Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Church Ain't The Kingdom, Part Four

This is the concluding entry in my series on the Kingdom of God. Please click on the following links to read  the previous entries: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.


When Joseph and Hyrum Smith were unexpectedly murdered on June 27th, 1844, the church lost the one man who held the highest office in the church -Joseph's brother, Hyrum. The Lord had previously appointed Hyrum Smith to be prophet, seer, and revelator, and Hyrum already held the office of patriarch, which Joseph declared was the highest office in the church. It was certainly more important than the office of president, which was the office Joseph held.

Had Hyrum not been killed the same time Joseph was, there is little question that the patriarch would have been elected president by the people to replace Joseph, and had their brother Samuel not died mysteriously[1] the following month, the mantle of patriarch would have fallen on Samuel, who also would have certainly been elected to preside.
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[1]There were many in the church at the time who believed to their dying day that Samuel Smith had been deliberately poisoned to prevent him from succeeding his brothers in office. See "Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover."

All of this was moot, however, because in Joseph's opinion the church no longer needed a leader. We now had the Book of Mormon and modern revelations; members ought to be able to govern themselves from here on out with the help of those tools, as long as they did not forget to seek continuous, personal revelation from the Lord.

Joseph Smith had been trying to step back from governing of the church ever since Hyrum was appointed patriarch, since that was really the only office of the priesthood necessary now that there was sufficient scripture to guide the church. If additional revelations were necessary, Hyrum had been anointed to receive them. Still, the people wouldn't leave Joseph alone. They couldn't seem to help looking to him for leadership, even when he told them that their dependence on the prophet was keeping them darkened in their minds. Once he was gone, his assertion that he wasn't really needed was actually proven by the experience of those members who chose to stay behind after Brigham and the others removed themselves to the Rockies.

Of the estimated twenty thousand members of the church in 1844, only about half of them chose to move to the Rockies.  It was too dangerous for any Mormons to remain in Nauvoo, so they scattered and settled elsewhere; some relocated to other parts of Illinois, others to Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and around the Great Lakes area.

With a few exceptions [2], these "Plains Mormons" as they came to be known, didn't have a particular leader, nor did they feel they needed one. Most did not think of themselves as a break-off of the main body of the church the way we who are descended from the Utah Church tend to think of them; they saw themselves as separate branches of the same church, and they thought of the church in Utah as just another branch of the church they all belonged to. When missionaries from Utah came through on their way to serve missions in the British Isles, they were welcomed, fed, and put up by these plains Mormons just as though they were all of the same denomination.
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[2] Most notably the Cutlerites in Iowa, the Strangites in Michigan, and the Wightites in Texas.

The schism between the Utah Mormons and the Plains Mormons did not really take hold until years later, when Joseph's son and Hyrum's son rose to adulthood and began feuding with each other over which of them held the proper "authority" from God to lead. That was also about the time most of these plains Mormons incorporated under the umbrella of the newly formed Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which I think was a mistake. The "Josephite" church was now no more legitimate than the "Brighamite" wing. Both had become incorporated entities, the members of both churches subjugating their dependence upon the Lord in exchange for dependence upon their respective "churches" instead.

Joseph Steps Away
Earlier, during the Kirtland/Missouri/Nauvoo period, Mormons did not think of the church as a monolithic institution as we do today. When Joseph spoke of the church, he was referring to the members, not to an organized hierarchy the way we think of "The Church" in modern times. The Lord defined His church as "whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me," and that is the definition understood by the early saints. The church was the members. It existed independent of any leader or group of leaders.

What leadership bodies the Lord had formed in Joseph's day were strictly delineated in their roles so that each would be a check against the other in the event one body might attempt to arrogate authority that rightly belonged to another.  Each quorum was equal in authority; there was no top-down hierarchy as we have today with the president at the top of the pecking order. The First Presidency had very limited authority to preside (over the priesthood, not over the members), the High Council existed to settle disputes between members, The Seventy were independent of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Quorum of the Twelve's authority existed only outside the existing church boundaries. The Twelve Apostles had no authority whatsoever to govern in any capacity within the church.

There were two other bodies, but neither had governing authority within the church, either. One was the Quorum of the Anointed, which was presided over by both Joseph and his wife, Emma who had authority equal to her husband. This was not an administrative body of any kind, it was more of a place where spiritual and religious matters were discussed between those who were interested in discussing such matters.

The remaining body was the Council of Fifty. Most members of the church had no idea this council even existed, as its very existence was a closely kept secret, for reasons discussed in part two of this series. Joseph Smith assembled this council, gave the men their instructions, then handed it off to them to accomplish the purposes to which the council was established. He fully expected them to follow through with the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Whether Joseph knew he was not long for this earth or not, it's clear he wanted no presiding role in the kingdom, as the kingdom was to have no leaders of any kind.

Benjamin Franklin Johnson, at age 24 one of the youngest members of that council, left us a description of Joseph's hand-off to the council in his autobiography:
"At one of the last meetings of the Council of Fifty after all had been completed and the keys of power committed, and in the presence of the Quorum of the Twelve and others who were encircled around him, he [Joseph Smith] arose, gave a review of his life and sufferings, and of the testimonies he had borne, and said that the Lord had now accepted his labors and sacrifices, and did not require him longer to carry the responsibilities and burden and bearing of this kingdom, and turning to those around him, including the 12, he said "And in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I now place it upon you my brethren of this council, and I shake my skirts[3] clear of all responsibility from this time forth,' springing from the floor and shaking his skirt at the same time." (Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life's Review, pg 89, as quoted in Rogers, The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History, pg 41, emphasis mine.)
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[3] This was a fairly common idiom in 19th century America. Joseph's "Skirts" would have been a reference to the lower and loose part of his coat that hung below his waist, and to clear one's skirts meant "to avoid any blame; to absolve (someone) from taint or suspicion; to wash one's hands." (See A Dictionary of American English, Vol IV pg 2135, University of Chicago Press, 1942)

Johnson's description of that event is important, because as we shall see, in the retelling of this incident by others over time, small but important details were changed or omitted in order to give the impression that this event took place within a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles and not during a meeting of the Council of Fifty. As discussed in part one of this series, the Council of Fifty was separate and distinct from the church, as was the proposed Kingdom of God, and Joseph Smith was adamant in making that distinction stick. Where the Quorum of the Twelve consisted exclusively of men who were members of the church, the Council of Fifty was made up of both members and non-members. It was decidedly not an organ of the LDS church, but was to operate independent of and separate from the church.

B.F. Johnson died in 1905, and it would appear that his autobiography was not published until 1947, long after his passing.  Historian Michael Quinn notes that the published version dropped Johnson's references to the Council of Fifty, "thus giving the impression that Joseph Smith gave the instructions exclusively to the Quorum of the Twelve." (Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 412, note 33) Quinn also observes:
A recent publication of Johnson's manuscript statement subtly reverses his emphasis that smith spoke to "one of the last meetings of the Council of Fifty...in the presence of the Quorum of the Twelve." E Dale Lebaron, "Benjamin Franklin Johnson in Nauvoo: Friend, Confidant, and Defender of the Prophet," Brigham Young University Studies 32 (Winter/Spring 1992):186, deletes that phrase and substitutes this introduction: "Joseph made an unusual presentation to the Quorum of the Twelve and some of the Council of Fifty." That magnifies the role of the apostles and reverses the priority Johnson's original quote gave to the Fifty. 
If you're wondering why these Church sources found it necessary to alter Johnson's wording in order to change the reader's perception about who was being addressed, we need to recall the turmoil taking place in Nauvoo immediately following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum.

I have little doubt that at the time, Brigham Young felt the immediate need to step up the program Joseph had charged the Council with initiating. The enemies of the Mormons did not seem to have their bloodlust palliated by the murders of the president and the patriarch; they wanted to drive all the Mormons out of the state for good. And although Brigham's later actions in Utah proved him to be an autocratic ruler, in August of 1844 he displayed no such characteristics. He did not propose himself as president at that time, but suggested the Twelve as a body would be better candidates than Sidney Rigdon to help organize the saints to prepare to leave Nauvoo. That was really the extent of the controversy in the weeks following Joseph's assassination. It had little to do with who would replace Joseph Smith as ecclesiastical leader, but more to do with who was better fit to help organize the saints to prepare to leave Nauvoo.

We tend to think that following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, the saints in Nauvoo packed up and left almost immediately. They did not. They didn't leave until the winter of 1846, a year and a half later. And even then they just crossed the river into Iowa and built another settlement of tents and log cabins where they remained for another year.  Brigham Young and most of the members of the Council of Fifty continued to meet regularly, and they seem to have had every intention of building up the kingdom of God once they got to their destination. Unfortunately they lacked one essential element. They forgot what Joseph had told them was necessary in order for the kingdom of God to exist: oracles. Said Joseph,
"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)
As pointed out previously in "Where Did The Oracles Go?" we learn that the word oracle as understood by Joseph Smith was not the same as we often think of an oracle in modern times. These days when we think of an oracle we often have in mind a person or a prophet, whereas when Joseph Smith used that term, he was referring to the message that was conveyed through a prophet. The word refers to the message; an oracle is the communicated message that comes from the Lord, through His prophet. The prophet is not the oracle. The message is the oracle.

Hence, without communication from the king, there can be no kingdom. Where the oracles (messages) are not, there the kingdom of God is not. That makes perfect sense, because it would not be an easy thing to reside in a kingdom where you never had any communication from your king.

I think it's a pretty simple thing to figure out why God withheld his oracles from the Mormons following the deaths of his servants Joseph and Hyrum. In order for revelation to flow from God to man, man has to be obedient to God. By the time the apostles fully took over the church, the saints were anything but obedient.

Whatever reasons Brigham Young had for ignoring God's commandments, whether he did so out of blind ambition or simply because he felt it would be more expedient under the circumstances, there is no denying that Brigham and the Twelve consistently flouted the very protocols set up by God for the governing of His people, instead instituting their own ways of doing things.  And most of these usurpations took place before the saints ever left Nauvoo. These arrogations of authority are documented on the Radio Free Mormon site, as a two-part audio presentation titled "Apostolic Coup d'etat: How the Twelve Apostles, in a Breathtaking Power Grab, Assumed Absolute and Complete Control Over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." You can read the transcripts of both episodes by clicking here, and here.

The Kingdom Of God Slips Into Second Place
After the saints had been in Utah for awhile, this whole idea of establishing a kingdom of God on earth was put on the back burner, until it was eventually forgotten entirely. By the time of Brigham Young's death in 1877, he had become the richest man west of the Mississippi, richer than any baron in San Francisco, and his riches were obtained in no small part from trafficking in liquor and tobacco.

The Mormon "kingdom of God" had become Brigham's personal fiefdom, more comparable to that of the Book of Mormon's wicked King Noah than the Kingdom of God. Rather than a kingdom where the people ruled themselves under God's perfect law of liberty, the Emperor of Deseret  had come to rule his people with an iron hand while many below him suffered immensely.

Joseph Smith's grand vision given him by God to lay the foundation of the kingdom of God on earth was abandoned by the very men he had entrusted to establish it. In time it was dead and all but forgotten by succeeding generations.

But there was a problem that kept this idea of a kingdom from expiring fully. During the 1970s, historians were given freer access to the Church archives. They began combing through diaries, documents, and other sources no one had seen for generations. Hyrum L. Andrus is said to have  opened crates of records that had been nailed shut since the pioneers loaded them on wagons before leaving Nauvoo. Rumors and brief mentions were scattered among these documents that hinted of an unknown episode in church history when Joseph Smith hand-selected a group of fifty trusted men with the object of launching something that would exist entirely separate from the church; something these scattered documents were calling "The Kingdom of God." How to reconcile these rumors of an unfulfilled kingdom of God on earth with the already established church that existed in the here and now?

Well, one way is to spin the narrative -change the story so the curious are convinced that the kingdom of God Joseph Smith spoke of establishing was the church itself, and not something separate and distinct from the church. And also change the story so this mysterious "Council of Fifty" isn't even in the picture when you have this church/kingdom thing being spoken of by Joseph; you make it appear to be all about Joseph Smith passing on his authority to the Twelve Apostles, giving the Twelve authority to run the church after he was gone.

Wilford Woodruff Mis-Remembers
In 1897, when Wilford Woodruff was 90 years old, and believed he had outlived every other person who had been present that day in the council who might contradict his version of the story, he told it one more time, leaving out for the umpteenth telling anything that would indicate the meeting involved anyone other than just the Twelve Apostles. Woodruff's testimony differs a bit from the first person account in B.F. Johnson's autobiography, but Woodruff throws in a supernatural bonus about the color of Joseph's glowing face, which is kind of a nice touch no one else ever thought to mention about that experience:
"I bear my testimony that in the early spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Twelve Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the church and kingdom of God; and all the keys and powers that God had bestowed upon him, he sealed upon our heads, and he told us that we must round up our shoulders and bear off this kingdom, or we would be damned. I am the only man now living in the flesh who heard that testimony from his mouth, and I know that it was true by the power of God manifest to him. At that meeting he stood on his feet for about three hours and taught us the things of the kingdom. His face was as clear as amber, and he was covered with a power that I had never seen in any man in the flesh before."
But there was someone else still living who recalled being in that room the same day as Wilford Woodruff. President Woodruff must have forgotten Benjamin F. Johnson was still alive and that he had also been in attendance at that meeting long ago. Johnson happened to recall things a little differently than Woodruff had. For one thing, there had been at least 38 other men at that meeting in addition to those twelve apostles. Johnson outlived Wilford Woodruff by seven years, and in 1903 he wrote a letter to George Gibbs that was consistent with the account in his autobiography, with the added benefit of some details Woodruff had neglected to mention in his account:
"It was at Nauvoo early in 1844 in an assembly room common to the meeting of a Council or Select Circle of the prophet's most trusted friends, including all the Twelve, but not all the constituted authorities of the church, for Presidents Rigdon, Law, or Marks, the High Council, nor President of quorums were not members of that council, which at times would exceed fifty in number. Its sittings were always strictly private, and all its rules were carefully & promptly observed and although its meetings were at times oftener than monthly and my home at Ramus [Illinois] over twenty miles distant, I was present at every session, and being about the youngest member of the council, I was deeply impressed with all that transpired, or was taught by the Prophet....
"And now returning to the council and the 'last charge.' Let us remember that by revelation he had reorganized the Holy Priesthood, and by command of the Lord had taken from the First Presidency his brother Hyrum to hold a patriarch...All these keys he held, and under these then existing conditions he stood before that association of his select friends including all of the Twelve, and with great feeling and animation he graphically reviewed his life of persecution, labor and sacrifice for the church and kingdom of God, both of which he declared were now organized upon the earth. The burden of which had become too great for him longer to carry; that he was weary and tired with the weight he so long had borne and then he said, with great vehemence: "And in the name of the Lord, I now shake from my shoulders the responsibilities of bearing off the Kingdom of God to all the world, and here and now I place that responsibility, with all the keys, powers and privileges pertaining thereto, upon the shoulders of you the Twelve Apostles, in connection with this council; and if you will accept this, to do it, God shall bless you mightily and shall open your way; and if you do it not you will be damned. I am henceforth free from this responsibility and I now shake my garments clear and free from the blood of this generation and of all men," and shaking his skirt with great vehemence he raised himself from the floor while the spirit that accompanied his words thrilled every heart as with a feeling that boded bereavement and sorrow.
"And now, my dear brother, after 60 years have passed, at 85 years in age, I bear to you and to all the world a solemn testimony of the truth and veracity of what I have written above, for although so many years have intervened, they are still in my mind, as fresh as when they occurred; no doubt as a part of fulfillment of a prediction by the prophet relating 'testimonies I should bear of his teachings, after I had become hoary with age.' " (Benjamin F. Johnson Letter To George F. Gibbs, quoted in Rogers, The Council of Fifty, ibid. Emphasis mine.)
Regardless of how Johnson's biography was later doctored by others prior to publication so it would fall more in line with President Woodruff's recollections, we can see from Johnson's letter to George Gibbs that his memory of the events remained essentially the same as in his earlier manuscript. The notable difference between Johnson's version of the event and Woodruffs is that Johnson recalled that the entire Council of Fifty were present at the time, whereas Woodruff's recollection mentions only the Twelve Apostles, of which he himself was a member. And although Woodruff makes mention of "the church and kingdom of God," only Johnson bothers to point out that Joseph had drawn a clear distinction between the the two as separate and distinct entities. (see Rogers, ibid, footnote pg 43.)

Benjamin Johnson's memory was by no means flawless. He seems to have forgotten that Sidney Rigdon and William Marks were indeed members of the Council of Fifty, but given he was describing a body that had ceased to exist for more than half a century, we can forgive him that oversight. Those small details are insignificant compared to Wilford Woodruff's selective memory of the event, which has contributed over time to the myth that Joseph Smith had ordained, and set apart the Twelve Apostles prior to his passing and given them authority to govern the Church in his absence.

The problem with Woodruff's interpretation is that if Joseph had done any such thing, it would have been in direct contradiction to the Lord's instructions given by revelation to the Twelve outlining their specific and very limited responsibilities. It would also constitute a complete reversal of the warnings Joseph had given to the Twelve on multiple occasions where he reminded them they were to have nothing to do with governing the Church. Now that we finally have access to the minutes of the Council of Fifty, we can see that Joseph gave the Twelve no such charge. If he addressed the Twelve specifically in that meeting, it was to emphasize they had been given the responsibility for "bearing off the kingdom to all the world," which would have been consistent with their duty to go into all the world and preach the gospel. That instruction is quite different from "I hereby authorize you to stay home and manage the Church from your comfy executive chairs at Church headquarters."

Wilford Woodruff was not the first to get it wrong. Less than a year after that memorable meeting with Joseph Smith before the Council of Fifty, Orson Pratt had somehow got it in his head that Joseph had been talking exclusively to him and the other eleven apostles. Pratt was corrected in that mistaken assumption by, of all people, Brigham Young.

I reported on this incident in greater detail in a prior post I titled "Did The Lord Choose Not To Anoint The Lord's Anointed?" I hope you'll go back and review that one because it contains essential excerpts from the minutes which effectively put this controversy to bed.  However, I'll briefly summarize that episode here.

The Rigdon Rivalry Results In Revilement
Seven months after the prophet's death, there was still a bit of controversy over who should be leading the church. The controversy eventually shook out to a choice between the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. One faction favored Sidney Rigdon, since he was the only remaining member of the First Presidency. Rigdon proposed to direct the saints to leave Nauvoo and remove themselves to Pennsylvania.

Those opposing Rigdon were led by the Twelve apostles, who proposed that rather than being led by one man, the church was better served in the hands of twelve men operating as a body. The proposal of the Twelve was that the saints leave Nauvoo and remove themselves far away from the United States, over the Rocky Mountains, to settle either in Oregon or California.

As part of an effort to discredit Sidney Rigdon, apostle Orson Pratt was preparing to publish a pamphlet he titled "A Farewell to Rigdonism" in which Pratt planned to describe how Joseph had met with the Twelve prior to his death and appointed the Twelve to take responsibility for leading the church.  So at a meeting of the Council of Fifty on March 25th, 1845, Orson Pratt wants to know how many apostles would be willing to sign on as witnesses that Joseph had anointed the apostles with authority to lead the church.

Brigham Young, chairman of the Council, gently reminded Elder Pratt that no such ordination of authority had ever taken place. He told Pratt to go ahead with his pamphlet if he wanted, but to leave the Twelve out of it, and reminded Pratt that Joseph had not been speaking to a meeting of the Twelve at the time Pratt was thinking of, but he was speaking to this body, the one they were meeting with right now, the Council of Fifty.[4]
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[4] You can read the record of the actual exchange between Orson and Brigham in the Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes pages 378-380. See also my earlier piece featuring this subject, "Did The Lord Choose Not Anoint the Lord's Anointed?" for excerpts.

That put the matter to rest, and Orson Pratt dropped it. We don't know whether he ever published that pamphlet or not, because no copies seem to have survived. But what we learn from the minutes of the Council of Fifty on March 25th of 1845 is that Brigham Young reminded Pratt that there was no “anointing” of the Twelve by Joseph Smith in any earlier meeting, and the “keys of the kingdom” had not been given to the Twelve.  Instead it was, as Brigham reminded those present, “this council of fifty which had to bear the responsibility,” meaning that there was nothing uniquely given by Joseph Smith to the Twelve, that Joseph was addressing the entire council, Mormon and non-Mormon alike. Elder Pratt seems to have forgotten that non-Mormons were present, so Joseph was not likely to ordain everyone in the room to be a servant to the Church. Pratt was mistaken if he thought Joseph Smith had passed his ecclesiastical authority on to that body.

Print The Legend
Largely because the minutes of the Council of Fifty have been locked away in the vault of the Church for so long, the myth promoted by Wilford Woodruff and others has gained prominence for the past century and a half, along with the false teaching that the Church and the Kingdom of God were one and the same. There are at least two tragedies that have resulted from this misunderstanding. First, we have all been raised to believe that it's perfectly normal for the apostles to govern the Church, even though they were specifically prohibited from doing so by revelation from the Lord, as well as by repeated warnings from Joseph Smith.

The second tragedy is that all efforts to establish the kingdom of God on earth were ultimately abandoned because, let's face it, the apostles found it much easier to stay close to home and build up the Church than it would have been for them to go out into the world and bear off the kingdom. As Denver Snuffer wrote,
"They neglected the 'kingdom of God' because they were preoccupied with acquiring complete, unfettered control to dictate over the church and hold at defiance any who dared to challenge them. They reign over the Seventies and stake high councils with impunity. Their autocratic control holds the approximate 30% of those who remain nominally active in the church in complete submission. [4]
"They have the 'keys of the kingdom'–which kingdom has lapsed into complete oblivion. But they’ve parlayed that into dictatorship over the other organization, the Church."
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[4]According to a recent estimate I have seen, total number of members who remain in attendance are now down to 25%.


Paul Toscano reminds us how much better things would be for the church if the apostles were to take seriously the duties assigned them by the Lord:
"I have said this directly to at least two of the Twelve, and I will say it here again: The apostles need to get out of town, permanently. 
They need to travel somewhere like China and preach the gospel that Jesus preached and perhaps become martyrs there for Christ's sake -since some of them are so keen to make martyrs of others. At least they need to stop inducing comas with their conference addresses. And, they need to get out of the real estate business. They need to think much less about the temporal and much more about the eternal -they really do- not because I say so, but because Mormon scripture says so." (Mormonism In Crisis: A Critique and a Defense, pg 10.)
A constant drumbeat of mine on this forum is that we Mormons, as a people, have neglected to accomplish the purposes God put us here for. And why have we neglected those purposes?  Primarily because we have been waiting on the leaders of the Church to do it for us.

Well, how is that working out so far? How far along are we in accomplishing the purpose of the Lord?  We were supposed to have established a Zion refuge long before this, but that never happened because we were waiting on the leaders to tell us how to set it up. The kingdom of God never materialized because the leaders have insisted it's already here, in the very organization they happen to have taken over management of.  As far as they're concerned, this Church they manage is the kingdom of God, so what more needs to be done besides getting your friends to take the missionary lessons?

All this in spite of the fact that our founding prophet made it very clear that the church is decidedly not the kingdom, and that our efforts should be focused on building up the kingdom, not in building up the Church.

Daniel's prophecy of the kingdom of God remains unfulfilled, largely because we have no oracles. And why are there no oracles? Because members of the Church keep waiting on their leaders to convey those oracles to them, instead of seeking personal oracles from God for themselves.

Church leaders tell us we should keep our eyes riveted on them, that our salvation depends upon our obedience to their decrees. Yet how much closer to Zion have we gotten by waiting on them to receive revelations to guide us? Joseph Smith told the Saints in his day that they were becoming darkened in their minds because they were depending too much on the prophet and not on their own ability to receive personal revelation from God in their lives. He said that every man should stand for himself and depend on no man or men in that inevitable state of corruption that religions always devolve into.

Do you recall not long ago when church membership was growing literally by the millions? Church leaders were quick to point to that as proof that the Church is the Kingdom of God on earth, rapidly fulfilling their warped interpretation of the prophecy of Daniel in the belief that this "Church" would grow and grow until it soon filled all the earth. Remember that?  We don't hear that boast anymore now that convert baptisms have shrunk to almost nothing, do we? 

When are we going to see the kingdom of God established on the earth? Are we supposed to just wait for the leaders to figure out that the kingdom is something distinctly different from the Church? How long do you think that will take? When are the leaders of the Church going to put the establishment of the kingdom back on their list of priorities?  How is Zion ever going to come to pass if the leaders don't get started on it? Who the heck is in charge here, anyway?

