "oracle" being used, but not "living" or otherwise, and pretty definitely not being people.

Log said...

Anyways, I trust I adequately addressed every substantial point, and some more than once, as I was just combing through Grindael's posts sequentially. Grindael can have the last word(s).

Incidentally, one may certainly truthfully describe the leadership of the Church after Joseph as "living oracles," but yet it would not be what Joseph was talking about when he used the word "oracles," which meant the actual words of God. Equivocation, like diet ice cream, might fill and cool one's mouth, but it just feels wrong and doesn't provide much nourishment, and to make it appear that when we deploy the phrase "living oracles" we mean what Joseph or the scriptures meant by "oracle"is to introduce error; and if it is done on purpose to create that impression, it is deception.

Oracles have not been given to the Church since 14 January, 1847 - D&C 136 - when the Lord said, essentially, "see y'all later (v. 42); you're not worthy (v. 37)!" "No more at present," indeed. Assuming Brigham didn't just make it all up.

Log said...

Also, the quality of Woodruff's reporting isn't an issue, since even if he reported Joseph's words accurately, Joseph's words don't support Grindael's assertion that "oracles = people." Quite clearly, "oracles" in the statement at issue is not people, but the words of God.

Log said...

And, to be perfectly clear, Woodruff and Brigham's credibility only becomes an issue when they assert what Joseph's understanding of the word "oracle" was, or if they declare the word means something other than what Joseph consistently used it to mean.

grindael said...

First, sorry about the bolding above, I couldn't correct the error once it was posted. Let's take a look at that verse that Rock quotes in Section 124 that proves my point:

39 Therefore, verily I [God] say unto you, that your [Joseph/the Church] anointings, and your washings, and your [Joseph/the Church] baptisms for the dead, and your [Joseph/the Church] solemn assemblies, and your [Joseph/the Church] memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for YOUR oracles [Joseph/the Church] 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, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.

Let's use common sense here. You claim that the oracles are simply the words of God, or an instrument, etc. If so, why does Joseph/God say that a house needed to be built for YOUR oracles in YOUR most holy places wherein YOU receive conversation and YOUR statutes and judgements? Why did God not say a house needed to be built for MY ORACLES (words)? Because Joseph WAS the living oracle of God and it was HIS words he "called down" that went to the church, words that he obtained FROM God. He had the Keys to dispense and receive those words for the Church.

If, as Rock claims Joseph was the only one given the oracles, why in this revelation to Joseph does it claim that the First Presidency were to receive the oracles?

I give unto you my servant Joseph, to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet. 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. (History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.284, January 19, 1841)

grindael said...

Joseph Smith claimed that oracles were people in this speech he gave called "Try the Spirits,"

"Try the spirits," says John, but who is to do it? The learned, the [p.572] eloquent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine—all are ignorant. The heathens will boast of their gods, and of the great things that have been unfolded BY THEIR ORACLES.

William Clayton wrote:

[January 22, 1843. Sunday.] This A.M. Joseph preached in the Temple. Subject arose from two questions proposed from a Lyceum. ...On the 2nd question He said "Where the oracles of God are revealed there is the Kingdom of God. Wherever the oracles of God are and subjects to obey those oracles there is the kingdom of God. What constitutes the kingdom of God? An administrator who has the power of calling down the oracles of God, and subjects to receive those oracles no matter if there are but 3, 4 or 6 there is the kingdom of God &c."

Here we see that the Oracles of God are "called down" by an ADMINISTRATOR who has power, to give to "subjects". They must OBEY those oracles or Administrators (which would be the First Presidency). Where are the "oracles"? where there is a legal Administrator. The Oracles don't just appear out of thin air. Hence the term, living oracles who you must follow and obey.

In 1850, Orson Pratt explained this very well,

The Spirit not only gives the ideas but in a measure clothes them in suitable and proper words. This is the spirit of revelation so abundantly enjoyed by the Saints in all ages, that so enriched their minds with heavenly knowledge, and qualified them to speak as the oracles of God uttering words taught by the Holy Ghost. This is the spirit of revelation, rejected and done away in the "Articles" and "Creeds" of modern Christendom, and in its place are substituted "the words which man's wisdom teacheth." This is the spirit of revelation so necessary to unfold to the minister of Christ, those duties which he never could learn from ancient revelation, nor from the wisdom and writings of uninspired men.
Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.23 - p.24

And who makes the determination on what Joseph claimed it meant, since the very sermons that you are basing it on were written down by Woodruff and others. They were there. If they didn't know what Joseph meant, then who did? This is a silly argument that just doesn't work. Oracles do equal People, because without people, you can't call down the oracles of God.

I find it stunning that you claim Brigham Young has no credibility and then would use a revelation of his to claim that God turned his back on him as a prophet, and then question it. Why then, bring it up at all?

Of course, none of this is what I believe, I am only repeating what Joseph taught and which was affirmed by his own disciples, those who were with him for years and knew him better than anyone else and if you want to declare that they are not credible in that regard, well, ok.

Log said...

I said you can have the last word(s). Peace oot.

grindael said...

Log,

I do appreciate the comments you made here which will help me to refine and elucidate my argument better in the article I'm writing. Thanks and if you do want to comment again, I don't mind. I learn more that way.

DeeLyn said...

I wonder if Joseph even really said that statement above entited "Try The Spirits". For it makes it sound like Joseph didn't understand 'how' to try the Spirits, or knew that anyone and everyone can do it, just merely by comparing what 'Spirit's' say to what 'Christ said' in the NT, to discern truth from error.

Joseph made another statement about testing angels and any man's revelation by whether or not it was 'contrary to the scriptures', or Christ's teachings, though it doesn't seem like Joseph followed his own advice, for he taught things contrary to Christ too.

And William Clayton, Orson Pratt, Woodruff or of course BY, are hardly credible sources to trust for truth, for they didn't follow Christ either, or even Joseph Smith's teachings.

Everyone, good or bad, can receive oracles from heaven (revelation & truth), for everyone knows right from wrong and has the light of Christ. They just may not follow that light or truth or revelation.

If oracles were a 'person' then again, 'everyone' could be an oracle, for everyone receives some truth from heaven, just as everyone falls for lots of false revelation from the Adversary.

Even true prophets aren't always right and often teach errors & lead people astray. So even if a prophet was an oracle it would not make him trustworthy to follow, for anyone of us can be such also, but we should only follow Christ who was perfect and who said only follow him.

I believe it's more correct to say that when you find a man or woman who keeps 'all' the commandments of Christ, 'there' is the Kingdom of God.

For that is what Christ said, and shouldn't we be going by what He said and not worrying about what men or self proclaimed prophets say?

Log said...

Here are two things that might be considered.

1. The disciples of Jesus did not understand Jesus's sermons, and this can be seen throughout the gospels as well as referenced in the Book of Mormon. That Woodruff reported on Joseph's sermons does not imply he understood them, any more than Jesus's disciples understood him. At the risk of miscommunication, it requires keys to understand both Joseph and Jesus. Keys, that is, as Joseph used the word, not as we do today, which, like the word "oracle," is not what Joseph meant by it.

2. The Church Herself has declared Brigham to have no credibility with respect to spiritual matters. She has revoked polygamy (interesting story there, involving Woodruff going against oracles delivered to himself in order to save the legal existence of the corporate Church), disavowed any possible rationale for the black priesthood ban (as well as denied certain teachings contained in the Book of Mormon about curses and skins of blackness), and has decided to let the anti-Mormons teach us the so-called Adam-God doctrine. The Church has not, however, been fully consistent with Her disdain for Brigham, as She has kept D&C 136 around - possibly because it is in very deed the last oracle given to the Church - and still publishes (highly edited and decontextualized - ie, correlated) teachings of Brigham's occasionally, and only when he can be made to appear consistent with the "living oracles."

I bring up D&C 136 simply to point out that the Church does not claim that the Lord has given oracles to the Church since 1847.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have not had access to my computer from early Saturday afternoon until now, and in the meantime a discussion has ensued that I was unable to express my views about. I'll try to remedy that now, as well as respond to the concerns of others on here. So this may take some time. On the other hand, I may just decide enough has already been said and not go into it all too deeply.

I was truthful when I told Grindael I appreciated his providing the additional quotes wherein the word "oracles" has been used in the church. I was aware of all of them, but had I listed them all in the original post, the post would have been extremely long (like this comment section) and unnecessary.

Where Grindael and I differ is in his interpretation of those quotes. By and large, I see them supporting my thesis; he does not. And where the quotes are seemingly ambiguous, he sees an interpretation of "oracles" as being people, while I see an explanation for why they seem ambiguous.

There is not much more I can say to dispel what I consider Grindael's misunderstandings than Log already has already argued better than I might have. Nevertheless, in the next few comments I'll express my opinion in a few spots. As I said this may take some time, so for those interested, please bear with. I may not even finish today, but pick up later. Everyone else is welcome to skip my subsequent ramblings.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I did not claim Joseph Smith was the only one to whom the oracles were given. As Grindael pointed out, both William Law and Sidney Rigdon were told by revelation that they also were to receive the oracles for the whole church. I was aware of that section in the D&C and made no claim that Joseph was the only one who could receive them. Oliver Cowdery could receive oracles. So could Hyrum Smith. It's the LDS church today that claims that only Joseph Smith had the privilege of speaking divine utterances from God, and that by inference only the First Presidency today has those gifts.

My position lament is that although the current church leadership CLAIMS to have exclusive privilege to receive the oracles (and also to claim the ARE the oracles), they display no facility in having that ability.

In the early church it was believed that all members had the spirit of prophecy, and the ability to prophecy. Some had the gift in greater abundance than others. As the proprietor of the blog "A Perfect Day" recently reminds us, Heber C. Kimball was considered one of the church leaders who had the gift of prophecy in abundance, as this famous prophecy of Kimball's demonstrates:

"Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills...but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God. Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming."

- See more at: http://ldsperfectday.blogspot.com/#sthash.1ZdRhojl.dpuf

It was the proliferation of prophecies such as these that account for some of the statements provided by Grindael in which speakers counseled the Saints regarding the living oracles.

Incidentally, I've always felt that particular prophecy of Kimball's was valid, as well as others spoken of by his mouth. But those were prophecies, not oracles. You'll note that Kimball's predictions came in his own voice; he did not claim to be speaking God's words verbatim. An oracle is a "divine utterance" in the voice of the Lord himself -in other words an oracle is a "revelation" of the type we are familiar with Joseph having received directly from the mind of God.

It's why the phrase "prophet, seer, and revelator" denotes three separate skills or gifts. A prophet predicts, a seer translates, and a revelator reveals. There is some overlap, of course. A Seer can see into the future, he can see something others cannot see, so in that regard what we get from a seer can be a prophecy of future events. A Revelator can "reveal" not only new information, but what may come to pass. In every instance Joseph Smith used the word "oracle" it was closer in meaning to "revelation" in the way he received them: quoting verbatim the words God gave him to convey.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Joseph Smith, as I argue in my post, understood the true meaning of "oracles." They were the words of God as spoken THROUGH a person. (Grindael makes my argument many times by stating just that, but still came to the conclusion that an oracle IS the person delivering the words.)

Even in Joseph's day, however, some people continued to confuse the message with the person delivering the message. This appears to be the result of a misunderstanding of the use in Greek mythology of the Oracle at Delphi.

As the myth was handed down, it was a common misunderstanding that the priestess WAS the oracle, whereas a careful reading of the myth makes clear the oracle is the message and the priestess was the mouthpiece who delivered the message. It would have helped had the story itself contained the true definition of the word "oracle," but why would it? When it was written, everyone knew what an oracle was. It was a Divine Utterance.

Americans particularly (who had never fully understood the myths) came, over time, to hear of the oracle of Delphi whom, in the stories, people traveled from afar to see in person, and assumed "oracle" was a word used to describe the priestess at Delphi. An understandable mistake, as "oracle" was already an archaic word not understood by everyone. In modern times, for many people, the first time they ever heard the word used was in "The Matrix" and that oracle was a direct descendant of the misuse of the word to describe the oracle at Delphi. The oracle in The Matrix was a woman who had the abilities of a seer.

Noah Webster, in his first dictionary of the AMERICAN language, included definitions of the word as it was properly defined, but he also included definitions of the word as it had come to mean from popular usage. You'll see some nine separate definitions in the example Grindael quoted above, the third three being of more dubious provenance. That's why I felt in order to get an accurate definition it was necessary to consult the Oxford English Dictionary, and that's why I quoted what was an accurate summary as "divine utterance" or "divine communication."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The Oxford English Dictionary, for those who may not know, is considered THE authority of the English language. It took literally decades to complete, mostly because for every word defined, the professors at Oxford University compiled dozens, sometimes hundreds of examples for each word going back hundreds of years into the mist to see how and when a particular word was first used.

