Equality


Scriptures using the word “equality”:

for I mean not that other people be eased
while you are burdened
but by an equality
that now
at this time
your abundance may be a supply for their want
that their abundance also may be a supply for your want
that there may be equality

2 Corinthians 8:13-14

and

and when the priests left their labor
to impart the word of god unto the people
the people also left their labors to hear the word of god
and when the priest had imparted unto them the word of god
they all returned again diligently unto their labors
and the priest
not esteeming himself above his hearers
for the preacher was no better than the hearer
neither was the teacher any better than the learner
and thus they were all equal
and they did all labor
every man according to his strength

Alma 1:26

and

that you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things
yea
and earthly things also
for the obtaining of heavenly things
for if you are not equal in earthly things
then you cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things
for if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world
you must prepare yourselves
by doing the things which I have commanded you
and required of you

D&C 78:5-7

Questions:

Does God care about equality?

  • If so, in what way do they care about it?

Does God care about fairness?

  • If so, in what way?

How are the answers affected by the definitions of:

  • equity = The quality of being equal, even-handed dealing, what is fair and right.
  • justice = The maintenance of what is correct or proper, the giving of deserved consequences.
  • righteousness = The state of being just or true, conforming to the accepted standards of law

for the kingdom of god is not food and drink
but righteousness
and peace
and joy in the holy spirit

Romans 14:17

 

but seek first the kingdom of god
and his righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you

Matthew 6:33

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Previous Article by Justin:  A Small Stone

A Small Stone


The scriptures describe the acts of God being accomplished by “small” and “simple” means – meaning that great and miraculous effects are often brought about through seemingly insignificant causes.  A simple example of this principle is in the actions that have been done though the use of a small stone.  An arrangement of organic materials and minerals, yet in many cases, they can bring marvelous things to pass.

Show your faith:

and it came to pass
that the brother of Jared

did molten out of a rock
sixteen small stones
and they were white and clear
even as transparent glass
and he did carry them in his hands
upon the top of the mount
and cried again unto YHVH
saying

O YHVH
look upon me in pity
and turn away your anger from your people
and suffer not that they shall go forth
across this raging deep
in darkness
but
behold these things
which I have molten out of the rock
and I know
O YHVH
that you have all power
and can do whatsoever you will
for the benefit of humankind
therefore
touch these stones
O YHVH
with thy finger
and prepare them
that they may shine forth
in darkness
and they shall shine forth
unto us
in the vessels which we have prepared
that we may have light
while we shall cross the sea
behold
O YHVH
you can do this
we know that you are able to show forth great power
which looks small to the understanding of men

We can take something small and simple, offer it to the Lord in faith [trusting that He will do anything that His people ask of Him in faith], and have that thing transformed into the very thing we require.

Slay your enemies:

and it came to pass
when the Philistine arose
and came and drew nigh to meet David
that David hurried
and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine
and David put his hand in his bag
and took from inside a stone
and slung it
and smote the Philistine in his forehead
that the stone sunk into his forehead
and he fell upon his face to the earth
so David prevailed over the Philistine
with a sling and with a stone
and smote the Philistine
and slew him
but there was no sword in the hand of David

We can turn away from the “weapons” of the world [the swords and the armor that have not been “proven”] and instead trust in the Lord to fulfill our need with the simple “stones” we are comfortable with using.

Send away your accusers:

they say unto Jesus

master
this woman was taken in adultery
in the very act
now Moses
in the law
commanded us that such should be stoned
but what do you say?

this they said
tempting him
that they might have reason to accuse him
but Jesus stooped down
and with his finger wrote on the ground
as though he heard them not
so when they continued asking him
he lifted up himself
and said unto them

he that is without sin
among you
let him first cast a stone at her

and again he stooped down
and continued writing on the ground
and they which heard it
being convicted by their own conscience
went out one by one
until Jesus was left alone
and the woman standing in the midst
when Jesus had lifted himself up
and saw none but the woman
he said unto her

woman
where are those who had accused you?
is there no man to condemn you?

she said

no man
lord

and Jesus said unto her

neither do I condemn you
go
and sin no more

The principle upon which the atonement works is that only accusers will be accused and only condemners will be condemned. Using a simple stone, the atonement can remove any and all accusers – leaving a sinner, sitting alone with Jesus and forgiven.

All of this done by the small and simple means of a stone.

then the white stone
mentioned in Revelation 2:17
will become a urim and thummim
to each individual who receives one
whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms
will be made known
and a white stone is given
to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom
whereon is a new name written
which no one knows except the person that received it
the new name is the key word

Next Article by Justin:  Equality

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The brides of Satan


It’s been much too quiet on this blog the last few months, so methinks I’ll stir the pot somewhat and give a little taste of some of the new stuff I’ve been mulling over.

Here is a comparison between heavenly Father’s plan and the one espoused by Lucifer:

Under God’s plan:

Most souls would be saved, some would be lost.

Under Lucifer’s plan:

All souls would be saved.

