Back when I was still collecting Marvel Comics (around 1984), there was a series called “What If…” The What If entry of Wikipedia describes it this way:
What If, sometimes rendered as What If…?, is the title of several comic book series published by Marvel Comics, exploring “the road not traveled” by its various characters. Events in the series are considered separate from mainstream continuity in the Marvel Universe… Some storylines involved individual characters choosing to take (or not to take) a particular action, when in “reality” they had made precisely the opposite decision. For example, a Captain America storyline published circa 1980 saw the hero being offered the opportunity to run for President of the United States as a third-party candidate. In the end, he declined the invitation. Nevertheless, issue #26 of What If (“What if Captain America became President?“) showed him accepting the nomination, and ultimately winning the 1980 Presidential Election.
This post is in the same vein as that series.
One Who Is Watching (OWIW), one of the contributors of this blog, has written many articles on the possibility and scriptural evidence that Joseph will be returning from the dead to initiate the Third Watch. (I don’t know if OWIW is the originator of this theory, but we’ll just say he is.) Anyone can go to his own website to review the scriptural proofs he presents.
As I’ve considered the facts of the matter, and the circumstances we find ourselves in, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a very real possibility that Joseph may indeed be coming back. And soon. Real soon.
I present here six reasons why I consider this a possibility. The first reason is based on the scriptures. The latter reasons are based upon the revelations I have personally received from the Holy Ghost.
Reason #1: The Unfulfilled Prophecies Concerning Joseph
If you search the scriptures and start to list all of the prophecies of what Joseph was supposed to do, it becomes apparent that not everything was fulfilled.
For example, consider the prophecy of Joseph’s name being “had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (JS-H 1: 33.) This prophecy indicates that there was to be no middle ground. Either you would love him or you would hate him and this was to be systemic throughout the world, meaning that his fame (or infamy, in the case of those who hate him) would be worldwide. Everyone would know of Joseph Smith, Jr.
However, the plain fact is that today Joseph’s fame is very limited. Everyone has heard of Miley Cyrus, but not everyone has heard of Joseph Smith. And of those who have heard of him, not everyone has established a good or bad opinion of him. Some are still out to lunch about him or just don’t care either way.
However, for Moroni’s words to be fulfilled, Joseph Smith must do something so polarizing that the entire world both knows of him and takes a side either for or against him. His fame would have to approach that of Moses, or, as the scriptures say, he would be have to be “like unto Moses.” (See D&C 28: 2; 103: 16; and 107: 91.) Such is presently not the case. In fact, President Bush, in the short span of eight years, has beaten Joseph Smith, Jun., in both numbers of people who have heard his name and know of his deeds, as well as in terms of polarization. This prophecy, therefore, remains unfulfilled.
I am not really okay with unfulfilled prophecies, after all, look at the following statement by the Lord:
Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen. (D&C 1: 37-39)
My own experience with prophecies (prophecies that the Spirit has given me to speak) shows that unconditional prophecy is always fulfilled, while conditional prophecy is always fulfilled if the conditions are met. Nevertheless, my experience also shows that it is always done in the Lord’s time.
Past, Present and Future
As the scriptures indicate that all things are before the Lord, both past, present and future, when He speaks a prophecy concerning a set of circumstances and the present has that exact set of circumstances, the prophecy still may not be referring to the present. It may, in fact, be referring chiefly to a future event in which the same set of circumstances will exist and have only minimal application to the present.
The people, then, in the present—who hear the prophecy first pronounced and look around seeing the circumstances described therein, not being the Lord and not seeing the future—naturally think the Lord is talking about now (the present) and not the future. They wait to see the fulfillment of the prophecy, but the circumstances leave and the prophecy remains unfulfilled. Or does it?
Of course, we know from scriptural experience that the same set of circumstances, or an even more precise set of circumstances, that perfectly fits the prophecy, eventually presents itself and the prophecy fulfills itself every whit. But before that, everyone’s faith is tested. Those who never stopped believing get vindicated, while those who doubted get astonished.
Prophecy works this way because the Lord sees everything and can talk about the past, present and future as if it were all one big present. Everything to the Lord, therefore, is “nigh at hand” and he can (and often does) jump around the time line in a non-linear fashion while speaking. In this way, prophecy can serve to both try (test) the faith of, as well as to generate faith in, the hearer. And so, often there is a delay to fulfillment.