The OED consists of something like twenty huge volumes, and was so expensive when it was finally completed (around $2500.00 for a complete set), that few individuals could afford to buy it. A few years ago, the university photocopied each page of the dictionary and republished into what they called a "compact" version, with four of the original pages to one page of the Compact version, which itself wasn't really very compact. The Compact OED consists of thousands of thin pages in each of two very big and heavy volumes in a boxed set, along with a strong magnifying glass that is included in a drawer on top, because the pages as reproduced are so tiny as to be unreadable with the naked eye. These volumes they offered at a more affordable (comparatively) $295.00

That's the set of the OED I own (back in those days I had 300 bucks to throw away on a set of dictionaries.) I have spent a great deal of time squinting through my magnifying glass at the page and a half of examples where the word "oracle" appears in the English language from the beginning of time, and I want to tell you, my eyes are too old to go through that experience again, so I'm not going to try and prove it further. But I encourage anyone who wants an accurate idea of what the word "oracles" really means to consult the OED and learn for themselves whether God himself and Joseph Smith his servant had a better handle on the meaning than some who followed after Joseph.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I understand the desire to make a term fit the meaning we want it to, especially when that meaning comports with the way we were taught all our lives. But if we really wish to understand the word of God, we'll have to try and take it back to the way God used it, and the best way I know is to get closest to the way Joseph Smith understood a word, a concept, or a teaching.

It doesn't matter to me how later Church authorities used a word, or even how we think they used it. When quoting the Lord or our founding prophet, the only thing we need to know is what THEY meant when they used a word.

I note that Grindael, on several occasions, quotes Woodruff's journal as using Keys, ordinances, oracles, powers, endowments, and the fulness of the priesthood as though they all mean the same thing. But a key is not an oracle, an oracle is not a power, a power is not an endowment, etc. We can't use one of those words as though they were synonymous with the others. They are delineated for a reason.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

We are given an example from the Elder's Journal in 1837, where a member is reporting the ancient Jewish historian Josephus describing how the urim and thummim was known to operate, and since the urim and thummim was described in the bible as an oracle, this account should be instructive. My friend Grindael arrives at a different conclusion from this account than I do, but that's okay. I'll give you my take.

I have The Works of Josephus around here somewhere, but I'm not going to look for it. What we do know of Josephus is he reported on things he knew first hand, but much of what he reported was what he heard, so we can take it for what it's worth. According to Josephus' account of the urim and thummim, the breastplate "spoke" by means of one encrusted jewel or another glowing or not glowing depending upon the answer to the question it was given. I suppose that's why it's called an oracle, because it uttered, in its way, a message from the divine. About a hundred and fifty years before Christ it is said to have become silent because of the wickedness of the people (or perhaps due to the wickedness of the priests who consulted it?)

If that account is reliable, I suppose the urim and thummim operated similarly to the Liahona. The liahona only worked when the people asking it for directions were worthy.

Anyway, grindael is correct that it requires a person to operate the breastplate, but that doesn't mean the breastplate is a person. The urim and thummim was called an oracle, presumably because it acted as the mouth of the Divine.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mark Moe has suggested I take a break from the types of articles I've been posting and spend time on topics such as how people are doing so much more for each other in the LDS and other church fellowships, and how many more are now giving time and money simply to help others.

That will be part of what I'll be presenting at the Sunstone Symposium at the end of July. The title of my presentation is "The Rise of Uncorrelated Mormonism" which will be an account of what's going on in "The Awakening" and what it all means. So I'm not all gloom and doom; I'm just saving my best stuff for later.

The Sunstone Symposium will take place the weekend of July 29-August 1st at the Olpin Student Union at the University of Utah. I hope I'll see a lot of you there. My presentation will be on Saturday around 3-ish, I think, but I've also been asked to participate on a panel of Ex-Mormons, since I am a newly christened member of that class.

For full information on the Sunstone Symposium, go to Sunstone.org or call 801-355-5026. This year should be a real cracker.

In the meantime, I'll probably post some pieces here that point out where we as a church are in need of repentance if we wish to become God's people. There are some in the church who don't think we have much to repent of, and I guess it's my job to point out we're not quite reaching our potential.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dx,
Again you appear to be confused about what I have written. I'm not seeking for a sign. I'm looking for a revelation. The Church today boasts of an abundance of prophets, seers, and revelators. I don't think it's asking too much to ask to see the fruits of those assertions.

A revelation is not a "sign" the which we are warned not to seek for. A revelation is a revelation. It was a revelation that warned us not to seek after signs. Had we not been paying attention to that revelation we would not have seen the warning.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS Anarchy,
I was never a lawyer, but I was trained as a legal researcher and analyst. I have long ago lost interest in such things because I don't care for the adversarial world in which so much legal argument takes place. (Although I admire a good argument, I don't like contention).

I will, however, be happy to take a look at your NAC and give you my opinion privately. But that may be a few more days, and I'm not convinced I'm your man anyway. I'm rusty.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jeff and Kyrie appear to think it odd that I would cite Brigham Young as an authority when I disagree with him in so many instances.

Although in my view (and the view of MANY others) Brigham Young did more to single-handedly derail the Restoration, he also said many things that were right and true. If he had not, would anyone had followed him? Taken all together, his declarations seem downright schizophrenic. One day he'll be telling the saints that his word is scripture and should be followed; another day he'll warn them how afraid he is that they will follow his every word until they are led straight into hell. So Brigham Young should be heeded (not obeyed, but heeded) when he is right, and ignored when he is wrong.

Kyrie rightly pointed out that Brigham censored and bowdlerized our history, and worse yet inserted into our history things that were never spoken and events that never happened. So why did I include such a lengthy excerpt in my post? Because in the main, Brigham was speaking truths he had learned from Joseph Smith.

Brigham was letting leak certain things that had been kept secret from the public at the time of Joseph Smith. The model Joseph proposed to be a template for the government of God was called the Council of Fifty, and yes, it did include three non-Mormons in the council. But because so many enemies of the church would have misunderstood its purpose and concluded the Mormons were attempting to usurp the U.S. government, this experimental council was kept secret. We still don't have all the documents; many of them are locked away in the Church archives unavailable for examination. But we do have enough of the minutes and testimony of participants to be able to piece together the purpose and ultimately what caused it to collapse.

Within the book "The Council Of Fifty" by Jedediah S. Rogers we find plenty of reports from others, such as George Q Cannon, Benjamin F. Johnson, et al to confirm that Brigham's description of the Kingdom of God was fairly accurate, as taught by Joseph Smith. Brigham's explanation of how the future kingdom of God was expected to operate remains the best overview, and that is why I used it.

I don't feel I have to agree with everything a man says in order to use his explanation of something he learned from another. Especially when the basic principles he explained have been affirmed by other sources, and when they seem consistent with the teachings we do have from Joseph Smith.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To close out this controversy (hopefully) regarding the oracles, what they are, what their purpose is, etc.; since we seem to have gotten away from the main point, I wish to restate it:

Joseph reminded us that without divine communication from our King, the King's people are left without direction, and eventually cease to be His people. This makes sense to me. If we cannot hear the King's royal decrees, are we truly His subjects? Or are we flying by the seat of our pants? Making stuff up we think the king might say if we really could hear him?

We should stop making claims to having the oracles (Gods words)if we cannot find his LIVING words among us. Sure, we have the older revelations, and as Brigham is said to have stated, it's living revelations that are of most importance to any people at any given moment. I think we should stop fooling ourselves that we still have revelations in this church unless we can point to one or two actual revelations and say "there is a bona fide divine utterance in the voice of God received from Him verbatim."

grindael said...

Hey Rock,

Good to see you back posting, I thoroughly enjoy your blog and most of the time agree with what you say. I think that your last post sums up how we both feel about the whole matter: the leadership of the church today is bereft of the oracles of God. I think that the problem lies with a matter of overlap. Let me explain as best I can, (and hopefully I won’t overstep my welcome if this is a bit lengthy).

A few things stood out for me in your OP, one, that the term “living oracles” was not used until Wilford Woodruff used it 18 yrs. after Joseph died and that Brigham Young did not consider himself to be a living oracle. He absolutely did consider himself as such.

In 1847 Brigham Young stated that “I CARRY THE ORACLES when I have a Quorum around me.” He also said, “We believe the bible, and we believe all truth – we have the Book of Mormon and D & C AND THE LIVING ORACLES this puts us in possession of the living oracles

1849:

hardly a man here but has been with the President Joseph - the Almighty conversed with him, took him up to the heavens, the Urim and Thummim given to him and he could ask and receive what he asked for - and then to fall on this boy - the Lord has led this people all the time and by the spirit of revelation and without the living oracles we die - that is my faith tonight. We have the will of the Lord all the time – in spiritual matters and shall I say in temporal matters (yes, yes)

1852:

A temple that is built for the priests of the Most High, is built to be occupied by that priesthood, by THOSE WHO HAVE THE ORACLES OF THAT PRIESTHOOD.

“What causes men and women, whose minds have been unaccustomed to reflect upon theological subjects, to speak so intelligently as soon as the Spirit of the Lord touches their understand-ing?” The experience of most of the congregation can answer this question. YOU ARE THE ORACLE OF THE SPIRIT, THE REPOSITORY of the intelligence that comes from another state of existence invisible to the natural eye; of the influence that produces an effect without revealing the cause, and is therefore called a miracle. You are already acquainted with my views upon the doctrine of miracles. In reality there can be no miracle, only to the ignorant. There are spiritual agents, invisible to the natural eye, NOT ONLY IN US, but in the elements, in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, who are CONTINUALLY PRODUCING EFFECTS, the cause of which we cannot comprehend.

PROPHET JOSEPH WAS THE ORACLE THROUGH WHICH GOD SPOKE; they slew his body, but “Mormonism” is still the same. Had “Mormonism” been a falsehood, the Devil and the world, instead of fighting against it, would have sustained and built it up.

1856:

Brother [blank] told you this morning that the instructions from this stand was better than all the bibles that could be written; if the fact does not exist that I will state to you won’t some of you give us light and knowledge, and show us a better way, it is simply this, if you have not the living oracles of the Lord of hosts, of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with you to tell you this time and the next time, and have told you from time to time what to do to secure to yourselves eternal salvation: wont you that do know tell us how to go to work to get those oracles; if you have these living oracles with you they are better to you than all that has ever been written from the days of Adam until now.

But few of this congregation have been assembled together more than a very few years, to receive and be benefitted with the TEACHINGS FROM THE FOUNTAIN HEAD, DIRECTLY FROM THE LIVING ORACLES.

grindael said...

A great many people are rejoiced to have revelations, and are all the time anxious for the Lord to give his word and have it written down; but let me tell you if the people had never apostatized, there never would have been a written law from the days of Adam until now, that is as we have received them, or as we have considered them. There is no necessity for it, for the word of the Lord is with us, the Lord himself is with us, his angels are with us, he comes when he pleases and reveals himself when he pleases and as he pleases. He sends his angels and has his prophets and mouthpiece on the earth. A LIVING ORACLE IS HERE. WHAT IS THE USE OF READING THE LAW WHEN WE HAVE THE LIVING ORACLE TO TELL US WHAT TO DO from time to time.

1860:

I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for all those books [standard works] for my salvation without the living oracles. I should FOLLOW AND OBEY THE LIVING ORACLES for my salvation instead of anything Else.

Hatred and persecution have been the lot of every man that ever lived upon the earth HOLDING THE ORACLES OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN to deliver to the children of men.

I know a great many things, and I know them right. brother Ross says that people are more willing to believe the testimony of men who have been dead many centuries than the testimony of living men. This, however, does not apply to me; for I delighted more in the voice of Joseph Smith than in all the voices of the dead Prophets I never heard. HE WAS THE LIVING ORACLE OF GOD WITH ME; he was the medium through which the Lord spoke to me. Do you not think that his voice was delightful to me? Yes.

1862:

With us the Bible is the first book, the Book of Mormon comes next, then the revelations in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, THEN THE TEACHINGS OF THE LIVING ORACLES, yet you will find, in the end, that the living oracles of God have to take all things of heaven and earth, above and beneath, and bring them together and devote them to God, and sanctify and purify them and prepare them to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

1864:

I will tell you how to live so that every moment you are like a blank sheet of paper, if you cleave to God he will never forsake you. Let whiskey alone, let tobacco alone, never use the name of the Deity in vain, never trifle with the name of an angel or a good man, whether in heaven or on earth; it’s the power of God that sends the Gospel home to the heart; its not big words, nor the long sermon; but the people have confidence and think THE ORACLE AS PURE AS THE WORD.(Complete Discourses of Brigham Young)

grindael said...

Young did indeed consider himself to be a seer. He claimed that he wasn’t like Joseph, but he also claimed to have visions and be a witness of the divine by supernatural means.

I am a witness--of what? I have told it here and in Nauvoo. I know what I am a witness of, and I know my Apostleship. I am a witness that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.

Brethren, I am a witness of that; not by my laying hands on the sick and they being healed, nor by the revelations which are given of him in the Bible, but by receiving the same Spirit and witness which the ancients received; by the visions of the heavens being opened to my mind; by my understanding that which is revealed in the Book of Mormon, and that which Joseph revealed as comprised in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants."

Young claimed that he was a “witness” and received “revelation” in this way, as explained by Joseph Smith,

“When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” ( Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 151.)

Young then asks:

"What made the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ witnesses? What constituted them Apostles--special witnesses to the world? Was it seeing miracles? No. What was it?"

