Taking our Myths Literally


Myths are our Stories:

“Myth” is usually contrasted to “true” or “fact”, as in – “Oh, that’s just a myth.”  However, the “mythos” were ancient man’s stories about gods – they were their experiences with the governing powers of human nature, the earth, and the universe.  The myths were only declared “false” when the Christian religion conquered the nations who told the stories – and decreed that their way of relating to the natural world [their gods] were “false”.

They weren’t true-or-false or factual-or-inaccurate – in the way that we currently use those words.  The myths were just a different way for humans to speak about truth and about facts.  They were a metaphorical or poetic way of expressing true and factual things about life.  Myths would not have persisted as an integral piece of human culture if they failed to accord with reality and didn’t accurately describe the world.

Those who formulated the myths were not attempting to lay down historically-sound, verifiable, and literally-true presentations of what actually took place in a physical sense.  They were how people conveyed true facts about human nature and the natural world.  The myths are the poetic story-language by which those who’d had actual experiences with the governing powers of nature and of the universe [God] brought that transcendent experience back to the community.

Myths were how the community explained to its new members how the world in its present form came to be, how a human being ought to relate to the powers of the world, and what is expected of members of the community.

However, while myths may admittedly be stories – we cannot say that they are not true, real, or literal.  What’s missed [when “myth” gets labeled as “not real”] is that the stories were never meant to convey “history” with all the scientific rigor we’ve developed centuries after the stories were first told.  They were meant to convey the story of how this or that person experienced God – in a language that was metaphorical, poetic, or image-based – to bring that experience back for the community at large.

True Stories and False Stories:

All the ancient language gods were the magic gods as well [Mercury, Odin, etc.] because language shapes our whole consciousness and how we put ideas together [how we tell stories] – and that’s magical.  Casting a spell is really nothing more than spelling – or changing reality through the manipulation of symbols, forms, and images.

All such “magic” is drawn from our imaginations – the right-brain-heart [the spring of living waters inside each of us] – which is patterned after the eternal right-brain-imagination of God, from which the universe has been created [by the will of His left-brain-mind].

However, the mind of God is immeasurably greater than our own – which means there isn’t anything that we can think of that He hasn’t already thought of.  So what we do is take things that He’s imagined, represented, and given purpose [creating it by bringing it from His infinite imagination into the sphere of the created universe] – and run these through our right-brains to imagine, create, and give purpose to them anew [in our own life].

Some of the representations of things in play here on earth have a counterpart that will endure beyond death [a true/real image] – and some representations are empty [vain] and carry only an image of reality [a false image].

And that’s the probation [the test] of mortality – to see, when presented with various images, forms, and representations of things – if we will live out the ones that are of an enduring nature [e.g., power by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, and meekness] and shun the ones that carry only the image, but no reality [e.g., power by compulsory means, coercion, or force].

God desires to inspire people by sending the Holy Spirit into their right-brain-hearts with images for them to create with.  Satan’s desire is that people be inspired with images that lack any enduring reality behind them.  God desires the Holy Spirit to be what’s found in our right-brain-hearts, from which our left-brain-minds draw inspiration from to create things in our world with – instead of us using the doctrines of devils or the commandments of men to create with.

Discerning True Stories from False Stories:

It all starts with someone’s story.  A man or woman experiences a manifestation of God.  By the power of the Holy Ghost:  they have obtained faith unto repentance by having a broken heart and contrite spirit, have wallowed in the fear of being cast-off from God forever, have trembled under a full-on awareness of their own guilt – and what they’ve sown in tears, they’ve reaped in Joy.  Experiencing the complete redemption of their soul from hell and forgiveness of their sins.

This person is now free from the power and captivity of the devil, is free from the separate-Self consciousness that sin causes, has denied their Self and identified with Christ, and has experienced God as a continuous aspect of their own being.

Now this seer [person who has seen] comes back to his or her community with the desire that everyone else experience this same thing.  They no longer perceive separateness among others the way that a mind still ensnared in sin does.  So once free from sin, the seer now fears and trembles for others.  She suffers for the sins of others.  He desires for all others to have the same privilege to be born of God, free from sin.

