Repost of “The Mormon Priestess”


The following post is simply reposted to the LDS Anarchy blog from Feminist Mormon Housewives [originally authored by Elisothel].

*note*It has been reblogged onto this site with permission from the author

The original source = The Mormon Priestess

[use "MormonPriestess" as the password]. 

In my opinion, the author’s expositions are based on suppositions that I do not share.  In other words, I don’t think she is pointing out sufficiently interesting doctrinal points or where she is pointing out interesting points, the conclusion she draws from them are not sound.  So this post is now here so that anyone who is interested may pick it apart according to whatever standards they hold, without the kind of censor one would get from fMh.

The rituals and liturgy of the LDS temple reflect a very consistent internal logic of gender theology.  This essay is my attempt to outline that internal logic, especially with an eye toward the temple ceremony’s messages to women about their identity and spiritual condition.

Women operate as priestesses to God in temple initiatory rituals, which were also used as the template for female-conducted healing and blessing rituals in the early restored church.  Just as the inititiatory ritual blesses parts of the body, pioneer priestesses blessed the body parts of the expectant mother, and healed the body parts of the ill.  Women also operate as priestesses to God when administering in the True Order of Prayer at an altar in the temple.

I suspect that women may start to see themselves more as priesthood actors, which is a wonderful thing.  Elder Oaks explained temple priestesshood as being Melchizedek priesthood power that women utilize under the keys of the temple president.  If only men hold keys and offices, but both men and women can use priesthood power, it is possible that, should the leaders decide it,  women’s exercise of their power in the church could recapture the female priestess practices of the early Restoration era, and perhaps even extend to other areas.

This model of women using priesthood is compelling, and I am so grateful that women and men will be able to speak of it openly going forward, but it is overshadowed by another narrative. The word priestess is actually part of the formal, liturgical temple vocabulary, but it does not denote a woman who is using godly power under the direction of a temple president.  In the temple, woman are promised that they will become “Priestesses unto their Husbands.” Women pledge spiritual allegiance to a husband who will someday be exalted as a god like Heavenly Father, whereupon the wife’s power, her priesthood, will come through the exalted husband.  In this model, the woman is eternally dependent on her husband for a connection to God the Father.

Priestesshood In the Female Initiatory: Priestesses to Elohim and to Husband

The initiatory process undertakes a symbolic cleansing, annointing, and dressing of the body.  Since the initiatory is body-centric, and since men and women have different bodies, male temple workers administer only to men, and female temple workers must administer to women.

The washing is reminiscent of baptism, absolving the initiate of sin and promising purification.  The body is then anointed to receive future blessings.  A symbolic adornment of ritual clothing called the “garment of the holy priesthood” is performed, and the clothing declared “authorized”.  Female temple workers declare authority to enact the initiatory rituals:

“Sister _______, having authority, I wash you preparatory to your receiving your anointings, and whereas you have obeyed the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a true and honest heart, and have been faithful in keeping your covenants, your sins are forgiven and you are clean every whit.”

“Sister _________, having authority, I pour this holy anointing oil upon your head [for and in behalf of _________, who is dead] and anoint you preparatory to your becoming a queen and a priestess unto your husband, hereafter to rule and reign with him in the house of Israel forever.”  

“Sister_______, having authority, I place this garment upon you, which you must wear throughout your life.  It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden and is called the garment of the holy priesthood.”

(Since 2005, the wording has changed to “under proper authority the garment placed upon you is now authorized and is to be worn throughout your life…”  This wording reflects the new practice of initiates already wearing the garment instead of it being presented to them. The wording “under proper authority” is also used by the men when they perform this ceremony.)

The garment each patron is given is a piece of ritual priesthood clothing.  This priesthood raiment is further developed through the endowment ritual in the shoes, robes, headwear, and other accouterments for both men and women.  Women are clothed in priesthood robes “preparatory to officiating in the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood.”

Certainly, a female temple worker administering initiatories is administering ordinances….however, though the female temple worker is acting as a priestess for God when administering the ordinances, she declares that each patron’s destiny is to become  a priestess not to God, but to her husband.

Priestesshood In the Endowment

The temple ceremonies mention priestesshood only three times.  As discussed above, in the initiatory ordinance a woman is anointed to become “a priestess unto your husband.”  The endowment ritual commences with introductory wording that bridges the initiatory ordinance with the upcoming endowment:

“Brethren, you have been washed and pronounced clean, or that through your faithfulness you may become clean, from the blood and sins of this generation. You have been anointed to become hereafter kings and priests unto the most high God, to rule and reign in the house of Israel forever. Sisters, you have been washed and anointed to become hereafter queens and priestesses to your husbands. Brethren and sisters, if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you will be chosen, called up, and anointed kings and queens, priests and priestesses, whereas you are now anointed only to become such. The realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness.”

Modern Mormon women are not instructed on the meaning of the label “priestess unto your husband” or “queens” beyond their own personal interpretation.  No official definition is offered in modern General Conference talks, Church manuals, Relief Society classes, or official proclamations, nor is there any formal instruction for women to understand how to use their priesthood power, unless they are called as a temple worker.

The only venue that DOES explain “priestess unto your husband” is the temple itself. The meaning of the phrase is communicated over and over again in the temple rites, and we often miss it because both men and women see what they want to see – that they are all participating in the endowment ritual from Adam’s perspective.   Women are used to this.  We do, after all, largely use the language of male spirituality at church and as a community (we are to “become like Heavenly Father” even though this is literally impossible for a woman).  It is no wonder that women often seem to interpret their temple journey as a parallel version of Adam’s journey, with expectations of parallel blessings and spiritual status.

The Law of Obedience

Usually when Mormons discuss the status of women in the temple, they focus on the Law of Obedience. Before the changes to the temple ceremony in 1990, Eve said the following:

“Adam, I now covenant to obey your law as you obey our Father.”

And the female participants in the ceremony were instructed:

We will put the sisters under covenant to obey the law of their husbands.“You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will each observe and keep the law of your husband and abide by his counsel in righteousness.”

After the changes to the temple ceremony introduced in 1990, Eve said:

Adam, I now covenant to obey the law of the Lord, and to hearken to your counsel as you hearken unto Father.

And the female participants in the ceremony were instructed:

We will put each sister under covenant to obey the law of the Lord, and to hearken to the counsel of her husband, as her husband hearkens unto the counsel of the Father. You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will each observe and keep the law of the Lord, and hearken to the counsel of your husband as he hearkens to the counsel of the Father.

This change of “obey” to “hearken”, and the omitting of “your (the husband’s) law in the Lord” to “law of the Lord” were considered the significant changes that possibly reflected a more equitable position of women in the gospel.

However, regardless of the nature of the verb in this vow, the relationship between Adam and Eve was completely unaltered:  in both cases Eve covenants to Adam, and not to God.  Both Adam and Eve refer to Elohim as “Father” before they are called to covenant, but when called to covenant, Adam says his covenant to “Elohim”.  Nowhere in the temple endowment does Eve say God’s name (though she does say Lucifer’s name), including when she covenants.  The single time she portrays a covenant relationship, she utters Adam’s name.

The Two Endowments

The old version of the endowment contained the following paragraph, which has been removed from the current transcript:

ELOHIM: Eve, because thou hast hearkened to the voice of Satan, and hast partaken of the forbidden fruit, and given unto Adam, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; nevertheless, thou mayest be preserved in childbearing. Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee in righteousness.

This paragraph establishes the curse of Eve as an eternal God-Man-Woman hierarchy.  Though the above quote was omitted from the current version of the endowment, this hierarchy is repeated and made clear in the Law Of Obedience, where God instructs how Eve is to obtain her salvation:

Inasmuch as Eve was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit, if she will covenant that from this time forth she will obey the law of the Lord and will hearken unto your counsel as you hearken unto mine, and if you will covenant that from this time forth you will obey the law of Elohim, we will give unto you the law of obedience and sacrifice, and we will provide a Savior for you, whereby you may come back into our presence and with us partake of eternal life and exaltation.