Under God’s plan:

Moral agency (freedom to choose good and evil) would be retained.

Under Lucifer’s plan:

Moral agency would be removed.

Under God’s plan:

Salvation would be guaranteed on conditions of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance.  (Faith and repentance would be required.)

Under Lucifer’s plan:

Salvation would be guaranteed without conditions.  (Faith and repentance would not be required.)

Under God’s plan:

Mankind would sin and fall.

Under Lucifer’s plan:

Mankind would not sin and fall.

Under God’s plan:

The Only Begotten (Jesus Christ) would come down to earth and suffer and die to atone for sin, saving only those who exercised faith unto repentance.

Under Lucifer’s plan:

The Only Begotten (Lucifer) would come down to earth and, using his almighty power, take full control, saving all mankind.

Under God’s plan:

The potential inheritance would include 3 kingdoms of glory, 1 kingdom without glory (outer darkness), the opportunity to become either gods, angels or devils, and a hierarchy of men over women (see 1 Cor. 11:3) and husbands over wives (see Eph. 5:23).

Under Lucifer’s plan

The potential inheritance would consist of 2 degrees of glory, the top degree inhabited by Lucifer alone as the one singular god and the bottom degree inhabited by everyone else, with full equality for everyone in the bottom degree (i.e., no differentiation between men and women.)

The two plans had gender appeal

Heavenly Father’s plan appealed to male spirits, His sons.  When presented with two options, it is the nature of men to choose the one that offers the greatest return.  That would be God’s plan, which allowed the potential to become gods just like heavenly Father.  Also, spirits would be required to do something (exercise faith and repentance), giving a sense of accomplishment (however small), which men love to feel.  The plan created a challenge to overcome (sin and death) and men love challenges.  Men also love and thrive in untrammeled freedom and this plan granted moral agency.  Lastly, it created kingdoms, with men ruling as kings.  All of these things appeal specifically and directly to the masculine nature.

Lucifer’s plan appealed to female spirits, heavenly Father’s daughters.  When given two options, it is the nature of women to choose the one that appears less risky.  That would be Lucifer’s plan, which guaranteed salvation to all with absolutely no conditions required.  His plan created a sense of safety and security, which women love to feel.  All would be treated equally, with no one (but Lucifer) ruling over anyone else.  Lucifer’s plan appealed directly and specifically to the feminine nature, for women were his target audience.

Which one was the alpha male (in the eyes of women), Jesus or Lucifer?

Jesus Christ would come down in meekness and humility and would suffer and die, saving most but not all of God’s children.  He is even called the Lamb of God.

In contrast, Lucifer would come down and utilize the almighty powers of God to save every last one of us, becoming the only dominant force in existence, everything else being essentially powerless and submissive to him.  He would be very much like a wolf.

Women are by nature attracted to alpha males

Need I say more?

About that one-third that followed Satan…

The devil’s cunning plan was to get every last female spirit child of heavenly Father pair-bonded to him, giving him more than 50% of the vote, and then he could take control of the kingdom.

To explain, here is what we know: one-third of the hosts of heaven followed Lucifer and rebelled against heavenly Father, getting kicked out of heaven with him.  These spirits essentially committed spiritual suicide, suffering a spiritual death, giving all their agency to Lucifer, that he might succeed in his plan.

Now, we do not know how many of these lost (spiritually dead) spirits that went with him (the one-third) were males and how many were females, but we know that there are five possibilities:

The 1/3 were all male.

The 1/3 were all female.

The 1/3 were mixed, a majority being male and a minority being female.

The 1/3 were mixed, a majority being female and a minority being male.

The 1/3 were mixed, exactly half being male and half being female.

Given the fact that Lucifer’s plan appealed specifically and directly to female spirits and their natures and did not appeal at all to male spirits and their natures, it is logical to assume that the 1/3 were all female.

1/3 is also 2/6

Going on that assumption, some interesting things start to show up, when viewing the gospel with this in mind.  First of all, 1/3 of the host of heaven can also be expressed as the fraction 2/6.  As it is more convenient to use 2/6 to show these interesting things, this is what I’ll use from now on.

The heavenly hosts are represented by the fraction 6/6.  Everyone assumes that exactly half of heavenly Father’s children were male and half were female, and it is a good and logical assumption, so let’s go with that.  So, 3/6 were male and 3/6 were female.

Lucifer took with him 2/6 of the hosts, leaving 4/6 behind.  If those 2/6 were all female spirits, that left only 1/6 of the heavenly hosts behind that were female, along with 3/6 of the hosts that were male.  Thus, for every 1 female left behind, there were 3 males also left behind.

Again, Lucifer took 1/3 of the entire host, but 2/3 of the female host—the female host comprised 3/6 of the total and he took 2/6, or two-thirds of that portion—leaving only 1/3 of the female host behind.  This may help to explain why there is a doctrine of polyandry in the D&C 132 text.