But it’s an experience, or a happening – it’s like a dance or a song.  To only come back to the community with a “telling” wouldn’t help anyone else see eye-to-eye with them.  They need to be able to sing the Song – so that other people will hear it – and will sing It along with them.

I may be able to break a dance apart into its rhythm, steps, and movements around the floor – I may be able to describe a song in terms of its meter, key, rhythm, tempo, notes, scale, and harmony – but that’s just putting a grid onto something wiggly so it can be perceived and described.  It’s just a “telling”.

The only way to have someone really know the dance or the song – is to dance it or sing it.  Then they’ll know.

Adam knew Eve
and she conceived

[Moses 5:16]

The scriptural euphemism for husbands and wives coming together is “knowing” for this same reason.  Eternal life is to know” God – because unless something is experienced [is known] – then the people will not see eye-to-eye, but will see instead through a glass, darkly.  They will only know about the experience in part, not fully [see 1 Cor. 13:12].

Musical notation [the myths, the story] has its place in telling people about a song – but one should not hand a person a sheet with musical notes on strings of lines when they really desire the Song.

This is what a false priest [not a seer] does.  A false priest simply re-tells the stories of a previous time.  He only administers in the images of an experience with God who was there before he came along — just putting on a show up on his stage every week.

A false priest is handed-down [by tradition] something that was originally experiential and relative — and because he has no first-hand relationship with this story, it get’s turned into something dogmatic and absolute.  He takes someone who was a preacher — and turns them into the preached.  Making a message out of a messenger by pedestalizing those who’ve had genuine experiences and who tried to tell others about it [so they could have it too].

This is why false priesthoods are obsessed with tracing the lines of authority:

Satan
we command you to depart

by what authority?

and

and it came to pass
that on one of those days
as he taught the people in the temple
and preached the gospel
the chief priests and the scribes
came upon him
with the elders
and spake unto him
saying

tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?
or who is he that gave thee this authority?

[Luke 20:1-2]

because their authority has no true basis in the reality of an actual experience – it’s based only on social convention and tradition – having the all the form but denying the reality.

On the other hand, the authority of a true and prophetic seer comes out of that person’s own experience.  He or she has been somewhere that I haven’t and comes to explain it to me.  Now, they may use ritual [right-brain gesture language] or use scripture [left-brain word-based language] to convey this inner experience in an outward form/image for me – but the key to discernment is that the true messenger speaks from his own experience and a false messenger speaks the stories of someone else.

I’ll Make Discernment Even Easier:

The scriptural standard is that if a person does not have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, then they “shall not teach” [D&C 42:14] — or in other words, they should keep silent.

So when anyone interprets the scriptures, presents a doctrine, or is in any other manner “teaching” — ask them:

  • Are you a prophet?
  • Do you have the spirit of prophecy and revelation?
  • Are you a seer?
  • Did you actually experience this manifestation for yourself?

If they say that it’s their own idea, their own guess, or they defer to some other authority, etc. — then stop listening.  You are free to just take it or leave it as you would if anyone else would have said something about any other subject. You can learn nothing extra-ordinary from such people.

If they say that they do have the spirit of prophecy and revelation or that they actually did experience a miraculous work, then listen closely to what they say — because now that means only one of two things:

  • They are true prophets sent from God
  • They are false prophets trying to deceive

A true prophet, when asked if they have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, will always answer in the affirmative.

A man giving his honest, but non-prophetic opinion [“inspired counsel”] will not claim to be a prophet or a seer – because he fears to speak a false prophecy and be called-out as an imposter.

However, a deceiver will also always say that he has the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

So once someone claims to be a prophet or a seer [comes out with a “Thus saith the Lord…”, for example], now the burden is on me, to compare what the word of God says to what the professed prophet has said and do as the Spirit indicates.  If he is declaring a miraculous work, then:

ye shall ask of the father
in the name of Jesus
and if he give not unto you that spirit
then you may know that it is not of god

[D&C 50:31]

Ritual is the Enactment of a Story:

The performance of rituals is an integral part of all religions.  It is through the reenactment of a shared story [a common myth] that the mind of the community is focused towards the same end.  It provides an element of shared experience that facilitates bonding between community members.  The performance of a ritual connects the participants to the specific morphic field that’s associated with that ritual and then each initiate can share the collective memory that is stored there.

