Master, Master, We Perish


I will go down with this ship:

now it came to pass
on a certain day
that he went into a ship with his disciples
and he said unto them

let us go over
unto the other side of the lake

and they launched forth
but
as they sailed
he fell asleep
and there came down a storm of wind on the lake
and they were filled with water
and were in jeopardy
and they came to him
and awoke him
saying

master
master
we perish

then he arose
and rebuked the wind
and the raging of the water
and they ceased
and there was a calm
and he said unto them

where is your faith?

and they
being afraid
wondered
saying one to another

what manner of man is this!
for he commands even the winds and water
and they obey him

Taking this story as a metaphor for one’s life, it goes like this:

  • Jesus has a mission for you
    [let us go over unto the other side of the lake].
  • You are obedient to him
    [and they launched forth].
  • His mission leads you into harm and peril
    [but as they sailed … there came down a storm of wind on the lake and they were filled with water and were in jeopardy].
  • He is not all that concerned about that
    [but as they sailed he fell asleep].
  • You will have to either rouse him — or fix it yourself
    [and they came to him and awoke him — where is your faith?].

Wait, what?  God will lead you into peril and jeopardy and then leave you there so He can take a nap?  Yes.  And if you don’t have the faith to either fix it yourself or to cry out to Him, then He will keep on napping — while the situation drowns you.  Having let the Lord of the Universe into the “ship” of your life and being obedient to His directions will grant you zero security that your travels will be safe.

And it wasn’t just the 12 disciples:

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life did not begin with “a large and spacious field” in which he “beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”  No, it starts ominously with:  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 commanded me to follow him
and it came to pass
that as I followed him
I beheld myself
that I was in a dark and dreary waste
a
nd after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness
I began to pray unto the lord
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 the lord
I beheld a large and spacious field
and it came to pass
that I beheld a tree
whose fruit was desirable
to make one happy

You see, we begin our story in a miserable place, a dark and dreary wilderness.  Then, all is well, a man in white appears and commands us to follow him, presumably to deliver out of this situation.  And instead, we are led into an even worse situation, a dark and dreary waste.  Thanks a lot Man-in-White.  Then he just leaves us there — to wander in the depths of despair and depression.

And there’s where the story would’ve ended had it not been for Lehi’s impulse to begin to pray unto God for mercy and deliverance from the darkness.  It’s only then that we can find ourselves in the large and spacious field with the fruit of happiness and family togetherness.

God isn’t troubled by your bothers, unless you can be bothered enough to trouble Him:

and he spake a parable unto them
to this end
that people ought always to pray
and not faint
saying

there was in a city
a ruler
who didn’t fear god
nor care about people
and there was in that city
a widow
who came unto him
saying

give me justice
and stop my oppressor

and he would not
for a while
but afterwards
he said within himself

though I do not care about god
nor respect any person
because this widow troubles me
I will exact justice for her
lest by her continual coming
she tire me out

and the lord said

ponder what the unjust ruler said
and shall not god avenge his own elect
who cry day and night unto him
when he has patience with them?
I tell you that he will grant justice for them speedily

Next Article by Justin:  New Thoughts on Faith

Previous Article by Justin:  Tithing the Widow’s Mites

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Body modesty is not a principle of the gospel


This blog is going to have its 3rd birthday next month, October 7th, and since its inception one subject that I have intentionally avoided is the topic of body modesty. From what I’ve read on other Mormon blogs, I’ve always come to the conclusion that Mormons are, essentially, prudes. How, then, could I speak of my understanding of body modesty without offending the sensibilities of my audience? Hence the silence.

Recently, though, I was searching for information on the Maitreya and I came across a different Maitreya whose organization was seeking to change the laws of the land to put the sexes on a more equal standing. I found the legal arguments fascinating and began to write a blog post on just that topic alone. But then I stopped again, realizing that I was mentioning body modesty without going into any depth, as I probably should. It would inevitably come up in the comment section, but without a proper treatment in the post.

So, as is usual for me, after giving it sufficient re-consideration, I made a split-second decision and with a verbal, “oh, what the hell,” I’m now diving head first into this topic.

What I teach my children

I knew that eventually, as my children attended church, they would be taught by their Sunday school teachers and advisers that body modesty is a part of the law of chastity, so I have been especially careful that they are instructed on that law so as to be able to discern truth from error. (I have covered the law of chastity previously on this blog, so I won’t go back into that topic, but I’ll just say here and now that it doesn’t mention how one is supposed to dress.) They understand that body modesty is a man-made societal norm that changes over time to suit the conditions among men, their customs, cultures, climate, biases, preconceived notions and so on and so forth. It has no basis in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Wikipedia has an excellent entry on modesty and I don’t want to extensively quote from it, so please click here to read it and learn about how the standards of body modesty have varied and changed over time.

From here on out I will just use the term “modesty” with the understanding that I am referring only to “body modesty,” meaning that modesty which deals with the covering up of the body with clothing. Okay, back to what my kids are taught.

Heavenly Father’s rule of modesty

I teach my children to hold up the pattern of modesty given by their Father in heaven as the ideal standard. Usually, when my kids ask me a question, I’ll answer them with another question and have them figure out the answer themselves. In this case, I’ll do the same to explain the heavenly pattern:

Question: How does heavenly Father clothe us when He sends us here to Earth?

Answer: He sends us here naked, or clothed in flesh.

 

Question: Is any part of our physical bodies clothed or covered when we get here?

Answer: Yes, the male penis is covered by a foreskin and the female clitoris is covered by a hood.

 

Question: As the body matures into adulthood, does anything become covered?

Answer: Yes, the genitals and armpits of both sexes becomes covered in hair. The face of males also becomes covered in hair.

This is the standard of modesty I give my children. As long as you still have your pubic hair and clitoral hood and penile foreskin coverings, there is no need for shame, for you are dressed modestly.

Everything above and beyond that standard is man-made.

Moroni the naked angel

Said Joseph of the angel Moroni:

He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom. (Joseph Smith-History 1: 31)

So, Joseph could see that Moroni was totally naked, except for the open robe he was wearing. Why in the world would God allow Moroni to show Joseph his nakedness? Didn’t he know that robes need to be tied closed, so that no one can see the chest and genital area? Why wasn’t Moroni ashamed to show his nakedness to Joseph?

Isaiah, the naked prophet

In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it; at the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. (Isaiah 20: 1-4)

Shouldn’t Isaiah have felt ashamed to show his nakedness for three straight years?

Our first parents naked

Adam and Even “were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

“And I, the Lord God, said unto Adam: Who told thee thou wast naked?”  (Moses 4: 17)

Let’s answer the question. Who told them that they were naked? Who taught them to be ashamed of their nakedness? Who originated body modesty?

LUCIFER: See–you are naked. Take some fig leaves and make you aprons. Father will see your nakedness. Quick! Hide!  (Source: The Garden.)

Satan did.