EVE: Adam, I now covenant to obey the law of the Lord, and to hearken to your counsel as you hearken unto Father.

ADAM: Elohim, I now covenant with thee that from this time forth I will obey thy law and keep thy commandments.

God stipulates that if Eve covenants with Adam, and Adam covenants with God, then a savior will be provided for them.  That is, Adam and Eve’s redemption is contingent upon the pattern established in this exchange, wherein Eve covenants to Adam and Adam covenants to God.

This moment creates a pattern that is binding on the remainder of the ceremony.  It is the only moment where the Adam and Eve actors speak their covenants. Once Adam’s covenant to Elohim is spoken, the patrons become participants instead of observers when, immediately following the actors’ exchange of covenants, the audience makes three successive covenants for themselves: the Law of Obedience (to mimic Adam and Eve), the Law of Sacrifice, and the covenant not to reveal the first token, name, and sign.  As soon as the patrons mimic the law of obedience, they take the place of Adam and Eve for the rest of the ceremony and are represented by a witness couple at the altar.

The moment the patron makes the Covenant of Obedience, that person declares his/her God.  The One that a person ultimately obeys is the One the person ultimately worships.  Adam declares Elohim, but Eve declares Adam because Elohim told her that her salvation depended on her doing so.  At no time in the temple does Eve explicitly covenant to Elohim.  Adam is established as her master.  I posit this is true for every covenant Eve makes.

A female temple patron usually understands that she goes to the temple to make covenants with God (again, we adopt the language of the male spiritual experience), but she does not.  Female patrons make covenants to the future exalted husband.  Her future exalted husband will replace her Father as her god.  This transaction starts with the husband learning the wife’s name (a symbol of stewardship, like Adam naming Eve),  continues through the husband/wife ceremony at the veil, reaches into the sealing ceremony where the wife gives herself to the husband and the husband receives her (but does not give himself), and will progress through every successive covenant they make (second anointing, god resurrecting a man but husband resurrecting the wife, etc).

During the endowment, every covenant made after the Law of Obedience follows this wording:

“You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar that you will each observe and keep/observe the law of (obedience/sacrifice/the gospel/chastity/consecration)…”

or:

“I, _______, covenant before God, angels, and these witnesses, that I will never reveal the (first/second) token of the (Aaronic/Melchizedek) priesthood, with its accompanying name and sign.”

In both phrasings for all remaining covenants, patrons covenant before witnesses, but the phrasing does not say to whom.  The whom is established with the first covenant: Elohim receives covenants for Adam, Adam receives them for Eve.  As the ceremony continues, Adam will administer ordinances  to Eve, not just receive her covenants, mimicking how God is administering to Adam.

We don’t readily see this because in the physical space of our view, the witness couple representing Adam and Eve are at the same altar with Elohim presiding, so it looks like both the man and woman covenant to Him and receive from Him.  However, the male proxy for Elohim only gives tokens to Adam. Also, in modern temples, it is temple workers who administer tokens to patrons so when a female temple worker gives tokens the relationship is not obvious.  But in a live session, Elohim gives tokens to Adam over the altar, Adam gives them to Eve, then Adam and Eve give them to the patrons.  All tokens women get are through their husbands, not from God.

This hierarchy of tokens is reinforced in the ceremony at the veil where Elohim accepts the husband’s tokens as his Lord, and the husband accepts the wife’s tokens as her Lord.

Two different endowments are going on, as if there are two different temples in the same room – one for men and one for women – where each individual views not just his/her own endowment, but also the parallel but distinctly different endowment of the opposite sex.  The endowment creates two individuals of different spiritual status, and acts out the relationship between the two in the veil ceremony, names, tokens, and marriage rites.

Woman, therefore, cannot have priesthood in this mortal life, because God only administers to men.  A woman’s power comes not from God the Father but instead directly through the husbandgod’s exaltation.  In mortality, the husband is not yet divine, so the woman is not yet a priestess.  Once he is exalted (calling and election made sure, which can happen after death or during the second anointing), the woman inherits her priestesshood and she can administer to her husbandgod with power.

The Two Exaltations

The dual-endowment insight suggests two different exaltations. If a woman’s deity is her husband, and she provides his eternal increase (children), and she is his priestess, this means she is not, herself, a deity. A priest and a deity have a specific relationship – one worships the other. The deity loves and upholds covenants to the priest, but the priest is not the deity’s peer.

Even when a Mormon man, who is a priest to Elohim, is exalted, this does not make him the peer to Elohim.  Elohim remains the exalted man’s god, or his Patriarch, forever.  An exalted man remains a priest to Elohim and worships Him. Every increase the exalted man gains is also an increase to Elohim, so man will never catch up to or surpass Elohim – Elohim is that man’s god forever.  Mormonism proclaims that as sons of God all men can also become gods, and this implies there are many gods…but a man does not worship them all, just the god who covenants with and exalts him.

If a woman could be  priestess unto God, she could be exalted by Elohim and unto Elohim, and become a goddess.  But she is a priestess to her husband in her afterlife, not to Elohim. Ultimately therefore, I believe the temple establishes that it is the man who has the direct access to Godly power and apotheosis, and woman has as her promise access to her husbandgod’s power (priestesshood) but NOT, under this definition, access to apotheosis.  She shall be exalted but not become a goddess.  Thus we do not worship her, pray to her, or entreat her for favor.  She is not a source of divine power to the human family, but a source of power to her divine husband.  She is a “Mother in Heaven” but not a “Heavenly Mother.”  The man alone will become a Heavenly Father, a deity, and a deity can have many, many priests (sons) and priestesses (wives).

Church leaders seem divided on the issue of whether or not women are exalted into goddesshood.  Joseph Smith may have believed they were, as is reflected in D&C 132:20:

“Then shall be gods, because they have no end;  therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them.  Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”  (The “they” refers to a married couple, as established in verse 19.)

When Bruce R. McConkie interpreted this scripture to mean that women would be goddesses in his famous book Mormon Doctrine, Marion G. Romney – who was appointed By President McKay to identify errors in the book – listed “women to be gods” as one of those errors.

Certainly there are many women these days who believe that female exaltation means goddesshood – but few believe that a goddess is to be prayed to, worshiped, considered a source of scripture or priestesshood, or to operate in most other capacities reflective of the Mormon idea of “godhood.”  President Hinckley expressly forbade praying to Heavenly Mother in his famous 60 Minutes broadcast.  So what is the Mormon notion of female exaltation?  This is still a question.  Our most developed doctrine of female afterlife remains polygamy.

Nor does the temple shed much light on the nature of eternal womanhood.  Often women are told that men have priesthood and women have motherhood.  Elder’s Oak’s talk alluded to the power of creating life as something only women can do.  However, the power to create life depends on a mother and a father (indeed, this is the basis for the Church’s arguments against gay marriage), so men are also endowed with the power to create life.  To complicate things, in the temple, the creative triad of Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael create life without women being present at all.  Elohim and Jehovah create Michael, not Elohim and a Mother in Heaven.  If motherhood/creation is a woman’s endowment of power, where is that exercised in the primal account of creation?  It is not mentioned.  Not only that, but Elohim and Jehovah also create Eve.  And they create Eve FROM Adam.  No woman was used to create man, or woman, and in fact according to the account, woman was created FROM, BY and FOR man.  Priesthood, it seems, can create life without a female input, so how am I supposed to take the argument that motherhood is a compliment to priesthood seriously?  If indeed, a mother were instrumental in the creation of Adam and Eve, why isn’t she shown in the temple?  Would she be a goddess if she were?

Some may suggest that men and women partake of the endowment together so that each knows their place in the relationship.  The woman can know that her priestesshood to husbandgod will follow the pattern of her husband’s priesthood to Fathergod.  With this knowledge she can assist her husband (as his helpmeet) to his godhood whereby she will inherit his power as his priestess. To be the husbandgod’s priestess, I believe, means to provide progeny (eternal increase). Consider again the paragraph omitted from the pre-1990 ceremony:

“ELOHIM: Eve, because thou hast hearkened to the voice of Satan, and hast partaken of the forbidden fruit, and given unto Adam, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; nevertheless, thou mayest be preserved in childbearing. Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee in righteousness.”