You are.



                                                              *****

Related Sources
The Church Ain't The Kingdom (Part One)

The Church Ain't The Kingdom, Part Two

The Church Ain't The Kingdom, Part Three

Did The Lord Choose Not To Anoint The Lord's Anointed?

How Jesus Christ Was Ousted As Head Of The Church Of Jesus Christ

Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover

King Brigham

Where Did The Oracles Go?

Joseph Smith's Last Dream (Whiteboard Presentation)




172 comments:

Andrew Gulledge said...

Hello, Rock. I have enjoyed this series, but I'm struggling with something. Maybe I need to reread, but it seems like the Johnson letter to Gibbs undermines your argument. It seems like Joseph is speaking to the Twelve within the Council of Fifty, and not the Council of Fifty generally. Also, I didn't see a link at the end to RFM's "Apostolic coup d'etat" episodes, which are great. Thanks for all you do.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Oh, I have no doubt he was specifically addressing the Twelve at that point, Andrew.
Recall the several factors involved in launching the kingdom of God that members of the council had to consider. First there was the understanding of what it was, how it would operate, etc. Then there was the job of finding a suitable location for the first "branch" of the kingdom. Some members would be assigned that task, others charged with dealing with disputes in the actual experiment, and so on.

But what was it Joseph Smith charged the Twelve with? He said they would have the responsibility of "bearing off the Kingdom of God to all the world." That would appear to mean they would have the hardest job, just as the twelve already had the toughest responsibility in the church: that is, they didn't have the luxury of staying home, they had to be off preaching the gospel to all the world.

Similarly, as emissaries of the Kingdom, they probably wouldn't be among those members of the council who would be scouting the first location, nor sitting as judges once the kingdom was established in its new location. They would be bearing off the kingdom throughout all the world. Teaching about it. Witnessing that it could be done. Preaching the good news that the kingdom is here.

This would not only be consistent with their existing role -to preach the gospel to all the world- but would probably supercede it. Preaching the gospel of Christ was step one, but let's look at the United States and Britain at the time. Most converts to the church had already long ago been converted to Christ. What the Lord was really looking to establish on the earth was His kingdom. Yet what are Mormon missionaries still doing? Trying to convince people to join our church when they should be preaching the good news that the kingdom of God is on the earth. They can't do that because the kingdom is not here yet. So they're stuck trying to raise baptism rates instead of showing the promise of living in peace.

The Twelve in Joseph's day seemed to have a hard time getting it into their heads that their role was OUTSIDE church boundaries; Joseph was constantly warning them not to interfere in the church, yet here was Pratt convinced Joseph had told the Twelve they had responsibility for running the church, when what he told them was they had the responsibility to bear off the kingdom to all the world.

If the apostles today were doing what the apostles were doing 2000 years ago, we would honor them. It's not a job I would want. They spent most of their time away from home, never knowing where they would lay their heads or get something to eat; and only coming home occasionally for short periods, then back out again. This new crop under Joseph Smith had the opportunity to preach the kingdom, but they rejected it, and, as Joseph promised, they were damned. They just didn't know it yet.

Anyway, recall that Joseph told them they they would have responsibility for bearing off the kingdom "in connection with this council." They wouldn't be carrying the weight of the kingdom alone, but they did have a specific role in going out and preaching about it. Can you imagine the difference? Suppose you are an apostle of the restoration; what would be greater, to go out into the world and preach the good news that there's a new Christian denomination that has just been formed, or preach the good news that the kingdom of God is on the earth?

They chose the booby prize. They chose governing a piss-and church over the preaching the kingdom.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

By the way, in my view being "damned" does not mean you've lost all hope of redemption. It means being condemned. I don't think that means being condemned to hell for eternity, but it's certainly not the same as being accepted. To be damned means being condemned, and in religious contemplation that means "not found worthy." I interpret that as meaning "not found worthy to abide with the Father." I think in the scheme of eternal progression, a person can always dig himself out of the pit he has dug for himself, but it's always better to get it right the first time.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Andrew,
As for the links to the apostolic Coup d'etat episodes those are contained within the two posts I wrote on the topic, and they're on the list at the bottom. The transcripts contain links to the audio podcasts. right near the top.

DeeLyn said...

I agree we are in charge of getting our own revelation for our lives and discerning for ourselves what is truth and error and right and wrong.

For Christ taught us not to trust in mortals to lead us or receive revelation for us, for they will always lead us astray unknowingly, even those who claim to be prophets, for they are all very fallible and often wrong and often fall for false revelations and visitations of false Christs, false angels, etc.

Thus following the Golden Rule and our conscience is all Christ seemed to teach us to do.

SB said...

So Rock, how do the principles of the KoG differ from that of the American founding generation? And I'm not talking the Constitution per se (I'd prefer the Articles of Confederation tbh) but of a federated republic. Of self governing communities tied together by a common cause? Of ward republicanism? Where unity and diversity can both be maintained, and where we all aren't forced into the same mold.

matt lohrke said...

Off-topic, but how long before this happens at LDS general conference?

https://youtu.be/3EiZVY1Cgsk?t=14m20s

Hopefully not long. This is the greatest thing I've ever seen.

He rightfully calls out John Macarthur and his "doctrine of cessation," which basically states that all the gifts of the spirit and pentacostal experiences ended with death of Christ's apostles.

Liberty Ghost said...

Another fine effort Rock. I always feel that I'm fed when I come to your site. Thanks for all your hard work.

Dale B.

matt lohrke said...

Rock - I'm curious about your comment above regarding "eternal progression." How does one reconcile that view with what Alma taught? He taught that this life is our time to prepare to meet God, that there's not post-mortal or second-chance repentance, that after we die we either go to rest or darkness and there we stay until the resurrection (no hoping around kingdoms or whatever) when we are brought before God to be judged of works while done in the flesh, and that if we are judged worthy, we dwell with God, never to go out again. (Alma 32:32-36, 40:11-14)

Also, Christ said to the Nephites that after death "no man can work." (3 Nephi 27:33)

Then those who never had the law or never had salvation declared to them are covered by the Atonement. They are rescued from death and hell. (2 Nephi 9:25-26) God's atonement covers every contingency for the entire family of Adam.


Just curious.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Matt, I haven't a clue how to reconcile my feelings on that subject with Alma's teachings. It's just my personal view of things. I don't think we get confined to one degree of glory where we are stuck for all eternity. I believe we can work ourselves out and keep climbing the rungs.

I'm not enough of a theologian to justify any of this through scripture. Just my opinion, that's all.

I do like that guy putting MacArthur in his place. MacArthur is a devil. He teaches the doctrine of government being the "higher power."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

SB,
I tend to agree with John Adams (was it him or James Madison?) who said if men were angels we wouldn't need a constitution, and that the constitution was made for a moral and religious people, that it is wholly unsuitable for any other.

Jefferson had faith in state sovereignty. If the states were all under the control of a central government, where would anyone go to escape oppression? With the existence of free states, a person could just leave a more oppressive state and move to a freer one. I think that was the idea behind the Kingdom of God. "Here's a place you can live free. You are welcome here as long as you don't interfere with the freedom of anyone else." People who couldn't live by that simple golden rule would not feel welcome, and leave of their own volition. That's my view, but I could be wrong. There's a lot we don't know about how the Kingdom would operate, or how buttinskis would be asked or forced to leave. Bottom line, I don't think such an environment would appeal to anyone but the freedom minded. I wish we had more of Joseph's teachings on the subject; I hate to speculate.

DeeLyn said...

Matt,

Why would a loving God send his children down here when he knows hardly any, if any, will make it back to him? For according to the writers of the NT Gospels, (who supposedly quote Christ), we must live all of Christ's commandments in order to gain Eternal Life, yet who can do that? Even Christ supposedly taught few will make it back.

Christ supposedly taught that his Atonement & Eternal Life are only for those who keep all of his commandments. It appears even Christ's Apostles wondered who would ever merit Eternal Life since Christ's commandments were so near impossible.

So the NT can't have quoted Christ correctly or be all true, for there must be progression in the next realm or God would not be a loving God, nor would he send us down to earth (if he had a say in it), nor would we come, for it would have been better had we stayed in heaven if we could never return there.

I believe the better we live our lives here, the further ahead we will be in the next life and have a happier return rather than a sad one.

We have to think outside the Mormon Box for the whole truth, for no religion has all truth. All teach a mix of truth and error, and we must discern the falsehoods so we can see clearly. We have to reason it all out for ourselves, no one can do this for us.

For example, we can't just assume that the BoM or 3 Nephi 27:33 are completely true, just because JS claimed they were. Maybe Christ never really said that or appeared to the Nephites at all or maybe they never existed. We must have an open mind to consider all view points in order to find the truth.

Countless people who have Near Death Experiences experience and see that there is progression on the other side, mainly by learning from and experiencing the mistakes we made this life and how they affected others.

It seems most of our progression happens after this life, when we have a better view of ourselves and things as we/they really are and we see what we really did on earth in hindsight.

MrHFMetz said...

I have a great respect for President Joseph Fielding Smith. Nevertheless in his Doctrines of Salvation, volume 1, chapter 14, he is confusing Church and Kingdom at several places on the first two pages of this chapter (pages 206 and 207 in my - Dutch - publication) calling the Church of Jesus Christ the Kingdom of God.
Also difficult for me to accept is the idea he promotes, in this series of three volumes, that the three kingdoms of glory, telestial, terrestial and celestial are like three trains that are each on different rails going into three different directions that will never meet one with another. I find that a kind of a sectarian way of thinking, and the truth may be quite different.
Now that the idea of eternal progression has come up in this discussion, I remind you there is a very interesting essay by J.J. Dewey (which was once also in part published on this web blog) that goes into this topic. The whole essay can be found on
https://www.scribd.com/document/135909616/JJ-Dewey-Infallible-Authority
The topic we are dealing with here starts on page 70 "Eternal Progression", but the whole essay is very worth the time reading, and has also been written with a sense of humor. I liked reading it and found it very interesting. It may be worth mentioning it here. Greetings, R. Metz.

Mr. Finch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Finch said...

There is progression within a given kingdom.

If an individual is resurrected into the terrestrial kingdom they do not then obtain a new resurrection into the celestial kingdom. They are resurrected into a body that is appropriate to their kingdom.

Those who have the ordinances resurrect celestial, those who have salvation resurrect terrestrial, and those who paid for their own sins resurrect telestial (The one exception is the unpardonable sin. Once paid, then the individual inherits the kingdom of their qualification).

If this were not true then at some point Lucifer and his 1/3 will progress into the next kingdom. That is, they might at some point qualify telestial. That is so funny I can't help but laugh.

Each resurrection is to a wonderful kingdom. Except for those who had knowledge of a greater kingdom and failed to qualify, everyone will be satisfied. Those celestial to be servants, those terrestrial to be servants in their capacity, and those telestial to live glorious lives; so long as they do not violate the agreements of the resurrection to the point of dying the second death if that is possible.

Those cast out simply do not agree to the laws of Christ. There may be some terrestrial cast out but I do not think so. There are some terrestrial cast out and they will have the gnashing of teeth in the realm of Satan. Thus, they reject the gift of the resurrection.

It is all a natural process. The wicked will gravitate to their comfort zone, and the righteous to theirs. Those who are guilty will never qualify celestial and will be happier terrestrial. If that does not satisfy then they resurrect telestial. Everyone will be at home in the kingdom of their resurrection; except for those who know they could have had so much more. They will be in eternal damnation no matter what kingdom they are in.

Folkhard said...

There are some approaches in the scriptures conserning the progression from one kingdon to the next highest. One approach is the limitation, the incompleteness of the information. Everything that is revealed only goes to a certain point, the end of an aeon, a period of time.
The beginning and content of the next chapter will not be disclosed. The vision of the three realms (D&C 76) allows this idea of the limitation of a period of time.
Seen in this light, the book Mormon's statement about life after death ends there, just at the "inventory". Here are those who have done good and those who have done evil. The next "ladder rung" of eternal progress to be climbed is not addressed here directly. The revelation ends with the "inventory" of qualifications for a certain level. The possible rise from one empire to the next higher realm is not addressed in concrete terms here either, nor is it explicitly excluded. How so?
In D&C 76:113-118 it is said that the vision here has an end, that not everything was allowed to be written down by the recipients, that there are still witheld secrets, and that they can be revealed to individual persons by God. It's a clear cut for me. Up to this point I reveal to you the circumstances of life afterward, but all the rest will not be revealed to you.
In D&C 76:44-48, the sons of predition are spoken of. The end (therefore an end?) and the extent of their suffering will never be experienced by any man. But interesting is the statement in verse 46 "... except those who will take part in it;... except those who are ordered to do so" (D&C 76:48) Footnotes (44a) are important for understanding these verses. It refers to D&C 19:6-12, where there is definite talk of an end.
Thus these verses offer some back doors to deny the end of development, the end of cognition and the stagnation of the soul.

Mormonism allows this idea to take hold. The Church has not yet given an official statement on the progress from one kingdom into a higher one. Fairly, it has to be said here that in the past as well as today, there are advocates and opponents of these positions within the church leadership. 35] Since there is no official statement, it is left to the members to believe one or the other, or to consider themselves valid.
All the beliefs of mankind can only be snapshots of the path in this context.
Joseph Smith said:
When we are taught by His commandments, this is done with regard to eternity; for God sees us as if we were in eternity. God dwells in eternity and he does not see things as we see them ".
For example, here are some quotes from church athorities:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xQqZgS0YmZn5b1ePX_v3pVqM_qsP9D2q13tuoRwvJUM/edit

This comment has been mostly translated with deepl.com. translator.

MrHFMetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Gulledge said...

Happy to have prompted such thoughtful replies! Keep up the good work, Rock.

MrHFMetz said...

MrFinch, thanks for your reply, but honestly, did you read Dewey's paper? If not,I suggest you do.
Everything is in motion in our universe. As for "sons of perdition" etc., spirits that go downward will eventually end up in their native element, Brigham Young said. So where is the limit upward, I might ask.

Mr. Finch said...

Okay, we are a group of people that have visions and dreams and revelations. In one such experience I was in the spirit world following the death of a cousin. While there I noticed one individual whom did not have salvation. How I was able to identify this is unknown to me; however, I saw it. Thus, after we pass over from here to the spirit world we commingle just as we did in the preexistence. As such, we have, do now, and will commingle with those qualifying celestial, terrestrial, and telestial.

Scripture tell us that of the telestial, the stars of heaven, one third followed Lucifer and were cast out (ex. Rev. 12:4, 8:11, etc.). The remaining two thirds of the stars, the telestial, were born and are being born upon this earth in mortality. Thus, all of the stars of the preexistence qualified there, and they, most of them, will confirm that qualification here. The same is true for those of the celestial and terrestrial, the sun and the moon (ex. Rev. 12:1).

Thus, it appears an individual qualifying telestial there can increase here for a greater reward; a greater kingdom. On the other hand, someone qualifying celestial there can loose that honor and become qualified to a lesser kingdom here; and that is the gnashing of teeth.

It is for this reason that anyone who does not hear the gospel message while in mortality has an opportunity after death to accept the kingdom of their qualification. That is, if they lived a terrestrial life then they have salvation to that kingdom.

Further, it is one thing to qualify celestial in the presence of the king; but it is entirely different to qualify celestial while blinded in mortality. One can not then who qualified terrestrial while blinded come back to qualify celestial while not blinded.

Our rewards are based upon our actions in the presence of the King and then our actions blinded in mortality. There is no further test. Consequently, we receive our reward in the kingdom of our choice and we are held to that choice in the resurrection.

Let us say I want to be a doctor. However, I did not qualify to go to the school for doctors. However, now after 30 years I want to go to medical school. Can I go back through high school to re-qualify. No. It is set in stone, I will never be a doctor, the highest honor of mortality. The same is true for the celestial kingdom. The qualification for that kingdom was in the presence of the King in the preexistence. Now while in mortality those who made the grade again have a shot at the highest honor of the kingdom. Yes there will be some exceptions by the King to allow others this honor. But I doubt these will come from the "D" students; the stars of heaven.

Folkhard said...

How do you feel about this quotes, Mr. Finch? And how do you interprete the symbols oft he temple endowement? Isn`t the tempel endowement exactly a symbol for passing from one kingdom to another?
What are the tempel work for?
The problem, we humans have ist the sight from our understanding. We use examples of our experience hier on earth and project this experiences into the eternity. This cannot work.

“None would inherit this earth when it became celestial and translated into the presence of God but those who would be crowned as Gods — all others would have to inherit another kingdom — they would eventually have the privilege of proving themselves worthy and advancing to a celestial kingdom but it would be a slow process [progress?].”
-Brigham Young, in Wilford Woodruff Journal, 5 Aug 1855

“I am not a strict constructionalist, believing that we seal our eternal progress by what we do here. It is my belief that God will save all of His children that he can: and while, if we live unrighteously here, we shall not go to the other side in the same status, so to speak, as those who lived righteously; nevertheless, the unrighteous will have their chance, and in the eons of the eternities that are to follow, they, too, may climb to the destinies to which they who are righteous and serve God, have climbed to those eternities that are to come.”
-J. Reuben Clark, Church News, 23 April 1960, p. 3

“The brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point. Some of the brethren have held the view that it was possible in the course of progression to advance from one glory to another, invoking the principle of eternal progression; others of the brethren have taken the opposite view. But as stated, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.”
-Secretary to the First Presidency in a 1952 letter; and again in 1965
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xQqZgS0YmZn5b1ePX_v3pVqM_qsP9D2q13tuoRwvJUM/edit

Mr. Finch said...

Yes Folkhard, I understand what you mean and I can provide scriptural evidence for the other side of the coin as well.

However, let's look at this rationally. There are two paths: we live in mortality, then we sin, repent, are forgiven, and resurrect. Or, we live in mortality, then we sin, pay for our sins, and resurrect. Those are the only two options that take us to the resurrection. Thus, one is the resurrection of the justified and the other is the resurrection of the damned. That is, anyone who participates in the resurrection will be as clean and sin free as they were on the first day of their mortality. If they are not clean then they do not resurrect.

Such was the case for the preexistence. We lived, sinned, repented, and we were forgiven to be born into mortality. Or we lived, sinned, and paid for our sins to be born into mortality. That is, when born in mortality we had a clean slate; we started anew.

Such is the case after the resurrection. We start anew in our next life cycle. We are again clean to begin with and then we sin; however, the game changer is the commitment to Jesus Christ to maintain our resurrected body because without him we can not survive the resurrection. That is, we of the resurrection are forever beholding to him to maintain that gift of perfection and with out him it does not exist. We are not perfect in and of our selves. No, we choose to sin against the laws of God. Thus, we will never be clean without Christ. That is, we will never be apart from him once we have the gift of mortality, and the gift of the resurrection. Our entire existence is dependent upon him forever.

There are those however that choose not to accept his gift. In the case of mortality, Lucifer and his one third choose this option and the same will be true for the resurrection; Cain and his followers will choose to be their own Gods. The problem for them is that they do not have the ability to sustain a resurrected body. No one does except Christ.

Since Christ is the author of the resurrection, then it is his and only his to bequeath to others that have been born upon this earth. The pattern will most likely follow the preexistence type set. Those who follow his laws in contrast to those who do not. The reward here is to be born into Israel. The reward there will be to be resurrected to celestial glory. We can not go back and be reborn into Israel; however, we can come in via adoption. I do not think we can be adopted into Israel after we have died. Likewise we will not be adopted to the celestial kingdom after the probation of our mortality.

We lived and we were born. Again, we live and we are born. The first was the preexistence to mortality, and the second is mortality to immortality via the resurrection. In both cases, our standing is based upon our willingness to obey God. Better put, our willingness to obey the governing laws.

While it is true that after eons of time we all may live perfectly to those laws, we will forever be bound to Christ as our father of the resurrection that we enjoy. That is, we will forever be his, and as such it is his resurrection to give according to the laws of the kingdom.

Some to live with him for ever, and some to he apart from him forever; some justified via salvation, and some not. In the end it is eternal law that sets the standard and justifies the rewards. We have no right except those given to us by Christ, he being the father of our resurrection. Some bodies celestial, some terrestrial, and some telestial; it is all bound by law.

Mr. Finch said...

Perhaps understanding what a god is will aid in understanding the kingdoms.

So lets look at Revelation 16:13. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs (gods) come out of the mouth of the dragon (out of the mouth of Lucifer), and out of the mouth of the beast (out of the mouth of the Verse 13:1 beast), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (out of the mouth of the Verse 13:11 beast).

That is, John saw three unclean spirits like gods coming from the false godhead. Some speaking for Lucifer, some speaking for the beast, and some speaking for the false prophet.

This is repeated in Verses 9:17-21 and the number of them were "two hundred thousand thousand." Thus, in Verses 9:16-21, 200 million are like gods. How is that possible?

They are like gods because they are laws unto themselves. Thus, to be a god is to be law.

Since we who are of the resurrection are beholding to Lord Jesus then there is only one Law for us, only one God; Lord Jesus.

This idea that somehow we progress to become our own law is false doctrine. We will never be a god but the Sons and Daughters of a God.

The wonderful thing is, that we are allowed to have children. Nevertheless, we will never be a god or as a god; a law unto ourselves. That right belongs to our Savior, our law, our God.

That Law is sealed to the Father of our spirits. Thus, in reference to our God; Lord Jesus, we also have our Father and his (Lord Jesus') Father, whom is another God; another law in his own right. These two are Gods of perfection; perfect laws unto themselves.

I hope this clears things up. There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding this subject with the idea that we become gods and laws unto ourselves. That right belongs to the Saviors and to those whom are godless that follow Lucifer.

Similarly, there are eternal laws that govern the kingdoms. The lawless receive a kingdom of lawlessness. Those who adhere to some law receive that degree to which they follow; enough for the resurrection of the damned. That is, they will never be comfortable living with Christ.

Then we have those who love and live with Christ; the saved. These are limited by their ideas of inequality to God. That is, these are repentant souls that can not move to the level of friendship with Lord Jesus. They prefer to worship him on a pedestal. Lastly we have the friends of Christ. These whom are comfortable to live and rub shoulders with Christ. They are secure in their thoughts, actions, etc. They are not ashamed. They are free of guilt and adhere to celestial law and that is our objective.

If we are celestial then we can withstand the presence of perfection and live comfortably. If we belong to another kingdom then we are bound to the eternal laws established for that kingdom. One can not simply move from the laws of one kingdom to the laws of another kingdom. We are bound to the laws in the resurrection that we qualify and agree to.

Eric Kuntz said...

The vision of the three realms in D&C 76 are actually Death, Hell & Fire. With the Celestial Kingdom being the lake of fire & brimstone.

Mormons must give their secret Masonic signs and tokens to enter the Kingdom of the Devil, just like the Masons do.

Joseph Smith is the only one to teach three distinct glories, if it were true than Jesus Christ Himself would have taught this fact. But you will not find that doctrine taught anywhere in scripture.

Mr. Finch said...

Hi Eric Kuntz.

First I would like to apologize to Rock for being off topic on his thread.I will stop posting off topic if you (Rock) direct me to do so.

Eric, if you want to learn then this is a great place to do so. You have three points and the first links the three realms in D&C 76 to Death, Hell & Fire; where? Perhaps Rev. 6:8 (for Death and Hell) that links to 17:16 for the fire? Please show me the link to which you refer so that I can reason out scripture with you.

Your second point is that Mormons are like Masons that have signs and tokens to enter the Kingdom of the Devil. I do not know of such a kingdom and do not believe your assertion.

Your third point is impossible to prove. How can anyone know that Joseph Smith is the only one to teach three distinct glories? There have been innumerable societies upon this earth and some of those may have taught three distinct glories.

So Eric why are you here? To attack the Mormons and Masons? That is not Christ like. Put your best foot forward and let us reason together those things of lasting value and knowledge of God's work.

MrHFMetz said...