Why Satan told our first parents to clothe themselves

I think Bette Davis said it best:

“I often think that a slightly exposed shoulder emerging from a long satin nightgown packed more sex than two naked bodies in bed.”

She is right, of course. And Satan knew this from the beginning. It is his intention to have everyone break the law of chastity. If everyone were naked, the law of chastity would be broken less, not more. He needed to first cover our parents up and create the illusion of shame, so that the enticement of sin could allure people into uncovering “the sinful parts,” followed by the guilt of acting shameful.

Satan works by using secrets. Occult knowledge is secret knowledge. Secret combinations can only work in the dark. Devilish logic follows that genital parts must become “secret parts.” Thus, we have the (apparently) strange command of the devil to our first parents to abide by the principle of modesty!

Notice, though, that now the devil has made even the breast a “secret part.” Adam and Eve originally covered up only their genitals with fig leaves. Now, society will have us believe the exposure of the female (not male) breast is immodest.

The Lord looks upon the heart

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16: 7)

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  (Hebrews 4: 13)

Such truth, though, is not very useful to the devil. So, clothing is used to entice, to create the illusion of sexiness, to flaunt power and prestige and money, to say I am better than you, more beautiful than you. It is used to create situations of judgment, so that mankind judges each other based upon what they are, or are not, wearing. It is used to despise the poor who cannot afford the better garments, or any garments, at all. Etc.

The Lord, though, uses clothing for other, righteous purposes. Clothing can protect from the elements, hence we find the Lord making coats of skins for Adam and Eve so that when they enter the fallen world they can survive. It can convey spiritual symbolism, hence the priesthood garment. And there are other righteous purposes, as well, that do not necessarily equate to “hiding one’s nakedness”, which was Satan’s deceptive intention for clothing. (Remember, the angel Moroni wore a robe that did not hide his nakedness from Joseph. What, then, was the purpose of the robe?)

Not all Mormons are prudes

For example:

LDS Skinny Dippers Forum

These are LDS who are “interested in chaste, wholesome, recreational nudity.” They have no problem with privately or publicly going completely nude. They are, however, most likely a very small minority.

The rest of the LDS are prudes, pure and simple, who quibble over the length of a sleeve or pant leg or skirt. Who are shocked when there is an exposed shoulder. Who cannot even conceive of a painting of a bare chest, stripling warrior whose nipple hasn’t been airbrushed out.

The audience of all modesty talks

The target of virtually all modesty talks is the female population. She is told how and how not to dress. She is taught this by her mother, by her Sunday school teachers and advisers, and by her priesthood leadership. All of this repression, if ever let out, leads to rampant breaking of the law of chastity (Satan’s plan). And if it isn’t let out, it leads to depression (again, Satan’s plan, the misery of all).

Guys, for the most part, hardly get a mention in modesty talks. I don’t recall ever being told I had to cover up my chest or nipples, or had to wear shorts below a certain length, or keep my shoulders and back covered, etc. Modesty oppression is mainly a girl thing.

Of course, the males get oppressed in other ways, such as the insistence on wearing white shirts, flaxen cords about their necks (ties), being clean-shaven and having short hair.

Legal public nudity is coming soon to a city near you

Now this brings me to that web site I spoke of above, about equalizing the sexes. If you click the below link, be forewarned that you will see pictures of top free men and women.

GoTopless.org

Here are some quotes from the web site:

Welcome to GoTopless.org! – We are a US organization, claiming that women have the same constitutional right to be bare chested in public places as men.

Maitreya, Rael, spiritual leader and founder of GoTopless.org states: “As long as men can be topless, constitutionally women should have the same right, or men should also be forced to wear something hiding their chest.”

Why a National GoTopless Protest day? Gotopless.org claims constitutional equality between men and women on being topless in public. Currently, women who dare to be topless in public in the US are repeatedly being arrested, fined, humiliated, criminalized. On SUNDAY AUGUST 22nd, 2010, topless women will rally in great numbers across the USA to protest this gross inequality in the law and will demand that their fundamental right to be topless be acknowledged where men already enjoy that right according to the 14th amendment of the Constitution (please see our exact legal argument on the right to be topfree for women under “14th amendment” in news section.)

Why in August? On August 26, 1920, following a 72-year struggle, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. And in 1970, as an ongoing reminder of women’s equality, Congress declared August 26 “Women’s Equality Day.” But even in the 21st century, women need to stand up and demand that equality in fact – not just in words. Note that in 2010, GoTopless will have a large rally nationwide in honor of the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and Women’s Equality Day.

Why having GoTopless actions in cities where top-less freedom for women is already legal? Those programmed with puritanical values find it difficult to change. This “mentality hurdle” applies to both women and men.

How are we helping women? GoTopless is committed to helping women perceive their breasts as noble, natural parts of their anatomy (whether they are nursing or not). Breasts shouldn’t have to be “modestly” or shamefully hidden from public view any more than arms, legs or feet.

How are we helping men? GoTopless is also committed to helping men differentiate between nudity and sexuality. If the presence of a topless woman in public triggers a sexual impulse, it can easily be controlled in the same way men control themselves when they see a woman wearing a mini skirt or revealing ample cleavage. Men manage to appreciate these things while still showing respect! Choosing consciousness above hormones leads to a peaceful, respectful society providing additional freedom and beauty.

Why do you talk about femininity rather than feminism? In the past, women often had to act like men when fighting for their rights, so they repressed their femininity. Today, GoTopless women see their femininity as a powerful asset as they struggle for equal rights in a masculine-dominated world.

What happens on National GoTopless day? Across America, topless women and men peacefully rally in the streets, parks, on the beaches of their towns and cities. Topfree performances are given by various artists to honor women’s right to be top free, body painting is be available. Chalk street artists also paint Art works from Old Masters (or new ones) without any nipple censure. The aim is to convey that the sight of a top free women in public is as natural as the sight of top free men. Please write to us if you are an artist (performance or visual) who would like to participate in one of future events.

Participating cities for Go Topless Day 2010 are : Please see our news section to learn the details about the events in each city.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIA

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

AUSTIN, TEXAS

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

OAHU, HAWAII

DENVER, COLORADO

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

14th Amendment to the US Constitution The 14th amendment guarantees equal protection under law and properly interpreted it guarantees women the right to be top-free where men are allowed to be topfree. Unfortunately, some jurisdictions do not recognize that right, and there is a less stringent test in the courts (called intermediate scrutiny) for gender based differential treatment than for e.g., racial classifications (which are analyzed under what’s called strict scrutiny).

Our rights under the 14th Amendment guarantee and include the one to be top free where men are allowed to – We seek to see legislation (or court decisions where arrests are made for being top free) in all jurisdictions to make explicit what should already be understood as implicit within the meaning of equal rights.

Please see the above web site for information about the states and cities where being top free (or even totally nude, such as Portland, Oregon) in public is legal.

What will the LDS ever do?