Pair-bonding saved the rest

Lucifer, the alpha male, with the alpha male plan, went around recruiting among the female heavenly hosts.  And those who joined with him, joined with him.  In other words, these female spirits pair-bonded to him.  As more females pair-bonded to him, accepting his plan as their own plan, he would become even more attractive to the rest of the un-pair-bonded females, for alpha males always end up having the most females, and Lucifer had more than anyone else.

At some point Lucifer had acquired fully 2/6 of the heavenly hosts, which were 2/3 of the female hosts.  Why couldn’t he get the last 1/6 hosts that were female?  It may have been that while he was preaching his plan and pair-bonding with all the females listening to him, increasing his harem of wives, other females were also pair-bonding with other male spirit children of heavenly Father.  Once pair-bonded to a male spirit, a female spirit didn’t budge.  Where her male went, she went.  As these other males were for Christ, Lucifer could acquire no more female spirits, for there were no more un-bonded females.  2/6 were pair-bonded to him alone, and the other 1/6 were pair-bonded to males who followed Christ.  Thus, Lucifer was frustrated in his plan.

Now, as I stated above, had Lucifer gotten all the females, he would have been able to overpower God and wrest the kingdom away from him.  That is because 50% (all the female spirits) + 1 (Lucifer) is the tipping point.  Once he had all this agency given to him, he could overpower the rest.

Evidence that this may be correct

The endowment shows that the devil tempted Adam first and failed, but had full confidence that Eve would fall.  He then tempted Eve and succeeded.   He then got her to tempt Adam and succeeded in getting him to fall, by tempting him through his pair-bonded partner.  The devil is highly skilled at tempting and using women when they are apart from men, but he fails when they are pair-bonded and cleaving to them (for Adam and Eve clave to each other after the fall and the devil could do nothing against them.)  This shows that Satan has a very deep understanding of women and is more skilled at tempting them than at tempting men.

Another evidence is that the kingdom of the devil, called Babylon, and also the church of the devil, also called Babylon, is always spoken of in female terms.  She is the whore of all the earth, the mother of harlots, committing fornication with the nations.  It may be that this is not just symbolism, but a direct reflection of the fact that the angels of the devil, which comprise his kingdom, are all female spirits.

Now, there is more evidence I can present and many more things I can say about this, but I just wanted to give a small taste.  If I have more time I will put all the new stuff online and tie it all together, but this should be sufficient to ponder about, especially as one considers the possible implications.  Lastly, this is all conjecture.  I haven’t received revelation on this, though it does make a certain sense to me.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Custom LDS Scriptures Priestcraft


Usually when I encounter priestcraft, I don’t like to give it further life by advertising it, getting other people to check it out, etc.  I don’t want to invest it with any of my mental energy — I just avoid it like the plague when I see it.  However, I’ve recently crossed paths with a “crafty” company who has appeared to have set themselves up as a light unto LDS families that they might get gain — but they seek not the welfare of Zion.  And for this one — I’m going to try a new approach to confronting priestcraft:

Custom LDS Scriptures is a family business owned and operated by Heidi and Nick Galieti. In 2010, their oldest daughter turned eight and they wanted a pink set of scriptures to give as a baptism present. In the search for pink colored scriptures it was determined that there are several other people not only looking for pink scriptures, but  a variety of other colors than those offered through LDS Distribution, and in a higher quality genuine leather. Not finding anyone who offered such products, Heidi and Nick set out to provide custom sets of scriptures to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Custom LDS Scriptures was born.”

What sounds like a quaint origin story hides the fact that the Custom LDS Scriptures company:

  • Has an F rating with the Utah Better Business Bureau
  • Fails to respond to customers after failure to deliver purchased orders
  • Leads those with unfulfilled orders through months-long delays for refunds
  • Selectively deletes comments from customers complaining about their failures to deliver from the Custom LDS Scriptures facebook page.

This is the sort of money-driven behavior that I implicitly expect from Protestant Prosperity-Gospel peddlers writing books about the “Essential Teachings of Jesus” or “The Secrets To How God Can Make You Rich Like Solomon”.  But I’ve decided to write about Custom LDS Scriptures because I actually considered using them to purchase scriptures for my younger children and had the initial thought that I could trust doing business with them because of our shared LDS faith.  Luckily, my wife didn’t make the same error in judgment as I did — she researched them first. Is this the kind of business people should be conducting with the Word of God?  Is this the kind of business Mormons should be conducting with other Mormons?  I don’t want any LDS families, who are looking for a gift and thinking they can trust purchasing from an LDS company, to have contact with this level of priestcraft.  It’s something that shouldn’t taint honest people who are looking to give a set of scriptures to a loved one. The world of money and commerce adulterate whatever they contact.  Adulteration is literally adultery.  The root of both come from the Latin for “corrupted”.  It is a corrupting, contaminating, and corrosive agent.  Zion, however, is the pure.  That is why, in Zion, he that hath no money is told:

come buy and eat yea come buy wine and milk without money and without price

The world’s lifeblood is commoditized and monetized value.  It is saturated with money and commerce.  Besides living secretly out in the woods, to get by in this world, we have to play the game to one degree or another.  It’s a given, and it’s a level of “corruption” that I accept.  However, priestcraft [which is what it's called when people play Satan's commoditize-and-monetize game with the things of God] should be unacceptable to every saint. People choosing to give the gift of scriptures to a loved one is a precious thing.  That intention on their part should be treated with the utmost respect because that is a righteous desire.  For an LDS company to get an F-rating for failing to deliver LDS scriptures to LDS customers is deplorable.  It’s clear from their grade that Custom LDS Scriptures does not trulybelieve that the Scriptures are books to be cherished, honored, and read from daily”.

wherefore do not spend money for that which is of no worth nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy

And do not spend money with Custom LDS Scriptures.

