The nature of authority: the Lord’s stewardship law

The word steward comes from stigweard, lit., a sty ward. Stigu means sty and weard means warden, guardian. A sty is a pen for swine and a ward is one who guards. A steward, then, is someone who guards or protects or is responsible for something that belongs to another or for someone that serves or pertains to another.

Originally, a steward in England, under feudal law, was “a household officer on a lord’s estate having charge of the cattle; later, a head manager in the administration of a manor or estate, presiding at the manorial courts, auditing accounts, conducting inquests and extents, and controlling the husbandry arrangements.” In general, a steward is “a man employed in a large family, or on a large estate, to manage the domestic concerns, supervise servants, collect rents or income, keep accounts, etc.”

Stewards are not owners

Stewards do not own the concerns which they manage nor are the servants which they supervise their own servants, but the servants of the steward’s lord. Thus, we find the Lord saying:

And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. (D&C 104: 56.)

Stewards and stewardships are for probation

Obviously, the Lord owns everything, so He tests His children by granting them a temporary stewardship and then seeing how they act in it.

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them (Abraham 3: 25.)

Rendering an account of one’s stewardship

At some point, every steward must give an account of his or her stewardship, both here on Earth and later at the day of judgment.

And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. (D&C 73: 3.)

And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment. (D&C 70: 4.)

Good and bad stewards and their rewards

Depending upon what kind of steward we are here on Earth, so shall be our eternal reward. Those who are faithful, just and wise stewards get the top reward.

And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life. (D&C 51: 19.)

And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things. Amen. (D&C 78: 22.)

While those who are wicked, unjust and unwise stewards don’t get so much.

And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, [the Lord] will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers; even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (D&C 101: 90-91.)

Stewards possess authority

A stewardship (the office of a steward) comes with authority, or, in other words, a steward is given both authority and responsibility in order to manage the concerns of the stewardship. If you don’t have a stewardship, you don’t have authority. The authority of a steward is a set of keys, just as the original stigweard held the keys that opened the swine pens. These keys allow the steward to protect, guard, maintain and take care of the concerns in his or her care. Without such authority, a steward can do nothing.

In the case of a stewardship that supervises people, the authority of the steward is only valid as long as the people being cared for sustain him or her as their steward. In other words, there is a second set of keys held by the people who have claim on the steward as their steward and it is this second set of keys that allows the steward to operate in his or her office. Without the consent of these people, the steward cannot do anything in righteousness.

Parental stewardship

D&C 83 gives the order of parental stewardship as follows:

Verily, thus saith the Lord, in addition to the laws of the church concerning women and children, those who belong to the church, who have lost their husbands or fathers: Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken; and if they are not found transgressors they shall have fellowship in the church. And if they are not faithful they shall not have fellowship in the church; yet they may remain upon their inheritances according to the laws of the land. All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age. And after that, they have claim upon the church, or in other words upon the Lord’s storehouse, if their parents have not wherewith to give them inheritances. And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen.

Whoever has claim upon another for his or her spiritual or temporal maintenance is the concerns of the stewardship and whoever is responsible for the maintenance is the steward. Therefore, according to this revelation, parents are the stewards of their children and husbands are the stewards of their wives.

This arrangement does not go both ways. Children are not the stewards of the parents because they are not responsible for providing spiritual or temporal maintenance for their parents. Nor is the wife the steward of the husband because she is not responsible for maintaining her husband in his spiritual or temporal needs. If stewardship could go both ways, husbands could have claim upon their wives and parents upon their children. Although there may be many husbands who might love to relinquish their family stewardship to their wives and allow her to support him and their children, under gospel law it doesn’t work like that.

Children are also given stewardships

When children are old enough to obtain some responsibility, they may receive a stewardship from their parents. Perhaps they must take care of their room, keeping it clean and tidy, or their clothes, making sure they are folded and put away, or some household chores, such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, doing dishes, or, perhaps they are given a temporary stewardship over their younger siblings, looking over them and watching out for them while their parents are engaged in some other aspect of their own stewardship.