He then answers his own question:

"The visions of their minds were opened, and it was necessary that a few should receive light, knowledge, and intelligence, that all the powers of earth and hell could not gainsay or compete with."
And here is Young's point:

"But again to the witness, that is on my mind. It was necessary for Jesus Christ to OPEN THE HEAVENS to certain individuals that they might be witnesses of his personage, death, sufferings, and resurrection; those men were witnesses. But as Jesus appeared to the two brethren going out of Jerusalem, he was made known to them in the breaking of bread. Now suppose he had eaten that bread, and gone out without opening their eyes, how could they have known that he was the Savior who had been crucified on Mount Calvary? They could not; but in the breaking of bread the vision of their minds was opened. This was necessary in order to constitute safe witnesses, and they returned to Jerusalem and told the brethren what they had seen.

Did all the disciples, in the days of the Apostles, see the risen Jesus? No. I know the inquiry may arise, can a person be a real disciple without having visions? Yes, but that person cannot be a special witness to the doctrine he believes in."

Young claimed that Joseph was a living oracle to him, that he was the oracle of God and that through him came the word of God. This is exactly what I’ve been saying, and this is what Joseph meant when he claimed that the oracles of god were held by men who had the priesthood. The term “living oracles” was not invented in the 20th century, it was used by the Apostles of Joseph Smith to refer to him, and to themselves because that is what Joseph taught them. To claim that these men just didn’t understand what Joseph meant because Jesus disciples didn’t understand his parables is a comparison not backed up by any proof.

grindael said...

Orson Pratt explained this perfectly in 1860:

When I say that Priesthood, I mean the individual who holds the keys thereof. He is the standard—the living oracle to the Church.
Journal of Discouses, Vol. 7, p.373
"But," says one, "suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Old and New Testament—suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—suppose we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Mormon, and at the same time we feel disposed in our hearts to lay aside the living oracles, what then? I would answer, in the first place, that the premises are false. Why? The very moment that we set aside the living oracles we set aside the revelations of God. Why? Because the revelations of God command us plainly that we shall hearken to the living oracles. Hence, if we undertake to follow the written word and at the same time do not give heed to the living oracles of God, the written word will condemn us: it shows that we do not follow it according to our profession. This is what I wish to bring home to myself as an individual; and if the same thing will suit any other person in the congregation, I hope that he will take it home to himself.

"But," inquires one, "how is it that you are going to apply this to yourself?" I will tell you. But first let me quote from another revelation contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Perhaps I had better read the passage which I wish now to bring to your understanding:—"Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a Seer, a Translator, a Prophet, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, an Elder of the church, through the will of God the Father and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which Church was organized and established in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and in the sixth day of the month which is called April. Wherefore (meaning the Church,) thou shalt give heed unto his words and commandments, which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; for his word shall ye receive as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith."

Here, then, we perceive what is binding upon the Church of the living God, what was binding upon them thirty years ago, and what has been binding upon them ever since, from the day that it was given, until the day the Prophet was martyred, down until the year 1860, and until the present moment of time. All this time there have been a kingdom and Church of the living God on the earth, and a man placed at the head of that Church to govern, direct, counsel, preach, exhort, testify, and speak the truth to the people, and counsel them in the things pertaining to their duties and pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Journal of Discouses, Vol. 7, p.373)

Again, Pratt was one of Joseph's original disciples and Apostles. He understood him, what he taught, and what he meant. It is clear that he believed that Joseph was a living oracle, and that the scriptures taught that one must "Hearken to the living oracles". This is not a concept that was invented later, but was understood by Joseph's original apostles and promulgated by them throughout their lives.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Grindael,
As I've said before, I appreciate all your efforts in bringing these quotations to this forum. Henceforth and forever, when anyone wants to do research on how and when "oracles" and "living oracles" was used in the church, this is the repository they can come to. So thank you for providing these examples.

And there is no chance of you overstaying your welcome, as you put it. The more dialogue on a topic, the better.

I still maintain that the word "oracles" has a proper meaning, a meaning that was well known to Joseph. In most examples you provide, those who came later who used the term "living oracles" meant very much what Joseph did, though the term was sometimes used loosely. By and large, however (and I'll get to the exceptions in a moment), in most of the examples you provide, if we were to substitute the word "messages" for the word "oracles," we would find the meaning to be consistent with the way our founding prophet intended it to be read.

I am at fault for stating in my original post that the first time I found use of the term "living oracles" was when Wilford Woodruff used it to describe the necessity of living oracles to guide the saints in their day-to-day living. That was neither the first time it was used, nor the first instance I knew of it being used, so if your intent was to correct me on that, your point is well taken.

What I should have said (and what I meant) is that Woodruff's example is the one I found most frequently quoted by modern Church authorities when I was searching for the phrase. It is often quoted out of context, and my purpose was to show that, when read properly, Wilford was not using the term the way those quoting him expected their readers would interpret it.

I should have been less careless in my phrasing, and to be frank, for the sake of accuracy I should go back in and correct myself in the original post; but if I were to do that, this entire conversation would not make sense to newer readers. So I'll let that rest, and we can both hope readers will follow our conversation here, and come to realize that "living oracles" was not first uttered by Wilford Woodruff in 1862.

(Continued Below)

Log said...

Rock,

Here's an interesting one. Did Joseph Smith ever unambiguously call his seer stone a Urim and Thummim?

From the Church:

"These two instruments—the interpreters and the seer stone—were apparently interchangeable and worked in much the same way such that, in the course of time, Joseph Smith and his associates often used the term “Urim and Thummim” to refer to the single stone as well as the interpreters.21"

Following footnote 21, we read:

"For example, when Joseph Smith showed a seer stone to Wilford Woodruff in late 1841, Woodruff recorded in his journal: “I had the privilege of seeing for the first time in my day the URIM & THUMMIM.” (Wilford Woodruff journal, Dec. 27, 1841, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.) See also Doctrine and Covenants 130:10."

Following D&C 130:10, we read:

" 10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;"

Unfortunately, verse 11 gives away the apparent irrelevance of the preceding verse for this discussion:

" 11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word."

To my knowledge, Joseph's seer stone was neither white, nor given him in the celestial kingdom.

The reason this matters relates to the provenance of D&C 132. If Joseph was not given to calling his seer stone "Urim and Thummim," then there is indeed a problem with William Clayton's account of the coming forth of D&C 132.

Do you happen to know of any resources offhand which address this issue?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Although you do not agree with my assessment, Grindael, it is clear to me from the frequent use of the words "oracles" and "living oracles" in the years post Joseph Smith, that the word was used to denote what we call today continuous revelation.

But whose revelations? Neither Brigham nor the Twelve offered revelations to the people in the voice of the Lord as Joseph Smith had, although in the personal journals of Taylor, Woodruff, et al we find direct revelations purporting to be in the voice of the Lord, which those men wrote down. But these revelations appear to have been intended for them as individuals, which is why they did not present them verbatim to the body of the church. (These entries have been compiled by Fred C. Collier in two volumes, "Unpublished Revelations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.")

The revelations these presidents and apostles received invariably consisted of warnings from the Lord of the importance of never backing down on plural marriage; that the Lord would fight their battles for them against the armies the U.S. government sent against them, and that maintaining the practice was the absolute most important thing for the church to focus on. There was a time when I believed those revelations were of God, and I was once convinced that it was their caving in to political pressure which first caused the Lord to withdraw from the church. But I don't believe that anymore. Today I'm inclined to think those "revelations" came from the minds of those apostles themselves, and represented wishful thinking.

But never mind. The accuracy and legitimacy of any individual's personal revelations is not my point. My point is that in the early years of this church, personal revelation was considered the privilege of every member, and it was assumed such revelations were received all the time by pretty much everyone. This, except for a few exceptions such as the one you provide by Orson Pratt, I'm convinced is what is being referred to when the term "living oracles" was tossed about in those days. They meant continuous, current, active, recent, living revelations. If one goes back and reads those passages with that interpretation in mind, it all makes better sense.

The use of the term "living oracles" do define "continuous revelations" was an inaccurate use of the term, but nevertheless it did come into popular usage. It was also not terribly uncommon to confuse the message with the medium through whom the message was conveyed. But I maintain that for purposes of Joseph Smith's warning, we should not confuse his meaning with the improper use of the term by those who came after. I don't wish to lose focus of the importance of his warning.

I think most of us can attest that God reveals things to us, that he sometimes provides us with amazing insight in the form of outpourings of light and knowledge. This is revelation. I have, at various times, received such "reveals." But I wouldn't classify them as oracles.

On the other hand, my wife on one or two occasions has received personal revelation in the very voice of God, and at those times she hurriedly grabbed a notebook so she could write God's words down word-for-word as she received them in her mind. Those types of revelation, I believe, could properly be called oracles.

But those oracles Connie received from God were intended to guide her only, not the rest of God's people. I believe that what Joseph Smith meant when he stressed the importance of oracles in the DHC section I cited was oracles (messages) from God intended for the whole people. The voice of their king, as it were.


(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

In the years immediately following Joseph Smith, the Saints did not, by and large, consider the church to consist of two classes as we do today, with the hierarchy at the top, and the body of the membership below, anxiously awaiting instructions from their enlightened leaders. All members expected they were privileged to receive continuous revelations ("living oracles"). But unless a revelation comes in the voice of God, it is not properly an oracle, but a revelation. We should not fault the early Saints for their improper use of the term. Sometimes it was used loosely, there's no doubt about that. But the focus of my piece was to show that Joseph Smith used it properly, to denote a particular kind of communication from God, a communication that arrived IN THE WORDS spoken directly by God, of a kind we no longer seem to have in the church today.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

One of my readers reports that she sent my post to her cousin who was serving with her husband on a mission to Uruguay. The cousin was greatly offended, and responded by saying, "if you could see how the church is doing here in Uruguay, you would know the church down here is not "running on fumes."

Well OF COURSE the church in Uruguay is not running on fumes. The church of Christ, as defined by Him in D&C 10:67, is vital, alive, and doing quite well all over the world. God continues to pour His spirit out in abundance upon those who love and follow Him.

If my friend's cousin had read my piece more carefully, she would have seen it was the INSTITUTIONAL Church I said was running on fumes. Although many of the Saints of God receive light and knowledge and revelations continuously, the thing we are missing from the institutional Church are the oracles directly from the mind and mouth of God. Shouldn't we receive the same kinds of revelations that were so abundant in Joseph Smith's day? Shouldn't we expect oracles from the very men who assure us they have all the gifts and keys our founding prophet had?

Fortunately, we still have the Book of Mormon, and we retain the original revelations given to Joseph Smith. But we haven't really been filling the tank with fuel in recent years, have we? As both Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young declared, we have the Book of Mormon, we have the Doctrine and Covenants, and as vital as they are, they are not as vital as the living oracles that are needed to guide the King's subjects today.

We are all indebted to you, Grindael, for providing us with this treasure trove of quotations. Although you and I do not see eye to eye on our definitions, thanks to you everyone else can find all the quotations in one place, read them, prayerfully and carefully consider them, and come to their own conclusions.

So thank you for a most stimulating conversation. But I hope that in all these various uses and interpretations and definitions, we haven't lost sight of the main point I was trying to convey. We should carefully consider Joseph Smith's warning that when a people can no longer hear the voice of their King, they may no longer be His subjects.

And I hasten to add that "a people" refers to a whole group as a body, such as a nation, or a church. Many individuals continue to hear the voice of their King. But I think we AS A PEOPLE are not getting the message in His voice. What we are lacking IN THE CHURCH TODAY are the clear messages from the voice of the Divine. We are missing the oracles of God.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
That's a good question. Although Joseph mentioned THE urim and thummim (or at least one of them), I don't know that he himself affirmed that a peep stone was the same thing. As you are aware, I doubt the provenance of what we know today as section 132. It appears to me either a mish-mash of a real revelation mixed with a false one, or a complete fraud altogether. I lean toward the mish-mash theory.

Interesting question on the seer stone. Food for thought, grounds for further research.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

In thanking Grindael for the stimulating discussion on this forum, I failed to also thank Log for his excellent counter-arguments, so I do so now. Although the discussion began to get a bit heated at times, better to have a vigorous and intelligent argument than no argument at all. I learned from both men, and appreciate their opinions here.

PNW_DPer said...

The quotes from D&C 130:10-11 by Log remind me of a quote attributed to Arther C. Clark, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". This white stone mentioned in Revelations and in D&C 130:10-11 sounds very much like a primitive description of a 21st century tablet, cellphone, or pda, complete with a password ("New name" known only to the user) and access to a network of advanced information.

In fact, the descriptions of how Joseph used a seerstone or the Urim and Thummin in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon is not too different to how this American (only fluent in English) goes about using Google Translate to read all sorts of interesting information in German, Swedish, Russian, and many other languages, except the screen of my laptop is bright enough that I don't usually need to use a tophat to block out the glare.

After mentioning this to my son-in-law, he now always chooses white as the color of his cell phone whenever he geta a new one.

Sam said...

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/neal-a-maxwell_meeting-challenges-today/

“Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. (See 1 Kgs. 18:21.) President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had ‘never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ! We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.”

“Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, ‘A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it’ (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.”

“Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, ‘summer is nigh’ (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!”

Log said...