The LDS temple endowment follows in this same tradition.

Joseph’s first “endowment” was the experience of seeing two heavenly personages face-to-face.  He went on to behold various ministering spirits, resurrected angels, Jesus Christ, etc. — all personal appearances, face-to-face.

After the Kirtland temple was dedicated and the ordinances there were administered, Joseph wrote:

The Saviour made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a pentacost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost.

Seeing the Lord and ministering angels face-to-face is the foremost purpose of the temple ritual.  Such an eye-to-eye experience was key to what was formulated as “the endowment”.  It’s why temple-goers are taught the order of prayer and prepared in all things to receive further instructions at the veil.  It was all given with the assumption that a real experience would follow the image [or enactment] of an experience.

and inasmuch as my people build a house
unto me
in the name of the lord
and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it
that it be not defiled
my glory shall rest upon it
yea
and my presence shall be there
for I will come into it
and all the pure in heart
that shall come into it
shall see god

[D&C 97:15-16]

and

therefore
sanctify yourselves
that your minds become single to god
and the days will come
that you shall see him
for he will unveil his face unto you
and it shall be in his own time
and in his own way
and according to his own will

[D&C 88:68]

Essentially — that was the endowment Joseph was trying to give the church of God [not special underwear and secret hand gestures] – but the same experience that was had by all the ancient prophets.  Bringing us eye-to-eye with them, connecting them to us by a common experience, a common morphic field.

That’s what all rituals do – establish a morphic field that anyone connects to when the ritual is done according to the same pattern.  That’s why the ordinances of the gospel are strictly described in terms of the manner and wording of the ritual.

Paul warned the Corinthian church that their failure to administer the ritual of the sacramental meal in the worthy/appropriate manner was the reason there were many sick and dying among them.  There is a healing effect associated with the sacrament ritual — but it must be reenacted according to the pattern given by the Lord in order for us to be connected to the proper morphic field.  The same is true for the other ordinances of the gospel and their respective effects as well.  [See, The Healing Gifts]

The reverse side of this is seen in the hidden symbols, catch-phrases, etc. that are put into movies, TV, pop music, advertising, bank notes, buildings, orchestrated world events, etc. – where satanic secret combinations are working to achieve the same end.  Just like there are wars over physical land here in the material world — the mental world likewise has its own battles for control over the common-space there.

The more people connect to a certain idea – myth, story, system, etc. – the more powerful it becomes.  Were enough people to connect to a single morphic field [were it to ever reach a sort of “critical mass”] it could end the world.  The historical “Zion” communities have done such a thing [Enoch, Melchizedek, Nephites, etc.].  The latter-day Zion will in fact bring a complete end to this world – a revelation sufficient enough to melt away our current systems, politics, economics, and ideas about the world – and usher in a new earth.

Having Images with no Reality:

I think that it’s common for LDS to take little instruction from the current temple ordinance.  It is my opinion that this is because we have reached the point where the meaning of the images have been lost long enough ago — that even the priesthood among us have no idea what to make of the thing and what it’s all about.

However, it is not the jurisdiction of the priestly-class to give form [or life] to the images of our stories.  Is it be reasonable to expect church leaders to initiate members of the community into the meaning of the images and display what it’s like when they’re brought to life — rather than just initiating them into the empty-images themselves alone?  Sure.  But that’s simply not the state of affairs we have right now, in a church of God informed by and operating under the doctrines and commandments of men.

All that means is that it’s on you [not them].  They administer the forms — but you must then go on to make that word flesh – you must bring the forms to life, give the image reality.  To just take the empty forms they administer and do nothing with them only perpetuates the whole problem.  Our calling is to take the images and create with them.

Bringing Them to Life:

Religion, myth, stories, ritual, etc. – it’s about the experience.  It all begins as an attempt to tell stories about a connection with God – of an experience of the transcendent level of being called Joy – the communion of a human being with The Supreme Being or Ultimate Doing.