Stewardships in the church

Every church calling is a stewardship with responsibility and authority, and may be of a temporal and/or spiritual nature. The steward uses that authority to manage the concerns of his or her stewardship, which may include supervising, teaching, and/or leading people. So, for example, a bishop is the steward of the ward and the entire ward is the concerns of his stewardship. An elder’s quorum president is the steward of the elders quorum, which are the concerns of his stewardship. A Relief Society president is a steward and the society members are the concerns of her stewardship. A visiting or home teacher is a steward and the families or sisters being visited are the concerns. Etc.

Stewards and concerns likewise judged

Just as every steward must render an account of his or her stewardship to the Judge of us all, so the concerns of a stewardship will have to render an account of how they acted toward the steward. The steward is the Lord’s representative, empowered to take care of the concerns of the stewardship. Any interference with a steward’s divinely appointed duties is treated by the Lord as if it was done to the Lord of the steward Himself.

As long as a steward is acting righteously, meaning that he or she is acting in the stewardship in the following way—

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of [a stewardship], only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.  (D&C 121: 41-44, re-worded a little.)

—those who have claim on the steward are bound by the Lord to use their second set of keys to authorize the steward’s own set of keys (his or her authority). If the steward is not authorized by the people concerned with his or her stewardship, yet is acting in righteousness, these people stand condemned by the Lord.

The principle is this: respect all stewards and stewardships insofar as they act righteously.

It is wickedness

Thus, it is wickedness to do away with a steward and stewardship granted by the Lord because this is how He tests His children. For example, some in the world would do away with the stewardship of the parents by granting the State stewardship over the children. This is wickedness. Others would do away with the stewardship of the husband, claiming that this diminishes the role of the wife. This is also wickedness.

Another form of wickedness is the interference in the operations of a steward’s duties. For example, no one is to perform the duties of the steward, other than the steward himself. If you do this, you interfere with the test, for the Lord appoints stewards and then steps back to see what he (or she) will do. Even if you think you can do a much better job than the steward, you are to step back, like the Lord, and let the man or woman perform, or attempt to perform, the duty. Another way to interfere is to withhold your authorization from the steward, so that he cannot perform the duties of his office and calling because you (the concerns of his stewardship) do not authorize him.

Finally, those who are not a part of the concerns of a stewardship, when dealing with a steward, should respect his or her calling, and recognize both the authority and responsibility that the steward has in managing his or her concerns. It is disrespectful and offensive both to the steward and to the One who appointed the steward to not recognize the stewardship, authority and responsibility that was given to the individual by the Lord.

Stewardships and equality

Stewardships are, by design, not equal. The Lord places one steward to preserve, maintain and increase a small amount of property, while another steward is placed over ten times as much. A pair of parental stewards may care for three children while a different pair may watch over ten. It is the inequality of the stewardships that adds to the test, to see what the children of God will do, both the stewards and those they look after.

Nevertheless, the gospel provides means whereby the unequal stewardships may become equalized. This is done through covenants.

Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Edward Partridge and Newel K. Whitney, A. Sidney Gilbert and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, and W. W. Phelps and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships—to manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland; for I have consecrated the land of Kirtland in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.

For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.

Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.

And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just—and all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God. (D&C 82: 11-19.)

So here we have the Lord telling these nine stewards to bind themselves to each other by bond and covenant in their several stewardships, so that they become equal in both earthly and heavenly things.

For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion—for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven; that you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.

For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye 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: 3-7.)

The equality spoken of in these verses is all-important, yet unobtainable except by voluntarily entering into covenants, including marriage covenants, with other stewards. The Lord then creates a perfect test by first giving out unequal stewardships and then explaining how to equalize everything, with attendant blessings should His children decide to use their agency to that end.

He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things; yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit. Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. (D&C 70: 12-14.)

Stewardships are meant to be increased

Every steward is to maintain, preserve, care for, protect, guard and increase his or her stewardship. Thus, missionary work is based on the law of stewardships. And when we hear the phrase, “multiply and replenish the earth,” that is also the law of stewardships at work. And so, parents, if able, are expected to bring more children to Earth.

Keep this law in mind

It may be beneficial to keep the law of stewardships in mind when dealing with stewards, whether they are found in one’s family, in the church, or in the world at large. A proper understanding of this law may make it easier to accept the steward’s authority, and a corresponding proper action towards that steward may make it easier to live other parts of the gospel and to stay in the Lord’s favor.