Sam,

If you feel called of God to follow the First Presidency, then do so. Please understand, however, not everyone feels called to do so, and, last I checked, within the Church, no man has any right to receive revelation for anyone not under their stewardship - meaning nobody not in Rock's priesthood chain-of-command has any right to declare God has ordered Rock to follow anyone.

grindael said...

Joseph called the “Nephite Interpreters” spectacles. There is no evidence that the term “Urim and Thummim” was used until around 1832. It was first used by W. W. Phelps in the Evening and Morning Star:

The fourth verse shows the time that the children of Israel were to remain scattered abroad, without the sacred things which God gave unto them when they were to remain scattered abroad, without the sacred things which God gave unto them when they were in favour with him. They were even to do without the Teraphim, [Urim & Thummim, perhaps] or sacred spectacles or declarers; supposed to the same called gods and images when Jacob fled, from Laban. For Jacob was a man of God and did not worship idols or images. The original in Hebrew is Teraphim. Moses when blessing the tribes in the 33rd of Deuteronomy, says: Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy Holy one. (The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol.1, No.2, p.14, July, 1832, brackets in the original).

A month later on August 10, 1832 Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde answered a series of questions regarding The Book of Mormon:

Q.-In what manner was the interpretation, or translation made known, and by whom was it written?

A.-It was made known by the spirit of the Lord through the medium of the Urim and Thummim; and was written partly by Oliver Cowdery, and partly by Martin Harris.

Q.-What do you mean by Urim and Thummim?

A.-The same as were used by the prophets of old, which were two crystal stones, placed in bows something in the form of spectacles, which were found with the plates.

In Smith’s 1832 History, he wrote that “the Lord had prepared spectacles for to read the Book therefore I commenced translating the characters”. He does not use the term “Urim and Thummim” in that History.

Smith had more than one peepstone, one was chocolate colored and one was white. Witnesses claimed he used the chocolate stone to “translate” the BOM. I don’t know of any instance where Smith himself called his peepstones “urim and thummim”, but others did.

Joseph got the chocolate stone from Willard Chase. Chase claimed that Hyrum Smith borrowed it and then would not return it. In 1881 David Whitmer said,

He [meaning Joseph Smith] had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg-shape, and perfectly smooth, but not transparent, called interpreters, which were given him with the plates. He did not see the plates in translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment on which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the top, and immediately below would appear the translation in English, which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly as it fell from his lips. The scribe would then read the sentence written, and if any mistakes had been made, the characters would remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they would fade from sight to be replaced by another line.

grindael said...

Whitmer claimed there were two chocolate stones, but there was not, and that these were the “interpreters” which were then called “urim and thummim”. Smith would place the chocolate stone in his white hat and “translate”. There were no spectacles, no one ever saw any, and the descriptions of them by those who say they were described to them are contradictory. Harris claimed the stones were grey, AND clear, contradicting himself), Lucy Smith claimed they were like diamonds, Whitmer claimed they were chocolate colored and others claimed they were opaque white while Smith himself said they were two “transparent stones”.

This is a bit confusing, because “Whitmer explicitly confronted the general confusion between the seer stone and the Nephite "interpreters," or Urim and Thummim, when he tried to set the record straight through a friend, Edward Traughber in 1879:

With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim; but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone, called a 'Seer Stone,' which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light. Then, a spiritual light would shine forth, and parchment would appear before Joseph, upon which was a line of characters from the plates, and under it, the translation in English; at least, so Joseph said.” (Van Wagoner, Joseph Smith, the Gift of Seeing).

Sometime in early 1870, Emma S. Pilgrim, the wife of the pastor of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Independence, Missouri, wrote to Emma Bidamon, requesting information about the translation of the Book of Mormon. Emma replied in a letter written from Nauvoo, [p.100] Illinois, 27 March 1870: "Now the first that my husband translated was translated by the use of the Urim and Thummim, and that was the part that Martin Harris lost, after that he used a small stone, not exactly black, but was rather a dark color."


Since Smith later referred to all of these instruments as “urim and thummim”, it can be inferred (with very good evidence) that he called his peepstone a “urim and thummim,” but there is no DIRECT STATEMENT from him.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Grindael,
To further add to the confusion, on my mission, I think in or around Richmond, I met a direct descendant of David Whitmer who showed me a peepstone he said had belonged to Joseph Smith and had been handed down in his family. It was whitish, flat, and sort of rectangular, if I recall. Wish I had taken a picture of both him and the stone, but I didn't think to in those days. My camera in those days before cellphones was a Kodak 110, and I likely didn't have it on me anyway.

I wonder now if that particular stone was just family lore, and perhaps never belonged to Joseph, but I seem to remember seeing a photo of it, or one like it, in Alvin J. Dyer's book, "The Refiner's Fire" which, though I own, have no idea which box it's currently stored in.

Could be true, could be just family legend. Who knows? I don't even recall the name of the descendant, though he was probably in his fifties or sixties.

Miguel Aveiro said...

I met with a bishop on my mission, who had a model of the Urim and Thummim on a breastplate, as well as a model of the Book of Mormon. He had interesting books and letters from the First Presidency, which I won't go into now, but I might mention if the topic of the kingdoms og glory ever comes up. Anyhow, he said the seer stone that Joseph Smith said is kept in the church history vaults. I don't know how he backs up his claim, but that's what he said. I'm guessing there is another family somewhere that also claims to have the, or one of, the seer stones.

Miguel Aveiro said...

I may have a different take on sustaining the brethren. I sustain them as prophets, seers and revelators. To 'sustain' means to 'support'. I support them. So I'm like, "yeah, I support you, go ahead and prophesy. You have my support!"

I could compare them to an author. I could support an author. But until he publishes something himself, he hasn't authored anything. If he writes some essays where he quotes other authors, then he's still not an author in the sense that I understood when I began to support him. I mean he has to publish a book, before he is a published author. Until then, he's just a budding author. Then if he publishes a 300 page book filled with other people's work, then he's just a compiler. He hasn't added his own voice to literature. If he asks me to accept his work as his own, then I would have to disagree. He still has my support. I'm willing to help him find that voice and publish, but until soemthing is published, he hasn't finished his work.

Similarly, if the brethren ask that I accept some of their teachings and counsel as revelations, then I would have to disagree. Maybe they were based on revelations they received, but I want to see some actual words of God in there. I've heard some of them talk, in sermons, about inspirations they have received and that's good, but that is not enough to make the sermon a published revelation. I value them as teachers of the gospel though. They're very good at that.

Sam said...

Log,

Correction, I feel called to follow Jesus Christ. Therein lies the truth. The true vine from which all goodness branches forth.

Your assumption that I don't understand other people can follow God through other venues is a shallow view and not correct.

Sam

Log said...

Hey Sam,

I did not declare what you feel called to do, nor did I make any assumptions about your lack of understanding.

Thanks for calling my view shallow and incorrect, though. I appreciate the criticism and will try to be deeper and correcter in the future. Corrected? Correctified? Correctionally facilitated?

Log

PS: I like correctified. I'm going to be correctified in the future. Correctified. Sounds like a band name.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Miquel,
I like that analogy for sustaining.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

In the spirit of correctifyin', I note that Sam's correction was not at all responsive to Log's actual statement. Sam had indeed labored at length in a comment above to show that we (everyone else, presumably) should be following men, but then when called on it, he insists he follows Jesus Christ.

I'm glad to hear that, Sam, but it doesn't seem to be what you were saying previously: "in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency."

Log said...

Rock,

I was trying not to be rude to Sam.

Lately, there seems to be a rhetorical push to describe themselves as following men who are, of course, following Christ (though how those men are known to be following Christ is ever unstated in concrete terms). Of course, the logic is that such rhetoricians, granting the truth of their claims, are following men, and not following Christ. And I have to restrain myself from asking them what, exactly, it means to follow these men if it doesn't mean doing what they say rather than what Christ said. Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei is the only response - "receiving the Lord's servants is receiving the Lord; disobeying the Lord's servants is disobeying the Lord!", natch.

By default, you see, we are to assume they are executing the will of God all things they do and say upon the earth, being his vicars, because of course the kingdom of God is hierarchical (priesthood = patriarchal gov't = Führerprinzip). No more having to discern whether a prophet is acting as such, you know, because "a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such," for a prophet is always acting as prophet by virtue of existing and moving and speaking. Indeed, to presume to discern whether a prophet is acting as such without being his hierarchical superior (or, at least to come to a negative conclusion in one's discernment) is apostasy.

Well, if someone likes that model of religion, they're welcome to it - "You will kneel before me! Both you, and one day, your heirs!" The whole plan of salvation - the plan of happiness - hell, repentance even - reduced to a simple choice of team captains. "Kneel before us!" No pesky golden rule stuff. Just follow the guys in front of you, doing everything they say to you, and you're saved automagically! Because when enough of them agree, they cannot be wrong!

Seems to me to be at variance with the master/disciple relationship Christ invites us into by asking us to believe in him, repent of all sin, acquire faith in him through mighty prayer, be baptized, and from thence to keep his commandments, all of which can be summed up in the golden rule.

But it's easier to follow men, pay tithes of mint and cumin, do one's home teaching, attend temple occasionally, become a teetotaler, attend one's three-hour blocks without fail and without skipping a class (and by such righteousness acquire license to abuse those outside of your team), than it is to give unto every man that asketh, of them that would borrow of thee turn not thou away, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and if any man shall smite thee on the cheek, turn to him the other also, visit the sick and afflicted, take the homeless into your home, free the debt slaves, grant every beggar's petition, etc.

So I really do have to restrain myself from asking what these follow-the-first-presidency types actually mean when they say following the prophet/Brethren is the same as following Christ. Because if they were following Christ, there would be a lot fewer homeless on the streets, since these diligent prophet-followers would be taking them into their homes. There would be no Mormon-run check cashing businesses, since these diligent prophet-followers would not be making merchandise of their brethren's needs. There would be no year's supplies of food, since these diligent prophet-followers would be taking no thought for the morrow, nor building bigger barns to hold their excess which, of course, is not going to the poor. And I could go on.

So I'm really not sure what they mean. But I'll assume they mean well. Maybe they do.

Sam said...

Oh Rock, thank Heavens for small victories huh?

"In the spirit of correctifyin', I note that Sam's correction was not at all responsive to Log's actual statement. Sam had indeed labored at length in a comment above to show that we (everyone else, presumably) should be following men, but then when called on it, he insists he follows Jesus Christ.

I'm glad to hear that, Sam, but it doesn't seem to be what you were saying previously: "in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency."

I didn't labor at length, and that tone seems diminutive. I merely came across an article, from a man called of God, whom I respect, who had relevant issues to your excommunication. Simply put, I believe that these men are in fact capable of being used by God to be his servants and often are. Jesus set up a group of 12 representative and invited all to follow Him. You don't believe that. You've deferred me to Brigham Young and other slog posts when I've asked you direct questions regarding priesthood authority. I'm not saying they are perfect...Peter warned us of false prophets, so there is always that possibility. However leaning upon the arm of the flesh always leads to apostasy.

Log said...

Sam,

Why are you mischaracterizing Rock's views?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

"I'm not saying they are perfect...Peter warned us of false prophets, so there is always that possibility. However leaning upon the arm of the flesh always leads to apostasy."

Sam, I do believe you're coming around. My friend, there is hope for you yet!

Log said...

It always comes down to "who's your team captain?" "Who you gonna follow?" "Who's gonna run the show?" "My team can beat up your team!" "My leader is holier than your leader!" "My leader can seal your leader in hell!"

May those who choose hierarchy, whose concern is being seen to be right, being seen to be on the right team, who pay lip service to God while denying his commandments, live in the world they create.

"You will bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity, you will bow down before me! Both you, and then one day, your heirs!"

Log said...

The sad thing is, they will indeed live in the world they create. It's maybe the best thing for them, too. Maybe once they see and suffer the inevitable consequences of the principles they have chosen, they may then be in a fit state to give serious consideration to the alternative that God offers.

grindael said...

And behold, it shall come to pass, that my servants shall be sent forth to the east, and to the west, to the north, and to the south; let him that goeth to the east, teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west; and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth, and of secret combinations. Behold thou shalt observe all these things, and great shall be thy reward; for unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto the world it is not given to know them. Ye shall observe the laws which ye have received, and be faithful. And ye shall hereafter receive church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here, and in the New Jerusalem. Therefore he that lacketh wisdom, let him ask of me, and I will give him liberally, and upbraid him not. Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you THE KINGDOM, or IN OTHER WORDS, the KEYS of the CHURCH, have been given; even so Amen. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants (1835), Section 13:19, February, 1831).

2 The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth. (D&C 65:2, October, 1831)

Log said...

Grindael, do the words you have cited to justify your adoption of the princple of hierarchy, called Furherprinzip by the German political philosophers, and Patriarchal Government or Priesthood by Brigham Young and his contemporaries and successors, admit of any possible alternative interpretation than the one you seem to give them?

Do you really like that principle?

Do you believe it is sound?

Can you imagine living in an eternal hierarchy, worlds without end, like a Celestial Ponzi scheme, where everyone knows their place and shall never exceed it, worlds without end?

Is such a scheme compatible with the order of heaven, where there is hierarchical equality (D&C 76:95[92-96])?

If a different governing principle pertains to heaven [equality] than the Church [Fuhrerprinzip], how is the Church equivalent to the kingdom of God, to you?