In the changing legal environment, I wonder what the LDS will do if suddenly they find themselves living in a city where anyone can legally walk around stark naked or bare-chested. Our arguments about skirt length seem kind of silly faced with legal public nudity, as in the right to be nude. Will we be champions of people’s rights, or shame them all as sinners?

And what I really wonder is this: if this changing legal environment is setting the stage for the appearance of naked prophets and angels, are we going to be among those who reject them because of their immodest appearance?

Eyelids, necks and feet to the rescue

Don’t like what you see? Don’t like how that person is dressed? Don’t like it that a woman is going around topfree? Don’t like that that man or woman is walking around in the nude? Well, have no fear. God gave us eyelids with which to close our eyes, and necks with which to turn our head, and feet with which to walk away. This is the proper response.

Don’t make laws to force people to conform to your standards. Don’t make laws to remove people’s rights. Don’t do the devil’s work for him.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Damnation


I recently (Sept. 17) had the opportunity to participate in a discussion on The Millennial Star blog.  The topic was on the meaning of the word “damned” in D&C 132: 4-6.  I stopped participating when I realized that I needed more room than a comments section to explain my understanding of damnation.  So, I thought I’d take the topic up in earnest on this blog.

Bible Dictionary definition of damnation

BIBLE DICTIONARY
Damnation
As used in the KJV this word has a wider meaning than is at once apparent from modern usage. Damnation is the opposite of salvation, and exists in varying degrees. All who do not obtain the fulness of celestial exaltation will to some degree be limited in their progress and privileges, and hence be damned to that extent. See Matt. 23: 14, 33; Mark 3: 29; Mark 16: 16; John 5: 29; Rom. 13: 2; 1 Cor. 11: 29; 2 Ne. 9: 24; 3 Ne. 18: 28-29; D&C 58: 26-29; D&C 84: 74; D&C 112: 29; D&C 132: 4, 6, 27.

This is the definition that the modern Mormons have accepted, and which they routinely teach.  According to this interpretation, there are four degrees of damnation:

  • Sons of perdition. These are people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil.   They receive the full measure of damnation, being fully limited in their progress and privileges.  They are damned in that they do not partake of either the Telestial, Terrestrial or Celestial kingdoms of glory and the happiness which is found therein.  The kingdom of the devil is not a kingdom of glory, but a hell, and all who inherit it are miserable forever.
  • Telestials. These are people who inherit the Telestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glories of the Terrestrial and Celestial kingdoms.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven (see the section heading of D&C 76), because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.
  • Terrestrials. These are people who inherit the Terrestrial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial kingdom, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glory of the Celestial kingdom.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.
  • Celestial angels. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms, but partake of the misery in knowing that they will eternally miss out on the glory of the exalted, those who are gods in the Celestial kingdom.  Although this kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, because of the damnation of these individuals in what they might have received, but did not, they feel regret and longing and are miserable forever.  And thus their kingdom of glory is also a hell.

Under this model, there is only one type of person that is not damned:

  • Celestial gods. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, and who are exalted.  They escape the misery of outer darkness and the misery of the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms, as well as the misery of Celestial angels.  This kingdom of glory is termed a heaven, and it verily is to these individuals, because they have no regrets and long for nothing, for they possess all things and thus are not miserable, but have a fulness of joy and happiness.

Salvation, who gets it and who doesn’t

As the Bible Dictionary mentions salvation in its definition of damnation, it might be helpful to give the Mormon understanding of who gets saved.  Specifically, we know of four types of people who receive salvation:

  • Celestial gods. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, and who are exalted.  They dwell in the presence of God and Christ and receive that salvation known as eternal life (exaltation), becoming like God.
  • Celestial angels. These are people who inherit the Celestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein, but who are not exalted.  They are servants to God and Christ and dwell in their presence, but are not exactly like them.  They are in a saved condition, like gods, but without exaltation.
  • Terrestrials. These are people who inherit the Terrestrial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They do not dwell in the presence of God, but receive of “the ministration of the celestial.”  Like the Celestials, these people are saved.
  • Telestials. These are people who inherit the Telestial kingdom of glory and the happiness found therein.  They do not dwell in the presence of God, nor receive of the fulness of Christ, but receive of the Holy Spirit through “the ministration of the terrestrial.”  These people are also “heirs of salvation.”

There is only one type of person that is not saved:

  • Sons of perdition. These are people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil, a kingdom which is not of glory.

Damned and saved at the same time?

The Bible Dictionary model creates a conflict in which it is possible to be damned and saved at the same time, to be eternally happy and eternally miserable at the same time. Despite damnation being “the opposite of salvation,” according to the Bible Dictionary these two opposite conditions will exist in Celestial angels, Terrestrials and Telestials.  This thought goes contrary to the principle of like things cleaving unto like things:

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.  (D&C 88: 40)

The way around this quandary is to redefine the word damnation (or damned) to mean something other than what it traditionally means.  The Bible Dictionary would have us believe that damnation means “to be limited in one’s progress and privileges” in certain passages of the scriptures, in other words, that “this word has a wider meaning than is at once apparent from modern usage.”

Acceptance of this theory creates an internal conflict of regret and longing, and a judgmental attitude, with comparisons of those “above us” and “below us,” and ultimately will and does lead to depression.  In other words, according to this model, happiness comes from knowing you got more than someone else and unhappiness comes from knowing you didn’t get as much as others.  This is what LDS look forward to in the eternities, having accepted this doctrinal theory, and this is what they routinely display in their mortal lives.

Correcting an error

The redefining of the words damnation and damned to fit certain passages of the scripture, assigning them a meaning of “a limiting of one’s progress and privileges,” has become systemic throughout the church.  Every LDS I know believes the Bible Dictionary assertion.  I do not know how or when it crept into the church, but I am a convert member of some decades and I have never heard another model other than this one since my baptism, so I know it’s been around a long time.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit that I not only accepted it myself from the beginning without question, but also preached it as a missionary to others. It wasn’t until September 17, 2009, that I actually got around to checking to see if the model held up to scriptural scrutiny.  It was then that I discovered that the standard LDS damnation model (of being saved and damned at the same time) is incorrect.  Many thanks go out to JA Benson and his/her Friday Forum post at The Millennium Star blog, as well as the comments of others on that post, for providing me the excuse and impetus to investigate this subject.

Although I don’t know the origins of this particular doctrinal theory, it seems apparent that it was the result of not understanding the scriptures.  So, to correct it, I will attempt to lay out the scriptures to the understanding of the reader and expound the real meaning of the words damned and damnation.  Perhaps with a proper understanding of these words, LDS won’t be such chronically depressed people.

Number of scriptural uses of damned and damnation

Damn In the scriptures, there are ZERO uses of the word damn.

Damning In the Doctrine and Covenants there is but ONE use of the word damning. (See D&C 123: 7Damning in this verse means detestable and so it doesn’t need to be addressed.)