To be “preserved in childbearing” is often interpreted to mean that a woman’s mortal life will not be lost during the childbirth process.  However, women do die in childbirth, and there are many women/girls who never experience giving birth at all.  If this statement by God were to apply to every women, it would have to be talking about birth/childbearing in an eternal sense – the begetting of spirit children with her exalted husband.  If we interpret the above paragraph to be discussing woman’s childbearing of spirits, then “thou mayest be preserved in childbearing” is talking about how childbearing preserves a woman’s own eternal (not mortal) life.  That is, her access to salvation/preservation, despite her curse of spiritual death (eternal separation from God), is to bear children for her husbandgod.

She disobeyed God the Father, and fell from Him, so to ensure her access to salvation, God provided woman a husbandgod, with whom she can also be a creator.  She is a creator (mother), and a kindombuilder (queen), but she does not wield ultimate authority (goddesshood) over those creations.  Her authority is limited to her ability to directly administer power under her husband.  Hence we continue to learn that the man “presides” because ultimately that is the order of things.

In this model the family is central to the gospel because the family is the kingdom that each couple seeks to build in their exaltation.  Eve’s fall (spiritual death and subsequent disqualification for priesthood) is healed not through Jesus, but through her husband’s exaltation because he is the pathway to God the Father and thus the pathway to overcome spiritual death/separation from God.

Because of Jesus and the atonement woman can be resurrected (live forever) and sanctified (cleansed from sin), but it is through the husband that she is exalted (receives power and eternal increase).  It is little wonder that wifehood and motherhood are women’s highest identities, roles, and attainments in Mormonism, since according to the temple they are the bases of female salvation.

The Two Falls (Adam’s Fall, Eve’s Curse)

In the temple version of the Garden of Eden account, the primary Fall that takes place is Eve’s while Adam remains in good standing with God.  Eve retains a curse – not to suffer during the childbirth process – but to be demoted away from direct access to God the Father, a condition that Mormons define as “spiritual death”.  The temple teaches that Eve’s fall is qualitatively different from Adam’s, and that thus her journey back to God is also different from Adam’s, requiring an eternal submission to her husband as her god.

Both Adam and Eve transgressed, yet the temple reflects that Adam’s redemption is full and allows him to become a priest to Elohim and a god in his own right, so why would Eve have to covenant to Adam and not get to covenant with Elohim, also receiving a full restoration of her relationship with Elohim?

I suggest that Eve’s “curse” was a “fall”  in that she eternally lost her potential to be a priestess to Elohim.  Her only access to exaltation is to be a priestess to another god to whom she is completely devoted body and soul, and to whom she will exercise obedience (unlike her disobedience to Elohim).  For woman, the husbandgod replaces the Fathergod.

In the temple account, Eve’s sins were to listen to Satan, and to remove Adam’s agency to keep both of God’s commandments.  Adam’s only sin was to listen to Eve, and in doing so he actually was doing mankind a favor.  The transgressions are qualitatively different.  To mend all things, Adam must not listen to Eve again but instead, she must obey him in order to set right her tragic series of events.

In the omitted text, one of Eve’s sins is listed:

ELOHIM:  Eve, because thou has hearkened to the voice of Satan….

And later, in text that is still in the ceremony:

ELOHIM:  Inasmuch as Eve was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit, if she will covenant that from this time forth that she will obey….

Both Adam and Eve had to keep both commandments (don’t eat of the tree of knowledge, multiply and replenish the earth), so as soon as Eve broke one, she removed Adam’s ability to keep both commandments even though he had done nothing wrong.  That is, her act interfered with Adam’s free agency.  After she had sinned by partaking of knowledge, Adam could either keep the fruit commandment and lose all progeny by remaining alone in Eden, or else he could break the fruit commandment but still be able to gain progeny.  Adam is put in a position where he has HAS to break a commandment, so he chooses the one that he perceives to be the most important – that is, he chose progeny (“I will partake, that man may be”).  In this context, his act was valiant.  Adam was still punished for his transgression to eat the fruit and to listen to Eve (his penalty was to die /gain mortality and be ejected from the garden) – but unlike Eve, he did NOT remove agency from another or listen to Lucifer (in fact, earlier in the ceremony he rejects Lucifer), so Adam did not lose his potential to gain priesthood unto God.

In this view, Eve’s sin was qualitatively different from Adam’s, and the temple suggests that her act was one that invited spiritual death that could only be overcome by eternally submitting to Adam’s agency, the very agency which she had wounded in Eden.  This is the temple narrative for why women must submit to men and not have direct access to God.

Our modern discourse about Eve does not reflect the temple’s perspective.  In modern rhetoric she is cast as a hero:

“Eve set the pattern. In addition to bearing children, she mothered all of mankind when she made the most courageous decision any woman has ever made and with Adam opened the way for us to progress. She set an example of womanhood for men to respect and women to follow, modeling the characteristics with which we as women have been endowed: heroic faith, a keen sensitivity to the Spirit, an abhorrence of evil, and complete selflessness. Like the Savior, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” Eve, for the joy of helping initiate the human family, endured the Fall. She loved us enough to help lead us.”  (Sherri Dew, Ensign, Nov 2001)

Elder Oaks has put forth some of the most interesting doctrine of Eve, when he discussed the Fall at length in another landmark General Conference address, the Great Plan of Happiness, in 1993:

“It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality. Her act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life. Adam showed his wisdom by doing the same. And thus Eve and “Adam fell that men might be”.

Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall.   Joseph Smith taught that it was not a “sin,” because God had decreed it. Brigham Young declared, “We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least.” Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” 

I see this as a marker of great progress and promise.  Perhaps the temple ceremony will be changed to reflect Mother in Heaven’s creative capacity, as well as Eve’s heroism…instead of ignoring one and using the other as a reason to put all women under men’s presiding power.  The temple has so much promise to exalt women! We seem to be heading in the right direction.

However, the current temple ceremony indeed teaches us that Eve fell and must submit to be reclaimed.  Man may not be punished for Adam’s transgression, but women are still punished for Eve’s.  If women are not punished for Eve’s transgression, why the need to submit to a husbandgod?  If Eve’s action was heroic, courageous, and necessary, why is Eve not commended for her sacrifice and woman anointed a priestess to Elohim?

The obvious problem with the temple portrayal of Eve’s curse and necessary submission to Adam is that the atonement of Christ should be powerful enough to overcome anything Eve did.  Why couldn’t Eve repent to fully regain her access to Elohim without a husband intercessor?  The temple doctrine suggests that woman is paying for Eve’s sin instead of letting the Savior atone for it.  Why would Christ not be her intercessor, as Christ is intercessor for Adam himself, by which she could then become a priestess to Elohim?  I believe this is the great conundrum of how women are portrayed in the temple narrative: it limits and contradicts the power of atonement.

The Two Endowment Rituals Enshrined in More Than Words

The analogy, Man is priest to Fathergod  as Woman is priestess to Husbandgod permeates the temple through ritual acts.  I could go into far more detail about how tokens, names, the headwear, the veil ceremony, the sealing ceremony, and even the second anointing reflect the relationship of God/Man/Woman and Husband acting as god to the wife.

In any case, the point is that just by virtue of being a woman, I cannot covenant to, access, or return to my Fathergod without a husband.  If I can use priesthood power under a man, great.  But how can we name a woman equal, who cannot receive a token from the Father’s hand, who cannot receive a priestesshood from Him, who is dependent upon her husband to heal her spiritual death, all because of a sin she did not herself commit?

To call a woman equal under the terms Elder Oaks described in conference would be to ordain her a priestess to Elohim, which priestesshood she practices, like her brothers, under the keys of an authorized leader.

This is not simply a question of what is a woman’s power – it is a question of who is a woman’s god, and how does a woman heal her breach with the Father, and why isn’t the atonement enough to make her worthy of priesthood?  It is a question of what is a woman’s eternal inheritance, and the nature of her future divinity.