Log said...

Or, to put a fine point on it: if the Church is not following the law of the Celestial Kingdom, how then is it the kingdom of God?

If a kingdom is not ruled by the law of God, is it God's kingdom?

If it is his kingdom despite not being ruled by his law, then is it not in open rebellion against him?

Might this not be precisely the state of the Jews when John, and, later, Jesus were ministering in the flesh?

34 And except ye repent, the preaching of John shall condemn you in the day of judgment. And, again, hear another parable; for unto you that believe not, I speak in parables; that your unrighteousness may be rewarded unto you.

35 Behold, there was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-press in it; and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.

36 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

37 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

38 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did unto them likewise.

39 But last of all, he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

40 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

41 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

42 And Jesus said unto them, When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

43 They say unto him, He will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

44 Jesus said unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; this is the Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

45 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

46 For whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

47 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

48 And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him

49 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.

50 And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

Log said...

Let me repeat.

50 And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

The Gentiles, to whom he gave the keys of the kingdom, shall be destroyed when the Lord descends out of heaven to reign in his vineyard - which we expect soon, right? - and the vineyard shall be given to another people, who shall render him (the Lord) the fruits in their seasons. That's us getting destroyed at the coming of the Lord, or we don't have the kingdom; there is no third option.

“The church mostly went from there Kirtland Ohio to Missouri where they commenced another house from which they were driven to the State of Illinois where we were commanded to build a house or temple to the Most High God. We were to have a sufficient time to build that house during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river. If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church we and our dead together. Both the temple and baptizing went very leisurely till the temple was somewhere in building the second story when Bro Joseph from the Stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for our dead was no longer acceptable in the river, As much to say the time for building the temple had passed by and both we and our dead were rejected together. The church now stands rejected together with their dead. The church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word.” (Church History Vol 2 p 790)

And the oracles ceased. And the Church grew rich and powerful. "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them; for they are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give them. If thou therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine."

Compare with: "What is property unto me, saith the Lord?"

But if one's first loyalty is to the idea of infallible institutions and infallible men rather than the truth, the past doesn't matter. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, as they say in Orwell's 1984.

ldsanarchy said...

LDS Anarchy,
I was never a lawyer, but I was trained as a legal researcher and analyst. I have long ago lost interest in such things because I don't care for the adversarial world in which so much legal argument takes place. (Although I admire a good argument, I don't like contention).

I will, however, be happy to take a look at your NAC and give you my opinion privately. But that may be a few more days, and I'm not convinced I'm your man anyway. I'm rusty.


Okay, I appreciate it. Legal researcher and analyst is probably good enough, anyway. The judges will be the ones, not the lawyers, to interpret the law, but maybe your mind can find things that I didn't catch, that need retouching. You can leave your comment on the blog comment section, or just send me an email at ldsa@email.com. Thanks.

Log said...

Doctrine and Covenants 128:14
14 [A]s are the records on the earth in relation to your dead, which are truly made out, so also are the records in heaven. This, therefore, is the sealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the keys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of knowledge.

Such was the state of things in 1842.

When Brigham heard Joseph and Hyrum were martyred, he wondered about the keys.

"Brigham recorded in his journal, “The first thing which I thought of was, whether Joseph had taken the keys of the kingdom with him from the earth; brother Orson Pratt sat on my left; we were both leaning back on our chairs. Bringing my hand down on my knee, I said the keys of the kingdom are right here with the Church.”"

Is that something someone who had the key of knowledge would wonder even for a second? Wouldn't one who had the key of knowledge... well, know?

Can one confer knowledge upon someone by the imposition of hands?

Does it sound like the keys of the kingdom - as Joseph put it, the key of knowledge - or, in other words, knowledge, of which the key consists - got transmitted?

Log said...

So we have Joseph saying our baptisms for the dead were no good, and the implication is the Church is now rejected, along with her dead. Joseph gets whacked along with Hyrum. Brigham shows he doesn't know what, or where, the sealing keys are, which looks really, really bad if keys are knowledge.

Which may be why we mean "authoritah" when we use the word "keys" anymore.

grindael said...

Log,

Stop trying to read my mind and read the words I write. I don't know where you get the idea that I BELIEVE in "infallible institutions", but that idea is completely of your own making.

You missed my point. By a longshot.

Log said...

Instead of telling me I missed your point - and, at this point, it's not clear that I did, in fact, miss your point - why not answer my questions?

Log said...

And, while you're answering the questions I asked you, Grindael, by name, to answer, why not spell out your point explicitly so we can see how far off I was in interpreting what you wrote?

I mean, you write to be understood, right? If you learn you were misunderstood when your intent was to be understood, then you would clarify misunderstandings, right? And if you fail to clarify misunderstandings then your intent in writing was not to be understood, right? And if it wasn't your intent in writing to be understood, then what was your intent in writing?

Log said...

And, just to show that I am writing to be understood, I did not attribute belief in infallible institutions to you.

grindael said...

So, why did you address the post (four parts) to me? You claimed "YOUR ADOPTION OF", and then went on your rant. If you are writing to be understood (in this case) it leaves a lot to be desired.

Log said...

Are you going to answer the questions I asked you?

Because this is the second comment you have made and you have yet to address even a single one.

grindael said...

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

5 (May 17th, 1843.) The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.

6 It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.

*****

Now for the secret & grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God & know that Jesus was the son of God this would be no evidence that their election & calling was made shure that they had part with Christ & was a Joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of Prophecy that they were sealed in the heavens & had the promise of eternal live in the kingdom of God.

Then having this promise sealed unto them it was as an anchor to the soul sure & steadfast. Though the thunders might roll, & lightnings flash & earthquakes Bellow & war gather thick around yet this hope & knowledge would support the soul in evry hour of trial trouble & tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord & savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories & misteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Compair this principle once with Christondom at the present day & whare are they with all their boasted religion piety & sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against Prophets Apostles, Angels Revelations Prophesyings, & visions &c? Why they are Just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned for they reject the most glorious principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ & treat with disdain & trample under foot the main key that unlocks the heavens & puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes I say such will be damned with all their professed godliness.

Then I would exhort you to go on & continue to call upon God untill you make your calling & election sure for yourselves by obtaining this more sure word of Prophesey & wait patiently for the promise untill you obtain it. (May, 1843)

Again the doctrin or sealing power of Elijah is as follows: If you have power to seal on earth & in heaven then we should be crafty. The first thing you do go & seal on earth your sons & daughters unto yourself & yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory & go ahead and not go back but use a little Craftiness & seal all you can & when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven. I will walk through the gate of heaven and Claim what I seal & those that follow me & my Council. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.365, March 10, 1844, added emphasis. This quote was drastically changed when it was put into the History of the Church (without ellipsis or any notification) and is still used today in its edited form. (March, 1844)

Log said...

Either you hold to *cough* "Patriarchal Government," also known by its German appelation Führerprinzip, which is the principle of hierarchy, or you do not. The sole alternative to hierarchy is equality - "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." These two options are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive: you must take one or the other, and you cannot take both. (Someday, I may just pound out the formal logical proof of this proposition.)

Hierarchy is the natural outcome of conflict; conflict is the natural outcome of paternalism (the age-old art of playing God - trying to make others conform to your will), and paternalism is the natural outcome of fear, and fear is the state of the natural man.

Equality is the natural outcome of charity, which is perfect love for all; charity is a gift from God received only by those who sacrifice their whole souls - all their sins and everything they have and are - upon the altar of prayer, and are born again, changed from the natural man into a saint through the atonement of God, being filled with the Spirit of God.

The society of Heaven is based on charity; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hierarchical, as is immediately obvious to even the most casual of observers.

God's methods are truth, peace, persuasion, long-suffering, pure knowledge, kindness, grace, and so forth, while hierarchy's method is power - extortion, coercion, compulsion, overbearingness, feigned words, lying, fraud, intimidation, withholding from others, etc.

Remember: there are save it be two churches only - the church of the Lamb of God, and the church of the devil.

"Any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too." - Joseph Smith

"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets."

"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."

grindael said...

"Any person that has seen the heavens opened knows that there are three personages in the heavens who hold the keys of power, and one presides over all. ~June 11, 1843

grindael said...

Your "highest mansion" quote came from Wilford Woodruff, so since he can't be trusted, (according to you) it can't be accepted as what Joseph actually said.

Log said...

As I have said before, and as I repeat now: the world probably has a real past, and I cannot know what it is (until it is my privilege to stand in the Council). I could establish the doctrine using other, longer means, but that quote is the shortest.

Here is the presidency, and power, of the Gods, including God Most High: for it is simply the Golden Rule.

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; 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.

46 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.

Log said...

The Lord sets nominal distinctions among men, including racial characteristics, and calls men by titles. It is a test, to see if with your office, your race, or, in fine, your supposed hierarchical superiority, you will turn and abuse your fellow man, acting paternalistically towards them, supposing you are better than they.

Or to see if you will instead humble yourself and serve, esteeming your brethren like unto yourself, raising them up with your means, your time, your talents, your gifts, until they are equal to you.

Alas, the former is by far the most common outcome. Hence many are called, and few are chosen.

Log said...

For, in the end, there are but two ways to relate to your fellow beings: either you build them up, or you use them to build yourself up.

grindael said...

Why then, did Joseph threaten to excommunicate a man if he did not go on a mission? Did he not understand the very words you just posted? Why are there THREE degrees in the Celestial Kingdom? If everyone there is living the Celestial Law, then why do SOME get to be gods and some do not? Why the need for lower kingdoms? Who regulates them without a hierarchy?

1. There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely: the Melchizedek, and the Aaronic, including the Levitical priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek priesthood, is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest: before his day it was called the holy priesthood, after the order of the Son of God; but out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek priesthood.

2. All other authorities, or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood; but there are two divisions, or grand heads--one is the Melchizedek priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic, or Levitical priesthood.

3. The office of an elder comes under the priesthood of Melchizedek. The Melchizedek priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church, in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.

4. The presidency of the high priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.

5. High priests, after the order of the Melchizedek priesthood, have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest, (of the Levitical order,) teacher, deacon and member.

6. An elder has a right to officiate in his stead when the high priest is not present.

7. The high priest, and elder, are to administer in spiritual, things, agreeably to the covenants and commandments of the church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.

grindael said...

8. The second priesthood is called the priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. Why it is called the lesser priesthood, is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood and holds the keys, or authority of the same. No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron. But as a high priest, of the Melchizedek priesthood, has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found; provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the presidency of the Melchizedek priesthood.

9. The power and authority of the higher or Melchizedek priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church--to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven--to have the heavens opened unto them--to commune with the general assembly and church of the first born, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.

11. Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding offices growing out of, or appointed of, or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods. Doctrine and Covenants (1835), Section 3:10

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods... (June 7, 1844)

19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. (Abraham 3)

18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130)

How does one gain an advantage if ALL THINGS are equal? You are being way too simplistic.

Log said...

Grindael,

You ask: Why then, did Joseph threaten to excommunicate a man if he did not go on a mission?

Show me.

You ask: Did he not understand the very words you just posted?

Joseph did; the rest of the Church did not.

You ask: Why are there THREE degrees in the Celestial Kingdom?

It says celestial glory, not kingdom.

You ask: If everyone there is living the Celestial Law, then why do SOME get to be gods and some do not?

Some get to be Gods because they complied with the law: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them."

You ask: Why the need for lower kingdoms?

Because some prefer hierarchy, rules, enforcement - they want it, and they ask for it. Therefore, they get what they want. That's the telestial, where their glory differs as the stars differ. Some entered the gate of repentance and baptism and received the Spirit, but never became disciples of Jesus because they weren't interested. Or they were just men who didn't know where the truth lay, and weren't interested in being disciples of Jesus when the invitation came, more or less. They weren't interested in being Gods, so they get what they want. These are the terrestrial. Some, however, knew the score, having been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and started the path of discipleship, and choked on the sacrifices asked of them, betrayed both God and their fellow man, and sought death as diligently as they sought life. Therefore it is just to give it to them - these are they who are the sons of perdition.

You ask: Who regulates them without a hierarchy?

The Gods regulate themselves by a simple rule: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets."

You ask: How does one gain an advantage if ALL THINGS are equal?

ALL THINGS don't start equal. They are made equal by God - the Gods all know as they are known, and all possess the record of heaven, meaning the knowledge of all things - and they are equal in might, dominion, and power, being unified in love according to the law that they all willingly obey, which has been written into their hearts, emblazoned in letters of gold upon their souls. These are they who have disciplined themselves according to the law and commandments. They willingly complied with the program that leads to Godhood. They don't need to be ruled because they are no longer spiritual children who need to be led, or spiritual brats bent on throwing tantrums to make others do what they want, but are adults who willingly follow the ideology of God, which is the golden rule. We are Gods, making a choice in the first place between good and evil, and if we choose good then we may become disciples of Christ if we want to, obeying his teachings and commandments freely. It's all without compulsion; you're doing things of your own free will and choice. You can't nag someone into discipleship because if you obey Christ's teachings in order to reduce conflict with someone other than God like, say, nagging and guilt-tripping church leaders or parents, he doesn't receive you. Because you're serving them, not him. And that is one way organized religion can, and typically does, harm us. But that, too, is part of the plan.