These are great quotes, Folkhard. I did'nt know some of the early Brethren entertained such ideas. As you say we lack understanding and interpret things from our own – limited – perspective. We don't know enough to make certain claims about how things were and how things are to be. I think we are kept in the dark with a purpose, just as we know nothing about our pre-existence. We are raised and educated in this limited concept of eternity as one vast singularity, but it is not like that; eternities have a beginning and an end. After this eternity has been fulfulled , another eternity will start. It reminds me of two places in the D&C that “God's course is one eternal round” (DC 3:2 and 35:1). I never had a clue what this expression means but there may be a connection here. This being true it may even be so that eternities begin all the time at any place in the universe. The idea of an eternal progression that we are discussing here may find its place in this context. How much perfection can one reach being forever confined to a telestial sphere? Is that what the Creator had in mind for us? So what will happen in the next eternal rounds? B.H. Roberts says ”they may arrive where these were, but never where they are.” D&C 76:112 says “but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end”. But I suppose every eternity has its own God and Christ. Is there a connection here too?
This is all very speculative, but I am sure the great visionary Joseph Smith knew more about it and was not able or allowed to preach it. I just know that once he was talking with W.W. Phelps at one time when this same topic came up (read on one of the lectures given by the late professor Hyrum Andrus on the Pearl of Great Price – also on youtube). I cannot find the quote right now.
Anyway, just ideas; off topic, sorry; thanks for the quotes. Regards, R.Metz.

MrHFMetz said...

I especially liked the quote from President Lorenzo Snow; I too have children, you see. Bye now. RM

Eric Kuntz said...

Truth is my agenda. Nothing else. The word of God is the standard by which I measure truth.



Joseph Smith was given by God only one assignment…translate the Book of Mormon…everything else he did, was his own doing.



Here is a handful of scriptures that talk about Death, Hell & Fire.



7 For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?



8 Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you?



9 Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?



10 And according to the power of justice, for justice cannot be denied, ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment. (Jac 6:7-10)



11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death. (Jac 3:11)



20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.



21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.



22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.



23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2Nep 28:20-23)

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you Eric. I have a better understanding of where you are coming from. You accept Joseph as a prophet bringing forth the Book of Mormon and question his calling to do more than that. If I am wrong in this assessment then please correct me.

It is true that prophets have specific callings and at times they go beyond that calling, and Joseph made his fair share of mistakes. However, if we were there we would have protected him in his calling. Such is the case with Denver Snuffer. How do we treat him? Do we know his calling? Yes he has made mistakes in his life, we all do, but does that disqualify him in his calling. Can we recognize a true prophet when he is among us? I met Denver a few weeks ago and wanted to visit with him, but there are so many seeking his time that I yielded humbly. I was however able to shake his hand and thank him for his work.

If I had an opportunity to meet Joseph I would have stood by him in all that he did; mistakes and all. Only Lord Jesus is perfect. Nevertheless, I would have had compassion upon Joseph and I still do; I consider him a friend.

The scriptural references that you included in your last post do not have death, hell, and fire capitalized. Thus, the layer of interpretation from your previous posting is not the same as this one. It was for that reason that I went to Revelation for the capitalized references as noted in my previous post; sorry about that. That is, Death and Hell in Rev. 6:8 reference specific people. On one layer these two individuals are the beasts of Verses 13:1 and 13:11, and on another layer these two individuals are Elijah and Elisha. You do not have to believe this but the Book of Revelation has multiple layers and in some places more, and in other places not so many.

So let us look at verse 23 that you have referenced above. There are at least two interpretative levels to "death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil." So lets look at the second: "death and hell," and "death and hell and the devil." These quotes are relative easy for us. These three individuals are listed in Rev. 20:10; "And the devil (from verse 23 above) that deceived them (the people) was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are (Rev. 19:20) and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

(One side note, the kingdom of the lake of fire and brimstone is permanent and this is a plug for the permanency of the kingdoms after this life that I spoke to in my previous postings above.)

Mr. Finch said...

Continuing; the beast and false prophet were cast there in Verse 19:20; "And the beast was taken and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him with which he deceived them that had received the mark of he beast and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

Thus, we can see that the people "they" in Verse 23 (in your post above) are the people that take the mark of the beast as I have shown. That is, they are grasped with death and hell; the beast and his false prophet of Revelation Chapter 13. These people "must go into the place prepared for them (v. 23 above)" "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night who worship the beast and his image and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name" (Rev. 14:11).

As you can see, Verse 23 is about the beast, false prophet, Lucifer, and the people that take the mark of the beast. This is not the LDS but are future beasts and their followers that kill the LDS. "And it was given unto him (the mouth of the beast that is the false prophet of Verse 13:11), to make war with the saints and to overcome them and power was given him (the false prophet) over all kindreds and tongues and nations" (Rev. 13:7, also see Dan. 7:25).

Now going to the verses prior to Verse 23 above, look at Verse 20. "At that day"; what day? The day in which the beast and the false prophet and Lucifer that combined are Satan and those of Satan, "shall rage in the hearts of man."

That is, the verses you quoted above are about the coming last days that are yet future to us; so these verses do not support your assertion in your previous posting that links Death, Hell, and Fire to D&C 76. Do you have any other references that might support your assertions?

Eric Kuntz said...

I like you calm attitude Mr Finch, it a rarity. Many people when presented with a different point of view fly off the handle and just defend their position.


You said "Now going to the verses prior to Verse 23 above, look at Verse 20. "At that day"; what day? The day in which the beast and the false prophet and Lucifer that combined are Satan and those of Satan, "shall rage in the hearts of man."

That is, the verses you quoted above are about the coming last days that are yet future to us; so these verses do not support your assertion in your previous posting that links Death, Hell, and Fire to D&C 76."

I agree with your statement "that day is yet future to us". But that does not mean "so these verses do not support your assertion in your previous posting that links Death, Hell, and Fire to D&C 76."

Here is a mystery of the scriptures for you to ponder: ALL scripture is future to us . What you may think is in the past is just a foreshadowing of what is to come again.

Snuffer teaches that Joseph Smith was called to do more than just translate the Book of Mormon, which is unscriptural...therefore he a teacher of false doctrines, therefore he is a false prophet. He is decieving many. Stay away. Stick to the Word of God only. Only God can save, if you follow ANY man you will be deceived.

God told Joseph Smith he had one gift...to translate the Book of Mormon and not to PRETEND to any other gifts. But Joseph couldn’t resist the temptation to pretend beyond God’s commandments and came up with all kinds of evil doctrines and practices. (See & compare the original revelation of D&C 5:1 which is the Book of Commandments 4:1)

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you Eric for liking my calm attitude. The Book of Revelation is my favorite and sometimes I drift into Isaiah but that is about the limit of my drifting. I am a one book kind of guy. However, Revelation Chapter 17 forces me into Daniel. So the emphasis that you place on LDS scriptures is a little out of my comfort zone. Yes I can go there but I generally prefer not.

So first off I would like to thank Rock for being kind enough to let us continue along this dialogue.

Secondly, I do see what you mean; I should have spoken my final points a little clearer. I said: "That is, the verses you quoted above are about the coming last days that are yet future to us; so these verses do not support your assertion in your previous posting that links Death, Hell, and Fire to D&C 76. Do you have any other references that might support your assertions?"

Let me rephrase that: The verses you quoted (7-11 and 20-23) are about the future kingdom (for the lack of a better word), of The Lake of Fire and Brimstone within which Death (the beast), Hell( the false prophet), and Fire (Lucifer) will reside along with all of those that take the mark of the beast. That period of time, lets say the 7 years of tribulation, is yet future to us as well as the ending of the next millennium (1,000 years in the future). Since these events are not referenced in D&C 76, then your reference to them is not supported in the connecting link as you have asserted. If I am wrong then please show me the connection between the 7 years of tribulation as well as the ending of the 7th millennium (Death, Hell, and Fire in the kingdom of the lake of fire and brimstone) to D&C 76. That is, I do not see the link that you are asserting.

Mr. Finch said...

In reference to all scripture being future to us, I believe you are correct with few exceptions.

With regard to Denver Snuffer, he has his opinions and I have mine. It is not necessary for men of equal standing to follow one another. If his position is that Joseph was called to do more than deliver the Book of Mormon then that is okay with me. Who am I to demand that Mr. Snuffer believe what I believe. He may have some greater knowledge than I. That does not necessitate that I follow him. I stand with God in my own right. That being said, I can not deny that he has an incredible grasp on scripture. If God chooses to use Mr. Snuffer's knowledge to the benefit of others then so be it. Who am I to tell God what to do. I also like JD Farag, Amer Tsarfati, and others; however, they do not reach the level of Mr. Snuffer for some very basic reasons; they do not have the Book of Mormon.

At first when I read Rock's reference to Snuffer, a few months ago, I simply was not interested. Then one day I was doing this and that on the computer and checked him out. The evidence was undeniable from the first words that I read; he had spoken at a conference. I simply recognized his spirit; it is that simple. Another man that displayed this kind of spirit was Ron Wyatt. I suppose you would say that he also was not a prophet called of God to his calling; he was Seventh Day Adventist and disowned by that church in a similar manner that Snuffer was disowned by the LDS church.

I looked at D&C 5:1 and T&C 4:1 as you requested. First let me ask you to consider Nehemia Gordon (spelling may be incorrect) whom is a Hebrew linguistic scholar and is featured on Michael Rood's program "Rood Awakening." Gordon has found several ancient manuscripts yielding a more precise reading of the New Testament books. My question to you is, Should we discount his work because it is not in line with what we have been taught? I say to you: No! We should consider all such works so we can have a more precise understanding of gospel truth. Having said that, I must tell you that I have found an error in the T&C; however, that error does not invalidate the work; I have also found errors in all scriptural works and they are not invalidated.

We however have been taught that no errors exist in the Bible. So what do we do when contradictions exist as in the case of Rev. 7:5-8. Where is the tribe of Dan? I could include other examples but to do so would consume to much space.

I assume that you know that the LDS church leaders stacked the deck; that they trimmed and cut away portions of the D&C. As a matter of fact, the Savior addressed them in Isaiah Chapter 28 as the "drunkards of Ephraim."

Eric Kuntz said...

Yes I agree, they (LDS Leaders) are the "drunkards of Ephraim" for sure

Here are some more scriptures that warn us about these deceivers.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4)

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3)

11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return. 12 For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you. (3 Nephi 27)

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15)

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3)

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. (2 Nephi 28)

26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! (2 Nephi 28)

Mr. Finch said...

Some additional information that I would like to share on the subject of the resurrection. According to Rev. 15:7, the celestial kingdom resurrects first. "And one of the four beasts (Lord Jesus, see chapter 4) gave unto the seven angels (the 144,000, see chapters 6&7) seven golden (gold is the celestial metal) vials full of the wrath of God (ordinances of the resurrection) who liveth for ever and ever."

That is, the 144,000 who work in the temple (v. 7:15) that according to brother Snuffer is not necessarily 144,000 but an unknown number, are given the ordinances of the celestial resurrection via Lord Jesus (v. 15:7).

Basically, this takes place after the two witnesses (v. 11:11), Michael and John, the subjects of Chapters 10 and 11, participate as members of the four resurrected beasts (God the Father and Lord Jesus are the first two) and having the ordinances of the resurrection (v. 15:7), begin the resurrection of the "justified." This is also seen in Ezekiel Chapter 1.

As a consequence of Michael and John's resurrection, the celestial transformation of the earth begins that from the viewpoint of the wicked that are yet upon the earth, it is the third woe (vv. 16:18-21).

I mention this to reinforce the distinction between the resurrection of the justified and that of the damned which occurs 1,000 years later and most likely in mass. The resurrection of the justified is very personal. For instance, the father performs the ordinance of the resurrection for his wife and children (men and unmarried women) who in turn (the men, celestial) participate in resurrecting their wives and children and so forth. Thus, the Father of the resurrection, God the Father, who resurrected the Father of the resurrection, Lord Jesus, resurrects Michael, the father of the human family, and John the presiding authority over the keys of the resurrection (v. 1:18), and the resurrection of the justified begins with the celebration as noted in Chapter 4 that is the setting apart of the 144,000 to that calling.

Also a side note: Verses 16:1-18 are simply a filler to the main point of the text ending at Verse 15:7. Notice that the earth is a sea of glass (v. 15:2); a celestial planet because the resurrection has begun (v. 11:11). This resurrection is Chapters 4, 5, and 6 (in it is an application to the resurrection). However, to the wicked, this is the third woe (v. 16:18-21).

MC said...

Interesting thoughts Mr. Finch.

I couple of questions:

Can you provide any scriptural support for your assertion that Micheal and John (I'm assuming Adam and John the Revelator) are the two witnesses spoken of in the book of Revelation, or are you basing your belief solely on the fact that Snuffer said so?

Also, are you suggesting that the earth will be transformed into its celestial state prior to or at the beginning of the millennium? If so how will terrestrial beings be able to dwell on the earth during this time?

My understanding is that the earth will be transitioned from a telestial to a terrestrial state prior to or at the very beginning of the millennium. Then at the end of the millennium the earth will be transformed into its celestial state. This would also explain why Christ is on the earth during the millennium, but God the Father is not.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you MC, these are good questions.

To the 1st question. I do not know if Mr. Snuffer is into the Book of Revelation or not. That is, I have read some of his work but not all. I learned about Mr. Snuffer's comment on the 144,000 via Keith at a picknick in Boise. I would have liked to discuss this with Mr. Snuffer but did not have the opportunity. Nevertheless, I accepted his message about 144,000 (via Keith) because it was right. Yes, I had some difficulty letting go of something I held so dearly, but what Keith told me was correct and I yielded to this new information. Even today I want so badly for the 144,000 to be a "set in stone" number because it is so fixed in my psyche, but everything in the Book of Revelation is metaphorical: the four beasts, the 24 elders, and the 144,000. On another note, the foundation for understanding the BoR is in knowing the various levels of a given verse or set of verses and this took me years to find.

I sincerely doubt that Mr. Snuffer knows that the two witnesses are Michael and John.

Mr. Finch said...

Your second question is very astute. I had reservations in my previous posting to which you refer because there is so much going on as the resurrection begins. So let's go further back in the resurrection to that of the Savior in which he (Lord Jesus) resurrected himself via the power that was given to him (John 10:17). As such, Lord Jesus is the Father of the resurrection because he holds the position of "power." Take a look at Verse 13:2 and notice that the order of the Godhead is: the "power" that is the Father, the "seat" that is the Savior, and the "great authority" that is the Holy Ghost. Thus, as the power to take up his own life, he is the Father of the resurrection.

Next, Verse 11:11 tells us that "the spirit of life from God entered into them," the two witnesses that were killed. That spirit of life is the resurrection of Lord Jesus. Thus, the two witnesses received the gift of the resurrection from Lord Jesus in Verse 11:11. This is the only point in scripture that Lord Jesus gives anyone the gift of the resurrection. Following the resurrection of the two witnesses, Lord Jesus calls the 144,000 to heaven and this is Chapter 4. Can you see it? "They ascended up into heaven in a cloud, and the cloud (vv. 1:7, 14:14) is the 144,000 of Verse 14:1. Thus, after the two witnesses are resurrected then the entire group of 144,000 are called to heaven (v. 11:12) and this begins the resurrection of the justified. Thus, the cloud that is the 144,000 is set apart at the meeting in Chapter 4 to do their work in the temple (v. 7:15). This setting apart is the "golden vial of wrath" to the people upon the earth because it contains the authority to resurrect the celestial dead as well as all the dead and it is this authority that causes the earth to transition killing them (the wicked upon the earth). This resurrection follows the pattern of the birth of mankind into mortality with a few exceptions the most obvious of which is that the telestial is resurrected last and most likely in mass. Thus, the resurrection begins with the celestial: Lord Jesus, then Michael and John whom then give the authority to resurrect to the 144,000 in Chapter 4.

The act of doing celestial resurrections upon this earth celestializes the earth. Notice that Lord Jesus resurrected into his mortal body that was not celestialized until after he left the planet. However, when he returned to resurrect Michael and John then the planet began its transformation (v. 11:13). He, Lord Jesus, as a celestialized being stood upon the Mt. of Olivet and resurrected his two witnesses.

It may be the case that the transition of the earth into a celestial planet takes 1,000 years or more. Nevertheless, it is called celestial by using the words "sea of glass" in Verses 4:6 and 15:2 as referenced in D&C 77:1.

Mr. Finch said...

Your third point is perhaps the best.

How does God the Father fit into all of this? I do not know. It is clear that someone is tempted by Lucifer at the end of the 1,000 years (v. 20:8). However, it seems that these tempted are the literal dead that are now placed into the lake of fire along with Lucifer (v. 20:10) and not a new generation of telestial.

For me, another question is Where do the telestial resurrect if they resurrect last? Perhaps on another planet? The same may be true for the terrestrial.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

Thanks for the thorough reply.

Before I respond to your comments, let me just say a word or two about Denver Snuffer, since you have brought him up a few times now.

It seems you have only very recently discovered Denver and the remnant movement. It also seems that thus far you are on board and soaking everything up.

I would strongly encourage you to use extreme caution with Denver's teachings. Do NOT take ANYTHING he says as correct, without verifying it in the scriptures and early teachings of the restored church. Denver does give one lots of food for thought with some of the things he teaches, but that doesn't make it correct. Nor does it make him a true prophet, like many people believe. You'll have to decide for yourself if Denver is the Lord's spokesman and whether or not you should follow what he teaches. We each must stand on our own and not trust in the arm of flesh. As for me I do not believe he is a true prophet, as I believe that many of his teachings are not supported by the scriptures.

Now back to the book of Revelation.

Yes you are correct that the sea of glass is referring to the earth in its celestial state, D&C 77 makes that clear. However, when I read the passages about the sea of glass in the scriptures, I do not get any indication that this is to happen at the beginning of the millennium. Is there a particular reason why you believe that this happens at the beginning?

As for the 24 Elders and 144,000 High Priests being metaphorical and not literal, I'm not sure. I could see it going either way.

Based on what we know from D&C 77 and the Book of Daniel 7 about John the Revelator being Elias who will restore all thing,s and Adam being the Ancient of Days who will hold a grand council in Adam-ondi-Ahman, I consider it to be highly unlikely that either of them will be one of the two witnesses sent to the Jews mentioned in Revelation.

MC said...

As for the resurrection, I'm not quite sure how all that works either. My understanding is that there have already been righteous people on this earth who were resurrected at the resurrection of Christ and quite likely since that time as well. Joseph Smith taught us three grand keys on how to detect messengers who appear to us as an angel of light. One type of angel that can appear to use is that of a just man made perfect, who has not yet been resurrected, and another is an angel who has already been resurrected.

Based on this alone, I don't think that the resurrection of those who are to inherit celestial glory will begin the transformation of the earth into its celestial state.

Rather it is my understanding that celestial beings can set foot in a terrestrial place, but not a telestial one. This is why the angel Moroni was floating in the air when he appeared to Joseph Smith and also why Christ was always floating in the air when Joseph Smith saw him (and John the Revelator in his vision of the last days I might add). These resurrected celestial beings literally could not set foot in a telestial world. However once the world is elevated to a terrestrial state at the beginning of the millenium both celestial and terrestrial beings/people can dwell on it, but no telestial.

I believe you are correct that the earth changing into a higher order will be the woe that comes upon the wicked. As the earth is transformed into its terrestrial state the changes will destroy the wicked, while the righteous (those of a terrestrial order or higher) will be protected from the destruction in the New Jerusalem.

Where do the telestial people resurrect? Great question. I don't know. I haven't given that any thought to be honest. According to D&C 76 those of the telestial kingdom will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven and as each star differs in glory so will each of the members of that kingdom differ in glory. Could that mean that they each go to different planets (stars)? Or perhaps they are all on a single planet, but somehow kept separate from each other? I don't know. I suppose without a personal vision on the matter, we'll have to wait until the Lord reveals the details on it.

Very interesting thought about the battle of Gog and Magog at the end of the millennium being a battle between the dead (and quite possibly/likely resurrected dead) and not a battle among mortals. You might be on to something there, for how could mortal telestial beings exist on a terrestrial (and especially a celestial) earth? I'll have to study and ponder on that one for a while. Great thoughts.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you, MC; the sea of glass at the beginning of the millennium is proved as follows:

1) We start at the beginning of the resurrection in which the two witnesses are resurrected in Verse 11:11. These two witnesses are then told to "come up hither" as stated in Verse 11:12 that links to Verse 4:1 in which John is told to "come up hither." Thus, Verses 4:1 and 11:12 can be harmonized to say that Lord Jesus told his two witnesses one of which is John to "come up hither"; additionally, "they ascended up to heaven in a cloud." This "cloud" is mentioned in Verse 10:1 in which "another mighty angel came down from heaven clothed with a cloud" and in Verse 14:14 in which "upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man." Notice that in Verse 14:15 the one sitting on the cloud from Verse 14:14 is told to attack. The one giving the instruction is Lord Jesus. Thus, the cloud that is the sharp sickle and a weapon of warfare in Verse 14:15 is the 144,000 of verse 14:1. Therefore, the cloud of Verse 11:12 is the 144,000 who are called up to heaven by Lord Jesus in that verse.
2) "Round about the throne were four and twenty seats and upon the seats were four and twenty elders" with crowns of gold (v. 4:4). This is the first reference in the BoR to the 24 elders so I will cut to the chase and tell you that the 24 elders are the 144,000 as are "the seven Spirits of God" (v. 4:5). They had been "sent forth into all the earth" (v. 5:6) when they destroyed the beast (vv. 12:7-12, 14:16, 19:19-21) and gathered the saints of God from throughout the earth to Zion (v. 12:14 with respect to the resurrection). Thus, the 144,000 are represented in Chapter 4 as the 24 elders.
3) Presiding at this Chapter 4 conference is God the Father and Lord Jesus. Then Verse 4:11 tells us that during the conference the 24 elders that are the 144,000 say "Thou art worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Who is worthy that created all things for his pleasure? God the Father. What is the pleasure that he received? The immortality and eternal life of man. How is this a pleasure to God the Father? Because they, the celestial, are resurrected to be like him, celestial. Therefore, the sea of glass that is the earth in its celestial state (v. 4:6, 15:2) is before the throne of God during this conference, and it fulfills the purpose of its creation. It is at this time (v. 4:11) being resurrected Celestial. Further, the celestial resurrection does not necessitate that we first resurrect terrestrial. Where does this false doctrine come from? The earth resurrects celestial only. The question in my mind is how long does it take for the earth to complete its celestial resurrection. Perhaps 40 years?

Mr. Finch said...

MC,
another possibility might be that there are three stages for the earth and this would be more in line with your analysis.

1) the baptism that was Noah's Flood
2) the confirmation of the Holy Ghost that is the burning that is coming
3) and the resurrection at the end of the 1,000 years

That would accommodate the terrestrials during the 1,000 years. One thing for sure, there will be no telestial so the war at the end can only be spiritual warfare in which Lucifer and all who follow him are placed in the lake of fire and brimstone (metaphorically speaking).

Therefore, the celestial resurrections during the Millenium would be contained in the temple that is in heaven and not upon the earth. Or, upon the earth in the temple but as I see it the temple does not descend until the resurrection of the earth is complete.

DeeLyn said...

Eric Kuntz,

I agree with a lot of what you say.

I have a question though, you said "The word of God is the standard by which I measure truth." May I ask what you mean by 'the word of God'?

Would that be the whole Bible? The BoM, D&C, etc? Do you believe they are all 100% correct with no falsehoods? How could that be since all men/authors/prophets are so fallible? Do you beleive all those authors were so perfect in their behaviors, beliefs, revelations or teachings that we should revere/listen/believe them?

And if any of those books contained falsehoods how would you tell, what is your standard to discern by? Are you aware how much they all contradict each other and teach opposite things or how they can be interpreted oppositely (as JSmith found all churches do)?

Even the BoM at times contradicts what Christ taught in the Gospels. Even Christ contradicted himself (which he wouldn't have done if he lived his own teachings), so we know even the Gospels are full of errors or mistranslations, etc.

Even if we point to the BoM passages about Christ, we 1st have to research, study and discern if the BoM is really an ancient book (and if all it's teachings are good and true) or if it was by written by Joseph who could have just added teachings from the NT.

Are you aware how the Gospels came to be and how they're most likely full of errors or even
untrue things since they were written 40 - 100+ years after Christ died? And also translated numerous times over and over for almost 2000 yrs, by very infallible and likely biased people?

Would you trust that someone could write down your quotes perfectly after they are retold from person to person for the next 40 -100 yrs? We can see how misquoted or falsely quoted JS could be even 10-20 years after he died.

If you had lived in Christ's day and heard him speak, how would you have known if he was teaching truth or not? By what standard would you judge?

Is not our conscience and the Golden Rule our greatest & purest standard of truth - to discern whether Christ or any prophet, person or book is teaching truth?

Mr. Finch said...

Hi DeeLyn, I realize your post was to Eric, but are you saying that errors are made in understanding scripture due to cultural misunderstandings, language barriers, etc?