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  1. So this bond or covenant that the early brethren entered into: what was the objective of the covenant?

    After reading it again, it says that the purpose of the covenant was to manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric. What are “the things of the bishopric”? I have never been a bishop. I thought the bishop was over the Aaronic Priesthood. But, now that I think of it, today’s bishops have different stewardships than the early bishops. The early day bishops were stewards over the Lord’s Storehouse. They managed the temporal affairs pertaining to the Law of Consecration. Also it seems that those entering into the covenant were to give up the concern about themselves, and to seek the interests of their neighbor. The definition of a “neighbor” is defined in the parable of the good Samaritan. It is not just the person living next to you. Christ asked which of the three people who noticed the wounded man was the man’s neighbor. It was the Samaritan. So our neighbors are not the rich people who live next to us, but we are to make ourselves neighbors to the poor, the lame, the halt, those who need our attention.

  2. In reading my state’s legal code for a comment I made on another post — I found this, as it applies to the matter of husbands having stewardship concerns for their wives:

    Each spouse has the duty to support the other spouse.
    A spouse who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to any person who provides necessaries to the spouse to whom support is owed.

  3. Is that Utah?

  4. No.

    But in a search of Utah’s legal code, I found a similar — “Duty of support” that was defined as

    an obligation imposed or imposable by law to provide support for a child, spouse, or former spouse, including an unsatisfied obligation to provide support.

    hrLM — if you are interested, then perhaps check the state’s website for more information on what you’re looking for.

  5. A recent post over at the Wheat and Tares blog reminded me of an aspect of stewardship that I had neglected to include in this article (on purpose), because it got into other concepts that possibly would confuse people who weren’t familiar with my other writings. But, I’ll put it here as a comment, at least.

    In Abraham chapter 3 verses 22-23 it says,

    Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

    I had always assumed that this was talking about a division among the children of God and that the noble, great and good ones were the ones chosen to be members of the church of God, or leaders in the church of God, or lineage of Israel, or some other privileged class of people here on Earth who had access to more spiritual blessings than other people. At some point in the past (I can’t remember when) I dropped that view.

    Now, I view this as pertaining to the law of stewardship. My understanding is that a spirit body is composed of individual beings, or in other words, a spirit body is made up of “intelligences that are organized.” In any given spirit body, there is one intelligence that is considered by the Lord noble, great and good. Because of this, the Lord makes this intelligence His ruler, or, in other words, it is this intelligence in any given spirit body, that becomes the steward of all the other intelligences that compose and are organized into the spirit body. The one intelligence has been given stewardship over the other intelligences, all within the same spirit body. The other intelligences are the concerns of the stewardship and they follow or obey the steward.

    I don’t know if I have confused the reader even more. I’ll try to explain again. In your own spirit, you make up one single intelligence of your spirit. You are the intelligence that is the ruler of the other intelligences. These other intelligences all obey you because you are the steward and you are being tested. So, when you move your spirit hand, which moves your physical body, it is the intelligences in your spirit hand that obey the one intelligence located within your head (which is, in very deed, the actual you). Your body consists of organized intelligences (plural). There is one intelligence (you) that rules the other intelligences (the rest of the spirit body).

    These intelligences are guaranteed, for their obedience to you, that they will inherit a place in the kingdom of God, regardless of what you do, and thus inherit joy and happiness. This is because regardless of your wrong actions, in directing them to commit sin, even if you cause the entire spirit body (the whole ensemble of organized intelligences that make up your spirit) to be cast back into outer darkness, the only one who will remain there is the unfaithful, unwise and unjust steward intelligence, not the concerns of that stewardship (the rest of the intelligences). These faithful intelligences, following you according to their covenant, will find themselves back in the kingdom of God, because God is merciful to them.

    This means that the rulers spoken of in the above scripture is all the children of God, not just the members of the church. Every man, woman and child sent to this earth is a ruler, and has been called good, noble and great by God. That also means that all the animals, who are likewise organized intelligences, have a steward intelligence that is a ruler intelligence. All the animals, then, are the rulers. Same goes for the plants, etc. Any spirit body organized by God using intelligences is set up in a stewardship relationship by covenant and this scripture is speaking of those stewards, not of any church hierarchy among men.