Therefore, concerning the “unfulfilled” prophecies about Joseph, it is a safe bet that everything spoken about him will be fulfilled as it was spoken. However, in order for that to happen, Joseph would have to come back from the dead.
Trans-mortal ministries and bringing the dead to life
There is scriptural precedent for trans-mortal ministries, meaning ministries that go beyond mortality. Moses led the Israelites, but then came back at least a couple of times. Moroni came back, Elijah came back, John the Baptist came back, and Peter, James and John also came back. And there may be a great number of other prophets who also continued their ministry “in the flesh” after they died.
Additionally, there is scriptural precedent for bringing back the dead and restoring them to a mortal body. I am not referring to the Resurrection, which makes us immortal, but to taking a dead man’s spirit and returning it to his body so that he lives a second, mortal life. Lazarus experienced this. Timothy (Nephi’s brother) experienced this. In our own age there have been many reported “near-death” or “out-of-body” experiences that are claimed. So, we know that bringing back Joseph and restoring him to a mortal frame is within the gospel context. If brought back, he would then be able to fulfill all those prophecies that were spoken about him.
Reason # 2: The Joseph Smith Daguerreotype
Back in 2001, when I first discovered the Joseph Smith Daguerreotype, the Spirit indicated to me that I was working at that job specifically to find that dag. There were only two significant things that occurred during my three months working there: the Twin Towers fell and I saw what I thought (and still continue to think) was a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith in a museum exhibition book. Despite the impact of 911, due to the revelation the Spirit had given me concerning my purpose at that location, I thought the discovery of the daguerreotype was the more significant occurrence.
After no one paid attention to my find back then, I wondered why the Lord thought it so important to lead me to that discovery. My understanding was that I was shown that image because I would recognize it as the Prophet and then would get the word out, showing it to others. But I wondered, why was it important that people have a good image of the Prophet (if indeed it was the Prophet), after all, he’s dead and gone and who cares what he looked like? The only conclusion I could come to back then was that we needed to know what he looked like so that we could recognize him when he came back.
However, it wasn’t until nearly seven years later, on this blog, that I was able to finally show the image to the world. Again, I thought, why it is important that the image be shown now? A possible answer in all this is that now is, or soon will be, the time that Joseph is coming back.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the daguerreotype is a real image of the Prophet. The Holy Ghost has never revealed its origins to me. (I suppose that I could ask God and get an answer for myself, but I haven’t done that, yet.) What is important is that the Holy Ghost did direct me to find it, which brings up the questions as to why it is important to be able to recognize the image of Joseph and specifically, why we LDS ought to be able to recognize him now, leading to the aforementioned possible reason (Joseph’s return from the dead.)
Reason #3: The Break-up of the Government
From time to time on this blog I have told some of the revelations I have received from the Holy Ghost. For example, back in April of this year, I published some whisperings I had received concerning the economic problems we currently find ourselves in. (See the second comment of that post, too.) I believe I have also published on this blog before (perhaps several times) that the U.S. government would be broken up and we would be brought into tribal anarchy. I might have expressed myself about this subject as just issuing an opinion. Since then, however, the Spirit has confirmed the fact.
However, this begs the questions, “What is the established pattern of the Lord for destruction upon a people and nation? Does not He first warn them by sending prophets to them?”
So, the imminent break-up of the government could signal the imminent return of Joseph, in which he fulfills his prophetic duty of warning the wicked of our corrupt government one last time before its destruction, leaving them without excuse.
Reason #4: The Break-up of the Church
I have written before on this blog that I believe the church will be broken up and cleansed. (See The Root Cause of the Current Financial (Monetary) Crisis and Its Solution and The dissolution of the corporate LDS Church via “gay marriage”, for example.) This belief is based upon revelation given me of the Spirit. (See, for example, this comment.) I had always assumed that the Lord would clean His church in one of three scenarios, but the unannounced return of Joseph Smith would also be sufficient to break-up the church.
Reason #5: A “New Variable” from the Lord
The Spirit has indicated to me that there will be a “new variable” from the Lord that will present itself. (See my comments on this other blog.) All I know about this new variable is that it will initiate the church cleansing and start the process of the redemption of Zion.
