“The Davidic Servant” Error


The erroneous doctrine of “the Davidic Servant”

There is a false, speculative doctrine—which is found among certain latter-day saints who are at the fringe, as well as among former members who have been excommunicated or who have resigned from the church, and also among the many break-away sects—which I call “the Davidic Servant” error, which takes

1) the scriptures that mention the Branch,

2) and the ones that mention an end-time servant named David,

3) and all the scriptures that speak of the Elias who restores all things (who is, in actuality, Joseph-Nephi),

4) and a few more scriptures that speak of Jesus Christ,

5) as well as Avraham Gileadi’s translation of Isaiah and his interpretations of the scriptures,

6) and then combines all of that with a teaching Joseph Smith gave on 10 March 1844,

7) along with three speculating paragraphs published in the Times and Seasons on 15 February 1842 (which is when “the Davidic Servant” error appears to have begun),

8) and also a sentence uttered by Orson Hyde on 22 November 1841 during his Prayer of Dedication on the Mount of Olives,

and from all of that it creates a fictional, end-time personage called, “the Davidic Servant” (who is an amalgamation of the real person, Jesus Christ, and the real person, Joseph-Nephi), and who is supposed to be a mortal man named David (who is descended from the ancient David) that will build the throne of David/Israel, and rebuild and restore Jerusalem and the temple, and gather and restore Israel and also the kingdom of Israel, and who will rule over the mortal population of Israel on the throne of David as its mortal king.

Additionally, according to “the Davidic Servant” error, when Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming, He will rule over the immortal, resurrected population (which will not be present much, but which will come and go to and from other planets as they choose, thus being mostly absent from Earth), and Christ will rule over the mortal population only virtually, through this mortal Davidic king, who himself will continue to rule over the mortal population of Israel forever.  Thus, the error has two end-time kings, an immortal One (who is Christ) to reign over immortals and a mortal one (who is “the Davidic Servant”) to reign over mortals, and it dictates that the two populations (mortals and immortals) won’t mix much.

Now, those who accept this error take all of that as a starting point, swallowing it whole, and then begin to further speculate as to the identity of this fictional character, some ascribing John the apostle to “the DS” and adding in whatever scriptures speak of John, while others go even farther and assign the Holy Ghost as “the DS,” throwing in even more scriptures to shore up their theory. Others speculate that one of the top leaders of the church will be the man. Still others think there will be a “DS” over the Jews, Jerusalem and the Old World, while there will be a different end-time servant over the New World (America). Some believe that “the DS” will be Joseph Smith, returned from the dead. And so on and so forth, with endless speculations from all sorts of quarters of the disaffected and fringe elements of the latter-day saints.

Regardless of what version of “the Davidic Servant” error is subscribed to, all the followers use “Davidic Servant” or “DS” as an identifier of the doctrine. They don’t put “Davidic Servant” in quotations as I do because they believe it’s a real person, whereas I teach that it’s all a fiction. Thus, I state that it’s a quote unquote “Davidic Servant.” When I use quotation marks on this term, it is with the understanding that I am referring to this false doctrine, which assigns a non-Jesus Christ personage to an end-time servant named David. Regardless of who the adherent believes that “the DS” is, they all think it is not Jesus Christ. Thus, the words, “the Davidic Servant,” or merely, “the DS,” identify the error, as an encoded term, so that those who mention “the Davidic Servant” or “the DS”, trying to discuss what the man will do, or where he will be from, or what he will be like, or who his identity is, have already revealed themselves as having fallen into the error.

I teach that “the Davidic Servant,” as described by the different versions of this false doctrine, is non-existent. It’s entirely made-up by uninspired people who have allowed foolish and unfounded speculations to filter and replace the actual word of God, so that they imagine and believe a fantasy, and then teach that fable they’ve created to others, all the while scoffing and spurning at any attempt to correct the error and dislodge them from it. Like a drug, this particular delusion has proven to be addictive and those who have drunk of its poison become members of a sort of “DS” cult, who all believe they possess “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” what they consider is “the secret or hidden knowledge,” which in reality is just a falsehood built up from a misunderstanding of the scriptures.

Those who have read my words on this blog, published in my various posts and also in the comment sections, know that I have never once mentioned any “Davidic Servant.” Anyone can perform a search for this term on this blog and will discover that only One Who Is Watching (OWIW) mentioned the term in two of his own posts, and there have also been 7 comments left in the comment sections of various posts (as of today’s date) which mention it, none of which were authored by me. Why have I never mentioned “the Davidic Servant”? Because there is no such person.

Again, when speaking of the end-time servants who will be performing ministries among us, I have never used the incorrect term, “the Davidic Servant,” but have ever used the correct terms when referring to Christ:

the Stem of Jesse, the Branch, the Messiah, etc.,

and I have ever used the correct terms when referring to Christ’s forerunner, the Elias who restores all things:

the rod, the root of Jesse, Elias, the restoring Elias, the Elias who restores all things, the Elias restorer, the Elias destroyer, the Josephite, the Josephite restorer, the Josephite destroyer, Joseph-Nephi, the destroyer, the destroying angel, king Abaddon, king Apollyon, etc.

Thus the whole “Davidic Servant” error, from top to bottom, goes against what I teach and also contradicts what the LDS church officially teaches. In this post, then, I will correct the error by exposing its fallacies and refuting its foundation, put forth the correct doctrine and I will also publicly release some new teachings (’cause I might as well, right?) I will begin this task with the official teaching.

The official teaching: the end-time David is Christ

The official LDS church teaching is that the end-time Personage known in the scriptures as “my servant David”/”David my servant” is Jesus Christ. In Chapter 13 “The Establishment of Zion (Isaiah 1—12)” of the Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi, published in 1982, we read:

(13-58) Isaiah 11:1. Who Is the “Branch”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote the following analysis of the meaning of the Branch:

“Since it takes a first and a second coming to fulfill many Messianic prophecies, we of necessity must consider them here, and in the case of the Davidic-Messianic utterances show also how they apply to our Lord’s Second Coming. Christ is the Son of David, the Seed of David, the inheritor, through Mary his mother, of the blood of the great king. He is also called the Stem of Jesse and the Branch, meaning Branch of David. Messianic prophecies under these headings deal with the power and dominion he shall wield as he sits on David’s throne, and have reference almost exclusively to his second sojourn on planet earth.

“Jesse was the father of David. Isaiah speaks of the Stem of Jesse, whom he also designates as a branch growing out of the root of that ancient worthy. He recites how the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; how he shall be mighty in judgment; how he shall smite the earth and slay the wicked; and how the lamb and the lion shall lie down together in that day—all of which has reference to the Second Coming and the millennial era thereby ushered in. (Isa. 11.) As to the identity of the Stem of Jesse, the revealed words says: ‘Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.’ (D&C 113:1–2.) This also means that the Branch is Christ, as we shall now see from other related scriptures.

“By the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord foretells the ancient scattering and the latter-day gathering of his chosen Israel. After they have been gathered ‘out of all countries whither I have driven them,’ after the kingdom has been restored to Israel as desired by the ancient apostles in Acts 1:6, then this eventuality, yet future and millennial in nature, shall be fulfilled: ‘Behold the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ (Jer. 23:3–6.) That is to say, the King who shall reign personally upon the earth during the Millennium shall be the Branch who grew out of the house of David. He shall execute judgment and justice in all the earth because he is the Lord Jehovah, even him whom we call Christ.

“Through Zechariah the Lord spoke similarly: ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts: … I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. … I will remove the iniquity of the land in one day [meaning that the wicked shall be destroyed and the millennial era of peace and righteousness commence]. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.’ (Zech. 3:7–10.) Of that glorious millennial day the Lord says also: ‘Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne.’ (Zech. 6:12–13.)

“That the Branch of David is Christ is perfectly clear. We shall now see that he is also called David, that he is a new David, an Eternal David, who shall reign forever on the throne of his ancient ancestor. ‘It shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, ‘that is, in the great millennial day of gathering, that ‘they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.’ (Jer. 30:8–9.)

“‘In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness,’ which is to say that because the Great King himself reigns in her midst, even the city shall be called after him. ‘For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. … If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne.’ (Jer. 33:15–21.) David’s temporal throne fell long centuries before our Lord was born, and that portion of Israel which had not been scattered to the ends of the earth was in bondage to the iron yoke of Rome. But the promises remain. The eternal throne shall be restored in due course with a new David sitting thereon, and he shall reign forever and ever. …

“Through Ezekiel, the Lord speaks of this One Shepherd in this way: ‘I will save my flock. … And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.’ When that day comes, ‘I will make with them a covenant of peace,’ the Lord says, meaning they shall have again the fulness of the everlasting gospel. Then ‘there shall be showers of blessing’; all Israel shall dwell safely and know that the Lord is their God. (Ezek. 34:22–31.)

“Through Ezekiel, the Lord also tells of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, which becomes the instrument in his hands to bring to pass the gathering of Israel. Of that day of gathering he says, ‘I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all.’ In that day he promises to ‘cleanse them,’ by baptism, ‘so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.’

“Then the Lord restates that his gathered people shall have his everlasting gospel with all its blessings; that he will set his sanctuary, meaning his temple, in their midst forevermore (as Zechariah recorded); and all Israel shall know that the Lord is their God. (Ezek. 37:15–28.)

“How glorious shall be the coming day when the second David, who is Christ, reigns on the throne of the first David; when all men shall dwell safely; when the earth shall be dotted with temples; and when the gospel covenant shall have full force and validity in all the earth!” (The Promised Messiah, pp. 192–95).

Notice, in particular, that the apostle refers to the Branch as a “Branch of David.” He does this because the scripture says that the Lord will “cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David” (Jer. 33:15.) In other words, the Branch will both be a descendant of David of old, as well as a new David.  Thus, the end times David and the Branch are one and the same and so when the apostle begins to teach about the Branch, he must, of necessity, explain about the end times David. We see from this lengthy quotation that this is the teaching that is given to church students in an officially approved manual; namely, that Jesus Christ is the very end times David spoken of in the scriptures. This teaching, given in the above quotation by elder Bruce R. McConkie, wasn’t just put into the church student manual, but also into the chapter headings of the official LDS edition of the Bible, for all the chapters that deal with the end times David. For example, for the chapters that elder McConkie quoted from, these are the pertinent chapter headings:

The Branch, who is the King (the Messiah), will reign in righteousness (Jeremiah 23); Zechariah speaks about the Messiah—The Branch will come (Zechariah 3); Zechariah crowns Joshua, the high priest, in similitude of Christ, the Branch, who will come—Christ will be a priest upon His throne forever (Zechariah 6); David, their king (the Messiah), will reign over them (Jeremiah 30); The Branch of Righteousness (the Messiah) is promised—The Seed of David (the Messiah) will reign forever (Jeremiah 33); The Messiah will be their Shepherd (Ezekiel 34); David (the Messiah) will reign over them (Ezekiel 37).

Some of the chapter headings of the chapters that the Topical Guide entry of Jesus Christ, Davidic Descent of mentions also give this same teaching:

Psalms 89
A messianic psalm—A song setting forth the mercy, greatness, justice, and righteousness of the Holy One of Israel—The Lord will establish David’s seed and throne forever—God’s Firstborn will be made higher than the kings of the earth.

Psalms 132
A messianic psalm—Of the fruit of David’s loins will the Lord set One upon His throne—The Lord will bless Zion, and her Saints will shout for joy.

Isaiah 9
Isaiah speaks about the Messiah—The people in darkness will see a great Light—Unto us a Child is born—He will be the Prince of Peace and reign on David’s throne

Isaiah 11
The stem of Jesse (Christ) will judge in righteousness—The knowledge about God will cover the earth in the Millennium—The Lord will raise an ensign and gather Israel

Acts 13
Saul and Barnabas are called to missionary service—Saul, now called Paul, curses a sorcerer—Christ is a descendant of David—Paul offers the gospel to Israel, then to the Gentiles.

This shows that the Brethren themselves believe that the end times “my servant David” and “David my servant” personage mentioned in the scriptures, who will reign as king and prince over the house of Israel, is none other than Jesus Christ, the King Messiah.

Now, in another part of that same Chapter 13 of that same manual, it says this:

(13-63) Isaiah 11:13–14. “Ephraim Shall Not Envy Judah, and Judah Shall Not Vex Ephraim”

Anciently, during the days of the divided kingdoms, Judah (the leading tribe of the Southern Kingdom) and Ephraim (the leading tribe of the Northern Kingdom) were often in competition. Sometimes they were even at war with each other. Isaiah prophesied that in the last days that conflict would come to an end. Ezekiel, in a similar prophecy, promised that the house of Israel would no longer be divided, but under their true king, the New David (see Notes and Commentary on Isaiah 11:1) there would be one united nation again. (See Ezekiel 37:15–25.) Jeremiah and Zechariah also spoke of the future reuniting of the house of Israel (see Jeremiah 3:18; Zechariah 10:6–7).

Emphasis mine. Notice that the manual points the student to the section that I quoted at the start, which talks about the New David and which identifies that Personage as Christ. Notice also that there is no equivocation in the teaching. It is made unmistakably crystal clear and plain as day in its meaning. And this is the official LDS teaching on the matter.

Understanding the official teaching: the name of God is Jehovah

Three connected, omnipotent, omniscient and perfect Persons are, when taken together as a group, called “the Godhead” (Col. 2:9), or just, “one God” (D&C 20:28): even the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Father and the Son are Personages of Spirit who also have bodies “of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22) and both Their spirit bodies and Their physical bodies have “the form of man” (Mosiah 13:34; Ether 3:15-16; 1 Nephi 11:11.) The Holy Ghost, however, is a Personage of Spirit who does not have a body “of flesh and bones” (D&C 130:22.)

When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to, for He is the Supreme Governor of the Universe, the Father of all mankind and the One to whom the Son and the Holy Ghost submit and from whom They derive Their power and authority. Nevertheless, because the Son and the Holy Ghost are connected to the Father in perfection, and partake of all His attributes and powers in fullness, thus forming the Godhead, or becoming “one God,” this oneness between Them in which they share all things, allows even the title of “God” to be shared and applied to the Son and the Holy Ghost. Thus each Person is called God: the Son is God and also the Holy Ghost is God, and not just the Father.

In Hebrew, the tetragrammaton (a specific 4-letter combination) identifies the covenant or proper name of the God of Israel. In English this name is written out as Jehovah, Yahweh or some other variation. (It is actually pronounced: EEAAOOAAEE.) In the King James Version, the Jewish custom of never speaking the name of God has been followed, and the name is generally denoted by LORD or GOD, printed in small capitals.  Following the pattern of oneness, in which They all share everything, so it goes with the name of Jehovah. Jehovah is the name of the Father and the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Ghost. Given that all three members of the Godhead have the same covenant name of Jehovah, we are commanded to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”:

Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (D&C 20:73)

We don’t baptize in three names, but only in one name, which all three bear: Jehovah.

So, for example, in D&C 110:1-10 we find Jesus Christ referring to Himself as Jehovah. Yet in Luke 20:41-44 and in Mark 12:35-37 Jesus cites Psalms 110:1 and identifies Himself as “my Lord” and not as “The LORD” (Jehovah.) This implies that “The LORD” (Jehovah) in that verse refers to the Father and not to the Son.

In 3 Nephi chapters 20 and 21, Jesus applies the name of Jehovah to both Himself (the Son) and to the Father. Here Jesus mentions Micah 4:12, referring to Himself as Jehovah (the LORD) :

And I [Jesus] will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor. (3 Nephi 20:18)

But they know not the thoughts of the LORD [Jehovah the Son], neither understand they his counsel: for he [Jehovah the Son] shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. (Micah 4:12)

And here He mentions Micah 4:13, which is the very next verse, but this time Jesus refers to Jehovah (the LORD) as the Father:

For I [Jesus] will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I [Jesus] will make thy horn iron, and I [Jesus] will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I [Jesus] will consecrate their gain unto the Lord [Jehovah the Father], and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I [Jesus] am he who doeth it. (3 Nephi 20:19)

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I [Jehovah the Son] will make thine horn iron, and I [Jehovah the Son] will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I [Jehovah the Son] will consecrate their gain unto the LORD [Jehovah the Father], and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Micah 4:13)

Here Jesus says that it was Jehovah the Father who covenanted and spoke to Abraham:

And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. (3 Nephi 20:25)

Now the LORD [Jehovah the Father] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Here Jesus mentions Isaiah 52:9-10 and refers to Jehovah as the Father:

Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father; and the Father and I are one. (3 Nephi 20:34-35)

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:9-10)

Here Jesus mentions Micah 5:8-15 and refers to Jehovah as the Father:

And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; and I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel; and I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. (3 Nephi 21:12-21)

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. (Micah 5:8-15)

Again, we find Jesus saying to the Nephites (in 3 Nephi 24:1), “Thus said the Father unto Malachi:” and then He quotes Malachi 3:1, which reads:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

This means that  “the LORD of hosts” (Jehovah) in this verse is the Father.

Or, when we turn to Numbers 27:16, we find Jehovah being called the God of the spirits of all flesh, which is a reference to the Father, not to the Son.

And Jesus said to the Jews, “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:43.) And what is that name? It is the name of Jehovah. Thus, both the Father and the Son bear the name of Jehovah.

It is Jehovah who covenanted with Israel, yet Jesus taught the Nephites in 3 Nephi 21:4 that the Father covenanted with His people Israel, but in 3 Nephi 15:5 Jesus says that He Himself covenanted with His people Israel. Who, then, is Jehovah: the Father or the Son? Again, it is both, for They both bear the same name. And so on for the rest of the scriptures.

The name Jehovah distinguishes

Now, all of a group having the same name so that they are distinguished from all others is a custom that is found among men:

And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished. (Alma 23:16)

The name may be a given name, such as what George Foreman did, in which he named all five of his sons, “George,” and also named one of his daughters, “Georgetta.” It is even customary to give the same name both to men and women, and thus you might have a man named Jose whose first child is a son and so he names him, “Jose,” and then his wife gives birth to another son and he names him, “Jose Maria,” and then his wife gives birth to a girl and he names her, “Maria Jose.” In this case, all four individuals bear the same given name of Jose: the father and two sons bearing it as their first given name, whereas the daughter bears the name as her second (middle) given name.

Or, the name may be a surname, such as how all the Nephites were surnamed Nephi, and all the Jacobites were surnamed Jacob, and all the Josephites were surnamed Joseph, and all the Zoramites were surnamed Zoram, and all the Lamanites were surnamed Laman, and all the Lemuelites were surnamed Lemuel, and all the Ishmaelites were surnamed Ishmael and so on and so forth. The Gentiles also distinguish their families by a common surname which all the members of that particular family bear.

Regardless of what the name Jehovah is, whether it is a given name or a surname, its purpose is to identify the group, which is the Godhead. All those who pertain to that particular group bear this particular name of Jehovah, which distinguishes Them from all others and from every other group.

Elohim is not the covenant or proper name of the Father

Elohim just means “God.” However, in the temple rites, Elohim is used as the Father’s name, to differentiate between the Personages of the Father and the Son, the latter being called Jehovah in the temple. The temple rites use symbolism and representations to teach principles, the principle here being that the Trinity doctrine is false and that the Father and the Son are two distinct Personages and not one nebulous mass of nothingness. The use of the name Elohim in the temple is not meant to be taken as the literal, personal name of God, but latter-day saints routinely make the mistake, anyway.

Jehovah is first the Father, then the Son

Latter-day saints, when they see the tetragrammaton written out in the King James Version of the Bible as LORD or GOD in small capitals, or as Jehovah or Yahweh, etc., in other versions, assume the name is referring to the Son unless the context of the passage indicates that the Father is the One who is being referred to, in which case they assume that the passage must be an instance of Jesus speaking as the Father with “divine investiture of authority.” But the proper way to read these passages is to first assume that the name refers to the Father, unless the context indicates that it refers to one of the other members of the Godhead. If the Father fits into the passage, then you interpret the name as referring to the Father. If the Father doesn’t fit, then you plug in the Son, or, lastly, the Holy Ghost, if the Son doesn’t fit.

This confusion on the part of the latter-day saints about the name of Jehovah is one of the reasons why there is conflict between us and the Christians and Jews, who all read the tetragrammaton as referring to the Father and are utterly confused as to why the latter-day saints insist that the pre-mortal Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and not the Father. In our rush to distance ourselves from the Trinity doctrine, which indeed is false, we have mistakenly tossed away an actual truth: that the Godhead is all named Jehovah.

It is the Father’s servant David

Returning with this knowledge of the name of God to all the passages that mention the end-time servant David, we now are able to clearly see that the one who is speaking in the passages is the LORD, who is Jehovah the Father. So, let’s review the scriptures cited by the apostle.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father], that I [Jehovah the Father] will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS [Jehovah Our Righteous]. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

In the above passage the Father says He will raise unto David a righteous Branch, a King that shall reign and prosper, in whose days Judah shall be saved and Israel dwell safely, and the name of this Branch King David will be Jehovah Our Righteousness.


Thus saith the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father]; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I [Jehovah the Father] will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I [Jehovah the Father] will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. (Zechariah 3:7-8)

In the above passage the Father says He will bring forth His servant the Branch.


And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father], saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD [Jehovah]: even he shall build the temple of the LORD [Jehovah]; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12-13)

In the above passage the Father says to behold the man whose name is the Branch, who shall bear the glory and sit and rule upon His throne, and who shall be a priest upon His throne. He also mentions the one who will grow up out of the Branch’s place and who will build the temple of Jehovah. Before continuing, I will take the time to expound the above scripture by explaining about prophetic switches.

Prophetic switches

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” (Isa. 11:1)

Jesse was the father of David; the Stem of Jesse and the Branch are one and the same person: Jesus Christ; and the rod that comes of the Stem of Jesse is Elias (Joseph-Nephi). So, in the following scripture:

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12-13)

it begins by speaking of the Branch (Jesus Christ) : “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH;”

then it switches to speaking of Elias (Joseph-Nephi) : “and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: even he shall build the temple of the LORD;”

then it switches back to speaking of the Branch (Jesus Christ) : “and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne:”

finally it ends by speaking of the covenant of peace that will exist between the Branch (Jesus Christ) and Elias (Joseph-Nephi) : “and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

An alternate translation from the Hebrew (found in the footnote of Zech. 6:12) of the first part reads:

“Behold the man: Branch is his name and from beneath him one shall branch forth and he shall build the temple of Jehovah.”

The one who builds the temple of Jehovah, who branches forth from beneath the Branch (Jesus Christ), is Elias (Joseph-Nephi), who is the rod that comes forth out of the Stem of Jesse (Jesus Christ):

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,” (Isa. 11:1)

and who is the rod of Christ’s strength:

“The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: ” (Ps. 110:2)

and who is “a servant in the hands of Christ…on whom there is laid much power” (D&C 113:4.)

Thus, there are two main end-time personages spoken of in the scriptures, one being Jesus Christ (the Stem of Jesse/the Branch) and the other being His forerunner, Elias (the rod/root of Jesse, who is Joseph-Nephi.) The prophetic switch between these two servants happens often in the scriptures. For example, in Isa. 11, Isaiah begins in verse 1 to speak of Elias (the rod), then switches to Jesus Christ (the Stem of Jesse/the Branch) and continues to speak of the Branch in verses 2-5, but then in verse 10 he switches back to speaking of Elias (the root of Jesse):

1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

10 ¶ And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-5,10)

Zechariah does the same prophetic switch. In chapter 3 of his prophecy he speaks of the Branch (Jesus Christ), using Joshua the high priest as a type of the Branch. But in chapter 4 of his prophecy, he speaks of Elias (Joseph-Nephi), using Zerubbabel as the type of Elias. This shows that these two (the Son of God and His forerunner) are prophetically linked.

It is the Father’s servant David, continued

For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father]that I [Jehovah the Father] will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD [Jehovah the Father] their God, and David their king, whom I [Jehovah the Father] will raise up unto them. (Jeremiah 30:8-9)

In the above passage the Father says that the people will serve Him and also will serve David their King, whom the Father will raise up to them.


Behold, the days come, saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father], that I [Jehovah the Father] will perform that good thing which I [Jehovah the Father] have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

In those days, and at that time, will I [Jehovah the Father] cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness [Jehovah Our Righteous].

For thus saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father]; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me [Jehovah the Father] to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

And the word of the LORD [Jehovah the Father] came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father]; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. (Jeremiah 33:14-21)

In the above passage the Father says that He will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David and this Branch will execute judgment and righteousness, and in His days Judah shall be saved, Jerusalem will dwell safely, and Jerusalem will have the same name as the Branch King: Jehovah Our Righteousness. (See Jeremiah 23:5-6 where the Branch is also called Jehovah Our Righteousness.) The Father also affirms that the covenant He made with David of old about his throne always being occupied by one of his seed will be fulfilled.


Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD [Jehovah the Father] unto them; … And I [Jehovah the Father] will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD [Jehovah the Father] will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD [Jehovah the Father] have spoken it. (Ezekiel 34:20,23-24)

In the above passage the Father says He will set up one Shepherd over them and this one Shepherd is the Father’s servant David, who shall feed them and be their Shepherd. The Father will be their God and the Father’s servant David will be a Prince among them.


And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD [Jehovah the Father]; … And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I [Jehovah the Father] have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (Ezekiel 37:21,24-25)

In the above passage the Father says that His servant David will be King over Israel and Israel will all have one Shepherd and the Father’s servant David shall be their Prince forever.

We see from this review that the apostle’s words are true, in which he wrote, “That the Branch of David is Christ is perfectly clear.” It is perfectly clear. Once a person understands that Jehovah in these passages is the Father, then it becomes self-evident that Jesus Christ “is also called David, that He is a new David, an Eternal David, who shall reign forever on the throne of His ancient ancestor,” just as the apostle and LDS church have taught.

The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith quotation

There is a saying of Joseph Smith that people often quote regarding the end times David, which I will cite here in its original context. The bold type is the part people recite:

This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the Apostles in delivering certain ones to the buffitings of Satan that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, they were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnaton of Hell untill the day of the Lord or revealtion of Jesus Christ [23] Here is the doctrin of Election that the world have quarreled so much about, but they do not know any thing about it, The doctrin that the Prysbeterians & Methodist have quarreled so much about once in grace always in grace, or falling away from grace I will say a word about, they are both wrong, truth takes a road between them both. for while the Presbyterian says once in grace you cannot fall the Methodist says you can have grace to day, fall from it to morrow, next day have grace again & so follow it, but the doctrin of the scriptures & the spirit of Elijah would show them both fals & take a road between them both for according to the scriptures if a man has receive the good word of God & tasted of the powers of the world to come if they shall fall away it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have Crucified the son of God afresh & put him to an open frame shame [24], so their is a possibility of falling away you could not be renewed again, & the power of Elijah Cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals & power of the priesthood, [25] I will make evry doctrin plain that I present & it shall stand upon a firm bases And I am at the defiance of the world for I will take shelter under the broad sheler cover of the wings of the work in which I am ingaged, it matters not to me if aIl hell boils over I regard it ownly as I would the crackling of thorns under a pot A murderer; for instance one that sheds innocent Blood Cannot have forgiveness, David sought repentance at the hand of God Carefully with tears, but he could ownly get it through Hell, he got a promise that his soul should not be left in Hell, [26] Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, [27] & the priesthood that he received [28] & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage [29] Peter refered to the same subject on the day of pentecost, [30] but the multitude did not get the endowment that Peter had but several days after the people asked what shall we do, Peter says I would ye had done it ignorantly speaking of crucifying the Lord &c He did not say to them repent & be baptized for the remission of your sins but he said repent therefore & be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, Acts iii, 19 this is the case with murderers they could not be baptized for the remission of sins for they had shed innocent Blood. (10 March 1844 (Sunday). At Temple. See History of the Church, 6:249-54, and Teachings, pp. 335-41.)

Of these words, the apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote:

‘Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the priesthood; and the priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.’ (Teachings, p. 339.) Thus, even though a man’s calling and election has been made sure, if he then commits murder, all of the promises are of no effect, and he goes to a telestial kingdom (Rev. 21:8; D. & C. 76:103), because when he was sealed up unto eternal life, it was with a reservation. The sealing was not to apply in the case of murder.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:347.)

Joseph Smith’s words were spoken in the context of the doctrine of falling from grace. “The doctrin that the Prysbeterians & Methodist have quarreled so much about once in grace always in grace, or falling away from grace I will say a word about,” he said, and then he went on to say that the idea that “once in grace you cannot fall” is false, and also the idea that “you can have grace to day, fall from it to morrow, next day have grace again & so follow it” is also false. The real doctrine is that there are certain sins that you can commit and afterward repent from and still obtain the top reward (exaltation), but there are also sins that, once committed, prohibit you from obtaining the top reward (exaltation), even if you are truly sorry for having done them. The shedding of innocent blood (murder) is one such sin that stops a person from receiving exaltation, and thus, a person who commits murder falls from the exaltation they might have had. Such people do not receive forgiveness, but must suffer for their sins in hell. Only after such suffering, in which they themselves (and not just Christ) has paid the penalty for their sins, if they are sorry for their sins and have turned from them, they can inherit a telestial kingdom. So Joseph Smith said, “A murderer; for instance one that sheds innocent Blood Cannot have forgiveness, David sought repentance at the hand of God Carefully with tears, but he could ownly get it through Hell, he got a promise that his soul should not be left in Hell”. David, then, having fallen from grace by shedding the innocent blood of Uriah, had to go through, and suffer in, hell in order to obtain his full repentance and be accepted back into the kingdom of God, but the kingdom glory he could receive was telestial only, not any glory higher than that.