In this form, it’s fluid – like poetry or metaphor.  Apostasy and false priesthoods come in as the story gets reduced to a creed, as the relative gets hardened into the absolute, as the poetry is taken as prose.  The reality behind the image, myth, or story is lost — and only thing that remains is the the empty shell what what’s left after meaning or purpose departs from something.

The religion itself, the actual stories, the stage show-like enactments of ritual – they are purely functionary.  When it has nothing to do with actually having the experience — if it becomes an empty-image, a form without life – then it’s as harmful as additions to processed food, pornography, or social media can be.

Religion is the religare – the connecting bonds of ligaments and tendons that knit us together.  When the ligaments remain fluid [the relative, right-brain, poetic form], then we relate to God as a continuous experience, as a state of Supreme Being.  We don’t prescribe ethical or moral codes – but act out of expediency and charity.

But when they atrophy [harden into the absolute, left-brain, creedal form] – instead of knitting us together, religion binds us down – God becomes the This-Thing that must be related to in That-Way, that you must now believe/do accordingly to get Him to respond to you.

Reading the scriptures, participating in the rituals, etc. – they are just the retelling or reenactment of someone else’s story.  It is in vain unless it is pursuant to you having the same experience – connecting to the same morphic field and seeing eye-to-eye with them.

We cannot look to another to give the ideas and forms of our religion life because that is our job.  The scriptures are just the stories of Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Moroni, John, etc.  They are simply their stories about their experiences with God.

Their stories will not save you.  Reenacting events from their stories as rituals will not generate real Life or Joy in you.  Such things are meant to motivate you to get on the same pathway, to receive a similar connection with God, and to see eye-to-eye with them.

However, history has shown the Gentile church of God to be a hard-hearted and faithless bunch — content with having one person sit atop a hierarchal power-pyramid and habitually obey what he says.  They largely receive equal “experience quotient” from images and representations compared with the reality of what is being imaged and represented.  It’s why advertising works, it’s why industrial food is so widely consumed, it’s why people enjoy pornography so much, it’s why social-media is so popular.  But that’s receiving the image with no reality behind it.

When Life and Joy are about the happening — about human beings being about the same thing as the Supreme Being.

Next Article by Justin: … and I’m a Mormon

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The real Jonah: holy prophet and type of Christ


Some years ago I attended a Sunday school class on the book of Jonah. The teacher did a very good job presenting the standard Mormon view of Jonah, but I found myself disagreeing with it, not from any logical standpoint, but simply because it felt wrong. So I opened up the book of Jonah and read the whole of it during that class (it’s only four chapters, so this is not any great feat.) As I read, a new view of the prophet Jonah opened up to my view.

At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it and decided to keep my mouth shut during the class, since it was a complete departure from the perspectives that everyone else was giving. After the class, I had opportunity to approach the teacher and told him I had gotten a new view of Jonah and wanted to tell him about it. He expressed interest in knowing my thoughts so I told him I would send him an email later that day. I went home that day, composed the email and sent it off to him. I never kept a copy of it for myself. He wrote back saying it was interesting, but that it really wasn’t supported by the text. I left it at that and never mentioned it again to anyone else, essentially forgetting all about it.

A few days ago I picked up a Bible and it fell open to the book of Jonah, so I read it. Bible scholars typically say that Jonah was “proud, self-centered, pouting, jealous, blood-thirsty; a good patriot and lover of Israel, without proper respect for God or love for his enemies” (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Merrill C. Tenny, Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, pg. 442.) As I read the book, I had this characterization of Jonah in my mind, but when I got to the last chapter, I recalled that I had once in the past re-interpreted Jonah quite differently. I tried to recall that interpretation, but couldn’t remember it. The only thing I could remember was that instead of casting Jonah in a negative light, it cast him in a very good light.

Frustrated that I could not remember the interpretation, I decided to re-read the book of Jonah yet again, this time with my mind fixed that Jonah was a holy prophet that acted righteously, in the hope that this would trigger my brain’s memory recall function. As soon as I read verse one, the interpretation I had received years ago popped right back into my mind, in its fulness, including the circumstances on how I came to think of it.

As I disclaimer, I do not know where this information comes from, but I wanted to write it down somewhere (and I have chosen this blog) so that when the full records come forth that show us the life and ministry of Jonah, we would be able to compare this to that and discover whether this was just a foolish imagination of my heart or if it was given of the Spirit.