Damned In the New Testament there are THREE uses of the word damned. (See Mark 16: 16; Rom. 14: 23; and 2 Thes. 2: 12.)  In the Book of Mormon there are EIGHT uses of the word damned. (See 2 Ne. 9: 24; Alma 14: 21; Alma 36: 16; 3 Ne. 11: 34; Morm. 2: 13; Morm. 9: 4, 23; and Ether 4: 18.)  In the Doctrine and Covenants there are TEN uses of the word damned. (See D&C 42: 60; 49: 5; 58: 29; 68: 9; 84: 74; 112: 29; and 132: 4, 6, 27.)  And in the Pearl of Great Price there is but ONE use of the word damned. (See Moses 5: 15.)  The total number of scriptural uses, then, of the word damned, comes to 21.

Damnation In the New Testament there are ELEVEN uses of the word damnation. (See Matt. 23: 14, 33; Mark 3: 29; 12: 40; Luke 20: 47; John 5: 29; Rom. 3: 8; 13: 2; 1 Cor. 11: 29; 1 Tim. 5: 12; and 2 Pet. 2: 3.)  In the Book of Mormon there are NINE uses of the word damnation. (See Mosiah 2: 33; 3: 18, 25; 16: 11; Alma 9: 28; Hel. 12: 26; 3 Ne. 18: 29; 26: 5; and Morm. 8: 33.)  In the Doctrine and Covenants there are THREE uses of the word damnation. (See D&C 19: 7; 29: 44; and 121: 23.)  The total number of scriptural uses, then, of the word damnation, comes to 23.

So, there are only 44 verses in the English Standard Works that mention damn or damnation.  It shouldn’t be too hard for us to figure this all out.

1828 Webster’s Dictionary definition of damned and damnation

First let’s establish what people understood these words to mean during the time of Joseph Smith:

DAM’NED, pp.

1. Sentenced to everlasting punishment in a future state; condemned.

2. a. Hateful; detestable; abominable;

A word chiefly used in profaneness by persons of vulgar manners.

(Taken from the damned entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

DAMNA’TION, n.

1. Sentence or condemnation to everlasting punishment in the future state; or the state of eternal torments.

How can ye escape the damnation of hell. Matt. xxiii

2. Condemnation.

(Taken from the damnation entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

From the same dictionary, here are the definitions of the words condemned and condemnation:

CONDEMNED, pp. Censured; pronounced to be wrong, guilty, worthless or forfeited; adjudged or sentenced to punishment.

(Taken from the condemned entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

CONDEMNATION, n.

1. The act of condemning; the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.

For the judgment was by one to condemnation. Romans 5.

2. The state of being condemned.

Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation. Luke 23.

3. The cause or reason of a sentence of condemnation.  John 3.

(Taken from the condemnation entry of the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.)

Okay, so the words damned, damnation, condemned and condemnation all deal with a judicial act of declaring one guilty (no mercy applied) and dooming him to punishment.  In the case of the words damned and damnation, this can refer to either eternal (everlasting) punishment or temporal punishment (condemnation).  Condemned and condemnation usually refer to temporal punishment unless the scriptural text is speaking specifically of the last day (day of judgment) and eternal punishment.  Regardless of which word you use, though, the meaning always is that a judgment has taken place, you have been found guilty because no mercy has been applied and you are to receive a punishment.

To condemn means to damn

In the scriptures, the verb to damn is never used.  Instead, the verb to condemn is used.  This makes sense from an etymological standpoint:

Etymology of condemn: Middle English, from Anglo-French condempner, from Latin condemnare, from com- + damnare to condemn

See that damnare? Damnare means damn, or to damn. So, the verb to condemn is really just the verb to damn with the prefix con- attached to it.

Damned and damnation in Spanish

Remember those 44 total verses listed above?  If you look them up in Spanish, you will find that in 40 of them the word damned is translated as condenado and the word damnation is translated as condenación.  The Spanish word condenado means condemned and condenación means condemnation.  Also, regardless of whether the word in English is damned or condemned, the Spanish word is almost always condenado (condemned). In the same manner, regardless of whether the word in English is damnation or condemnation, the Spanish word is almost always condenación (condemnation). So, in Spanish there is no distinction made between damnation and condemnation and the Spanish speaking population merely allows the context to indicate whether we are talking of temporal or eternal condemnation (judgment, verdict of guilty and punishment).

The other four verses are translated as follows:

Matt. 23: 33 reads in English, “damnation of hell,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio del infierno” (judgment of hell).

Mark 3: 29 reads in English, “eternal damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio eterno” (eternal judgment).

1 Cor. 11: 29 reads in English, “damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “juicio” (judgment).

2 Pet. 2: 3 reads in English, “judgment” and “damnation,” but in Spanish it reads, “condenación” (condemnation) and “perdición” (perdition).

All of this shows that in the scriptures, whenever it speaks of damnation (or condemnation), it is always talking about a judgment being passed, no mercy has been applied, a guilty verdict is the result and punishment is inflicted.  Always.

Abinadi’s definition of damnation

Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—if they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.  (Mosiah 16: 10-12)

According to Abinadi’s definition, damnation consists of “being delivered up to the devil.”  Those who are damned are subject to the devil. Notice that Abinadi says that there is an endless damnation. There is also a damnation that ends.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.  (D&C 132: 26)

So, we see from this verse that it is possible to be delivered up to the devil for a time, and then be redeemed when repentance occurs.

Two types of damnation

This shows that there are two types of damnation: eternal damnation (that damnation that comes after the resurrection) and temporal damnation (that damnation that comes prior to the resurrection and which has an end prior to the resurrection.)  This is why the scriptures speak of two time frames of forgiveness: this world and the world to come.

But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. (D&C 84: 41)

And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. (D&C 42: 18)

And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us: Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—they are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; for they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.  (D&C 76: 30-35)

Those who do not have forgiveness in this world, but who receive forgiveness in the world to come are those who are temporally damned, meaning that they are delivered unto the buffetings of Satan until the day of their redemption.  They are subject to the devil in the mortal world or in the spirit world, being delivered up to him until the day that they finally have faith in Jesus and repent of their sins.  At that point, they are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb and are no longer damned.  In other words, at that point they no longer have a judgment with a guilty verdict and a punishment hanging over them, because mercy and forgiveness is extended to them and they become heirs of salvation.  This applies to all mankind who inherit any of the three glories.  None of these people will be among the “filthy still” because they will have accepted Christ and mercy will be applied to them.

Those who do not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come are those who are eternally damned, meaning that they are delivered up to the devil, are in subjection to him and remain subjected to him, having no deliverance.  These are the sons of perdition.  (Remember the 2 Pet. 2: 3 Spanish scripture above, where condemnation was translated as perdition?)  These are the people who are cast into outer darkness, who inherit the kingdom of the devil.

Greater damnation, lesser damnation

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (Matt. 23: 14)

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. (Mark 12: 40)

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. (Luke 20: 47)

What is the greater damnation?  It is eternal damnation. What is the lesser damnation?  It is temporal damnation.