Joseph Smith also stated that “although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood.” This means that David didn’t obtain what latter-day saints obtain in the temple, whereby they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, by the Melchizedek priesthood, unto their exaltation. He received a priesthood, yes, but it wasn’t the fullness of the priesthood which latter-day saints receive, it wasn’t the fullness of the spirit and power of Elijah, therefore his shedding of innocent blood didn’t cause him to become a son of perdition, to be cast out into outer darkness at the last day, but was accounted as if a non-temple endowed and sealed member of the church committed murder. Such a person, who has never been through the temple rites, falls from their exaltation, being unable to gain it in any way, falling entirely from the grace that accompanies that reward, but they may suffer in hell for their sins and at the last day come forth, having repented and suffered the penalty, and still obtain a kingdom of glory, even in the telestial kingdom. David, then, was in this same situation.

All saints are promised eternal life on condition of enduring to the end, even those who have never gone through the temple:

But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved. Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:14-20)

Had David endured in faith to the end, despite not receiving what latter-day saints who go through the temple rites receive, he still would have inherited his exaltation. But he blew it and lost all that was promised to him.

The covenant God made with David

Everything started with Saul, who would have had his kingdom established forever, if he hadn’t disobeyed God’s commandments and offered burnt offerings without actually possessing the authority to do so.

And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

But he blew it before he got that promise from God, so God put David in Saul’s place and David also ended up blowing it, but not before God made the above mentioned covenant with him, in which his throne would be established forever and his seed would occupy his throne forever. So, according to the foreknowledge of God, He had already planned that the Seed of David (Christ) would be raised up out of David’s lineage, into a new David, and all things that pertained to the first David, who was now fallen from grace, would be given to the last David, who would never fall from grace, and that last David would occupy the first David’s throne forever, as an immortal King Messiah, the King who was the Branch of David, and thus David’s throne and kingdom would be established forever. Thus, Joseph Smith taught:

“the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage”

The throne and kingdom of David is the throne and kingdom of Israel, and in the last days, that is, during the end times, another by the name of David, who would be a descendant of the ancient David, would receive David’s throne and kingdom. But David hasn’t yet lost his throne and kingdom. It’s still his and it’s still called his.  The throne and kingdom of the first David gets transferred to the last David only when the last David comes down from heaven and occupies it. And once occupied by the immortal King Messiah, who is the Branch of David, nothing and no one can ever dethrone Him, thus fulfilling the covenant.

Christ got and gets everything that pertained to David’s eternal reward

In addition to the throne and kingdom of David, which have not yet been given to Christ, David’s wives that were given to him by the hand of Nathan the prophet and other prophets, which pertained to the promise of exaltation (for only exalted people are married in the afterlife), have already been given to Christ:

David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord. (D&C 132:39)

This another is the same another that Joseph Smith mentioned:

“the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage”

When the Lord removes the blessings He bestowed upon one man, He takes everything He removes and gives them to another servant. He doesn’t divvy up the loot among several servants. Thus, in both the parable of the talents and the parable of the pounds, everything that the unwise and foolish servant possessed was taken and the whole of it was given to only one other servant. Also, in the following scripture we see that when Saul transgressed, the Lord took from him the kingdom of Israel and his house and his wives and gave the whole lot to David:

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. (2 Samuel 12:7-8)

Although David fell from his exaltation, his wives did not, and so Nathan or some other servant of God performed whatever ordinance was necessary to seal them to Christ, as His eternal brides. When Christ came to earth, then, He was already married and sealed to these women, who were at that time disembodied spirits dwelling in paradise. When He died, Christ went to paradise, where He met the righteous saints and prophets and also His wives.

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:30)

A woman cannot be resurrected and then afterward be given to a husband, nor can a man marry a woman after his resurrection. As there is a finality to the resurrection, all gospel ordinances have to be done before it occurs. This means that the brides of Christ had to be sealed to Him before He, and they, were resurrected, and so this is what must have happened.

Upon His resurrection, then, these wives of His were also resurrected, and thus He was reunited with His brides, and the lot of them entered into their exaltation. When Christ returns, then, with ten thousand of His saints, among those saints will be His wives, and the people will wonder, “From whence did these women come? When did you marry them?” They were the wives of David, the first David, and also the wives of Saul who were given to David, all of which David lost through his transgression, whereby they were then given to the last David, who would never lose them, because He is Christ.

Orson Hyde’s Prayer of Dedication

On 22 November 1841, Orson Hyde, the latter-day saint apostle, dedicated the Holy Land for the gathering of Israel. The prayer he uttered on the Mount of Olives was, apparently, given to him by revelation. In one part of the prayer, he said the following:

Thou, O Lord, did once move upon the heart of Cyrus to show favor unto Jerusalem and her children. Do Thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto. Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel — raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David Thy servant, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David to be their king.

Some have taken this statement as meaning a mortal end times servant named David, but they are mistaken. It refers to the Branch King David, who is King Messiah, the immortal, resurrected Christ.

The Times and Seasons article

Three months after elder Hyde’s prayer, there were three paragraphs of a Times and Seasons article published on 15 February 1842 that took up the topic of an end-time David. Here are the three paragraphs; and notice that I’ve put parts of the third paragraph in bold type to show that the ideas espoused are mere speculations put forth by the writer(s):

Ezekiel after giving a description of the resurrection of the House of Israel, and the coming forth of the stick of Joseph (Book of Mormon,) and its being united with the stick of Judah (the bible;) and also the restoration of the House of Israel, that are in a state of mortality, back upon their own lands, says: “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherin our fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children, and their children’s children, forever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabe[r]nacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, and the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the mid[s]t of them for evermore.”—Ezek. xxxvii. 23–28. The above quotation has a particular allusion to that portion of the righteous that will remain in the flesh, and dwell on the earth, and eat the fruit of it. But the difference that will be, satan will be cast out of the earth, and he will have no power to tempt or deceive them: they will a[l]l be righteous, and not defile themselves any more. The Lord will set his sanctuary in the midst of them, and they shall multiply and be increased in number,—which they will continue to do, during the Millennium. The fact that they will multiply and increase, shows that they will be in a state of mortality.

The immortal saints will be made kings and priests, and they shall reign with Christ; but is is not said that the mortal ones shall be made kings and priests, to hold authority with Christ like the immortal ones, while in a state of mortality; only they shall have a king, priests, and all other necessary officers, to administer all ordinances, and perform all necessary ceremonies. We mean a king that shall be chosen or proceed out of their midst. Isaiah speaking of this day says, the Lord will restore their judges as at first, and their counsellors as at the beginning. This will be the time that God will restore their kingdom unto them which the apostles alluded to when they inquired of Jesus, if he would then restore the kingdom to Israel. (See Acts, i. 6)

According to the prophets the name of this king shall be David; not the patriarch David who was the son of Jesse; but a literal descendant of his. Some suppose that the Psalmist David will be raised from his tomb, and again reign over Israel; but we consider this one of the most unreasonable ideas that could be advanced. He no doubt will be in the Lord’s own due time raised from the dead, but not to act the part of a prince in the midst of Israel who remain in the flesh. Neither will any of the patriarchs act the part of an earthly king; although they will reign with Christ. Indeed, we have no reason to believe that Christ himself will act the part of an earthly king, or priest, to any great extent. It is inconsistent for us to suppose that the immortal saints, who are glorified, will be perpetually confined in the midst of the mortal ones. Because it is said, they shall reign on the earth, is no reason why we should say they shall be constantly among the mortal saints. The idea is that the earth will be under the control of Christ and the glorified saints, and Christ will virtually reign over the whole earth, and this David will be subject to him. The redeemed saints will reign on earth, and perhaps have in many respects, authority over the mortal ones. We do not wish to be understood, that there will be a total or entire separation between [p. 690] the mortal, and immortal; but the object of the foregoing remarks is to show the distinction of privilege. The prophet says, that the Lord shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously; hence, when the redeemed saints dwell on earth, they will dwell in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, which places the Lord will fully prepare for them. We might dilate upon this part of the subject, that is, the reign, and dominion of the redeemed saints, till we fill a volume; but brevity admonishes us to hasten. Those who are anxious to learn more concerning this reign of the saints, can search the scriptures for themselves.

So these are speculations. In Mormonism we are free to speculate but these speculations aren’t correct. They are based upon the (incorrect) belief that resurrected and mortal beings will exist but not intermingle during the Millennium, and thus the (erroneously supposed) necessity for a mortal king David, along with an immortal resurrected King Messiah. Here’s a full breakdown of these three paragraphs:

Correcting the Times and Seasons: first paragraph

I will quote again parts of these three paragraphs, to make the correction. The parts in bold are incorrect:

Ezekiel after giving a description of the resurrection of the House of Israel, and the coming forth of the stick of Joseph (Book of Mormon,) and its being united with the stick of Judah (the bible;) and also the restoration of the House of Israel, that are in a state of mortality, back upon their own lands, says:

First, the Book of Mormon functions as a type or as a shadow fulfillment of the stick of Joseph, while the Bible functions as a type or shadow of the stick of Judah. The literal fulfillment of these prophecies will occur when the plates of brass (the real or literal stick of Joseph) and the Book of the Lamb of God (the real or literal stick of Judah) comes forth and are translated by the Josephite.

Secondly, the text of Ezekiel says nothing about them being mortal. That’s just an assumption. A false assumption. Will they be mortal when their King (and it’s King with a capital K, for this will be King Messiah) reigns over them? Nope. How do we know that they will not be mortal? Well, for starters, because of what happened to Moses:

And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. (Moses 1:9-11)

The Son of God will be returning at the Second Coming in His full glory. Nothing mortal can survive the Advent of the Son of God. All things mortal will be destroyed. This is why Elijah the prophet must come back to deliver the Priesthood to the Josephite before Jesus returns, because the Priesthood that will be delivered to him will be the same that causes transfiguration, or translation, for unless all things are transfigured or translated, the Earth and all things upon it will be destroyed in God’s presence. This is why Moroni stated:

Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. (D&C 2:1-3)

“Utterly wasted” means destroyed. So, the Josephite will have to use this Priesthood of transfiguration and transfigure all things that will be saved and redeemed, before Jesus gets back, which will, in part, fulfill this scripture:

Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.

Q. When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the 9th chapter of Revelation?

A. They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ. (D&C 77:12-13)

So, the notion that these gathered people of the house of Israel will be mortal is patently false.The Josephite will gather all things and then redeem all things, saving them from the destruction which happens at the Second Coming, because all the things he has transfigured through this Priesthood (which will be delivered to him by Elijah the Tishbite, who himself was translated or transfigured) cannot be destroyed by the Lord’s glory. Thus they are protected from, or prepared for, His Coming. This is why the Lord told Joseph Smith the following:

Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come; when the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received. (D&C 63:20-21)

The day of transfiguration is the day of the Josephite, when all that will be saved with be transfigured or translated, prior to the Second Coming of the Lord. Thus, the writers of this article in the Times and Seasons didn’t have a clue of what they were talking about. The speculation about the house of Israel being mortal at the gathering and installment of their King is pure bunk. The house of Israel will be composed of resurrected personages, even those spoken of in Ezekiel 37, verses 1 through 14, while the rest will be translated personages, even those spoken of in verses 20 to 22 of the same chapter.

After citing Ezekiel 37:23-28, the Times and Seasons article says:

The above quotation has a particular allusion to that portion of the righteous that will remain in the flesh, and dwell on the earth, and eat the fruit of it. But the difference that will be, satan will be cast out of the earth, and he will have no power to tempt or deceive them: they will all be righteous, and not defile themselves any more. The Lord will set his sanctuary in the midst of them, and they shall multiply and be increased in number,—which they will continue to do, during the Millennium. The fact that they will multiply and increase, shows that they will be in a state of mortality.

Here we see that the writer or writers of this piece have continued their faulty reasoning, thinking that only mortal people can multiply and increase. No, not only mortal people can multiply and increase. Resurrected, translated and mortal people can all multiply and increase. Their is no evidence to back up the claim about “multiply and increase” meaning that they must be mortal. It is just thrown out there and assumed to be true. But it’s patently false.

God is a resurrected Personage. Does He have children? Does His seed multiply and increase? How about all the people who receive the promise of exaltation? Do they multiply and increase after their resurrection?

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my lawye cannot attain to this glory. For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them. (D&C 132:19-22,30)

Correcting the Times and Seasons: second paragraph

In this next part the article continues to insist that the scripture means that in the Millennium there will be mortal people:

The immortal saints will be made kings and priests, and they shall reign with Christ; but is is not said that the mortal ones shall be made kings and priests, to hold authority with Christ like the immortal ones, while in a state of mortality;

Actually, nothing is said about anyone being mortal. That is merely a false supposition made by the article’s writer(s). All who survive the Second Coming will be the ones who are saved and redeemed and sealed, per D&C 77:12, which I quoted above. Does anyone really think these saved people won’t be made kings and priests?

Once we make one error in understanding, like this “mortal” supposition, everything that builds upon that error will diverge further and further from the path of truth. You must correct the initial mistake first, as I have done, and then the rest can be seen to be fully wrong, and can then be tossed into the trash, because you must start over again upon the proper and true foundation, which will take you to a different and more correct conclusion: namely, that the king and shepherd mentioned in these scriptures is none other than the resurrected Christ, King Messiah.

Correcting the Times and Seasons: third paragraph

According to the prophets the name of this king shall be David; not the patriarch David who was the son of Jesse; but a literal descendant of his.

This is correct. But there are only two people in the scriptures who are spoken of as “the son of David.” One is Joseph, the step-father of Jesus. The other is Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, the New Testament stresses over and over again that Jesus Christ is a descendant of David, calling Him the Root of David twice. Thus, Jesus Christ is a literal descendant of David, and is also the King Messiah that was prophesied to reign over Israel one day. Jesus Christ matches all the prophecies perfectly. But if you have this error about the man needing to be mortal in your head, then you go awry and enter into “the Davidic Servant” error.

Some suppose that the Psalmist David will be raised from his tomb, and again reign over Israel; but we consider this one of the most unreasonable ideas that could be advanced.

This is true. It is unreasonable because David fell from his exaltation. His priesthood, throne and kingdom are to be given to a descendant of his in the last days, per Joseph Smith, therefore it cannot be the old David, but must be a new David:

Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, & the priesthood that he received & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage

Just as there was a first Adam and then a last Adam, so there was a first David and also will be a last David. Jesus Christ will fulfill both roles.

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:45-48)

Okay, continuing on with this article:

He [the Psalmist David] no doubt will be in the Lord’s own due time raised from the dead, but not to act the part of a prince in the midst of Israel who remain in the flesh. Neither will any of the patriarchs act the part of an earthly king; although they will reign with Christ.

True enough, so far.

Indeed, we have no reason to believe that Christ himself will act the part of an earthly king, or priest, to any great extent.

This is not correct. We have plenty of reasons why Christ Himself will be a King over all Israel, namely: because this is what all the scriptures teach and preach.

It is inconsistent for us to suppose that the immortal saints, who are glorified, will be perpetually confined in the midst of the mortal ones.

Here again we see the persistent error of a division between mortal and immortal, which won’t exist, for all will be either translated (transfigured) people, or resurrected people, and no one will be mortal. Last I checked translated people fit in quite well among resurrected people, which is why Elijah was translated and went to heaven, as well as all the other people who have been translated. Resurrected people and translated people have no problem dwelling with each other.

Because it is said, they shall reign on the earth, is no reason why we should say they shall be constantly among the mortal saints.

Here again is mentioned the false division between mortal and immortal. Resurrected beings can come and go as they please, but this planet is where they will have their inheritance, so they will make their abode here, on planet Earth, as they were promised by God. The writers of the article are setting up this idea of traveling resurrected people who will be nominally present, so that they can put forth their false idea of a mortal king reigning over mortal Israel.

The idea is that the earth will be under the control of Christ and the glorified saints, and Christ will virtually reign over the whole earth, and this David will be subject to him.

Here we have the first mention of virtual reality! And we Mormons have the honor of having put forth the idea! No, Christ won’t “virtually reign” over Israel, He will literally and personally reign over the entire people. And David won’t be subject to Him, because Christ and the end-time David are one and the same Being, He being the new, or second, or last David. So, this idea of theirs might make for a good fictional movie, but it is not based upon the scriptures, nor upon truth, but upon an erroneous and speculative idea about mortals and immortals not mixing, and upon a mortal population needing a mortal king, while an immortal population needs an immortal King.

In truth, we have always had an immortal, or resurrected, King over us, even God the Father. God was our King in the heavens and He had a body of flesh and bones while we were mere spirits. That shouldn’t mix, right? But there we were, under our King who looked and was so vastly different from us. Down here on earth, we get clothed in mortal flesh. Who was our King? Still God the Father, who was an immortal or resurrected personage. Yet He still told us what to do. Or, if you want to say that the Son was our King, then before His First Advent, He was a Spirit. How’s that for incompatibility? We were mortals of flesh and blood, and our King was an immortal Spirit! Then He came down and partook of flesh and blood, but alas!, He didn’t reign over Israel! (Not yet, anyway.) Later He died and was resurrected, and now we had the same problem, for our King was a resurrected Personage of flesh and bone, like His Father, and we were still mortal beings. Next he’ll return in His resurrected body to reign over Israel and Israel will be both resurrected and translated. Is there a problem with any of this? The writers of the Times and Seasons article saw a problem, but the problem was in their own minds, for they were obsessed with privilege (as we will soon see) and they felt a need that that privilege remain intact:

The redeemed saints will reign on earth, and perhaps have in many respects, authority over the mortal ones. We do not wish to be understood, that there will be a total or entire separation between [p. 690] the mortal, and immortal; but the object of the foregoing remarks is to show the distinction of privilege. The prophet says, that the Lord shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously; hence, when the redeemed saints dwell on earth, they will dwell in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, which places the Lord will fully prepare for them. We might dilate upon this part of the subject, that is, the reign, and dominion of the redeemed saints, till we fill a volume; but brevity admonishes us to hasten. Those who are anxious to learn more concerning this reign of the saints, can search the scriptures for themselves.

Thank goodness for brevity! So, they were obsessed with the distinction of privilege and so erroneously divided the population into mortal and immortal, with a mortal king David and an immortal King Messiah, the one to be over the mortal population, and the other to be over the immortal one, but with the resurrected ones exercising authority (privilege) over the lowly mortal ones, etc. But despite all these errors, they give one good bit of advice: “search the scriptures for themselves.” That advice should have been the only words put into this article.

The name David (Beloved) identifies Christ

The name David means Beloved, and so when the Father says in the scriptures, “my servant David,” it is the same as if He were saying, “my servant Beloved,” or “my beloved servant.” The Beloved Servant of God the Father is Jesus Christ, who is also His Beloved Son, or, to put it another way, God’s Son David (Beloved.) Jesus Christ, then, is both the Beloved Son of God and also the Beloved Servant of God:

Yet it pleased the LORD [Jehovah the Father] to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD [Jehovah the Father] shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I [Jehovah the Father] divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)

The above passage is speaking of Jesus Christ, yet the Father calls Him “my righteous servant.” The prophetic use of the word “Beloved” or “David” in connection with a servant of God or a Son of God identifies Jesus Christ as the One in question. And so we get:

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: (Isaiah 5:1)

and

Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. (3 Nephi 11:7)

An analysis of the biblical name David

An excerpt from Abarim Publications’ Biblical Name Vault: David

The name David in the Bible
David is the youngest of eight (1 Samuel 16:10-13) or seven (1 Chronicles 2:15) sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite, and the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel. He was not the first king of Israel because that was Saul (1 Samuel 10:1). Saul, however, never managed to make peace in Israel.

Popular as this name is nowadays, in the Bible there is only one person named this way. Many names occur more than once, but David’s name was never repeated. Perhaps it was for venerative reasons that nobody named their child after the great king David of Israel. The Bible also only lists one Adam, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the list goes on.

The name David (Δαβιδ; Dabid) appears frequently in the New testament, but solely in constructions: Both Joseph and Jesus are called “son of David” (Matthew 1:20, 9:27, Mark 10:47), and Jesus is additionally called the “root of David” (Revelation 5:5, 22:16). The Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) and the “throne of David” (Luke 1:32), and His reign would rebuild the “tent of David” (Acts 15:16). He who is holy can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David” (Revelation 3:7). And once Paul refers to a statement occurring in Psalm 95:7, as being “in David,” meaning the work of David (Hebrews 4:7).

The name David occurs 59 times in the New Testament; SEE FULL CONCORDANCE.

Etymology and meaning of the name David
Most Bible translators and commentator will render the name David as Beloved, but as always with important names, the etymology of the name David is disputed. But we can’t help noticing the distinct similarity of this name with the Hebrew root דוד (dwd) that yields דוד (dod), generally meaning beloved. This word is also the Hebrew word for uncle — 1 Chronicles 27:32, for instance, speaks of דוד־דויד, or “David’s uncle”:

The entire web page on David can be read by clicking here.

Of particular note are these words:

The Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) and the “throne of David” (Luke 1:32), and His reign would rebuild the “tent of David” (Acts 15:16). He who is holy can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David” (Revelation 3:7).

I will quote those referenced scriptures. First Mark:

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:7-10)

Next, Luke:

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)

Notice the similarities of the above passage to this passage in Ezekiel:

And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (Ezekiel 37:24-25)

and also to this passage in Isaiah:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Next, Acts:

And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:13-17)

Finally, Revelation:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (Rev. 3:7)

These scriptures do, in fact, support the Abarim Publications’ view that: King Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” and the “throne of David,” and His reign would rebuild the “tent (tabernacle) of David,” and that King Messiah is the Holy One who can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David.”

From these scriptures it appears that Jesus Christ, “the son of David” and “the Root of David,” even the King Messiah, will get all things that were given to David, doesn’t it? Here’s that Joseph Smith quotation again, for comparison:

Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, & the priesthood that he received & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage

More on the key of David

I taught the following in the King Abaddon post:

Now, the angel (Elias) Gabriel possessed keys, and keys are only obtained during a mortal probation. Notice again what Joseph Smith said:

While speaking in 1839 to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and some Seventies prior to their leaving for missionary service, the Prophet Joseph Smith said: Noah, who is Gabriel, … stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.” (Quoted from History of the Church, 3:386. Cited in Noah, The Great Preacher of Righteousness by Joseph B. Romney, Ensign, February 1998.)

So, when we read that Elias (the angel Gabriel) possessed “the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things,” this means that Gabriel must have already had a mortal probation. The same principle applies to each and every angel that holds keys:

And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope! (D&C 128:21)

Therefore, given that Moroni, Michael, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John the Beloved, Gabriel, Raphael, Moses, Elijah and Elias all came to Joseph Smith as angels possessing keys, all of these men had already had mortal probations. They obtained their keys in mortality, and then retained them when they died or were translated. Joseph Smith also obtained the keys of the mysteries and sealed things during his mortal ministry, and he retains those keys still, even after his death.

Jesus Christ, then, received the special key of David during His earthly ministry. Now, notice what Isaiah prophesied about the key of David:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 22:20-25)

The above words were spoken to Shebna, a government official. In the prophecy, Eliakim is made into a type of Christ, who will replace Shebna. Eliakim means “God shall cause to arise.” The prophecy points forward to the literal fulfillment, in which Christ receives the robe of Shebna, the girdle of Shebna and the government of Shebna is committed into His hand. Additionally, He will have the key of the house of David (the key of David), but will be fastened as a nail in a sure place, a reference to the crucifixion of Christ. Notice, in particular, that Christ will be “for a glorious throne to his father’s house.” Thus it is Jesus that inherits David’s throne. He has a right to that throne not just because He is a descendant of David through Mary, but specifically because He, and He alone, possesses “the key to the house of David.”

There can be no other “Davidic Servant” coming forth in the end times, to reign upon David’s throne, because no other person, except Christ, possesses the key of David necessary to establish that throne forever. The key of David is given to one repository only. So, either there is a mortal “Davidic Servant” who reigns upon the end-time throne of David, or there is an immortal Branch King David who reigns upon the end-time throne of David. There cannot be two Davids reigning upon two thrones of David, nor can there be two Davids reigning upon the same throne, for to reign on that throne requires the key of David, which only one person possesses.

To determine, then, which personage reigns, the fictitious “Davidic Servant,” or the real King Messiah, we just need to answer this question: Which one has the key of David? And that’s easy to answer because the Revelation of Saint John the Divine reveals that Christ has the key of David, therefore He has the right to rule on that throne and He is the one who will “be for a glorious throne” to both His father David, and His Father Jehovah, for He will establish that throne forever.

Now, the only way for “the DS” cult to get around this fact is to make the claim that Jesus Christ Himself will come to earth, before the Second Coming, and commit the key of David into the hand of a mortal descendant of David, whose name is also David, so that the mortal servant can reign upon the throne of David. But there is no prophecy or scripture of any king that supports such a claim. Should someone come forth making that claim, it will be readily seen as baseless. The only evidence of a pre-Second Coming appearance of Christ is the meeting to take place at Adam-ondi-Ahman. But in that meeting, Jesus won’t be delivering keys into the hands of others, but all the repositories of the various keys, even all the servants of God who were given unique keys, such as this unique key of David that Jesus possesses, will deliver those keys back to Christ. So, He will be the one receiving keys, not committing them to others.

This fact alone, then, that Jesus Christ holds the key of David, invalidates the whole “Davidic Servant” error.

Abaddon’s key

Now, one last thing about keys before moving on. The fact that “keys are only obtained during a mortal probation” proves that king Abaddon is a servant of God.

The idea among latter-day saints that king Abaddon is the devil (which idea is put forth in the Bible Dictionary entry of Abaddon) is unsupported in the scriptures because king Abaddon is the angel who possesses the key of the bottomless pit:

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. (Revelation 9:1,11)

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1-3)

All keys are obtained during the mortal probation, therefore this angel cannot be the devil, for the devil will never have a mortal probation. Therefore, this must be a divine angel (as I have taught on this blog) who has already been born into mortality. Okay, back to the topic at hand.

The ancient David as a type

The boy David, who later became king David, was given the name David (Beloved) because he functioned as a type of King Messiah, as a Beloved King type. Even after David’s transgression, he still performed the kingly functions in righteousness, so that he continued being the Beloved King type. The end times is not when types are brought forth, but when the literal things the types are patterned after finally appear. Thus, the prophecies of the end times David, are not of another David type, but of the literal David, the one that the king David type was patterned after, even the One who would not fall into transgression.

The Davidic Servant is real; “the Davidic Servant” is not

The word “Davidic” means “of David.” In the scriptures, there is an end times Personage that is prophesied to come forth who is “of David,” meaning that He will be a descendant of the ancient David. This Personage is the Branch:

In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15)

The Branch, then, is a Branch “of David,” or, to put it another way, a Davidic Branch. This Branch is the same as the end-time Personage called in the scriptures “my servant David” or “David my servant.” Therefore, the name of this Personage is Beloved (David.) Thus, there is, indeed, a Davidic Branch Servant named David, and this Beloved Davidic Branch Servant is Jesus Christ.

In addition to the Branch (Jesus Christ) being Davidic, so is everything that He is associated with. The kingdom of David, the throne of David, the tent or tabernacle of David, the key of David, the house of David, etc., all these terms can be re-termed as: the Davidic kingdom, the Davidic throne, the Davidic tent or tabernacle, the Davidic key, the Davidic house, etc. All of these Davidic properties belong to Jesus alone.

There is no mortal branch of ancient David, whose name is also David, who reigns upon David’s throne in the last days, as king of mortal Israel. Such a personage is that figment of speculating Mormons’s imagination which is known as “the Davidic Servant.” I put this imaginary personage in quotation marks as “the Davidic Servant” to indicate that I am speaking of the fictional entity, and not of the real Davidic Servant, who is Jesus Christ.

“The Davidic Servant” is a misnomer

By taking the scriptures that speak of the end-time Branch of David (Christ) and the ones that speak of the end-time “my servant David”/”David my servant” (also Christ) and combining them with the scriptures that speak of the end-time Elias and his ministry, “the DS” cult has invented a fantastical figure which resembles aspects of both Christ and Elias, yet isn’t exactly like either one. Almost all of the scriptures used to bolster this professed, but fictional entity come from the ones that speak of Elias. But Elias isn’t like Christ, at all, and any attempt to make him appear to be and act like the Savior shows that “the DS” cult has no idea, whatsoever, about this end times servant.

For starters, Elias is not even said to be Davidic! His lineage is only spoken of as coming from Jesse, not David, and there is no place in the scriptures, anywhere, that indicates this man will be a descendant of David. Thus, the labeling of him as “the Davidic Servant” is a misnomer. There isn’t a shred of evidence that Elias is descended of David. In fact, as the rod/root of Jesse, Elias’s lineage is given as of Jesse and of the house of Joseph, which includes two tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh), but nothing is ever said of David.

I teach that Elias is the same Josephite mentioned in 2 Nephi chapter 3, who will be the one mighty that is raised up from among the posterity of Joseph the son of Lehi, and therefore Elias will be a Nephite of the same lineages had among that ancient people, namely: Judah, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Elias, as I teach him, is the destroying angel, even the king Destroyer (Abaddon), and as a descendant of Jesse, we can assume that Jesse named his eight sons prophetically and that the destroyer is prophetically linked to the name of one of those sons. This isn’t so unusual, for I, myself, named my own sons prophetically, according to the spirit of prophecy which was upon me, and so the meaning of their names will be manifest in their lives, and we also have evidence that Jesse named at least one son prophetically, because David, which means Beloved, was so named because through him would come God’s Beloved Son, King Messiah, thus making David a type. If Jesse, then, named David prophetically, then we might assume that he did the same with all his sons (as I did my own).

Is there any son of Jesse whose name points prophetically to the destroyer? Yes, in fact, there is. Jesse’s third son was named Shammah. And what does Shammah mean? It means “Waste; Appalling Desolation.” Why would a father name his son, “Desolation?” Well, if the king Destroyer would be coming through that child’s loins, it makes perfect prophetic sense to call him that.