But what is the nature of this advantage given through our increase in intelligence through obedience in this life? Joseph's words intimate, to me, the process of learning to be Gods continues beyond this life; there may be other lives to be lived on other earths in different roles. But this is something I do not yet know anything about. Just hints here and there. We may start the next round higher than our fellows because we have greater light and knowledge through our diligence - think about New Game + scenarios in video games.

But that's just supposition.

Log said...

The search for truth, like the search for peace, is the process of conflict resolution, and God is at the end of that process.

Hence, "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God."

Log said...

Q: So what's the point of prophets, apostles, teachers, or even the Church?

A: Ideally, the role of prophets, apostles, teachers, etc, is to shorten the learning curve for the willing disciple of Christ. Ideally, the purpose of a Church is to provide social and emotional support so that we can more easily bear the path of discipleship, for the teachings of Christ are not easy things to obey. After all, the faith to be saved, says Joseph, requires the sacrifice of all earthly things.

Which is why the teachings of Christ don't get obeyed - people are not so keen on becoming homeless, persecuted bums - which is the entirely predictable result of obeying Christ's teachings - but are very keen on being seen to be followers of Christ, for this enhances their social standing with their fellows. "Lo, I, I am Christ's!" They claim Christ for their Lord, but do not obey him.

Which is why the role of prophets, apostles, teachers, and the Church changes when the invitation to discipleship and Zion is rejected. The Church becomes a prison for the minds of its members, with doctrinal and creedal walls built exceedingly high and strong by the membership themselves. The prophets, apostles, elders, etc, become guards, keeping these troublemakers busy with make-work, like home teaching, activities, even temple worship.

That is what happened to the Catholics, and it is what is happening to us. This, too, serves a purpose - they could leave their prison at any time if they would just lay down their swords and enter the covenant of peace - that is, repent and call upon God and enter into his covenant. But they don't believe the offer of peace that Captain Moroni (Christ) makes to them, and they still hate the Nephites (the children of Christ). So building their own prison and giving them menial tasks keeps them busy and out of trouble. While they will still be damned, at least they aren't being led into ever greater wickedness by the power-hungry, thus there will be fewer claims on them when they die. But the example of the Catholics shows that when the inmates become the guards and leaders, they do lead people into ever greater wickedness - witness the Crusades.

And wo unto us when the inmates become the guards, taking over the prison city, as they always ultimately do. For then there is nothing left to do but evacuate all who will listen and flee, for destruction comes soon after.

That is the inevitable result of hierarchy. Eternal conflict and warfare. A strange game, indeed, where the only winning move is not to play. Hence, the Golden Rule. Renounce war and proclaim peace. Return good for evil. Love your enemies. Accept the abuse and do not dish it out. Do not esteem yourself higher than your brethren, but raise them up to be equal to you.

That's what God's doing down here: showing us the consequences of our principles. It's a sales pitch for the Golden Rule. A rule that cannot be enforced, that must be freely chosen.

We're down here to experience all of this and, through our experience, be rendered presumptively competent to make a choice as to which kind of society we wish to participate in in the hereafter by choosing our governing principle. Either the Golden Rule, in which case we become Gods, or some other rule, in which case we can go our own way.

Log said...

If the teachings of Jesus are the homework problems, then the endowments are the answers at the back of the book. They do no good, and have no meaning, for anyone who isn't doing the homework problems.

The endowments are an open invitation to reconciliation with God to the Church. But she's not interested in Zion. She's more interested in power and possessions. So instead of returning to her long-divorced husband, she's been dating a new man - secular Christianity, with its doughboy Christ - and will marry him soon. And the consequences to her children may be rather unpleasant.

Log said...

Q: Why aren't people interested in becoming Gods?

A: Because they desire things that lead to conflict.

Q: What is Godhood?

A: Godhood is becoming an omnicompetent servant who loves everyone, even the devil. Can you imagine that?

grindael said...

You said,

"Godhood is becoming an omnicompetent servant who loves everyone, even the devil. Can you imagine that?"

Joseph Smith couldn't. This is from a letter he wrote in 1838:

We are well aware that there is a certain set of priests & satellites and mobbers that would fain make all the world believe that we are the dogs that barked at this howling wolf that made such havoc among the sheep who when he retreated howled and bleated at such a desperate rate that if one could have been there he would have thought that all the wolves whether wrapped up in sheep skins or goat skins or any other skins and in fine all the beast of the forest were awful ly alarmed and catching the scent of innocent blood they sallied forth with a tremenduous howl and crying of all sorts and such a howling and such a tremenduous havoc never was known such a piece of inhumanity and relentless cruelty and barbarity cannot be found in all the annals of history. These are the characters that would make the world believe that we had committed murder by making an attack upon this howling wolf while we were at home and in our beds and asleep and knew nothing of that transaction any more than we know what is going on in China while we are within these walls. Therefore we say again unto you we are innocent of these things they have represented us falsely Was it for committing adultery, we are aware that false slander has gone abroad for it has been reiterated in our ears. These are falsehoods also. Renegadoes, mormon dissenters are running through the world and spreading various foul and libelous reports against us thinking thereby to gain the friendship of the world because they know that we are not of the world and that the world hates us; therefore they make a tool of these fellows by them they do all the injury they can and after that they hate them worse than they do us because they find them to be base traitors and sycophants. God Such characters God hates we cannot love them the world hates them and we sometimes think the devil ought to be ashamed of them. We have heard that it has been reported by some that some of us should have said that we not only dedicated our prop erty but our families also to the Lord, and satan taking advantage of this has transfigured it into lasciviousness such as a community of wives which is an abomination in the sight of God. http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/letter-to-the-church-in-caldwell-county-missouri-16-december-1838?p=4#!/paperSummary/letter-to-the-church-in-caldwell-county-missouri-16-december-1838&p=5

So if (According to Joseph Smith) God hates the Missourians, he definitely hates Satan, who is the one who inspired them according to Smith.

grindael said...

Actually, that should be Missourians and Mormon Dissenters.

grindael said...

In 1842 Joseph Smith commanded John Snider (who's wife Smith had an illicit affair with) on a mission and said that,

<1842.> January 28 Joseph decided that Elder John Snider should go out on a mission, and if necessary some one go with him. and raise up a Church. and get means to go to England. & carry the Epistles required in the Revelation 109 page 36.— and instructed the Twelve, B[righam] Young H[eber] C. Kimball. W[ilford] Woodruff. &— W[illard] Richards— being present. to call Elder Snider into their council & instruct him in these things, & if he will not do these things he shall be cut off from the Church. & be damned.— (Online here, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/the-book-of-the-law-of-the-lord#!/paperSummary/journal-december-1841-december-1842&p=18).

grindael said...

I have told you what causes apostacy. It arises from neglect of prayers and duties, and the Spirit of the Lord leaves those who are thus negligent and they begin to think that the authorities of the church are wrong. In the days of Joseph the first thing manifested in the case of apostacy was the idea that Joseph was liable to be mistaken, and when a man admits that in his feelings and sets it down as a fact, it is a step towards apostacy, and he only needs to make one step more and he is cut off from the church. That is the case in any man. When several of the Twelve were cut off, the first step was that Joseph was a prophet, but he had fallen from his office and the Lord would suffer him to lead the people wrong. When persons get that idea in their minds, they are taking the first step to apostacy. If the Lord has designed that I should lead you wrong, then let us all go to hell together and, as Joseph used to say, we will take hell by force, turn the devils out and make a heaven of it. (Richard S. Van Wagoner, The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Speech given on 21 March 1858, Salt Lake Tabernacle, transcribed by George D. Watt, Vol. 3, 1420).

Log said...

25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,

26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.

27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!


We always weep over them we hate, don't we?

Interesting about the record purporting to show Joseph commanding Snider. I wonder if the record is true and accurate. I also wonder if there is any context missing. Might be something to investigate.

And do you know Joseph had an illicit affair with Snider's wife, being a firsthand witness? Or are you merely repeating an accusation, the truth of which cannot be established? Were there witnesses, or children? Joseph was, after all, fertile.

In any event, my understandings are not hostage to Joseph's rhetoric.

And I will wait for you to answer my questions. All of them. Of which you have answered none at present.

Log said...

Actually, you know what, I take that back. I won't wait for you to answer my questions. That you haven't answered any but rather contended against everything else is indication enough of what your answers would be. Granted, this is technically an argument from ignorance, but given the effort you expend in contending against every point, and the complete lack of effort you have expended to answer questions, well, let's just say I'd be mighty surprised to see you advance any support for the golden rule.

Shrug. Well, whatever makes you happy bro. You get what you ask for in the end. As ye mete, so shall it be measured to you, after all.

Log said...

A prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such. Of course, it takes an understanding of the spirit of prophecy to know when a prophet is acting as such, but those who have no understanding of the spirit of prophecy reveal themselves by trying to sell the words of a prophet when he wasn't acting as such as though he were acting as such when he said them.

Shorter: Joseph wasn't always acting as a prophet.

Jesus gave the basic keys for discerning the spirit of prophecy from the spirit of the devil.

"He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention."

"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets."

Try the spirits.

Log said...

"I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught."

Sigh. He wasn't kidding on either end. Well, I suppose I should thank Grindael for proving the truth of Joseph's words.

grindael said...

It says celestial glory, not kingdom.

Really? Joseph Smith, 1832:

2. This comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life; even the glory of THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM: which glory is that of the church of the first born … Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory; for after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; that bodies who are of THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM may possess it forever, and ever; for, for this intent was it made, and created; and for this intent are they sanctified. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you; even the law of Christ, must inherit ANOTHER KINGDOM, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom, cannot abide a celestial glory: and he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom, cannot abide a terrestrial glory: he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom, cannot abide a telestial glory: therefore, he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore, he must abide a kingdom which is not A KINGDOM OF GLORY. (Doctrine and Covenants (1835), Section 7:6)

Joseph Smith, 21 January 1836

The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Fathers Adam and Abraham, and my father and mother, my brother, Alvin, that has long since slept, and marvelled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance IN THAT KINGDOM, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set His hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. [Then he received the revelation].

"Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying--

ALL WHO HAVE DIED WITHOUT A KNOWLEDGE OF THIS GOSPEL, WHO WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT IF THEY HAD BEEN PERMITTED TO TARRY, SHALL BE HEIRS OF THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM OF GOD; ALSO ALL THAT SHALL DIE HENCEFORTH WITHOUT A KNOWLEDGE OF IT, WHO WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS, SHALL BE HEIRS OF THAT KINGDOM, FOR I, THE LORD, WILL JUDGE ALL MEN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, ACCORDING TO THE DESIRE OF THEIR HEARTS.

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those, who were with him, we will go down, for there is space there, and we will make an Earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they, who keep their first estate, shall be added upon; and they, who keep not their first estate, shall not have glory in the same kingdom, with those who keep their first estate; and they, who keep their second estate, shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever. (Book of Abraham, Times and Seasons, Vol.3, No.10, p.720).

grindael said...

"As concerning the resurrection I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young, there will not be `added unto their stature one cubit;' neither taken from God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood. Children will be enthroned in the presence of God, and the Lamb; with bodies of the same stature that they had on earth; having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, they will there enjoy the fulness of that light glory, and intelligence which is prepared in the CELESTIAL KINGDOM: `Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; for they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.' (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol.3, No.12, p.752-p.753).


Thus we see what Smith actually meant,

1 In the celestial glory [Celestial Kingdom of Glory] there are three heavens or degrees;

2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

You are playing word games here and that’s not very convincing.

The original quote above from 1836 was all in caps.

Log said...

Ah, there was context. The Lord commanded Snider to go on a mission a month prior.

Interesting. Context changes things, and speed was of the essence - as it related to getting resources for the ill-fated Nauvoo temple, for which a set time to build had been set by the Lord.

However, this further diminishes my estimation of Grindael's worth as a reliable witness of truth than his repeating an accusation of adultery against Joseph had already done, coupled with his inability to understand the shift in meaning in the usage of the word "oracles" from Joseph to his successors. Grindael is now, to me, someone whose word in every little particular ought to be checked to ensure he's not misleading by omitting relevant information.

grindael said...

I've answered everything that you presented. But you want to play games. If you don't like a quote, you question its accuracy or vilify those that wrote it down. Now you want to claim that Joseph wasn't acting like a prophet at YOUR convenience. Old and lame argument. Your problem is that you want to generalize everything. You don't understand (apparently) the nuances of Joseph's teachings and that you have been wrong here about virtually everything. YOU have the "understanding" of the "spirit of prophecy" so of course YOUR INTERPRETATION naturally would trump anyone elses, even when common sense shows what the words actually say. Have fun with that, again, it is not very convincing at all.

Log said...

And here Grindael proves my estimate of his reliability.

I said: It says celestial glory, not kingdom.

Grindael said: Really?

To which I now reply: Yes, really.

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.


QED.

And Grindael cites a few instances of Joseph using the phrase "Celestial Kingdom" and then asserting, of course, that by "celestial glory," he of course meant "Celestial Kingdom." So, of course, to Grindael, it doesn't matter what words Joseph says - Joseph must mean what Grindael believes Joseph means. One wonders why Grindael needs to cite Joseph at all since Grindael can simply stuff words in Joseph's mouth and pretend Joseph said them at will.