It is impossible to be saved and damned at the same time

Remember that I wrote above that condemnation requires that no mercy is applied?  It is a judgment of guilty with punishment executed upon the party.  Well, consider Jacob’s words:

Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.  (2 Ne. 9: 25)

By the same token, where there is mercy, there is no condemnation and where there is no condemnation, there is no punishment.  Speaking of the day of judgment (the last day), there is only one punishment or penalty affixed to the law: death.  The spiritual death that is the second death means dying as to things pertaining to righteousness, meaning that those who receive it are banished from the kingdom of God and cast into outer darkness, where the devil will eternally subject them (Abinadi’s definition of damnation).

None of the inhabitants of the three degrees of glory receive this punishment.  In fact, it is impossible for them to receive it because Satan will be cast out into outer darkness.  Once out of the kingdom of God, he cannot subject anyone in the kingdom of God to himself.  Only those cast out with him (the filthy still) can be subject to him.  So, the inhabitants of the three kingdoms will be free forever from the power and influence of Satan.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3: 16-18)

The above scripture shows that you are either saved or condemned (damned) based upon your acceptance of Christ.  It is one or the other, not both. If you do not accept Him now, you are condemned (damned) already (temporal damnation).  But once there is acceptance of Christ, there is salvation not damnation. This is why the inhabitants of the three glories are only spoken of as being saved.  There is not a single scripture that indicates that these people are eternally damned.  They may be temporally damned (for a time) but eventually they, too, will be redeemed and be heirs of salvation.

Mormonism is so much more excellent and merciful than apostate Christianity because the people they say are damned to hell, we say are saved in a kingdom of glory.  Unfortunately, we go awry of the pure doctrine of Christ by adopting the man-made precept found in the Bible Dictionary theory of damnation.

The misunderstood scripture

I believe the reason why people generally accept the Bible Dictionary model of damnation is due to a misunderstanding of D&C 132: 4-6.  Here are those verses, along with the comments I gave on them over at The Millenial Star blog:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.  For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.  And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.  (D&C 132: 4-6)

And now my comments:

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary definitions, which gave how these words were used in Joseph Smith’s time, are consistent with the usage of the word damned in the above quotes.

I will break it down for you:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

The key word here is “abide.” To “abide…that covenant” means “to endure or sustain” or “to bear or endure; to bear patiently” the covenant. You cannot abide a covenant without first entering the covenant, so the use of the word damned here refers to people who have entered the covenant and have not abided it, or, as the Lord states later in the same sentence, to people who have entered the covenant and then “reject” it. These people are damned. The verse does not refer to people who never enter the covenant.

Next, the following verse:

And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

The key here to understanding the verse are the words “he that receiveth a fulness thereof.” The Lord doesn’t say “he who would receive a fulness thereof,” but refers to people who already received a fulness thereof. These people must and shall abide the law or they shall be damned. In this particular verse, the damned people we are talking about have already entered the covenant and have received a fulness of the Lord’s glory, who then do not abide (or, in other words, they reject) the law. However, we are assured by the Lord that such people “shall abide the law,” so there is no danger of such being damned, because they will not reject it after receiving such a fulness.

However, those who enter the covenant and who have not yet received of this spoken fulness, who reject the covenant, are damned.

These verses, then, are explicitly referring to one type of damnation: that received by the sons of perdition (see verse 27) and not to merely not receiving exaltation (a stopping of progression.)

27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.

My comments were meant to show that there is no need to invent another shade of meaning of the word damned to fit into these particular verses, as the normal shades of damned work just fine.  When the above scriptures are misunderstood to mean that “if you don’t enter the covenant, at all, you will miss out on the opportunity for exaltation,” then you must invent a new shade of meaning of the word damned, giving it the meaning of a “stopping or limiting of progress and privileges,” which is what LDS appear to have done.

Apparently, I am not the only one to come to this conclusion.  Another person commented on the same Millennial Star post, one Rob Osborn, and he essentially said the same thing:

As for defining “damnation”, in Joseph Smiths day he grew up with a protestant background and upbringing. In their day they used the word “damned” to mean “condemnation to hell”. I have done a lot of research on this noting how Joseph himself used the word outside of scriptural text. In every account I have run accross, Joseph uses it in the traditional protestant sense of condemnation to hell. To this day, that definition is what other Christian religions use. It is only our LDS religion that uses the word out of context. This is almost entirely due to a misunderstanding of the scriptural text. As has already been discusssed, section 132’s usage of the word “damned” literaly is used in the context of “condemantion to hell”. Verse 26 speaks of those who enter into the fulness and then perhaps sin in the new and everlasting covenant. It says they will be destroyed in the flesh and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan (in hell). This is the usage of “damned” in verses 4-6.

The three glories are not punishments; they are rewards

Only those who go into outer darkness receive punishment after the resurrection.

Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—  (D&C 76: 44)

So, if everyone else gets saved and receives a fulness of joy and endless happiness, why is everyone put into one of three glories?  Why not have one glory, instead of three?  Why do all the Telestials eventually receive a fulness of the Telestial glory, the Terrestrials a fulness of the Terrestrial glory and the Celestials a fulness of the Celestial glory, without being able “to go up a glory?”  If the assignment to a kingdom of glory is not a punishment for wicked deeds, but a reward, upon what principle is the reward based?

I will simply say that these questions and their answers have to do with the doctrine of the resurrection.  They could be explained with a review of D&C 76, D&C 88 and Alma 41, but I am done with expounding scripture for today.  This post is long enough already and I want to keep it on the topic of damnation and not delve into the mysteries of the resurrection.  However, I will say that assignments to one of the three glories has nothing to do with dishing out punishments.  None of the saved people long for something they could have had, but are eternally blissful, content, happy and joyful in their saved condition.  Assigning them to a kingdom of glory does not, and cannot, damn them.  I hope this post is sufficient to get that point across.  If there is still confusion, I will open it up further in the comments section.

I have listed above and hyper-linked all of the scriptures that mention damned and damnation. I invite everyone to read those verses again, with the information in this post fresh in your mind, and see if the scriptures are not more plainly unfolded to your view.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Root Cause of the Current Financial (Monetary) Crisis and Its Solution


Ever since I learned of the biblical prophecies—and later of the additional prophecies of the LDS—concerning these days in which we live, I’ve always wanted to be an observer of the affairs of men, watching the winding up scenes unfold before my eyes, without participating in the iniquities, frivolities and foolishness of men, nor in the judgments of God upon them.  However, I believe that the Lord wants more than this:

And now, as I spake concerning my servant Edward Partridge, this land is the land of his residence, and those whom he has appointed for his counselors; and also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my storehouse; wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.  Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.  But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.  (D&C 58: 24-29)

Notice that the Lord didn’t say we should be engaged in good causes (plural) but in a good cause (singular).  Many will interpret this passage to mean that we can be engaged in any cause that is good, but I believe that the Lord had reference to only one cause which is defined by Him as being good: the cause of Zion.