  6. Would it be accurate to say that the intelligences that are the concerns of my intelligence’s stewardship over the spirit body are analogous to the individual cells that make up my physical body?

  7. Yes. I realize that some people think of man as composed of three things: physical element, spiritual matter and a third thing called intelligence, but I don’t see it that way. My understanding is that there are only two things that make up the entire created universe; that physical matter is composed of individual bits of “things that are acted upon”; and that spirit is composed of individual bits (called intelligences) of “things that act”. The “things that act” act upon the “things that are acted upon” and there is one “thing that acts” that is the steward of the other “things that act” within that spirit body. God is all about unity, gathering, fellowship and stewardship, so it is understandable, in my mind, that He sets up the universe in this way. So, there is no third component to us.

    Again, we are the steward intelligences. I, the steward intelligence, command the other intelligences that make up my spirit to act upon the physical element that makes up my physical body to type out a message to you, another steward intelligence. These other intelligences use their agency to obey me and act upon the physical element of my physical body, which physical element uses its agency to be acted upon, or moved, by the intelligences which act. The process is then reversed on your end. The intelligences of your spirit body, which you command, move the element that makes up your physical body to receive the message and transmit it to you, the steward intelligence.

    The steward intelligence has no counterpart in the “things that are acted upon.” There is no chief “thing (or steward) that is acted upon” because the design of God for these things is to be acted upon and not to act or control anything. So, only the organized intelligences get bound by covenant to a steward intelligence. (It may be, though, that each intelligence has its own stewardship relationship with the things that are acted upon. God seems to work by covenant on every level.)

    So, it is the steward intelligences that talk or communicate to the other steward intelligences. When I speak, it is not the combined intelligences that make up my spirit that speaks, but just me, the steward intelligence. I speak for the rest of the intelligences that are the concerns of my stewardship. I speak for them as if we were all one being. Everything is directed inward to me and I, in turn, direct everything outward. When all is said and done, in the day of judgment, it is the steward intelligence that will be judged, not the other intelligences. If I am a wise, good and just steward, I will receive the top reward. The other intelligences that make up my organized spirit will also share in whatever reward I end up receiving.

    And so all macro stewardships follow, or are based upon, this same basic pattern or law, such as the law of consecration and stewardship. It is, therefore, the most fundamental relationship found in the universe.

  8. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8: 17)

    If we consider Christ as being God’s Chief Steward over all things, then when we become joint-heirs with Him, we also become joint-stewards. This, then, would be what the covenants between stewards (to form a united order) is patterned after.

  9. “The authority of a steward is a set of keys,… These keys allow the steward to … take care of the concerns in his or her care. Without such authority, a steward can do nothing.”

    I don’t follow the differentiation of stewardship keys and steward. If a person is made steward over any defined stewardship, there are no other keys necessary. The appointment is the authority. If a person has no stewardship that person is not a steward.

    “In the case of a stewardship that supervises people, the authority of the steward is only valid as long as the people being cared for sustain him or her as their steward.”

    I’m not envisioning a stewardship having the purpose of supervising people. People should be supervising themselves.
    A school offers study courses and students should conform to school rules to remain welcome. Student opinions of the courses, teachers and admin has no bearing on its validity.
    The church should offer inspired guidance and literal leadership toward building Zion, how well that is being done determines their validity, not how well the membership chooses to not sustain faithful efforts.

    “In other words, there is a second set of keys held by the people who have claim on the steward as their steward and it is this second set of keys that allows the steward to operate in his or her office. Without the consent of these people, the steward cannot do anything in righteousness.”