Next Article by Justin:  A Small Stone

Previous Article by Justin:  Technology

Technology


Mortality is an Open-Field:

but behold
Laman and Lemuel
I fear exceedingly because of you
for behold
methought I saw in my dream
a dark and dreary wilderness
and it came to pass
that I saw a man
and he was dressed in a white robe
and he came and stood before me
and it came to pass
that he spake unto me
and bade me follow him
and it came to pass
that as I followed him
I beheld myself
that I was in a dark and dreary waste
and after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness
I began to pray unto YHVH
that he would have mercy on me
according to the multitude of his tender mercies
and it came to pass
after I had prayed unto YHVH
I beheld a large and spacious field

There is no better way to determine what our hearts truly desire than to place us in a completely open and spacious field and then observe what each of us gravitate towards.

The Choice Generation:

You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. The abundance of choice, however, carries with it an equal portion of accountability. It facilitates your access to both the very best and the very worst the world has to offer. With it you can accomplish great things in a short period of time, or you can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential. With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key—what does your heart desire? What do you gravitate toward? Where will your desires lead?

A Record is Kept of What your Heart Gravitates Toward:

There is a record kept, of what

  • You do online.
  • Your search history
  • What pages you visited
  • In what order
  • For how long,
  • Your location when you used the internet
  • Your personal interests and demographics

But that’s not God’s record.  That’s Google’s record.  God keeps a different record.

then if our hearts have been hardened
yea
if we have hardened our hearts against the word
insomuch that it has not been found in us
then will our state be awful
for then we shall be condemned
for our words will condemn us
yea
all our works will condemn us
we shall not be found spotless
and our thoughts will also condemn us
and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God
and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks
and the mountains
to fall upon us
to hide us from his presence

It is our own brains, where we keep a subconscious record of everything we’ve ever done, said or thought, that a record is kept from which we shall be judged in the final day by God.  Bruce McConkie has said:

In a real though figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies. … That is, every thought, word, and deed has an [effect] on the human body; all these leave their marks, marks which can be read by [God] as easily as the words in a book can be read.

The Internet also records your desires, expressed in the form of searches and clicks.  There are legions waiting to fill those desires.  As you surf the Internet, you leave tracks — what you communicate, where you have been, how long you have been there, and the kinds of things that interest you.  In this way, the Internet creates a cyber profile for you — in a sense, your “cyber book of life.”  As in life, the Internet will give you more and more of what you seek.  If your desires are pure, the Internet can magnify them, making it ever easier to engage in worthy pursuits. But the opposite is also true.

Thus, without God keeping a tally-sheet up in heaven – and without Google keeping a file on their server – each of us have sufficient records to be our own judges.

therefore
if that man repenteth not
and remaineth and dieth an enemy to god
the demands of divine justice
do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt
which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of YHVH
and doth fill his breast with guilt
and pain
and anguish
which is like an unquenchable fire
whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever

and

but I was racked with eternal torment
for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree
and racked with all my sins
yea
I did remember all my sins and iniquities
for which I was tormented with the pains of hell
yea
I saw that I had rebelled against my god
and that I had not kept his holy commandments

Each of us has an internal record of all of our deeds — recorded in our brains, and that is what makes us the judge of our own selves and makes “hell” a place of our own making.  Which is why Isaiah wrote:

woe to those who seek to hide their plans and intentions too deep for YHVH to see
who work in darkness
and think

who sees us?

who will know?

No matter how deep you hide — deeds done in the dark are still known to you, which means they are still known to God.  So we can either be proactive in educating our own desires and leading our own hearts — or be reactive to wherever our desires drag us.  Every choice we make in response to desires to buy something, click on something, play something, or watch something takes us either closer to or further from what we are meant to become.

The Choice Generation:

Each click has meaning.  Always ask yourself, “Where will this choice lead?”  Develop the ability to see beyond the moment.  Satan wants to control your agency so he can control what you become.  He knows that one of the best ways to do this is by trapping you with addictive behavior.  Your choices determine whether technology will empower you or enslave you.