For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.  (D&C 21: 7)

Zion holds the solution to all of the world’s problems.  Zion is not just for the saints, but for all men and the time will come that many of the wicked will flee to it (see D&C 45: 68 and 133: 12) to escape the wrath of God and the judgments upon Babylon.  Every LDS, then, after escaping Babylon themselves, should also be helping others escape.  After all, as saints, we are supposed to be a light unto the world, setting an example of godliness to all those that view our good works, so that they can glorify God.

So, when I see the crisis happening on Wall Street and the $700 billion dollar solution our president is providing, I wonder what the latter-day saints will do.  Will we accept the solution provided us by our Gentile, Babylon-based government and be cast out as good-for-nothings?  Or will we provide the Zion solution and become the temporal saviors of men, even saviors upon Mount Zion?

For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.  (D&C 103: 9-10)

The Financial Crisis

By now everyone should be aware that there is a financial crisis happening in America.  It is no longer a question of whether bad financial times are upon us, but how bad they are and how long they will last.  The doomsayers predict a financial depression that will last many years and make the American Great Depression of the 1930’s seem like a walk in the park.  The optimists say we can ride this wave out because America is still dynamically very strong.

On everyone’s mind is both how to fix the situation and who will do the fixing.  Specifically, the question is, “Which presidential candidate, Obama or McCain, can fix it?” The two, major, political party candidates have become the saviors of men in the eyes of the masses who support them.

As an anarchist and a latter-day saint, my view is that government is usually the one that causes these problems to begin with, and therefore, should never be called upon to fix them, as it usually only ends up making things worse.  If there is a solution to our economic situation, it will come from the people themselves, working independent from the government.

But before a solution can be offered, the problem must be identified, not just the symptoms of it.

A financial crisis is a monetary crisis

A financial problem is a monetary problem, it usually being either that there isn’t enough money going around (deflation) or that there is too much money going around (inflation).  That seems to be simple enough to fix.  In deflation, you just print more money and circulate it.  In inflation, you just stop or slow down the printing presses and also destroy money that comes into your hands.  Yet, despite (more or less) being in control of the amount of money in circulation, by being in control of the printing presses, the Fed has failed to stabilize the economy, bringing us into the Great Depression of the 1930’s twenty years after it (the Fed) was created and now bringing us into an even greater depression known by some as the Global Systemic Crisis seventy-eight years after that.

So, owing that the Fed isn’t really doing the job we were told it was supposed to do (stabilizing the economy), maybe we ought to look a bit further and deeper and consider that the problem is not how much money is going around, but whether what is going around is actually money.

The Lord talked about money

In 17 of the revelations given to Joseph Smith, the Lord mentioned money.  Here are the specific scriptures: D&C 24: 18 given in July, 1830; D&C 48: 4 given in March 1831; D&C 51: 8, 11, 13 given in May, 1831; D&C 54: 7 given in June, 1831; D&C 56: 9-12 given in June, 1831; D&C 57: 6, 8 given on July 20, 1831; D&C 58: 35-36, 49, 51 given on August 1, 1831; D&C 60: 10 given on August 8, 1831; D&C 63: 40, 43, 46 given in August, 1831; D&C 69: 1 given in November, 1831; D&C 84: 89-90, 103-104 given on September 22 and 23, 1832; D&C 90: 28-29 given on March 8, 1833; D&C 101: 49, 56, 70, 72 given on December 16, 1833; D&C 103: 22-23 given on February 24, 1834; D&C 104: 26, 68, 84 given on April 23, 1834; D&C 105: 8, 30 given on June 22, 1834; and D&C 124: 70 given on January 19, 1841.

The above scriptures cover the time between July 1830 and January 19, 1841.  This means that whatever currency was used by these Americans during that time was considered by the Lord as actual money.

But what was money during the years 1830-1841?

The 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language was the dictionary in use among Americans during this time and defined money in the following manner:

MONEY, n. plu. moneys.

1. Coin; stamped metal; any piece of metal, usually gold, silver or copper, stamped by public authority, and used as the medium of commerce. We sometimes give the name of money to other coined metals, and to any other material which rude nations use a medium of trade. But among modern commercial nations, gold, silver and copper are the only metals used for this purpose. Gold and silver, containing great value in small compass, and being therefore of easy conveyance, and being also durable and little liable to diminution by use, are the most convenient metals for coin or money, which is the representative of commodities of all kinds, of lands, and of every thing that is capable of being transferred in commerce.

2. Bank notes or bills of credit issued by authority, and exchangeable for coin or redeemable, are also called money; as such notes in modern times represent coin, and are used as a substitute for it. If a man pays in hand for goods in bank notes which are current, he is said to pay in ready money.

3. Wealth; affluence.

Money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish.

(Money entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language)

The Lord talked about talents

Within this same time period, the Lord also mentioned talents in two of the revelations given to Joseph Smith:

But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man.  Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.

Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.

(D&C 60: 2, 13; revelation received on August 8, 1831)

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: 18-19; revelation received on April 26, 1832)

But what is a talent?

TALENT (Lat. talentum, adaptation of Gr. τáλατον, balance, weight, from root ταλ-, to lift, as in τληναι, to bear, τáλας, enduring, cf. Lat. tollere, to lift, Skt. tulã, balance), the name of an ancient Greek unit of weight, the heaviest in use both for monetary purposes and for commodities (see Weights and Measures).  The weight itself was originally Babylonian, and derivatives were in use in Palestine, Syria and Egypt.  In medieval Latin and also in many Romanic languages the word was used figuratively, of will, inclination or desire, derived from the sense of balance, but the general figurative use for natural endowments or gifts, faculty, capacity or ability, is due to the parable of the talents in Matt. xxv.

(Talent entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

(See also the talent entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.  That entry explains: “Among the ancients, a weight, and a coin. The true value of the talent cannot well be ascertained, but it is known that it was different among different nations.“)

So, the talents mentioned in D&C 82: 18, which were “to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church” could be a reference to money, specifically, a unit of weight used for monetary purposes.  But what American unit of weight used for monetary purposes was in use on April 26, 1831?

The Lord talked about dollars

In two of the revelations received by the Prophet, the Lord mentioned dollars:

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

If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires to help him in his stewardship—until he be found a transgressor, and it is manifest before the council of the order plainly that he is an unfaithful and an unwise steward.

(D&C 104: 69-70, 73-74; revelation received on April 23, 1834. See also the Book of Commandments XCVIII: 12, page 244, which used the word talents in stead of dollars.)

And they shall not receive less than fifty dollars for a share of stock in that house, and they shall be permitted to receive fifteen thousand dollars from any one man for stock in that house.  But they shall not be permitted to receive over fifteen thousand dollars stock from any one man.  And they shall not be permitted to receive under fifty dollars for a share of stock from any one man in that house.