    Keys are commission. A Captain without a commission is just a captain. One who qualifies to receive a commission or keys.
    An apostle without a stewardship/commission/keys (permission to administer specific principles or ceremonies) is just an apostle; only having general duties to live as a witness for Messiah while always being ready for a commission or permission to exercise any keys that can be activated within his authority. Messiah is his head, not the body of faithful.
    If an apostle has a commission to lead a people out of Babylon and establish a new Godly nation in another land, he is not being “allowed” to fulfill his commission by some set of keys given to the people. The people are not empowered to invalidate him. He needs no consent of the people. That does not make him a dictator. He is a patriarch in Israel and should use persuasion, long suffering, love, etc in his MO. Those who do not wish to follow are free to decline. If only a few wish to follow such as the small numbers who trusted Lehi, the objective can still be accomplished.
    If “keys” represent specific commissions apart from general responsibilities or general authority level, as I believe they do, then there is no point thinking that the people have special keys given them by which they can validate such a leader. Their general authority lies in their faithfulness to the objective that is comprehended in the commission/keys held by the senior apostle.
    A choice to decline to support an apostolic commission is a basic right but it has no bearing on the validity of the commission held by that apostle.
    An unfaithful choice by the senior apostle to fail to lead the cause, can return a vote by an aware membership to not sustain their leader and a mass prayer for the Lord to remedy the lack.
    At least this is my studied reasoning on the matter. I do stand to be better enlightened.

  10. I don’t follow the differentiation of stewardship keys and steward.

    The steward is a living, breathing human being — the keys are the authority from God that make his/her actions valid or binding in locking [sealing] and unlocking [loosing] things.

    I’m not envisioning a stewardship having the purpose of supervising people. People should be supervising themselves.

    The best scriptural example of a stewardship that supervises people is a marriage family. “Husband and wife” is not the language of equality. It is stewardship language. Wives have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance, not vice versa. Husbands are the heads of their wives, not vice versa.

    LDSA wrote this post on the subject: Wives, follow your husbands: patriarchy, androcracy, and the egalitarian tribe.

    A choice to decline to support an apostolic commission is a basic right but it has no bearing on the validity of the commission held by that apostle.

    But, were a majority of a congregation [the voice of the people] oppose the commission/the calling/etc. of a priesthood holder, then the Lord would not justify that priesthood-servant in acting. God only operates according to the law of common consent, without compulsory means. If the apostles says, “Right” but the voice of the people say “Left” — even if the Lord wanted “Right”, the apostle would not be justified in leading the people right — b/c the servant must hearken to the master in all things.

    Think of Samuel anointing a king over Israel, Aaron making a golden idol, etc. — as examples of the Lord commanding his prophets/priests to do according to the will of the people, even when it wasn’t the “right” thing to do.

    LDSA wrote a very long post that expounds on the nature of the two sets of keys: An alternate view of the keys.

  11. More on Abraham chapter 3 verses 22-23. The 1828 dictionary entries for noble and great make me think that these might be descriptions not so much of moral, but of “physical” properties.

    In other words, the noble ones are exalted, meaning elevated or higher than the others. When put under identical circumstances, these spirits “float higher” than the rest, or are lighter in “weight,” less dense, etc. The “great” designation refers to size, meaning that these hollow spheres are larger, having a larger diameter than the rest.

    The physical element spheres, then, would be denser, heavier, solid and smaller in diameter than any of the hollow, spirit spheres, (drawing from Milton W. Monson’s model of the Universe.)

    A hollow, spirit sphere, then, would vary in diameter, and I would expect also that the dense bits of solid, physical, elemental spheres would also vary in diameter. In my mind and according to my understanding, the expression “full of truth” (found in the scriptural expression “full of grace and truth”) refers to the relationship of spirit to element. In other words, a hollow sphere has a volume of space within its confines. If you fill up that space with physical matter, which is what the word “truth” refers to, for the expression “light and truth” corresponds to spirit and element, then that spirit is “full of truth.”

    Any hollow sphere can contain a certain volume of matter, of a specific diameter. If the element associated with the hollow spirit sphere is less than that specific diameter, then it cannot be said to be full of truth, which lack of truth may throw the whole harmonic between the spirit and the element off.

    The word of God also speaks of “enlarging the soul” (see Alma 32:28; D&C 121:42; and also D&C 132:17), which may be directly referring to this capacity of the hollow, spirit spheres of increasing their diameter, so that they can hold more truth. In the resurrection, we get “solidified” or the capacity for increasing our diameter gets locked into place, according to the degree of glory we inherit. Those who are quickened with a specific glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness, as the scripture says in D&C 88:28-33. So, our spirits will be enlarged to the specific diameter that pertains to the kingdom of glory we shall inherit, and then we will be filled to capacity with truth, or receive a fulness of truth, in relation to the size of our spirits, which quantity of truth is all that we are willing to receive. This creates harmony between the spirit and element that comprise us, giving us eternal bliss, regardless of which glory we receive. We now feel “full,” or satisfied.