Watch this one, folks. The truth isn't good enough for him.

grindael said...

What is the difference as to whether Snider was called on a mission 100 times prior to Smith threatening him with excommunication? NONE. That context changes nothing. One is misusing the power of the priesthood to FORCE anyone to do anything they don't want to do. Your explanation about context here his simply ludicrous. I've shown my quotes to be accurate, all we see from you is word games and a penchant to vilify anyone that doesn't agree with you.

grindael said...

It is always sad that when one loses an argument they must then attack the one they are losing it to. Sad indeed, Log.

Log said...

Interesting. Grindael says: "I've answered everything that you presented."

To which I reply: Except, of course, my questions.

grindael said...

LOG just doesn't like my answers folks, because he has no reasonable rebuttal to them, he has to attack me and everyone else. That's ok. The conversation is there for all to see.

Log said...

Interesting again.

"What is the difference as to whether Snider was called on a mission 100 times prior to Smith threatening him with excommunication? NONE. That context changes nothing."

It actually changes a lot - to me. But you don't have to agree. And I don't feel like explaining what it changes.

"One is misusing the power of the priesthood to FORCE anyone to do anything they don't want to do."

Is there is such a thing as priesthood power, and is it the power to force someone to do something?

"Your explanation about context here his simply ludicrous. I've shown my quotes to be accurate, all we see from you is word games and a penchant to vilify anyone that doesn't agree with you."

You keep citing Joseph when Joseph is not acting as prophet.

Log said...

"LOG just doesn't like my answers folks, because he has no reasonable rebuttal to them, he has to attack me and everyone else. That's ok. The conversation is there for all to see."

Well, let's see.

I asked: Grindael, do the words you have cited to justify your adoption of the princple of hierarchy, called Furherprinzip by the German political philosophers, and Patriarchal Government or Priesthood by Brigham Young and his contemporaries and successors, admit of any possible alternative interpretation than the one you seem to give them?

You answered:

I asked: Do you really like that principle?

You answered:

I asked: Do you believe it is sound?

You asnwered:

I asked: Can you imagine living in an eternal hierarchy, worlds without end, like a Celestial Ponzi scheme, where everyone knows their place and shall never exceed it, worlds without end?

You answered:

I asked: Is such a scheme compatible with the order of heaven, where there is hierarchical equality (D&C 76:95[92-96])? (Note the reference.)

You answered:

I asked: If a different governing principle pertains to heaven [equality] than the Church [Fuhrerprinzip], how is the Church equivalent to the kingdom of God, to you?

You answered:

I asked: Or, to put a fine point on it: if the Church is not following the law of the Celestial Kingdom, how then is it the kingdom of God?

You answered:

I asked: If a kingdom is not ruled by the law of God, is it God's kingdom?

You answered:

I asked: If it is his kingdom despite not being ruled by his law, then is it not in open rebellion against him?

You answered:

I asked: Might this not be precisely the state of the Jews when John, and, later, Jesus were ministering in the flesh? (hereafter followed a citation of JST Matt 21.)

You answered:

grindael said...

Again, here we see that Log won't explain himself, because he obviously can't. His question here, is irrelevant and a diversion. I keep citing Joseph, but HE is the the one who is claiming he is not acting like a prophet, (without any explanation at all) a convenient way for him to try and get out of dealing with what Joseph actually taught and did. Anyone with a lick of sense will see through this ruse. Good luck trying to pawn that off on an informed public.

grindael said...

My answers are there in my comments. You just don't want to acknowledge them. You little display above only shows how silly you are getting here.

grindael said...

One example folks, should suffice. One of his questions (which is actually irrelevant to the discussion) was:

I asked: Do you really like that principle?

I answered this:

Stop trying to read my mind and read the words I write. I don't know where you get the idea that I BELIEVE in "infallible institutions", but that idea is completely of your own making.

You missed my point. By a longshot.

This is all the answer that divertive questions like this deserve. It is irrelevant and does nothing to further the conversation. It isn't the answer that Log was perhaps hoping to get, but it WAS an answer. In other words, I wasn't falling for it.

Log said...

"Again, here we see that Log won't explain himself, because he obviously can't."

Really?

"His question here, is irrelevant and a diversion."

Which question are we speaking of?

"I keep citing Joseph, but HE is the the one who is claiming he is not acting like a prophet, (without any explanation at all) a convenient way for him to try and get out of dealing with what Joseph actually taught and did."

I have to wonder, again, if you have Asperger's syndrome, because you are exhibiting a very narrow range of mental activity. To imagine my understandings must be held hostage to your understanding of Joseph's actions or words - those ones not prefaced by "Thus saith the Lord" - is, to me, indefensible. Because I have to wonder, Grindael, since you accuse Joseph of adultery, whether you could pass the test you seem to wish to apply to me. But your track record of answering questions is such that I won't bother to ask if you are active LDS.

"Anyone with a lick of sense will see through this ruse."

That is a value judgement on your part, and you are indeed welcome to your opinion.

"Good luck trying to pawn that off on an informed public."

Thanks!

"My answers are there in my comments."

I have been unable to discern them amongst your glut of irrelevant citations.

"You just don't want to acknowledge them."

I have been unable to discern them amongst your glut of irrelevant citations.

"You [sic] little display above only shows how silly you are getting here."

True, I knew from the outset this was a literal waste of time pertaining to our getting to understand one another - your inability to understand that Joseph used the word "oracles" in a quite different sense than his successors tipped me off. But others might benefit from the demonstration.

Log said...

One example folks, should suffice. One of his questions (which is actually irrelevant to the discussion) was:

[Log] asked: Do you really like that principle?

[Grindael] answered this:

Stop trying to read my mind and read the words I write. I don't know where you get the idea that I BELIEVE in "infallible institutions", but that idea is completely of your own making."


Let us analyze my question. I asked Grindael if he liked Führerprinzip, which is the principle of hierarchy - that was the antecedent to, and meaning of the phrase, "that principle." Grindael started squawking about "infallible institutions." So, not only did he not answer my question, it is immediately obvious he didn't understand it.

But behold the triumphalism here:

Grindael: This is all the answer that divertive questions like this deserve. It is irrelevant and does nothing to further the conversation. It isn't the answer that Log was perhaps hoping to get, but it WAS an answer. In other words, I wasn't falling for it.

True. He surely didn't fall for the trap of answering my question.

Log said...

Of course, the conversation to me was hierarchy vs. equality. To ask whether someone who believes in hierarchy likes the principle, if they've thought it through fully, if they can appreciate the necessary consequences of the principle, seems to be fair game.

After all, these are inherently value judgements. Do you like this or that principle? Do you like this or that consequence?

Nobody's right or wrong here - at least, depending on how one defines right or wrong. I mean, you feel what you feel - are feelings right or wrong? God's definition of right or wrong is one not many agree with. But they're free to choose some other standard, and, in the end, go with the society that agrees with them. It simply won't be God's society.

If you like hierarchy, you can have it. Enjoy it, if possible. And if you've had your fill of leaders and followers, if you've had your fill of compulsory means being applied to ensure your compliance with directives from your leaders, if you're tired of kissing butt to avoid being abused, doing things you hate, being depressed all the time, then try God's way.

PNW_DPer said...

I sometimes think I like a voluntary Führerprinzip, where I voluntarily "delegate" to someone else to be in charge of a project or process when I don't want to expend the effort to be in charge or to be responsible for the project myself, but where I can voluntarily decide not to participate as a follower, even though that might mean withdrawing from the project.

An example might be a volunteer fire dept., where the trained volunteer responds to a call if he is available, and takes directions from the officer in charge to get the immediate job done of saving lives and property. But the volunteer does this voluntarily, and though he is expected to follow through after responding to a specific emergency, his service overall is offered voluntarily and can be withdrawn if he feels good cause, to include burnout, political frictions, bad leadership, etc.

I find it interesting that Alma in Alma 1 equates priesthood leadership with teaching the word of God to the "followers" in classes and meetings, and once the teaching is done in that class or meeting, everyone goes back to being equal, not one above another, and that the whole rest of the book of Alma is all about the destructive effects of trying to put one above another, starting in the church with Nehor.

Log said...

Can you imagine the following conversation?

Q: "Do you like that flavor of sorbet?"

A: "Stop trying to read my mind and read the words I write. I don't know where you get the idea that I BELIEVE in 'infallibly delicious iced confections', but that idea is completely of your own making."

Why wouldn't you simply say "yes" if your intent was to actually answer the question (especially since most sorbets are totally yummy)?

Unless you believed that by giving any answer you could be stepping into a trap, because your goal was not to reach understanding but to WIN, and you didn't understand the question, or were fundamentally hostile to the questioner, believing him to be hostile towards you, and therefore his question was not to be taken at face value, and you were in competition or combat with him...

Which actually makes all kinds of sense out of what followed.

grindael said...

Q: "Do you like that flavor of sorbet?" Why wouldn't you simply say "yes" if your intent was to actually answer the question (especially since most sorbets are totally yummy)?

Because the question is irrelevant and my saying yes or no was absolutely unimportant to the conversation. Why was it so important for YOU to know if I LIKED a concept that YOU brought up and claimed I believed in?

And, oh yes, in the middle of theological discussions, asking someone if they like the flavor of sorbet is totally relevant and a perfect analogy here. This is just moronic lunacy.

Unless you believed that by giving any answer you could be stepping into a trap, because your goal was not to reach understanding but to WIN, and you didn't understand the question, or were fundamentally hostile to the questioner, believing him to be hostile towards you, and therefore his question was not to be taken at face value, and you were in competition or combat with him...

My goal was to keep the conversation on track and not let you put words in my mouth or allw you to erroneously attribute to me something you made up. All the rest of this fantasy is something you dreamed up. You appear frustrated and angry at not being able to answer any of my citations with any kind of coherent reply and so had to attack me personally. Sad, really that this is all you can come up with.

Which actually makes all kinds of sense out of what followed.

Yes it does, doesn't it?

grindael said...

I won't bother to ask if you are active LDS....


Why does it matter and why would you want to know? This also, is irrelevant to the conversation. You overflow with irrelevancy and you are the one who wants to narrowly define what Joseph's revelations are. And why should it matter if an active Mormon believed that Joseph committed adultery? It was brought up in a Church trial in 1850 attended by Brigham Young and others and they didn't bat an eyelash at it, didn't object to it, and so why should it matter if someone is LDS or not in stating historical facts? But this only shows you have some kind of ulterior motive other than "getting to understand one another", yours is to dismiss any kind of facts that don't line up with your own preconceived notions about Joseph and what he taught and did. And your take on oracles is far from convincing, the fact that you are so arrogant to think that you are right and everyone else is wrong just proves it. I stated I disagreed with Rock's interpretation and stated why. You are the one bringing discord here and attacking people, even when I only quoted Joseph and made no commentary. But carry on, I'm sure you are making an impression on... someone.

grindael said...

The problem with Log’s concept of likening Führerprinzip to the Mormon Hierarchy, or the Priesthood, is that they are not analogous. Führerprinzip is based on social Darwinism, in that some are born to lead or rule because they were born more gifted than others. It would be considered a worldly concept in comparison to the Priesthood which has been described as God’s perfect Law of Government. Brigham Young taught that it was a “perfect system of government, of laws and ordinances,” which, “when properly understood,” empowers the righteous that they “may actually unlock the treasury of the Lord” (DBY, 130, 131).

The concept of a Hierarchy is not an evil one, only to those who want to ascribe it so and apply what is worldly to a heavenly standard. Joseph described the Priesthood as a “perfect law of theocracy”. (Teachings, p. 157, 322). There is a Hierarchy in the Priesthood, there are “three grand orders”.

Joseph actually wrote the guidelines for the Priesthood in a letter from a Missouri Jail in 1839:

37 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 ambition, 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. (D&C 121)

Joseph had the Priesthood conferred upon him, along with the keys to the oracles that made him a living oracle of God to his people. It is obvious that this is what he taught, and that his followers, who knew him better than anyone, understood to be true.

Log said...

"[T]he fact that you are so arrogant to think that you are right and everyone else is wrong just proves it. I stated I disagreed with Rock's interpretation and stated why. You are the one bringing discord here and attacking people."

Thinking you are right and others are wrong is arrogant, says Grindael. Grindael thinks he is right and Rock, and Log, are wrong, says Grindael. Asking questions is attacking, says Grindael. Accusing Joseph of adultery is no attack. But saying something "is just moronic lunacy" is no attack. Because Grindael cannot be a hypocrite.

"The problem with Log’s concept of likening Führerprinzip to the Mormon Hierarchy, or the Priesthood, is that they are not analogous. Führerprinzip is based on social Darwinism, in that some are born to lead or rule because they were born more gifted than others."

The intellectual development of the principle of hierarchy matters not a whit - the principle of Priesthood, or Patriarchal Government, is identical to Führerprinzip in content.

"'[T]he Führer‍ '​s word is above all written law" and that governmental policies, decisions, and offices ought to work toward the realization of this end." - Wikipedia

Thus the Church Handbook of Instructions has superceded scripture; not only that, but immediate directives from the leadership supercede the CHI. We are not judged by a written law anymore.