For example, the scribal insert John 6:4 was perhaps made by a Greek scribe that did not understand Jewish culture; that all Jewish men had to attend the Passover at Jerusalem. Another possibility for the John 6:4 scribal insert is that someone, and most likely the Catholic church, needed to show three Passovers in the Gospel of John to prove a 3.5 year ministry in contrast to the two legitimate Passover dates (John 1:13, 12:1) that show a 70 week ministry.

However, errors of this type as well those in the Old Testament that were also inserted intentionally as Takanot (rabbis laws binding upon God), do not take away from the message, that few could find (Luke 24:27), that Lord Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Thus, what might seem to be Lord Jesus contradicting scripture is in fact Lord Jesus reestablishing the truth of it. An example of this is that Lord Jesus did not come to destroy the law per the Rabbis claims (Ex. Luke 6:2 that is Takanot) but to fulfill the law of God (Matt. 5:17). Thus, when Lord Jesus lived upon the earth in mortality he taught and lived gospel truth.

If there is something that Lord Jesus did that you do not understand or think is in conflict with scripture then please bring this to light so that we can reason it out together.

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

Thank you for your response. Yes, I believe some of the errors in the scriptures are due to 'cultural misunderstandings and language barriers', but most errors seem to be just false prophets preaching and practicing falsehoods contrary to what Christ taught.

Whoever originally wrote the Gospels seems to have been biased towards beliefs of the day, much of which is contrary to Christ's true teachings. But there are enough true laws, natural laws, taught by Christ that made it into the Gospels so that we can see what he was trying to teach, despite all the contradicting falsehoods also clearly added.

I don't mean to turn this into a polygamy discussion but as one example as you asked for, Christ condemned all forms of polygamy, serial and concurrent, in many ways in the Gospels, yet the Gospels have him still upholding Abraham and other polygamous prophets as righteous, which he would never do, for those prophets did not keep or even preach most of his commandments. They were just like the false prophets Christ taught us to beware of, for they didn't keep his commandments.

There are many other such examples in the Gospels (especially Paul's teachings) of things I believe are contrary to Christ's natural laws and thus are not things he would have upheld, things like, the OT as true scripture, baptism, inequality of women, starting churches and following leaders, etc.

Mr. Finch said...

Hi DeeLyn,

You have multiple things for consideration; however, I believe the prominent item is your example of polygamy. Can you please provide your scriptural references for the following points?

1) "Christ condemned all forms of polygamy"
2) "the Gospels have him still upholding Abraham and other polygamous prophets as righteous"
3) "those prophets did not keep or even preach most of his commandments"
4) "they were just like the false prophets Christ taught us to be aware of"
5) "for they did not keep his commandments"

Additionally, you have "other such examples" that you believe are contrary to "Christ's natural laws." Things like "the OT as true scripture, baptism, inequality of women, starting churches and following leaders, etc."

For me, more important than any of the examples that you have provided is the item of "Christ's natural laws." What is this and can you show scriptural support? I honestly do not know what "Christ's natural laws" are. I see in your posting that you have connected "true laws" to "natural laws" so are you using the word "natural" to mean "true"?

I do know that "the law" as referenced by many is 1) the Torah that is the 1st five books of the OT or 2) the Book of Deuteronomy that is called the book of the law. So when Christ references "the law" (Matt. 5:17) he is speaking of the Torah, and secondly his reference to "the prophets," in that same verse, is to the remainder of the OT.

So for me the big elephant in the room is "Christ's natural laws." What is this and can you provide scriptural support?

gruden said...

DeeLyn,
I'm really curious to get the reference where Christ made an across-the-board condemnation of polygamy.

If you read the scriptures carefully, there's a pretty big hint he was married to both Mary AND Martha. That gets back to the cultural references, if you view Christ as living in a Semitic society and not a modern Western society, which is really hard for people to grasp these days.

The Upward Thought blog had an interesting post on polygamy last week (there's an older one that's even better) that outlines it pretty well.

That being said, I'm absolutely not endorsing the Brigham Young-style polygamy. He even ignored the rules laid out in D&C. There is no justification for having 50+ wives. There's some articles out there indicating Brigham died via arsenic poisoning, the thought being that it was an attempt by a woman to stop him from handing over a young woman to polygamous marriage, either to himself or one of his aging cronies. Live by polygamy, die by polygamy.

Mr. Finch said...

Hi Gruden,
I have been checking this blog to find DeeLyn's response to my post. I hope to see scripture supporting an "across-the-board condemnation of polygamy," or as DeeLyn puts it, Christ's condemnation of "all forms of polygamy."

In addition, I do not recall as you have asserted, "a pretty big hint" showing that Lord Jesus was married to "both Mary AND Martha."

For example, take a look at my analysis of the Rev. 13:18 riddle. The link between Rev. 13:18 and Rev. 17:9 is the word "wisdom." Thus, "count(ing) the number of the beast" (v. 13:18) is synonymous to counting the "seven heads... "on which the woman sitteth" (v. 17:9) and the eighth beast. Thus, in relation to the 8th beast in Rev. 17:11 that is referenced in the Verse 17:8 riddle, all seven heads (v. 17:10) are ancestors to the eighth. Now, going back to Rev. 13:18 with the knowledge that "wisdom" means ancestors; the verse states count the number of the beast's ancestors. Additionally, the beast of Rev. 17:11, the eighth, includes the count of the first 7, so likewise, the 666 of Rev. 13:18 includes the count of the beast's 665 ancestors.

That count begins with the Lamb (v. 13:11); therefore, it begins with a number representing an action by the Savior. Numbers representing actions by the Savior are: 4, 40, 400, and 4000. Some of these actions are: 1) 4 beasts in the Book of Revelation one of which is Lord Jesus (Rev. 15:7) who instructs the seven angels, 2) 40 days of rain lifted Noah's Ark from off the earth (Gen. 7:17) and the Ark was protected by Lord Jesus, the descendants of Abraham (Israel) were in Egypt 400 years (Gen. 15:13) and brought out of bondage by Lord Jesus, and Lord Jesus was born 4,000 years from the time of Adam and created his church upon the earth at that time.

Thus, 666 (v. 13:18) minus 400 that is the Savior's action of creating his church (at approx. 27 AD), leaves 266 as the number of the beast with the Savior's action number removed. Thus, it is simply a matter of finding a Christian church that has a man including his ancestors numbering 266.

All scripture can be reasoned out in a similar manner. I mention this because you have stated that you believed Christ married two women. Where is the logic in this assessment when Lord Jesus clearly states "male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). God did not give Adam two wives. Since logic dictates that Christ was in a perfect semblance of Adam in paying the debt of death upon mankind via God's judgment upon Adam; then, Lord Jesus could have had only one wife.

Mr. Finch said...

That is, Christ was an exact replica of Adam. He did not have a mortal father but perfect and immortal DNA. Since Adam fell from his immortal state via a judgment of death not only upon him but all his descendants, then Christ who was exactly like Adam (except that Christ was the Fathers representative and did not sin) could give his life he being equal in creation to Adam. As such, Christ paid his immortal life as a payment to remove the judgment of death from upon Adam and his descendants.

That is, Christ lived a life of trials and temptations equal to and exceeding that of Adams so that he (Christ) could justifiably claim his right of payment. Thus, Christ purchased our eternal souls from death. In so doing, it is logical that Lord Jesus, like Adam, had one and only one wife. To have had more than one wife would have violated the law of God wherein Adam and Eve together were to create life and Christ and his church are to create life.

It is all one eternal round: Adam and one wife represents Christ and one bride, the church. Anything other than one wife would have violated the representation. Thus, Lord Jesus had only one wife.

The idea of multiple wives is of Satan; however, Lord Jesus forgives sin. So when a man takes multiple wives he sins in doing so. Once done, to send that wife and child away might be a greater sin. Therefore, DeeLyn's assessment that Abraham was a "polygamous prophet" is correct; nevertheless, Lord Jesus will forgive whom he will forgive and that judgment is beyond our area of responsibility.

MC said...

I have had this discussion with Deelyn several times now. I believe her position is that the practice of polygamy violates the golden rule, which she believes is the only thing Christ taught.

Of course the scriptures do not in any way support this belief, so she has to reject them.

I don't know if Jesus was married to Mary and Martha or not. The scriptures really don't give us much to go on there. I understand this was taught in the church during the early Utah period, but that doesn't mean it is doctrinal.

Personally, I'm not convinced Christ was married at all, but a decent argument can be made that he was married in order to keep all of the commandments.

As for polygamy, there are numerous scriptural passages which show that polygamy has been authorized by God in the past.

Abraham and Jacob were polygamists, yet throughout all of the scriptures the Lord never once condemns them for it. In fact the Lord has nothing but praise for these righteous patriarchs.

The law of Moses sets forth laws governing polygamy, so how can the practice always be evil? Didn't God give this law?

Do the scriptures not say that God gave King David his many wives and his only sin was taking the wife of Urriah and having him killed?

Polygamy is a polarizing and very controversial doctrine. Should we not look to the scriptures for the answer to what is right and what is wrong?

Mr. Finch said...

Hi MC,
As you have pointed out, one problem with polygamy is that it is perceived to be evil and that is not necessarily the case. Can you please provide scripture showing Moses' "laws governing polygamy" that you have referenced?

I agree that David, although he got a pass on the polygamy, was guilty of adultery and murder. It seems that Uriah knew that something was up because he would not go to his house to his wife (2 Sam. 11:9, 10, 13). It is like, Uriah did not wish to be with his wife at all, perhaps because he was told that the king had had his wife. It is a sad story because Uriah was stripped of all that he had. His wife, possessions, and life; and by the very lord (Joab) whom he trusted (2 Sam. 11:11, 14-15). Why did Joab follow this illegal order from King David. As a consequence of that order, Joab was also guilty of murdering Uriah. It was simply a conspiracy to murder Uriah (2 Sam. 11:18-27). The clincher of the story is that David repented and received a judgment (2 Sam. 12:13); thus that sin of adultery and murder was not covered by the atonement per se, but addressed as an unpardonable sin via judgment.

I am with you on the marriage of Christ. If he was married it was to fulfill all righteousness as he did in the case of being baptized (Matt. 3:15).

Back to polygamy, as I recall the practice was not necessarily condemned but it was not encouraged either. However, to suggest that it was not sin is an error as well. Let's say that today I lied a lie and that is a sin. Likewise, a society that sanctions dishonesty is heavy laden with sin. Yet that very same society regards a greater sin to be polygamy during which the lying lairs get a pass, and that is our society today. Nevertheless, it does not take polygamy of the hook from being a sin, but only that the greater sin is to lie.

I disagree with your last point. We should always look to scripture for the answer to what is right and wrong.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I think you misread my last point. I was asking a rhetorical question. We are in agreement that we should always look to the scriptures for the answer to what is right and wrong. Looking anywhere else is foolishness.

So what do the scriptures say about polygamy?

You suggested that polygamy may be a sin. I would agree that unauthorized, or unlawful, polygamy is definitely a sin. Jacob 2 makes that clear. However if God has given his approval (or even command) to enter into polygamous marriages, I don't see how it can be a sin. Is sin not based on God's current laws, which can in fact change somewhat from time to time?

Now the bible really cannot be interpreted to condemn polygamy. There is certainly no clear scripture forbidding it in all cases. In fact there are no passages in any of the standard works, when read objectively, that forbid polygamy in all cases. Even Jacob 2, which is very harsh against unlawful polygamy, leaves open the possibility for God to command His people to practice it in order to raise up seed unto Himself. It's also interesting that Jacob 2 doesn't have anything to say against Abraham or Jacob, only David and Solomon, who we know both were originally righteous, but then fell from grace.

The law of Moses does not have much to say about polygamy, but there are a few passages which appear to regulate polygamous marriages.

Deuteronomy 21

15 ¶ If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:

17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

This verse forbids a man from taking away the birthright from his first born son on the grounds that he hates one of his wives, who happens to be the sons mother. This is clearly referring to a polygamous situation.

MC said...

Leviticus 18 sets forth quite a few laws governing chastity under the law of Moses. It forbids things such as incest and homosexuality.

Two verses are of interest in regards to polygamy as well.

17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.

18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

It states that a man should not undress in a sensual way and by implication have a sexual relationship with a woman and her daughter. Since sexual contact was only allowed in marriage does this not suggest that a man is not to take a mother and daughter to wife? Why forbid a man marrying a mother and daughter if having more than one wife was in and of itself against the law of Moses?

The next verse states that a man is not to marry his wife's sister while the first is alive, so as not to vex her. Does this not suggest that polygamy was authorized, but it was forbidden to marry two sister at the same time to avoid contention and bitterness between them?

Deuteronomy 25

5 ¶ If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.

This verse requires a man to marry his deceased brother's wife to raise up seed unto his brother. This clearly suggests entering into a polygamous marriage, since the brother would himself need to be married to another woman in order to have his own seed. The law also did not allow him to refuse to marry his brother's wife (including on the grounds that he was already married).

Most importantly the law of Moses does not ever forbid the general practice of polygamy and there are several examples of righteous men who were polygamists in ancient Israel such as Gideon whom the Lord used as an instrument in his hands to defeat the Midianites with 300 men.

I don't know of any scriptures that suggest that polygamy is always a sin, in fact I see that it is not a sin as long as God has approved of it and has no current law against it.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you MC for your graciousness response.

It seems that polygamy is sanctioned in the cases where the wives want it to produce more children and not sanctioned in the cases where the husbands want it to satisfy their sexual appetite.

The D&C speaks to this as "the law of Sarah" wherein the wife picks the new bride for her husband (D&C 132:65). Here we see that the wife comes under condemnation if she does not administer this "law" for her husband, and he becomes exempt from the law of Sarah to administer and take more wives himself; without the consent of his wife. In either case, the husband gets more wives.

The question then becomes, How valid is D&C section 132? After all, it was put in place by wicked church leaders.

MC said...

Mr Finch,

Interesting thoughts on the law of Sarah. Certainly the scriptures do show instances where a wife gives her servant to her husband as a concubine or lower status wife in order to bare children through her. That appears to be a lawful form of polygamy (as long as God's current law does not prohibit it).

However, I would suggest that the scriptures do not limit lawful polygamy to this type of case. God clearly gave men wives and God clearly authorized men to take other wives, beyond merely those instances in which the first wife gives a second wife to her husband in order to have seed through her.

You stated that D&C 132 was put in place by wicked church leaders.

What do you mean by that?

Are you accusing Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum of being wicked? Joseph Smith had that revelation written down at Hyrum's request.

Or are you accusing Brigham Young, the 12 apostles, and many other early Utah members of being bold faced liars in regards to their declarations that the revelation and practice of polygamy in the church originated with Joseph Smith?

Can you please clarify who and what you are referring to when you spoke of wicked church leaders?

Eric Kuntz said...

The Word of God can be found in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. You can set the rest aside.

Here is the reason. The Bible & the BOM tell the same story. They are consistent with each other.

We can rely on these books are being the Word of God because they have proven themselves as reliable.

The D&C and others don't match and don't tell the same story.

MC said...

Can you explain and provide examples of how the D&C and "others" (I'm assuming the Pearl of Great Price) "don't match and don't tell the same story" as the Bible and BOM?

I understand that the teachings and information contained in the D&C and Pearl of Great Price are not exactly the same as those found in the BOM and Bible, but the information and teachings from the BOM are not exactly the same as the ones in the Bible either.

To me all four books harmonize with and compliment each other, even though they are not identical. I read the "same story" throughout.

Please provide some concrete evidence for why you believe this is not the case.

Mr. Finch said...

Yes MC, sorry about that.

Joseph Smith was and is one of the greatest prophets to have ever been upon the earth so my comment about "wicked church leaders" was about Young and his group. Thus, I was considering the possibility that Young and his cohorts altered D&C 132 to fit their lustful desires.

The law of Sarah is that a wife can choose another wife for her husband and have seed via this second wife; and we agree on this point.

However, D&C 132:64-65 includes that a wife who is not willing to abide this law will be "destroyed." Really? I don't think so.

Think about this logically. Let's say a woman is victorious in all things and decides that she has had enough children. Are we to suppose that she will be destroyed if she does not have additional children via a second wife. How silly is that? The answer is clearly No! She is not obliged to have additional children via a second wife. She can if she wishes, but she is not forced by God to do so.

It goes against her free agency. Like the Lord is going to say "get a second wife for your husband and have seed through this second wife or you will be destroyed." It is simply absurd to believe this false doctrine; a doctrine that was clearly put in place by wicked church leaders. Not Smith, but Young, and the evidence is that Smith had one wife and Young had what? 37?

Additionally, the Lord has never rescinded the law of Sarah. The law that was rescinded by the LDS Church was an illegal law compelling women, by the destruction of their eternal souls as referenced by the above verses, that men could take as many wives as they wished; because, they, the men held the priesthood. That wicked law was rescinded by the wicked church leaders in the Official Declaration - 1.

MC said...

Thanks for the clarification Mr Finch.

D&C 132 can be a tough pill to swallow. I've studied it many times, and have read many commentaries about it, both from people who believe it is a true revelation from God, and from those who don't.

There are several different opinions about this very controversial section.

The narrative of the church has of course always been that it is a revelation received by Joseph Smith, written down in 1843, but likely known to the prophet much earlier.

Others believe that Joseph Smith made the revelation up to satisfy his lusts or that he did in fact receive this revelation, but that it came from Satan and not God.

From what I understand, historical evidence supports either of these two possibilities.

The narrative of the Utah saints follows that it was a true revelation from God which Joseph Smith lived and secretly promoted to the end, while the narrative of some of those saints who stayed behind, or who apostatized, sometimes supports the idea that he was deceived into pursuing and practicing polygamy and even began the repentance process for this before he died.

Of course there are also sources which state that Joseph Smith was monogamous his entire life (this includes a couple of statements by Joseph himself).

The RLDS position has long been that Joseph Smith was never a polygamist, but that Brigham Young made it up, because he was a lustful, wicked man. This has gained traction among traditional Mormons in recent years.

Then there is the more recent claim (notably by Denver Snuffer), which suggests that Joseph received a true revelation regarding eternal marriage, but then Brigham Young altered it for his own lustful purposes.

To back this last claim up, people look at the sometimes unique and peculiar language of D&C 132, which doesn't always flow or sound like most of the other revelations in the D&C received through Joseph Smith.

It's a mess of confusion, which is why I generally look at scriptures other than D&C 132 to evaluate the validity of polygamy.

MC said...

I think it is useful to reason out D&C 132 to see if the principles within it can be supported by other scriptures.

Let's look at the idea of a woman being spiritually destroyed for not giving her husband permission to marry additional wives given to him by God. You suggest that this violates a woman's agency and therefore has to be false doctrine.

I don't see it this way. This is no doubt a hard doctrine, but is it really any different than the Lord commanding someone to do anything else and that person refuses to do it? God commanded the saints to live the law of consecration for example. Individual saints now had the choice to obey the command or not. Those who obeyed would be blessed for their sacrifice and obedience, but what happens to those who refuse? Are they not destroyed spiritually or cursed? This does not violate their agency.

Another way to look at it is by comparing it to missionary work. If missionaries from the Lord's true church, teach someone the true principles of the gospel and warn them to repent, be baptized, and gather to Zion, the person now has a choice. They can follow the command of the Lord as given by his servants the missionaries, or the person can refuse. If the person follows the Lord's command they will be blessed, if they reject it then they will be cursed.

There's no question that the law requiring a woman to give more wives to her husband after he has taught her the principle of plural marriage and that the Lord has commanded him to enter into it is a very hard law. However, that doesn't mean it is false. The Lord can require very hard things for his saints. After all the scriptures state that the Lord's true saints must be tested in all things and pass through the refiners fire.

As for your statement that Official Declaration 1 didn't rescind the law of Sarah, I would have to disagree. Once plural marriage was abandoned by the church, it was abandoned completely. Wives were not authorized to give there husbands additional wives on their own accord.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you MC, your response is again very good and appreciated.

However, in regard to the law of Sarah, yes, the LDS church has included it within their rescission, but that law is not rescinded as far as the Savior is concerned. How can, and I repeat, wicked church leaders, dictate to Lord Jesus that his law of Sarah is now rescinded? They can not! Yet, they can resend their illegal made up law and that is what they did. Thus, the law of Sarah is still in force although not practiced.

Isaiah tell us that in the near future the women will say "We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach" (Isa. 4:1). What is their reproach? That they need a man by which to have children. Thus they are not in sin but justifiably using an existing law, the law of Sarah, by which to have children. The example shows that seven women will take hold of one man and they, the women, only want his name (in marriage), for children. It is reasonable that one woman will have claimed the man as hers, his first wife, and that she invites her sisters that children might be born to them in her family. For in that day "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." This is about the aftermath of the coming war and the re-population of the earth. Thus, the law of Sarah is still in force; however, illegal to practice in the U. S.

Okay, let's assume that Section 132 is legit and the Savior did use the word "destroyed" to put the fear of God into the women to force them to comply. I can't help but laugh! God is going to "destroy" a beautiful and virtuous woman because she refuses to comply; and I say again, really? The logic does not hold up. For what purpose is the Savior so willing to "destroy" this woman if she does not bring or allow her husband multiple wives. "Destroy"?

Eric Kuntz said...

Here is an example of what the Bible & BOM teach vs the DOC

From the Book of Mormon...

1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that GOD HIMSELF shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son

3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son–

4 And THEY ARE ONE GOD, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being ONE GOD (Msh 15)

From the Bible...

21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (Isa 45)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. (John 1)

27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. (John 16)

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5)

32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (Mark 12:32)

From the D&C...

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C 130)

Which one doesn't fit?

Eric Kuntz said...

"Once plural marriage was abandoned by the church..."

It has never been abandoned, the LDS Church Inc. still practices plural marriage to this day. You know about the temple right?

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I understand your concerns with D&C 132, I really do.

A women being spiritually destroyed for not allowing her husband to have additional wives per the Lord's command does come off as very harsh and perhaps over the top.

If however the revelation is from God, then that's the way it is whether our 21st century minds agree with it or not.

Like I said, no one's free agency is being taken away and the scriptures have many examples of people being threatened with cursing, destruction, damnation, and even physical death if they refuse to obey God's commands.

I don't see why you insist on referring to Brigham Young and the 12 apostles as wicked men. They certainly had their shortcomings and it looks like the church began falling into apostasy during their watch, but calling them wicked and essentially accusing them of being adulterers and liars is a very bold accusation, that I don't believe can be supported by all of the historical evidence.

As for the law of Sarah business, are you suggesting that the law of Sarah has always been in effect through all the ages, including during Book of Mormon times?

The law of Sarah is only mentioned in D&C 132 I believe, so are you picking and choosing which parts of the revelation you believe? How do you determine what is right and what is wrong? I think the revelation is basically and all or nothing proposition. Either it is all true or it is a false revelation that came from Satan or someone made up.

MC said...

Eric,

I'll address your little polygamy remark first.

Your accusation against the church in regards to polygamy was unclear, but I'm assuming you are referring to the fact that when a widower gets remarried he is sealed to his next wife, and that this sealing is considered eternal as well, thus giving him multiple wives in the next life.

What's your issue here?

Don't the scriptures always allow a man (or woman) to remarry if their spouse dies? Don't the scriptures also make it clear that a wife always belongs to her first husband even if she remarries after he dies? Doesn't the second husband raise up seed to the first husband?

The scriptures only justify a man having more than one wife at a time, and never a woman having more than one husband. Is it not logical then, based on what the scriptures say about polygamy and remarriage, that if marriages continue in the next life that at least some men would have more than one wife, but women would only have a single husband?

This makes complete sense from just the Bible and BOM, which I know is the only thing you consider scripture.

Furthermore, believing that a man will have multiple wives in the next life is not at all the same as practicing polygamy in the here and now.

One is practicing polygamy, the other is believing that polygamy is still a true principle, and will be practiced in the next life.

MC said...

Eric,

I'm honestly shocked that you pulled out your little "the Father has a body of flesh and bones" vs God is a spirit concern again?

We've already been over this at length.

I've already shown you that the Book of Mormon and Bible do not support your belief that God the Father is a spirit and that the Father and the Son are the exact same being. Sure isolated verses can be used to show that, but there are also quite a few verses that refute this false doctrine.

I'll briefly review a couple of scriptures, which show that you are in error.

John 17

5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Christ was WITH the Father before He came to earth, he was not THE Father. He is not praying to Himself here.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

True believers are to be ones in the same way that the Father and the Son are one? Are all true believers the exact same being? I don't think so.

3 Nephi 19

23 And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.

Christ is asking the Father (not Himself, that's ridiculous) that He be in the true believers the same way that the Father is in Him. True believers, Christ, and God the Father are ALL to be one.