The Nephites came from the Lehi (Manasseh)/Ishmael (Ephraim) group, but later they also combined with the Mulek (Judah) group. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and thus a direct descendant of David. So, we know that the lineage of David was had among the Nephites, but what about Shammah? Was his lineage also found among the Nephites? Perhaps:

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing. And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food. And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Alma 22:30-32)

We typically think that the land Desolation—which was far to the north, strangely enough (for king Abaddon’s kingdom will likewise be in a far country to the north)—was named because of the destruction of the Jaredites, and perhaps that is the case, or perhaps that’s not the case:

Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah. (Alma 8:7)

Shammah the son of Jesse may have had descendants among the Mulek party, and perhaps when they made their first landing, the descendant of Shammah put Shammah’s name (Desolation) upon the land. And where is the land Desolation in modern times? At least part of the land of the United States of America enters into the land Desolation. And where does Elias the destroyer come from? From Zion, which is found in the USA:

The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion (Psalms 110:2)

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; (AoF 1:10)

Which part of the USA will Elias come from? Likely that part which resides within the borders of the ancient land Desolation.

Now, the Lord hasn’t revealed these mysteries, as yet. But suffice it to say that there is no scriptural evidence that the end-time Elias is a descendant of David, therefore it is incorrect to refer to the end-time Elias servant as “the Davidic Servant.”

Addressing Gileadi

Avraham Gileadi is a part of the group that believes in “the Davidic Servant” error. Given that he is widely considered an authority on the writings of Isaiah, those who also believe in “the Davidic Servant” error feel that they are now in good company. Unfortunately for them, even if the whole world believed in “the Davidic Servant” error, that still wouldn’t make it any less wrong than it already is.

From Gileadi’s FAQ page on his Isaiah Institute web site, it states:

Do other prophets besides Isaiah prophesy of God’s endtime servant?

Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and others prophesy of God’s endtime servant who gathers Israel’s twelve tribes from dispersion and restores them to lands of inheritance on a parallel with the prophecies of Isaiah. As a descendant of David named David, God’s servant reunites Israel and Judah, builds the temple in Jerusalem, and establishes the political kingdom of God on the earth in preparation for Jehovah’s coming to reign among his elect people as King of Zion.

If Gileadi had left out the phrase “As a descendant of David named David” from the second sentence, the above would have been perfectly true and it would have been an apt description of part of Joseph-Nephi’s mission. But Gileadi shows himself as mixed up as the others by conflating the actual Davidic Servant (who is Jesus Christ) with the non-Davidic Servant forerunner (who is Joseph-Nephi) and by creating a non-existent entity named David who is a descendant of David of old, who does all the things Joseph-Nephi will do and who is not Jesus Christ.

Now, before I proceed, let me just say that Avraham Gileadi gets a lot right. I am actually quite impressed by how much he gets right. But in a sea of white, the single, solitary black spot gets all the attention, and so it is with me. I cannot help but hone in on the errors.

It is my belief that the correct things that Gileadi has come to are a result of diligent study and the use of the Jewish scriptural interpretation techniques. In other words, his writings and interpretations don’t come from the Holy Ghost. His teachings or interpretations aren’t manifested understandings, and so errors creep in, for no man-made interpretation technique is perfect.

Nevertheless, perhaps if he had had some of the keys I have given in this post, these errors would have been kept more or less at bay. For example, if only he had understood that special keys are obtained in mortality (as stated by Joseph Smith), then he would have known that Jesus Christ is the only One who could possibly be the Davidic Servant to reign upon the throne of David, because He is the only One who possesses the key of David. Thus, in the following passage of scripture, which speaks of a son reigning upon the throne of David forever, Gileadi would have instantly known that the passage speaks of Christ; but instead, he mistakes it as speaking of the fictional “Davidic Servant.”

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7, KJV)

For to us a child is born, a son appointed,
who will shoulder the burden of government.
He will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, One Mighty in Valor,
a Father for Ever, a Prince of Peace—
that sovereignty may be extended
and peace have no end;
that, on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
his rule may be established and upheld
by justice and righteousness
from this time forth and forever.
The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will accomplish it. (Isaiah 9:6-7, Gileadi’s translation)

Additionally, Gileadi believes that the KJV mistranslates the above verses, as he explains here:

Although Handel’s Messiah cites this prophecy of Isaiah in reference to Jesus—perhaps based in part on its mistranslation in the King James Version of the Bible—no scriptural writers do so because that would entirely remove it from its literary-scriptural context in the Book of Isaiah. As the exemplar of his people, Jehovah nevertheless embodies the divine attributes of counsel (Isaiah 25:1; 28:29); valor (1:24; 49:26); fatherhood (45:10; 63:16); and kingship (Isaiah 33:22; 43:15). Jehovah’s servant and his associates, too, therefore, evidence these same attributes (Isaiah 11:2; 13:3; 22:21; 46:11; 49:23).

It is strange that Gileadi would call this passage mistranslated by the KJV given that the same passage of Isaiah was found on the plates of Mormon and translated by Joseph Smith in a virtually identical manner as the KJV:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this. (2 Nephi 19:6-7)

If we are to pick a translation, surely the KJV wins over the Gileadi one in this passage, given that the Book of Mormon translation is word-for-word the same as the KJV, and because we know that Joseph Smith’s translation is both correct and divinely given.

Again, if Gileadi had understood that the name Jehovah could refer to each of the three members of the Godhead, he would not force every single scripture that speaks of Jehovah to refer to Jesus Christ alone. To illustrate my point, Gileadi goes on to say the following in the same commentary on this chapter of Isaiah:

Other Hebrew prophets, too, predict the millennial rule of a descendant of David named David who is not identical with Jehovah, Israel’s divine King (Isaiah 33:17, 22; 43:15), but who prepares the way for Jehovah’s coming (cf. Isaiah 40:3-5; 52:7): “They shall serve Jehovah their God and David their king, whom I will raise up to them” (Jeremiah 30:9); “I Jehovah will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them” (Ezekiel 34:24); “David my servant shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd. . . . and my servant David shall be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:24-25).

Here we see Gileadi’s inability to see that the name Jehovah in the passages refers to the Father, and not to the Son. The name David in the passages in fact refer to God’s Beloved, who is Christ.

A final example is from Isaiah 11: 1-5, which reads as follows in the KJV:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Gileadi translates this passage as follows:

A shoot will spring up from the stock of Jesse
and a branch from its graft bear fruit.
The Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon him—
the spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the spirit of counsel and of valor,
the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of Jehovah.
His intuition will be guided
by the fear of Jehovah;
he will not judge by what his eyes see,
nor establish proof by what his ears hear.
He will judge the poor with righteousness,
and with equity arbitrate for the lowly in the land;
he will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth
and with the breath of his lips slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be as a band about his waist,
faithfulness a girdle round his loins.

Joseph Smith said the following about this passage:

Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?

Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ. (D&C 113:1-2)

So, to be clearer, according to the Lord, as revealed to Joseph Smith, Christ is the one spoken of in verses two, three, four and five, as well as in verse one. But Gileadi sets this revelation completely aside, because he is stuck in his own interpretation, which he believes is correct. And so after citing verse two, he says:

Although all three messianic individuals in Isaiah’s olive tree allegory evidence the divine attributes here listed, grammatically they apply to the last one mentioned—the branchJehovah’s end-time servant. Word links confirm that identity: “My servant whom I sustain, my chosen one in whom I delight, him I have endowed with my Spirit; he will dispense justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1); “He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, One Mighty in Valor” (Isaiah 9:6); “Because of his knowledge, and by bearing their iniquities, shall my servant, the righteous one, vindicate many” (Isaiah 53:11).

Now, Gileadi is correct when he says, “grammatically they apply to the last one mentioned—the branch.” In other words, verse one mentions three individuals: the rod, the Stem and the Branch, but the last one mentioned is the Branch, and therefore the next verses (two to five) apply to the Branch. Yet Joseph Smith said that verses two to five apply to the Stem. Nevertheless, both Joseph Smith and Avraham Gileadi are correct because the Stem of Jesse and the Branch of David are one and the same individual: Christ.

Where Gileadi goes wrong is in his assumption that the Branch of David is “Jehovah’s end-time servant.” In other words, he assumes that the Branch is the end-time servant who prepares and restores all things. He says that “word links confirm that identity” and then cites Isaiah 42:1, which speaks of Joseph-Nephi; and he cites Isaiah 9:6, which speaks of Jesus Christ; and he cites Isaiah 53:11, which speaks of Jesus Christ. This shows how messed up one can get by falling into this “Davidic Servant” error, in which two distinct servants of God are conflated into a single, fictional entity.

And thus we see that it doesn’t matter how much scholarly knowledge you obtain, or how much diligence you apply in study, unless you are in possession of certain revealed keys, you will still fall into many errors, including this “Davidic Servant” error.

The gift of the word of knowledge is what is needed

The apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, who I quoted at the beginning of this post, has been shown to have been in actual possession of the gift of the word of knowledge, for his knowledge of these things far surpassed all the others. I myself also possess this same gift, and going back and reviewing what McConkie wrote I find myself amazed at just how much knowledge he was able to obtain using that gift. It is that gift that allows the scriptures to be understood and to have the things of God revealed, for God keeps His stuff in an unsearchable format:

Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God. (Jacob 4:8)

Through the use of this gift, then, all errors can be corrected, so that we may all end up having a correct understanding:

To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge. (D&C 46:18)

McConkie obviously made an attempt at a correction, or at least he gave the correct knowledge, but his correction didn’t stick. People persisted in “the Davidic Servant” just the same. He’s now dead and gone and nobody is attempting a correction. So with this post I will add knowledge to his correction, using my own gift, and who knows?, perhaps this time it will stick.

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The doctrine against dissent


I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:27)

Unity is required of the saints

We are commanded to “be one” (D&C 51:9) in Christ, even “as [Jesus is] one in the Father” (D&C 35:2), for the gospel principle of unity is patterned after the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, “which is one Eternal God” (Alma 11:44). The required oneness is to “be perfect” (2 Cor. 13:11), the saints being commanded to be “of one mind” (1 Pet. 3:8), “of one heart and of one soul” (Acts 4:32), “of one accord” (Philip. 2:2), of “one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity” (Mosiah 18:21), as “one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5), being “united in all things” (2 Ne. 1:21) and “united in mighty prayer and fasting” (3 Ne. 27:1).

The “one body in Christ” refers to the church of God, meaning that the saints have a “duty to unite with the true church” (D&C 23:7), to worship as a group and “agree upon [God’s] word” (D&C 41:2). This is a physical gathering of saints in which they are to “meet together often” (D&C 20:55,75).

Just as the resurrection of the dead will dress the naked spirits again, restoring the body “unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy” (D&C 138:17), so the physically gathered church, or corporate body of the church, is designed to never be divided into schisms, so that it becomes “a whole and complete and perfect union” (D&C 128:18).

Such unity is only to be of like things, thus the saints have been taught by Paul “that a believer should not be united to an unbeliever” (D&C 74:5) and every man of the church has been commanded by the Lord to “be alike among this people, and receive alike” (D&C 51:9).

The commandment to be one makes dissenting behavior a sin

There are nine instances of the word dissent in the scriptures, all of which occur in the Book of Mormon. The word never appears as a noun, only as a verb. It is also always portrayed as a sin.

For the modern reader, using modern dictionaries, the idea of dissenting behavior being a sin makes no sense, whatsoever. A review of the modern definitions and the definitions at the time of the publication of the Book of Mormon (taken from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) will quickly show why there is so much confusion on this issue.

According to the modern definition of the intransitive verb to dissent, it means “to withhold assent” or “to differ in opinion.” (Assent means “an act of agreeing to something especially after thoughtful consideration : an act of assenting : acquiescence, agreement”.) The verb has no religious connotation, however if we look at the noun dissent, we find that although it can be used generally to mean a “difference of opinion”, it also can be used more specifically to mean either “religious nonconformity,” “a justice’s nonconcurrence with a decision of the majority,” or “political opposition to a government or its policies.”

The current religious meaning (“religious nonconformity”) is a nonspecific version of what the word used to mean during the times of Joseph Smith. In Joseph’s time, to religiously dissent specifically meant “to differ from an established church, in regard to doctrines, rites or government.”

So, for example, if all the men who attend my ward dress in white shirts and ties (not because of church doctrines, rites or government, but just because that is the customary attire) and I attend wearing a blue shirt with no tie, I am guilty of nonconformity (and some might call it religious nonconformity since it is nonconformity to a custom that occurs in a religious setting), but not guilty of differing from the established doctrines, rites or government of my ward, for none of that gives a dress code for attending the ward. Dissent in the modern sense could be any religious nonconformity, regardless of how insignificant it is, whereas dissenting behavior in Joseph’s time specifically meant nonconformity to the doctrines, rites or government of an established church.

No one can righteously dissent from the true church of God

The scriptures brought forth by Joseph Smith teach that dissenting behavior is a sin, but this must be understood by the definition used in Joseph’s time. Here are all nine instances in which the word dissent is used in the scriptures, all of which are found only in the Book of Mormon:

And the people of Ammon did give unto the Nephites a large portion of their substance to support their armies; and thus the Nephites were compelled, alone, to withstand against the Lamanites, who were a compound of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, and all those who had dissented from the Nephites, who were Amalekites and Zoramites, and the descendants of the priests of Noah. (Alma 43:13)

And there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi exceedingly precarious and dangerous, notwithstanding their great victory which they had had over the Lamanites, and their great rejoicings which they had had because of their deliverance by the hand of the Lord. (Alma 46:7)

And now who knoweth but what the remnant of the seed of Joseph, which shall perish as his garment, are those who have dissented from us? Yea, and even it shall be ourselves if we do not stand fast in the faith of Christ.

And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words he went forth, and also sent forth in all the parts of the land where there were dissensions, and gathered together all the people who were desirous to maintain their liberty, to stand against Amalickiah and those who had dissented, who were called Amalickiahites. (Alma 46:27-28)

Nevertheless, they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their wives and their children should be massacred by the barbarous cruelty of those who were once their brethren, yea, and had dissented from their church, and had left them and had gone to destroy them by joining the Lamanites. (Alma 48:24)

Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you and come out in judgment against the Lamanites, when it is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred, yea, and it has been redoubled by those who have dissented from us, while your iniquity is for the cause of your love of glory and the vain things of the world? (Alma 60:32)

And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government, and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.

And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers. (3 Ne. 3:10-11)

Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them. (Hel. 5:35)

All dissenters from the true church of God are sinners

According to our modern dictionaries, a dissenter is “one that dissents”, and since we know what it means to religiously dissent, that means that a religious dissenter is one that does not religiously conform. But in the time of Joseph Smith, a dissenter was “one who separates from the service and worship of any established church.”

The words dissent and dissenters, as found in the standard works, carry the meanings the words had during the time of Joseph Smith. So, when we read in the Book of Mormon that there were people in the church who dissented, it doesn’t mean that there was a difference of opinion or general religious nonconformity, but that those who dissented were advocating a change in the church’s doctrines, rites or government. And when we read of dissenters from the church in the same record, it does not mean that they were just people who had a difference of opinion, but that they were people who had separated from the church and had begun performing worship services that were different from those of the church.

Unbelief is the cause of dissenting behavior

Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers. They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.

And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened. And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God. (Mosiah 26:1-4)

Although the above scripture speaks of non-members who never ended up joining the church, the dissenting process is the same for members of God’s church. Any believing member who chooses to begin to doubt the word of God will begin to dissent in his heart, meaning that he will begin to desire that the doctrines, rites and/or government of the church of God be changed (in conformity with his new belief system). This state of heart, in which the man spiritually separates himself from those who choose to not doubt the word of God, can lead to contention and disputations, and if not resolved by a restoration of belief (through repentance), ultimately will end in the member becoming a dissenter, so that he now physically separates from the body of the church and engages in worship services of another church or belief system. The Zoramites present a prime example of this process:

And it came to pass that as he [Korihor] went forth among the people, yea, among a people who had separated themselves from the Nephites and called themselves Zoramites, being led by a man whose name was Zoram—and as he went forth amongst them, behold, he was run upon and trodden down, even until he was dead. (Alma 30:59)

Now it came to pass that after the end of Korihor, Alma having received tidings that the Zoramites were perverting the ways of the Lord, and that Zoram, who was their leader, was leading the hearts of the people to bow down to dumb idols, his heart again began to sicken because of the iniquity of the people. (Alma 31:1)

Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them. But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God, and his statutes, according to the law of Moses. Neither would they observe the performances of the church, to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation. Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them. (Alma 31:8-11)

We see from this that Zoramite dissenters had separated themselves from both the church of God and also the Nephite nation itself, creating a new religion which rejected the established doctrines, rites and government of God. This separation occurred because they stopped believing in the things of God, as taught and practiced by God’s church:

Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ. (Alma 31:16)

All dissenters from the church of God make the same claim: that the church of God is apostate and thus its doctrines, rites or government must be modified in order to bring it back into God’s good graces. This claim may be made because the church does not sufficiently change with the times or it may be made because the church has made a change that the dissenters feel was not authorized by God. When the saints of God inevitably refuse to permit the dissenters from altering God’s current callings, laws and ordinances to conform to a more modern philosophy or to a more ancient or earlier practice, the dissenters separate and do their own thing, becoming a law unto themselves.

Now, from the perspective of the church body, to dissent is to advocate heresy and thus a dissenter is an apostate heretic (someone who advocates heresy and has separated from the church), whereas from the perspective of the dissenter, the church is too corrupt (apostate) to improve and thus must be abandoned and perhaps even actively criticized and fought.

We see from this that both sides make, essentially, the same claim: that the other party is in error and refuses to be corrected.

Unrepentant dissenters must be silenced and cut off

Unbelief is an infectious plague, that if left unchecked will affect the entire church body, causing both spiritual and temporal destruction to come upon the church. Spiritual destruction happens because unbelief and dissenting behavior are sins, thus subjecting the man to the devil’s power and captivation. And temporal destruction happens because the church body no longer qualifies for temporal deliverance from the Lord, which requires unity.

Because of these real dangers to the church, when a dissenting voice is heard among the church, it must be silenced as soon as possible. Thus we read,

And it came to pass that after there had been false Christs, and their mouths had been shut, and they punished according to their crimes; and after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among the people, and all these having been punished according to their crimes (WoM 1:15-16)

False Christs, false prophets, false preachers and false teachers cause people to doubt the word of God, creating dissenting behavior, which could grow into church schisms, in which people become dissenters, separating from the church of God. There are three valid (authorized) ways that men of God use to silence dissenting voices.

And there were no contentions, save it were a few that began to preach, endeavoring to prove by the scriptures that it was no more expedient to observe the law of Moses. Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures. But it came to pass that they soon became converted, and were convinced of the error which they were in, for it was made known unto them that the law was not yet fulfilled, and that it must be fulfilled in every whit; yea, the word came unto them that it must be fulfilled; yea, that one jot or tittle should not pass away till it should all be fulfilled; therefore in this same year were they brought to a knowledge of their error and did confess their faults. (3 Nephi 1:24-25)

So, the first way to silence false ideas and teachings is to have the high priests correct the errors, showing them their faults, so that such people repent of their sins and turn from their errors and become, again, converted to the true faith and doctrines and rites and government of God, confessing their faults. This first step allows people who made honest, doctrinal mistakes to self-correct and remain in safety with the body of the saints.

If, however, the false teachers do not repent, but persist in their dissenting behavior, endeavoring to preach and teach the same errors (heresies) to other members of the church, the high priests are required to shut their mouths by cutting them off from the church. Although the now non-member is free to preach as he sees fit to the members, excommunication removes his legitimacy in the eyes of the body, so that they may more readily see that the false teacher is in error, and thus should not be listened to.

Repentance, disfellowship or excommunication

In the modern church of God, the saints have been give three ways to deal with dissenting behavior: the leadership can correct the errors and those who dissent can repent and be restored to full fellowship, or, if the dissenter needs more time to repent and come to a proper understanding of the word of God, he may be disfellowshipped, so that he is not permitted to teach false doctrine to the church, until such time as he fully repents and becomes, again, a believer in God’s word, understanding it by the Spirit. Disfellowship really is for those who are still confused over the word of God, but who desire to come to an understanding that allows them to remain with the church. The last way is excommunication, which is for dissenters who refuse to repent or even acknowledge that they have done anything wrong.

The door is left open to return to the flock

Jesus told His twelve disciples, concerning the member of the church that was unworthy of partaking of the sacrament, because of transgression,

But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth. (3 Nephi 18:31-33)

Excommunication, then, is a true principle of the gospel, one which must be performed on all those church members who do not repent of their sins after they have been admonished of them. Following this commandment keeps those who are in charge of regulating the church justified before the Lord, and also keeps the flock safer from the effects of false teachings and bad examples, which effects or fruit is spiritual and temporal destruction. The commandment to excommunicate unrepentant sinners was also given to the modern church, with the same promise of justification for the leadership if they obey the same.

And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation. And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver—verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things. (D&C 64:12-14)

So, even if the judges (who are charged to judge whether the sinner will remain in the church) forgive the man who refuses to repent of his sins, and would rather release him without any discipline applied, doing so would break the commandment given to the leadership, of excommunicating (cutting off) unrepentant sinners. The only way to remain justified before the Lord is to obey the commandment and cut off all those who refuse to repent, regardless of what the sin is.

Nevertheless, after being cut off, they (the leadership) must keep an open door policy, allowing the dissenters who repent of their sins to come back into the fold.

A difference of opinion does not constitute dissenting behavior

Scriptural dissenting behavior deals only with church doctrines, rites and government. Some people, though, cannot differentiate between scriptural dissenting behavior and the modern, generic definition of dissent, which merely means “a difference of opinion.” So any censuring they see, of any kind, is viewed as morally wrong, a violation of one’s right to free speech, as put down in the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The problem with that view, is that a church is not a public institution, but a private one, and like all private institutions, it has certain rules which its membership is expected to obey.

We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship. (D&C 134:10)

A case in point: Korihor

In December of 2011, I wrote on the Times and Seasons blog the following:

Korihor was not a religious freedom advocate battling an oppressive central government.

Korihor was a liar couching his lies under the guise of belief. He did this because liars were punished, it being against the law to lie (see Alma 1:16-17.) So, he pretended to preach according to his belief. Everyone who heard him preach, knew he was lying, for he told blatant lies (see Alma 30:35) but pretended it was merely his belief. He was repeatedly bound and taken before the authorities because it was obvious to everyone that he was breaking the law by lying, but no one knew what to do with him because of his stubbornness in always couching it in belief, for the law had no hold upon anyone for their belief. In other words, atheists had freedom in their society, but not pretended atheists, only people who truly believed that there was no God. Korihor, though, from his speech, revealed himself to be a liar and showed that his intention was to merely deceive the people.

Now the text clearly shows that this was Korihor’s crime: lies. Repeatedly when questioned by Alma, the topic of lies is brought up. He is on trial for lying, or intentionally deceiving people, which was a punishable crime among them. The people of Ammon, who first bound him, “were more wise” (Alma 30:20) than those at Zarahemla because they were more righteous. The Nephites at Zarahemla could see that he was a liar and deceiver, but they just let him go about breaking the law and deceiving the people. Not so with the Lamanite people of Ammon.

Again, Korihor was bound and sent up to the authorities with testimony of his lies, for there must be witnesses. Nevertheless, they couldn’t do anything to him because he pretended he was entitled to his own beliefs, therefore, he was, each time, set free, outside of the lands that he preached among, until he finally came to Alma, who, through the power of God, put a stop to his destructive work of lies.

I could have worded that a bit better than I did, but it’s good enough for the point I am trying to make, which is that once you break the laws of a society, whether it is a public society like the Nephites or a private society like the church of God, you become subject to whatever penalty is attached to that broken law. In the case of religious dissenting behavior and dissenters, freedom of speech or of the press is allowed only insofar as you do not transgress the laws of God by your speech or writings. Once you are found promoting wickedness or falsehoods by your spoken or written words, the church has jurisdiction over you and also a responsibility to censure you (to shut your mouth) in the prescribed, scriptural manner (correction and repentance, disfellowship or excommunication). In public society, freedom of speech or of the press does not grant you the right to commit slander or libel.

What saints do when unrepentant sinners are around

We are free, then, to use our agency to do good, but when we use it to commit evil by our speech and the words we write, we come under condemnation of God and it is every saint’s duty to denounce and resist all the evils that are observed by them. This is why the witnesses came forth during the first trial of the original Mormon church:

And now in the reign of Mosiah they [the unbelievers] were not half so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissensions among the brethren they became more numerous.

For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church.

And it came to pass that they were brought before the priests, and delivered up unto the priests by the teachers; and the priests brought them before Alma, who was the high priest.

Now king Mosiah had given Alma the authority over the church.

And it came to pass that Alma did not know concerning them; but there were many witnesses against them; yea, the people stood and testified of their iniquity in abundance. (Mosiah 26:5-9)

Now, I will unfold this saintly duty and peculiarity a little farther down in this post, as it cannot be overemphasized.

Pahoran wrote:

Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God. (Alma 61:14)

But Jesus commanded:

But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (3 Ne. 12:39)

Which instructions are the saints of God supposed to obey? Both. (I only mention this in case some commenter says, “But Jesus said to not resist evil! So Pahoran was wrong!”) I will not explain this seeming contradiction as that is not the topic of this post. Just suffice it to say that a saint typically does not shut his mouth at iniquity, unless the Holy Ghost constrains him not to speak.

The following instructions were given to saints:

And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.

And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.

And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many.

And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God.

If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.

And thus shall ye conduct in all things. (D&C 42:88-93)

Who does the chastening? Who does the rebuking? Who determines who has offended publicly or in secret? Who delivers the unrepentant sinners to the law of God? The saints do. More on this later.

Re: those who learn and obey the whats only if the whys suit them

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

Doing all things that the Lord commands includes bridling the tongue (see James 3), which means that the spoken and written word must likewise be put under gospel constraints. Intentionally false (heretical) teachings, then, break the commandments.

Some people in the church say that mortality is a school to learn the things of God, as if it were knowledge that saved us. They emphasize that we ought not to be blindly obedient, but ought to obey rationally, with understanding of why we are commanded to do whatever it is we are commanded to do. They are more concerned with the why than with the what.

Such people, if they cannot understand the reason behind a commandment or doctrine, may end up openly questioning its divinity. In other words, they may start to propose a theory that the doctrine or commandment has a non-divine source and begin to teach it among the people. If confronted by a saint and told that the alternate teaching is heretical, the proponent may do as Korihor and say it is merely a belief or a hypothesis which may or may not be true, and that there is no harm in questioning things which may be false. In other words, he or she will claim, like Korihor, that this is not a teaching, but just an interesting idea: to consider that a doctrine or commandment or teaching of the church is man-made and not divinely given.

Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true….And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ…I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe. (Alma 30:24,26,48)

Such heresies come from putting knowledge before faith and requiring that one know and understand something before one will believe it to be true.

Although it is true that man is here to learn, he is only here to learn obedience to God.

And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer. (D&C 105:6)

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Heb. 5:8)

Separating goats from sheep is a gospel principle based on obedience

Obedience to the whats, not knowledge of the whys, is the deciding factor in determining where we go.

and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate (Abr. 3:26)

So God separates those who keep His commandments from those who don’t, and puts them into separate kingdoms. This is why the church is charged with excommunicating all those who do not repent of their sins. This separation, or division, is based upon the heavenly pattern. Just as there was a separation in heaven between the 1/3 and the 2/3, and the 1/3 were cast out, so here on earth more separation is commanded to occur, for those who transgress the law of God and do not repent.

But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted (Alma 42:22)

Once you break the law, the punishment is not immediately inflicted, but you are granted a space to repent, resulting in two sets of commandments. The first commandment is to keep the law, which, if you disobey, you then get a second commandment, which is to repent. Only when you refuse to take advantage of repentance and the atonement, does the law require that you be cut off from the church by excommunication.

Cutting off the people by excommunication furthers the work of division that the Savior spoke of.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. 10:34)

Jesus gathers his elect into one body and then uses his sword to divide the sheep from the goats, and the wheat from the tares, pruning the body from time to time as fruit withers upon the branch, showing its true nature. In other words, the gospel net draws all sorts of fish into the church, and then it gets sorted, according to what type of fish it shows itself to be. If a man appears to be a sheep, or wheat, or good fish or fruit, he is to remain with the saints, but if he shows himself as a goat, a tare, rotten fruit or spoiled fish, he is to be cast out. The test of goathood, or tarehood, or rottenness is two-fold: does the man obey the commandments? If yes, he stays. If no, does he repent of his sins? If yes, he stays. If no, he must be cast off.

Pruning (excommunication) is to take place on an as needed basis, in order that the gospel tree does not perish.

Church trials

Before anyone can be excommunicated in this church, they must first be tried for their membership. As everyone is considered innocent before being proven guilty, the Lord has given in His scriptures the divine pattern of church trials and courts.

There are three types of church courts or trials that the scriptures speak of, and six types of judges.  The pattern is designed around checks and balances, in order that power is not concentrated in the hands of any one person or group and so that everyone who is accused has a fair, balanced trial, in which everyone’s rights are upheld.

The six types of judges

The witnesses

Two or three (or more) church members in good standing become judges when they act as witnesses. This is the law of witnesses and it is based upon the righteousness and holiness of a saint. It is the saints who will judge the nations and all things pertaining to Zion, for they are sanctified (holy) and are duly qualified to determine whether someone has transgressed.

The bishop

The bishop judges the good standing of the membership, and thus the saints, because a bishop is to receive an accounting of everyone’s stewardship.

The two elders

The two elders judge the case laid before them by the two or three (or more) saintly witnesses, the bishop attesting to their good standing. If there are sufficient witnesses, the two elders judge whether the accused has confessed and repented. If the accused refuses, then the elders pass judgment upon the accused, as required by the scriptures.

The church congregation

After the two elders come to a guilty verdict, they must lay the case before the congregation, which then must take a vote to sustain the action or oppose it. If the majority agrees, the decision is ratified and valid and the accused is excommunicated. If the majority disagrees, no action is taken. The congregation, then, judges the decision of the two elders, and decides whether it was correct or not.