Plug In to the Source of Power:

The Choice Generation:

As important as it is to leave home every day with a full charge on your cell phone, it is far more important to be fully charged spiritually. Every time you plug in your phone, use it as a reminder to ask yourself if you have plugged in to the most important source of spiritual power—prayer and scripture study, which will charge you with inspiration through the Holy Ghost. It will help you know the mind and will of the Lord to make the small but important daily choices that determine your direction. Many of us immediately stop whatever we are doing to read a text message—should we not place even more importance on messages from the Lord? Neglecting to connect to this power should be unthinkable to us.

To take this analogy further, we must also “plug-into” our temporal life, in the here-and-now too.  Plug into our family, plug into the earth outside, plug into sunshine. Really get our bodies moving and experience these things.

Stop living your life in pixels and live it for real.  So sure — plug your spirit into the word of God, but also plug your body into the world that God has created.

Technology can become a surrogate body, where we live out experiences as a passive brain, watching things on a screen.  Whereas God organized our planet and placed our spirits into these bodies so that, in this flesh and on this hunk of dirt and rocks and water, we could experience life – together.

Owning a Smartphone does not make you Smart:

I would hardly be considered “old” by any standard, but I can remember a time in my life where I could have never considered it possible for computers, phones, and cameras to be all combined into one device that fits in the palm of your hand.  This stuff is literally superhero stuff.  It’s amazing.  Batman didn’t have devices that could do what these fancy phones can.

And I hear people complain about it:  “My phone’s a piece of garbage.”  No it’s not – it’s amazing!  “My computer’s slow.”  Oh, is the speed of light too slow for you?  If it takes an hour for your Google search to complete – it’s still amazing.

Respect what we have with this technology.

The Choice Generation:

Don’t do dumb things with your smartphone.  There are countless ways technology can distract you from what is most important.  Follow the adage “Be where you are when you are there.”  When you are driving, drive.  When you are in class, focus on the lesson.  When you are with your friends, give them the gift of your attention.  Your brain cannot concentrate on two things at once.  Multitasking amounts to quickly shifting your focus from one thing to another.

The Lord Provides Technology to Accomplish His Purposes:

Though our family is a bit Amish in this regard — we’re a bit suspicious of pretty much anything that came after the horse and buggy — I wouldn’t say that I’m “anti-technology”.  I don’t think the Internet or fancy phones are the downfall of civilization or the end of human culture.  I just tend to have quite a lot of faith in the way human beings have been doing things for the million years before all this technology.  I find simplistic, natural things to be the cultural equivalent of the shark:  sharks haven’t evolved since the era of the dinosaurs simply because they haven’t had to.  They pretty much had the perfect form for being a “shark” to start-out with.  And I also see that it’s mainly just the people who produce technology who are telling us that we have to have these things.  But we don’t need to go out and do everything that there is to go out and do.

Of course there is the Buddhist adage of the “Middle Way”.  The “good way” through life is a narrow road that has an incredibly steep ditch off either side.  We can go just as wrong cloistering ourselves away from the world, and miss a lot of the good things God may have in store for His people — as we can by diving head-first into everything the world has to offer.  I believe that one’s life is just as much controlled by something when you are fearfully avoiding it at all costs as when you are hedonistically consuming it at all costs.

The Choice Generation:

The divine purpose of technology is to hasten the work of salvation. As members of the choice generation, you understand technology. Use it to accelerate your progress toward perfection. Because you have been given much, you too must give. The Lord expects you to use these great tools to take His work to the next level, to share the gospel in ways that are beyond my generation’s wildest imagination. Where generations past influenced their neighbors and their town, you have the power through the Internet and social media to reach beyond borders and influence the whole world.

Who we are – deep, deep down and far, far in – is reflected and known by what we do. Especially the stuff we do when we think no one sees us, in those secret times that we ourselves only truly know inside our minds.

With every advance in technology, humankind has advanced the ways and means whereby we can waste away our energy on empty things without any lasting value.  But there is another side, which is that with each advance we’ve also accessed a greater capacity to do God’s work:  to spread a message of fulfilling community, of divine compassion and acceptance for all people, and the restoration of a direct connection between the society of heaven and each one of us here on earth.

So I think that, more importantly than if there is an all-seeing eye in the sky who is recording all the details of our actions and thoughts, is the fact that each of us keeps a good enough record of that in our own minds already – and we should make decisions that make living with that record a joy, instead of a burden.

Next Article by Justin:  Custom LDS Scriptures Priestcraft

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

A curious reading of Alma 12:8-18


Note: This post is based on some emails I wrote to a few people last year and contains a fuller expression of ideas that have already been expounded upon and published on this blog in the past.  In other words, you will need to have read some of my earlier writings to understand some of the concepts I talk about here.  I apologize to all the new readers who may be confused by it.