Before I begin, let me quote this, taken from the Times and Seasons blog:

Karl D has already pointed us to the LDS Church’s official position with regard to Jonah (and Job):

In October 1922 . . . the First Presidency received a letter from Joseph W. McMurrin asking about the position of the church with regard to the literality of the Bible. Charles W. Penrose, with Anthony W. Ivins, writing for the First Presidency, answered that the position of the church was that the Bible is the word of God as far as it was translated correctly. They pointed out that there were, however, some problems with the Old Testament. The Pentateuch, for instance, was written by Moses, but “it is evident that the five books passed through other hands than Moses’s after his day and time. The closing chapter of Deuteronomy proves that.” While they thought Jonah was a real person, they said it was possible that the story as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.” They took a similar position on Job. What is important, Penrose and Ivins insisted, was not whether the books were historically accurate, but whether the doctrines were correct.

Alexander, Thomas G., 1996, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1890-1930, University of Illinois Press (Paperback), page 283.

The important part of that quote is that

they said it was possible that the story [of Jonah] as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.”

In other words, assuming that this originated from the Spirit (and I’m not saying that it did), perhaps the interpretation I got was based upon the real events of the real Jonah, and not so much on the parable that is today known as the book of Jonah, which is why this interpretation and the standard one are so different. Okay, here it is:

Jonah’s self sacrifice

Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:1.)

Jonah received a message from the Lord, in the which he was shown (by vision) the great city Nineveh, the exceedingly great wickedness of its inhabitants and the impending destruction that would very soon come upon them due to their iniquities. He was overcome by what he saw, both by their abominations and also by the scene of destruction that would shortly ensue. He was told to go to Nineveh and prophesy of their utter destruction unless they repented of all their sins, according to the vision which he had seen. This was to be done that they would be left without excuse.

Instead, Jonah thought upon the principle given to Ezekiel:

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 33:8-9)

Based upon what he saw in the vision of Nineveh, Jonah did not believe that such wicked people would ever repent of their sins, for there were all manner of abominations among them, greater than he had ever seen. His reasoning was that if he went and prophesied, as the Lord commanded, they would be left without excuse, according to the word of the Lord, and thus would be fully condemned and perish spiritually and physically. If, however, he did not go and prophesy to them, they would still die in their sins, but having not been fully warned, they would have an excuse and a better chance in the afterlife.

Jonah was moved to compassion for them and sought to take upon himself their sins by not prophesying. He vowed to offer himself as a sacrifice and was putting his faith on the fact that the Lord was “a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Jonah 4:2) and would turn “away the evil that He had said He would bring upon them” (JST Jonah 3:10.)* His desire was to turn the Lord’s wrath, which was waxing hot upon the Ninevites, toward himself, that he might suffer in their place, so that they might be spared.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:3.)

So, he fled from his mission, going in the opposite direction. This physical action of going in the opposite direction was symbolic of the turning of the Lord’s head away from Nineveh, which was according to Jonah’s desire. The Lord’s head and attention were focused on, and looking to, the right, at Nineveh, so Jonah went to the left, causing the Lord’s head to turn away from Nineveh and focus instead on Jonah. His physical action had a spiritual dimension to it, according to his desire of faith.

Although Jonah had disobeyed the instructions of the Lord, the intentions of this heart were in the right place, which is why the Spirit of the Lord did not leave him. In fact, it appears that the Lord accepted his vow to sacrifice himself because his desire to take the sins of the Ninevites upon himself pleased the Lord. Jonah became, by his actions, desires and the sorrow for sin that he felt (his exceedingly broken heart and contrite spirit), a type of the Lord Jesus, foreshadowing what the Savior would do in the flesh.

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. (Jonah 1:4.)

The Lord grants according to the desires of the children of men, according to their faith. Jonah desired in faith to be sacrificed, to save the Ninevites, and the Lord accordingly sent out the tempest, to accept his sacrifice. Jonah did not fear death. In fact, he welcomed it, for this was what he desired. The Gentile sailors, on the other hand, did fear death and they all called upon their gods to save them from destruction. Jonah was sleeping down below and the ship-master woke him up and asked him to pray to his own God for the salvation of the ship.