I cannot expect the temple to change without a completely innovative, foundational shift in Mormon thought. Of course, the gospel has built-in mechanisms for change in its construct of ongoing revelation.  I do hope women start see themselves as agents of priesthood power, and are further introduced into new ways of ministering and administering in the Kingdom.  But we need more.  Our spirits shrivel in the darkness.  If this Restoration is ongoing, please, let us heal the remainder of the Great Apostasy.

Before the Restoration, our Church fathers longed for their divine Father, yearned for details of their eternal identity, and experienced a righteous desire for direct divine access without a priest standing between them and their God.  Their prayers were answered and we laud them as heroes.

Those of us who are women longing for our divine mothers, who yearn for details of our eternal identity, and who experience a righteous desire for direct divine access without a priest standing between us and our God, remain unanswered and patiently wait for the scorn from those who mock us to go away.

One day, I hope to teach my daughters that they can exercise their priestesshood power under a leader with keys.  I hope to watch them heal and bless.  I hope to teach them that Eve was a hero who sacrificed herself on behalf of humankind, and for them to learn this also when they attend the temple.  I hope they see their creative power of motherhood on display there.  I hope they meet a goddess there.  I hope to teach them that they covenant with God, and that He gives them tokens.  I hope I can witness a sealing ceremony where my daughter and her husband give and receive each other, and know each other’s names.  I hope each of my daughters knows that her identity in the universe is as a Daughter of God, not as wife of a Son of God.

For I know that to be true of myself.

I thank Elder Oaks for his bold words, and hope many more will be forthcoming about the nature of women wielding priesthood, and how we can expand our capacities.  I hope the Church leaders discern how much we Mormon women yearn for their leadership.  I hope they know there is real curiosity and real pain behind our questions.  There is so much more for we sisters to learn about ourselves.  I hope someday we get to show how much more powerfully we could build Zion, when trusted with a power and a chance.

The scattering of Israel ain’t over, yet


The scattering of Israel has been the gospel topic du jour in my mind lately.  I thought about the prophecy about the state of Israel ceasing to exist and its inhabitants being scattered and then my mind turned to the seed of Lehi on the reservations and I asked myself, “Can the Indians truly be considered in a scattered state if they are gathered onto reservations?”  I then wondered if they, too, would be further scattered off of the reservations.  My curiosity piqued, I then took up the scriptures to find out if there was any prophetic indications that the scattering of this land’s remnant (Lehi’s seed) was not yet over.  Here’s what I found and how I ended up reading (interpreting) the text:

1 Nephi 22:7

Nephi, expounding Isaiah 49:22-23 to his brothers Laman and Lemuel, said:

And it meaneth that the time cometh that AFTER all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded, that the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered.

Now, notice the timeline of Nephi’s prophecy.

First, “all the house of Israel” will be scattered and confounded.  That includes the current State of Israel.  So, this prophecy is still future to us.

Second, only AFTER “all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded,” the Lord will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles.  I have always been taught that we Americans, the citizens of the United States of America, are that mighty nation that scattered the Indians, but according to this new reading of the text, we are just a shadow fulfillment.  After Israel ceases to exist as a State, I suppose we do, too.  Then there will be another Gentile nation afterward upon this land, “a mighty” one, which the Lord God will raise up.

Third, it is this other Gentile nation, raised up by the Lord God on this land, after the USA has come and gone, that kicks the seed of Lehi off the reservations.  The U.S. Federal government oversees the Indian reservations, so if there is no more federal government, there is no more federal protection for the Indians, and their land is, essentially, up for grabs.  No one today dares take the reservation land from the Indians because it is essentially federal government land, and doing so would pit one against the feds, which is a no-win situation.  But without the feds, the Indians, which truly are weak these days, are easy prey.

Helaman 15:12

Samuel the Lamanite prophesied the following to the Nephites:

Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them.

Although it is true that the Indians have been moved off of their traditional lands, and thus scattered from these lands, the reservations can still be considered places of refuge.  Only if they are kicked off of the reservations, and the reservation lands are occupied and inherited by the Gentiles (so that there are no more “reservations”), and the Indians are scattered among the Gentiles, only then can this prophecy of them “having no place for refuge” be literally fulfilled.  This interpretation shows, yet again, that the scattering of Israel is not yet complete.

Mormon 5:9

And also that a knowledge of these things must come unto the remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles, who the Lord hath said should scatter this people, and this people should be counted as naught among them—therefore I write a small abridgment, daring not to give a full account of the things which I have seen, because of the commandment which I have received, and also that ye might not have too great sorrow because of the wickedness of this people.  (Mormon 5:9)

There are two things about this prophecy: first, that the Indians will be counted (by the Gentiles) as nothing, and second, that the Indians will be counted among the Gentiles.  In other words, they will be scattered off of their lands and assimilated into the Gentile populations.  So, there will be no more Indian lands, no more Indian tribes, no more “Indian” anything.  They will completely lose their identity and will incorporate into the Gentiles, yet the Gentiles will not view them as full persons.  This reminds me of the 3/5 person accounting of slaves for direct tax apportionment, as written in the U.S. Constitution.  If I had to venture a prophetic guess, I would say that the seed of Lehi, at this future point, will enter the Gentile population as slaves, which is why Mormon uses the term “naught” to describe how the Gentiles will count them.

Now, taking this further—for I will treat this interpretation as a prophetic mood, at this point, and see where it leads—if indeed they will enter bona fide slavery among the Gentile population of the new, mighty nation raised up by the Lord God upon this land, then the prophecies of the Book of Mormon which speak of them being brought down into captivity and being brought out of captivity will be fulfilled literally.  So, although legal slavery has been abolished in this Gentile nation, the next Gentile nation to appear on this land will bring it back.

Three groups of captives; three divine deliveries

The Book of Mormon prophesies of three groups of people that will be brought down into captivity and then delivered by the power of God: a group of Gentiles, the saints of God and the remnant of this land.  Here is an example concerning the Gentile group:

And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.  (1 Nephi 13:13,19)

And these scriptures show the captivity and deliverance of the saints and remnant:

And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.  (1 Nephi 13:5)

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.  (2 Nephi 3:5)

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.  (1 Nephi 14:14)

Now, by way of explanation, this righteous branch that Lehi spoke of is the remnant of his seed in the latter days*.  Jacob prophesied the following:

And behold how great the covenants of the Lord, and how great his condescensions unto the children of men; and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy, he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel.  (2 Nephi 9:53)

It would appear then, according to these scriptures (and others that I will not get into), that prior to the final scattering of the remnant upon this land and their entrance into captivity (slavery), a great and abominable church must be in existence, one which brings the saints into captivity (slavery) and which, perhaps, is also responsible for the captivity of the aforementioned Gentiles (who go out of captivity) and the subsequent captivity of the remnant.  The appearance of that great and abominable church is a prophetic marker, which indicates the final phase of the scattering.  It should be fairly easy to identify the church when it is formed, since slavery (and other abominations) will be one of its tenets.

Mormon 5:20

Finally, Mormon also wrote this, concerning the scattering of the remnant of this land:

But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and AFTER they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, THEN will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel.  (Mormon 5:20)

This means that the scattering of Israel begins with all the other tribes of Israel (they are the first to be scattered) and ends with the seed of Lehi (they are the last to be scattered.)  And only after the seed of Lehi is finally and fully scattered, then and only then will the Lord remember the covenant that He made to all the tribes of Israel, to bring them out of captivity, gather them, restore them to their lands and to the knowledge of their fathers, etc.  Then the last tribal branch that was scattered (the seed of Lehi) will be the first tribal branch that will begin to be gathered, and so on and so forth (first to last and last to first.)

*And when they repent and come to Christ, they shall take upon themselves the name of Nephi, calling themselves Nephites, which is a topic I might fully unfold in a future post.  In the meantime, see here and here.

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The Noachian Flood, Part Three: Oceans above, below and within


Continued from part two.

Part one and two of this series were published on 12 November 2007 and 8 July 2008, respectively, so nearly six years have passed since the last one.  I began this particular draft in 2008 but decided not to finish it, because there really isn’t much to it, but I recently got a little more scientific information to add, so off it goes for publication.  (Just think of this as me doing some spring cleaning in my draft posts queue.)