John 5

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Christ stated that He only does what He has SEEN the Father do? If Christ only does what He has seen the Father do then Father would have had to have been a savior, died, and been resurrected. Once one is resurrected one has a body of FLESH and BONES not a spirit body, in fact the spirit and body are joined together permanently as the BOM says.

I doubt you'll be convinced and I don't want another circular argument over this point, so lets at least agree that the scriptures can be interpreted in a way in which the Father and the Son are not the exact same being and that the Father at least COULD have a body of flesh and bones.


Got any other reasons why you believe the D&C and Pearl of Great Price don't match or tell the same story as the BOM or Bible or is your view on the nature of God all you got?

gruden said...

To MC's point, when Brigham Young consulted with congressman Adlai Stevenson about the legality and Constitutional protections of religious beliefs applied to polygamy, Stevenson advised him the way to do it was claim it as an essential tenet of faith. In order to do this, it couldn't look like Brigham's invention, it would have to be Joseph's since he founded the church. This is essentially why Brigham changed the documentation on the subject and got women to claim they were Joseph's wives. By claiming Joseph had instigated polygamy, he turned it into a foundational article of faith (don't reach the highest rung in the celestial kingdom if you only have one wife).
Brigham basically muddied the historical record and implicated Joseph in order to give credibility to the notion to the importance of polygamy in Mormonism. Brigham besmirched Joseph's reputation and legacy far more than Joseph Bennett ever managed to do.

Eric Kuntz said...

I have no issue. I was simply pointing out the the LDS Church never abandoned polygamy.

Some of your points are correct, but you are incorrect on at least one.

"...and never a woman having more than one husband."

This is BY's flavor or plural marriage, but it's not correct. It's evil.

Women have the right to marry as many men as they choose.

Eric Kuntz said...

I used Mosiah 15 again MC because it's so simple to understand if you will just let the scriptures speak for themselves instead of forcing your indoctrinated false teaching onto them.

Plus I knew it would get a rise out of you. Sorry.

"True believers are to be ones in the same way that the Father and the Son are one? Are all true believers the exact same being?"

In a way...yes. This is one of the mysteries of the Word of God but you need to be in a teachable spirit to understand it.

MC said...

Eric,

Sure a woman can have as many husbands as she would like, provided her other husbands are all dead.

What I was saying is that the scriptures do not ever authorize a woman to have more than one husband at the same time, while clearly allowing men to have more than one wife (at least at certain times and in certain situations).

And yes of course you are correct that the church never abandoned the belief that plural marriage is a true principle (though they have long tried to pretend it never happened). However the church absolutely abandoned the actual practice of polygamy in the here and now. That's what I meant and you know it. Why are you trying to catch me in my words when it is clear what I meant?

Eric Kuntz said...

"...provided her other husbands are all dead."

nope

MC said...

Eric,

If all we had to go on was Mosiah 15 and the scriptures that support your interpretation of the nature of God, then there would be no debate. The problem is that there are other scriptures which clearly show that there's more to it than your simplistic interpretation.

Clearly there is a mystery here. Since we don't see eye to eye, at least one of us is in error. Odds neither of us understand the nature of God fully. It's clearly very deep, and beyond the comprehension of the mortal mind.

Let's just leave it alone.

Got anything else against the D&C and Pearl of Great Price for us to look at?

Mr. Finch said...

Hi MC.
Yes, calling church leaders "wicked" is strong language. So let's say that the LDS church leaders are actually being visited by Jesus Christ as they claim and there are several instances of this. Even today in our time they lead people to believe that they are being visited by the Savior. So if this claim is true then they are good and faithful servants, but if this claim is false then they are liars; and here is what the Savior says about them.

"They (church leaders) also have erred through wine and through strong drink are out of the way (the doctrine of Christ) the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness so that there is no place clean. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts (of the church)" (Isa. 28:7-9).

Thus, according to what Isaiah is saying, the LDS church leaders are drunken with their power and he is not giving them doctrine. Thus, they are deceivers claiming to be in contact with the Savior and are not. It is for this reason that I call them wicked; because they deceive the people. They make their own people give meaningless sacrifices and tread the Savior's holy courts (Isa. 1:11). They cause their people to be guilty of murder (Isa. 1:15), and they are leading their people to be devoured in the coming war (Isa. 1:19-20).

"For they have strayed from mine ordinances and have broken mine everlasting covenant" (D&C 1:15); and who are "they"? "They who will not hear the voice of the Lord" and this is the LDS (D&C 1:14). I realize that you can not see this but the servants are the 144,000 of the BoR, the prophets are those of the OT, and the apostles are those of the NT (D&C 1:14). Those whom are being cut off are the LDS who follow their leaders; and through "stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people" (Isa. 28:11); and this refers to the modern Medes (Isa. 13:17); China.

You are almost there MC. Let go of the dumb dogs that are unable to bark (Isa. 56:10) and set yourself free to learn doctrine not beholding to wicked men. "Come ye say they, I will fetch wine and we will fill ourselves with strong drink and tomorrow shall be as this day and much more abundance" (Isa. 56:12).

MC said...

Gruden,

You make a good point about Brigham Young insisting that plural marriage was a key tenant of the faith in order to defend the legality of the practice.

You're getting your history a little mixed up however. Brigham Young and quite a few other Utah saints had been tracing the practice of plural marriage back to Joseph Smith from day one. They didn't attribute the practice to Brigham Young and then changed their story once the legality of the practice was questioned years later.

The practice began with Joseph Smith, not Brigham Young. The evidence for this is overwhelming.

So was plural marriage commanded by God or was Joseph Smith a deceived or lying about the revelation on plural marriage? That's the real question. The idea that Brigham Young made it up just doesn't fly.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

Have you read D&C 136? That was a revelation to Brigham Young. Brigham Young was the last man to receive a revelation for the church. In that revelation the saints were commanded to keep the commandments they had received and were told that there would be no more revelation for a while (a long while apparently).

I agree with you that those verses in Isaiah are directed at the LDS church leadership. The question is which ones? Was Joseph Smith a fallen prophet, and thus the first of these dumb dogs unable to bark? Was Brigham Young the first of these dumb dogs? Was it after the manifesto and the abandonment of plural marriage that the LDS leadership became dumb dogs? Was it after they gave blacks the priesthood? When? It certainly seems to fit the current LDS leadership quite well, but could the literal fulfillment still be in the future if (when) they allow same sex marriage into the church?

It's hard to say isn't it.

Don't worry I stopped putting my blind trust in any LDS church leader (or any man for that matter) a while back, and that includes Joseph Smith. My trust is in God and His word in the scriptures.

MC said...

You know Eric,

It would be helpful if you would just cut to the chase and provide the scriptures you believe show that I am in error instead of just saying "Nope" like some arrogant snob.

Mr. Finch said...

As always, good response MC.

I looked at D&C 136. It is encouraging and clearly inspired. Moving the saints west was done at the hand of the Lord, no doubt; and the prophets tell us such is the case. That the Savior moved his church, and there, they wait. So what you have said is true. Revelation was placed on hold from the time of "the move west" until our time.

Now we receive revelation again concerning the things that are just around the bend and these things are spoken of in the prophets. Revelation comes to the ones who are willing to learn doctrine. I am pulling for you Eric.

I am glad that you are beyond the clutches of the greedy and might I say "wicked" church leaders. I will concede a portion to Young for Section 136, but not all. I can not agree that Section 132 is viable; however, I must tell you that I checked the chaismatic structure of Verse 65 and it fell to your favor in the argument. I did not want to admit that but there it is.

The leaders of the LDS church today are clearly wicked. So, the revelation goes to the 144,000.



MC said...

Mr. Finch,

Looking at your last few comments, I think you and I have a similar perspective towards the present state of the church and what is coming next.

Sadly I think you are right that the church leaders today are wicked. Overall they appear to be righteous before the world, and I believe that they believe that they are righteous.

The problem is that they are guilty of hypocrisy, much like the pharisees in Christ's day. Additionally the narrative they push for the church's present state and future does not square with the scriptures.

For example, in the last few years the claim has been that the Lord is hastening his work through the LDS missionary program in preparation for the second coming.

I'm assuming that the recent declaration that the Lord is hastening his work comes from D&C 88:73.

73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.

The problem is that what D&C 88 and other scriptures say about the hastening of the Lord's work in the very last days before His return are nothing like what the LDS church claims.

Recently President Nelson has called on the youth to gather Israel. I'm sorry but this is a joke. I mean where are they gathering them? To Zion, the New Jerusalem? No they're not doing any gathering at all. It's like President Nelson doesn't have a clue what the scriptures actually say about the last days gathering of Israel to Zion. We just had 5th Sunday lesson about his talk this past Sunday in my ward. I could hardly take it. So I started looking at what the scriptures say about the matter. What I found was very interesting.

Here's what Isaiah 5 has to say about what the church is actually doing.

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!

20 ¶ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Incredible isn't it. The LDS church is fulfilling this prophecy in Isaiah. They are even using the very words Isaiah says they would.

The ancient prophets truly saw our day. All the answers are in the scriptures.

You mentioned a coming war with China. My understanding is there will likely be a Russian-Chinese alliance. The Bear (Russia) will roll over with three ribs (the Baltic states) in its mouth. The beast or anti-Christ will conquer the world with a small people. (The small people are the Chinese or other orientals).

Quick question. When you said that the revelation goes to the 144,000, were you saying that the 144,000 are the ones who understand the meaning of the writings of the prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, etc? Or were you suggesting that there is new "thus saith the Lord" revelation being received in our day?

gruden said...

MC I don't think I've mixed up anything at all. I provided the basic outline on how and why Brigham 'cooked the books', so to speak, to make it appear as though Joseph practiced polygamy when he did not. He had the motive and the ability with access to original texts and diaries.

Rock posted this article pertaining:
http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-im-abandoning-polygamy.html

If you wish to call Joseph a liar (and Emma too), that is your choice. Like I said, Brigham did more to distort and defame Joseph's legacy than anyone else. He is like the ancient Pharisees who altered the Mosaic texts to remove important truths to provide support for their own iniquity.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you MC,
Isaiah and the prophets are heavy laden with this information.

Keep in mind that both China and Russia are the bear. China's bear is the Panda.

The Savior is giving us revelation in a number of ways first of which is to understand Old Testament "sealed scripture." The linguistic devises that were used to seal the scripture and the inspiration to unlock it is now available to us. We whom are called simply do it automatically in our quest for truth. In addition, the Savior gave us codded messages throughout his ministry and the following one is the most obvious: "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." I have to laugh because it is so obvious. He is saying the 144,000 (Rev. 14:1) hears his call (Rev. 18:4)!

His messages to us are everywhere in scripture. How about D&C Section 1; the preface that He placed there for us. "The day cometh that they (LDS) who will not hear (big, big, flag) the voice of the Lord (D&C 77:9, 14) neither the voice of his servants (the 144,000 that are right now sounding the warning) neither give heed to the words of the prophets (unsealed OT) and apostles (unsealed NT) shall be cut off (Rev. 13:7, Dan. 7:25) from among the people (the Lord's church, Isa. 1:9).

We also receive personal revelation as prophets in our own right. These revelations are not generally for others; however, once sealed (Rev. 7), the revelations will be the Savior speaking through us. That is, "he cometh with clouds (the 144,000 of Chapter 14, v. 14:14) and every eye shall see him (This is the movement of his army of 144,000 to engage the enemy perhaps broadcast on TV) and they also which pierced him (now we see the attack, v. 19:19, that is at the center and emphasis of the verse) and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him (and this is the ending destruction that follows, vv. 16:18-21).

The last personal revelation that I received was when I was working on the Savior's birthday and asked for his help in proving my hypothesis. I awoke in the am and sat up in bed and then heard "five, four, eleven, eighty." After a few weeks and several attempts at understanding the numbers, I discovered that it was a date and that date was 5/4/11/AD, the day that I heard the voice. Thus, it shows a seven year discrepancy to which I discovered that 3.5 years were added to the Savior's ministry from 27 AD to 30 AD. This is the kind of revelation we receive at this time; at least that is my experience.

MC said...

Gruden,

I have a lot of respect for Rock, but that doesn't mean he's right about the origin of polygamy in the church.

I've read most of Richard and Pamela Price's work, which is what Rock based his article on as I recall.

The Price's work, although compelling, is seriously flawed.

When it comes to polygamy it's not as simple as comparing what Brigham Young and the true and blue Utah saints said vs a handful of Joseph Smith's public denials.

Emma really isn't a reliable source. Her statements and actions are all over the place. As I recall even though she almost always denied Joseph practiced polygamy after his death, she supposedly admitted twice. The evidence is also very strong that she was well aware of Joseph's other wives and did not usually approve. As I recall Joseph even disbanded the relief society, because Emma was using it as a platform to fight polygamy.

The evidence that Joseph was secretly practicing polygamy and introducing it to his inner circle while publicly denying it is overwhelming. Even if we remove all of the statements from Utah saints, the evidence is still very, very strong that Joseph was secretly practicing polygamy.

There are quite a few sources from those saints who didn't go to Utah, or who left the church, who stated that they knew or believed Joseph was doing this. Here's just a few: All three of Joseph's councilors in the first presidency in Nauvoo, Sidney Rigdon, William Law, and John C, Bennett. There was also William Law's wife and brother and William Marks, the stake president of Nauvoo. Sarah Pratt, the wife of Orson Pratt, is another. There's more, but this is just off the top of my head.

You should read the Nauvoo Expositor, which William and Wilson Law put out. It matches all the sources about Joseph Smith's secret practice of polygamy, his teachings on the potential of man to become a God in the King Follett discourse, and Joseph being crowned king in the council of fifty. This source alone is the death nail in the Brigham Young started polygamy and pinned it on Joseph Smith argument.

As for Joseph's public denials, there is really no problem here. Didn't God command Abraham to deceive people by telling them Sarah was his sister and not his wife? If God commanded Joseph to publicly deny he was practicing polygamy, then there was no sin in it and he was no liar.

Mr. Finch said...

MC, I would like to mention pertaining to your post to Gruden, that the comparison of Abraham to Joseph may have more to it than meets the eye. Abraham was told to deceive by telling a truth; because, Sarah was indeed his sister. It was not his responsibility to control what they did with that information, but it was that truth that saved his life. Thus, in order for the comparison to work, Joseph must have been telling a truth to save his life. I can only imagine that that "truth" might have been that it was not Joseph himself who was practicing polygamy but his wife via the law of Sarah.

Eric Kuntz said...

Baptism of little children is a sin.

The BOM teaches:

....there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.

....I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle...

...little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin...

...I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children...

...little children need no repentance, neither baptism...

...little children are alive in Christ...

...he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity...

...For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism...

...Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner...

...all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation...

...Little children cannot repent...

...(children) are all alive in him because of his mercy...

...And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ...

...all little children are alive in Christ...

...this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law...

The D&C teaches:

For all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived at the years of accountability.

No one can be received into the church of Christ unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.

And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

MC said...

Eric,

I agree that baptism of little children is a sin. The scriptures are crystal clear on this.

So I guess the question is at what age does a child stop being considered a "little child" in the eyes of God?

You may have noticed that Moroni 8 says it is a sin to baptize "little children", it does not say all children.

According to the D&C children began to become accountable for their sins at the age of eight, and therefore are no longer "little children", but of course they are still children.

Obviously you reject the D&C and believe that the church has been mocking God since the 1830s for baptizing 8 year old kids. So apparently you believe that 8 year old children are still "little children."

Believe it or not I understand your concern. I've often wondered if it is right to baptize every 8 year old. Most of really don't understand the gospel very well and really don't know the magnitude of the covenants entered into at baptism.

However, whether or not either of us has concerns about 8 year olds being baptized really doesn't matter. It matters what God has declared on the matter.

Since you reject the D&C, lets look strictly at the BOM and Bible to see if there are any clues as to when a child stops being considered a "little child."

In Mormon chapter 1, Ammaron refers to the 10 year old Mormon as a "sober child" and gave him instructions about his future calling. Now if you look up sober in the 1828 Webster's dictionary you'll see that sober means serious or grave. It doesn't sound like Mormon is a little naive and innocent child at this point, but that he is growing up and maturing.

In Samuel chapter 1 we see that Samuel was called by God as a "child."

Christ began teaching the leaders of the Jews at age 12.

We also know that Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness as a sinless man, was this mockery before God? If not why would it be mockery to baptize someone who hasn't yet committed any serious sins, but is at an age were they at least are beginning to be accountable for the actions?

In years past children had a lot more responsibility and accountability than they do today. During the industrial revolution which was already underway in the 1830s when Joseph Smith received the revelation declaring that children begin to become accountable at the age of 8, children as young as 5 were already working hard on farms, factories, mills, and mines. During the middle ages 8 year old kids were often already separated from their parents and off learning a trade.

Giving all of these realities I don't see how baptizing 8 year olds is a problem in the eyes of God. Perhaps we ought to be more careful to ensure that the 8 year olds we baptize kwno the seriousness of what they are committing to, but then where do we draw the line? Can we mortals really determine how much a person, child, or otherwise truly comprehends? Apparently you have a major problem with 8 year olds being baptized, but if God's wants them baptized, then it doesn't matter what you think.

I hope that this answer is sufficient, but if you insist on digging in on this I expect that you provide some scriptural evidence for why you believe that the age of 8 is an unreasonable age for a child to stop being considers a "little child" and just a child, and not just cry foul.

Got any other issues with the D&C for me to look at?

MC said...

You make a good point Mr. Finch.

The comparison I made between Joseph Smith and Abraham was not an apples to apples comparison.

Sarah was Abraham's half sister, so I guess it wasn't a total lie. It was nevertheless deceptive. The idea was to deny that Sarah was his wife (which wasn't true) and then say that she was his sister (which was true).

In Joseph's case he was accused of being a hypocrite and adulterer, even a fallen prophet in regards to his secret practice of plural marriage. By denying that he had more than one wife he was dispelling the rumor that he was secretly an adulterer and a hypocrite (which was true, provided that God commanded him to do it), while declaring that he wasn't married to any woman besides Emma (which was not true).

I still see the Joseph-Abraham comparison as having merit, though it isn't perfect.

I'm kind of scratching my head about your law of Sarah comment.

I don't believe that there is any evidence that Emma gave Joseph wives of her own accord in order to gain seed through them.

Also if Joseph Smith was given wives by Emma of her own accord, wouldn't he still be married to more than one women and thus wouldn't have been deceiving people by denying it?

Mr. Finch said...

Yes MC, I was playing the devil's advocate.

Nevertheless, D&C 132:55 states "If she (Emma) will not abide this commandment (the law of Sarah) then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her (as in choosing wives for Joseph)."

Verse 65 states this again in general terms: "If she (the wife) receive not this law for him (the priesthood holder) to receive all things (many wives) whatsoever I the Lord his God will give unto him according to my word, because she (the wife) did not believe and administer unto him (as in choosing wives for her priesthood holder)."

The question then becomes, Did Emma abide the commandment? If she did then she chose Joseph's wives, and if she did not then Joseph chose the wives for her. In either case, it was Emma who chose the wives; on her own or by proxy.

If the wives were concubines then that may also provide a technicality when answering a question as to Joseph's many wives. He may have had one wife but many concubines.

At any rate, Joseph did not lie just as Abraham did not lie. They used truth deceptively to protect their lives. Or, as the case may be, they took liberty to lie; however, that does not mean that the Savior instructed them to do so.

MC said...

Mr Finch,

That's an incredible analysis! I never really thought of it that way.

If Emma received the law of plural marriage then she would have been the one to choose Joseph wives, but if she refused then Joseph would choose the wives for her.

That makes a lot of sense.

You make a great point that though Joseph was being deceptive about his practice of plural marriage to save his own life, he was not truly lying as his other wives were all of a lower status than Emma and thus concubines.

While we don't have definitive proof that Christ commanded Joseph to be deceptive in this matter it is a logical conclusion.

In the case of Abraham the Lord did instruct him to deceive the Egyptians to save his own life.

Abraham 2

22 And it came to pass when I was come near to enter into Egypt, the Lord said unto me: Behold, Sarai, thy wife, is a very fair woman to look upon;

23 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see her, they will say—She is his wife; and they will kill you, but they will save her alive; therefore see that ye do on this wise:

24 Let her say unto the Egyptians, she is thy sister, and thy soul shall live.

Another interesting connection in all of this is the similarity between Joseph Smith being commanded to enter into plural marriage and Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. D&C 132 makes this comparison.

In the case of Abraham he was well aware that human sacrifice to false gods was an abomination. He had almost been sacrificed a couple of times himself. He had fought this false practice. And then God commands him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, through whom God had said the Abrahamic covenant would be established. Such a test was unimaginable. It would have gone against everything Abraham thought he knew about right and wrong. Of course he passed this great test.

Similarly, Joseph Smith had spent considerable effort preaching against the free love spiritual wivery of the Cochranite converts and other saints such as John C. Bennett and the Higbee boys.

Then God commands him to take on additional wives as part of the higher law of celestial marriage. If the stories about the angel and the drawn sword are true, then clearly he did not want to take on additional wives, but only did it because the Lord commanded him. This was his Abrahamic test and he passed it, too.

Mr. Finch said...

Yes MC and there is much more to the story about Abraham and Isaac. Everything has a payment. Adam's fall condemned mankind to a judgment of death, and Lord Jesus's immortal payment removed that death judgment for for all mankind. Secondly, we as individuals sin and Lord Jesus' immortal payment removed our sins on condition of repentance and we all know this to be true. However, there are other payments that are not so commonly known such as Abraham's payment as I have mentioned above that justifies the gathering of Israel, and payments made by Davidic Kings most notably of which is the payment made by Hezekiah (Isa. 38).

The Davidic payment that applies to us was made by John when he sacrificed himself on our behalf. You may already know this information but when the war begins, the 144,000 are protected. And how does the Savior justifiably protect them? Through a Davidic payment. This Davidic payment was understood by the people during Lord Jesus' mortality because they called him "The Son of David" meaning a king under the Davidic Covenant.

Lord Jesus spoke to this and to us so that we would understand; "What think ye of Christ, whose son is he?" We (as in you and I) know the answer which is: Christ is the Son of "God the Father." However, they said "unto him, The Son of David." Meaning that they believed Christ was a Davidic King. We know that he was not a Davidic King but a God in his own right; not after the order of the Davidic Covenant but the Eternal and Everlasting Covenant of "God the Father." Thus, He (Christ) provides an eternal and not a temporal sacrifice for us.

"He (Lord Jesus) saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him (the Son of David) Lord saying, The Lord (the Son of David) said unto my Lord (Lord Jesus) Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool?" (Matt. 22:42-44).

MC, can you see it? This is Psalms 110. "The Lord (John) said unto my Lord (Jesus) Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord (John) shall send the rod of thy (Jesus') strength out of Zion (Rev. 12:5); Rule thou (Lord Jesus) in the midst of thy enemies. Thy people (the 144,000, Rev. 14:1) shall be willing in the day of thy power in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; Thou has the dew of thy youth." The second half of 110 has a dual prophecy application such that both John and Lord Jesus are interchangeable in the verses. "The Lord (John/Jesus) hath sworn and will not repent Thou (John/Jesus) art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord (John/Jesus) at thy (John/Jesus) right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his (Jesus) wrath. He (John/Jesus) shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with dead bodies, he shall wound the heads over many countries." This is Rev. Chapter 19. Also notice the dual prophecy applications in Psalms 118.

MC said...

Mr. Finch, yes I'm aware that the sacrifice of Isaac was a temporal sacrifice that fulfilled a requirement (payment) from the Lord for His chosen people. As you pointed out the suffering of Hezekiah, as a righteous Davidic king, was a sacrifice for his people required by the Lord under the Davidic covenant.

You said, "The Davidic payment that applies to us was made by John when he sacrificed himself on our behalf. You may already know this information but when the war begins, the 144,000 are protected. And how does the Savior justifiably protect them? Through a Davidic payment."

I'm assuming that when you refer to John, you are referring to John the revelator. We know from D&C 77 that he is Elias who will restore all things and who will gather Israel. We also know from Isaiah 11 and D&C 113 that the root of Jesse is "a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days." This must be referring to John as well.

Years ago a man by the name of Francis Darter discovered that John the revelator is of the Davidic line on his mother's side, and since he was translated and saved to lead the work of the gathering of Israel in the last days, he is the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. Christ is of course the ultimate King of Israel from the lineage of David, but as you pointed out He is God and not a mortal king.

In Jeremiah and Ezekiel there is mention of a last days servant who leads the gathering of Israel named David, so this must also be referring to John, but uses the name David to signify that he is a Davidic king.