"The ideology of the Führerprinzip sees each organization as a hierarchy of leaders, where every leader (Führer, in German) has absolute responsibility in his own area, demands absolute obedience from those below him and answers only to his superiors. This required obedience and loyalty even over concerns of right and wrong." - Wikipedia

“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home. … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)

"Eventually, virtually no activity or organization in Germany could exist that was completely independent of party and/or state leadership." - Wikipedia

This process of bringing everything under central hierarchical control is called "Priesthood Correlation" in the Church.

To the honest Mormon, Führerprinzip is not merely analogous to the governing principle of the LDS Church, it is the governing principle of the LDS Church. Whether it is called by its German name, or its Brighamite name, it is the same beast.

And the honest Mormon immediately sees the "social Darwinism" in the Mormon hierarchy, coupled with a theological justification for it - waiting for apostolic seniors to die so that the next ones down can rise to inherit their place, and, you know, they are there because they were born more gifted than others, from being predestined in the premortal existence by God to lead and guide his Church.

Well, if you like hierarchy, Grindael, you're welcome to it. If it makes you happy, then it can't be that bad, right?

Log said...

It is interesting to realize that the same principle that "governed" the Nazis "governs" the Church, isn't it?

To Grindael, I'm simply wrong, Wrong, WRONG! Heaven is hierarchical!

Well, of necessity, it must be, because some of its inhabitants want hierarchy. Hierarchy is not itself necessarily evil - if you like it and want it and ask for it.

I find it interesting to think on the fact that to these team-based types, salvation consists solely of picking the right team. Once you've picked the right team, well, stay on the team and you win! You're saved.

Does that sound like what Jesus was preaching? Eh. Like I said, not many are interested in doing what Jesus taught, but, because they are very status conscious, they are very interested in being seen to be on Jesus's, or the prophets', teams. That's the telestial mindset.

98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

99 For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.

100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.

So there's a glory in the celestial world even for them. They get what they want in the end.

The difficulty, as current events show, is living with them when they want to boss YOU around.

Randy and Julie said...

Are you children through? You have hijacked this blog for your own arguments. Please, agree to disagree and move on. Both of you are acting very un-Christian trying to prove your own arguments while using your logic to disprove the other's. Rock, please stop this nonsense. This isn't intelligent dialog. It's become a pissing contest. Enough is enough.

Log said...

Yes! Let the bannings commence! Let us censor! Let us compel others to be silent or excommunicate them! Oh... wait...

Log said...

Randy or Julie,

How does the rationale behind your call for censorship differ, in principle, from the Church's rationale for excommunicating Rock?

Randy and Julie said...

No debate Log. No censorship. Just a plea for you and Grindael to stop arguing and bickering. You have both articulated your points enough. It has digressed from dialog to name calling and finger pointing. Please don't attempt to bring me into this. I don't like what happened to Rock. I enjoy his blog because its well researched and I have learned much here. I hate arguing though. Mostly, they deteriorate into pride battles as displayed above. I can settle it. You are both right. Now, shake hands like gentlemen and agree to disagree. It's that simple. Have a good day.

Log said...

Hmmm. Julie, why should your preferences or tastes dictate my liberties?

Log said...

The purpose of redefining "oracles" to mean the hierarchy was to set the leadership above the written law. Hence, "living oracles." Like the "living Constitution." Now we can exercise power in contravention to the laws as written, since there is no authority save it be our word.

The purpose to appealing to leadership to shut someone up - excommunicate them, silence them, cast them out, stone them, kill them - is because of mental or emotional discomfort in the one doing the appealing. Reality isn't the way we want it, and won't someone please make it be the way we like it?

That is the point to the current purge of those who do not believe Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei within the Church. That is the point behind political correctness. That is the point behind anti-"hate speech" rhetoric and laws. That is the point to asking Rock to shut me up.

Well, we all get to choose our relational principles. There's no escaping it. Whether inside or outside the Church, you make your choice - hierarchy or equality; power or liberty.

Randy and Julie said...

Log,

For what it's worth, I believe you and Rock presented the better argument in favor of the oracles of God being his words and not necessarily his prophets only. But, that's just me. I have never liked paternalism in any fashion.

I lived for 8 years in Germany and listened to their excuses ad-nauseum for the Holocaust. "We didn't know what was going on. It's not our fault". In reality, they didn't want to know nor did they care what happened. No judgement, just the my observations. There is a reason Eisenhower made sure every German kid tours an ex-concentration camp during their High School years. They have to see for themselves what their nation did because many still try to hide behind the argument there was no Holocaust. Fueher Prinzip at its finest overcome by an even more able bodied leader. Call it what you want, when you hide truth, you're being deceitful and manipulative. It's just wrong.

I am troubled by the amount of authoritarianism being displayed these days in the Church. Follow the Prophet, that's all you gotta do. I still react to it when I hear people quote it blindly. Why then do we teach commandments, decision making skills, reasoning out in your mind, if all we have to do is follow someone else? Doesn't seem logical to me. That's because it isn't. It is easier to teach "Follow the Leader", keep the funds rolling in, and don't make waves. We're in charge and you aren't. Don't believe me. Ask Rock!

Also, such teachings remind me too much of Brigham's administration. He never claimed to be a prophet nor did he provide the prophecies to go with the calling. He did provide a lot of false doctrine, "do as I say, not as I do" teachings, and a little heresy to go along with it (Adam - God Theory, Blood Atonement, not investigating the Mtn. Meadows Massacre while Governor to name a few). He just thought he was an able-bodied leader.

When I look back at history of those times today, he comes across as an authoritarian, autocratic, my-way-or-the-highway kind of politician. He probably was just a man of his time though. However, that's just my view. I'm glad I don't have to live with him or be under his rule today. We'd have problems. Or maybe not. I'd probably go nowhere near him or the Church if such a leader or leaders were in charge today. Thankfully, I haven't felt that way. They all seem like good men. Not perfect, but they try. Some are better at it than others.

I have enjoyed reading this dialog but I believe its gone on long enough. Hey, you have a Google Account. Set up your own Bloggernacle Blog and you and Grindael can have at it. But I believe you two got a little mad at not being able to convince one another and your discussion deteriorated into an argument. It started to get nasty. I don't believe Rock would appreciate it too much. I don't know. He may be eating it up for all I know. But, we're all pretty much trying to be followers of Christ here. I don't think the Lord likes contention. In the long run, it matters little who is right or wrong about oracles. By the way, you can call me Randy. Not sure why my wife's name is showing up on this. Must be the name of the Blog I set up long ago (and have abandoned on Google). Take care.

Log said...

Randy (then),

It's not about convincing Grindael. There is a fundamental disconnect between us which cannot be bridged with words. I'm not mad at him at all. Frustrated, sure. Oh yes.

The issue isn't oracles - that one was done settled by Rock's post, with the comment war being strictly a sideshow (to me). The actual argument is over Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei. Authority and power. Who gets to dictate to whom? Or, as Stalin put it: "Who? Whom?"

The One Ring of Power. There are other rings, to be sure. But that's the one that everyone's fighting over.

DeeLyn said...

I don't believe the Lord 'likes' contention either, but he sure knowingly started & caused alot of it himself, even among his own family & friends. And he said that those who follow him will cause alot of contention too. For truth and liberty just naturally bring out contentious feelings in those who don't believe in such. Unfortunately there will never be a way to discuss truth or stand for the right without some contention, until everyone believes in and lives the teachings of Christ.

I'm just grateful to Rock for his rare level of goodness, knowledge & insight & his confidence in his own beliefs and his understanding of individual responsibility to discern truth from error, that he is willing to have a blog that allows & respects the greatest 'freedom of speech' of any blog I know of.

But as far as the conversation goes, I believe that the past 6000 years of history have proven that no mortal is trustworthy or righteous enough to handle or be trusted with power over others or be our representative or make decisions for us or lead us civilly or religiously. That includes both government and religious leaders.

For even some of the best of so-called prophets or presidents have fallen for the worst of evils. As far as the LDS religion, it is even based on men like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young who proved over and over that not only can they not be trusted to lead and protect their own families, or be trusted with other people's money/tithing and use it righteously, but they themselves can't keep or preach the commandments of Christ and thus almost immediately lead people astray who follow them. The same could be said of most ancient prophets too.

Only those who don't want to have to think for themselves or accept responsibility for their own liberty & salvation willingly given others power to govern them or think & receive revelation for them.

Liberty and truth can never be safe in the hands of political or religious leaders, for everyone can and does fall for falsehoods, pride, and evil. If we are going to have liberty or truth we will need to create or find it ourselves, and with small groups of like minds, while all maintain complete control over their property & lives.

I believe Christ and God never wanted us to have any leaders, religious or civil. It is the 1st and greatest commandment to not worship or follow anyone but God & Christ, yet everyone I know or have heard of, puts the rulings, laws, decrees, doctrines and commandments of prophets, priests, politicians, presidents, and kings over Christ's & God's.

Even Christ's disciples were only supposed to go around preaching 'Christ's exact words' and not set themselves up as a light unto themselves or start a 'Church' & collect money for it (as LDS prophets do today), but they were to only point everyone to Christ and not add in their own thinking or opinions or revelations, but some of them unfortunately did that, including more modern religious leaders like Joseph Smith & BY.

Just because someone claims they are a prophet or produces so called scripture, or claims they have seen Christ & God, doesn't mean they are telling or producing the truth or that we should follow them, even if they are the real deal. Prove all things, by the Golden Rule.

No one needs leaders or prophets, though prophets can be helpful if they only preach Christ's words and not their own, but that has hardly never happened.

Everyone understands the Golden Rule, whether they ever set foot in a church. Every major religion teaches it, even though they usually don't follow it.

Christ & God are the only leaders we need or can trust or who can help us maintain our liberties & salvation. Their Gospel is written in our hearts and further witnessed in the New Test for all the world to read. Even Gandhi said that if Christians really followed Christ, the whole world would be Christian.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Thanks Rock. I wasn't sure how good the analogy was.

One phrase I'm finding odd now is "Prophetic Counsel". What on Earth does that even mean? Am I sustaining a prophet or a counselor? I'm happy to receive counsel and if the Lord says he is counselling me, then that's fine, whether it be through a prophet or not. But the way that our leaders' counsel is talked about, it's like they're words must be followed, simply because they have a calling to watch over us.

I'm happy to receive someone's counsel, or advice (unless it's really bad or they imply something about me that isn't true or pleasant). Since Priesthood bearers, and members, are to teach and counsel each other, I think others' words are to be considered. Especially the words of leaders and teachers who are called, as they are entitled to receive revelation and inspiration to teach others. Then after consideration, I should pray about it to know if the words are true and how I should apply them. I must admit, I don't do this for everything (I think we would have a lot more people we could name "Uncorrelated Mormons" if all Mormons prayed about everything.)

So I may find them valuable, even if they're not actual oracles.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Of course, some things we don't need to pray about. They may be obvious things we just hadn't considered or not well enough.

It's funny how the word "orar" in Spanish and Portuguese means "to pray", when it derives from the same Latin word we get oracle, even though it's the name for communication going the other direction.

It's very difficult not to put in one's own opinions about doctrines or, even more so, how to live righteously and apply Christ's teachings, while teaching somebody about Christ. God hasn't taught us how to apply everything, and while he expects us to do it ourselves, I believe teachers of the gospel need to apply His words to people in their circumstances and taking in account their individual personalities. The New Testament teaches that we need somebody to teach us the gospel, in order for us to know about it. Whether it be from someone's own mouth or their writings, we are still receiving God's words from another human being.

I don't know how Joseph Smith didn't teach Christ's commandments or live by them (or try to). I mean, I believe he was called of God to reveal His words and Will to us. Joseph may have implied he was leading people, but he didn't want people just to follow him instead of Christ. I don't think of leaders as people to copy in everything, just someone to teach, by word and example, and coordinate the Lord's work.

Jason Wharton said...

I would just like to say that I disagree with how you interpret D&C 90:3-5.

I'll quote them here for reference:
D&C 90
3 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;
4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.
5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.


When the Lord introduces the term "oracles" in relation to Joseph Smith Jr. and says the oracles shall be passed to another, even to the church, the fully explicit context here is the Lord is referring to the gift to receive the oracles. There is only one person at a time who has the gift to authoritatively receive oracles for the entire body. All can receive communication but only one at a time can deem those communications as a binding communication upon the body.

I agree entirely that in the strict sense an oracle is the written communication from God and not a reference to a person. However, there does at times seem to be a bit of a blurring on this because it is also true that only one person at a time shoulders this gift and the authority that goes along with it. So, it isn't a stretch to refer to that one person who bears this to also be referred to as the oracle.

In this passage however the Lord isn't referring to the oracles as the person or as the actual words. What the Lord is talking about is the gift to receive the oracles and how this gift would be handled upon Joseph Smith's passing.

I agree entirely that the Celestial Kingdom of the Father cannot be such without the means to receive direct first person communication from Him. Therefore, if the oracles of God are not with a people, neither is the Kingdom of the Father present. You would just be left with an empty shell that has the form and appearance of such but that in reality has lost the power of such.