Stacked planetary effects

Tim Malone brought up a good point in his (1 March 2008) article, Just where exactly are the lost ten tribes?, concerning the effect on the oceans of a configuration of stacked planets.  Wrote he,

Can you imagine what will happen to the waters of the earth with the attraction of another planet over the North pole? I would hate to live North of any large body of water at that point. Think about it. There will be a worldwide catastrophic inundation as the water from the equatorial regions suddenly rushes to the Northern polar region. Imagine the water in the Gulf of Mexico. Where will it go? How about the water in the Mediterranean? Think of the great devastation that will cause as it travels Northward at a frightening speed.

Where’s Waldo, er, water?

If we believe the scriptures that state that “the earth will be rolled together as a scroll”—meaning that the scattered planets will once again return to their stacked locations, just as scattered Israel will be gathered together again—then with a planet above us and (possibly) a planet below us, the waters of the earth will return to the poles, as conjectured by Malone. If this was their original location—and if they were held there by both gravitational and electrical means, due to the stacked nature of the planetary configuration—then when these planets scattered, the oceans were free to move over the Earth, causing inundations everywhere.

Still, the scientists tell us that there isn’t enough water to cover the Earth entirely. The previous part of this series spoke of the possibility of water being created in the atmosphere due to highly reactive OH production in a high energy, electrical state. But even this may not be enough water to cover everything.

So, where else could the water come from?

Two reports show “oceans” of water inside the Earth

One possibility is from underground “oceans.”

For example, on February 27, 2007, Richard A. Lovett, writing for the National Geographic News, reported in the article Huge Underground “Ocean” Found Beneath Asia that a “blob” of water the size of the Arctic Ocean had been discovered hundreds of miles below. This particular find was of moisture “locked in” to rocks, so it is not a free flowing ocean, however, it at least points to the prospect of there being more water to this planet that we are not aware of.  If this and other underground sources of water were at one time held in polar geographies by the planets found above and below Earth, then when freed, these same waters might have helped to cover the earth in the Noachian Flood and subsequently over time receded, forming our water tables and underground “oceans.”

Revealed: The vast resevoir hidden in the Earth’s crust that holds as much water as ALL of the oceans is the second article, which was published on 12 March 2014.  Here are some quotes:

Scientists have discovered a vast reservoir of water under the Earth’s mantle they say could be larger than all the ocean’s combined.

Hans Keppler, a geologist at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, cautioned against extrapolating the size of the subterranean water find from a single sample of ringwoodite.

And he also said the water was likely to be locked up in specific rocks, in a molecular form called hydroxyl.

‘In some ways it is an ocean in Earth’s interior, as visualised by Jules Verne… although not in the form of liquid water,’ Keppler said in a commentary also published by Nature.

The implications of the discovery are profound, Pearson suggested.

Water under the Earth

Another possibility is that the oceans found on the inner surface of the planet—assuming we live on a hollow orb with polar openings—were likewise held at the poles and so when the plasma “fountains” (columns) were broken, they inundated the outside surface first, before receding to their present inner surface positions.

Concerning the oceans and rivers found on the inside surface of the planet, Olaf Jansen wrote:

About three-fourths of the “inner” surface of the earth is land and about one-fourth water. There are numerous rivers of tremendous size, some flowing in a northerly direction and others southerly. Some of these rivers are thirty miles in width, and it is out of these vast waterways, at the extreme northern and southern parts of the “inside” surface of the earth, in regions where low temperatures are experienced, that freshwater icebergs are formed. They are then pushed out to sea like huge tongues of ice, by the abnormal freshets of turbulent waters that, twice every year, sweep everything before them.

(Quoted from The Smoky God.)

Enough and to spare

As one fourth of the inner surface is covered in water (according to Jansen), if that oceanic water was added to the outer surface amount and to the water found between the two surfaces of the crust of the Earth, and all of that was coupled with the water generated through electrical OH production, it might very well be that there is enough water and to spare to cover the outside surface (and perhaps also the inside surface) of the planet completely, just as is recorded in our current Bibles.

Conclusion

When taking into consideration the evidence for an electrical universe and a stacked planetary configuration, as well as the evidence of all planets being hollow with possible polar openings, the scriptural account of the global Noachian Flood no longer remains outside of the realm of possibility. Mainstream scientists reject the idea of a global Flood because they reject the plasma and hollow planet models, despite the evidence supporting both models. The Noachian Flood “story” is unbelievable when viewed through the mainstream models, but it is believable when viewed through the plasma and hollow planet models, especially when taking into account this new data concerning all the water within the Earth.

I started this series because of the discussions LDS were having (back in 2007), in which they were trying to make the Noachian Flood “fit” into the mainstream scientific models. We no longer need to fit square pegs into rounds holes. There are other models available which allow us to accept our scriptures, and this global Flood story in particular, without hesitation or doubt.

Next Plasma Theology article: The plasma aspects of the First Vision and Moroni’s visit

Previous Plasma Theology article: The Noachian Flood, Part Two: Electrically manufacturing OH

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A commandment to practice polygamy found in the New Testament


The following has been lifted from this page and was not written by me.  I thought it was interesting enough to put on this blog and allow people to comment on it.  I will insert the scriptures in block quotes for easy reading.

————————————–

 Polygamy Commanded of God in NT?

There absolutely is an example in the Bible, where God actually does command a situation of polygamy —in the New Testament, even.

1_Corinthians 7:10-11 & 27-28.

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

—–

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul differentiates when he is making his own “recommendation” (in verses 6, 12, and 25)

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

—–

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

—–

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

and when he is expressing the “commandment of the Lord” (verses 10-11).

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Indeed, in verses 10-11, Paul clarifies that the instruction in those two verses is the “commandment of the Lord”. (It should therefore also be noted that the other areas in which he clarifies as being only his “recommendation” can NOT be used to otherwise and incorrectly assert that God Himself is creating some sin or doctrine. After all, Paul’s ultimate “recommendation” therein is celibacy!)

With that realized, it is clear for readers of the Bible that Paul makes it emphatically clear that verses 10-11 are different. Namely, verses 10-11, in the exact way in which they are actually written, are the “commandment of God”.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”  1 Corinthians 7:10-11.

Paul further specifies that that above “commandment of the Lord” was only addressed to believers-married-to-believers. In the next verses (i.e, 12-16), he clarifies that he is subsequently addressing believers-married-to-unbelievers, and that that subsequent instruction is not the Lord’s words, but his own again.

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

Verses 10-11 show that, if a believer WIFE leaves her believer HUSBAND, the

  • believer WIFE is commanded of God to either:

remain unmarried, or
be reconciled back to her husband

  • believer HUSBAND is commanded of God to:

not put away any wife, and to
let any departed wife return back to him

The key point is that the HUSBAND is NOT given the same commandments of instruction. Only the WIFE is commanded to remain unmarried, but the HUSBAND is not given that commandment. He is commanded of God to let her be married to him, either way!

Accordingly, the HUSBAND is of course, still free to marry another wife. That fact is further proved by the later verses of 27-28.

“Art thou bound unto a wife?
seek not to be loosed.
Art thou loosed from a wife?
seek not a wife.
But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned;
and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.”
1 Corinthians 7:27-28.

The Greek text of verse 27 is clearly only addressing married men –whether or not the wife has departed.

As such, the married man whose wife is still with him does not sin when he marries another wife (who is not another’s wife). And likewise, the married man, whose wife has departed from him, he also does not sin when he marries another wife (who is not another’s wife).

And herein comes the “commandment of the Lord”, of polygamy, as in the following situation.

A believer WIFE departs from her believer HUSBAND. She is commanded of God to remain unmarried, per verses 10-11. Her HUSBAND, however, then subsequently marries another wife (who is not another man’s wife). The HUSBAND and the new wife have not sinned, per verses 27-28. The departed WIFE then seeks to be reconciled back to her HUSBAND.