Anyway, I'm sure you are aware of all of this.

MC said...

You mentioned that John sacrificed himself on our (the 144K) behalf. Are you suggesting that this has already taken place, or do you believe this event is still in the future? If you believe that this has already happened, can you explain when and how you believe this happened?

Another interesting part of this is the last days role of the angel of the Lord's presence. We see the angel of the Lord's presence active in ancient Israel. He appeared to Moses in the burning bush and performed the mighty miracles that led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He appeared to Gideon and instructed him to destroy the alter of Baal. He appeared to Samson's parents. He also saved Abraham from the Egyptians. Additionally he slew the 185,000 Assyrians gathered outside Jerusalem.

It's also very interesting that on several occasions when the angel of the Lord's presence appears he is initially referred to as an angel, but then he is also referred to as the Lord and even speaks with the voice of the Lord. This is the case in the story of the burning bush, Gideon, and when he appeared to Samson's parents. The angel of the Lord's presence must either work very closely with the Lord or be the Lord himself.

Furthermore, when Samson's mother asks his name he answered that it is Peleh. This is incorrectly translated as "secret" in the KJV, but really means "wonderful" meaning he performs wonders.

Isaiah and D&C 133 we learn a little about the role of the angel of the Lord's presence throughout history and in the last days.

D&C 133

52 And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.

53 In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old;

Isaiah 63

7 ¶ I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Isaiah 51

9 ¶ Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?

10 Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?

11 Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

A case can be made that the angel of the Lord's presence is the pre-mortal Christ or that he is the last days Elias, John the revelator.

I believe that the scriptures are referring to both in many of these passages and it just depends on the context and the level of interpretation. All glory goes to the Lord, but He works through his servant.

Mr. Finch said...

MC, I would like to show you my analysis of Rev. 19:19. Traditionally, a chiasmus follows a pattern like "to be" "or" "not to be." That is, the first portion links to a negative ending. This is not always the case but close. If a chiasmus has three links then there is a total of seven parts: 1 links to 7, 2 links to 6, 3 links to 5, and then 4 is the center and emphasis of the verse. The verse lines up this way:
1
2
3
4, Center
5
6
7

There are unconventional verses and such is the case for Rev. 19:19 that is a multi-chaismi verse in 3 parts: 1 links to 3 with a center "2" as follows:
1
2, Center
3

The unconventional aspect of Verse 19:19 is that both 1 and 3 have contrasting parts. That is, 1 and 3 both are separate chaismi within the chaismi of the verse, as follows:
1a
1b
2, center
3a
3b

Thus, the "a" of the secondary chaismi link together as does the "b." It is simply a "multi-chaismi verse" within which the parts of the secondary chaismi link together. To demonstrate lets go right in and pull out the center and emphasis of the verse (item 2) and that which is left is: "And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth" as item "1" linking to "against him that sat on the horse and against his army" as item "3."

Further, "And I saw the beast" (1a) contrasting with "and the kings of the earth" (1b), and "against him that sat on the horse" (3a) contrasting with "and against his army" (3b.)

Thus, there are a total of four parts in the secondary chaismi that join together as: "And I saw the beast against him that sat on the horse" (1a/3a) and "the kings of the earth against his army" (1b/3b). That is, the beast is against him that sat on the horse and the kings of the earth are against his (the beasts) army. This multi-chaimi verse (v. 19:19) shows that the "kings of the earth" are the 144,000 of Verse 14:1.

This analysis is proved via Verses 1:6, 5:10, 17:1, and 18:3, among others.

Mr. Finch said...

MC, I am amazed at your depth of knowledge and we are clearly on the same page. The angel of the Lord's presence is John.

Mr. Finch said...

Pertaining to the Davidic sacrifice of John; this took place prior to his translation and is referenced in Rev. 12:1-5. The revealing portion is that Satan stood before the church to devour John and afterwards he was "caught up unto God and to his throne" (v. 12:5-6).

They tried to kill him by boiling him in oil and so forth but the Savior "hath not given me over unto death" (Ps. 118:18).

"Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I (John) have not spoken in secret from the beginning (as the angle of the Lord's presence), from the time that was, there am I; and now the Lord God (the Father) and his Spirit (Lord Jesus) hath sent me (D&C 77)" (Isa. 48:16).

"In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft in his quiver hath he hid me" (Isa. 49:2).

I will say that the Davidic payment for the protection of the 144,000 is not known by many. To the best of my knowledge I am the only one to have found it. It is so very hard to see.

Eric Kuntz said...

Of course children at the age 8 at still little. It sounds like you may agree with this statement. Mormon does not say infant children, he says little.

But what really matters is what the scriptures say about this issue.

Let's go back to what Mormon has to say:

...I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are ACCOUNTABLE and capable of committing sin; yea, TEACH PARENTS that they must repent and be baptized...

Mormon defined “accountable” as being the parents, not the children!

When is the last time a eight year old child made a choice about his education, finances, marriage, career, where they live? When is the last time a eight old old can enter into a legal contract with someone else? When is the last time a eight year old child is held accountable for his actions in a court of law?

Why then would we expect them of make a life changing decision about religion? Mormon is horrified by this and is why he includes it in the BOM.

MC said...

Eric, I get where you're coming from I really do.

Today's 8 year olds are generally very immature and have very little responsibility, but as I pointed out, this has not always been the case. 150 years ago 8 year old kids had much more responsibility and were likely more mature because of it.

I agree that Mormon is not only referring to infant baptism as an abomination. This would include toddlers, preschoolers, and even most 2nd graders.

As for Mormon's statement that baptism was for the parents, surely you don't believe that someone has to be a parent before they can be baptized?

As I pointed out Ammaron referred to Mormon as a "sober" child when he was 10. Surely by the age of 10 at least some children might begin to be accountable for some of their actions.

In years past it was not uncommon for 12 year old girls to get married, so surely by then they could be baptized right?

I didn't double check, but I believe the book of Jasher states that Rebekah was 10 when she married Isaac.

I know it's hard not to view the morality of the world through modern eyes, but things were very different in the past.

The D&C says that children BEGIN to be accountable for their actions at the age of 8. I know that this is culturally unacceptable today, but in years past an 8 year old child would very much have been held accountable for lying or stealing. They could have been whipped of beaten for such things and no one would have batted an eye.

If you're still not convinced that it's at least possible that some 8 year olds begin to become accountable for their actions, then please share what you believe is the proper age for when a child stops being "little" and begins to become accountable for their actions.

And please provide scriptural support if you can.

MC said...

Mr Finch,

Incredible find in Revelation 19:19. I knew that the 144k would fight against the beast, or King of Assyria, as Isaiah refers to him. I did not see the chiasmus. To be honest I'm very bad at noticing those types of things. My brain just doesn't seem to work that way. I can pick out nuggets here and there, but I still struggle with catching all of the hidden things in how the prophets wrote. I'm not really versed in the manner of prophesying among the Jews, as Nephi refers to it. I know some of the metaphors and symbols, but I don't have the eye for chiasmi as you do apparently.

I was actually already aware of the Davidic sacrifice of John to protect the 144k you mentioned. I did not find this on my own however. A fellow by the name of Robert Smith figured it out several years ago. I was blessed to discover his writings a few years ago.

I new about the burning oil John was subjected to prior to being taken up to the throne of God. It may be that he was already translated however. As I understand it a translated being can still suffer greatly, but can't die. This may be why he survived the ordeal.

I was under the impression that John will have to suffer and make the Davidic sacrifice when he begins his last days mission, but maybe you are right and this has already be done.

Back to Robert Smith for a moment. It sounds like you have discovered on your own many of the things he did. I think you would very much enjoy reading his commentaries. They are all out of print and virtually impossible to find now. One of his books is currently available used on Amazon for 85 dollars I believe. It is entitled "The Last Days Unsealed."

That book is essentially a summarized version of his greatest work "Scriptures of the Last Days", which is a complete commentary on Isaiah, Revelation, and Daniel. He also has commentaries on Ezekiel, Jeremiah, the 12 prophets, the D&C, the BOM, the New Testament, Genesis, Moses, and Abraham, as well as Exodus. He has written several monographs about other topics as well.

Anyway I have all of his commentaries on my computer and if your interested I can send them to you if we exchange email addresses or something.

I have found a few errors here and there and I don't agree with every last thing Robert Smith has written and believes, but overall his commentaries are incredible.

Let me know if your interested. If not we can always keep chatting about this topic here.

MC said...

Eric,

Here's some additional food for thought.

In ancient Hebrew numbers are very significant. They all mean something. What does the number 8 mean?

It's a new beginning.

Isn't this just what baptism is supposed to be.

It's also interesting that under the law of Moses male babys, referred to as children interestingly enough and therefore little children, were circumcised at 8 days old.

Anyway something for you to think about. I know you profess to be a humble student of the scriptures, so I assume you know a little bit about the significance of certain numbers in ancient Hebrew, which was also the spoken language of the Nephites.

matt lohrke said...

Rock - thanks for you thoughts on Alma (and sorry for the delayed response).

Eric Kuntz - You were right. There is One God. Jesus is God enshrined in the flesh, the "form" of a man. The church teaches that Jesus is the literal spirit and bodily offspring of "The Father," yet the stated purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince "Jew and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ -- The Eternal God." If Jesus is a "created" being, he cannot be eternal.

Isaiah 44 and 45:

"Thus saith the Lord (Yahweh) the King of Israel,
and his redeemer the Lord (Yahweh) of hosts;
I am the first, and I am the last;
and beside me there is no God (Elohim)."

"Was it not I, the LORD (Yahweh)?
And there is no God (Elohim) apart from me,
a righteous God (El) and a Savior;
there is none but me.
Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God (El), and there is no other."

There is no other God. It's so plainly obvious now that I'm embarrassed I believed otherwise. But that's the learning process, I suppose.

"For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah,
and that God should redeem his people?
Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied
ever since the world began—
have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?
Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men
and take upon him the form of man
and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?" (Mosiah 15)


“And a prophet of the Lord have they slain—
yea, a chosen man of God who told them of their wickedness and abominations
and prophesied of many things which are to come,
yea, even the coming of Christ.
And because he saith unto them that Christ was the God the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man
and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning
—or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God
and that God should come down among the children of men,
and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth—
and now, because he said this, they did put him to death;
and many more things did they do
which brought down the wrath of God upon them. (Mosiah 7:26-27)

“Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem
because he testified of these things. (That Christ should come)
Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers,
even down to this time.
Yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ
and have looked forward and have rejoiced in his day which is to come.
And behold, he is God, and he is with them,
and he did manifest himself unto them,
that they were redeemed by him;
and they gave unto him glory,
because of that which is to come. (Helaman 8: 22-23)

"And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look!
And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God,
that he was taken by the people,
Yea, the Everlasting God was judged of the world.
And I saw and bear record.
And I Nephi saw that he was lifted up upon the cross
and slain for the sins of the world. (1 Nephi 11, original manuscript)

Treating Yeshua HaMashiach as anything other than the absolute Sovereign Power of the universe, without beginning and without end, is to deny who He is.

"And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust."

Mr. Finch said...

MC, chaismus work is a learned process and anyone can do it. Let me show you another one that is much easier to read:
1) "Who bare record of the word of God,
2) and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
3) and of all things that he saw" (Rev. 1:2).

In this verse (v. 1:2) it is clarifying that the John of Verse 1:1 is the same John who wrote the Gospel of John and the proof is:
1) John 1:1-5 is the record of the word of God
2) John 21:22-25 is the testimony of Jesus Christ
3) John 1:6-21:21 is all things that John saw

The interesting thing about Rev. 1:2 is that it is out of order and you can see this by the order of the verses. Yet, he placed "the testimony of Jesus Christ" in the center to be the emphasis of the verse. Not only that, but he reinforces this fact in Verse 1:9 to wit the verse chaismus is as follows:
1) I John who also am your brother
2) and companion in tribulation
3) and in the kingdom
4) and patience of Jesus Christ
5) was in the isle that is called Patmos
6) for the word of God
7)and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

So let's read the links. "I John who also am your brother and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." "And companion in tribulation for the word of God." "And in the kingdom was in the isle that is called Patmos." "And patience of Jesus Christ."

Thus, he is saying: I John your brother for my translation was in tribulation for Lord Jesus in the kingdom at Patmos as directed by the Savior. You can put your own words to it but that is what he is saying. That at Patmos he paid the Davidic Payment and was translated. That is, the "testimony of Jesus Christ" means translation and all his audience to which the book is written will be in a similar tribulation for that same translation.

Another example is Rev. 19:10 wherein Michael as an angel in the verse states: "I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus..." That is, Adam was translated. Can you see it?

These two individuals are the two that are killed in Verse 11:7 and they are introduced in the BoR at Verse 1:1. It is for this reason that being translated is brought up in the second verse. That all 144,000 that are the seven spirits before the throne (vv. 1:4, 4:5, 5:6), and they are sending their greetings in this, John's book. They are all translated in the eyes of God sending their greetings and reassurance to the saints to be at peace (vv. 1:4, 13:10, 14:12) during the tribulation. The BoR is our hand book for what is coming.

John who has an absolute knowledge makes a Davidic payment, where is the test in that. No, John made the payment in mortality just as Hezekiah did. Thanks about the offer of Smith's work. I looked at an LDS author that past spring that spoke to Edras Eagle and that was interesting. I prefer to listen to the prophecy updates by JD Farag although he does not have that depth of understanding that we enjoy and I love Rock's work.

Eric Kuntz said...

Great research Matt...

"There is no other God. It's so plainly obvious now that I'm embarrassed I believed otherwise. But that's the learning process, I suppose. "

I am right with you my brother. Same for me. The indoctrination is hard to overcome. But the truth will set you free.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8)

Here is some more scriptures from the BOM in their original text teaching one God, before they were scrubbed to more closely fit the LDS thelogy:

16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? 17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. 18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh. 19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! 20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. 21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father! (1Nep 11:16-21. The original 1830 version.)

32 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. (1Nep 11:32-33. The original 1830 version.)

40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved. (1Nep 13:40. The original 1830 version.)

Mr. Finch said...

Please forgive me but I would like to share my take on the universe. Let's say "all that is" is part of the universe and within this 1 universe is 1 Quintilian galaxies. Each galaxy has 1 Quintilian heavens and each heaven has 3 primary kingdoms that break into several secondary kingdoms.

Now coming from the bottom up. Several secondary kingdoms comprise 1 primary kingdom and three primary kingdoms make up 1 heaven. This 1 heaven has 1 God whom has been commissioned by a God of another heaven and these two individuals are Lord Jesus and God the Father.

Thus, our God the Father is Lord Jesus and his God the Father is the Savior of a previous heaven. Since Lord Jesus is our brother then his God the Father is also our God the Father.

Nevertheless, since our one heaven must advance in the universe on its on accord, to take its rightful place, then only Lord Jesus can take us to that fellowship. That is, we must do it on our own, without the help of others except for the authority to do so. That authority was given from God the Father that is a Savior in his own right for his heaven that is comprised of three primary kingdoms and multiple secondary kingdoms, to our Lord Jesus that is the God the Father of this heaven and the three primary and multiple secondary kingdoms that are yet to come.

I hope this does not offend anyone but that is how I see it.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC, I just go by what the Word of God says. Mormon says that it's the parents that are accountable, well that is good enough for me.

I will leave it up to God to determine at what age people are accountable. I have no insight beyond what Mormon has said.

Mr. Finch said...

Rock, I am grateful that you have allowed me to share some of my work with MC and others, and I have just one more thing to add. If you look at the chiasmus for the BoR, John falling at the feet of the Savior in Verse 1:17 corresponds directly to John falling at the feet of the angel in Verse 22:8.

Thus, in Verse 19:10 both John falling at the feet of the Savior (v. 1:17) as well as John falling at the feet of the angel (v. 22:8) should be represented. It is easy to see the reference to John falling at the feet of the angel in Verse 19:10; however, it is difficult to see John falling at the feet of the Savior in that verse.

So lets look at the chiasmus of the verse to find John falling at the feet of the Savior, and there it is in the link between 1 and 3.

1) "And I fell at his feet to worship him,
2) And he said unto me, See thou do it not, I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus
3) Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy."

The link states: "And I fell at his feet to worship him. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy."

So what is John telling us? First look at the "Spirit" in the BoR to find that the Spirit is Lord Jesus (vv. 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22, 14:13). Then substitute "Lord Jesus" for "Spirit" in the chiasmus of the verse as follows:

"And I fell at his feet to worship him. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the "Lord Jesus" of prophecy." That is, Jesus' testimony is Jesus' prophecy; and what is Jesus' prophecy? "I will that he tarry till I come" (John 21:21-25).

Thus, the testimony of Jesus means to tarry till I come, and the angel of Verse 19:10 as well as John are of the brethren who tarry till Lord Jesus comes. The ending point of all this as I have stated before is that the 144,000 will tarry till Lord Jesus comes. When does Lord Jesus come? at the end of the tribulation. Thus, who can stand as referenced in Rev. 6:17 are those who can tarry and that is the 144,000. The sealing (v. 7:3) is the marriage (v. 19:9) translation of that group. That is, each individual of that group must be sealed to the Savior to tarry till he comes. This ordinance bestowed from Lord Jesus to the 144,000 is solemnized at the grand council meeting; however, it appears that each sealing is personally given prior to that time and this means that the sealings, some of them, are taking place now.

MC said...

Well Eric,

Since the Bible and Book of Mormon do not specifically state at what age a child begins to be accountable for their actions and you refuse to even offer up an educated guess on when a child might possibly begin to be accountable for some of their actions based on other scriptures about children who appear to at least have reached some level of accountability before God, then your insistence that the D&C violates Mormon's condemnation of baptizing "little children" who are not yet accountable before God doesn't have a leg to stand on does it?

As for Mormon mentioning that baptism is for parents and not for little children, you can choose to believe that based on this single reference one has to be a parent to be baptized, but you won't find that criteria anywhere else.

Baptism is for those who are capable of sinning. That was Mormon's point. Baby's aren't born with original sin, and therefore are pure innocent before God. The same thing goes for little children such as toddlers, preschoolers, etc. They are still innocent before God. Baptizing them under the claim that they were born unclean and will be damned if they aren't baptized is indeed a mockery before God. Parents would should worry about their own sins and not the so called sins of their infants and toddlers.

Clearly at some point a child is no longer "little" and is no longer completely pure and innocent. Since you won't attempt to state when this happens, the D&C's declaration that 8 year olds "begin to be accountable" for their sins could in fact be the word of God answering this question couldn't it?

Kind of unreasonable to attack the Joseph Smith and the church over an issue that you don't claim to know the answer to, don't you think?

Got any more issues with the D&C for me to look at.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

It seems we are in agreement. As I said before, I don't have an eye for spotting chiasmi, but I do know a little about the metaphorical language of the Lord in the scriptures. The scriptures have multiple layers of interpretation.

Sometimes a passage is strictly metaphorical. Much of Isaiah is this way. Other times it is both literal and metaphorical. I don't know that it is ever just literal.

We have to remember that the language of God is the pure form of Hebrew. Actually I should say that the language God gave Adam is the pure Hebrew language. Hebrew words, letters, and numbers have great meaning on multiple levels, unlike modern languages such as English, where a word pretty much means what it means, and letters and numbers have no meaning beyond face value.

You're right Christ comes after the tribulation. However he will only reveal himself to the 144k (and their wives and children) at the end of the tribulation. (the tribulation happens in the last 3 1/2 years of the sixth seal btw). When Christ appears to the 144k it is also when the meeting in Adam-ondi-Aham takes place with the ancient of days. This is the beginning of the final gathering of Israel from the four quarters of the earth to Zion, the New Jerusalem, in Jackson County Missouri.

The gathering of Israel (and a few righteous gentiles) to the New Jerusalem will happen during first 3 1/2 years of the seventh seal. This is also know as the judgement phase, when the wicked are all destroyed from the earth. Christ will then descend in the New Jerusalem. This is how all will see him together when he comes. Everyone left on earth, when he returns in glory will be the righteous in Zion.

This is all explained in great detail in Robert Smith's commentaries. The story is the same in all of the scriptures, there are just different details in each version that have to be pieced together.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you MC. I checked back hoping that you may have responded. Does Smith have a date projected for the beginning of the tribulation?

I calculated 2024 based upon Isaiah Chapter 18.

When it begins the timeline unfolds as follows (I think):
1) The first beast arises (Rev. 17:3).
2) Babylon (the economic system) is removed from sitting upon the "Verse 17:3 beast," and this allows the "Verse 13:1 beast" to arise. This is the 1st woe and is touched upon in Verse 7:1.
3) From the beginning of the first woe that is the attack of the beast upon the world, the 144,000 are protected for 5 months (v. 9:5) during which time the beast tries but can not destroy them. I do not know if this is 5 months at their homes or 5 months of travel.
4) From the beginning of the first woe, the 144,000 are protected for a total of 3.5 years during which the beast rules the earth (v. 12:6).
5) The seventh seal begins (v. 8:1).
6) The 144,000 attack the beast (Chapter 19). This is the 2nd woe.
7) The victory celebration (Chapter 10).
8) The saints are gathered from throughout the earth to Zion (v. 12:14), and they are once again protected for a second 3.5 years.
9) The temple is built in Jerusalem (vv. 11:1-2).
10) The wicked take control of the earth. Michael and John are killed and resurrected (vv. 11:7-11).
11) It is finished and the third woe begins.

So we are looking for the very beginning and I can not find it, except for as I said, Isaiah Chapter 18.

Eric Kuntz said...

5 Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous works, for they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people.

44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

45 And yet do ye go about, leading away the hearts of this people, testifying unto them there is no God? And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses? And he said: Yea, I will deny, except ye shall show me a sign.

Eric Kuntz said...

18 For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him. 19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Eric Kuntz said...

3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them, it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.

Eric Kuntz said...


7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.

Eric Kuntz said...

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

Mr. Finch said...

Eric, do you know the answer to the following:

Donald Trump is to Julius Cesar as the destruction of the temple is to ___________ .

Think of it like: "70 years to the birth of Christ and 70 years after" is to "70 years to the birth of Israel and 70 years after."

Again: Julius Cesar is 70 years before the birth of Christ and the destruction of the temple is 70 years after. ____________ is 70 years before the birth of Israel and Donald Trump is 70 years after.

So what event occurred around 1880 that corresponds to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD?

Eric Kuntz said...

IDK what?

MC said...

Eric,

Not really sure what your getting at with those scriptures. I know endlessly quoting selected scriptures with certain parts bolded and little to know commentary is the standard practice over at thegreatandmarvelouswork.com, in fact I would suspect you just copied and pasted them from that site. However, outside of that site the standard practice is to explain what one means after quoting a verse. By the way, you really shouldn't be putting your blind trust in Anders interpretation of scripture and church history. That's a bad idea.

Here's a scripture for you. Maybe you can read my mind, like you expect me to read yours.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Mr. Finch said...

Since 70 AD was the subjugation of rebellious Judah by the Roman government, then the corresponding 1880 event is the subjugation of rebellious Ephraim by the U. S. government.

The larger point is the type and shadow relationship between these three major events.
Julius Cesar is to Donald Trump
the birth of Christ is to the birth of the nation of Israel
The destruction of the temple is to the end of polygamy.

Thus, the answer to the riddle is "the end of polygamy."

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

Robert Smith offered up multiple views on when the tribulation would begin. I think originally he thought it would begin in 1996. He thought that the seventh seal would open in 2000. Robert Smith passed away about a year ago, but for the last 25 years of his life he thought the tribulation was coming any day.

There are lots of clues in the scriptures which one could use to make an educated guess and that's just what Robert Smith did. Every time the date he thought it would occur by passed, he would go back and look for more clues and come up with a new guess.

I know at one point he thought it would be in 2007 based on Ezekiel being given the number of years that Ephraim, or Israel would be a kingdom. He combined the time the ancient kingdom of Israel existed before the Assyrian captivity with the restored church through Joseph Smith. That is iffy though because the ancient dates aren't completely certain and it's hard to say when the kingdom of Israel was restored in Joseph's day. Was it in 1830 when the church was restored? Was it in 1836 when the keys to the gathering of Israel were restored, or was it in 1843 when Joseph was crowned king of Israel? Who knows? Robert Smith used the 1830 date to come up with 2007.

Other scriptures and signs pointed to 2014, others to 2016.

In my opinion it won't happen before 2030 or 2033, based on the time of Christ's death in the Meridian of time.