There is no better way to cleanse the church from top to bottom, both member and priest, than to have Joseph return unannounced to set in order the church. And we all know that if anyone can redeem Zion, he can.
Reason #6: Joseph Fits the Bill
Prior to the election, I met with what4anarchy and told him of these prophecies. I explained to him that I didn’t understand how this was all going to fit because my understanding was that the church must be broken up first, before the government gets broken up. I didn’t understand how this was to happen, as the Spirit hadn’t revealed it to me, He had only told me that it would happen. We discussed Prop 8 and my other scenarios for the cleansing and break-up of the church, but none of these seemed to fit this particular time, as the Spirit was indicating that the break-up was imminent.
However, the return of Joseph Smith does fit.
I realize that OWIW’s time line is from April 2008 to April 2009. That is the time frame he gives for the Third Watch to begin and Joseph (and others) to return. Personally, for the prophecies of the scriptures to be fulfilled at this time (and also the prophecies I’ve received), I’d put it more between now and the swearing in of Barack Obama as the President of the United States, i.e., from today (this post was written on December 19-21, 2008 ) to January 20, 2009. And if I had to pick a day for Joseph to return, I’d say he’d return to life on December 23rd, his birthday. (Btw, Happy 203rd Birthday, Joseph!)
The reason for this time frame? D&C 124: 1-14. The proclamation that Joseph was supposed to write to the “honorable president-elect” (which never was written) must be written and delivered while there is actually a president-elect. (Contrary to the section’s verse summary, which reads, “Joseph Smith is commanded to make a solemn proclamation of the gospel to the president of the United States, the governors, and the rulers of all nations“, the revelation itself never says that the proclamation was to go to the president, but to the “honorable president-elect”.) The words of the revelation show that the Lord was looking at a future time, in which would be similar circumstances. Notice this:
For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come. (D&C 124: 5)
Either the proclamation was written back then and will be sent forth this or next month, or it will be written this or next month and sent forth prior to President-Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. Either way, for these instructions to be complied with and this prophecy to be fulfilled at this time, there are about 30 days left for Joseph to return and issue the proclamation to the honorable president-elect Barack Obama, to the high-mined governors of the states (including the high-minded governor of Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich), to the kings of the nations and to the nations of the earth, i.e., to the executive branches of all the nations of the earth.
The wording of D&C 124 actually sounds to my prophetic ears as the revealed word of the Lord to Joseph upon his being raised from the dead. In other words, if you could imagine Joseph just standing up in his restored physical, mortal body, having just been brought back from the dead, and the first words of his Lord that he hears are these:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth. Your prayers are acceptable before me; and in answer to them I say unto you, that you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a cornerstone of Zion, which shall be polished with the refinement which is after the similitude of a palace. (D&C 124: 1-2)
His first mission, as recorded in this revelation, is to make this proclamation, but, as we learn later on in the revelation, he needs help from others:
And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him, and that he should be with you; let him, therefore, hearken to your counsel, and I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings; let him be faithful and true in all things from henceforth, and he shall be great in mine eyes; but let him remember that his stewardship will I require at his hands. (D&C 124: 12-14)
The rest of the revelation includes a shopping list of elders that the Lord (perhaps) is indicating need to be returned from the dead to continue their missions in helping the Prophet fulfill his own. Also, interestingly enough, section 124 directs the Prophet to completely organize the priesthood quorums of the church, with officers filling every part of her, from the First Presidency on down to the last quorum.
So, what if…Joseph returned?
Joseph’s return would initiate the break-up of the church. A man suddenly showing up, saying, “Hi, I’m Joseph Smith, Jun., founder of the Mormon church” might not have an effect on people if he looked like just about anyone, but if he looked like the death mask and, perhaps, if he looked like the daguerreotype found on this blog, there would definitely be commotion among the members.
Proofs of Authenticity
There will always be people who doubt that a man could come back from the dead (even within our church), but for those who considered the possibility, they would demand some proof that he was who he said he was.
Visually, even if the man did look like both the death mask, the dag, and the paintings based on the death mask, etc., in other words, even if his appearance did have a semblance of what the majority of LDS consider Joseph to look like, there would still be doubts. With modern plastic surgery technology, a man could disguise himself. Or, perhaps the man is an unknown descendant of Joseph or Hyrum? Such thoughts would be in many heads.