    Any other arrangement–having more truth than one is willing to receive into the volume of space that makes up the hollow, spirit sphere, or having less truth than is able to fit into the space of that sphere–creates disharmony, dissatisfaction and misery.

    As far as the word good goes, in describing these spirits, there are innumerable shades of meaning for this word. But, using Lucifer as an example, he started out as one of the good spirits, and then turned bad or evil. The idea of turning evil implies a change in direction, even in the opposite direction. One friend of mine described this in terms of electricity, a change in polarity. Electricity is electricity, but a change in polarity indicates a movement in the opposite direction, or it might be useful to say that the “spin” has reversed direction. It is still composed of the same material as the good stuff, but spinning in an opposite direction than the one its Creator intended. That is the only difference. But because of this change, it no longer has the same properties as the good stuff.

  12. In case anyone is confused by what I just wrote, thinking this has no basis in the scriptures, concerning spirits being hollow spheres and element balls of solid, dense matter, there’s a scripture that kind of, sort of, hints at this very thing:

    All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself… (D&C 93:30)

    So, God places truth into spheres, and I think it is reasonable to assume that these spheres are hollow.

  13. Issac Asimov wrote a short story called, The Last Question. It supposed a super computer which was linked and fed all the knowledge of the known universe. And humans had access to it and could ask it any question. But the question it could not answer was the problem of entropy or the idea that the universe is running out of useable energy to support life. The question was what can be done to reverse that or prevent it .
    I answer this post with the same answer the computer always gave.

    Insufficient data for a meaningful answer at this time.

  14. According to Deep Thought, the second greatest computer of all time and space, the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (which includes this post), is 42.

  15. Yes I worked on that project. They had me verify the answer and it was correct…from a certain point of view.
    More on that see below

  16. Taking this thought farther–that there can be no meaningful response to my musings does not dismay or dissuade me from musing more–when the scriptures speak of receiving light and truth, they speak of the enlargement of the two types of spheres. A hollow, spirit sphere is enlarged by receiving more light, meaning receiving more spirit, which increases its diameter. When a hollow, soap bubble sphere has air injected into its center, its diameter increases and the perimeter shell is thinned. In the case of a hollow, spirit sphere the diameter increases because the perimeter shell spirit matter is injected with more spirit matter (not the interior of the sphere). This doesn’t create a thicker shell, it just makes the sphere grow larger in diameter, while keeping the thickness the same. (Btw, Joseph taught that “all spirit is matter” so I guess it’s okay to use the term “spirit matter.”)

    The spirit that receives more light (spirit), then, is an enlarged spirit, which enables it to receive more truth (element, or physical matter), since there is now a larger sphere into which to place a lot more truth. When the scripture says, “that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth,” on a fundamental level this means that the hollow, spirit spheres and the solid, physical spheres shrink in diameter. See D&C 93: 26-40. This also means that control, or rulership is based upon spirit size diameter. On a fundamental level, the greater rules the lesser, the larger diameter rules the smaller diameter. Therefore, for the devil to bind us with chains and subject us to him he must shrink our spirits in order to gain control over them.

    The saying, “spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy,” may, in fact, be referring to a fulness of truth, meaning that a hollow, spirit sphere is filled to capacity with truth, obtaining a fulness of joy. Regardless of which degree of glory one obtains, once a fulness of truth is obtained for whichever size diameter the spirit is at, a fulness of joy is the result, for the full feeling of satisfaction is the result. This may be the fundamental meaning of the saying, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.” Souls which are filled to capacity with truth are satisfied, not hungry or thirsty, nor ever can be.

    This also shows the constant state of starvation that unembodied or disembodied evil spirits are in, and a drop of the misery that awaits those spirits who will be cast into outer darkness, who will never be filled with truth.