One of the issues is when the church's apostasy was complete. Robert Smith thought it was in 1978 when they gave blacks the priesthood, but I lean towards 1990 when the changed the last of the temple ordinances. Robert Smith got his 2016 date based on the 1978 model. If you add twelve years to it, you get 2028.

It's hard to say. I don't think anyone will be able to figure it out until it happens. This is why we must always watch and be ready. It will come as a thief in the night.

It could happen at any time.

Mr. Finch said...

MC,

"Woe to the land shadowing with wings which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" (Isa. 18:1). This verse translates as "Woe to the land shadowing with "saints" which is beyond the "armies" of Ethiopia. The proof for this interpretation is Rev. 12:14 that shows the "two wings of a great eagle," and Rev. 9:14 that shows the "great river Euphrates." The "great eagle" (Rev. 12:14) is Lord Jesus and his two "wings" are the two saints of Rev. 1:1. Also, the rivers of Ethiopia are the armies of Ethiopia. Thus, the land shadowing with saints beyond the armies of Ethiopia is the land whose type is that of the saints beyond the great army of Euphrates. That is, the type and shadow relationship (did you see the clue "shadowing"), is the saints beyond Euphrates and the saints beyond Ethiopia. It means that the saints beyond Euphrates comes first and this is the rise of the beast in Verse 7:1 (it is there). It is here in Rev. 7:1 that the saints are plundered throughout the earth because they are beyond the army of Euphrates that is the army of Israel; the 144,000 (v. 9:14). Thus, the armies of Ethiopia comes second and this is similar to the first (army of Euphrates) in that the saints are beyond the armies of Ethiopia, the beast. In other words, Isa. 18:1 is the beginning of the tribulation in which the Savior states: woe to the land with saints that are beyond the grasp of the beast. The kicker is that the saints that are beyond the grasp of the beast are the 144,000 that are in the U. S and this army is called the great army of Euphrates in Rev. 9:14. Thus, the land spoken of in Isa. 18:1 is the United States at the beginning of the tribulation. If this does not make sense then let me know and I will try to explain it another way.

"That sendeth ambassadors by the sea even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters saying Go ye swift messengers to a nation scattered and peeled to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto: a nation meted our and trodden down whose land the rivers have spoiled" (Isa. 18:2). This verse takes us back to the time where the "wings" of Verse 18:1 send missionaries "upon the waters" meaning representing Christ to a land that armies have spoiled. That is, a land that over a period of time armies have taken a spoil. Since this event of the armies taking a spoil eliminates the United States, then the answer is the opposite of Verse 18:1 and that is Russia and China. Thus, the date of Verse 18:2 is when missionaries went to Russia and China and that is 1992.

"All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains and when he bloweth a trumpet hear ye" (Isa. 18:3). This is another example of a masterfully written verse. They do not get more beautiful than this. The inhabitants are the people of the earth that are told to take notice when Lord Jesus lifts his gospel message upon the nations. Wow! When did the gospel go to the nations? I chose 1830; however, a more precise date may be applied. The blowing of the trumpet is highly profound in that it ties to the fall of Jericho. The army went around the walls (false doctrine) of Jericho 6 times and then on the 7th day the army went around the walls (false doctrine) seven times and that represents the 7 years of tribulation. Thus, from the time that Lord Jesus sent the gospel to the people of the earth there were 6 days of missionary work and then on the 7th day was the 7 years of tribulation. So lets count the six days as follows:

1830 (Isa. 18:3) from 1992 (Isa. 18:2) is a total of 162 years representing 5 of the 6 days. That is, 162 years divided by 5 yields just a little over 32 years for each of the 6 days. Thus, 32 X 6 = 192 and add this to 1830 for a total of 2022. However, if 32 for the 6th day is added to 1992 then we arrive at 2024. So I think the more precise calculation is 2024 for the beginning of the seven years of tribulation (Isa. 18:1).

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

I'm sorry to take so long to respond to your questions, I had forgot I posted on here and just checked back last night and saw your response.

About natural laws, they are eternal laws, science, cause & effect, conscience, unchangeable truths, things that everyone in all ages understand. Certain behaviors will always bring the same results upon a society, no matter what age the people live in. These are natural laws, just like gravity.

'Natural Law'
1. a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.
2. an observable law relating to natural phenomena.

It seems Jesus taught many of these natural laws, like the golden rule, unconditional love, prove all things by facts (not by faith or feelings), equality, respect for property, life and human rights, life long marriage, the fortunate help the needy, etc. Natural laws are the basis/requirements for love, freedom and a peaceful prosperous society and it is impossible to maintain such without living these natural laws.

It appears we believe very differently though, for I no longer believe any scriptures are God's official word but just man's fallible opinions and writings. Why would I believe otherwise? I don't believe most of the authors or prophets in the Bible were even righteous men. God or Christ did not write the Bible.

If we study the origin of the Bible, we see that it was probably written by very fallible men mostly from memory, decades, if not centuries, after the fact. (Ever play the telephone game?) By men who it seems did not even keep the basic teachings or natural laws that Christ taught. For Moses or Abraham and other OT and NT prophets clearly did not keep the laws of the Golden Rule or love, respect or equality, or honor life long marriage, or respect for life, property or human rights etc, so why would we consider them true prophets or righteous just because some book says they were but their actions proved otherwise? Most all false prophets claim to be righteous and sent by or speak for God, and it's common for many people to believe them and write about and uphold them in books like the Bible.

We should liken the scriptures to ourselves and ask if those men were around today doing the things they did, would we think them righteous people? Most would think they are just the opposite of righteousness. Truth and right never change. Behaviors that were destructive to relationships, families or society yesterday are still destructive today and tomorrow. People 2000 or 4000 years ago understood right and wrong just like we do today, for everyone is born with a conscience and understands the Golden Rule, thus why every major religion teaches it.

God did not invent right and wrong and cannot change it or teach contrary to it, else he would cease to be God, or cease to be a God any good person would believe in, for he would become like the Adversary, like the God of the OT is. The God of the OT is opposite from the God of the NT. The true God has to follow eternal natural laws just like everyone else. And he has made it easy for us to understand those natural laws also, for he puts them in our conscience, so everyone understands them, despite how hard they may be to follow.

MC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I crunched some numbers for some possible dates in the next 15 years, but some of my math was off so I deleted my comment.

We have a ton of clues in the scriptures that point to the tribulation being very soon, but since we don't know what the Lord is using as his start and end dates in these clues, it's all guess work.

It could be 2024 as you suggest. It could be between 2030 and 2033, as I lean towards, or it could begin in the next year.

We know that the day of vengeance and burning will begin upon the Lord's house (LDS) and we know that it will come as a whirlwind, meaning out of nowhere with virtually no warning.

For those who are not watching the signs carefully everything will seem fine and then all of a sudden it strike. Half of the righteous will be caught by surprise per the parable of the 10 virgins, who will then miss the marriage of the bridegroom (Christ) to his bride (His church).

All we can do is watch and be ready. We won't know ahead of time.

The new world order is close. Abortion is almost virtually accepted, even by most LDS. Homosexuality is accepted by almost everyone including most LDS.

The blacks (Canaanites) were wrongfully let into the house of the Lord in 1978 as Zechariah prophesied. The chosen seed of Ephraim has now mixed with the Canaanites which has been forbidden since the days of Cain. The priesthood has no doubt been take from us because of it, just like what happened in Ezra and as Brigham Young prophesied.

The LDS seers are asleep and drunk with the wine of Babylon as Isaiah prophesied.

The LDS women are worldly just as Isaiah prophesied.

Feminism and political correctness in the church has led to the patriarchal order being destroyed and the temple ordinances being changed.

It's a real mess.

But it's been a mess for some time now, so it very well could still get much worse before the tribulation and setting in order happen.

Mr. Finch said...

DeeLyn, thank you for your response. I find it hard to understand your belief. Are you saying that there is a God of the OT, and an entirely different God for the NT? If so, then who are these two God's and are there more than two.

MC, I think the start date is when Lord Jesus sent out LDS missionaries and the end date is when he stops sending out LDS missionaries. As bad as the LDS church is, it still fulfills that role. So in you opinion, did the LDS missionary program begin on 6 Apr. 1830? If not, then when did it begin?

We should be able to find the start date.

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

No, I believe there is just 1 God, but the 'type' of God the OT teaches about and upholds is different than the type the NT upholds, neither being like the real God, who I believe follows eternal natural laws, many of which Christ taught.

DeeLyn said...

Just like Joseph Smith taught about a different kind of God than Brigham Young & Co. did and do today. It seems everyone has their own kind of God they believe in, depending on what kind of beliefs they want to live by.

Mr. Finch said...

DeeLyn, okay, I think I understand. You are saying each person chooses their own God. So the people of the OT choose their God, and the people of the NT likewise choose their God.

Thus, and I am asking, the people of the OT chose one particular God, and the people of the NT chose their one particular God? Much like the God's of the Greek, Romans, and other cultures. So if I am understanding correctly, some people today may choose the OT God, and some people today may choose the NT God, and some people today may choose the Greek or Roman Gods, etc. The end result is that people are free to choose their own God or Gods. Is that what you are saying?

The question becomes, are all these Gods real or is one real and others not, etc? Because, they do not all teach the same doctrine. Some of these Gods are Gods of war and some are not. Some require human sacrifice and some do not. So, are some real and some not, or is one real and the others not?

You know, Christ claimed to be the one and only Son of God. Thus, do you believe Christ's claim? If so, who is the Father of Christ? Additionally, who in your opinion is the one true God? Thank you.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I think you are correct that the LDS missionary program began in 1830.

Earlier you had asked about what event happened about 70 years after the church was organized.

Well the abandonment of polygamy was one thing that happened.

Another thing that happened was that during this time the leaders of the church began encouraging converts to stay in their native countries instead of gathering to Utah and the surrounding areas.

While I agree that the church had been doing a good work with spreading the BOM through its missionary program, the missionary program of the church has not followed the instructions in the scriptures for how this work is to be done.

There is no more literal gathering. There is no longer a voice of warning of God's imminent judgments. Missionaries no longer travel without purse or scrip. Missionaries no longer shake the dust of their feet when they are rejected. Instead of every Elder being required to proclaim the gospel we now only send out 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls. The every member a missionary motto is false doctrine. Women and children have no mandate to spread the gospel, only the Elders.

So I guess it's hard to say if the church's continues missionary program can be used to calculate a guess for when the tribulation will come.

Mr. Finch said...

MC, everything you said it correct; however, the mandate for the LDS church was to gather Ephraim. Yes a few other tribes will be caught up in the net, but it is the priesthood tribe that is gathered and that is the emphasis of the missionary program. So if a few 18 year old boys bring in a few of Ephraim then that is good and the LDS church is still doing their job even though it is out of wack with the gospel.

My greater point is that when Lord Jesus ends the missionary work then that is the beginning of the tribulation. I can show this in Isaiah 18:4; the center and emphasis of the chapter. "For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest" meaning no more missionary work as referenced in Verse 18:2. That is, no more missionary work to Russia and China. Then the Savior states "and I will consider in my dwelling place" meaning where the missionaries came from; Salt Lake. Then, "like a clear heat upon herbs" meaning the cooking of the salt of the earth; the LDS. "And, like a cloud of dew in the heat of the harvest" and this means the evaporation of the LDS in the harvest. That is, there are two references to heat and this is war.

Thus, when the missionary effort ends the war begins; thus, it begins upon his house because it begins when the missionary programs ends in Russia. That is, missionary work ends in Russia, and Russia attacks the US. It may be the case that the missionary work ends as Russia makes its move. Thus, it begins upon his (the Savior's) house.

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I completely agree that the mandate of the church was to gather Ephraim. I would suggest that the gathering (or really identifying of Ephraim since 1900 anyway) is now nearly complete.

There are more missionaries now than ever before, yet the work in Western Europe, Canada, and the US is slowed to crawl. This is where most of Ephraim is located. In fact conversion rates in the US are at an all time low, especially if one considers the rate per missionary. Most of those who are baptized these days are likely not even of Ephraim, since most go inactive almost right away. They are not the elect.

Not only that, but Ephraim is not to be found in Africa. That's were the Canaanites live.

Ephraim isn't to be found in Asia either, the Asians are the descendants of Japheth, not Shem.

But, I suppose you are right that there may still be a few Ephraimites to be found before the tribulation comes.

One thing is certain, there will be no warning from the president of the church calling the missionaries home before the tribulation starts. They will be caught completely by surprise. The missionaries serving in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia will likely be imprisoned and executed as soon as the beast comes to power. The cry of their heartbroken and enraged parents may very well be the cry that goes forth in the parable of the 10 virgins in which 5 are caught unprepared.

It is likely very soon. Russia has made it clear that it doesn't want any missionaries. If the brethren had an common sense they would have pulled the missionaries out of Russia when they were forbidden to proselyte. But of course they can't do that and keep up the charade that the Lord is hastening his work and that lowering the age of the missionaries was a revelation from God to move the work forward faster until the church fills the earth.

Mr. Finch said...

Well said MC,

It appears we are in agreement that the missionary work went to the world on 6 April 1830 and ends when Russia imprisons and executes the missionaries.

Gorbachev ended the cold war on 31 Dec. 1991. Add a few months, lets say April to make the years an even number and the math is as I said 1992 minus 1830 equals 162 years. Divide that by 5 equals 32. Add 32 to 1992 gives us the year 2024.

If 2024 represents the beginning of the true 7th day then subtract 3.5 years to the beginning of the tribulation and that would be 2020 and change.

On another note, did Robert Smith speak to the Russia/missionary connection? If so, do you know where he found it in scripture? I am curious to know if he found it in Isaiah 18 as I have.

Eric Kuntz said...

"...and Russia attacks the US"

LOL, will never happen...

The USA & Russia (governments) are owned by the same cabal that owns the LDS Church Inc.

Give me a break...wake-up

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

As I recall Robert Smith found that connection in Isaiah 18 as well. In the Gileadi translation of Isaiah 18:4-6 it says:

4 For thus said Jehovah to me:
I will watch in silence over my dwelling place
when the searing heat overtakes the reapers,
and when the rainclouds appear
amid the fever of reaping.
5 For before the harvest,
when the time of flowering is past
and the set blossoms are developing into young fruit,
they will cut down the fruit-bearing twigs with knives
and remove the new branches by slashing.
6 All shall be left to the birds of prey
of the mountains
and to the beasts of the land:
the birds of prey will feed on them all summer
and the beasts of the land all winter.

There are a few metaphors here.

The main part is the phrase "searing heat overtakes the reapers."

Searing heat, devouring fire, etc is a metaphor for the beast, anti-Christ, or King of Assyria. It's all the same person. Assyria is a metaphor for Russia, so he will be the leader of Russia and its allies.

So the beast will overtake the reapers. Who are the reapers?

They are the missionaries of course. They are thrusting in their cycle as they suppose and reaping converts.

The Lord will be silent as this happens, meaning there will be no warning, besides the one in the scriptures.

Then it states that "rain clouds will appear amid the fever of reaping."

What's a fever? It's a sickness. The church is obsessed with missionary work, but they don't keep the commandments, so what good is it.

Rain clouds mean serious trouble, so the tribulation comes while this missionary fever is in full bloom.

Verse 5 and 6 are quite clear. The missionaries will be cut down and killed. These are "the fruit bearing twigs and new branches."

MC said...

Eric,

If you detach yourself from the greatandmarvelouswork.com nonsense and stop believing every conspiracy theory from the wackos on the internet you might just learn something.

While it's true that there are secret combinations in high place, clearly you don't understand how secret combinations work.

I'm sorry, but you have no credibility as being someone who is awake. You close your eyes to the reality of the holocaust and Sandy Hook shooting. You close your eyes to the reality that the earth is round.

You're the one who needs to wake up.

Eric Kuntz said...

"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance" - Albert Einstein

Mr. Finch said...

Eric, got-a-love you buddy.

I know it is difficult to "see," but that is what it takes to understand the Savior and his work. I once asked in prayer how it was that he was chosen to be the Savior, and to my surprise he told me in vision "They chose me." It took years for me to understand this because I had been taught that God the Father chose Lord Jesus. Go figure.

I suppose if you are to understand then it will be given to you. MC understands as do I and many others. As I was working in Rev. Chapter 9 I could not understand the five months as referenced in Verses 5 and 10. It was this quest to understand that caused me to reach out and find others of my kind. That is, I understood that five months was not enough time to learn the work and it must be being taught now. So, I looked and found Rock and Snuffer, and MC. Yet you Eric are not at the level but seem to want to get there. As I said before, I am pulling for you. It does no good to kick against the pricks and not be satisfied. Please stop kicking and try to understand the Savior's doctrine. Come to us Eric, otherwise you will not be found when the time comes.

You would do well to absorb as much as possible from MC and Rock. Learn the doctrine Eric. How is it that MC and I, having never before conversed, have a like understanding of gospel doctrine. We independently learned and yet we learned the same doctrine. We are being taught by the Savior and it is he who is teaching you. So let go of the elementary stuff and join with us like Johnathan Livingston's Seagull and grow to new heights.

Dave P. said...

Eric Kuntz,

I'd say it's the opposite. Russia is so demonized in the media right now because they're pretty much the only nation that refuses to be controlled by the cabal (i.e.: Israel and the Zionists).

Why else has the obsolete NATO been slowing advancing towards Russia's borders and several US missile bases been built basically to point towards it in the last 20 years?

Eric Kuntz said...

Dave P.


I understand it looks that way, but it's all a show. It's called divide and conquer. It's red vs. blue. Democrat vs. Republican. Everything you see on TV news is a fabrication. It's all fake. The powers that control this world control everything. Politicians are just puppets. Along with Hollywood actors, musicians, etc. They are just playing a part.

The good actors are in Hollywood, the best actors are in Washingtonian DC.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; ...WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9)

Most people can't let their ego tell them that they also have been deceived. It's a pride thing.

Eric Kuntz said...

Pull for yourself man.

If you follow any man you will remain deceived. Put your trust in God only. If you don't, the chains of hell will pull you down to everlasting destruction.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (2 Nephi 28)

7 For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other–either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken. (1 Ne 14)

Eric Kuntz said...

follow MC? Snuffer? LOL.

Please.

Mr. Finch said...

Eric, I did not mean "follow" but "learn from." Interestingly, the 144,000 tend to learn from others but follow only Lord Jesus. I think that is where your heart is.

MC, if Smith and Gileadi found the missionary/Russia connection as we have discussed, then why did they not find, as I have, the year 2024 as the beginning of either the tribulation or the judgment?

There can only be two possible explanations. Either I am wrong, or they could not see it.

Naturally, I believe the latter. I think they did not make the connection to the Book of Revelation as I have explained previously.

Again, the link between Isaiah 18:1 and Revelation 9:14 is "rivers of Ethiopia" and "the great river Euphrates." Since rivers and river means armies and army; then, "rivers of Ethiopia" means "armies of Ethiopia" and "the great river Euphrates" means "the great army Euphrates."

The proof that the great army Euphrates is the 6th angel rests in Revelation 6:12 in that the 6th seal contains the tribulation that extends into the judgment; and the question in Revelation 6:17 is "who shall be able to stand?" That is, at Verse 6:12 the tribulation is over and the judgment has began. Thus, who can stand (v. 6:17) pertains to the judgment? The answer is given in Chapter 7, that the 144,000 can stand during the judgment.

Again, Chapter 7 has completely bypassed the tribulation except to point out that the 144,000 are sealed during the tribulation that began in Verse 7:1. Then, in Revelation 8:2 the seven angels as represented in the seven seals (vv. 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, and 8:1) are prepared to sound meaning do their job. Then, we are told that the first four angels represent the tribulation and judgment (vv. 8:7-12) and the remaining three angels represent the three woes as in the tribulation in which: the beast takes control of the earth, Lord Jesus' response to put down the beast, and then his final judgment at the end.

Then, we go into detail at Verse 9:1 beginning with John who instructs the 144,000 at Verse 9:14 saying, "Loose the four angels" (that have previously in Verses 8:7-12 been explained to be the woes). Thus, to "loose" the four angels means to begin the second woe that is: Lord Jesus destruction of the beast. And who was prepared to destroy the beast? That is, who had the "trumpet" meaning authority to release the second woe (vv. 9:14-15)" The Great Army Euphrates that is the 144,000.

Thus, the great army Euphrates (v. 9:14), is the type for the "armies of Ethiopia" in Isaiah 18:1. In that, the saints were beyond the reach of the 144,000 in Verse 6:9 (as a shadow in that verse), and likewise, the 144,000 are beyond the reach of the beast in Isaiah 18:1 (as a shadow in that verse). Futher, Isaiah 18:1 specifically tells us that its reference is as that of a "shadow". Thus, we have to find the "type" for the shadow as I have explained above.

This proof, that the "rivers of Ethiopia" are the armies of the beast is correct. So, if Smith and Gileadi did not find this information, then they could not have found the year 2024 as being the critical year I have previously explained.

Also, I tend to believe that Smith was translated. Did you see him in the coffin as proof of death?

MC said...

Mr. Finch,

I don't know all that much about the work of Gileadi. I have listened to a couple of his commentaries on the individual chapters of Isaiah at his website www.isaiahexplained.com, but otherwise I don't know too much.

I know he was exed back in the 1990s and later rebaptized. From what I understand his work from before his excommunication was better than his stuff from after he was rebaptized. I've heard he had to kiss President Hinkley's scepter so to speak and went soft in order to get back into the church.

Robert Smith used Gileadi's translation of Isaiah to do his commentary on the last days, and I've read all of that.

As I said I don't know too much about Gileadi, but Robert Smith seemed to focus on the metaphorical language of the Lord and the meaning of Hebrew words for his understanding of the prophecies. I don't recall him having ever mentioned any chiasmi, though I'm sure he was aware of them. He was a Hebrew scholar.

If it turns out that you are correct in your understanding about when the tribulation comes, I suppose Robert Smith must have been to preoccupied with the metaphors to see it. My opinion is that Robert Smith was a bit overzealous about wanting to be on the exodus as he called it, when the 144k are gathered out and protected during the tribulation. He believed it would happen in his lifetime and he was in his 80's at the time of his death.

As I said before I don't believe his work is perfect. There are things he has stated that I believe are wrong or at the very least incomplete or over simplified.

I never saw Robert Smith in his coffin. He lived in Utah and I'm down in Arizona. In fact I didn't here about his death until about a month after it happened.

I have a pretty close acquaintance who lives in Utah and who had been a close associate with Robert Smith since about 2001. He is part of a small group who watch the signs very closely together with Robert Smith (until he passed).

Anyway this acquaintance was at the funeral and told me about it, so I'm quite confident that Robert Smith is dead.

I was not really in contact with Robert Smith. I did have one phone conversation with him about a year and a half ago, in which I asked him a few questions about his work that I felt were wrong or where I believe he had contradicted himself. Other than that I only know Robert Smith through what he has written and what my acquaintance has told me.

I'll tell you what, send me an email at ldswatchman@gmail.com and I can send you his work and you can check it out for yourself or we can just chat some more about the prophecies and the signs of the times without having to use Rock's blog as an in between.

If you'd rather not send me an email, I'm happy to keep chatting here, too.

MC said...

Eric,

You said, "If you follow any man you will remain deceived. Put your trust in God only. If you don't, the chains of hell will pull you down to everlasting destruction."

You might want to consider taking a little dose of your own medicine.

You have put your trust completely in the interpretations of Anders over at thegreatandmarvelouswork.com

I think there's a word this. It's called hypocrisy. And what do the scriptures say about hypocrites?

Can you seriously not see that you are guilty of the very thing you warn against?


DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

In answer to your questions, I believe there is only 1 God, a God who lives by unconditional love, the Golden Rule & other natural laws. The Gods of the OT & NT beliefs, or JS's God or BY's polygamous God, support many of the same things as the Adversary so it couldn't be the real God, who, like Christ, would never support any evil/destructive acts or he would cease to be God or a God good people would believe in.

When we study the origins of the NT and reason out the scriptures, it seems it was the authors who actually claimed Christ was a God, and that he did miracles, gave out Priesthood, started a Church, instigated baptism and saved us by dying for our sins and made life eternal for us, when actually those things are not what Christ did or taught or would have done or taught.

I do not believe Christ was or claimed to be half God but most likely just claimed to be a son of God like any of us our children of God. I believe his father was Joseph, for the idea of a virgin birth by God goes against Christ's own teachings and was just something the authors would likely have wanted to promote.

Christ taught us to save ourselves by keeping all of his true teachings. Christ's teachings of natural laws, things we all know deep down, are the only important truths to know and follow about him or his life.