Here is how I read and interpreted the text of Alma 12:8-18 back in March of 2013:

The reading

and zeezrom began to inquire of them diligently

that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God

and he said unto alma (Alma 12:8)

[Zeezrom's question]

what does this mean

which amulek hath spoken concerning the resurrection of the dead

that all shall rise from the dead

both the just and the unjust

and are brought to stand before god

to be judged according to their works (Alma 12:8)

[Alma answers in terms of knowledge of God's mysteries or portions of God's word given, according to heed and diligence we give to God]

and now alma began to expound these things unto him

saying

it is given unto many to know the mysteries of god

nevertheless

they are laid under a strict command

that they shall not impart

only according to the portion of his word

which he doth grant unto the children of men

according to the heed and diligence

which they give unto him (Alma 12:9)

[Lesser portion of God's word given to those who give less heed and diligence to God]

and therefore

he that will harden his heart

the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word (Alma 12:10)

[Greater portion of God's word given to those who give greater heed and diligence to God]

and he that will not harden his heart

to him is given the greater portion of the word (Alma 12:10)

[Later, knowledge of God's mysteries is eventually given to those who give greater heed and diligence to God]

until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of god (Alma 12:10)

[Later, full knowledge of God's mysteries is eventually given to those who give greater heed and diligence to God]

until he know them in full (Alma 12:10)

[Lesser portion of God's word given to those who give less heed and diligence to God]

and they that will harden their hearts

to them is given the lesser portion of the word (Alma 12:11)

[Later, those who give lesser heed and diligence to God eventually know nothing concerning God's mysteries]

until they know nothing concerning his mysteries (Alma 12:11)

[Later, those who know nothing concerning God's mysteries are captivated, led and destroyed by the devil through the chains of hell]

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 (Alma 12:11)

[Amulek's temporal death doctrine]

and amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death (Alma 12:12)

[Amulek's resurrection doctrine]

and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality (Alma 12:12)

[Amulek's judgment doctrine]

and being brought before the bar of God

to be judged according to our works (Alma 12:12)

[Those who have no portion of God's word in them (who are the sons of perdition)...]

then if our hearts have been hardened

yea

if we have hardened our hearts against the word

insomuch that it has not been found in us (Alma 12:13)

[...(sons of perdition) will be in an awful state...]

then will our state be awful (Alma 12:13)

[...(sons of perdition) will be condemned by words, works...]

for then we shall be condemned

for our words will condemn us

yea

all our works will condemn us (Alma 12:13-14)

[...(sons of perdition) will be found filthy still...]

we shall not be found spotless (Alma 12:14)

[...(sons of perdition) will be condemned by thoughts...]

and our thoughts will also condemn us (Alma 12:14)

[...(sons of perdition) will not dare to look up to God...]

and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our god (Alma 12:14)

[...(sons of perdition) will desire to be hidden from God's presence...]

and we would fain be glad

if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us

to hide us from his presence (Alma 12:14)

[...(sons of perdition) must stand before God and his power, might, majesty and dominion...]

but this cannot be

we must come forth

and stand before him in his glory

and in his power

and in his might

majesty

and dominion (Alma 12:15)

[...(sons of perdition) must acknowledge His just judgments and works and His mercy and His omnipotent power to save all believers that bring forth fruit...]

and acknowledge to our everlasting shame

that all his judgments are just

that he is just in all his works

and that he is merciful unto the children of men

and that he has all power to save every man

that believeth on his name

and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance (Alma 12:15)

[After all that happens then there will be a second death (a spiritual death)]

and now behold

i say unto you

then cometh a death

even a second death

which is a spiritual death (Alma 12:16)

[At that time, all those (sons of perdition) who die (present tense—dieth, not past tense) in their sins; in other words, all those (sons of perdition) who experience a temporal death after the resurrection of the dead, meaning a second temporal death...]

then is a time

that whosoever dieth in his sins

as to a temporal death (Alma 12:16)

[...(sons of perdition) will also die a spiritual death...]

 shall also die a spiritual death (Alma 12:16)

[...(sons of perdition) will die as to things pertaining to righteousness...]

yea

he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness (Alma 12:16)

[...(sons of perdition) will have fire and brimstone torments...]

then is the time

when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone

whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever (Alma 12:17)

[...(sons of perdition) will then be chained down by the devil to everlasting destruction...]

and then is the time

that they shall be chained down to an everlasting destruction

according to the power and captivity of satan

he having subjected them according to his will (Alma 12:17)

[...(sons of perdition) will then be as if there were no redemption made, (in other words, as if the atonement and resurrection of Christ never occurred, they being dead temporally and also spiritually)...]

then

i say unto you

they shall be as though there had been no redemption made (Alma 12:18)

[...(sons of perdition) will not be able to be redeemed, (in other words, the atonement and resurrection of Christ has no claim on them and thus cannot reclaim them a second time...]

for they cannot be redeemed

according to god’s justice (Alma 12:18)

[...and (the sons of perdition) will not be able to die.]

and they cannot die

seeing there is no more corruption  (Alma 12:18)