Hand-writing experts who came forth to compare the man’s hand-writing with Joseph’s known hand-writing, even if they said it was the same, many people would still think it could be an imposter who had practiced and practiced until he got the hand-writing of Joseph down pat. We’ve already had experiences with forgeries, so doubts would remain.
A fingerprint would probably be the perfect way to identify the man as Joseph, but it is unlikely that fingerprints of Joseph exist.
If the man said, “I am Joseph. Open my grave and look. You will find no body there,” he would be ignored. The church would not desecrate the grave of the Prophet just because some crazy man came forth with insane claims. And even if some members had to know and in the dead of night unearthed the grave and found no body, the general membership would still doubt that it proved that the man was Joseph.
Despite any and all evidences that could be presented to show that the man was, in fact, Joseph Smith raised from the dead, the one test that LDS would use to discover the fact would be the reaction of their leaders. If the leaders rejected the man, the LDS would reject him. If they accepted him, they would do likewise.
“Follow the Brethren”: Not a Sufficient Mantra
The unannounced (and real) return of Joseph would break the church because there would be some, both members and leaders, who would pray to God and receive confirmation that he was who he said he was. But there would also be others who would deny him (of both members and leaders.) A schism would be created in the membership and among the leadership and the unanimity that we currently have would cease. (Remember, a majority decision does not have the same blessing as a unanimous decision, in the governing quorums of the church.)
Would the Brethren simply concede authority to Joseph (and to any other returned-from-the-dead elders)? I don’t believe they would. Some might think they were genuine, some might not. But generally, they would probably as a majority label them impostors. They would not be able to arrive at a unanimous consensus concerning Joseph and the others returned. (This is an important point.) This division would divide the members, too. Some would claim to receive revelation that these men were who they said they were. Excommunications of both members and priesthood leaders would be rampant. The established order of the church would be shaken and broken up. I’m talking of a house cleaning from top to bottom that nobody saw coming. The mantra to “follow the brethren” would be followed by the question, “Follow which brethren? those that say Joseph is an impostor or those that say he holds the keys?” Each member would have to rely upon the Spirit alone to figure it all out.
The Government Targets the Mormons
To make matters worse (or better?), when Joseph got around to issuing the proclamation to Barack and the nation’s governors, calling them to repentance and prophesying the destruction and break-up of this nation if they didn’t immediately make way for Zion, suddenly the government of the United States would target…the Mormons. Think we’ve had enough bad press this year with Romney running, the FLDS raid and Prop 8? Wait until next month when the proclamation is issued and the persecutions and round-up of Mormons begin…
Joseph would begin the process of restoring Zion and restoring Israel, but once the President and governors (the government) now targeted the saints, the cleansing and judgments upon the house of God would initiate. The proclamation would be issued in the name of and for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by someone claiming to be its founder. Even if the LDS leadership tried to distance itself from both the man and the proclamation, if enough members and leadership acknowledged him as Joseph, the annoyance would not be overlooked by the government.
Remember, there can be no delivery from bondage without first being in bondage!
The Prohesied Church Cleansing of Prophets and Apostles
A deliverer (Joseph), one like unto Moses, would deliver the faithful who followed him and the prophesies concerning the false prophets and apostles and bishoprics in the church would fulfill itself:
Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations. For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead. (D&C 64: 37-40)
Now, I’m not saying that Joseph will return at this time. All I’m saying is that if Joseph were to return at this time it would fulfill both the scriptures and the whisperings of the Spirit to me, personally.
Jesus always sends an Elias to prepare the way before Him. However, the pattern of Elias (John the Baptist) was that he was on the scene when the Lord came the first time. This pattern may hold out for the second Elias (Joseph).
It may be wise to keep our eyes and ears open during the next 30 days, because if someone starts claiming to be Joseph Smith, Jun., if he suddenly appears at the inauguration of Obama, blowing a trump, raising an ensign and reading from a written proclamation, even with loud proclamation, in the eyes of all the world’s television cameras, there to witness and record the historic inauguration, instead of just quickly dismissing the man as a crackpot, it may be to our benefit to take prophetic inventory and determine whether the man is a prophet, because if he is, and we don’t recognize it, we may end up on the wrong hand.
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