Verily I say unto you, let my servant Joseph pay stock into their hands for the building of that house, as seemeth him good; but my servant Joseph cannot pay over fifteen thousand dollars stock in that house, nor under fifty dollars; neither can any other man, saith the Lord.

(D&C 124: 64-66, 72; revelation received on January 19, 1841.)

From the above it becomes plain that the words dollars and talents are interchangeable, meaning the same thing.

But what is a dollar?

DOLLAR, n. [G.] A silver coin of Spain and of the United States, of the value of one hundred cents, or four shillings and sixpence sterling. The dollar seems to have been originally a German coin, and in different parts of Germany, the name is given to coins of different values.

(Dollar entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language)

DOLLAR, a silver coin at one time current in many European countries, and adopted under varying forms of the name elsewhere. The word “dollar” is a modified form of thaler, which, with the variant forms (daler, dalar, daalder, tallero, &c.), is said to be a shortened form of Joachimsthaler. This Joachimsthaler was the name given to a coin intended to be the silver equivalent of the gold gulden, a coin current in Germany from the 14th century. In 1516 a rich silver mine was discovered in Joachimsthal (Joachim’s dale), a mining district of Bohemia, and the count of Schlitz, by whom it was appropriated, caused a great number of silver coins to be struck (the first having the date 1518), bearing an effigy of St Joachim, hence the name. The Joachimsthaler was also sometimes known as the Schlickenthaler. The first use of the word dollar in English was as applied to this silver coin, the thaler, which was current in Germany at various values from the 16th century onwards, as well as, more particularly, to the unit of the German monetary union from 1857 to 1873, when the mark was substituted for the thaler. The Spanish piece-of-eight (reals) was also commonly referred to as a dollar. When the Bank of England suspended cash payments in 1797, and the scarcity of coin was very great, a large number of these Spanish coins, which were held by the bank, were put into circulation, after having been countermarked at the Mint with a small oval bust of George III., such as was used by the Goldsmiths’ Company for marking plate. Others were simply overstamped with the initials G.R. enclosed in a shield.  In 1804 the Maundy penny head set in an octagonal compartment was employed. Several millions of these coins were issued. These Spanish pieces-of-eight were also current in the Spanish-American colonies, and were very largely used in the British North American colonies. As the reckoning was by pounds, shillings and pence in the British-American colonies, great inconveniences naturally arose, but these were to some extent lessened by the adoption of a tariff list, by which the various gold and silver coins circulating were rated. In 1787 the dollar was introduced as the unit in the United States, and it has remained as the standard of value either in silver or gold in that country. For the history of the various changes in the weights and value of the coin see Numismatics.  The Spanish piece-of-eight was also the ancestor of the Mexican dollar, the Newfoundland dollar, the British dollar circulating in Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements, and the dollar of the South American republics, although many of them are now dollars only in name.

(Dollar entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

The American Dollar is a Silver Coin

This may come as a surprise to many LDS (and Americans), but nowadays we don’t use American dollars, which is a quantity of silver, usually coined for ease of use.  What we use today are Federal Reserve Notes, otherwise known as fiat currency.  In all of the modern revelations quoted above, whenever the Lord was referring to money or talents or dollars, He was referring to the commodity currency then in use, specifically, a quantity of (usually coined) silver.

Silver is the only legal, American money

Douglas V. Gnazzo of the Honest Money Gold and Silver Report web site wrote an excellent article entitled Honest Money and published in 6 parts, in which he went over the history of American legal currency.  In it, Douglas explained that a “dollar” is defined both by the Constitution and by the Original Coinage Act of 1792 as being a specific quantity of silver, namely, 371.25 grains of silver.  This legal definition has never been changed, meaning that what we are currently calling a “dollar” is not real American currency.  To read the entire Honest Money article, click the following links:

Honest Money, Part I: The Constitution and Honest Money

Honest Money, Part II: Silver Standard with a Bimetallic Coinage System

Honest Money, Part III: Coinage Acts of 1834-1900

Honest Money, Part IV: Treasury Notes

Honest Money, Part V: History of American Money and Banking

Honest Money, Part VI: The European Connection

Honest Money, Part VII: The Moneychangers – Secrets of the Temple

Honest Money, Part VIII: Final Summary and Conclusions

You will recall, for example, that Congress has power to “coin money.”  It doesn’t have power to “make money” or to “print money,” but merely to coin it.  The money referred to in the U. S. Constitution is silver, thus, a power to coin money is a power to coin silver.  The two phrases are synonymous.  In fact, in many Latin American countries the word for money is plata, which is the word for silver. We can see from this that the Spanish milled dollar, which is what our American dollar is based upon, has had influence in many countries.

Fiat Currency, Fractional Reserve Banking and Usury is the Problem

Like evil bedfellows, fractional reserve banking and usury almost always accompany a fiat currency.  (See the above Honest Money article for an explanation about these banking practices and why they are so evil.)  Usury is condemned in the scriptures (both ours and others’ scriptures) and religions past and present have spoken against it as a great evil.  However, all three principles have been generally accepted among today’s society and even among most Latter-day Saints.  In fact, even in the church we find usury among ourselves (e.g. Perpetual Education Fund), though many do not consider it so as they interpret usury to mean excessive interest and not just any interest.

Notice that the current financial problem has nothing to do with regulation (or lack thereof) of the banking institutions by the government.  As long as a currency is metal-based, society naturally regulates itself without any need of government intervention, eliminating the practice of usury and making sure that only full-reserve banking occurs.  So, the roots of the financial crisis go deeper than mere de/un/regulation.  They go all the way to the currency itself, for fiat currency will always result in financial instability and prosperity for the few at the expense of the many.  This is a long way off from the Zion ideal of all having all things common.

Commodity Currency is the Solution

The use of metals as money has historical precedent and is the surest foundation upon which to build.  The following is part of the money entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910:

The Metals as Money. Reasons for their Adoption. Superiority of Silver and Gold. – The employment of metals as money material can be traced far back in the history of civilization; but as it is impossible to determine the exact order of their appearance in this capacity, it will be convenient to take them in the order of their value, beginning with the lowest.  Iron – to judge from the statement of Aristotle – was widely used as currency. One remarkable instance is the Spartan money, which was clearly a survival of a form that had died out among the other Greek states; though it has often been attributed to ascetic policy. In conjunction with copper,  iron formed one of the constituents of early Chinese currency, and at a later time was used as a subsidiary coinage in Japan.  Iron spikes are used as money in Central Africa, while Adam Smith notes the employment of nails for the same purpose in Scotland.  Lead has served as money, e.g. in Burma.  The use of copper as money has been more extensive than is the case in respect to the metals just mentioned. It, as stated, was used in China along with iron – an early instance of bimetallism – and it figured in the first Hebrew coins. It was the sole Roman coinage down to 269 B.C. and it has lingered on to a comparatively recent date in the backward European currencies. It even survives as a part of the token coinage of the present.  Tin has not been a favourite material for money: the richness of the Cornish mines accounts for its use by some British kings. Silver holds a more prominent place than any of the preceding metals. Down to the close of the 18th century it was the chief form of money, and often looked on as forming the necessary standard substance. It was the principal Greek money material, and was introduced at Rome in 269 B.C. The currencies of medieval Europe had silver as their leading constituent; while down almost to the present day Eastern countries seemed to prefer silver to gold.