My interpretation and some exposition

The sons of perdition commit spiritual suicide while still in mortality,  suffering a spiritual death.  They then die a physical death (mortal or  temporal death).  They are then “unclean spirits” under Satan’s total  control.  At their resurrection, their spirits and physical bodies are  reunited, becoming alive again (a physical or temporal resurrection).   Coming into the glorious presence of the Lord, although still attached to the chains of hell and the veil of unbelief, Satan (temporarily) loses his “mind control” over them and they “wake up” from their sleep of hell, coming back into existence, meaning that they are spiritually resurrected.  However,  they find themselves in quite the predicament, for all spirits and bodies are organized by covenantal relationships.  This spiritual and temporal resurrection, brought about by the resurrection and judgment of Christ, causes all the elements of their physical bodies to be “inseparably connected” to the corresponding spirits that make up their spirit bodies, according to the scripture which says:

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.  (D&C 93:33-34)

Nevertheless, the inseparable connection that the resurrection of Christ brings to pass only refers to the bonding of the spirit to the element.  It does not refer to the everlasting covenant that exists between the Steward spirit and the other (Concern) spirits that make up the rest of the spirit body.

Now I suppose that at the beginning, we, as the Nothing, were spirit inside element, spirit being a balloon-like, highly deformable substance and element being an incredibly dense, non-deformable, hard ball of stuff. The element is dark, whereas the spirit has potential to glow bright, but as the spirit was at first on the inside, it could not shine, thus everything that is in outer darkness, from whence we came, is continually dark. So, at the creation, God split our beings by extracting the spirit part of us from the physical part of us. This is the “opposition in all things” that God does at the beginning.

Now our spirit was organized with other spirits, through everlasting covenantal relationships, forming spirit bodies.   (“I, Abraham, saw the intelligences which were organized…” etc.)  Spirit bodies are organized with a Steward spirit (the “rulers” that were great and good which Abraham saw) and with Concern spirits.  Thus everyone on earth is a Steward spirit in charge of the entire spiritual organization. These spirits “push around” the elements, can be enlarged, etc.

Mortality is when a spirit body—composed of a Steward spirit and a
bunch of Concern spirits, organized by an everlasting covenant, all Concern spirits taking orders from the Steward spirit—has a corresponding organization of element (the physical body) to push around.  Upon death, the element returns to the earth but the organized spirit body retains its everlasting covenantal bonds.

During the resurrection of the dead, spirit and element are “inseparably connected,” which, as I understand it, means that God puts the element INSIDE the spirit (the exact opposite as how it was in outer darkness). The spirit can still move and shine and now feels satisfied “or full.”  Each bit of spirit now has a corresponding bit of element inside of it and there still exists the everlasting covenantal relationship between all the Concern spirits and the Steward spirit.

Unfortunately, the sons of perdition—when brought before the Lord in resurrected bodies, even though they, as Steward spirits, are now inseparably connected to a bit of dark element, the element being inside their spirit bit—have broken the “everlasting covenant” which allows them to stay connected to the Concern spirits.  The sons of perdition Steward spirits are also “filthy still” or dark.  In other words, they don’t shine, therefore, although their spirits encase their elements, they still appear as dark as the Nothing.

Therefore, they die a second death, not in the sense that their spirit and element becomes separated again—for it cannot be separated again, for it is “inseparably connected” and thus, it cannot die, there being “no more corruption”—but in the sense that all these “unwise Steward” spirits lose their everlasting covenantal power to remain with the organized, resurrected body of Concern spirits and elements. In other words, they become separated from the rest of their body and from the Lord and from all of creation, having no everlasting coventantal power to remain (for they broke the everlasting covenant).  Thus, they become separated from the rest of the resurrected elemental body (contained within the Concern spirits), suffering a temporal death, and from the Concern spirits, suffering a spiritual death, yet they, the unjust Steward spirits, cannot die in the sense that their spirits cannot be separated from their element again. They lose all power because, having chosen not to be enlarged, the element completely fills them up so that they become a rigid, solid-like substance, even an ever “hard heart.”  Instead of obtaining a fulness of joy, they obtain a fulness of misery.  All others who are resurrected have been enlarged to some degree, allowing their spirits to be able to be deformed and move about, giving them agency according to how much enlargement they chose.

So all those (Steward spirits) who die a temporal death after the resurrection, being cut off from the rest of their body, because of their breaking the everlasting covenant, will also die a spiritual death, yet they “cannot die” because their element is on the inside.

Once cut off from (the rest of) their body and from the presence of the Lord, they are “re-chained” by the chains of hell and are dragged down by the devil, and are cast out with Satan and his angels, into the lake of fire and brimstone, entering outer darkness, where they have no agency, yet experience indescribable suffering. They are different from the Nothing around them (which has the spirit on the inside, not the element on the inside like they do) but are just as powerless, for they have no light to shine forth in the darkness.

Using Samuel the Lamanite’s language to describe the same thing

Samuel the Lamanite prophet taught:

Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.  (Hel. 14:16)

So, according to Samuel, spiritual deaths encompass both things temporal and things spiritual.