The stake president

The stake president, like the two elders, judges the case laid before him by the witnesses and makes a decision concerning which party is right or whether both are wrong.

The high council

The twelve high council members vote to ratify (make valid) the decision of the president. If a majority does not agree with his decision, it does not go through.

The three types of church courts or councils

Bishop’s court or council

The bishop is to receive an accounting of everyone’s stewardship and is to know who is consecrating properties and moneys, or donating funds as tithing or fast offerings, etc., to the Lord. This gives him a unique perspective into who is and is not a wise and just steward. Nevertheless, his judgment and jurisdiction are not independent but only activate with just testimony.

And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children; and to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God. (D&C 58:17-18)

And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church (D&C 42:32)

And also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors, whom he has chosen or will choose among the elders of the church. (D&C 107:72)

Because of this, a sinner who confesses to a bishop cannot be tried by the bishop, nor his testimony used against him, because the testimony is of a sinner, not a saint. In other words, only the testimony of the just (someone who hasn’t broken the laws) can be used in trials. Nevertheless, with just testimony, the bishop and bishopric are authorized to judge only whether someone is in good standing or not, and is contributing to the upkeep of the poor and the kingdom. In other words, the bishop’s jurisdiction deals primarily in temporal matters.

Elder’s court or council

The elders’ jurisdiction to judge is activated by witnesses coming forth and testifying of the wickedness of some member. The bishop, if available, is required to be present that he may attest to the good standing of the witnesses. If two witnesses in good standing testify against a member, that is sufficient to condemn. If there is no confession and repentance afterward, the elders must lay it before the members, to ratify the excommunication. The elder’s council is designed to be used for matters of transgression only, to try a person for his or her membership.

High priests’ court or council

This court, known as a high council, is to settle difficult and important matters, and like the other courts, only receives jurisdiction when two or more saints testify as witnesses. For example, if there is a property dispute, one saying that his property line extends 15 feet down the hill and his neighbor saying that it only extends 10 feet, the high council can be used to address these matters, if there are sufficient witnesses.

Scriptural patterns are no longer followed

The above are the scriptural patterns, which are no longer precisely followed. For example, the elder’s council has been completely done away with. Instead, the high council now tries the men of the church who have had Melchizedek priesthood conferred on them, and the bishopric tries everyone else, for membership. Nothing outside of transgression is brought to trial anymore. You can’t take a property dispute to the church courts and receive a judgment. Instead, everyone is told to settle the matter amongst themselves, or to use the man-made court system.

The checks and balances that were present in the three-court pattern have been removed and power has been concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. Many of the rights guaranteed to all the members have been weakened or altogether removed. If we compare the scripturally revealed pattern of church courts with today’s current practice, it can plainly be seen that today’s practice and procedure makes the word of God, as written in the scriptures, of none effect, effectively removing the justice that was inherent in the original pattern. In other words, the current church court system is no longer based upon just principles, but is corrupt.

Church courts and the rights of a member

Disfellowship and excommunication is to occur in the church according to prescribed laws given of God in the scriptures. The procedure itself is divine and designed to preserve the rights of every accused member in the church, that justice prevail at all times. As I explained in another post, the Bill of Rights may be used in a church setting to protect one’s rights:

Because the Lord has approved of, or justified, the Bill of Rights, latter-day saints are fully authorized to include it as part of their scriptural canon. This is not to say that it is scripture, for it was not written by the power of the Holy Ghost, nor does it contain the revealed words of God, nevertheless, as an inspired and approved writing, it may be used to defend or safeguard one’s rights in a church setting.

The Fifth Amendment says,

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The twelve high councilors are, essentially, a type of grand jury, charged with investigating the merits of any accusations, witnesses and evidence. Their duty is to judge whatever is presented to them according to the canonized word of God. Church courts, then, were intended by God to incorporate this principle.

An accused latter-day saint cannot be a witness against himself because according to the law of God, only church members in good standing can act as witnesses. A confession, then, is insufficient to convict. Church courts, as detailed in the scriptures, cannot use someone’s confessed testimony as evidence against them, yet that is exactly what is done today by the church bishops, and also for high councils (disciplinary councils), if the accused allows the testimony into evidence. Such practices are completely at odds with the word of God.

The Wikipedia says this about due process:

Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person. Typically, “Due process” means 1) NOTICE, generally written, but some courts have determined, in rare circumstances, other types of notice suffice. Notice should provide sufficient detail to fully inform the individual of the decision or activity that will have an effect on his/her rights or property or person. 2) right to GRIEVE (that being the right to complain or to disagree with the governmental actor/entity which has decision making authority) and 3) the right to APPEAL if not satisfied with the outcome of the grievance procedure. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due-process violation, which offends against the rule of law.

The church court system is supposed to incorporate the principals of due process, requiring notice, granting a right to grieve and also to appeal. Current practice has kept these safeguards more or less intact. Now let’s turn to the Sixth Amendment.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

All of these principles are supposed to be incorporated into church courts. The trials are supposed to be speedy and are supposed to be public (when they are presented to the church congregation for a sustaining or opposing vote, which no longer happens). The jury, which is the 12 high councilors, are supposed to be impartial, which is often no longer the case. The accused is to be tried locally, in his branch, ward or stake, where the sins were allegedly committed. (Trials are still local, but accusations may come from outside of the branch, ward or stake, such as from Salt Lake.) The accused is to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. (This still happens.) The witnesses are to testify in front of the accused during the trial. (The law of witnesses, to my knowledge, has been almost completely phased out.) The accused has the right to call witnesses in his favor. (This is still allowed.) And lastly, one half of the high councilors that speak are to be the advocates of the accused. (This no longer happens.)

There is also the Seventh Amendment:

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

All high councils were designed to be, in fact, trials by jury, requiring a ratification vote by the high councilors to validate the president’s decision. This is no longer the case. In current practice, the stake president can convict regardless of what the other men say about the case. Therefore, the right to trial by jury has been denied to the saints. But this right is found in the scriptural pattern, like the others listed above.

So, we see from this that the church court system, as detailed in the revelations, incorporates many of the same principles found in the Bill of Rights.

D&C 42 and D&C 102

The patterns of the two main court (trial) systems, the elders’ council and the high council, are given in D&C 42 and 102.

D&C 42:78-93

Section 42 gives the pattern for the elders’ council, which dealt specifically with transgression, beginning with verse 78 through verse 93.

Verse 78 states that every church member must obey the church commandments and keep their church covenants.

And again, every person who belongeth to this church of Christ, shall observe to keep all the commandments and covenants of the church.  (D&C 42:78)

Now, that is the standard (obeying commandments and keeping covenants). But what does the church do if it transgresses? The previous section (41) said the following, but did not give the procedure for how one should be cast out or judged unworthy:

He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you; for it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom should be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine. (D&C 41:5-6)

So, the rest of section 42 gives instructions on what the church should do when someone transgresses, or how to go about casting him or her off. We learn in verses 80-82 that when there is transgression in the church, the transgressors are to be tried in a church court trial before two elders of the church, and that if there are two church witnesses, that the accused shall be (not may be) condemned, and that after condemnation the congregation is to be informed of the case and of the decision and they are to vote on the matter by the raising of their hands, the Lord expecting them to uphold the decision and testimony of the witnesses:

And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better. But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. And if it can be, it is necessary that the bishop be present also.  (D&C 42:80-82)

We also learn that the bishop needs to be present, if possible.

The next verse (83) basically says that verses 80-82 is the pattern for all church trials for membership.

And thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you.  (D&C 42:83)

Verses 79-87 give the pattern for dealing with transgression in the church as follows: if a man breaks a law of the land, he is to be delivered up unto the law of the land, and if he breaks the law of God, he is to be tried in a church court.

Verses 88-89 explain that no member is to be tried in a church court unless he has offended someone and been confronted and rebuked and has refused to confess, repent and be reconciled. Also, that the first part of the trial is to take place in a private meeting with the elders, so that the accused has an opportunity to confess, repent and seek reconciliation, avoiding any judgment and embarrassment in front of the congregation. The second part of the trial (in front of the congregation) only takes place if the accused refuses to repent.

Verses 90-92 explain that public or open offenses require public or open rebuking, while secret offenses require secret rebuking.

Lastly, verse 93 says that this is the pattern in all things for behavior concerning rebuking, chastisement, offenses, confession, repenting, reconciliation, and church trials.

And thus shall ye conduct in all things.  (D&C 42:93)

D&C 102

Trials for membership due to transgression were designed by the Lord to be the jurisdiction of the local elders and congregation, since they would have much more knowledge about the individuals involved (accused and accusers) than would the high councilors and stake president, who potentially could live elsewhere, in another part of the stake. On the other hand, trials about other matters, such as property disputes and other similar matters, were designed by the Lord to be the jurisdiction of the high council because they would not have intimate knowledge of the details of the local disputes, and therefore would be more likely to be impartial judges, the outcomes not affecting them one way or another.

That said, let’s examine section 102. The heading to Doctrine and Covenants section 102 reads:

Minutes of the organization of the first high council of the Church, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 17, 1834. The original minutes were recorded by Elders Oliver Cowdery and Orson Hyde. The Prophet revised the minutes the following day, and the next day the corrected minutes were unanimously accepted by the high council as “a form and constitution of the high council” of the Church. Verses 30 through 32, having to do with the Council of the Twelve Apostles, were added in 1835 under Joseph Smith’s direction when this section was prepared for publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Although D&C 102 is not a revelation, it contains the information on how the first high council was organized and operated, which organization came of revelation, and which operation was given by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. So, although we don’t have the pattern dictated directly by the Spirit, we do have a recording of the pattern (the minutes) as witnessed by two men who were present when the pattern was shown. The minutes were later corrected by Joseph, so we can be sure they are reliable.

As I said before, the modern procedures for how church disciplinary councils are operated render the word of God of none effect, making modern courts fundamentally unjust. The error comes from a misreading of section 102, which gives the “form and constitution of the high council”, to be followed by all high councils.

Okay, so let me unfold the errors.

Modern church disciplinary councils operate under color of law

The following document,

Church Disciplinary Councils

gives the current procedures used in these courts. Here are a couple of quotes which manifest the errors:

“In a stake disciplinary council, the stake president is assisted by twelve high councilors. Their role is easily misunderstood. Uninformed persons are tempted to liken the high council to a jury. In view of the not well understood instructions in section 102 of the Doctrine and Covenants, there is also a tendency to view individual high councilors as prosecutors or defenders. Neither of these comparisons is appropriate. Members of the high council are present to “stand up in behalf of the accused, and prevent insult and injustice’ (Doc. & Cov 102:17). In other words, they are to give added assurance that the evidence is examined in its true light and that the procedures and treatment of the accused are consistent with equity and justice. Their roles are illumination and persuasion, not advocacy or decision.” (Dallin H. Oaks)

“After hearing any additional comments from the high council, the stake presidency withdraws from the council room to confer in private. After consultation and prayer, the stake president makes the decision and invites his counselors to sustain it. The stake presidency then returns and announces the decision to the high council. The stake president asks the high councilors as a group to sustain his decision. The high council cannot veto the decision; it is binding even if it is not sustained unanimously.” (Church Handbook of Instructions)

Neither of these quotes is correct. Or, in other words, they are correct in that the modern church procedure operates as they state it does, but they are not correct in that the procedure they use is entirely at odds with the written word of God.

Here is what the section actually says,

Whenever a high council of the church of Christ is regularly organized, according to the foregoing pattern, it shall be the duty of the twelve councilors to cast lots by numbers, and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first, commencing with number one and so in succession to number twelve.

Whenever this council convenes to act upon any case, the twelve councilors shall consider whether it is a difficult one or not; if it is not, two only of the councilors shall speak upon it, according to the form above written.

But if it is thought to be difficult, four shall be appointed; and if more difficult, six; but in no case shall more than six be appointed to speak. (D&C 102:12-14)

So everybody picks a number out of a hat, from one to twelve. If the case is easy, just two men speak; if difficult, four men speak; and if really difficult, six speak. The rest do not speak, but just listen.

The accused, in all cases, has a right to one-half of the council, to prevent insult or injustice.

And the councilors appointed to speak before the council are to present the case, after the evidence is examined, in its true light before the council; and every man is to speak according to equity and justice.

Those councilors who draw even numbers, that is, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, are the individuals who are to stand up in behalf of the accused, and prevent insult and injustice. (D&C 102:15-17)

In behalf of

Now, here is where brother Dallin gets it wrong (and shame on him!, since he’s supposed to be a lawyer). The expression “to stand up in behalf of the accused” means “to stand up as an advocate of the accused.”

BEHALF, n. behaf. [See Behoof.]

1. Favor; advantage; convenience, profit; support, defense, vindication. The advocate pleads in behalf of the prisoner. The patriot suffers in behalf of his country.
2. Part; side; noting substitution, or the act of taking the part of another; as, the agent appeared in behalf of his constituents, and entered a claim.

AD’VOCATE, n. [L. advocatus, from advoco, to call for, to plead for; of ad and voco, to call. See Vocal.]

1. Advocate, in its primary sense, signifies, one who pleads the cause of another in a court of civil law. Hence,
2. One who pleads the cause of another before any tribunal or judicial court, as a barrister in the English courts. We say, a man is a learned lawyer and an able advocate.
3. One who defends, vindicates, or espouses a cause, by argument; one who is friendly to; as, an advocate for peace, or for the oppressed.

AD’VOCATE, v.t. To plead in favor of; to defend by argument, before a tribunal; to support or vindicate.

All of that is from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, showing that this is the very meaning of the phrase, contrary to what brother Dallin would have us believe.

The reason why brother Dallin and the other church leaders feel the need to wrest this scripture into saying something it isn’t saying is because they have transfigured the high council into something it was never intended to be: a church court dealing with transgression and trials for church membership. So, they cannot conceive of a righteous man advocating the cause of someone who could be an unrepentant sinner, like the lawyers do. (Jesus is our advocate with the Father only if we are penitent, for the impenitent do not have Him as their advocate.)  The thought of advocating impenitence, then, is understandably repulsive to them, so they simply interpret the scripture another way, to make it work according to their procedure. But the very words themselves do not fit.

High councilors could advocate the cause of the accused because these were not meant to be matters dealing with transgression, but merely “important difficulties.” In other words, disputes over this and that private matter. In such cases, the accused may be right, or may be wrong. The high councilors who were chosen by lot to speak, could put themselves in the place of the accused, for they weren’t attempting to excuse sin, but to show a private matter from the perspective of the accused.

Veto power

The CHI says that the high council cannot veto the stake president’s decision, but that is flat out wrong.

After the evidences are heard, the councilors, accuser and accused have spoken, the president shall give a decision according to the understanding which he shall have of the case, and call upon the twelve councilors to sanction the same by their vote.

But should the remaining councilors, who have not spoken, or any one of them, after hearing the evidences and pleadings impartially, discover an error in the decision of the president, they can manifest it, and the case shall have a re-hearing.

And if, after a careful re-hearing, any additional light is shown upon the case, the decision shall be altered accordingly.

But in case no additional light is given, the first decision shall stand, the majority of the council having power to determine the same. (D&C 102:19-22)

Here is the meaning of the word sanction, from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

SANC’TION, v.t. To ratify; to confirm; to give validity or authority to.

Thus, the twelve high councilors vote to ratify, confirm, give validity or authority to the stake president’s decision. Without such validation, the president’s decision is non-binding. That is what ratification is all about.

Unanimity is not required for ratification, only a majority vote. In other words, the majority of the council has power to determine whether the first decision shall stand, as well as whether there is no additional light given. The reason for the re-hearing is not because some councilors disagree, or even that one councilor disagrees, with the president’s decision, but because one or more of them think there may have been an error, meaning that the stake president overlooked something. This is why the section talks about additional light.

Impartiality

But should the remaining councilors, who have not spoken, or any one of them, after hearing the evidences and pleadings impartially, discover an error in the decision of the president, they can manifest it, and the case shall have a re-hearing. (D&C 102:20)

IMP`ARTIAL, a. [in and partial, from part, L. pars.]

1. Not partial; not biased in favor of one party more than another; indifferent; unprejudiced; disinterested; as an impartial judge or arbitrator.
2. Not favoring one party more than another; equitable; just; as an impartial judgment or decision; an impartial opinion.

Current church practice in church courts creates a conflict of interest. The witnesses who present evidence or who make accusations and bear testimony, are biased, but the high council and stake presidency is supposed to be unbiased and impartial. That requires that none of them can act as witnesses, nor make accusations. Any church court that has any of the councilors or any of the stake presidency acting as a witness or making accusations, in any degree of bias, cannot be called impartial and thus is nothing but a farce.

Guilty until proven penitent is a bastardization of the law

Another practice in the church court system is the assumption of guilt upon the accused. In the Lord’s law, every saint is innocent until proven guilty, but the modern church court procedure assumes the accused is guilty and thus that the accused, in order to be in God’s good graces, must confess his sin and show penitence before the council, otherwise the council will see him as an impenitent sinner, instead of as a penitent sinner, and will have to apply the penalty the Lord’s law requires. This practice makes all those who say they are innocent of any charges appear impenitent, even if they really are innocent.

Evidence alone is not enough

It is called the law of witnesses for a reason. Evidence of wrongdoing, without an eyewitness testifying, is insufficient. The witnesses are the saints and it takes a saint to condemn anyone. Also, every word must be established by two or three witnesses. So if someone in the church, for example, publishes some literature or book, but none of the saints are offended by it or bring up accusations against the author, the high council has no jurisdiction to lay charges against the author, nor does the stake presidency, nor the bishopric. Charges or accusations can only come from a saint’s testimony and it requires two saints’ testimonies for any of these men to obtain jurisdiction to bring a judgment against a member. The Lord made it this way because it is the jurisdiction of His saints to have the first and final word, judging both the nations of the earth and also Zion.

Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations.

For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion.

And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.

And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead. (D&C 64:37-40)

The saints are given free reign to judge all things, both inside and outside the church, including all the leaders from top (apostles and prophets) to the bottom (bishops). The word of two or more saints against any man, woman or child of age in this church condemns that person, regardless of his or her office.

Excommunication is supposed to be a congregational affair

Excommunication (cutting off a person from the church) is in similitude to the cutting off from the presence of the Lord which will happen to all the sons of perdition at the last day. Since that last act of cutting off is, in actuality, a spiritual death, even a second death, cutting off is representative of death. In other words, excommunication represents the death penalty, or capital punishment. Only those who do not repent receive this penalty.

The authority to inflict (the similitude of) death upon a sinner was never meant or designed by God to be in the hands of one man (a stake president) nor three men (the stake presidency), nor twelve men (the high council). The final decision was meant to be in the hands of the saints who make up the congregation.

But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. (D&C 42:81)

Without such congregational ratification, we end up with secret trials like those of the Gadianton robbers.

Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death. (3 Ne. 6:23)

Let the saints do their duty

It is the duty of a saint to lay charges, make accusations and bear witness against all wickedness they see. If they see (scripturally-defined) dissenting behavior, they will resist it and seek to silence it. They are the Lord’s anointed and the only ones authorized to condemn; not the bishop, or high council or stake presidency. (See Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.)

And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ. (Moroni 6:7)

And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better. But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. (D&C 42:80-81)

It is right and proper for them to prune the church and bear witness against unrepentant sinners. They would be remiss in their duty if they shut their mouths at the sight of wickedness. So do not harp on them or put obstacles in the way of their duty, otherwise they will end up condemning you.

The purpose of this post

I wrote this post to show that, according to the scriptural definition, there is no such thing as a sinless dissenter; that the church is commanded to be one; that dissenters should be silenced; and that excommunication is a divine principle. I never expected to get into the unrighteousness of current church court procedure. I never expected or intended to judge the courts and find them “wanting in the balance” (see Dan. 5:27). But I did and that’s that. Nevertheless, despite the courts being corrupt because they do not conform to the divine pattern, to dissent is still a sin, all dissenters still should be silenced, unrepentant sinners still must be cut off from the church and excommunication of unrepentant sinners is still a righteous thing to do.

The question that remains, then, is what do we do about the courts? How can they be reclaimed and made right and just again, according to God’s revealed pattern? What steps must be taken by saints, working in unison (as one in Christ) within the stakes and acting on the promptings of the Holy Ghost, to administer “judicial reform” and bring the courts back into conformity with God’s laws? I don’t, as yet, have an answer to these questions. But there is one thing that I am certain of: although the institutionalization of the current church court procedures, in defiance of the written word, poses an obstacle to change, God’s saints have power through faith to rebuke anything they deem offensive, and correct anything they deem incorrect, whether within or without the church, for it is their duty and prerogative to judge all things. So I guess it just comes down to this: will they also judge the church courts and find them wanting?

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THE MIRACLE OF FORGIVENESS & KIMBALL’S CADILLAC – Pt. 2


Later on Kimball’s spirit would continue the confession. When the following April rolled around, I felt Spencer’s presence return. He drew my mind to some pretty nasty dirt which had been swept under the rug. But the rug was lifted, revealing things from President Kimball’s past life that his higher self was not too pleased with. Apparently, in April of 1977, when Mike and I were both just free flying little orbs of light, not yet fully focused into twinkles in our dads’ eyes, there was some foul business afoot in Salt Lake City, Utah. Spencer W. Kimball found himself involved in a tangled triangle of Church, State, and Free Agents. A white man by the name of Douglas A. Wallace, who had acted on orders from the Holy Spirit to ordain Larry Lester, a non-LDS, black man to the Priesthood, now sought an audience with Kimball. He had been rather relentless in his attempts over the course of two General Conferences of the Church. After a year of legal actions and excommunication by the courts of the Church, this High Priest was just as determined as ever in his mission. The Church President gave counsel to his fears, likely listening to his brethren of little faith, who felt it best to enlist the protective services of the Salt Lake Police Department. The so-called General Authorities contacted “the authorities”, their joint feauxthority folding under paranoia in the presence of true authority. Brother Wallace made it publically known that he came in peace but was, nonetheless, placed under surveillance at the request of the First Presidency of the LDS Church.

In the early morning hours on Sunday, April 3rd, during the second day of the springtime Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in ’77, while on the stakeout, Detective David W. Olson, was accidentally but critically wounded when his partner’s weapon discharged and left Olson paralyzed from a single shot to the neck. Both the Church and the Police Department initially denied that the undercover officer had been keeping surveillance on the Mormon dissident. After a few days the P.D. eventually admitted the truth but the Church remained silent. Detective Olson was very distraught over the matter and would end up committing suicide in 1980. With bitter sarcasm and desperate depression in his voice he stated:

“I would also like to thank Spencer W. Kimball for his incorrect press release concerning the police involvement combined with the LDS church’s efforts to restrict Douglas A. Wallace from the temple grounds, specifically the Tabernacle, on April 3, 1977. “His denial of these actions is wrong. Any man who can take such actions and still call himself a prophet deserves more than I to be confined to this wheelchair.”

But again, I digress. Or should I say, converge? Everything is connected and ‘this’ always ties in with ‘that’. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you some ‘bad fruit’. All of this business with Priests and Police on the morning of April 3, 1977 came as an absolute shock to me when randomly running across the news articles precisely 35 years and 25 days after the fact. But even more shocking were the personal pre-existential memories that came into my heart and mind. There were six cops stationed around the vicinity of that house at 2177 Carriage Lane near 4600 South. We had targeted the big one. Mike and myself, as yet to be born angels, made sure that these occurrences, though swept behind a veil of forgetfulness in the minds of many, would not be completely covered up. In the momentous year of 2012, many are awakening. In my personal reconnecting with former versions of my self, I was shown the role I played in the events of that Salt Lake spring morning, 35 years and 25 days ago, but why?  Mike and I can not be questioned regarding our involvement by any court of the land. Can we? Habeas Corpus is a Latin phrase, which can be literally translated as “(we command) that you have the body”. At the time we did not have bodies. With the N.D.A.A having been enacted one has to be careful how one speaks about the government these days. But Obama promised not to use those abusive powers, only sign them into law. Right? So I guess I can rest easy, until Romney pulls them out to prosecute enemies of the Church & State. Was S.W.K. trying to warn us of Church disciplinary action? Was he trying to point to even shadier levels of conspiracy? At first I felt uneasy and thought I ought to be on guard. But now I know that God protects those whom He calls. Brother Wallace is apparently still kickin’ after all this time. Fear was what had embroiled Spencer in so much trouble. And it was fear that his ghost was advising against. As I resolved in my mind to not sweep this revelation aside as mere crazy thoughts, but to accept the past prophetic whisperings of this kind soul to soul communication, I felt my heart begin to beat like the brave Indian war drum. My heart slowly received witness as the sound built in my chest. I of course realized that Spencer’s soul did not need to get these things off of his chest with me. He had already done so with his maker. So, what was he trying to tell me and why now?

Well, if I said that Mike and I crossed paths in Orem, I was mistaken. To be specific, Orem is where our paths in this life merged. But they had intersected briefly before. After a year of association, Mike and I discovered that we had both been in attendance at the same Hip Hop concert, years before meeting, back in the winter of 2000 at the Bricks Club in Salt Lake City. This was realized as he recounted the anecdotal story of how Chris, his partner in rhyme in those days, had somehow managed to be picked from among those in the front area, to perform on the stage in an impromptu opening act. Chris looked around excitedly and talked into the mic to let Mike know of the situation so he could hop up on stage with him and take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a sizable crowd. But Mike was all the way in the back and up top on the balcony level with some girls and drinks in hand. This was the same area where I was watching the show from with some of my friends. As he described the way he tried in vain to reach his homey on the stage to share in the spotlight that had unexpectedly fallen on him, I suddenly remembered seeing this all play out and realizing that poor fellow up on the balcony with us saying, “Excuse me, let me through.” was the one who the dude on stage was shoutin’ out to. “That was you?!” I exclaimed. “I was like three feet away and off to your right.”

Now my mind was being allowed to discover an even earlier meeting between my brother and I – 35 years and 25 days earlier to be exact. If you take the coordinates for the club in Salt Lake where we came in close contact for the first time in this life and draw a straight line on a map, from there to a point where we came together before this life, nearby the home on Carriage Lane that was being unwarrantably watched. And if you establish the line between these two points as the base of a triangulation, using an angle of 35 degrees for the first and 25 for the second, you will find that the lateral sides converge on a neighborhood not far from the University of Utah campus. 2028 Laird Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah is the spot where stands the house that was home to Spencer W. Kimball from 1947 to 1979, spanning almost the entire time of his presidency, and where he was living at the time of those unfortunate events that brought us all together under such strange circumstances.

I see it as a three sided symbol of the connection between past, present, and future. If it is the past that has made the present what it is and the present will make the future, then the past will always be felt. This is a good thing for us when we speak of the good that we build over time. But there is also much of sorrow and pain in our past. We must let Jesus teach us how to be centered on the gift of the present. He is teaching us how it is only from the present that we may navigate and change for the better, not only our futures, but our past as well. Through the miracle of forgiveness, repentance becomes a personal time travel vehicle. So may our sight be endlessly set upon our dear savior, who on the cross, listened while many in the throng of onlookers and even one of the thieves who was hanged there at His right were hurling abuse at Him. They mocked Him in His present state and talked of His past in a snide way when they said, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” To His left there hung another thief of time who spoke hopefully but unknowingly of the future, saying: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom! But Christ speaks always firmly in the present tense when He says: “Truly I say to you, TODAY you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

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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CHI #3 Whose marriage is this anyway?


Since the CHI deals with LDS church doctrine and in places draws from the scriptures there are many good things said in this handbook. The problem is that the way it is treated is as though it is the gospel. We are expected and many members and leaders do take it to be 100% authoritative as if it is the voice of the Lord to us.

So as I discuss these points if they run counter to the truth we know then they are wrong regardless of who signed the book.

3.5.1 under the subheading of special meeting for guests who do not have temple recommends the CHI explains a couple arrange with their bishop to have a special meeting for relatives and friends who do no have temple recommends. It can have a prayer and special music followed by a talk by a priesthood leader.
It says no ceremony is performed, and no vows are exchanged.

Then a short paragraph saying:

No other marriage ceremony should be performed following a temple marriage.

Well why does the CHI say that? In fact I think I violated this one without knowing it. You know your government sanctioned marriage may not be recognized in another country. What then? Since the church says you need a government issued license to be married then obviously if you don’t have one for the country you are living in you are not married there. You might think twice before having sex with who you think is your spouse while visiting a foreign country. I mean maybe you committed adultery without knowing it.  But on the other hand if you get a new marriage in the new country you are violating the church rules here stated.

How now brown cow? Please Mr. Church what do I do? How can I be subject to kings and rulers etc and still follow you? What do I do?

Hey stop whining the answer to that was given long ago and is right in the Doctrine and Covenants. Well at least part of it, the OF1. Don’t look at the rest of the Lord’s words as found in say section 98 or 101 or 42 where He says you should obey Him and His law above the laws of man. Just follow Wilford Woodruff’s example and his strong prophetic “advice” and put the law of God subservient to the law of the government.

Sure do it. It works every time. The church won’t bug you and this will muffle your conscience. Of course it may decrease your portion of the Holy Ghost but hey you will still have temple recommend which we all know is required to return to the presence of God. By this rational the soldiers who fought for Germany in world war 2 were all blessed even if they were working at a concentration camp turning on the gas, they were just obeying the law. Same as any God given right violating members serving in the military, FBI, CIA, IRS, or TSA. They are all following the law and just doing their jobs.

Now please as you read this don’t take an excerpt from the above two paragraphs and explain that it is wrong. Of course it is wrong. It is all sarcasm.

You may think this is all foolishness. I could not agree with you more. To think that a man and woman need to have permission from other people (with the exception of their spouse) to be married is total foolishness. Governments and churches are people. They both administer their ordinances. And when a church which has authority from Gd to perform ordinances which will be recognized by Him they had better be damn careful to not run afoul of His laws of agency in doing so.