    Spiritual experiences in which more truth is obtained also enlarge the soul, so even though the current diameter of our hollow, spirit sphere has more truth poured into it, helping us to feel more satisfied, the result of the manifestation ultimately leaves us with enlarged spirits, which require even more truth to fill up. This process continues until we are maximally enlarged and capable of receiving all truth that exists.

  17. The 1828 dictionary entries for noble […] make me think that these might be descriptions not so much of moral, but of “physical” properties.

    Could also be along the lines of the “noble gases” on the periodic table. They are stable and not liable to react with other elements.

  18. Also — so would this mechanism [of hollow spirit sphere being filled with physical matter to “act upon”] imply that the Father and Jesus are infinitely dense? — seeing as how they are sources of infinite light and truth?

  19. that there can be no meaningful response to my musings does not dismay or dissuade me from musing more

    You and me both — lol.

  20. I actually considered and looked up noble gases on Wikipedia, wondering why they called them noble, but all I could find was that

    Noble gas is translated from the German noun Edelgas, first used in 1898 by Hugo Erdmann to indicate their extremely low level of reactivity.

    Perhaps if I had searched further I would have found why he used Edel as his description, but since I did not find anything resembling stability as a shade of meaning for noble in the 1828 dictionary, I decided that I would not let the noble gases color my interpretation and just stick to what was in the 1828 dictionary.

  21. Justin asked:

    Also — so would this mechanism [of hollow spirit sphere being filled with physical matter to “act upon”] imply that the Father and Jesus are infinitely dense? — seeing as how they are sources of infinite light and truth?

    Honestly I haven’t thought about that, but it may be, and the thought just pops into my mind now, that it operates kind of like a hologram. In other words, that a fulness of truth is the physical matter occupying that space in such a matter that a holographic recording takes place, so that to look down upon the solid sphere of matter, we can see all that pertains to that particular kingdom, as well as all kingdoms below it. For those who are exalted, their fulness of truth is a larger sphere which contains all the information that existed, exists or can/will exist.

    Again, there is some scriptural basis for this thought.

    The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; but they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.

    The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.

    This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

    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 man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word. (D&C 130:6-11)

    So, it wouldn’t be so much a case of the density of the physical matter filling up that space, but of the configuration of that matter, so that it became a holographic recording of all the knowledge that ever was, is, or ever will be. There may be a specific quantity of matter and a specific configuration, in order to achieve that wondrous Urim and Thummim crystal, on a fundamental level.

    In fact, this may be why truth is called knowledge of things as they were, are and will be. In other words, it may be that all truth, or all bits of physical matter, are configured as holographic recordings, or little Urim and Thummims, which have limitations to what has been recorded upon them, but which can be increased in knowledge, by adding more truth, and thus changing the configuration, so as to change the pictures seen.

    On a fundamental level, the white stone given to those inheriting the Celestial Kingdom may be that very full sphere of truth. In other words, the steward intelligences get a white stone as their truth, which complements their light, on the micro level, and also a greater white stone is given to the entire organized intelligences, the larger stone corresponding to the lesser stone, the larger, normal sized stone simply being a scaled up version of the same that exists in the smaller, original, or fundamental stone. Finally, the planet they reside on is yet another scaled up version of the same Urim and Thummim pattern.

    Actually, I probably should not say finally, because there are also the Universal string of pearls, which are gigantic Urims and Thummims.

  22. LDSA:

    Perhaps if I had searched further I would have found why he used Edel as his description, but since I did not find anything resembling stability as a shade of meaning for noble in the 1828 dictionary, I decided that I would not let the noble gases color my interpretation and just stick to what was in the 1828 dictionary.

    Hmm — the noble gases have their outer valence-shell filled with electrons. Isn’t the spirit shell only joyous when it is filled with truth/element?

    These are other synonyms of the German edel:


    Do any of those match 1828 English shades of meaning?

    I think noble gases can fit into this physical understanding of “noble and great ones” — in the sense that the “noble ones” were complete and filled-up in that first estate in which Abraham was shown them.

    They were chosen to become enlarged in the second estate — because they were, at that time, sufficiently filled-up. They lacked nothing in that present [e]state — and thus is was expedient that they become rulers of greater matter in the second estate.