The pre-eminence of gold as money is now beyond dispute; there, is, however, some difficulty in discovering its earliest employment. It is, perhaps, to be found in ” the pictures of the ancient Egyptians weighing in scales heaps of rings of gold and silver. ” According to W. Ridgeway’s ingenious theory gold comes into use as a currency in due equation to the older cattle unit, the ox. It was certainly employed by the great Eastern monarchs; its further development will be considered later on. Metals of modern discovery – such as nickel and platinum – are only used by the fancy of a few governments, though the former makes a good token coinage.

The preceding examination of the varied materials of currency, metallic and non-metallic, suggests some conclusions respecting the course of monetary evolution, viz.: (I) that the metals tend to supersede all other forms of money among progressive communities; and (2) that the more valuable metals displace the less valuable ones. The explanation of these movements is found in the qualities that are specially desirable in the articles used for money. There has been a long process of selection and elimination in the course of monetary history.

First, it is plain that nothing can serve as money which has not the attributes of wealth; i.e. unless it is useful, transferable and limited in supply. As these conditions are essential to the existence of value, the instrument for measuring and transferring values must possess them. A second requisite of great effect is the amount of value in proportion to weight or mass. High value in small bulk gives the quality of portability, want of which has been a fatal obstacle to the continued use of many early forms of money. Skins, corn and tobacco were defective in this quality, and so were iron and copper. Sheep and oxen, though technically described as ” self-moving,” are expensive to transport from place to place. That the material of money shall be the same throughout, so that one unit shall be equal in value to another, is a further desideratum, which is as decidedly lacking in cattle-currency as it is prominent in the metals. It is, further, desirable that the substance used as money shall be capable of being divided without loss of value, and, if needed, of being reunited. Most of the articles used in primitive societies – such as eggs, skins and cattle – fail in this quality. Money should also be durable, a requirement which leads to the exclusion of all animal and most vegetable substances from the class of suitable currency materials. To be easily recognized is another very desirable quality in money, and moreover to be recognized as of a given value. Articles otherwise well fitted for money-use, e.g. precious stones, suffer through the difficulty of estimating their value. Finally, it results from the function of money as a standard of value that it should alter in its own value as little as possible. Complete fixity of value is from the nature of things unattainable; but the nearest approximation that can be secured is desirable. In early societies this quality is not of great importance; for future obligations are few and inconsiderable. With the growth of industry and commerce and the expansion of the system of contracts, covering a distant future, the evil effects of a shifting standard of value attract attention, and lead to the suggestion of ingenious devices to correct fluctuations. These belong to the later history of money and currency movements. It is enough for the ordinary purposes of money that it shall not alter within short periods, which is a characteristic of the more valuable metals, and particularly of silver and gold, while in contrast such an article as corn changes considerably in value from year to year.

From the foregoing examination of the requisites desirable in the material of money it is easy to deduce the empirical laws which the history of money discloses, since metals, as compared with non-metallic substances, evidently possess those requisites in a great degree. They are all durable, homogeneous, divisible and recognizable, and in virtue of these superior advantages they are the only substances now used for money by advanced nations. Nor is the case different when the decision has to be made between the different metals. Iron has been rejected because of its low value and its liability to rust, lead from its extreme softness, and tin from its tendency to break. All these metals, as well as copper, are unsuitable from their low value, which hinders their speedy transmission so as to adjust inequalities of local prices.

The elimination of the cheaper metals leaves silver and gold as the only suitable materials for forming the principal currency. Of late years there has been a very decided movement towards the adoption of the latter as the sole monetary standard, silver being regarded as suitable only for a subsidiary coinage. The special features of gold and silver which render them the most suitable materials for currency may here be noted.  “The value of these metals changes only by slow degrees; they are readily divisible into any number of parts which may be reunited by means of fusion without loss; they do not deteriorate by being kept; their firm and compact texture makes them difficult to wear; their cost of production, especially of gold, is so considerable that they possess great value in small bulk, and can of course be transported with comparative facility; and their identity is perfect.” The possession by both these metals of all the qualities needed in money is more briefly but forcibly put by Cantillon when he says that “gold and silver alone are of small volume, of equal goodness, easy of transport, divisible without loss, easily guarded, beautiful and brilliant and durable almost to eternity.” This view has even been pushed to an extreme form in the proposition of Turgot, that they became universal money by the nature and force of things, independently of all convention and law, from which the deduction has been drawn that to proscribe silver by law from being used as money is a violation of the nature of things.

(An excerpt from the money entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

So, when the Lord told the kings of the earth and the saints to bring their gold and silver to Zion, He was referring to commodity money, as that was the commodity money of the time.  (See D&C 124: 11, 26 and 111: 4.)  Have we complied?  Do we contribute commodity money to the cause of Zion, or do we contribute fiat money?

We need a private, LDS, commodity-based (gold and silver) currency

I am among those who believe that we are currently witnessing the beginning of the eventual (and planned) break-up of the United States of America.  We may also soon witness a corresponding break-up of the Church.  Regardless of what happens, though, the prophecies must be fulfilled, which means that when we cast our talents “into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church”, upon living the law of consecration, we will be casting in commodity money, specifically, gold and silver money, and not fiat money.

In anticipation of the complete break-up of the USA, the total devaluation of our current fiat currency, the attempted introduction of another currency and another type of government, even regional government, and, after all these (and other) tribulations, the cleansing of the church and the establishment of the law of consecration, we ought to be pro-actively engaged in the good cause of Zion.

Zion needs a currency, independent of the governments of the world, meaning that it must be a private currency.  As private currencies are legal in this country, there is nothing to stop the LDS from creating one.  To get us started in that direction, in the Establishment of Zion Think Tank Forum I gave some examples of what can be used as this private, LDS currency.

The corporate Church won’t do it

Many members wait for Salt Lake to issue the instructions, but the Lord has already told us that “it is not meet that I should command in all things.”  Besides, I have reason to believe that the dissolution of the corporate Church is on the horizon.  So, if a silver and gold-based commodity currency is to be had again among the saints, in fulfillment of prophecy, the saints themselves must be the ones to create it.  Such a currency would not only stabilize all LDS communities who use it among themselves, but would also allow non-LDS to escape the financial wrath of God upon all those who transact in fiat currency.

A side benefit

Having a private, LDS, precious metals-based currency will also allow those using it to get around the mark of the beast prophesied by John in the Book of Revelations.  (See Rev. 13: 16-18; Rev. 14: 9-12; Rev. 19: 20; and Rev. 20: 4-6.)

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