The whole mess comes about when we start putting any law of man, governmental body or church body above the law of God. Only we ourselves personally can insure that we are not guilty of this. It should be obvious by the posts on the CHI that the present LDS church is not going to be of any help in this regard. The doctrine of the marriage covenant stated on this blog is correct. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Why is that correct? Because it is what God said it.

So what pray tell does the CHI think it is doing in forbidding people to have other marriage ceremonies?

Maybe someone is afraid that members might awake to the realization that they never needed government approval or church approval to have a God recognized marriage in the first place.

I don’t really care what they think. I can see what it does. It places the corporate church as the dispenser and controller of God’s blessings to its members. It inserts said church between God and His children thereby depriving them of rights and freedoms which God has given them.

Mormon.org profiles: enhanced membership tracking?


Someone communicated to me that this past Sunday in their elders quorum, the elders quorum president said that next week (which would be tomorrow) there would be a digital camera ready to take everyone’s picture so that all the elders of his ward could have their own profile on Mormon.org. The elders quorum president said that each member of the quorum would need to fill out some paperwork and permission forms and that the camera and forms would be available over a period of weeks, so that those members who come less regularly could get their profile online when they showed up for church. I asked this person whether this was just for his ward or stake or for the entire church. He said he was under the impression that it was a church-wide program. He also stated that he saw a leadership list (he being in several callings and having access to certain leadership materials) in which the men listed had not only their name, telephone and address on it, but also their picture.

I knew, of course, of the Mormon.org profiles, in which any member can voluntarily participate by going to that web site. But this was the first time I’d heard of elders quorum members being approached in church and asked to submit profiles in such a direct way, with camera and forms ready and waiting. Can anyone confirm that this is a church-wide program?

This may be important because of a certain theory I have heard. It goes something like this: the church has been infiltrated by the Fabian Society (the wolves in sheep’s clothing).  As the priesthood of God is the only thing that can stand in the way of Satan, it may be necessary to take them out at some point. Currently, the strategy is to keep the priesthood “sleeping,” (a sleeping giant). But if it ever were to start to wake up and use its power, that would be an unacceptable situation and a danger to the devil, so the priesthood must be tracked. In this way, if it is necessary, the coercive forces at the devil’s fingertips (such as the powers of the state) can be brought to bear upon every male member of the church who holds the priesthood.

In my mind, if this is, indeed, a church-wide program, and the leaders are amassing a database of priesthood holders with images of the men, this might lend some credence to the above theory. However, maybe I got bad information. Maybe this is just a local program initiated by some overzealous bishop or stake president, with nothing, whatsoever, to do with the entire church.

If anybody has information on this, please speak up.

Previous Secret Combinations article: Opening old wounds

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The faith of God, part thirteen: How charity fits in


Continued from part twelve.

Charity on a series about faith?

On December 20, 2007, I wrote the following on this blog:

Mormon also talked about faith (and hope and charity) in Moroni 7. Like Ether and Helaman, quoted in the previous part, Mormon explains that faith precedes hope. (See Moroni 7: 41-42 “…ye shall have hope…because of your faith…” and “…without faith there cannot be any hope…”) In fact, the order of these three grand principles is always given as “faith, hope and charity” because faith precedes hope, or allows hope to be engendered and then faith and hope allow charity to be engendered. (This is a topic for a different post and will not be covered here. I mention it merely to show that faith is different than hope and charity and required in order to obtain the other two necessary principles.) (The faith of God, part three bold type added.)

I had originally intended to address charity in a post separate from the faith of God series, but as I’ve researched the topic, I see now that it belongs here.

Paul’s definition of charity

Paul gives the universal definition of charity, used by all the Christian world, including us, found in the entire 13th chapter of Corinthians:

Paul said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Cor. 13)

Mormon’s definition of charity

Mormon also gives his definition of charity, which is nearly identical to that of Paul, except that Mormon expounds upon the principle a bit more, taking up the entire chapter of Moroni 7:

Mormon said, “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moro. 7: 45-47; see also the entirety of chapter 7)

Charity encompasses all good things

All principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are found within charity. Using Paul and Mormon’s words, we find: patience (“suffereth long”), kindness (is kind), slowness to anger (“is not easily provoked”), joy in truth (“rejoiceth in the truth”), strength (“beareth all things”), belief (“believeth all things”), hope (“hopeth all things”), and endurance (“endureth all things”).

Charity has none of the evil gifts or principles. There is no envy (“envieth not”), boasting (“vaunteth not itself”), vanity and pride (“is not puffed up”), bad behavior (“does not behave itself unseemly”), stinginess (“seeketh not her own”), quick anger (“is not easily provoked”), evil thoughts (“thinketh no evil”) or joy in iniquity (“rejoiceth not in iniquity”).

In all cases, the principles encompassed by charity are in their fulness: “all things” not just some things. This means that charity is not given in portions (in one sense of that word), as are other gifts of the Spirit. You either have charity, or you don’t.

Charity is not the sum total

The gifts and principles of the gospel which are found within those who have charity do not equate to charity. In other words, merely possessing these gifts and principles in their fulness does not mean you automatically have charity. Charity, then, are these gifts plus something more. It is not the sum total of the gifts alone. This is why Paul says you can have a fulness of (name of principle or gift), but if you don’t have charity, you are nothing.

Mormon’s progression to charity

In chapter 7 of Moroni, Mormon gives a progression from faith to charity. He declares that “no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have” and then he lists 5 necessary principles: 1st, faith; 2nd, hope; 3rd, meekness and lowliness of heart; 4th, confession by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ; and 5th, charity. He demonstrates by his progression that it is impossible to have faith without the word of God, and that it is faith that allows one to lay hold on every good thing (see Moro. 7: 21-25; see also The faith of God, part four: the word of God), or, in other words, it is through faith (see the following note) that every good gift (which is “sent forth by the power and gift of Christ”—see Moro. 7: 16) is obtained from God, including the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is charity.

(Note: Mormon taught that the way to obtain charity is to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7: 48.) Christ said, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you” (Moroni 7: 26.) This shows that charity is obtained by the prayer of faith.)

Salvation = Charity and Charity = Salvation

Some may take issue with my statement that charity is the greatest of the gifts. They may bring up the following scripture:

The Lord said, “If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D&C 6: 13)

For most LDS, the interpretation of the word “salvation” in this verse means “exaltation,” which all understand to be the greatest gift of all. Nevertheless, Mormon clearly states that charity “is the greatest of all.” (See Moro. 7: 46.) Paul also states the same in 1 Cor. 13: 13. There is no contradiction in these scriptures between Mormon, Paul and the Lord because charity and salvation are the same gift. I will explain why this is so later on.

Charity and Perfectness

Paul, Moroni and the Lord all aligned charity with perfectness:

Paul said, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3: 14)

Moroni said, “And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.” (Moro. 8: 17)

The Lord said, “And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88: 125)

These scriptures indicate that charity is not your average love.

No inheritance without charity

Ether chapter 12 also talks of charity. Moroni in this chapter said the following:

And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. (Ether 12: 35)

Moroni makes it clear that charity is a prerequisite to salvation. No charity? No salvation. Have charity? Have salvation. This is why Mormon states in Moro. 7: 47 that “whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” In other words, if you possess charity at the day of judgment, you are guaranteed salvation because charity is all you need. You may possess anything else, in fact, you may possess all other things (gifts) possible to possess, but if you don’t possess charity, you don’t get saved. In other words, the possession of charity is the only thing that saves.

In the final chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni reiterates this point:

And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God. (Moro. 10: 21)

The Nothing and things of naught

One of the more curious aspects of charity is that without it we are “nothing.” Paul said, “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13: 2). Mormon said, “If [a man] have not charity, he is nothing” (Moro. 7: 44). Nephi said, “Except [men] should have charity they were nothing” (2 Ne. 26: 30). The Lord said, “And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing” (D&C 18: 19).

Keep in mind that Lehi also spoke of “a thing of naught” which has no power, purpose or even existence. (See 2 Ne. 2: 11-13. This is a bit deeper doctrine than I will discuss here but if the reader wants more information, you can read the Deep Waters category articles, Lehi’s model of the universe and Creatio ex nihilo, creatio ex materia and creatio ex deo are all true doctrines.)

Weak things and strong things

Charity is associated with strength and makes weak things become strong or all-powerful. Said the Lord to Moroni:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness. (Ether 12: 27-28)

Moroni then goes on to explain that the Lord “hast prepared a place for man…among the mansions of [His] Father” and that the whole purpose of the Lord’s atonement and resurrection was “to prepare a place for the children of men” so that they could “inherit that place which [He] hast prepared in the mansions of [His] Father” through men having charity. (See Ether 12: 32-34.) Thus, those who possess charity stay in the kingdom of God (see Moro. 10: 21), become strong and inherit a prepared place, while those who do not possess charity “must go down to hell” (Moro. 8: 14). These latter people lose all power and become nothing.

The pure love of Christ

When asked, “What is charity?” LDS will typically quote Moroni 7: 47 and say, “Charity is the pure love of Christ.” Obviously, this is a correct and scriptural answer, but it doesn’t exactly explain what charity is. Yes, it is love. Yes, it is the type of love that Christ demonstrated and possessed. But what the heck is it? And why is it so all important that its possession makes us saved beings?

All are alike

Moroni, in the above quote, when explaining that he possessed charity, made a point to state that “all children are alike unto [him].” For most of us, love comes in degrees and is prioritized. We love our wives more than anyone. We love our wives and children more than our own brothers and their wives and children. We love our brothers and sisters more than our in-laws, and more than our friends. We love our friends more than our acquaintances. We love our neighbors more than strangers. We love our fellow citizen more than foreigners. In other words, “all are not alike” unto us. This demonstrates that most, if not all, of the love that we manifest is not charity.

The opposite of charity

If you look at past and present history, and review the brutal murders, genocides and other atrocities committed by mankind, you will find that one of the ways these men, women and even children justified their actions against their fellow men was to view their victims as aliens. They viewed them as less than human, as animals even, as vermin, as alien invaders to be fought and exterminated at all costs. In other words, they viewed them not as “alike unto them,” but as completely different and even opposite in all things. This hatred, inspired by Satan, is the opposite principle of charity. It views others as altogether different and seeks to destroy such different “things.” Charity, on the other hand, views all things as part of the family and creation of God, and alike unto ourselves, and seeks to edify, save and exalt all things.

Between charity and hatred

The prioritized love that we feel towards those whom we consider worthy of our love, known to us as our “loved ones,” is not exactly charity and not exactly hatred. It is a mix. It has conditions. “As long as you don’t hurt me, I’ll love you.” Etc. But the moment one of our loved ones hurts us real badly, then the love we feel evaporates to be replaced sometimes by hatred. So, when circumstances are going good, the love we feel can manifest great pleasure and happiness, but when times are tough or people around us are making agency choices that hurt us, often that same loving feeling can disappear in an instant and cause us great emotional pain and anger, even hate.

Satan, who knows that the principal of hate allows him to control people, also knows that it is okay for a person to possess love, as it can easily be turned into hate, by simply changing the circumstances of the person from good to bad. It is only charity—which remains constant, or perfect, regardless of the circumstances—which altogether removes Satan’s hold upon men.

What charity really is: the LDS Anarchist definition

Charity is an over-whelming desire and willingness to share all that you have with everyone else.

In the beginning

A visitor named Doug once asked me,

This brings up the point, why is God all powerful? It’s because the intelligences TRUST him, because he never lies. Trust + a healthy dose of smarts is the key to Godliness. The intelligences not only trust God, but they adore him and do whatever he asks.

To which I answered,

All you write here is very true, but there is another, prime reason that precedes these other reasons as to why all things trust and obey God. I’m currently writing another article on this other reason. I’ll link this comment to that future post (if I remember to do so.)

God is motivated by charity and charity alone.  In fact, our current scriptural translations go even farther by saying that God is love, (or God is charity.)  Charity is the divine motivation behind both the atonement and plan of salvation and also the creation of all things.  God desires to bring the nothing into existence (or creation) so that all the many created things can share in everything He has.  It’s like a rich man in a mansion, opening his doors and saying aloud to all in the streets,

“Come in, one and all, and partake of all these riches!  Sit with me, dine with me, walk with me, learn of me and enjoy all the wealth and pleasures I have!  What is mine is yours if you but come!”

Everything He does is to facilitate the gathering of all things around Him, into His mansions, so that they can share in His treasures with others.  This is charity.  God, therefore, is the personification of charity.  In other words, God literally is love.

Man is also motivated by charity, God’s charity.  In fact, all things obey God because God has charity.   We, in the beginning, being on the outside of the mansion, in the streets (in outer darkness), entered into the kingdom of God, or came into existence, because of the offer He made of sharing all He has with us.  Who in their right mind would turn down the offer to enter into a rich man’s mansion and live there in wealth and prosperity for the rest of eternity?  And not just living there, but partaking of all of the riches as if you were the rich man, meaning unbridled sharing of all there is, with no stinginess, whatsoever.  Who would turn such an offer down?  None of us did.  No one ever does.  It is not in our nature.

Charity brought us into existence

When God first gave us awareness of the inner sphere of light, it wasn’t His intelligence or His trustworthiness or any of His many other qualities that caused us to leave outer darkness and enter into our existence in the inner sphere of light (the kingdom of God). It was that noble offer of His, His charity, His desire and willingness to share all He had with us, that caused us to enter His created mansion.  This is how created things get created, or are brought into existence.  God has a two-fold mission, one directed at the already created things which exist within the bounds of the kingdom (sphere) of light and one directed at the nothing found in outer darkness.  To the created universe, He works to facilitate their obtainment of all that He has through the atonement and plan of salvation.  To the nothing, he extends the offer of entering His sphere of light and partaking of everything He has.

The creation is ongoing because the nothing cannot resist the charitable offer.  And so the Universe expands.

All things love God

Why?  Because God loves all things.  He demonstrates that love by desiring to, being willing to, offering to, and working to give us everything He has.  This is what God is all about.  Giving.  Not selling.  Not having things earned (a meritocracy.)  But an unearned gift.  This is charity.  He likes to give gifts to all that like to receive them.  As long as we enjoy receiving, He’ll keep on giving.  He is willing to give us everything there is, without any degree of selfishness.  Not giving us a replica of what He has, but the very things He has, we becoming joint-owners of His things, or as the scriptures say, joint-heirs.  This is the greatest love there is.  There is nothing greater than God’s love, called charity.  Thus, it is the most powerful motivator, in all cases.  It motivates God and it is designed, or it is His design that charity be our motivation, also.  For all the created Universe, it is also their motivation.  They obey Him in all things because they love Him for His love for them, which defies all comprehension, for once it is even remotely understood just how much God has and is willing to give to us, all things are humbled by the magnanimity of God and all things bow the knee and bend the head in humble reverence and worship of the divine Lover of all things.

There are no two ways about it

There is only one type of charity: God’s charity.  If you don’t have an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything you have with everyone else, you don’t have charity.  (See the Deep Waters post,  How many wives?  How many husbands?, for how charity works in divine relationships).  Any degree of stinginess gets you kicked out of the kingdom.  The law of heaven is having all things common, or sharing all things with everyone else.

Sharing.  We learn this as children in the nuclear family.  Share your toys, our mothers teach us.  This is, in fact, a sure-fire way to make quick friends.  The more open and sharing you are with others, the more friends you’ll end up having.  The minute you say, “No, it’s mine!  I’m not sharing!” suddenly even close friends don’t want anything to do with you.

As adults, we learn to share with our spouses and children.  Parents provide for their children their necessities: food, clothing, shelter, nurture, protection, education.  We do this freely, as gifts.  The family is designed to be a gift society, so that we can better inculcate charity, which saves us.  The more generous and charitable we are, the more importance we put on people and the less we put on things.  Charity is the only lesson we need to learn here on earth.  Those who learn it qualify themselves for entering into the charitable society that exists in heaven.  They also prepare themselves to establish that society here on earth, otherwise known as Zion.

What charity is not

Charity is not giving of your surplus to a church, the poor or the needy.  It is not fast offerings or tithing.  Those things are important, but they are not what is charity.  We call them charitable donations because they mimic the work that charity does.  Nevertheless, unless a person has “an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything” he or she has with everyone else, what they have is something less than charity.  The love of a mother or father for his or her children is close to charity.  A parent will give everything, even their own life, for their children, and will share all that they have with them.  But until they have the desire and are willing to do the same for everyone, they don’t possess charity.

In the absence of charity

Without charity, men go through various stages of selfishness and stinginess.  Babylon thrives in the absence of charity.  When charity enters the hearts of men, Babylon disappears and Zion becomes established.  In Zion’s absence, men have power to do all manner of wickedness and can be partially or totally controlled by the devil.  Once charity becomes the motivating impulse in men, Satan loses all power and God rules on earth in their hearts.  This is because charity is 100% divine.  It is not a human concept, principle or emotion.  It comes only from God.  As charity overwhelms with desire, its possession makes men relinquish all the less than perfect human emotions and allows them to embrace the divine nature.

Charity can only be obtained, as Mormon explained above, through faith, hope, meekness, etc.  So, as a strategy, the devil does all in his power to destroy faith, hope, etc.  Faith, in and of itself, is useless against Satan.  So is hope.  None of these principles can stop him. Only charity can.

“Let all men have faith, hope and the rest of the gifts of the Spirit,” says the evil one.  “As long as they possess no charity, these things are powerless to save them and can be a useful means of deception.”

The fastest way to obtain the gifts

As it is through faith that all other gifts are obtained, including charity, and as charity encompasses every other gift, it may be tempting to use one’s faith to seek all other gifts first and when one has fully developed them, to seek for charity. This is actually the slowest way to obtain the gifts because it puts the one seeking the gifts within Satan’s grasp.

It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. (D&C 49: 20)

This principle applies equally to the gifts of God. When we possess more gifts of God than our fellowman, or gifts which we believe are better than the one’s our neighbor has, Satan can lead us to sin in our thoughts by tempting us to think we are the better, or more righteous, man. Such thoughts can lead to sinful behavior and attitudes, which will end up damning us, despite our gifts.

The antidote is to first seek for charity and then, once it is obtained, to seek for the other gifts. This nullifies the devil’s power and facilitates and expedites the receipt of all the other gifts, for the Lord readily bestows His gifts upon possessors of charity because He knows already that they will use them to bless His other children.

The rewards in heaven will be based upon how close we came to charity

Those who enter into their exaltation are those whose lives on earth were denoted by this divine desire and willingness to share everything with everyone.  These men and women who actually obtained the divine gift of charity will receive everything God possesses and will become gods and goddesses themselves.

All others will receive according to how close they came to charity.  In the day of judgment, we will be assessed only by charity or our lack thereof.  Did we possess the desire but not the willingness to carry out the desire?  When presented with the opportunity, did we share all, most, a lot, a little or none at all?  Did we play favorites, sharing with him, her and them but not with those?  Or were we totally selfish, sharing nothing with no one and with an unwillingness and no desire to bless those around us with the good things of life?  Did we discard charity altogether and seek for its opposite, desiring and willing that others receive nothing but evil from our own hands or the hands of others?

Locations in heaven will be based upon charity or its lack

Those who receive the reward of exaltation (the ones who possessed charity in mortality) will reside in the midst of all things, like God Himself, at the center of the sphere of light (the created Universe or the kingdom of God).  Like God, they will receive all power (agency) from all things and all things will look to them (the center) and obey them for they have the same desire, willingness and now power to share everything they possess (which is everything) with all.

Persons who were less charitable in mortality will receive inheritances in other mansions or kingdoms (planets) which are located more towards the edges of the sphere of light.  These will possess less power (agency) than those who reside more towards the center of the Universe.

Repentance brings salvation (charity)

Obviously, almost all mankind will be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ, which means that just about everyone will eventually repent of their sins and go through Mormon’s steps, acquiring faith, hope, meekness, lowliness of heart and confessing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ.  This means that they will finally obtain charity and become saved in the kingdom of God.  With this charity they will share all of what they have with everyone around them.  In the case of those exalted, “all of what they have” is everything there is to possess, even all that the Father has.  For everyone else, “all of what they have” is of a limited nature, but still everything that they were willing to receive, they not wanting or desiring to receive any more than the reward or gift which they obtained.

Only the sons of perdition lose out entirely, as they remain firm in their impenitence, refusing to receive charity, and being cast back into outer darkness.

Charity is not based upon a church

Baptism into a church is not what qualifies a person for the reception of the gift of charity.  It is one’s desires and willingness to share all with all.  Anyone who uproots the selfish spirit from their soul through Jesus’ words and the Holy Ghost’s actions, humbling him or herself before God, whether they are members of the baptized, covenant people of the Lord or not, can and will receive this gift and if so, they will receive the corresponding reward in heaven.  There will be many charitable “heathens” who will enter into greater rewards than uncharitable church members, regardless of how much tithing, fast offerings, service projects, temple work, meetings or callings they accept, attend or contribute.

The goal is charity

It may seem weird to bring up charity in the faith of God series, but I felt it was important to give an understanding of how charity fits in to God’s faith.  The faith of God is not the end of the matter.  It is merely a means to an end.  Through faith God obtains and maintains all things, granting Him possession of all things.  But possession is not the end all and be all.  The things possessed are to be used for a divine purpose.  Why get all if not to give all?  Underlying all that immense, godly power, knowledge and holiness is the divine motivation, which precedes both our own faith as well as God’s, for God works by faith in order to be able to share all that He has with everyone.  Charity, then, is God’s goal for both Himself and mankind.  Charity is both the first and the last principle.  It brought us into existence, it keeps us in existence, and using it, it can bring others into existence.  It is the reason for the happiness that is existence, the sharing of all things with all.  Charity is the Zion principle.

Everything that leads to charity is to be motivated by charity, thus, the Savior’s command of “freely ye have received, freely give” is according to the principle of charity and is to apply to all the gifts of God.  We are to use all that God gives us to benefit all His children and creations, freely, generously and openly, without reservation or respect to persons.  All are to be alike to us.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part fourteen: God is a miracle worker, not a scientist

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part twelve: Truth

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God


My text for this post is the following scripture:

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

Between a man and a woman

To start with, let’s make it clear that the words “marry” and “marriage” in this verse referred only to marriage between a man and a woman. This revelation was given in March/May 1831 and there was no concept of same-sex marriage back then, only marriage between the sexes.

Who forbids to marry?

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

Parents – Sometimes parents forbid to marry. If a young man or woman is underage, permission from the parents is needed in order for them to marry (with a valid state marriage license). In the high school I attended, there was a very pretty 16 year old girl in one of my classes who was legally married. She received permission from her parents and loved showing people her wedding ring. All the boys in the class (including myself) were kind of bummed that she was now off-limits. It was a strange situation because we all thought that parents normally would not give permission to one so young. She never had a teen pregnancy or anything. She just fell in love and wanted to get married and her folks said, “Okay.” But that doesn’t always happen.

The State – The State is the major perpetrator of forbidding to marry, with all the marriage laws and prohibitions on the books. For example, the State forbids a man from taking a second wife while his first wife is still alive. It also forbids a woman from doing the same thing. It introduces a monetary price on marriage, so that everyone must pay for the permission to get married. It places age restrictions on marriage, as well as health restrictions. Those who don’t meet the qualifications, can’t get married. In other words, they can’t get a marriage license. Additionally, it has cohabitation laws on many of the books so that anyone who tries to marry without a valid state marriage license and then live together can still be prosecuted and thrown into jail, effectively discouraging anyone who wishes to skirt around the State monopoly on marriage authorization.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – The Church is another major perpetrator of forbidding to marry. Although it has no power to stop anyone from getting married, by preaching a valid state marriage license requirement to its congregation, it supports the State’s restrictions and monopoly on marriage. Also, by excommunicating those who marry more than one living spouse (with or without a valid state marriage license, but most often without a license), it sets up its own restrictions with attendant judgments placed upon those who marry.

These three institutions, then, are not ordained of God when they forbid to marry.

But I must add one more:

A spouse – Every man who forbids his wife from marrying another man and every woman who forbids her husband from marrying another woman is also not ordained of God when they do this.

Everything that is in the world is valid in the eyes of God…for a limited time

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 132: 7, 13.)

What this means is that God recognizes “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that are made among men “both as well for time and for all eternity,” regardless of who or what entity or entities ordained them, “whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be,” as perfectly valid and binding only until “men are dead,” at which point such “contracts…have an end.” This applies only to contracts, oaths, etc., that are not made by the Lord or by His word.

Marriage is a covenant

Marriage is accompanied by a covenant between a man and a woman (the marriage vows), therefore, it comes under the above conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. There are three types of marriage covenants covered by the conditions of this law.

Marriage covenant #1: “not by me nor by my word,” for time only

Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. (D&C 132: 15.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’till death do they part.” The marriage is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #2: “not by me or by my word,” for time and all eternity

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God. (D&C 132: 18.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’for time and all eternity.” The covenant is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #3: “by my word, which is my law,” “in time, and through all eternity”

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (D&C 132: 19.)

Finally, we have a man and a woman entering the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, being married by the word of the Lord and having it sealed to them by the Holy Spirit of promise. He covenants to be her husband and she covenants to be his wife, for the duration of time and all eternity. This covenant is valid in the eyes of the Lord for as long as they abide in it.

All three marriage covenants are ordained of God

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

The first two marriage covenant scenarios, which operate under temporal power and authority, are ordained of God until death. The final marriage covenant scenario, which operates under eternal power and authority, is ordained of God through all eternity.

Marriage is ordained of God because it creates permanency

God is all about creating permanency: things that remain.

For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. (D&C 132: 14.)

The only difference between fornication (unlawful sexual relations) and marriage (lawful sexual relations) is the idea of a permanent union. God wants men and women to come together and have sex (become one flesh), and He wants them to remain together, continuing to have sex. The marriage covenant is a covenant or contract to remain together permanently, as husband and wife, either until death or throughout all eternity. It is the fleeting, temporary nature of fornication that makes it wrong.

When two people come together and make love, the love demonstrated and generated is intended by God to continue on forever. It is supposed to remain. The marriage bonds keep people connected (and gathered) so that they continue to nurture and grow the love generated between them. God is love, so the scriptures say, therefore, He is all-loving and never stops loving. To come together and make love and then leave (separate from one another) is akin to stop loving (stop becoming one). God wants us to continue to manifest our love for one another, through the marital covenants. In this way we learn to become like Him, all-loving and continually loving.

No mention of a State licensing requirement

In the scriptures, there is no mention of the need to have a valid state marriage license. All that is needed for a marriage to occur is that there be a marriage covenant between a man and a woman. That’s it. The marriage covenant can be written or verbal. It doesn’t matter. It can be ordained “by thrones, or principalities, or powers,” in other words, by the State, but it doesn’t have to be. It can simply be “ordained of men,” even the two people entering the covenant (the man and the woman), or even by “things of name, whatsoever they may be.”

This means that two people who enter into a marriage covenant with each other, without a State marriage license, without a religious or civil ceremony, the man agreeing to be the woman’s husband and the woman agreeing to be the man’s wife, who then begin living together and making love, presenting themselves publicly as husband and wife, are not living in sin. They are not fornicating. They have nothing to repent of for they have satisfied the conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. Their marriage is ordained of God.

No mention of a wedding ceremony

The scriptures do not state that a wedding ceremony is necessary for a marriage to be valid. Typically, wedding ceremonies do occur, according to the customs of the culture the two people are from, but they are not necessary for a marriage to be valid in the eyes of God. Only the covenant is the necessary part.

No mention of witnesses

A third person can be present while the two make their marriage vows (the marriage covenant), but that is not required by the law of the new and everlasting covenant. They can enter their covenant in private, just the two of them and it’s still valid in the eyes of God.

Conflict between God and the Church

This brings up a conflict because a married couple that does not get State permission to be married is seen differently by God and the Church. In the eyes of God, they are married. In the eyes of the (modern) Church, they are not. (It was not always so.  There was a time when the Church recognized marriages as valid even without a marriage license.)  As the Church holds the keys of the priesthood, despite a couple being validly married in the eyes of God, they can be prohibited from receiving baptism, confirmation, priesthood and the temple sealing, all required ordinances for their salvation. The modern Church, then, in not recognizing a marriage as valid in the same way God does, becomes a stumbling block to their eternal progression.

Consent in marriage

Both before and after a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony (and since all marriage is ordained of God, including non-temple marriage, all matrimony is holy), the law of common consent applies. So, for example, if the couple enters marriage with vows of fidelity, meaning that they promise to abstain from loving (making love to) other people, they must keep their vows. It is the law of the Lord that all our vows and covenants and oaths be kept, for it is a sin to break a vow. Thus, a man must receive consent from his wife to marry a second wife and a woman must receive consent from her husband to marry another husband.

If they enter the marriage with no vows of abstinence and they decide they want more spouses and they receive consent from their current spouses, they may freely marry without sinning. If, on the other hand, they enter the marriage with vows of abstinence and they decide afterward that they want more spouses in their family, they can, with consent, release one another from their vows of abstinence and then consent to additional spouses. This also is not sin, for vows can be freely made and released, as long as the person to whom the vow was made is doing the releasing.

Sin in marriage

The sin of adultery occurs when a married woman is with a man who is not her spouse. Scripturally, all women who enter marriage apparently do so under a vow of abstinence (fidelity), whether they are married by the word of the Lord or not. Therefore, if she is with another man that is not her spouse, she commits adultery.

On the man’s part, it is only if he has taken a vow of abstinence (fidelity) and is with another woman who is not his wife that he commits adultery. If, on the other hand, he has not taken a vow of fidelity, (in other words, his wife gives him permission to sleep around), and is with an unmarried woman who is not his wife, he has committed the sin of fornication (sexual sin) but not adultery unless the other woman who is not his spouse is married to another man, in which case he has committed adultery (See D&C 132: 41-44 and The many definitions of adultery for more on these laws.)