  23. Taken from the expedient laws post:

    And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory. And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—

    All kingdoms have a law given; and there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. (D&C 88: 21-25, 36-38)

    It may be that the statement, “either a greater or a lesser kingdom” has spawned the thought that a greater kingdom means a “higher kingdom,” and therefore it must have a “higher” law, whereas a lesser kingdom means a “lower kingdom,” which requires a “lower” law. If, in fact, this is where the error starts, then it is pretty easy to correct. Greater and lesser in this scripture do not mean higher and lower, but bigger and smaller. In other words, greater means “larger in bulk or dimensions; a term of comparison, denoting more magnitude or extension than something else,” while lesser means “smaller in bulk or dimensions; a term of comparison, denoting less magnitude or extension than something else.” For example, molecules and atoms are lesser kingdoms, whereas moons are greater kingdoms. Larger planets and stars are even greater kingdoms, etc.

    So, the earth filleth the measure of its creation, meaning that all the individual intelligences (hollow, spirit spheres) that make it up are filled to the brim with truth (element). Each individual bit contains all the information of the whole ensemble, in much the same way that if you break a hologram in half, each half still shows the entire image.

  24. Polygamic interpretation of the parable of the talents and the parable of the pounds

    The recent comment I made on the New Testament polygamy post got me curious about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-27.) Reading these verses again, I see that there are definite parallels between these parables and the doctrine of plural marriage, as I understand it.

    To explain, if plural marriage is looked at as a stewardship, which is how the early saints did, in fact, look at it, the pounds and talents given in these parables represent the wives given to the husbands. Those husbands that are willing to increase their stewardship and take on more responsibility, are blessed with more wives, while those husbands who do not want an increase in their stewardship and subsequent increase in their responsibility, manifest an unwillingness to add wives. When the nobleman returns, those manifesting an unwillingness to take additional wives have their wives removed from them and given to someone who is willing to receive the increase. In the end, the only married people who remain in heaven will be polygamists, or as these parables explain, husbands who “rule over many things”, and their wives.

    It is also curious that the one given multiple talents/pounds (wives) from the get-go, receive them and then add more. In other words, those who are introduced to polygamy and accept it, are increased, whereas the one who is given only one talent/pound (one wife) from the get-go, stumbles and tries to keep only that one, without expansion. These parables, if applied to plural marriage, show that embracing a doctrine of monogamy-only actually stunts spiritual growth and ultimately will lead to divorce, for the monogamist will eventually have his wife taken away and given to another.

    Although I have been speaking of wives being given to husbands, the principle also likely applies to monogamist wives, both those who refuse to have multiple husbands and those who refuse to allow their husband to have multiple wives. The refusal or unwillingness to expand the stewardship and concerns causes the nobleman to either remove the steward from the concerns (putting the steward over other concerns) or remove the concerns from the steward (giving the concerns to another steward). This “taking away” dissolves the stewardship of all unwise stewards and dissolves the concerns of all unwise concerns, because of their unwillingness to be expanded. The end result is that they must remain single forever, in their saved condition, to become profitable servants in a different manner.

    As for the others, who also are dissolved in their marriage relationship, but who, as the pound parable states, hate the nobleman and refuse to have Him rule them, at all:

    “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”

    These get the second death:

    “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

    Or as the talent parable states:

    “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    Polygamic interpretation of the parable of the laborers in the village

    Another parable that I read is found in Matthew 20:1-16. Here we learn that no matter when you start laboring in the Lord’s vineyard, or for how long you labor in it, everyone that labors in it with their might receives the very same reward: one single penny. Those who labor at the end of the day (the Gentiles) receive the same reward as those who labored during the heat of the day (the Jews.) Those who labor for 12 hours receive the same as those who labor for only one hour. The Jews will be the first laborers and the Gentiles the last laborers; and then the Gentiles will be the first laborers and the Jews the last laborers, but payment is always the same: one penny for a day’s labor (however long the workday is.)

    Applying this to plural marriage, there cannot be one exalted man possessing more than another exalted man and there cannot be one exalted woman possessing more than another exalted woman. Payment is always the same for a day’s labor. So, there is no such thing as unequal polygamy in the heavens.

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