The tempest was not of an ordinary nature, and the sailors rightly ascribed it as supernatural, caused by some god to destroy one of those in the ship. They cast lots to see who was the one responsible for the storm, or who was the one that incited the anger of the god that was creating the storm. The lot fell upon Jonah and they asked him who he was and why the supernatural storm was upon them.

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. (Jonah 1:9.)

Jonah took the opportunity and preached the gospel to the sailors and presented himself to them as both a holy prophet of the Lord and also as a sacrifice for the sins of the Ninevites. All the sailors on the ship converted to the Lord, for he preached with power and authority from God and the Spirit of the Lord was present, testifying to the sailors of the truthfulness of his message. Jonah knew that the Lord had accepted his intent to self-sacrifice and had prepared the storm for this very purpose. When the sailors asked him what they should do to get the supernatural storm to calm down, Jonah prophesied to them that if they tossed him into the sea, the storm would cease.

This, however, was not something that the sailors wanted to do, for they had converted to the Lord through Jonah’s preaching and so tried, instead, to row the ship to land, but to no avail. Finally, convinced by the raging tempest, by Jonah himself and by the workings of the Spirit of the Lord upon them, confirming to them that it was the will of the Lord that Jonah be tossed overboard, these new Gentile converts prayed to the Lord to spare the ship and to not be held responsible for causing Jonah to drown in the sea, calling him “innocent blood.” After their prayer, the sailor converts tossed Jonah overboard and continued to worship the Lord with sacrifice and vows.

Jonah dies and is brought back to life

Jonah died in those waters and the Lord prepared a sea creature to swallow his body. His physical body remained inside the creature for three days and three nights, while his spirit body went to the spirit world. After the three days and nights were over, he was brought back to life and the sea creature spat him out onto the shore. During the three day interval, Jonah prayed to the Lord in spirit and in truth, a prayer of the truly penitent and the Lord heard him and answered him by putting him alive upon dry ground.

At that point, Jonah was a new man. He had died and returned from the dead. He had intimate knowledge about the afterlife, both of hell and paradise, as well as what it meant to die and to come back to life again. He was unique among all the prophets, having received a vision of the spirit world that no one else in his time had been given.

Jonah is called to preach again

And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. (Jonah 3:1-3.)

This time Jonah did as he was commanded. Nevertheless, he still fully believed that the Ninevites would not repent, but based upon his three day “out of body” or “in the body of a sea creature” experience, he now desired to preach repentance to them and spare them from the afterlife they would receive if they died in their sins. What he did not understand was that his experiences on the ship, in the sea creature and in the spirit world would make his preaching and prophesying overwhelmingly powerful, so that when he got to Nineveh and traveled a day’s journey into it and then started preaching, his message would have a profound effect upon the people.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:4.)

Jonah’s preaching and prophesying can be compared to Lehi, who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. When Lehi testified to the Jews, “he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations.” Jonah did the same. He had seen what they were doing in vision and he testified of all their wickedness and abominations, all their secret acts of iniquity. He preached the gospel of faith and repentance to them, told them of their evil deeds done in secrecy, told them of the destruction which awaited them in forty days if they did not repent in sackcloth and ashes and told them of the afterlife that awaited them when dead. He recounted his experiences on the ship, in the sea, in the sea creature and in the spirit world, including him coming back to life. He spoke to multitudes and then bade them to go and tell everyone in the city. When Jonah was finished delivering his message in all the great squares and plazas where people gathered, he took his leave of the city, traveling eastward and setting up a shelter where he had a view of the city and could witness with his own two eyes its destruction.