It seems much of Christ's life & quotes are false & just added by NT authors so it agreed with false OT prophesies & the author's own beliefs or agendas.

The ideas of finding or following true prophets or a true church or true priesthood to get baptized by or true scriptures, etc, are all impossible since, as Christ taught, mortals are never perfect & thus not trustworthy, thus these ideas are made up, likely for profit, power & pride, for they are contrary to the real truths Jesus taught.

I believe everyone just creates their own personal God & beliefs based on how they want to live or what they want to justify (like BY claiming God ok'd his polygamy or Abraham claiming God told him to sacrifice Issac & ok'd slavery & concubines, etc). Few ever question their own inspiration, let alone question the inspiration or acts of ancient men in the Bible. Everyone thinks their own revelation etc is right & from God. Humility is actually realizing how much we've been deceived by our own & other's false revelations/dreams/visitations, etc.

I believe mortals receive far more false revelation, inspiration, dreams, visitations, etc, than they do true ones, & that these 'false' revelations, inspirations & visitations sound much easier & better to our natural man desires & pride (for example: polygamy, patriarchy, racism, slavery, tithing (10% vs 100% of extra), having churches & trusting leaders or prophets, priesthood authority, baptism, thinking warm fuzzies prove truth, being in the '1 True Church', etc), It's easy to believe in those false ideas & assume they're from God & then write it down & call it scripture. (like it appears Moses, JS & others did).

All religions & scriptures seem to be a mix of some truth but mostly error that caters to the natural man. I don't believe anyone knows much about the real God. Near Death Experiences seem to reveal more truths about God & the afterlife than any man made 'scriptures', which I believe are mostly just the opinions, stories & false revelations of unrighteous men & false prophets.

I personally believe in a God that lives by many of Christ's teachings (unconditional love, Golden Rule, equality, respect, freedom & eternal monogamy & families, etc.) For again, these are natural laws & the only way to create a lasting peaceful prosperous free society.


Mr. Finch said...

Thank you DeeLyn.

Belief is a very powerful thing in ones life. Once I believed that a document did not have a signature on it and when I brought it to this persons attention he said "my signature is right there" and pointed to the paper, and then I could see his signature.

Belief is powerful; however, our beliefs are not always correct. You stated "I believe there is only 1 God, a God who lives by unconditional love, the Golden Rule & other natural laws" and so that is your belief, but it may or may not be correct. I have my beliefs and that also may or may not be correct. So what measurement can an individual go by to determine if their belief is correct? That is, how do we, as in you and I, measure the correctness of our belief to arrive at God's correct unilateral belief that is the only true belief.

You have determined that your parameters are "unconditional love, the Golden Rule & other natural laws." For me, "unconditional love" is a stretch because God does not love Satan. Therefore, the litmus of "unconditional love" has conditions; that to have God's love we can not be pure evil. So as you can see, God's love is conditional. This leaves the Golden Rule & other natural laws as potentially correct parameters to determine God's belief.

The Golden Rule implies some expectation on God's part that someone will "do unto him as he does unto them." This is obviously correct that we have the hope of karma, that when we do good it will return to us in the form of someone or something doing good to us. Therefore, the Golden Rule states that God expects something good for himself or herself as a result of the goodness that is imparted by God to others. That is, God expects to be the recipient of goodness according to the Golden Rule.

Lastly, you have it that God functions according to natural laws. This is the third basis of your belief, and this natural law is a basic observable truth; although we do not know all the natural laws but we as in mankind is currently learning them as in how gravity works and so forth.

So if I understand you correctly, according to your belief and I concur, God functions according to the Golden Rule using natural law.

The unconditional love item is clearly false because God does not love unconditionally as I have shown above. God does not love Satan nor does he love evil.

Eric Kuntz said...

"For me, "unconditional love" is a stretch because God does not love Satan."

How do you know this?

"...but we as in mankind is currently learning them as in how gravity works and so forth."

No one knows how gravity works. It's still an unproven theory.

Mr. Finch said...

Hi Eric,
you are right that no one knows how gravity works; however, someday science will prove how it works and that is the point. God uses natural laws such as the laws of gravity and someday we will understand these natural laws.

To the other point, do you love God? Do you love Satan? Can you love both at the same time? Do you love murder and hate murder? How about any other thing that has two opposites like love and hate. Do you love cold weather and hate cold weather?

The answer to all these questions is that you can not love and hate: God, Satan, murder, cold weather, and anything else that you choose to place there. So the question is, does God love Satan and hate Satan? Does God feel love? If so, how can you prove it? Is God love, or is God hate, or is God somewhere between these two extremes?

So to say God has unconditional love is simply a bogus claim that can not be proven. Thus, "For me, "unconditional love" is a stretch because God does not love Satan" because, I cannot reconcile that God can both love and hate at the same time. This begs the question, Can God feel love? If so, then he also can feel hate. Thus, since Satan represents pure evil and God hates evil, then God hates Satan.

The problem is that we think God can not hate. We place these parameters on God so that he fits our definition of a pure being. Yet, if God can love then he can also hate. Likewise, we, the creations of God, love and hate. We love little babies and we hate murder.

Therefore, God does not have unconditional love; because, he hates Satan's murders and places judgment upon Satan for those murders. Thus, God does not love Satan unconditionally and that is how I know this. Thus, unconditional love is false doctrine.

jjkram said...

Who are we to say what God has or does not have or what God will or will not do?

Mr. Finch said...

I suppose things can be reasoned out. Are we created by God? yes. Did God allow us to feel love? yes. Therefore, God in all likelihood feels love. If he does not, then God must be something that can be defined by science since science does not feel love and obeys laws.

If God does feel love then he/she in all likely-hood also feels the other emotions that we humans have.

So I guess it comes down to personal belief; however, some of this stuff can be reasoned out. To say that God has unconditional love is a stretch as I have previously explained. You must first say that God loves, then hates, and so forth before you can arrive at unconditional love. That is, how can God have unconditional love if he does not first love? Likewise, how can God love if he does not know the opposite, that is hate. Thus, if God loves then he also knows hate and the experience of that. Thus, God has to have had the experience of hate if he has the experience of love. Only then can he have unconditional love.

The problem is that if he judges anyone then his love is conditional. That is, if his love is unconditional then there is no judgment because he loves you no matter what you do. That is, everyone is unconditionally beloved by God and everyone is in his good graces. This includes the drug pushers, child molesters, murders, bible thumping Christians, saints and sinners alike. Thus, everyone is unconditionally loved by this all loving God. Likewise, we should embrace all the vices that mankind has to offer and have a gay old time because God loves us unconditionally.

The opposite is that God loves us conditionally. His love requires something of us. Perhaps it is accepting him as the Father. Or perhaps it is living by the Golden rule. Yet, there are conditions that we must meet to have his love. Likewise, all women do not love me. Yet, those whom communicate with me such as my mother and daughters love me with conditions; that I live honorably. They will not love me if I become a devil. They would cry and feel pain and suffer and then reach the point of not loving me any more. The same is true for God. At some point he does not love the sinner any more. At least that is the way I see it. I think that point is when the sinner fully embraces evil. It is then that his love is gone.

Thus, when does the sinner fully embrace evil and become a devil? Only God knows the answer to that question. I suppose the gift of discernment would help us to identify the devils among us. I do not know anyone with that gift.

MC said...

Mr. Finch is completely correct. The idea that God's love is unconditional is false doctrine. In fact this doctrine is currently being taught by the apostate LDS church and the rest of apostate Christendom. As Mr. Finch pointed out, what this false doctrine does is it minimizes or completely eliminates the true doctrine that men must keep the commandments or incur the punishments of a just God. Little by little anything goes.

Just look at the teachings of these megachurches. Homosexuality, fornication, pride, costly apparel, worldliness, idolatry, covetousness. It's all okay. God loves you no matter what. He died for you and all you have to do is acknowledge him (if even that) and you'll be saved.

That's BS.

jjkram asks, "Who are we to say what God has or does not have or what God will or will not do?"

Great question. The answer is in the scriptures of course. The scriptures refer to God hating sin and even hating individuals and entire nations. So clearly God can and does hate. In reality God is likely much more complex, far beyond our current comprehension, but the scriptures say He hates, so that must at the very least by the best way to describe how He feels towards the ungodly followers of wickedness who refuse to repent.

The scriptures tells us that God will destroy, even kill all the wicked prior to Christ's second coming in glory. The scriptures also state that the wicked will be damned and suffer God's vengeance in hell.

The scriptures also make it clear that God has a chosen people, the house of Israel, and that He has even cursed entire races and civilizations. This does not sound like unconditional love to me.

So jjkram on the one hand you are correct that we ought to be careful with our perception and understanding of God, because there is a great deal that we do not know about His nature. On the other hand there is much we do know, and the best course of action is to hold fast to what we have been given from God in the scriptures until we receive further light on the matter from the Almighty.

In my opinion the scriptures seem to suggest that God loves all of His children to a certain degree and that He loves the sinner and finds great joy in the sin bound soul that repents. However, I have to agree with Mr. Finch that once a soul has given themselves completely over to Satan and has reached the point of no return, God no longer loves that soul, at least not anywhere near to the degree that He loves the righteous. I'm sure He mourns for the souls that are lost to Satan, but they have become His enemies and will incur the punishment of a just and vengeful God.

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

No one knows who or what the Devil is exactly, if it's just a force then no, God would not love evil, but if the Devil is a spirit personage, especially a spirit child of God then God may love the Devil but not love what the devil does.

Just like someone can love their child or spouse even though that child or spouse chooses to do very wrong things. (Prodical son) God can separate the action from the person, because he knew the person before this life and understands them and that someday they will repent and learn a better way in the next life, for there is no 'point of no return' or a loving God would never send us here. Of course God hates the sin but not the sinner, and will help all to repent in the next life, for as Christ taught, there are none that are righteous in this life. Though pride can make us think and feel we are righteous for it blinds us to our errors.

Christ was an example of and taught all about having unconditional love and how it is the key to becoming perfect. Everyone sins and most people support and do evil far more than they realize. But God still loves them and wishes they wouldn't, for their own sake especially and thus tries to inspire them to do good.

But God does not judge us, judgement comes by natural law as Christ taught, that what we did to others or what we supported or allowed in this life, will be done to us in the next life. Hopefully our earthly repentance of sin will lessen those natural effects. But after we pass on we will come to naturally & quickly see, feel, experience & understand the wrongs we did during our lives. We are the one's who determine where we end up, not God. Just like parents in this life can't force success, education or good relationships on our children, they must do it for themselves. It's all just about progression, slowing learning in this life or the next to develop unconditional love. It's just far easier to learn it in this life if we will.

If you study Near Death Experiences it will help to understand God's unconditional love, no matter what the person did during their life. God's love is unconditional but that doesn't mean he doesn't hate what people do or that he let's everyone into heaven, he couldn't even if he wanted to. For heaven is only for perfected people or it wouldn't be heaven. That takes time and work to attain.

People end up in the next life where their earthly actions got them, where they progressed to or descended to, depending on how much they learned to have unconditional love or not. Most, if not all, of us will probably do most of our progression and learn right from wrong in the next life, when we see and feel our own deeds and how they affected others. God can't save anyone no matter how much he loves us. As Christ taught, we have to save ourselves, by living the eternal laws he taught, then we will experience joy & happiness in the next life & not the opposite.

Unconditional love is a natural eternal law, actually the greatest of all laws of the heavens. It is by unconditional love that spirits or even civilizations or worlds progress. Societies that don't practice unconditional love self destruct, while those who do, progress. For marriage is the foundation of society and unconditional love must be the basis of marriage or the marriage will fail. And when marriages fail so does society. It's all natural law, cause & effect. It happens over & over, civilization after civilization. No society on earth seems to have learned to have unconditional love yet, so none have been able to maintain peace, freedom & prosperity for long.

Michael said...
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Mr. Finch said...

Thank you DeeLyn.

However, I do not understand your claim other than to say it is your belief.

If you are willing to show me the proof then lets first of all harmonize our language so that our words mean the same thing; so that I can understand what you are saying and vise-versa. Let's say that all law is set in stone and can be proved. For instance, on a highway there is a 65 MPH sign. This law is provided via the highway dept. that posted the sign because they have the responsibility of setting safe speed limits according to directives of their supervising government agencies. However, that law of 65 MPH is not a natural law but a civil law. So lets say that natural law can be proved by science and it is binding upon God and man, and civil law is established by government and it is binding upon man.

Secondly, if Christ's words are used in a proof, then the source from which the words came can also be used in the proof. I say this because a proof is generally considered invalid if the entire source is not accepted as the source. For instance, if I were to use Christ's words in which he said: "I am the son of man," then you can also use Christ words saying "I am the son of God the Father." Thus, all Christ's words are available for use in pursuing truth, and not just the ones you believe to be true. Because, no one is the arbiter of truth except God. Thus, we do not get to pick and choose according to our belief, but according to all of Christ's words.

So if you will, please provide your proof that unconditional love is a natural law. The term "natural law" implies that it is from nature. You know, like DNA and so forth. So if you believe unconditional love is in nature then please show the A, T, and G of the proof. That is, please show your foundation premise, then your first point, second and so forth so that I can follow what you are saying. It is a connect the dots thing for me, otherwise it makes no sense.

Eric Kuntz said...

"However, that law of 65 MPH is not a natural law but a civil law."

Speed limits and all other traffic "laws" are not laws at all. They are statutes.

The word law had been corrupted.

The word 'law' refers to the common law or your God given rights as a human being.

Mr. Finch said...

Hi Eric,

you may be correct that the 65 MPH is a statute; however, we tend to say "you have broken the law" and not a specific statute of the law. So I agree that our use of language is not accurate and that is why I was asking DeeLyn to set some ground rules in determining what she was actually saying.

So I am okay with "law" being defined to mean "common law" or "God given rights." That being said, then "natural law" refers to "the laws of nature"; correct. Thus, my request is that DeeLyn show the proof that "unconditional love" is "a law of nature."

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

You are correct that these are just my beliefs, of what I believe prove true. Although truth and natural laws are things we know in our conscience, and things we all know deep down, they can't be proven to anyone, we have to prove them to ourselves, if we are willing to do so.

Just like any of Christ's teachings, no one can prove they are true, only those who study and experiment with them and strive to live them and learn their effects, can come to understand how true or untrue they are.

Natural laws are observable over time, they are cause and effect, but one has to make the effort to watch for and study these effects to see and understand them. But unless we live by these natural laws ourselves we may not be able to see them and their effects. For we can become blind to truth if we don't live it ourselves. But history can help show us the effects of natural laws like unconditional love (UL) and the outcomes of people, marriages or societies that live by them or not.

UL is something we individually must take the time and effort to look for and see the effects of, while also being willing to strive to have ourselves or we may not be able to see and understand it's effects.

One problem with UL is that it's rare to see it's effects because so few have it. Parents often have UL for their children, and sometimes spouses have it for their spouse, though it seems UL is rare in marriage today, thus why we have so much divorce. Many animals, especially dogs display UL also.

But we can see that Christ taught unconditional love in his teachings, like when he taught us to love those who don't love us, for he said, anyone can love those who love them.

But again, we can't know for sure if the NT really quotes Christ correctly, or which parts are made up by authors because of agenda or imperfect memories. We can only reason those teachings out, and experiment upon them and try to live them, to see if they prove true or not.

This life is to prove the truth to ourselves, if we will. No one can prove truth to anyone, we only learn by our own experience, depending to our desires for truth and right.

Mr. Finch said...

Thank you DeeLyn, your response is brave and compassionate. I especially like how your answers are on the edge of the line but not quite crossing over. You must be an attorney (just a thought).

UL is a Pentecostal buzzword. My sister used it years ago and I tried to reason with her about God and lies. Her position was that God can not lie, and my position was God can lie if he wants to. She would say no he can not, and I would say then he is not God.

My point was, if God can do anything then God can lie. Her point was God can do anything but lie. Then my come back was, then God can not do everything; because, he can not lie. To which she would say God can do everything but lie.

It was circular logic to which there was no end.

In your argument you say we can use Christ's words so long as they fit our idea of truth. Thus, we individually get to pick and choose what we believe to be scripture according to our likes and dislikes. The logic is circular with no end.

Let's see if we can find one point of logic to begin a reasonable discussion. How about, what is truth? Let's say truth is verifiable. Thus, things that are verifiable are true.

That would be a good point of agreement between us. "I think therefore I am" (Descartes), and that is clearly true because it is verifiable. Also, 1 plus 1 equals 2, and that is clearly true and verifiable.

It is not reasonable to use instinct as a mechanism for verifying UL. For instance, dogs follow the "leader of the pack" (man) because that is their genetic predisposition to do so (instinct). The same goes for parents, family, and etc.

I admire your attempt however to show the proof. Yet, instinct is not a fair arbitrator to prove UL because it is biased to a predisposition of DNA.

To prove UL you must look at a tree, or a pond of water. Something like that which does not have an instinct to show UL to something like a baby. Lets say God has UL; then prove it but not by DNA that is forced upon the individual.

jjkram said...

Where are you Rock?

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

Yes, we must pick and choose and discern which of Christ's teachings are true and which are not. For many contradict each other and can't all be true or his real quotes. When you study the origin of the NT it's quite apparent that not all the words accredited to Christ are really his but the addition of authors, by error or agenda.

I referred to the ideas that dogs have UL as a type of example, not that cognitively they have UL but just to see at how loyal, loving and forgiving dogs can be despite how they might be treated.

A better example would be the love people feel from God during near death experiences. They understand real quickly that God loves them despite what they might have done, though that doesn't mean they go to heaven, for that would depend on one's behavior.

Though I use the words unconditional love it's just the closest term I can think of to describe the type of love God has and asks us to have. A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. It's the concept, not the name we give it.

I believe God couldn't lie or he would cease to be God, for to be God he would have to live by natural laws also, the same as us. Just because he is God doesn't mean he can do anything he wants. I don't believe God invented right and wrong but he just lives in harmony with truth and right so much that he can be a God.

We have to 1st determine and reason out what is truth and right and then use that understanding to see which quotes of Christ's are truth and which are not, and were thus added by authors. For if Christ really said all that the NT claims he said, then he couldn't be perfect or what he claimed to be. So either not everything attributed to Christ was what he actually said or he is not who he says he was. Christ taught us to not have blind faith in anyone, including him.

We have to 1st understand what is right ourselves before we can ever determine if Christ was righteous or perfect or who the NT says he was, or just another false prophet teaching part truth and part error like most all the rest of the prophets in the scriptures and in the Church.

Mr. Finch said...

Okay. Thank you DeeLyn.

Please be specific, I do not know what words you attribute to Christ. Might I say that Christ is the word used for "the Savior of this world." The Jews thought the Christ was the Son of David; the Savior of the Jews. So I guess it depends what your interpretation of Christ. Lets go with your interpretation. Who is Christ and what does that word mean?

I understand that you believe God is constrained by law. However, as I said, God is God because of his choices and he is not constrained by any laws. That is, he is free to live as he wishes and it just so happens that law is in harmony with God's choices.

Its like what came first, the chicken or the egg? I understand that you believe God must conform to law. However, this would mean that God can not lie because he is constrained by law. Thus, God is restricted in his free agency.

However, God has free agency and is free to choose. Therefore, God is free to lie if he chooses to do so. That is, God is not constrained by law but law is constrained by God.

If you say that God is constrained by law then he is no longer free but constrained. If law constrained God then law would not he in harmony with God. How many ways can I explain this?

God is not subject to law but law is subject to God. God is free to choose and law is not free to choose. That is, God establishes law and all law comes from God. He is not in second place to law.

Therefore, at the bare bones, we are subject to God; not law. It is for that reason that Jesus walked on water; because all laws are subject to him. He can do anything he wishes to do; Jesus is not constrained by law. But if you believe God is constrained by law then law is God and you are bound to laws not God.

Since I believe that Jesus is law then I am not constrained by law but by Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is higher than law and as such he is not constrained by law. Therefore, Jesus is God.

DeeLyn said...

Mr. Finch,

How can we be subject to someone or something we don't even know exists for sure? Let alone what he would want of us? We can only figure out what seems right or wrong to us on this planet, for we have no way to know for sure what God thinks or wants, even if he does exist.

And yes, I believe law, natural law is God, and any true God would follow those laws. I believe law comes 1st. Jesus also must obey natural law or he could not be what he claimed to be or anyone trustworthy to follow. It's the fact that Jesus taught and lived many natural laws and truths that give him credibility.

If Jesus was law then we would not be able to tell what are true quotes of his and which are false in the NT, for we would have no standard or yardstick to judge by, not to mention that Jesus would be a God of confusion and chaos if he really said all the things the NT claims he did.

I guess we just believe differently about God or believe in different kinds of Gods. For I follow or value natural law or what I believe is right far more than I follow the idea of a God, for no one even knows if he or one exists, so it's futile to try to learn much about God in this life, for no one really knows.

The best we can do is create in our minds and hope for what we would consider to be the type of God we would want or believe in. But if a God does not follow what I believe is right then I wouldn't believe in him or that he is a just and good God, but more like the Adversary, who of course lies.

It seems everyone believes in or imagines a different kind of God, or none at all, depending on how they want to live their lives and what they want to hope for after this life.

But yes, God would have the free agency to lie, but if he did he would just cease to be a just, good or trustworthy God.

I'm sorry that I don't have time to study out and explain specific examples of what I believe are true principles taught by Christ and which are false ones that he would not have said, except in the mention of Abraham by Christ. I don't believe Christ really said those verses or thought that Abraham was righteous and in heaven, etc. But I believe you will be able to see many contradictions yourself as you study the NT.

And as far as the name of 'Christ' I don't think that matters, for again, a rose by any other name..... I think you know who and what I am talking about when I refer to Christ.

Mr. Finch said...

The beauty of Jesus' message is that we all get to believe as we wish. That being said, a formalized message that excludes others is in clear violation of that message. Thus, all organized religion is false and that includes the LDS with their false prophet, as well as Calvary, etc. So your position of worshiping natural law as God is commendable. The question that you should consider; however, is: Are there some things about God that fall outside natural law? For instance, a cat does not love a dog unconditionally proving that they are fulfilling natural law by not loving unconditionally. Yet, you believe that God loves unconditionally and this is not natural. Thus, if God loves unconditionally then he is not following natural law as defined by a cat eating a mouse. That is, a cat does not love a mouse unconditionally but uses the mouse as food for survival; there is no love involved in their relationship. Thus, if God loves unconditionally then he is doing this outside natural law. Thus, God is not bound to natural law but goes beyond natural law's limitations.

In this instance I might be willing to consider that God has unconditional love; that is, if unconditional love is not a natural law but free to excel beyond that limitation. I hope you can see that laws are limitations. If we were not bound to gravity then we would be free to move beyond this earth. So lets say that there is only gravity then we are limited. However, if we say that we are beyond that law then we are free from it. God is free from that law and not because he manipulates the natural forces but because he has authority over that law by virtue of being God.

Nevertheless, we are free to believe as we wish and that is freedom from law. That freedom does not come from the limitations of law but from God. Natural law would limit us to the box beliefs, yet we are free; a freedom from God to believe as we wish and not as we are told.

Unknown said...

Hi,

Why doesn't look log post comments here anymore?

Unknown said...

"look" came from auto fill somehow. What I meant to ask was why doesn't log post comments here anymore 7

MrHFMetz said...

Brother Rock is taking long to come up with a new post. I do hope he is doing well.

SB said...

Yeah, I’m missing Rock. I’m actually hoping he comments on a book he recommended earlier this year: The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph and Hyrum.

Rock, you there buddy?

Unknown said...

Thank you. But does anyone know why brother log doesn't post here anymore?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hi guys,
Sorry I've been silent so long. I keep thinking I should at least write a post explaining why I'm on a forced hiatus.

The simple fact is, I'm exhausted. Too exhausted to write and too exhausted to read. Connie fractured both knees, and it's taken it's toll on me as much as her, in the area of lost sleep. I'm simply not mentally fit to write anything worthwhile at the moment. But when I feel up to it, I'll post a longer explanation, because I've been getting a lot of inquries through email and such. Right now I'm drained. It may take another month or two before I get some energy back.

Thanks for your concern, though. It means a lot that I'm missed.

Keep praying for Connie's healing!

Rock

Unknown said...

I'm sorry to hear about Connie, and the trial you're both going through right now.

MrHFMetz said...

I was afraid something like that had happened; very sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayer are with you. This morning I reraid this post and noticed the high quality of it. It is indeed worth reading it again. Thanks for your work and dedication, to both of you.

jjkram said...

We are praying for you and your dear wife. May Father's blessings be upon you both.

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