In that situation, verses 10-11 show the following instruction as the “commandment of the Lord”. The HUSBAND is commanded of God to let the departed wife be reconciled back to him. AND…. he is commanded of God to not put away a wife, including the new wife.

As such, verses 10-11 show that it is an outright “commandment of the Lord” of polygamy for the family in that situation.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 is indeed a Commandment of God — in the New Testament — that, when a previously-departed believer wife returns, her believer husband and his new (believer) wife (from verse 27-28) MUST let the previous wife be reconciled to her husband.

There truly IS a “commandment of the Lord” for a situation of polygamy to be found in the Bible —and it’s in the New Testament Scriptures, as well!

————————-

Here are the same verses as found in the Joseph Smith Translation, in case anyone wants to do a comparison:

Joseph Smith Translation

—–

6 And now what I speak is by permission, and not by commandment.

—–

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband;

11 But if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; but let not the husband put away his wife.

—–

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord; If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases; but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

—–

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

—–

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh. For I spare you not.

Okay, now for my own comments.  It seems to me that the crux of this argument lies in this statement of his:

The Greek text of verse 27 is clearly only addressing married men –whether or not the wife has departed.

I cannot speak about the Greek text (since I do not know Greek), but it seems to me that the context of the chapter, as translated into English, supports this view.  Namely, that the words “bondage,” “bound,”  and “loosed” do not refer to marriage and divorcement, but to marital togetherness and marital separation.  For example, (and I will use the JST for these scriptures), verse 5 says,

5 Depart ye not one from the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

This “departure” is not referring to marital divorce, but marital separation.  It cannot refer to divorce because two divorced people “coming together again” without getting married would be considered a sin, and Paul would never recommend that people engage in sin.

Next we get verses 10 and 11:

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband;

11 But if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; but let not the husband put away his wife.

Again, “depart” must mean marital separation, not marital divorce.  Also, “put away” only means marital separation, not marital divorce, for I happen to have done an in-depth study on this very expression years ago, and discovered this very thing.  For example, Moses commanded that after a wife was put away by her husband (which is marital separation) that he give her a writ of divorcement (which is the marital divorce.)

To continue, verses 12-13 state:

12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord; If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

13 And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

These verses can only be speaking of marital separation or marital union, in which the two are together.  They do not speak of divorce.

Next, there’s verse 15:

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases; but God hath called us to peace.

“Departure” is used in this chapter to indicate marital separation, not marital divorce, and this verses equates “departure” with “not being under bondage,” or in other words, with being “loosed.”  Thus, departure=separation=loosed and reconciliation=togetherness=bound.  The chapter is consistent in its contextual meanings of these terms, so far.

Finally, verses 27 and 28 state:

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such shall have trouble in the flesh. For I spare you not.

Since the context of the chapter reveals that bound means together and loosed means separated (not divorced), we could write verse 27 like this:

27 Art thou together with a wife? seek not to be separated. Art thou separated from a wife? seek not a wife.

With this meaning in mind, then verse 28 does, in fact, allow a man whose wife has separated from him to marry another woman without sinning.  Also, it allows a woman to marry an already married man whose first wife has separated from him, without committing sin.  And, per verses 10-11, if the first wife return to him in reconciliation, the man is commanded to receive her and not put her away.  Or, in other words, this does indeed make a New Testament commandment of the Lord to engage in polygamy.

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Should I produce a silver “tithing” coin?


Recently the silver bartering currency has again been on my mind.  Specifically, the production of a “tithing” coin, meaning a silver coin that latter-day saints could use to pay their tithing, instead of using U.S. currency.

Since the production of the first silver bartering currency coin (the 1/2 oz piece) in 2008, until now, I have taken an “if you build it they will come” approach.  I designed and ordered the creation of the first coin and then I essentially sat back to see what would happen.  Not much did happen.  Some people bought coins as part of their silver collection.   One guy promoted the currency by making a secular web site and developing a valuation model for it, but other than getting a few businesses to say they would receive it as payment, no coins circulated.  Also no one, other than myself, was paying tithing using the 1/2-oz coin.  And that was that.

The vision that I had in my head, remained there, mostly unfulfilled.    (Now, that’s okay,  since I like to operate by faith, so this stagnation hasn’t and doesn’t phase me one bit.)

Back in 2012, after pondering the currency and that promoter’s model, I got an idea about producing a very small tithing coin that I saw could jump start the currency and launch it into the stratosphere, allowing me to make all the dies and distribute and circulate the coins potentially around the entire world.  On October 2, 2012, I wrote a comment about it:

I have been tempted, of late, to create a 1/100th ounce silver coin, based on the above design, specifically for people to pay tithing, but I do not know that there would be enough interest in it to sustain the investment in the dies. A 1/100th ounce silver coin would cost around $400 for 100 coins. That is likely within the tithing budget of many LDS couples. (Because silver has gone up in price so much, the 1/2-oz coin is too expensive to purchase 100 coins. You’d need around $2000 for 100 coins.)

The 1/100th oz coin would be specifically for tithing for two reasons: #1, because it will be within the tithing budget of many people and, #2, because it would deal a financial blow to the corporate Church. This is because although you would pay around $4 per coin, the silver content in the coin would only be worth 30+ cents. So, although you would have fulfilled the law of tithing, thus keeping your good standing before the Lord, you would have simultaneously reduced the tithing revenue of the corporate church. How’s this for a campaign?:

Reduce the tithing revenue of the corporate Church by paying your tithing in silver!

(Using the 1/2-oz coin or any other silver coin won’t reduce the tithing revenue much, since the price of the coin so closely matches the value of the silver content.)

If anyone is interested in paying their tithing with such a 1/100th ounce coin, let me know via Wireclub and I will consider making the dies. If enough people decide to make the switch to silver for tithing payment, I will have to create the dies.

One last thing: for those who are currently paying tithing in silver or gold, assuming there is anyone out there doing that, I recommend that you only pay tithing in silver, not fast offerings. Pay your fast offerings in U.S. currency, since that goes to the poor in your ward, and they need all the value they can get.

It has been about a year and a half since I had that “temptation.” No one ended up contacting me about it on Wireclub and I let it drop, although it stayed in the back of my mind ever since.  If it was bona fide inspiration, given of the Spirit, and not just my own idea, there would come a time that it would be used, so I didn’t worry myself about it.

Recently I got that “tithing coin” feeling again, and never one to wait on impressions, I immediately contacted the mint to get the details concerning making a 1/100-oz coin. That’s when I found out that it can’t be done. That is, not for a 1/100th of an ounce coin. But it can be done for a 1/20th-oz coin.  (Now, don’t get me wrong.  I still have a plan in place to produce a 1/100-oz piece.  But that will have to wait.  The expedient coin is the 1/20 ounce.)

The mint has told me that the mold to the original dies for the 1/2-oz coin, which was made in the last quarter of 2008, is still good, and can still be used to make all the other sizes, so that everything matches up perfectly.  It also turns out that there may be some potential distributors who would be willing to invest in purchasing the coins in bulk (100 or more pieces), so that they can sell them to the public individually.

I’ve run the numbers and it looks like if you buy 100 or more pieces, it’ll cost (in total) about $4.25 a coin. So, a distributor would invest around $425. If the distributor turns around and sells them for $5.25 a piece (which is what I recommend), he or she gets a small profit and people get themselves a tithing coin, which potentially could fund the creation of all the dies of the entire currency, in both gold and silver and in both coin conditions and in all languages.

The reason why it could fund everything is that tithing is ten percent and Mormons typically pay it every time they get a paycheck. That is a very steady source of income which, to a potential distributor, reduces the risk of investing in the tithing coin considerably. After selling 425 coins, they would have covered their initial investment money completely, so that there would be no more risk involved, whatsoever.

In the case of a tithe-payer, let’s say he had a minimum wage job and his income was $320 a week, or $640 every two weeks, contributing $64 to tithing every paycheck. If he sent that money to the distributor, instead of directly to his bishop, he could purchase 12 of these 1/20-oz coins (at $5.25 a piece) and then he could give those coins to the church as tithing. As this is tithing, this routine would be repeated every paycheck for as long as he is employed. Multiply that by ten people, all earning minimum wage, and the distributor would sell his entire supply of coins every time within a two-week period. If the tithe-payer is not a minimum wage earner, but makes a lot more money, then the stash gets bought up that much more quickly, allowing die creation to proceed at a much faster rate.