(The above two paragraphs may seem confusing, but it all boils down to this: if you sleep with someone who is your spouse, there is no sin. On the other hand, if you sleep with someone who is not your spouse, you commit sin. So, to avoid sin, either don’t sleep with a person who is not your spouse or marry him or her before engaging in sexual intercourse.)

If a husband separates from his wife or a wife separates from her husband, so as to purposefully and permanently live apart from one another, this also is sin. There is only one scriptural justification for marital separation and that is if the one being left behind has committed unrepentant fornication (sexual sin). The purpose of the temporary separation is to help the sinner to repent of his or her sin. Once repentance occurs, the couple should come together again and be reconciled, forgiving one another.

Polygyny is not sin

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

If a woman gives consent to her husband to take additional wives, releasing him from any vows of fidelity he may have had, and giving him permission to marry this or that woman, he is justified in taking on the additional wives, for it is marriage with consent and marriage is ordained of God.

When taking on a second wife, the man needs the consent of the first wife. When taking on a third wife, the man needs the consent of the first two wives, and so on and so forth. As long as all give consent, there is no sin.

Polygyny, whether practiced in the new and everlasting covenant (the law of the priesthood), or practiced in a for-time, man-made covenant, is ordained of God as long as consent is given by the wife or wives of the man.

Polyandry is not sin

In the new and everlasting covenant, there are two ways in which a woman get can an additional husband. One way is that she is simply sealed to a second (or third, etc.) husband.

And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. (D&C 132: 41; italics added.)

The second way is that her husband breaks his marriage vows and commits adultery, whereby she is taken and given (married) to another man. She remains married to the first husband, for the word ‘taken” doesn’t explicitly mean that she has received a divorce.

And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many. (D&C 132: 44; italics added.)

Outside of the new and everlasting covenant, a woman may obtain a second marriage through consent of her current husband or husbands, in the same way as discussed above for polygyny. Like polygyny, polyandry is ordained of God, as long as consent is given by all parties involved.

Objections to polyandry unfounded

LDS men may object to polyandry based upon the following scripture:

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

These verses only state that a man cannot commit adultery with a wife that belongs to him and to no one else. They do not state that a man commits adultery with a wife that belongs to both him and someone else. The gospel is all about joint-ownership, or becoming joint-heirs with Christ of all things that the Father has. There is no gospel law against a wife belonging to two or more husbands, or to a husband belonging to two or more wives. The scriptures do not prohibit such an arrangement. To make this assumption is to wrest them.

Not giving consent to marry is sin

When a man wishes to take an additional wife and his current wife or wives do not give their consent (the keys of this power), they sin because they are forbidding him from marrying, making them not ordained of God. Likewise, when a woman wishes to take an additional husband and her current husband or husbands do not give consent, the husbands become sinners in forbidding her from marrying.

The law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women:

And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. (D&C 132: 64-65; italics added.)

The transgression consists in forbidding to marry, which makes the person doing the forbidding “not ordained of God.”

A secondary and third transgression

When consent is not given, because marriage is labeled sin, a second transgression occurs: calling that which is holy, or ordained of God, evil. Satan wants no one to be married. He would rather that everyone sleep around without entering into marriage covenants with each other. When monogamy is labeled holy matrimony but polygyny or polyandry is labeled sin, this works into his hands, for then he can tempt mankind to break their marriage vows and commit sin. Giving consent to marry more than one spouse keeps the law of chastity intact, stopping Satan in his tracks.

The third transgression comes from judging others as sinners, who have done no sin. All marriage between a man and woman, whether singly or in multiple spouse form, is ordained of God, but if the multiple spouse form is looked upon as sin, or if a marriage without a marriage license is looked upon as sin, then the people who engage in these righteous practices will be looked upon as sinners.

Plural marriage engenders charity

In particular, modern LDS need to stop painting plural marriage (the multiple-husband multiple-wife marriage system) as undesirable or evil. Under such a system, children have multiple fathers and multiple mothers (though only one biological mother). Any husband will look upon all children born to his wives as his children, regardless of whether they are his biological seed or not. This engenders charity, because all husbands/fathers will care for all the children, not just their own. In other words, all children will become alike to them:

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. (Moro. 8: 17.)

Plural marriage retains agency

Agency remains fully intact with plural marriage consent, allowing people to open up their hearts and love those around them in the most intimate manner possible, all the while remaining justified before the Lord. This more fully knits people’s hearts together in unity. Without such consent, love must be limited, even if the desire to love more fully exists, which also limits agency and causes distance between people.

Plural marriage creates Zion

And ye shall hereafter receive church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here and in the New Jerusalem. (D&C 42: 67.)

There are certain covenants given to the Gentile Mormons that are sufficient to establish them in Zion. One is the law of consecration, in which they freely share of their substance. Another is the United Order, in which they bind themselves by covenant to establish Zion. Yet another is the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (plural marriage) in which they freely give of their love and hearts in plural marriages, essentially sharing their spouses with other spouses.

Of the three covenants, though, plural marriage is probably the most powerful, for if one is able to give consent to freely share one’s spouse with other spouses, effectively eliminating all jealousy and envy, sharing everything else would be a snap.

Plural marriage corresponds to nature

As the research revealed in the book Sex at Dawn reveals, by nature mankind’s sexuality is a multiplemale-multiplefemale mating system. God has ordained marriage to exactly correspond to our natural sexual desires and nature, so that we may live out our lives free from guilt and shame, in joy, happiness and pleasure.

Plural marriage causes rapid formation of super-strong tribes

Because marriage bonds go in every direction, everyone becomes related to everyone else, in the most intimate way. The concept of distant relations becomes blurred, as all become intimate members of one’s immediate family through marriage. The group, being linked in this way, becomes and acts as a tribe, but also as an intimate family, everyone seeking the interest of his neighbor, for his neighbor is a close family relation.

Instead of tribes growing slowly as tribal members have children who grow up and marry and have children of themselves, plural marriage has the ability to rapidly infuse a tribe with large groups of people, while retaining the intimate relationship aspects of the immediate family. Child-birth is maximized, so that every woman who wants children can have as many as she desires, thus allowing the tribe to grow as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

When taken at face value, the above scripture is plainly shown to be true. Marriage is a divine institution which has been given to us to maximize our happiness here on Earth, in accordance with the principles of nature, and in preparation for glory to be added in heaven. To remain on God’s side on this issue, men, women, parents, churches, the State and spouses need to follow and encourage others to follow this two-step rule:

1) Don’t forbid anyone from marrying (not even your own spouse) and 2) look upon all marriage between a man and a woman as ordained of God.

Inspiration behind this post

I had read the arguments that Christian polygamists make about not needing a valid state marriage license, but had never actually taken the time to do any research and come to any conclusion about it. It was Justin’s Tribal Relationships post that introduced me to the Sex at Dawn research, which, upon reviewing it, got me thinking about what exactly marriage is and what it is all about. This post is a result of my decision to take a look at the scriptures with the Sex at Dawn research in mind. If you still don’t know where I’m coming from, I encourage you to read the following posts, as this article is influenced by, and builds upon, them: Tribal worship services, Establishing the tribes of Israel: the real reason for plural marriage, The tribal nature of the gospel, The Return of Polygamy, The many definitions of adultery, Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?, and An alternate view of the keys.

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Tribal worship services


As I look around the Mormon blogs, I see a lot of grumblings about our Sunday church services. There are complaints about the boredom, about the lack of intellectual and spiritual stimulation, about the virtual non-existence of the gifts of the Spirit, about the cult of personality and conformity, about the worship of leaders (idolatry), about the many extra-gospel regulations such as a dress code, etc. If you are leaving church spiritually drained instead of energized, if you are dreading going back to church for another grueling three hours, it may be time to try something new.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone stop attending church. Not by a long shot. Everyone who is tired of what is going on at church should still attend church because the Lord needs agents of change among the congregation. But that doesn’t mean that such agents must feed solely upon a spiritually dead church. Church is meant to be a worship service, but when prophets and leaders are worshiped, a person can end up spiritually starving. So, here is a suggestion: in addition to attending church “worship” services, begin your own tribal worship services.

Start with your immediate family and the sacrament

If you are a married man or woman, with or without children, and one of you has the Melchizedek priesthood, begin your tribal worship services with a sacrament meeting right there in your home. Unlike the church services, tribal sacrament services can exactly follow the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jun. So, instead of a priest blessing the sacrament when an elder is present (contrary to revelation), the presiding elder (the father) will do as the revelation states and bless the sacrament while his sons who are priests listen in. Instead of everyone sitting down during the sacrament prayers (contrary to revelation), everyone in the tribe will kneel as the prayers are stated. Instead of everyone getting a morsel of bread and a swallow of water, everyone will eat and drink until they are filled. And, if you’ve made your own wine, you can use that instead of water.

This quiet meal, in which all partake until they are filled with bread and water/wine, all the while pondering on the atonement of Christ, can be performed whenever a tribal worship service is wanted, whether that be once a week or several times a week, on any day desired. There is no scriptural prohibition to partaking of the sacrament on days other than Sunday.

Let the gifts manifest themselves

Once a tribal sacrament service is performed, and all bellies are filled with bread and water/wine and all spirits are filled with the Holy Ghost, the gifts can freely manifest themselves without the restrictions placed upon them in church services. This means you can form prayer circles and pray for the healing gifts to manifest, praying that one another be healed. Or you may pray for tongues and interpretations, or for prophesying or for any of the gifts to be manifested, and allow those who possess these gifts to benefit the surrounding tribal members.

Working in this way, the tribal worship service will invigorate the spirit and work to perfect the members of the tribe.

Increasing the size of tribal worship services

As this is not a church, nor a church function, but is a tribal function, only members of the tribe are invited to participate. That means although you start with your immediate family, you then can extend an invitation to your extended family, which makes up your tribe. Blood and marriage (or adoption) relations are typically how tribes are composed, but it’s your tribe, so you decide who is, and is not, a part of it, unlike a church which typically has an open door policy, all being welcome to join.

If you get a good number of relations meeting together for tribal worship services, there will potentially be more spiritual manifestations, which means more benefit to the tribe.

Tribal ordinances

Just about every ordinance performed at church can be performed in a tribe. The Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthoods can be used for all of these ordinances. Thus, a child can be blessed and given a tribal name; a boy or girl can be baptized for the remission of sins as part of his or her entrance into the tribe; the gift of the Holy Ghost can be given as a confirmation that he or she is a member of the tribe; males can be ordained to the priesthoods, etc. Although the priesthood is used, these are tribal ordinances, not church ordinances. They are recorded on tribal records, not church records. Should the individuals desire to join a church, they can do that, too, but they’ll have to receive these ordinances again from the hands of authorized church officers.

Where tribal priesthood authority comes from

Why, from the tribe, of course. It is the tribe that authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the tribe. Just as a church authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the church. The priesthood can be used in both organizations and each organization has jurisdiction over its own. A person may have membership in a tribe, in a church, or in both. Neither organization can tell the other how to run itself or administer the ordinances or deal with its members.

The Lord recognizes tribal authority

Priesthood found within a tribal setting, authorized by tribal members, is recognized as valid by the Lord. In fact, the tribe might actually be more valid to the Lord than any other social organization, including churches, because the tribe appears to be the very first social order. Tribal organization is not based upon the laws of the land, as are churches. They predate the laws of the land.

To some extent, my boyhood desires to live as the primitive saints lived, experiencing the spiritual manifestations they did, contributed to me receiving many different administrations of the gifts over the years. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until my own father passed away and I became the presiding tribal elder, or the spiritual leader or prophet of my extended family tribe, that I noticed a marked difference in the administrations. Before me, he was the tribal prophet, holding the Melchizedek priesthood. In fact, he was the only one of the entire clan that held it. Once I had obtained both priesthoods and he had passed away, the tribal office he held was transferred, unbeknownst, to me. I became the only living member of my tribe who held the Melchizedek priesthood. Suddenly I had gifts I never had before. I could bless tribal members and the Lord would respect it. I could curse tribal members and the Lord would equally respect it. Etc.

It wasn’t until years later that the Lord gave me to understand that I was the presiding tribal elder, after the order of Melchizedek, like my father before me. Presiding tribal elder is not an office of the priesthood found within the church, nevertheless, it is an office of the priesthood that God recognizes. The same applies to other tribal priesthood offices and ordinances.

There is (spiritual) safety within a tribe

Tribes not only are a protection from physical danger, but they also offer a protection from spiritual decay. Tribes that are based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and administered with the Holy Priesthood become obstacles to government and corporate interests which try to destroy the moral fabric of society. If your local congregation has been infiltrated by Luciferian influences to the point that church is a lukewarm experience at best, consider activating your family and extended family tribal worship services. It may give you the spiritual boost needed to more effectively fight the evil influences found at church.

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An alternate view of the keys


Note: This article is 22,421 words long. As a result, I highly doubt anyone will read it in its entirety, therefore I am hyper-linking all the section headings so that you can quickly jump to any section you may be interested in.

Section Headings

THE KEYS OF THE PRIESTHOOD

The current viewThe divine right of prophets and presidenciesThe divine right of kings (and of popes)The mandate of heavenAll of the above divine right theories are falseMore on the current view of the keysPriesthood is not authority; it is a languageDefining the keys requires the Doctrine and CovenantsThe meaning of the conjunction “or” in the scripturesKeys = authorityMore scriptures that use “or” as an alternative definition of the same thingPriesthood and authority linked togetherEveryone who holds the priesthood possesses keysBy the authority (keys) of the priesthoodActive vs. inactive (suspended) keysHow priesthood keys are to be usedPriesthood keys are a testWhen suspended keys should not be activatedSuspended keys are good for nothingImpeding the work of the LordGraph of current view of priesthood keysGraph of alternate view of priesthood keysA priesthood machineThe priesthood in motionPriesthood is useless without activated keysAn example of activated quorum keys

THE KEYS OF THE CHURCH

A second set of keysThe keys of the churchThe law of common consentAll things to be done by common consentLord upholds servants only if there is common consentThe consent of the governedUnrighteous dominionTwo sets of keysBoth sets are neededThe keys of the church validate the keys of the priesthoodThe divine purpose of the church keysThe keys of the church are absoluteGod uses keys to prove His peopleIsrael to be led by the keysOrdinations voted by churchLicenses voted by churchLicenses can be revokedExcommunications (and priesthood invalidations) by vote of churchWho decides?The proper way to use the keys of the churchThe sisters and the keys of the churchHow ecclesiastical abusers deal with the sisters

SPEKTATOR’S QUESTIONS

Spektator’s questions answeredAnswer to question #1Answer to question #2Background on Alma the elderAlma the elder, priest of NoahIniquity with consentEnter AbinadiAlma’s priesthood authorityAnswer to question #3The break up of the church and the loss of the keysAn earthquake will break up the churchBoth sets of keys will be lostAmmonihah reduxHow the broken up churches will make moneyProphecy of no more Gentile stakes will be fulfilledName changesThe blood of the saints will be spilledThe fulfillment of 3 Ne. 16: 10-15A repeat of the ZoramitesHow the Zoramites treated the poorBroken up Mormon churches will lack charityIsaiah’s prophecy of the broken up Mormon churchesEarthquake imageryThe reason for the earthquakeConclusionEndnotes

THE KEYS OF THE PRIESTHOOD

The current view

Chapter 14 of Gospel Principles, which is this year’s Melchizedek Priesthood manual, gives the modern, LDS teaching on the keys:

Keys of the Priesthood

There is a difference between being ordained to an office in the priesthood and receiving keys of the priesthood. President Joseph F. Smith taught:

“The Priesthood in general is the authority given to man to act for God. Every man ordained to any degree of the Priesthood has this authority delegated to him.

“But it is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their fulness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor. Thus, the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum, each holds the keys of the labors performed in that particular body or locality. His Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum. But he holds the power of directing the official labors performed in the … quorum, or in other words, the keys of that division of that work” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 141; italics in original).

To this we can also add the concept of suspension of keys.

Full provision has been made by our Lord for changes. Today there are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President, to be brought into use if and when circumstances allow, all ordained to leadership in their turn as they move forward in seniority. (Spencer W. Kimball, “‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’,” Ensign, Jan 1973, page 33. Address delivered Friday morning, October 6, 1972.)

Here is an itemized summary of the mainstream, LDS understanding of keys:

  • Priesthood = Authority “Priesthood…is the authority given to man to act for God.” Anyone who has been ordained to the priesthood has this authority.
  • Keys = Power Keys constitute “the power of directing…labors.”
  • Only Prophet Holds All Keys (in Activated State) The fulness of (or all) the “keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church.”
  • 14 Apostles Hold All Keys (in Suspension) “There are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President.”
  • Prophet May Delegate Some (Active or Unsuspended) Keys To Others “He (the prophet) may delegate any portion of this power, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor.”
  • Presidencies Receive Delegated (Active or Unsuspended) Keys All the presidencies of the church receive delegated keys, “the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum”, etc., each receives delegated, active keys.
  • Keys Do Not Increase Priesthood The “Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum.”

To reiterate: according to this view, priesthood is authority, keys are the power to direct the official labors of the church and possessing keys (powers to direct official labors) does not increase priesthood (authority). For example, the prophet, who possesses every key in full activation, has no more authority (priesthood) than that of an elder who possesses none of the keys. Although authority is equal among all priesthood holders, power is not. Power, in the form of keys, is concentrated and centered at the top (the prophet) and is then disbursed to the various presidencies down below as he sees fit. The quorum member never receives any keys, whatsoever, unless he is called to a position that requires keys, such as a presidency. The only exception to this rule is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, each member of which receives every key in suspension.

The divine right of prophets and presidencies

The mainstream view of the keys of the priesthood is a top-down perspective that resembles, and appears to be based upon, the doctrine known as the divine right of kings, which in turn was based upon the Roman Catholic doctrines known as papal primacy and papal supremacy. The latter two doctrines might rightly be termed the divine right of popes.

The British crown represented the establishment church system — the Church of England. Moreover, the king, by royal edict, was “lord sovereign head” of the Church. Even many years subsequent to the official separation of the Church of England from the Church of Rome, Anglicanism remained thoroughly steeped in the tyrannical and despotic traditions of popery. In Rome, the pope was sovereign head of the Church; but in England, it was the monarchy. The “divine right of popes” was exchanged for the “divine right of kings.” (Peter Kershaw, Reemergence of the Divine Right of Kings, 1997, Hushmoney.org.)

Due to the similarities between it and the divine right doctrines, I will call the modern, LDS view of the keys the divine right of prophets and presidencies.

The divine right of kings (and of popes)

The divine right of prophets and presidencies can only be understood in light of the divine right of kings, so let’s briefly review some divine right of kings basics:

1. In every kingdom, the king’s power comes directly from God, to whom the ruler is accountable; power does not come to the king from the people and he is not accountable to them.

(The divine right of prophets and presidencies would be: “In the kingdom of God on earth, the prophet’s power (keys) comes directly from God, to whom the prophet is accountable; power (keys) does not come to the prophet from the people (church members) and he is not accountable to them.”)

2. In every kingdom, the king makes the final decisions on all aspects of government (including the church). Other people and institutions that exercise political power do so as delegates of the king, and are subordinate to him.

(The divine right of prophets and presidencies would be: “In the kingdom of God on earth, the prophet and presidencies make the final decision on all aspects of church government. Other people and institutions that exercise ecclesiastical power (the presidencies) do so as delegates of the prophet, and are subordinate to him.”)

From the above we can see the parallels between the divine right of kings (and of popes) and the divine right of prophets and presidencies. The divine right of kings, popes, prophets and presidencies are all, essentially, the same doctrine applied to different institutions. These theories can be expressed in the following way:

The Divine Right of Kings is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the king does can be questioned.”

The Divine Right of Popes is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the pope does can be questioned.”

The Divine Right of Prophets and Presidencies is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the prophet and presidencies do can be questioned.”

(If you wish to learn more about the history and doctrine of the divine right of kings, you can try Wikipedia, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or just do an Ixquick search. You may also wish to look up papal primacy and papal supremacy.)

The mandate of heaven

The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the divine right of kings in Western philosophy in that both sought to legitimize rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of Heaven is predicated on the conduct of the ruler in question. The Mandate of Heaven postulates that Tian (heaven) would bless the authority of a just ruler, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Mandate of Heaven would then transfer to those who would rule best. (Wikipedia entry for Mandate of Heaven.)

Modern LDS believe that if a prophet of God were to try to do something contrary to the will of God, He would kill the prophet. This stems from Wilford Woodruff’s statement, which is pretty much taken as scripture by all LDS:

The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)

The God-will-strike-him-dead theory of how He deals with misleading prophets may also have derived from the following scripture:

While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. (D&C 85: 8 )

Of course, this theory flies in the face of the actual scripture that shows how a sinning prophet is supposed to be dealt with:

And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him. Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness. (D&C 107: 82-84)

Similar to the mandate of heaven, the divine right of prophets and presidencies leaves open the possibility of prophets sinning. But then it merges into the divine right of kings, leaving the actual removal of the prophet in the hands of God (instead of in the hands of the people, as called for in D&C 107: 82-84.)

All of the above divine right theories are false

There is no such thing as a divine right of kings, nor are there such things as papal supremacy and papal primacy, nor such a thing as a divine right of prophets and presidencies. These are all foolish and vain imaginations. And I will show it in this article. Nevertheless, although I am going to confine myself to exposing only the fallacy of the divine right of prophets and presidencies, these principles can be equally applied to kings and popes, too.

The strategy I will take in destroying the divine right theories is to expound upon the doctrine of the keys, for in my recent research into priesthood, it was the doctrine that showed the falsehood of those theories.

More on the current view of the keys

Before expounding on the keys, I must again list the itemized summary of the mainstream view because I need to make some refutations:

Priesthood = Authority “Priesthood…is the authority given to man to act for God.” FALSE. Priesthood, as explained in another article of mine, is a divine language. It is accompanied by authority, but is not authority, per se.

Keys = Power Keys constitute “the power of directing…labors.” FALSE. Keys are the authority of the Priesthood, not the power of the priesthood.

Only Prophet Holds All Keys (in Activated State) The fulness of (or all) the “keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church.” TRUE.

14 Apostles Hold All Keys (in Suspension) “There are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President.” TRUE.

Prophet May Delegate Some (Active or Unsuspended) Keys To Others “He (the prophet) may delegate any portion of this power, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor.” SORT OF TRUE. What really occurs when keys are delegated is that the keys that the receiver previously held in suspension are now activated. In other words, they now have the right to use their keys. ALSO SORT OF FALSE. Saying “any portion of this power” is misleading, because keys are authority, not power.

Presidencies Receive Delegated (Active or Unsuspended) Keys All the presidencies of the church receive delegated keys, “the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum”, etc., each receives delegated, active keys. SORT OF TRUE. What really occurs when keys are delegated is that the keys that the receiver previously held in suspension are now activated. In other words, they now have the right to use their keys.

Keys Do Not Increase Priesthood The “Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum.” TRUE. Every priesthood holder holds all the priesthood keys; it’s just that some keys are active while others are suspended. The prophet is an exception, for all his keys are active.

Priesthood is not authority, it is a language

Please see the previous article of this series for an in depth exposition of this principle. The relationship of authority to priesthood is that priesthood is accompanied by authority, or is inseparably connected with it. In one particular verse of scripture, because of this tight connection, priesthood and authority are even spoken of as being the same thing, but in every other verse of scripture, the two concepts are kept distinct. (Later on in this post I will address that one verse of scripture that links priesthood and authority together.)

Defining the keys requires the Doctrine and Covenants

The concept of priesthood keys is derived from but one verse in the Bible. Said the Savior to Peter:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16: 19.)

Both the Catholic and Mormon churches agree that the above scripture is speaking of the keys of the priesthood, but that doesn’t say much about what constitutes keys, except that they are used to bind and loose, or, in the vernacular of a key, lock and unlock. Fortunately, Joseph Smith received many revelations which expounded on the doctrine of keys. So, it is to the Doctrine and Covenants that we must look.

The meaning of the conjunction “or” in the scriptures

Many of the scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants that mention the word “keys” also utilize the conjunction “or,” therefore, it is necessary to know the possible shades of meaning that “or” may have. Here is the entry on “or” taken from the American dictionary in use during the time of Joseph Smith:

or

OR, a termination of Latin nouns, is a contraction of vir, a man, or from the same radix. The same word vir, is in our mother tongue, wer, and from this we have the English termination er.

It denotes an agent, as in actor, creditor. We annex it to many words of English origin, as in lessor, as we do er to words of Latin and Greek origin, as in astronomer, laborer. In general, or is annexed to words of Latin, and er to those of English origin.

OR, conj. [It seems that or is a mere contraction of other.]

A connective that marks an alternative. “You may read or may write;” that is, you may do one of the things at your pleasure, but not both. It corresponds to either. You may either ride to London, or to Windsor. It often connects a series of words or propositions, presenting a choice of either. He may study law or medicine or divinity, or he may enter into trade.

Or sometimes begins a sentence, but in this case it expresses an alternative with the foregoing sentence. Matt. 7 and 9.

In poetry, or is sometimes used for either.

For thy vast bounties are so numberless, that them or to conceal or else to tell is equally impossible.

Or is often used to express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words. Thus we say, a thing is a square, or a figure under four equal sides and angles.

Or ever. In this phrase, or is supposed to be a corruption of ere.

OR, in heraldry, gold. [L. aurum.]

(Taken from the entry of “or” found in the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.)

The “or” word that concerns us is the conjunction “or,” which has five shades of meaning. But of those five, only the two shades marked in red text above can apply to the scriptures we are studying in this article.

Keys = authority

Okay, so let’s write out some scriptures.

D&C 107: 15 as it stands in our books

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same. (D&C 107: 15)

The same scripture using or as a connective that marks an alternative, corresponding to either

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and [either] holds the keys or [the] authority of the same.

INCORRECT SENSE. The above cannot be the meaning of the word or because we know that the bishopric both holds keys and authority, not one or the other.

The same scripture using or as an alternative definition of the same thing

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys[,] or authority[,] of the same.

CORRECT SENSE. This is the only possible meaning of the word or in this sentence, therefore, KEYS = AUTHORITY in this scripture.

D&C 68: 17 as it stands in our books

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same. (D&C 68: 17)

The same scripture using or as a connective that marks an alternative, corresponding to either

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and [either] the keys or [the] authority of the same.

INCORRECT SENSE. The above cannot be the meaning of the word or because we know that the firstborn both holds keys and authority, not one or the other.

The same scripture using or as an alternative definition of the same thing

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys[,] or authority[,] of the same.

CORRECT SENSE. This is the only possible meaning of the word or in this sentence, therefore, KEYS = AUTHORITY in this scripture.

More scriptures that use “or” as an alternative definition of the same thing

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church— (D&C 107: 18)

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. (D&C 107: 20)

In the above scriptures, “higher” means “Melchizedek Priesthood” and “lesser” means “Aaronic Priesthood.” The word “or” is used, in these sentences, “to express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words.”

Priesthood and authority linked together

Here is the one verse of scripture that links priesthood and authority together, using the word “or.”

That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. (D&C 121: 37)

The last phrase, “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” could mean, depending on how the word “or” is interpreted, “Amen to [either] the priesthood or [to] the authority of that man.” This could be a valid interpretation because priesthood could be referring to the rank and file priesthood holder who is not in a position of leadership and has no active keys (authority), whereas authority would be referring to priesthood leadership that holds active keys (authority).

On the other hand, “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” might also be interpreted as “Amen to the priesthood[,] or the authority[,] of that man.” This interpretation equates priesthood with authority (priesthood = authority, meaning priesthood = keys.) It might be a valid interpretation because without keys, priesthood cannot be used for anything. That is not to say that priesthood literally is authority (or keys, as defined in D&C 107: 15 and 68: 17), but that they go hand in hand, just as “the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.”

It appears that the Priesthood = Authority camp are basing their interpretation on D&C 121: 37, using the conjunction “or” to “express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words.” Such a literal approach, though, comes into conflict with the scriptures that define keys as authority, because, if Priesthood = Authority = Keys, then that means that everyone who holds the priesthood possesses keys, which is not what our priesthood leaders are teaching. (They teach that only the leaders hold keys.)

Each person will have to come to his or her own conclusion as to the meaning of the word “or” in that verse.

Everyone who holds the priesthood possesses keys

When any man has either of the two priesthoods conferred upon him, he holds all the keys of that priesthood.

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. (D&C 107: 18-20)

This is the reason why keys do not increase priesthood. Priesthood already comes with every key. However, not all keys are active. Many of them are held in suspension, while others are active.

By the authority (keys) of the priesthood

All priesthood ordinances are performed by keys (authority). Whenever an ordinance is performed in which the authority is stated, it usually goes something like this:

“[Person called by name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the [Melchizedek/Aaronic] priesthood which we [hold/possess], we lay our hands on your head and ordain/bless [etc.]…”

Because keys = authority, it would be just as valid to state the following:

“[Person called by name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the keys of the [Melchizedek/Aaronic] priesthood which we [hold/possess], we lay our hands on your head and ordain/bless [etc.]…”

Active vs. inactive (suspended) keys

What sets priesthood holders apart is the number, and type of, active keys they hold. Some keys are always active, regardless of what priesthood office is held, while other keys are active only while specific offices are held or when they are taken out of suspension (activated) by some else’s active keys.

Keys that are always active require no one’s permission to use them. Melchizedek priesthood blessings of comfort or of health fall into that category of keys.

Keys in suspension can be taken out of suspension in two ways. The first way is when a man is ordained to an office and calling that requires certain keys to be activated. During this ordination, he will be “given the keys” that pertain to that office. This doesn’t mean that he gets something more, it merely means that he now has the right to use some of the suspended keys he already possessed while he is in that office and calling. This “delegation of keys” is really just an activation of certain keys that he possessed in suspension. Nothing more.

The now-activated keys can be used by the newly called and ordained priesthood officer to perform the duties of his calling, as well as to temporarily activate the suspended keys of priesthood holders within his jurisdiction.