Therefore, there’s a “first death,” which is both a spiritual and a temporal death (which Samuel terms as a first spiritual death), then there’s a spiritual and a temporal resurrection (which might be lumped together as a spiritual resurrection, using Samuel’s pattern) and then the sons of perdition receive another temporal and spiritual death (which would be a second spiritual death, in both Samuel’s view and also the view of the Lord),

…wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual…  (D&C 29:34)

yet after all this, the sons of perdition can’t die:

[...and (the sons of perdition) will not be able to die.]

and they cannot die

seeing there is no more corruption  (Alma 12:18)

Recap and further exposition

This reading gives two possible temporal deaths and two possible spiritual deaths, but does not allow a third death because of the fixed state of the souls after the resurrection, there being no more corruption.

The first temporal death is the mortal death, mentioned by Amulek.

The first spiritual death are the chains of hell.

Then there is the resurrection of the dead which causes the spirit intelligences that make up the spirit body to become inseparably connected to the element intelligences that make up the physical body, so that they can no longer be separated from each other again.  The resurrected soul, then, is a conglomerate or confederation of individual, resurrected souls (resurrected intelligences), which are held together in the form or shape of man by an everlasting covenant, all of which follow the lead of a Steward intelligence.  Because of the oneness of all the intelligences involved in the makeup of the resurrected soul, all acting under the leadership of the Steward, the Steward intelligence is spoken of as the owner of the rest.

The second temporal death is the death that comes after the resurrection, which is a breaking of the everlasting covenant, which covenant holds all the intelligences that make up the soul together as an organized spirit and body, so that the Steward intelligence is decoupled from the other intelligences, resulting in a separation of the resurrected Steward intelligence from the rest of the resurrected souls that make up the whole soul.  This happens because of a loss of faith, both on the part of the Steward and on that of the Concern intelligences.  Thus, in this death we see a literal fulfillment of these scriptures:

(JST Mark 9:40-48)

Therefore, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; or if thy brother offend thee and confess not and forsake not, he shall be cut off. It is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell.

For it is better for thee to enter into life without thy brother, than for thee and thy brother to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And again, if thy foot offend thee, cut it off; for he that is thy standard, by whom thou walkest, if he become a transgressor, he shall be cut off.

It is better for thee, to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell; into the fire that never shall be quenched.

Therefore, let every man stand or fall, by himself, and not for another; or not trusting another.

Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive.

And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out.

It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

For it is better that thyself should be saved, than to be cast into hell with thy brother, where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched.

(Matthew 18:8-9)

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

(Matthew 5:29-30)

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Thus, every Steward intelligence that becomes an unwise, unjust steward, shall, at the last day, be cut off from its own body and spirit, suffering a second temporal death, because the Concern spirits and elements, that make up the resurrected body, will not desire to go into the lake of fire and brimstone with the steward intelligence, and so the everlasting covenant will be broken, so that only the resurrected Steward goes in, and not the rest of his body.  Thus, the resurrected body of these wicked Stewards will enter the kingdom of God “maimed,” with one eye or with one hand or with one foot, meaning that they no longer have a Steward intelligence attached to them by covenant, but the Lord will then “heal” these Stewardless, resurrected souls, giving them a fulness of joy, for they have been ever obedient to the Lord in obeying the Steward, and will not inherit the damnation that the Steward will receive.

The second spiritual death is the death that comes after the resurrection, in which the resurrected Steward intelligence has no more power to remain in the kingdom of God but must return to outer darkness, entering the lake of fire and brimstone again.

The typical reading of the text

I have typically read the text by rewinding the time backwards in verse 16, so that I forcefully made it refer to the mortal temporal death, as if Alma was speaking of that past event as if it were a present event, and then I applied the “whosoever” to only the people he was speaking of in the previous verses (who were the sons of perdition.)  Using these mental gymnastics, in which I changed the chronological order of the text, rewinding it back to before the resurrection, I got this interpretation out of this part of verse 16:

[Those who have no portion of God's word in them (the sons of perdition)...who died (past tense) in their sins (during mortality, which is a temporal death)...]

then is a time

that whosoever dieth in his sins

as to a temporal death

and then I fast-forwarded the chronology back to after the resurrection for the rest of the verse and all the following verses.

Final tidbits

Alma says the following about the desires of the sons of perdition when they are brought forth in the resurrection to stand before God in the day of judgment, having just become alive again, both spiritually and temporally:

[...(sons of perdition) will desire to be hidden from God's presence...]

and we would fain be glad

if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us

to hide us from his presence (Alma 12:14)

Although they cannot stop the judgment and their arraignment before God from happening, God will nonetheless be merciful to them, and grant to them according to the desires of their hardened hearts, and so as they will have desired to be hidden from Him, they will be cast out into outer darkness.  Their expulsion from the kingdom will be both according to God’s justice and His mercy, and also according to the desires of their hearts.

Also, in this verse, Alma says:

[...(sons of perdition) will be condemned by thoughts...]

and our thoughts will also condemn us (Alma 12:14)

My understanding is that the condemning thoughts of the sons of perdition will not just be the thoughts of the past, which they had during the time of their mortality, but also the thoughts that they will have while in His presence in the day of judgment, for they will still be entirely sinful and filthy, including their thoughts, which will cause them to shrink in shame.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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.

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