Working after this fashion takes away the need for anyone (other than the distributor) to fork over enough money to purchase 100 coins. Any tithe-payer would be able to convert money into silver for as little as $5 and some change. If enough people started doing this, the church would begin to be starved* and the prophecies** concerning contributing to the church in silver would start to be fulfilled. Also, the bartering currency*** would take off in a big way.

———————–

* Although it is true that the wheat and tares must grow together until they are ripe, at some point there will be a real division and the tares will become angry with the wheat.  For all I know, one of the reasons for this anger will be because the wheat will engage in a monetary practice that does not contribute greatly to the church coffers, such as paying tithing in silver.

** For example:

And all moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties which I have appointed unto you, in houses, or in lands, or in cattle, or in all things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as you receive moneys, by hundreds, or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by fives.

Or in other words, if any man among you obtain five dollars let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise; and let not any among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it. (D&C 104:68-70)

The revelations of Joseph Smith equate “moneys” to “dollars.”  A “dollar” at the time of these revelations was defined as a certain amount of silver.

***  There are also prophecies concerning the great and abominable church of the Gentiles, and the widespread use (and accumulation) of gold and silver:

And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church…And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.  And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.  And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.  (1 Ne. 13:4,6-8)

For all I know, it may be that this prophecy will be fulfilled only when gold and silver are once again used as the medium of exchange.  If so, the bartering currency may the catalyst for its eventual fulfillment.

———————–

Recent blog trends

There have been, for quite some time now, on very many blogs, many negative posts concerning the Church’s use of tithing funds, such as its for-profit investments.  I am concerned about these posts, not that they are not giving accurate information, but that people as a result of this information have been choosing to stop paying tithing and thus are violating their covenants.

My hope is that people will continue to pay their tithing, to the church as they are supposed to, but if they are concerned about all these church expenditures, then starve the Church of money while still contributing silver, as I explained in the quote above. It may be that this reasoning will not be good enough for many latter-day saints who are upset at these things, but perhaps some will accept it.

“Upon my house shall it begin”

We all are familiar with the prophecy concerning the order of God’s judgments, (or at least we should be), namely that they are going to start with God’s people:

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.   And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.  (D&C 112:24-26)

This is spoken concerning the judgments of God, but the same principle may also hold true concerning God’s blessings, that they will first be poured out upon the Lord’s people and then go forth to others.  What we latter-day saints do, or do not do, may end up having a world-wide effect, the world mirroring our actions, according to this principle.  Thus, if we start using silver to contribute church offerings or as currency, the world may indeed follow suit.

Checking to see if the time is right

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to find out if anyone wants this church monetary starvation and prophecy fulfillment to happen and so wants to pay their tithing in these silver coins.  If so, please leave a comment and I’ll contact you by email. If one says, “I can buy 10 coins every two weeks” and another says, “I can buy 15 coins on the 1st and the 15th of every month” and so on and so forth and it becomes obvious that a distributor could easily recoup his investment, it should be quite easy to find someone to become a distributor. In fact, if you yourself want to be a distributor, then leave a note about that and I’ll email you, too.

(Please keep in mind that the dies are not yet made for the 1/20th ounce coin. This is just a preliminary “blood pressure” check, to see if the time is right for the introduction of a “tithing” coin…)

Following the example of the corporate Church

Denver Snuffer once wrote the following:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a three-year system for collecting and spending tithes.

In the first year the funds are collected.

In the second year the funds remain invested while a budget is prepared for spending the tithing.

In the third year the funds are spent.

During the time when the funds are collected (first year), they are put to use in investments or deposits which yield a return. Similarly, while they remain invested during the second year, they also yield a return. When the third year arrives, and the funds are being spent on budgeted expenses, until the day they are spent they continue to collect interest or a return.

The amount of tithing collected in the first year is the amount designated “tithing” contributions. This is the amount that is budgeted and spent in the third year. All of the return on tithing yielded in the form of interest or return on investments is treated as “investment income” not tithing.

When the church spends “tithing” on temples, chapels, publications, etc. those monies are confined to the original amount collected as “tithing” only.

When the church spends “investment money” those include the interest, return, etc. collected on the tithing money during the three year cycle from when originally collected until the time it is spent. It also includes the returns on the returns as they accumulate over the years.

Therefore, when the church announces that a project (like the large reconstruction of downtown Salt Lake City) is not “tithing” but is “investment income” of the church, this is the distinction which is being made.

Now, taking this as a pattern, a network of tithing coin distributors can be easily set up.  From January to December, those who wish to distribute the coins to others would set aside their monthly or bi-weekly tithes until they have enough to purchase 100 coins (about $425.)  After they purchase 100 coins, (which is now their tithing), they would list themselves as a distributor, and invest the tithing coins by selling them to others at a $1 profit.  The profit ($1) from these coins is treated as “investment income,” not “tithing,” and is re-invested by buying more coins to distribute.  After 425 coins have been moved in this way, only “investment income” (and not “tithing”) could be used to purchase 100 coins to distribute.  The initial accumulated tithing (of 100 coins) and any other tithing converted into these silver coins afterward, would be considered the tithing to be payed by the distributor to the church at the end of the year (December), or whenever the distributor wanted to pay it during the year.  Also, at the end of the year, the stash of investment returns, in the form of silver coins, could also be tithed, meaning one-tenth of them could be given to the church.

Using this strategy protects the tithing a distributor has set aside at all times, because even if only part of the stash of 100 coins (or however many coins you’ve set aside as your tithing) are sold, and you don’t have enough money to buy another set of 100 coins, you can still pay your tithing, part of which will be in silver coins, and part of which will be in U.S. currency.

That’s all for now.  Let the comments roll.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Pattern for the Sacrament: As Given by 3 Nephi 18


Bread and Wine:

The first thing Jesus did when instituting the ordinance of remembrance of his body and blood was to command his newly called twelve Nephite disciples to gather together bread and wine:

and it came to pass
that Jesus commanded his disciples
that they should bring forth some bread and wine
unto him

The bread is broken and blessed, and it is given in remembrance of the body of Jesus, which he had shown [one-by-one] to every Nephite gathered to the temple.  The wine is shared from a common cup, and it is given in remembrance of the blood of Jesus, which he shed for each-and-every-one of his Father’s children.

Both the bread and wine [in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus], act as a witness/testimony, unto the Father, that those who believe and have been baptized in the name of Christ do always remember him and are willing to do that which he has commanded us to do.

and this shall ye do
in remembrance of my body
which I have shown unto you
and it shall be a testimony
unto the father
that ye do always remember me

and when the disciples had done this
Jesus said unto them

blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done
for this is fulfilling my commandments
and this doth witness
unto the father
that ye are willing to do
that which I have commanded you
and this shall ye always do
to those who repent and are baptized in my name
and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood
which I have shed for you
that ye may witness
unto the father
the ye do always remember me

The use of symbols in gospels ordinances are not meant to be esoteric, multi-layered, or take a life-time of study to fully appreciate.  One symbol [a man-made or naturally-occuring object] is given to suggest to the mind one truth/reality.  True gospel symbols are assigned by revelation in such a way as to be easily associated with the gospel truth they point to.  The Lord reveals them through prophets so that believers will use them to obtain, develop, and maintain faith.

The bread as a symbol is just, physically-speaking, ground grain-flour, salt, water, and yeast — but it re-presents to our minds, spiritually-speaking, the body of Christ that was broken through the suffering he endured for our sins.  The wine as a symbol is just, physically-speaking, fermented grape juice — but it re-presents to our minds, spiritually-speaking, the blood of Christ that he shed for the sins of the world.