Temporary activation of keys by a jurisdiction officer is the second way that keys can be taken out of suspension. For example, the active keys for ordinances of church record (baptism, confirmation, etc.) are held by specific priesthood offices (bishops, stake presidencies, etc.) These men can perform the ordinances themselves using their active keys or they can give permission to other priesthood holders to perform them. No further ordination is needed, no further conferrals of priesthood or of keys. A simple, “okay” from the one holding the active keys of that office suffices. The man performing the ordinance is then authorized because his own set of suspended keys that pertained to those ordinances are temporarily activated by the active keys of the jurisdictional priesthood officer.

Thus, it is incorrect to say that one man holds keys, while another doesn’t. Just as it is said that the twelve apostles hold all the keys in suspension, while the prophet has active keys, so the same applies to all men who have the rights to the priesthood. All men, then, are on an equal playing field, having been given everything in the first ordination.

How priesthood keys are to be used

AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (Matt. 10: 1)

The phrase used above, “he gave them power against unclean spirits” can also be translated as, “he gave them authority over unclean spirits.” As the authority of the priesthood are the keys, we could also say, “he gave them keys over unclean spirits.” With that in mind, let’s re-read that verse and look at the 7 verses that follow it.

AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them keys over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thadaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt. 10: 1-8)

“Freely ye have received; freely give” (Matt. 10:8.) The apostles had received keys to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Jesus gave them these keys without them having to pay Him and then commanded them to use the keys. They were to likewise give these keys to others without receiving payment.

This principle of generosity, of sharing or giving the keys to other men, is according to the principle of charity. This is why the scripture says that men, to whom the rights of the priesthood have been conferred, are to “let [their] bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith” (D&C 121: 45.) They are to use their active keys to activate the keys of other priesthood holders.

Priesthood keys are a test

Why is only one man’s keys active (or three men in a presidency) while the rest of the quorum’s keys are in suspension?

The reason why the Lord “gives keys” to presidencies, meaning that these presidencies can actively use the keys themselves and also use them to activate others’ keys, is so that the presidents may learn charity and become ministers and servants of all. It is to provide an opportunity for the leaders to live the principle: freely you have received, freely give.

It is also to test the presiding officials, to see if they will be stingy and keep their keys alone active, or if they will activate everyone’s keys, or if they will activate only the keys of their friends and associates, their favorites. The Lord wants to see if His presiding officers will play favoritism and nepotism.

The genius of the priesthood lies in the unequal disbursement of active and suspended keys. The “giving of keys” is not designed to be a mechanism of control, but it can be used as one, thereby providing an adequate test to all presidencies. The Lord gives active keys to the presidencies and inactive keys to the rank and file in the priesthood quorums, and then sits back and sees what His leadership sons do. Do they use the active keys to abuse and control or to minister and serve? Are they stingy with the active keys or do they use them to activate all the others?

When suspended keys should not be activated

There is really only one condition in which suspended keys should not be allowed to become active: formal disciplinary action. If a man has not had formal disciplinary action he is innocent (for all are innocent until proven guilty by two or three witnesses—the law of witnesses) and should be allowed to have his keys activated.

Every member of the church, having been baptized and confirmed has received a remission of his or her sins and is therefore presumed to be justified. Likewise, a man or boy who obtains either priesthood has already been interviewed and found worthy (righteous or justified). If a man is accused of sinning after those ordinances, it must be proved by the testimony of two or three witnesses that 1) the sin occurred and 2) that the man is unrepentant. If all those conditions are met, a judgment occurs. However, if not all of the conditions are met (for example, there may be only one witness or there may be no witnesses, or only hearsay, or the man confesses and repents, etc.) then he is presumed to be innocent. Because of the presumption of innocence (the guiltless or justified state) there is no reason to withhold key activation of all priests who have no judgments against them.

However, in the modern church, the law of witnesses is not always followed and men are not always presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Often, the presumption is guilty by association, by the appearance of evil, by bucking Mormon cultural norms, etc., without any evidence of actual sins being committed. In such cases, keys activation is often withheld.

Suspended keys are good for nothing

It is through use of the priesthood that men become more Christlike. When men are baptizing, confirming and performing other ordinances, the Spirit can work through them to sanctify them. Prohibiting a man who has no judgment against him from using his priesthood is priestcraft.

(Priestcraft happens when a priesthood leader sets himself up “for a light unto the world,” becoming a false Christ or false Savior. Leaders engaging in priestcraft force priesthood holders within their jurisdiction to accept and obey their leadership counsel as if it were spoken by Jesus Himself, before permitting them to use their priesthood keys.)

Impeding the work of the Lord

Those who hold active keys can use them to impede the work of the Lord by making it more difficult for men to come to the Lord. They can do this by giving additional (extra-scriptural) requirements to the commandments of God, such as the Pharisees did. Some additional requirements could be, for example:

  • Baptisms only on one day of the week, or one day of the month (for example, scheduling all pending baptisms for the stake baptism day.)
  • Specific dress required for ordinances.
  • Specific beliefs required before ordinances can be performed (creeds).
  • Specific words required for ordinances (formalism).
  • Submission tests and power plays (deal-making: “you do this to demonstrate your loyalty and I’ll let you perform the ordinance.”)

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with baptizing on any of the seven days of the week, or at any hour of the day (even in the middle of the night!), but by using the active baptismal keys to narrow down the window of time in which baptisms may be performed, the one who holds the active keys to that ordinance creates an artificial hoop that one must jump through. If one wishes to be baptized on a different day or time and the active key holder will not permit it, this creates an artificial conflict in which the person must bow to the active key holder’s wishes or be labeled a rebel (a sinner), and thus now unworthy of baptism. The artificial requirement, then, in this example, has impeded the work of the Lord.

The keys of the priesthood are flexible enough to be used in this tyrannical manner so that the active key holder (the leader) can be properly proved.

Graph of current view of priesthood keys

The standard view of the priesthood keys (the divine right of prophets and presidencies) creates a pyramidal church hierarchy with one man at the top, fourteen men below him, multiple presidencies below them, and the vast multitude of quorum members at the bottom. Each level is subordinate to the ones above it, the top level being subordinate to no one but God.

In the divine right of prophets and presidencies, all priesthood holders are dependent upon the prophet and 14 apostles. No one holds all the keys except them, so, should the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve suddenly die, those keys go down to the grave with them, never again to be restored, unless God sends more angels. This organization, then, has a weak link at the top. Remove the top and everything else crumbles. Also, the presidencies “serve” the quorums by ruling them, or telling them what to do. This type of “service” is based on the Gentile kingdoms.

Graph of alternate view of priesthood keys

When a priesthood key is “given” in conjunction with a presidency, what is actually given is the right to use the keys of that presidency that are already inherent in the priesthood (for the priesthood itself already holds all the keys to preside) and to use the keys to activate, or take out of suspension, the keys held by quorum members in the jurisdiction of the presidency.

This alternate view creates an inverted pyramidal church hierarchy. The president serves the quorum by using his active keys to empower the quorum, meaning to activate the suspended keys of the quorum. He then empowers the quorum so that they can use their priesthood more fully.

As the graph shows, God, the prophet, and the apostles are the foundation of the priesthood, being below all and supporting all, like a building. Because every priesthood holder holds all the keys, some active, some suspended, God can call any one of His priesthood bearing sons to fill any position of this divine edifice. It is simply a matter of activating the keys inherit in the priesthood. There is no way weak link to such an organization because even if the prophet and apostles die suddenly, other priesthood holders can fill their place and every quorum and presidency can be reformed.

A priesthood machine

The priesthood is designed on a stacked, radial pattern, like spoked wheels stacked one on top of the other, their central axes connected. Each wheel of the machine is a quorum. The central point of a wheel is the one with active quorum keys, the quorum presidency. The connection between the axes is how keys are delegated from presidency to presidency. The spokes are quorum members who have suspended quorum keys. As long as the quorum members’ keys remain suspended, the wheels don’t turn and the priesthood machine comes to a grinding halt.

The priesthood in motion

Once the central point activates the suspended keys of the quorum, the wheel starts to turn. The priesthood begins to operate with authority (keys) and becomes useful in creating divine motion.

Priesthood is useless without activated keys

In the above illustrations, each stacked wheel is aligned at the central point. If we could see all the wheels (quorums) of the priesthood, we would notice that bottom-most wheel is the First Presidency. The wheel on top of that would be the Quorum of the Twelve. Etc. The bottom-most central point (the prophet) activates the keys of (delegates keys to) the central points above him (the presidencies) and the presidencies are supposed to use them to activate the keys of the spokes of their wheels. In an ideal situation, all of these stacked wheels would be turning, all keys activated. However, our situation is far from ideal and turning wheels may be few and far between.

On top of the gears of the priesthood machinery are the members of the kingdom, who benefit from all this priesthood service. Once again, the priesthood is seen as an inverted pyramid, or inverted hierarchy.

An example of activated quorum keys

The man who baptized Wilford Woodruff was, apparently, a mere member of an elder’s quorum, not an elder’s quorum president, not a set-apart missionary, just a rank and file quorum member. Nevertheless, it appears that back then, the quorum member keys were activated and they were free to use them to further the work of the Lord. Here is the account:

On December 29, 1833, Wilford Woodruff finally heard the gospel from authorized servants of God. He recounted: “For the first time in my life, I saw an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was Zera Pulsipher. He told me that he was inspired of the Lord. He was threshing grain in his barn when the voice of the Lord came to him and told him to arise and go to the north, the Lord had business for him there. He called upon Brother [Elijah] Cheney, his neighbor and a member of the Church. They traveled sixty miles on foot…in deep snow, and the first place they felt impressed to call upon was the house of my brother and myself. They went into the house and talked with my brother’s wife, and they told her who they were and what their business was. They told her that they were moved upon to go to the north, and they never felt impressed to stop anywhere until they came to that house. When they told her their principles, she said her husband and her brother-in-law both were men who believed those principles, and they had prayed for them for years. They appointed a meeting in the schoolhouse upon our farm.

“I came home in the evening, and my sister-in-law told me of this meeting. I had been drawing logs from the shores of Lake Ontario (I was in the lumber business), and I turned out my horses, did not stop to eat anything, and went to the meeting. I found the house and the dooryard filled with people. I listened for the first time in my life to a Gospel sermon as taught by the Elders of this Church. It was what I had sought for from my boyhood up. I invited the men home with me. I borrowed the Book of Mormon, and sat up all that night and read. In the morning I told Brother Pulsipher I wanted to be baptized. I had a testimony for myself that those principles were true. Myself and my brother…went forth and were baptized—the two first in that county.”

Elder Pulsipher baptized Wilford Woodruff in a creek on December 31, 1833, and confirmed him on that same day. Three days later, Wilford Woodruff received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of teacher. This was the beginning of a lifelong ministry in the Lord’s service. Looking back on that day, he said, “My mission immediately commenced.”  (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 2004, pgs. 37-38.)

THE KEYS OF THE CHURCH

A second set of keys

THERE are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. (D&C 107: 1-4)

Notice that it was the church—not God, not the priests (which is a subset of the church), but the membership of the church itself—that changed the name of that order of priesthood. Modern LDS might find it a little strange that ancient church members were telling priesthood holders what to call their priesthood, yet there it is in our scriptures. And there is no indication that they sinned in the practice. So, we could ask, “By what authority did the church change the name of the priesthood?” That is the $64,000 question.

As explained previously, authority and keys are synonymous. In the scriptures, they mean and are the same thing. So, when we ask, “By what authority?” it means the same as asking, “By what keys?”

One thing is certain, the keys used by the church to change the name of the priesthood were not the keys of the priesthood. Only the men of the church who possess priesthood hold priesthood keys. Every other baptized member is without priesthood keys. That includes all the females, as well as all the males who have not yet had priesthood conferred upon them. The entire group of baptized and confirmed people, who make up the church of God, have received a set of keys separate and distinct from the keys of the priesthood.

The keys of the church

Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; (D&C 45: 1)

Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given. Even so. Amen. (D&C 42: 69)

The people of the Lord’s church have been given the kingdom, which is defined as the keys of the church. Contrary to what the footnote to “keys of the church” in D&C 42: 69 and also the Triple Combination Index would have you believe, the keys of the church are not synonymous with the keys of the priesthood, but are a second set of keys given to every single church member, whether they possess priesthood or not.

The law of common consent

Church keys are exercised or manifested through the law of common consent, which in turn is based on the majority principle. This means that the people of the church vote on issues and whatever the majority decides, goes. This is known as the voice of the people.

All things to be done by common consent

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen. (D&C 26: 2)

For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith. (D&C 28: 13)

I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto them according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. (Alma 29: 4)

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8: 7)

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. (Mosiah 29: 26)

From the above scriptures we learn that in the church, the keys of the priesthood are subject to the keys of the church, and not vice versa. This is why we find the Lord commanding his prophet Samuel, who possessed a fulness of active priesthood keys, to obey the will of the people in all things. This is why we find the seer-king Mosiah commanding his people to make it a law among the people that only the majority decisions will stand. And why we find the seer Alma explaining that even God Himself is not exempt from this law, that God Himself gives whatever men truly desire to them, regardless of what it is. And finally, it is why we find the Lord commanding and explaining to His church that every church decision absolutely must be done by common consent.

Lord upholds servants only if there is common consent

Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him. (D&C 93: 51)

The principle is that the servants (those who hold priesthood) must hearken to their masters (the church), whom they serve. If the people say RIGHT and a prophet says LEFT, but then the prophet forces a LEFT upon the people, he transgresses because the Lord will only uphold (sustain) a prophet (or any other servant-minister) if there is common consent among the people. If the church withdraws its consent at any point, the Lord ceases to uphold the servant. Even if the servant has been obedient to the Lord in all things and is righteous, and it is the church that is wicked (which is the reverse of how it normally is), if the servant attempts to assert his authority over them (which the church has removed), he transgresses the law and the Spirit leaves him.

The consent of the governed

It all comes down to a principle known as the consent of the governed. This principle can be defined in the following way:

The Consent of the Governed means “that nothing the leader/ruler (king, pope, prophet, etc.) does is legitimate unless the people consent to it.”

The consent of the governed is a true principle that invalidates all divine right theories. Any king, pope, prophet, priest, president, leader, or ruler that claims legitimacy based upon divine approval, regardless of what the people say or without consulting the people, is a liar inspired by the devil. This is because God Himself recognizes the heavenly principle of the consent of the governed. In fact, He is the Author of it. In a word, He has termed it agency. A war in heaven was fought over whether this principle would continue to exist, or be replaced by a divine right doctrine. That war continues here on earth. Currently, the principle is still firmly in place, both in heaven and in the scriptures of the church of God. Legitimacy, then, is determined only by the people, not by God.

Unrighteous dominion

Unrighteous dominion is dominion without the consent of the governed.

If the Lord attempts to assert dominion without the consent of the governed, He engages in unrighteous dominion. The same applies to the servants of the Lord.

Why? Because the Lord’s authority is only legitimate with the consent of the governed (His creations). The instant that consent is ignored or withdrawn, the Lord no longer has authority nor power over those people, nor do His servants. The Lord’s almighty power is called agency, and consists of the agencies of everything He has created.

His dominion is without compulsory means, meaning that all things obey Him because they want to obey Him, not because they have to or are forced to. His almighty power comes from their combined agencies, freely and voluntarily obeying Him. Were He ever to try to force obedience upon any of His creations, He would lose respect and honor in the eyes of everything with agency (the created Universe) and would cease to be God.

Therefore, the priesthood cannot be used without the consent of those it is intended to serve. It is their agency that authorizes the priesthood, both ordinations and licenses.

Two sets of keys

There are, then, in effect, two sets of keys. There are the keys of the priesthood which come from the Lord and which are kind of like the Lord’s own personal agency. Then there are the keys of the church, which also come from the Lord, but which are sort of like the personal agencies of each member of the church. In the beginning, the Lord gave to us our agency and in like manner, both sets of keys come from Him, nevertheless, one set represents His Own Person, while the other set represents us.

Just as one man can’t fire a nuclear-armed missile because it requires two men with two sets of keys, which is a fail-safe mechanism, so both church and priesthood keys are needed to get anything done. The Lord’s keys of the priesthood are recognized by the entire Universe. Nevertheless, they only work with the keys, or say so, of the church they were designed to serve. If the church does not give its say so, or withdraws its consent, the Lord’s keys are powerless, for the Lord cannot override agency or He ceases to be God.

Those who obtain priesthood must likewise make sure that the agency of those they serve is never abridged in any way. If so, the priesthood keys of both prophet and presidencies become illegitimate.

Both sets are needed

Legitimate churches of Christ must possess both sets of keys. Once an understanding of the double set of keys is obtained, discernment among the Christian churches becomes fairly easy. For example, Roman Catholicism claims to possess the keys of the priesthood from Peter, nevertheless, they possess no keys of the church, for their priesthood does not operate by the common consent of their members. Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church is not a legitimate church of Christ and has not been legitimate for more than a thousand years, theirs being a false priesthood.

The breakaways from Catholicism, the Protestants, although restoring the keys of the church through the law of common consent, lack the keys of the priesthood. In the case of the Restoration churches, only the main body (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) possesses to this day, both sets of keys. All of the splinter groups that have broken off from the main body since the days of Joseph Smith to now have been a minority of members, meaning that they did not constitute “the voice of the people.” The keys of the church are only found with “the voice of the people,” therefore, all splinter groups are illegitimate because they lack one set of keys (the keys of the church.) Even though some of these groups have been properly ordained, their priesthood is invalid without the keys of the church.

The keys of the church validate the keys of the priesthood

The LDS church is not exempt from this divine principle. Although we claim that our ordinations have been correctly performed and that the keys of the priesthood have been transferred in an unbroken line, if the keys of the church are ever lost to the our church, meaning that there is no more majority voice, then the keys of our priesthoods won’t work, either. Nevertheless, while a majority voice exists in the church, through the law of common consent, even if the ordinations strayed from the prescribed, divine pattern, as long as the keys of the church continue to say those ordinations and ordinances are valid or legitimate, then the Lord recognizes them as valid or legitimate. It’s as simple as that. So, the LDS church is very safe from losing its two sets of keys, as long as the church keys are continually employed.

The divine purpose of the church keys

The keys of the church allow the members to authorize, disapprove of, or invalidate any church activity, calling, plan, institution, or plan. Members can wield these keys to add or remove scriptures from the canon, or even to reject new revelations. They can use them to modify any part of the church or priesthood organization or protocols, as demonstrated by the changing of the name of the holy priesthood.

The membership keys have near total jurisdiction over the conferral, ordination and licensing of priesthood, its keys and its ordinances. About the only thing church keys can’t do is remove priesthood from someone, as only God can do that, though using the keys members can invalidate a man’s priesthood and keys. The keys of the church, then, are the safeguard set up by the Lord to keep the priesthood in check.

Church keys balance out priesthood keys. Through the law of common consent the members are empowered to exercise their keys in either appointing or disapproving of priesthood officers and priesthood licenses. They can nullify anything coming from the priesthood, can appoint or remove officers, can revoke licenses and can even invalidate priesthood through excommunication. As priesthood holders must hearken to all things that the majority membership desires, the set of church keys, which is the kingdom that has been given to the members, is the first and chief set, even the master set.

This great authority and responsibility has been laid upon the members because they have agency, which must reign supreme. Also, this is wisdom in the Lord, for the members (the church) make up the greater part of the people (the voice of the people), while the priesthood leadership and other servants make up the lesser part, so the odds are in favor of the church choosing the right and the leadership choosing the wrong. (See Mosiah 29: 26.)

The keys of the church are absolute

I want to stress that the keys of the church, held by all baptized members, are absolute. What the members say, goes, in all things. This is why it was the church, and not the priesthood, that changed the name of the priesthood from “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God” to simply “the Melchizedek Priesthood.” (See D&C 107: 1-4.) Even the priesthood of God is subject to the keys of the church. If church members today wanted to call the Melchizedek priesthood after some contemporary high priest, who they considered great, they have the right to do so and the priesthood leadership could do nothing about it except hearken to their word. If they did not obey the membership, they would be guilty of sedition and rebellion against their masters (the church), whom they are supposed to serve.

God uses keys to prove His people

Because the keys of the church can decide all matters, even within the priesthood itself, the church of God will be judged by Him according to how they use them. For example, members can use their keys to sustain minister-servant priesthood holders, who do not maintain power or influence by virtue of their office, or they can use them to sustain ecclesiastical abusers. If we have wicked leaders in the church, it is because we have a wicked church choosing and supporting the wicked leaders (Mosiah 11: 1-6), for the power exists to remove all wicked leaders in a heartbeat. It is as simple as raising a hand in opposition. You can’t get much simpler than that. The Lord has made it extremely easy to get rid of all the snakes in church (see 1 Nephi 17: 41) so that we are left without any excuse.

Just as priesthood keys are a test to priesthood holders, so church keys are intended to prove all church members. If the time ever comes when the keys of the church are used as a rubberstamp to approve of everything the priesthood desires to do and says, because of the titles of their offices, the keys will cease to function as a check on the priesthood. At that point, the church keys will convert the minister-servant status of priesthood into an honor of men, with celebrity status, allowing ecclesiastical abusers to take control of every priesthood office. If this were to happen on a church-wide scale, the voice of the people (the church) would be choosing iniquity, causing the judgments of God to come upon the church. (See Mosiah 29: 27.)

Israel to be led by the keys

The following verse is often misinterpreted as referring to only the priesthood keys.

Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish; and Israel shall be saved in mine own due time; and by the keys which I have given shall they be led, and no more be confounded at all. (D&C 35: 24-25)

Israel is to be led by both sets of keys: the keys of the church and the keys of the priesthood.

Ordinations voted by church

No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called. (D&C 20: 65-66)

Exception: where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.

Licenses voted by church

The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences. Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference. (D&C 20: 63-64)

Licenses authorize a priesthood holder to perform the duty of his calling. Without a license, you can’t use your priesthood.

Licenses can be revoked

And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference; (D&C 124: 144.)

Excommunications (and priesthood invalidations) by vote of church

But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. (D&C 42: 81)

The church can vote to cast out (excommunicate) members from the congregation. If the excommunicant was a priesthood holder, their priesthood is now invalidated for that congregation. Should they continue baptizing and performing other ordinances while an excommunicant, the church would not recognize the ordinances, priesthood and priesthood keys used as valid.

Who decides?

Let’s recap. Who decides who gets the priesthood? The church, by vote.

Who decides who gets what office of the priesthood? The church, by vote.

Who decides which priesthood holder receives a license to perform the duty of his calling? The church, by vote.

The proper way to use the keys of the church

The Lord hasn’t really given any specific instruction to the church on how to use their keys. D&C 121: 34-46 is probably the best rule of thumb to use when deciding whether a man or boy should a) get the priesthood, b) should be ordained to an office, c) should receive a license, d) should have his license revoked, e) should be removed from office or f) should have his priesthood invalidated (through excommunication).

The sisters and the keys of the church

Historically, the keys of the church have always been, essentially, in the hands of baptized women and children, as their numbers have made up the “voice of the people.” During times when plural marriage was practiced, the combined female vote was overwhelmingly more numerous than its male counterpart, but even during these monogamous modern times, the women of the church still control the outcome of any vote. In any given branch, ward, stake or district of the church, the women and non priesthood-holding children routinely far outnumber the priesthood-holding men. Numbered alone, even without including children, the female members typically make up more than 51% of any sized church congregation. This means that if the females of the modern church were to vote as a block, every decision would be decided solely by them, regardless of how the combined male vote was cast. Even if the men were to vote as a block to oppose the females, they still would be powerless to stop them.

Thus, the keys of the church have been placed firmly in the hands of the women of the church. This is by divine design, just as the keys of the priesthood have been placed firmly in the hands of the men of the church.

The female human being is a highly sensitive creature; some might even say hypersensitive. She is able to detect abuse quite easily and quickly. As she lives out her life in an atmosphere of continual subjection to authority—first to her parents, then to teachers, then to government and work authorities, then to her husband—she becomes accustomed to forever having to obey someone else. As long as that person is as kindly as Christ is, her nature is happy, but the slightest abuse suffered and she becomes miserable. Nevertheless, due to societal norms, a female isn’t often able to free herself from bondage to one or another authority figure.

Her entrance into the Lord’s church through baptism, though, is designed by the Lord to be an entrance into freedom. No longer is she a second class citizen, standing behind a man, but is on equal ground with men, having equal voting rights as them, and having, together with her sisters, the combined capacity to pull down all abuse and abusers by vote. No longer need she obey by virtue of someone’s title (father, husband, police officer, teacher, elder, president, etc.), but is free to discard one’s title altogether and obey only the Christ-like ones and vote down the devilish.

Because women often get the brunt of the abuse that goes around by tyrannical men, and because they are usually the first ones to detect it, the Lord has given the keys of the church to the sisters, so that finally the women are empowered to rein it in.

How ecclesiastical abusers deal with the sisters

The tremendous power of the keys of the church, wielded by the sisters as a voting block to end ecclesiastical tyranny, or merely to vote their conscience, even if it contradicts the leadership position, presents an insurmountable obstacle to would-be priesthood tyrants. There simply is no way around it. If the sisters wake up to the existence of the keys of the church and exercise their voting power, leadership positions lose all their awesome titular authority, terror and clout. The strategy, then, used by leaders, is to talk only of the keys of the priesthood and to never mention the keys of the church. Because no one can exercise a right they don’t know they have, as long as the sisters remain ignorant of this authority, given to them by the Lord, men are free to rule in the church as priest-king tyrants.

Many men believe that women scriptorians are few and far between and leaders know that even those who regularly study their scriptures will often go to their priesthood leadership for answers on scriptural questions. This presents a wonderful opportunity for a leader to give an answer that solidifies his own authority and her need to obey and sustain him, as well as her need to sustain her other leaders. In fact, the leadership has gotten to the point where they hardly use the word “vote” any more. The act of raising a hand for (not against) is now widely called “sustaining”—(while raising one’s hand against is called “not sustaining”)—and it is continuously taught that it is our duty to sustain our leaders (presumably by raising our hands for them). This means that a woman who raises a hand in opposition is not “sustaining her leader,” therefore, she must be sinning.

By getting away from the word “vote,” which has no stigma if you vote your conscience, for or against, and by using the word “sustain,” the leadership has invented a new sin and multiplied guilt and fear. Now everyone is afraid to exercise his or her church keys and the priesthood is free to engage in ecclesiastical abuse with nothing to hinder its progress.

Hopefully, with this article, the word will get out to the sisters that they need not fear voting their conscience. In fact, I’ll speak directing to you sisters:

Sustaining your leaders and voting in church are two different things. You are to vote your conscience and then, after the vote is counted, whoever is voted in is the person you sustain, meaning that your prayers and support should go out to that person. Raising your hand for any measure proposed by a leader is not sustaining him or her. Raising your hand for or against any measure proposed by a leader is voting. If the measure passes, it means that the voice of the people desired it to pass. You then sustain that measure or that person with prayers, faith and support, not because you are sustaining the person or measure (which, perhaps, you disagreed with), but because you sustain the voice of the people, who are the true leaders.

The same principle applies in life outside of church. Let’s say that there are two candidates for Police Chief and you vote for candidate #1. But after the vote is counted, the voice of the people elects candidate #2. Do you just ignore the new Police Chief’s authority and disregard his commands after he’s been sworn in because you didn’t vote for him? No, instead, you prayer for him and sustain him in his office, because you respect the voice of the people.

To use another example, consider the pre-existent vote that took place, where some went with Jesus and others went with Lucifer. Jesus had the voice of the people with him, yet Lucifer and those who voted for him were not considered sinners for voting against Jesus. It was only when they rebelled against the voting outcome (against the voice of the people) that they ran into trouble and were cast out of heaven.

In like manner, voting one’s conscience is no sin in the eyes of God. It is rebellion against the voice of the people that brings swift divine judgment. When your leaders say to you that you need to “sustain your leaders,” or if they ask you if you “sustain your leaders,” it may be wise to ask yourself who are your leaders? In principle, the only mortal leaders we are commanded to sustain or “hearken to in all things” are the people’s voice, meaning the majority vote of the membership. If you do this, you are in principle and in fact, sustaining your leaders.

So, vote your mind and conscience without fear of repercussions, for there are none. And use your God-given, innate ability to detect tyrants to discover them and vote them out using your keys.

SPEKTATOR’S QUESTIONS

Spektator’s questions answered

Spektator asked me three questions, which I decided to answer in this post.

Can a man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion [be] able to ordain others? I have to think that it is not in keeping with God’s will that I can pass the priesthood on to another if I have not met the qualifications myself.

Secondly, Alma the elder received his ‘priesthood’ directly from God (Alma 18). Does God have the right to bestow the priesthood to whom He desires? I believe he does, but this does negate that absolute need for priesthood lineage.

Finally, does the Gentile Church really dispose of the priesthood when the scroll rolls? I go back to the blessing that Israel gave Ephraim – that he would be a multitude of nations – as an indication that we are both Gentiles and of the house of Ephraim. Your thoughts? (Spek’s three questions)

Answer to question #1

Can a man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion [be] able to ordain others? I have to think that it is not in keeping with God’s will that I can pass the priesthood on to another if I have not met the qualifications myself. (Spek’s 1st question)

A man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion can ordain others if he is authorized by the keys of the church, which are held by the people of the church and are activated by the voice of the people through the law of common consent. God’s will controls the powers of heaven aspect of priesthood, which is contingent on qualifications of the priesthood holder, but His will does not supercede the will of His people. As it is the will of God that the voice of the people is hearkened to, if the voice of the people say an ordination is valid, it is valid.