We can use other symbols if it is expedient to fit other conditions found among a group of believers, but the associated gospel truth must still be the same.  So, while D&C 27 [verse 2-5] explains that we’re free to use other symbols for the body and blood of Jesus, it can be dangerous to do so without good, revealed reasons [e.g., your enemies are poisoning your wine supply].  This is because the God-given, gospel-based symbol easily points the mind to the associated truth — e.g., red wine looks like blood and tastes bitter [the "bitter cup"].  Therefore, while there’s nothing wrong with using a liquid like water [for example] as the symbol for the blood of Christ — the danger is that, over time, the addition of new meanings beyond the one gospel meaning will occur [assigning "water-based" meanings to the symbol, e.g. the waters of baptism, living waters springing-up to everlasting life].  And then, more dangerously, substitution will then take place and the original meaning [the blood of Christ] will be lost, so if left unchecked, a body of believers would end-up not thinking about Christ’s atoning blood at all during their ordinance.

Seated upon the Earth: 

To prepare the multitude of those who were gathered together to receive Jesus, he commanded that they should seat themselves upon the ground:

and while [the disciples] were gone for bread and wine
[Jesus] commanded the multitude
that they should sit themselves down
upon the earth

Contact with the earth is also the position in which Jesus taught the Nephites to pray.

and it came to pass
that when they had knelt upon the ground
Jesus groaned within himself
and said

father
I am troubled
because of the wickedness
of the people of the house of Israel

and when he had said these words
he himself also knelt upon the earth
and behold
he prayed unto the father
and the things which he prayed cannot be written
and the multitude did bear record who heard him
and after this manner do they bear record

the eye hath never seen
neither hath the ear heard
before so great and marvelous things
as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the father
and no tongue can speak
neither can there be written by any man
neither can the hearts of men conceive
so great and marvelous things
as we both saw and heard Jesus speak
and no one can conceive of the joy
which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray
for us
unto the father

and it came to pass
that when Jesus had made an end of praying
unto the father
he arose
but so great was the joy of the multitude
that they were overcome

and the twelve did teach the multitude
and behold
they did cause that the multitude should kneel down
upon the face of the earth
and should pray unto the father
in the name of Jesus

and behold
they were encircled about
as if it were by fire
and it came down from the sky
and the multitude did witness it
and did bear record
and angels did come down
out of the sky
and did minister unto them
and it came to pass
that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples
behold
Jesus came
and stood in the middle
and ministered unto them
and it came to pass
that he spake unto the multitude
and commanded them
that they should kneel down
again upon the earth
and also that his disciples should kneel down
upon the earth
and it came to pass
that when they had all knelt down
upon the earth
he commanded his disciples
that they should pray

The people mentioned in the scriptures who assume a standing position while praying are hypocrites and the Zoramites:

and when thou prayest
thou shalt not do as the hypocrites
for they love to pray standing 
in the synagogues
and in the corners of the streets
that they may be seen by others
amen
I say unto you
they have their reward

and

for they had a place built
up in the center of their synagogue
a place for standing
which was high above the head
and the top thereof would only admit one person
therefore
whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand
upon the top thereof
and stretch forth his hands towards the sky
and cry with a loud voice

Kneeling down upon the earth, then, is the pattern for both the congregation gathered to partake of the bread and wine, as well as for the one ordained from among them to bless and administer the bread and wine to the multitude.

Until they were filled:

The narrative of the administration of the bread and wine in 3 Nephi 18 never moves forward until the group that’s eating or drinking “is filled”.  Jesus keeps all else on hold and doesn’t move-on until those being ministered to are filled:

and when the disciples had come with bread and wine
[Jesus] took of the bread
and brake
and blessed it
and he gave unto the disciples
and commanded that they should eat
and when they had eaten
and were filled
he commanded that they should give unto the multitude
and when the multitude had eaten
and were filled
he said unto the disciples

and it came to pass
that they did so
and did drink of it
and were filled
and they gave unto the multitude
and they did drink
and they were filled
and when the disciples had done this
Jesus said unto them

blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done

Being “filled” is the hinge on which the pattern given for this ordinance moves.  The whole focus and goal is centered on gathering a group of people who have repented and been baptized in the name of Christ together and having them share a meal of bread and wine together, in which all of them eat and drink until they are filled.  A lesson in “commensality”, which means literally, “to share a table“.

The one ministering to the group:

and when the disciples had come with bread and wine
he took of the bread and brake and blessed it
and he gave unto the disciples
and commanded that they should eat

and it came to pass
that when he said these words
he commanded his disciples
that they should take of the wine of the cup
and drink of it

and it came to pass
that they did so
and did drink of it and were filled

The pattern, then, that Jesus showed unto the Nephite disciples was of one man [Jesus] ministering to a group [His disciples].  This is different than the pattern of Jesus instructing the twelve [a group] to give unto the multitude [a group] to eat and drink.  It was the former pattern [that of one man ministering to a group] that Jesus commanded the disciples to continually do among the church of Christ.

when the multitude had eaten
and were filled
he said unto the disciples

behold
there shall be one ordained among you
and to him will I give power
that he shall break bread
and bless it
and give it unto the people of my church
unto all those who shall believe
and be baptized in my name
and this shall ye always observe to do
even as I have done
even as I have broken bread
and blessed it
and given it unto you

So, though Jesus commanded his group of twelve disciples to minister the bread and wine to a multitude — that appears to have been a special case reserved for the particular circumstances of this meeting at Bountiful.  The pattern that Jesus commanded to be instituted among those who believe and are baptized in his name is that of one man being ordained to stand in similitude of the one Christ, and minister bread and wine to a multitude in similitude of the Christ’s broken body and shed blood.

The pattern given in 3 Nephi 18 is of an ordinance in which a body of believers in Christ gather together, sit themselves down upon the earth, ordain/set-apart one person from among the group to bless and distribute bread and wine, in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus, to every member of the group until each one is filled with bread and with wine.

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Sacred, Set-Apart Space


The Creative Activity of Elohim:

Genesis 1 is the description of the creative activity of a being called אֱלֹהִים or “elohim” or, as we commonly put it in English — God.  The creative act of these personages [I favor the plural because "elohim" is a plural noun] is characterized by:

  • acting via speaking
  • creating via “bara” — which is division or separation
  • forming man and woman simultaneously
  • culminating their creation with the separation of Saturday from all other days [Sabbath]

which can be contrasted to the creative activity in Genesis 2 of a being called יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים or “YHVH god” — the LORD God, who:

  • acted hands-on — forming from dirt, breathing into things, watering the ground, etc.
  • formed man as His image, and formed woman as an appendage to man

Setting Aside a Sacred Portion or Sacred Period:

It is believed that Genesis 1 was written by/for the priestly class of Israel — where Gods’ creative action [in Genesis 1] consists of dividing, containing, and separating.  The priests believed their role in Israeli society was defined by their separation [קֹדֶשׁ or "kodesh"] from the other tribes — in the same way that the larger nation believed their role in the larger family of nations to be defined through their separation from “the others”, their peculiarity or holiness.

So — when we look through Genesis 1, we see that there is a primordial darkness that exists that the Gods did not create.  Rather, in the text, They contain it.  So that after introducing “Light” — Day is created as a space that’s been cleared within the primeval darkness.  Likewise, “waters” appear in Genesis 1 as a pre-existent element that were not created, but were contained/restrained within certain bounds through the introduction of the ordered “Dry Land” within the chaos that was “The Deep”.  And just as “Light” is a space cleared within the infinitely existing “darkness” — so to is “Time” a space cleared within eternity by Gods’ chronometers:  the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

Regular, everyday existence for people can often feel flat or 1-dimentional when an essence of a separate/sacred ritual space is not present.  A “disenchanted” feeling emerges when we don’t allow space for “sacred” time and “sacred” spaces.  The basic idea of “sacred” — or “holy” — is the idea of an off-limits, walled-off portion that isn’t allowed the same degree of free-access as the “profane” [the regular, the common].

So it is important that we, as the elohim of our own daily narratives and lives, enter into our profane, material existence [into our own darkness and chaotic "troubled waters"] and “bara” us some sacred space and some sacred time — some periods for set-apart activity — some holy habits.

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