Answer to question #2

Secondly, Alma the elder received his ‘priesthood’ directly from God (Alma 18). Does God have the right to bestow the priesthood to whom He desires? I believe he does, but this does negate that absolute need for priesthood lineage. (Spek’s 2nd question)

Background on Alma the elder

In the land of Lehi-Nephi and the land of Shilom (Mosiah 9: 6), the righteous king Zeniff (Mosiah 9: 1) conferred the kingdom, just before he died (Mosiah 10: 22), upon Noah, one of his sons (Mosiah 11: 1). After becoming king, Noah turned wicked (Mosiah 11: 1-2) and caused his people to commit all manner of wickedness; of especial note is that Noah and his people began practicing polygamy with concubinage and whoredoms (Mosiah 11: 2), which was contrary to the commandment received by the prophet Lehi (Jacob 3: 5).

King Noah put down all the priests that had been consecrated by king Zeniff (which priests were after the order of Melchizedek), and consecrated new ones in their stead (also after the order of Melchizedek), prideful ones that likewise practiced polygamy with concubinage and whoredoms (Mosiah 11: 4-5, 14).

Alma the elder, priest of Noah

Alma was one of these new priests (Mosiah 24: 9). At the time of his calling, he was a young man (Mosiah 17: 2). Like the other priests, Alma’s lifestyle was one of laziness, idolatry and whoredoms. He used his priesthood to deceive the people with vain and flattering words so that they also became idolatrous (Mosiah 11: 7). His was a paid ministry, receiving his salary from the royal treasury, which was filled by a 20% direct tax laid upon the people’s possessions.

Iniquity with consent

In all of this wickedness, both Alma, the other priests and king Noah had the support of the people. The people did as king Noah and his priests did. When king Noah became a wine-bibber, the people did also (Mosiah 11: 15). There is no indication in the record of Zeniff that king Noah, Alma, and the rest of the priests did these things without the consent of the people. On the contrary, the record indicates that the people both sustained the king and his newly consecrated priests, rejoiced in their lying and flattering idolatrous doctrines, and participated in the riotous living (Mosiah 11: 14).

Enter Abinadi

Because of this iniquitous union between people and priesthood, in which there were no dissenting votes, only common consent to break the commandments of God, when the Lord sent Abinadi, a non-priest prophet, to deliver a divine message, it was looked upon as a disturbance of the peace of the people (Mosiah 11: 28). Both the people and the king were angry with Abinadi and both attempted to have him caught and killed (Mosiah 11: 26), because attempting to create discord and divisions in the people is subversive behavior and worthy of death. As further evidence, Abinadi’s non-priestly authority was even brought up (Mosiah 11: 27).

Abinadi escaped, but was sent back two years later with another message from the Lord. This time he was captured, imprisoned, publicly interrogated, judged and finally killed by fire, but not before he delivered his final message and teachings to the wicked priests and king.

Alma was among the audience of priests during this remarkable interrogation. He was astonished at Abinadi’s answers (Mosiah 12: 19) and was cut to his heart (Mosiah 13: 7). He saw Abinadi’s face shine, as did the people (Mosiah 13: 5), and was filled with wonder and amazement (Mosiah 13: 8). Although the priesthood records did not show that Abinadi possesssed priesthood, it was apparent to Alma that Abinadi spoke with authority from God, and not only that, he also spoke with visibly manifested power from God (Mosiah 13: 6.)

After Abinadi finished his speech, king Noah commanded his priests to take him “and cause that he should be put to death” (Mosiah 17: 1). Of all the priests, only Alma believed the words of Abinadi and he alone pleaded with the king to let Abinadi go in peace.

Instead, the king became even angrier and had Alma thrown out of the royal palace (Mosiah 11: 9) and then he sent his servants to find and kill him (Mosiah 17: 3), but Alma fled and hid himself. While in hiding, he wrote all the words of Abinadi (Mosiah 17: 4), then, after repenting “of his sins and iniquities,” began a private ministry among the people, in which he taught Abinadi’s words (Mosiah 18: 1-3.)

Eventually, about 204 people believed his words and he baptized them, forming a church of Christ. He then ordained 4 priests (after the order of Melchizedek) to teach the church. The church increased in size to 450 people with 9 ordained priests before they departed into the wilderness to escape king Noah’s army which he sent to destroy them.

Alma’s priesthood authority

Okay, Spek, now that we have Alma’s background laid out, I’ll answer your question.

First, let me state that I don’t believe that the scriptures support the view that Alma was an excommunicant. Mosiah 24: 9 states that Alma “was driven out before the king”, while Mosiah 17: 3 states that the king “caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him.” Neither of these verses strike me as a description of a formal excommunication procedure (in the modern sense.) This sounds, to me, like a forcible ejection from the palace, followed by some servants sent afterward to permanently keep Alma’s mouth shut. (In an ancient sense, this may have actually been the manner, under the law of Moses, or under a perversion of the same, to excommunicate a priest, namely, by throwing the man out and slaying him. As Alma was not killed, such an excommunication procedure was not brought to completion.)

Alma may have been removed from the palace so that a unanimous vote by the priests could take place in condemning Abinadi to death, for one dissenting vote in a capital punishment case may have nullified the procedure. The servants sent out later to slay him may have had the same purpose, that of prohibiting him from returning and casting a dissenting vote during the three days that Abinadi remained alive before a guilty verdict was passed. During this time, and afterward, while Alma remained in hiding for many days, there is no indication in the account that he was formally excommunicated (in neither a modern nor ancient sense), so I think it is fair to go under the assumption that he still retained his priesthood, being a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

But even if it is assumed that he was excommunicated, what we know of the modern priesthood shows that an excommunicated priest does not lose his priesthood, but is merely told not to use it. If and when an excommunicated priest is re-baptized, there is no re-conferral and re-ordination to the priesthood and its offices, but he is merely given a blessing in which he is told that his former covenants and privileges are restored, including his priesthood. This means that the voice of the church can invalidate an excommunicant’s priesthood for that particular church—which means that every single one of his keys goes into suspension—but has no authority to remove it. This may have been one of the reasons why Noah felt it necessary to send servants to slay Alma, so that he wouldn’t be able to use his priesthood among the people.

From the record, Alma’s priesthood lineage appears to be: from Zeniff (righteous) to Noah (righteous, then later wicked) to Alma (wicked, then later righteous).

The voice of the people supported Zeniff, so his priesthood was valid. The voice of the people also supported Noah, when Noah was righteous, so his priesthood was valid. Later, when Noah turned wicked, the voice of the people still supported him, so his priesthood remained valid. And the voice of the people supported Alma while he was wicked, up to the time he was thrown out of the palace, so his priesthood was valid until that time.

Nevertheless, Alma began a private ministry, in the which he established a church of Christ, which was separate and distinct from the church of Noah’s priests. This congregation of 204, and later of 450 people, possessed the keys of the church of Christ established by Alma, thereby validating Alma’s priesthood with their common consent. (The general population did not possess the keys of the church of Christ, for they were not a part of the church of Christ, but held to the law of Moses alone.)

So, we have a situation in which validly ordained priests after the order of Melchizedek (Zeniff and priests, Noah and priests, and Alma and priests) had established two different churches, one based upon the law of Moses alone, the other based upon the law of Moses plus the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both congregations sustained their priesthood teachers with the keys of their respective churches.

All of these priests (even the wicked ones—think back to what Lucifer said in the temple: “It is an emblem of my power and priesthoods“) had authority from God (Mosiah 18: 18), not just Alma, for they were all properly ordained and sustained by their respective congregations. The only difference was that Alma and priests also had the power of God with them (Mosiah 18: 17), for they purified their hearts and sanctified themselves before God, becoming priesthood made flesh.

So, although God does have the right to bestow priesthood upon whomever He chooses, priesthood lineage is consistently shown in the scriptures to be a necessary part of the plan of salvation, meaning that He uses an already ordained man to pass priesthood on, instead of doing it Himself. This follows the pattern and principle of “freely ye have received, freely give”, which allows an ordained man to serve his fellowmen.

Answer to question #3

Finally, does the Gentile Church really dispose of the priesthood when the scroll rolls? I go back to the blessing that Israel gave Ephraim—that he would be a multitude of nations—as an indication that we are both Gentiles and of the house of Ephraim. Your thoughts? (Spek’s 3rd question)

Yes. The Gentile Church will lose its priesthood in a couple of ways, the first being that they will lose the keys given to them.

The break up of the church and the loss of the keys

The loss of these keys appears to be connected with the break up of the church. (See 3 Ne. 6: 14.) At some point in the future, the united and centralized church of God (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will become separate churches led by priests. (See 2 Nephi 28.) These priests will be after the order of Melchizedek, having previously been ordained high priests holding the calling of stake president in the former LDS Church. Each former stake president (now priest) will be autonomous, meaning that each one will preside over a separate and distinct Mormon church, not affiliated with any of the other Mormon churches of the broken-up LDS Church. When this prophecy is fulfilled, these priests will contend with the other priests who presided over the other former LDS Church stakes, for primacy and supremacy. Each will lift himself up as the new leader of the church, but none of them will gain the voice of the church (majority vote.) The corporate LDS Church will cease to exist, to be replaced by a plurality of Mormon churches, most of which will divide along former stake boundaries. Within some of the stake-like churches, there may be men who were bishops of wards (or presidents of temples) when the LDS Church broke up that will attempt to go-it-alone. They will form their own, smaller, ward-like churches, but most congregations will be as large as stakes were, for there will be the feeling that there is safety in numbers. Nephi’s prophecy applies to these bishops and temple presidents, as well, for they are also ordained priests after the order of Melchizedek. After the break up of the LDS Church, both the stake presidents and the few lone bishops will drop the titles stake president and bishop, which pertained to the former LDS Church, and call themselves simply priests, and they will drop the titles stake and ward and call their congregations churches, thus fulfilling Nephi’s prophecy to the very letter.

An earthquake will break up the church

The reason for the break up appears to be from an earthquake during some future general conference in which the general authorities of the church will be killed by a collapsing conference center. This will leave the affairs of the church in the hands of the stake presidents, who will begin bickering as to how to re-assemble the corporate and ecclesiastical mess and will end up going their separate ways. These men will divide up the assets of the corporate church among themselves, which include meeting houses, temples and businesses. None of these priests will be able to obtain a majority vote in their favor and the membership of the church will be divided among stake-like churches.

The Wasatch Fault is the largest, normal vertical fault in the world. It is also the likeliest fault to have a large, catastrophic earthquake of all the known faults within the interior of the United States. A big earthquake is expected to occur sometime in the next 50 years. It runs 240 miles long and passes through the Salt Lake region, near the cites of Nephi, Salt Lake City, Brigham City, Provo, etc. Almost 75% of Utah’s population lives near this fault. Liquefaction is also of grave concern for this area. Liquefaction is when the ground becomes mixed with water and acts like a liquid, instead of like a solid, kind of like quick sand. (Remember the Savior’s warning about houses built on sand falling.) When liquefaction occurs during an earthquake, it is the largest, most massive buildings that fall or sink quickest into the earth. Keep in mind that the conference center is gargantuan.

Each of the segments that make up the Wasatch Fault is capable of delivering around a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. That’s fairly large, but not large enough to destroy the conference center, which was built to withstand such seismic shaking. However, it may be that the earthquake that downs the center will simultaneously trigger another 7.1 earthquake in one (or more) of the surrounding segments, causing a ripple effect of catastrophic devastation, like multiple pebbles thrown onto a still water’s surface. The building, faced with two (or more) simultaneous 7+ magnitude earthquakes, their waves coming from different directions and intersecting, would be subjected to an unknown, but very large seismic magnitude. It is unlikely the conference center engineers constructed it with such a scenario in mind.

Both sets of keys will be lost

The loss of the keys of the priesthood occurs because the quorums of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy will cease to exist, due to the deaths of their quorum members, leaving only the active keys used among the stakes. As there will be no unity among the priests, they will not be able to come to any agreement concerning the reconstitution of the general authority offices; therefore, the GA quorums will remain defunct.

The loss of the keys of the church will occur because no priest will be supported by the voice of the people (a majority). Only minority factions will be left to support this or that priest. Without the keys of the church functioning, the remaining keys of the priesthood will be invalid, for a majority of the membership will be against all other Mormon church priest leaders, invalidating their priesthood.

(Because stakes don’t have jurisdiction over other stakes, they cannot excommunicate members from other stakes or otherwise remove the names of the people residing in other stakes from the church rolls. For this reason, although the membership found outside of any of these churches will not be considered by them as bona fide members of the Lord’s church, technically they will still be on the records of one of these churches as baptized and confirmed people and will constitute a majority voice against those found within the church in question. The law of common consent, then, despite multiple apostate Mormon churches, will apply across the board to all churches, as if they were still one church. Nevertheless, the several churches inability or unwillingness to come to any agreement will be the death toll of the keys of the church, which must be wielded by a majority.)

This situation, then, will cause a complete loss of both Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods, meaning that no one Mormon church will recognize the priesthood of any other Mormon church, necessitating that the Lord step in and set things right (the great and marvelous work.) This second act of the Lord, though, will be accompanied by power (meaning the working of miracles.) The priests of these churches, seeking to keep their members, will then counsel them to not believe in the miracles that will be reported and witnessed by many people. They will use the former LDS Church assets they received in the break-up of the church to enrich themselves and their congregations, and will use their control of a temple (if a priest was lucky enough to gain control of one) and their meetinghouses as perks of membership in their particular Mormon church to attract new members and keep membership numbers high. Even the permissiveness of iniquity will be a drawing point, for, if you are taught that you can sin as much as you want and still be saved, attending church becomes a joy. The selling point of the only true priesthood will also keep members from straying and following “new prophets” among the people. Thus, these Mormon churches will quickly spiral down into all manner of apostate wickedness as detailed by Nephi’s prophecy.

Ammonihah redux

So, the LDS Church will be broken up after the fashion of the city of Ammonihah. Just as the Ammonihahites prided themselves at how invincible they were, only to end up being destroyed in one day, so the church will be broken up in one day’s time. An earthquake will be used because this is what earthquakes do best: break things apart. It will happen as a whirlwind (tornado), without warning and suddenly, taking virtually everyone, both priesthood and membership, by surprise. (Well, except for those who read this article…)

How the broken up churches will make money

Separate, individual churches, led by a priest, will no longer have access to the general church funds, as there won’t be any more general church, only separate and distinct Mormon apostate churches. Funding, then, will be of principle concern for the priests. A paid clergy will arise, ecclesiastical funding drives will occur, and the Mormon apostate churches will more closely resemble their apostate Christian church counterparts.

Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. (Mormon 8: 32)

This doctrine of forgiving sins for money will introduce a plague of wickedness into the churches. As the break up will occur during an economic depression and work will be scarce, the churches will be used by the priests “to get gain”, for all want salvation, even in economic hard times. Worthiness will no longer be an issue for baptism, confirmation, entrance to the temple or ordination to the priesthood. Only how much money you have will be the question asked. All manner of iniquity will be acceptable to these churches, in their attempt to get gain. In fact, iniquity will be celebrated and even encouraged, for the more iniquity there is, the more money there is to be made.

Prophecy of no more Gentile stakes will be fulfilled

The law of tithing will no longer be observed according to revelation (D&C 119 and 120) and the prophecy found in D&C 119: 6-7 will be fulfilled for the scattered churches (which were formerly called stakes in the LDS Church), namely, that these churches will cease to be “stakes of Zion”.

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen. (D&C 119: 6-7)

Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the stakes never being removed, had view of the stakes established by the Indians, after the city of Zion is built, and not of the Gentile stakes established during the foundation movement begun by Joseph Smith.

Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. (Isa. 33: 20)

Name changes

No longer called (legally) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will be a dissolved corporation, the apostate Mormon churches will bear some other name, to distinguish themselves from the other apostate Mormon churches, bringing into view the curious passage in 3 Nephi 27: 1-12 about the name of the Lord’s church. This same Book of Mormon passage will be quoted to the apostate Mormon churches who will bear various and sundry names, including the names of men, by the prophets and missionaries bearing the new scriptures and fulness of the gospel of the Father. In other words, just as we LDS use the Bible of the Gentiles to preach to the Gentiles, so the new missionaries will use the Book of Mormon of the Mormons to preach to the apostate Gentile Mormon churches.

The blood of saints will be spilled

Apostate Mormon churches will kill or seek to kill the saints residing within their congregations. They will also kill or seek to kill prophets of God and missionaries sent to them, repeating the history of the Nephites after their own church of God had broken up (see 3 Ne. 6: 14.)

And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people…Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chieflythey who had been high priests…Now there was no …high priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their condemnation was signed by the governor of the land. Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death. (3 Ne. 6: 20-23)

In like fashion, the priests of the broken up Mormon churches, who had been high priests (stake presidents) in the unified Church, will become angry with the new preachers of righteousness and seek to kill them.

This is one of the tipping points (the death of saints, prophets and missionaries) that will cause the Indians to go through them and wipe them off the face of the earth. The broken up Mormon churches will be the most wicked people on the planet. They will also be the most prideful of all the Gentiles. Thus, they will receive the judgment of God first.

The fulness of the gospel of the Father includes, among other things, abundant manifestations of the power of God in the form of the gifts of the Spirit. When the broken up Mormon churches reject the fulness, they will be rejecting both new scriptures that will come forth, new prophets sent by the Lord, and also abundant miracles that will witness to the truthfulness of the message of the new scriptures and prophets. They will be left without excuse and will know with a surety that it’s all true, but will still deny and reject it. The saints in their congregations who repent and accept the fulness will be cast out or slain as troublemakers, inciting the anger of the Lord. The Indians will then be let loose upon the Mormon Gentiles, killing all those who refuse to be numbered Indians. (The saints, or repentant Gentile Mormons, who are cast out will go to the Indians and become numbered with them, becoming part of that Manassehite tribe.) These Manassehite Indians will then build the city of Zion, assisted by the Ephraimite Gentile Mormons who have become numbered with them. With the massacre of the unrepentant Gentile Mormons by the Indians, the church of the lamb of God (as it will then be called) will no longer be led by Ephraim, but by Manasseh. A Josephite prophet will be a principal player in all of this.

And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy. Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book. And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren. (2 Nephi 3: 22-24)

The fulfillment of 3 Nephi 16: 10-15

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16: 10-15)

The Gentiles spoken of in this scripture are the Mormon Gentiles. Not the Mormon Gentiles of today, but the ones who will be the members of the broken up Mormon churches. These people “shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth,” meaning that they will be the most wicked of all the Gentiles. This is a subset of the Gentile population and is defined as they who are considered “salt that hath lost its savor,” meaning baptized members of the Lord’s church. These wicked Mormons in these wicked, broken up Mormon churches, will both sin against the gospel of the Father, which they received through Joseph Smith AND reject the fulness of the gospel of the Father, which arrives later, after the break up of the LDS Church.

The Mormon Gentiles who repent will become numbered among the Indians (Manassehites) and survive the Indian invasion. The unrepentant Mormon Gentiles, though, will get slaughtered, and thus, their priesthood and its lineage will be wiped out. It is the prophetic plan to completely remove the priesthood from the Gentiles, in the day of restoration of the tribes of Israel, so that only Israel, and those who are numbered among Israel, possess priesthood.

A repeat of the Zoramites

Alma 31 contains a description of the Zoramites. The broken up Mormon churches will evolve into Zoramites and begin treating the poor among them in much the same way as the Zoramites did. This is another reason why the Lord will come out against them in His anger.

How the Zoramites treated the poor

And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart…And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do? (Alma 32: 2-3, 5)

Broken up Mormon churches will lack charity

The description of charity is the OPPOSITE of how the broken up Mormon churches will treat the poor:

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (Moro. 7: 45)

Charity suffers long, is kind, and is not easily provoked, but the broken up Mormon churches will have strifes, malice and persecutions:

And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. (Morm. 8: 36)

Charity does not envy, yet the broken up Mormon churches will envy:

Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches. (Morm. 8: 28)

Charity is not puffed up, yet the broken up Mormon churches will be puffed up:

Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. (2 Ne. 28: 12)

Charity does not seek her own, yet the broken up Mormon churches will not notice any who are not rich and healthy like themselves:

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? (Morm. 8: 39)

Charity does not rejoice in iniquity, yet the broken up Mormon churches will very literally rejoice in iniquity:

Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. (Morm. 8: 31)

Isaiah’s prophecy of the broken up Mormon churches

The prophecy found in Isaiah chapter 3 will be re-applied to the broken up Mormon churches: the Gentile hypocrites who profess to know the Lord. Like the Israelites before them, their prophet (vs. 2) will be taken away (vs. 1) by the Lord, they will be oppressed by their neighbors (vs. 5), including the neighboring Mormon churches, and behave proudly (vs. 5.) They will seek for a ruler of their broken up churches (vs. 6-7) because the unified church will now be ruined (vs. 6, 8.) Their wickedness will openly and publicly provoke the Lord (vs. 8 ) because they will “declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not” (vs. 9.)

Isaiah’s description of the broken up Mormon churches—they grind upon the faces of the poor:

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts. (Isa. 3: 12-15)

Isaiah’s description of the rich women of the broken up Mormon churches and the judgment of God upon them:

Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. (Isa. 3: 16-26)

The Indians will wipe out the wicked men of the wicked Gentile Mormon churches, leaving women desolate and desperate to marry any husband, even if they have to share him with other women (in polygamy.)

Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. (Isa. 3: 25)

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isa. 4: 1)

The only ones left alive after the Indians destroy the wicked among the wicked Gentile Mormon churches will be the penitent. These will become numbered among the Indians.

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isa. 4: 3)

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. (3 Ne. 16: 13)

Earthquake imagery

The scriptures have a lot of earthquake imagery in them, using words such as “tumble, shake, disturb, quake, earthquake, tremble, broken up, division,” etc. Let’s review:

Wicked Churches Must Shake

But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center. (D&C 10: 56)

For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. (1 Ne. 22: 23)

For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. (D&C 132: 14)

Voice of Angel Shakes the Earth

Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder. (1 Ne. 17: 45)

And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood;…And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God…And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder. (Mosiah 27: 11, 15, 18)

But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his vice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth. (Alma 38: 7)

Voice of God Shakes the Earth

For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God. Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved. (Helaman 12: 8-13)

And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire. (Ether 4: 9)

Great and Abominable Church and Kingdom of Devil to Fall

But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; (2 Ne. 28: 18-19)

The Lord Will Cause a Great Division

For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (2 Ne. 30: 10)

The First Division Is Among the Church

And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. (3 Ne. 6: 14)

The Second Division Is Among Everyone Else

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land. And it came to pass in the thirty and first year that they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends; nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws, and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they did establish very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them. (3 Ne. 7: 2, 14)

The House Built on Sand

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matt. 7: 24-27)

Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (3 Ne. 14: 24-27)

But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them. (3 Ne. 18: 13)

And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. (2 Ne. 28: 28)

The Great and Spacious Building Will Fall

And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. (1 Ne. 8: 26-33)

And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (1 Ne. 11: 35-36)

And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever. (1 Ne. 12: 18)

A conditional promise that house will not be broken up if the United Order obeys the Lord (and we all know what happened…)

I give unto you this privilege, this once; and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen. (D&C 104: 86)

The reason for the earthquake

But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts. But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; for behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2 Ne. 28: 17-23; see especially 18-19, in red bold type.)

The great and abominable church must tumble to the earth and great must be the fall thereof, for the kingdom of the devil must shake. Why? So that they which belong to it are stirred up to repentance. If the earthquake doesn’t happen, according to its timetable, they will not be stirred up to repentance. And if they are not stirred up to repentance, the devil will grasp them. And if the devil grasps them they will be stirred up (by the devil) to anger and perish. What will they be stirred up to anger against? The new prophets, the new scriptures and the fulness of the gospel of the Father which will be sent to them, according to the Lord’s timetable. The “for behold, at that day” phrase, in bold type above, signals the day when the fulness of the gospel of the Father is sent to them and rejected by the wicked among them (the vast majority). Fortunately, though, some will repent due to the kingdom of the devil shaking, allowing these repentant persons who now find themselves within one of the many broken up Mormon churches to more easily accept the new prophets, new scriptures and fulness of the gospel of the Father which will be sent to them. Were it not for this shaking of the kingdom of the devil and the tumbling to the earth of the great and abominable church, every last one of those belonging to it would reject the new stuff coming from the Lord, because they would follow their general authority leaders’ counsel of rejecting it. Essentially, the Lord is going to turn things upside down, or pull the rug out from underneath the members of His church’s feet, causing a division among His people, so that each man must make his own decision when the new good news is sent, instead of relying upon someone else. Nevertheless, the vast majority will still follow their new broken up Mormon church priests, as these priests will introduce false and vain and iniquitous doctrines, allowing all manner of iniquities in their churches, so that they become addicted to wickedness.

Why the leaders? Because when the marvelous work and a wonder commences, it will begin among the Lord’s house by causing the “wisdom of their wise and learned” to perish and the “understanding of their prudent” to be hid. The rulers and seers of the people are going to be covered by the Lord. Among the LDS, the general authorities are the wise, learned, prudent, rulers and seers. They shall perish in an earthquake and be hid (or covered) by the roof of the conference center falling upon them.

For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity…Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid. (2 Ne. 27: 5, 26)

Building the conference center (a great and spacious building) was unwise, not smart (unlearned), not prudent. The designers, planners and builders of that particular edifice did not know that it would one day collapse, leading to the dissolving of the corporate Church and the dividing of the members of the one church into many smaller broken up churches. Had they known this, they never would have built it. It was an error on their part, a grave mistake, but the Lord, knowing of the future earthquake, will use it to further His divine purposes. If and when that building does collapse, it won’t mean that all of these dead leaders were wicked men and that the judgments of the Lord were upon them. The Lord allows the consequences of stupid actions to follow.

2 Nephi 27: 27 begins the prophecies which speak of the priests of the broken up Mormon churches, which will descend into iniquity.

And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding? (2 Ne. 27: 27)

Conclusion

The good news is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still God’s church. The keys are still here, both of the priesthood and of the church.

The bad news is that it appears the Gentile priesthood holders are failing the test that the Lord has given to them in their handling of the keys of the priesthood. Instead of using the keys to serve their fellowmen, many are using them to aggrandize themselves and become rulers in the kingdom, patterned after the Gentile kingdoms.

Even more bad news is that it appears that the Gentile church membership is failing the test that the Lord has given in the handling of the keys of the church. Instead of keeping the priesthood under control and weeding out the snakes, the membership is lifting on a pedestal every man whose office they consider to be high, and thus choosing to support iniquitous priests.

The really bad news is that it looks like the Lord is going to put a stop to this madness quite abruptly, in the form of an earthquake, causing a division among His church.

The really, really bad news is that it looks like, according to prophecy, that this will have the effect of causing the current membership, who have a shiny, goody-two-shoes exterior and a rotten interior, to show their true colors, instead of all the current hypocrisy, so that every conceivable iniquity will be openly and joyously practiced in the broken up churches that come after the great earthquake.

The good news is that all of this is in preparation for new prophets, new scripture and more good news (the fulness of the gospel of the Father.) But this good news is only good for those who repent, accept the fulness and become numbered with the Indians. However, for those, the even better news is that the city of Zion will be built soon after these events start happening.

For us right now, though, considering the depths of wickedness that the broken up churches are slated to descend into, it may be time to count our blessings and enjoy the relative peace and tranquility that we have now in the unified church. Sure it’s lukewarm, but at least the worst that is happening is excommunication, not the murdering of saints…

Endnotes

Here are some additional thoughts inspired by this post.

Alma the elder was a polygamist with concubines. After hiding for many days and starting his own private ministry, who would be the first people he would trust to preach to? Probably his wives and concubines. The record states that he repented, but as he already had wives and concubines, his repentance probably didn’t mean he divorced all of them except his first wife, as that would have been sin, but he most likely kept his wives and concubines (in grandfather clause fashion) and merely preached monogamy from here on out per Lehi’s revelation.

The people who accepted Alma’s message would also have had plural wives, for they were led into the same sins as king Noah, therefore, this was a church of practicing polygamists who had repented and now were espousing monogamy, while still retaining their plural wives.

As the women’s liberation movement didn’t exist back then, and there were no feminists that I am aware of, culturally the wives would have stayed with their husbands even if their husbands changed religions (as Alma ended up doing), and followed their husbands wherever they led them, even if they did not get baptized themselves. But, I’d say it was a good chance that Alma’s wives and concubines converted to Alma’s new religion, for this was the culture anciently: for a woman to follow her husband and to cleave unto him.

King Noah and priests possibly changed the monogamous affairs of the kingdom to polygamy in order to quickly grow the population, to better protect themselves from the Lamanites that surrounded them. As plural marriage was permitted under the law of Moses, but not under the law of Lehi, this may have been presented as a return to the ancient way of doing things, before Lehi adulterated things with new revelations. More people also meant more industry and taxes. The people, both men and women, might have gone along with the new scheme because they recognized, like Noah, that there is safety in numbers. Active procreation, with wives, concubines and harlots, may have been actively preached over the podium and promoted by the government, as a wartime measure. King Noah and his people did not have the land protections of the other Nephite populations. They were dwelling right in the heart of Lamanite territory, so thinking out of the box may have been easier for them in their precarious position.

Monogamy may have been initiated by the Lord through Lehi among the Nephites to keep their numbers small, so that they would have to humble themselves before the Lord to get His protection from the warring Lamanites. With populations of similar size, the Nephites might have quickly forgotten the Lord and wiped themselves out in wars with the Lamanites far before their time. Or, perhaps they might have wiped out the Lamanites, which would have frustrated the Lord’s plans, as the promises of the Lord were that the Lamanites would forever dwell upon the land. A worst case scenario might have been a repeat of the Jaredites, with Nephites and Lamanites wiping each other out. Monogamy may have been the Lord’s way of both extending the lives of the Nephites and protecting the lives of the Lamanites. As for the Lamanites, who also practiced monogamy, the Lord seems to have blessed them with greater fertility, perhaps even the twin gene, and with greater strength, so that they multiplied and replenished exceedingly fast (must faster than the Nephites) and also were bodily stronger than the Nephites. All this so that the odds were intentionally stacked against the Nephites, to cause them to turn to the Lord for help.

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