Now, the Ninevites were amazed at Jonah’s preaching, for he preached in power and authority and had knowledge of all their secret abominations. They deemed it impossible that Jonah could know these things except it was through the power of a god and took all his testimony of their secret works of wickedness as a witness that Jonah was speaking the very words of God, for this was the reason why Jonah was instructed by God to tell them of these things. The same principle was offered to Oliver Cowdery as a witness:

And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness? (D&C 6:24)

Unlike the Jews in Jerusalem during Lehi’s time, who also had their secret works (which no man knew of) revealed by a prophet of God, for Lehi saw these iniquities in vision, but who mocked Lehi and rejected his testimony because Lehi lived among them and was aware of the ways and customs of the Jews as well as the words of the other prophets among them, and who therefore dismissed his claims of divine knowledge, the Ninevites could not account for how Jonah knew these things, for Jonah had just arrived and was a foreigner that knew nothing of them, except as God had told him. So, they accepted Jonah’s testimony as God-given, and all that Jonah said, all of it, as valid and true.

When Jonah left the city to set up camp on the east side of it, he wasn’t aware of the effect his preaching had had upon the men of the city. After the multitudes listened to him in amazement, they followed his instructions and repeated to everyone they knew the words he had spoken. Eventually, every last person in the entire city had heard the message, from the least to the greatest, and they were all equally affected or moved by it, and struck by a sense of urgency, for it was a timed message of destruction: repent in 40 days or perish. Therefore the king and his nobles acted rapidly, proclaiming a fast throughout the city and encouraging everyone to repent in sackcloth and pray to the Lord for forgiveness.

Jonah was in his shelter overlooking the city and could not see what was going on in it. He was of the thought that they were going about their lives as usual, unrepentant and fully ripening in inquity, his preaching having been in vain. Ever the man of sorrows, he became angry at the situation.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. (Jonah 4:1)

The text of the book of Jonah is essentially correct, but is written in a fashion that seems to cast him in a negative light. This particular verse should have come after Jonah 3:4, so that the text instead read: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” Instead, it comes after Jonah 3:10 so that it reads: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” In other words, Jonah 3:5-10 is an insertion between Jonah 3:4 and Jonah 4:1. The insertion tells what happens to the Ninevites after Jonah’s preaching, but the insertion can be removed and the text would flow accurately from Jonah 3:4 to Jonah 4:1.

Now, it did not displease Jonah that the Ninevites were repenting of their sins, for he was not aware of what was happening in the city. No, what displeased Jonah was that he had to deliver a message of doom and that his preaching was in vain, for he believed that they had not repented, or would not repent, and that he was sent to this city for nothing.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. (Jonah 4:2-3.)

Once again Jonah turned to his old way of doing things, petitioning the Lord to take his life as a sacrifice, to allow him to take upon himself their sins, that the Lord would spare the city in return for his own life. He made this petition because he had no faith that they would repent. Also, because he lamented having to witness again the great destruction of Nineveh with his physical eyes, which he had already seen with his spiritual eyes in vision.

Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? (Jonah 4:4.)

The Lord knew what was happening in the city, but Jonah did not. To teach Jonah a lesson that the Lord’s heart was even greater than Jonah’s, He caused a gourd to grow overnight, making Jonah glad for the shade it offered him, and then He had a worm wither it the next night, making Jonah uncomfortable in the heat of the day and an east wind. Once again, Jonah was miserable and wished to die, for Jonah’s heart sorrowed for all life lost, even that of a gourd.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?  (Jonah 4:9-11.)

It was at this point that Jonah learned from the Lord that the Ninevites had repented of their sins and that the Lord had spared them from destruction. At this news, Jonah rejoiced and returned to Nineveh, where he was hailed as a hero and holy prophet sent from the Lord. The conversion of Nineveh was held to be a great miracle on the same grand scale as Melchizedek’s preaching to Salem:

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; but Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention. (Alma 13:17-19.)

In the same way that Salem did for Melchizedek, the Ninevite converts of that time “more particularly made mention” of Jonah’s name. To them, Jonah was the greatest prophet of all time and they were all aware of his various attempts to offer his life as a sacrifice for their sins and to be their advocate and mediator before the Lord. This love that he had for them was reciprocated by them and when the full records come forth we will see just how highly esteemed Jonah was by that generation and also throughout generations of Ninevites. Even the Lord took notice of Jonah’s unique spirit. It was Jonah’s proclivity to self-sacrifice that caused Jesus to point to him as one of His types.

Jonah’s preaching was on a par with the greatest of all preachers, for everyone he preached to converted, without exception. All of the men on the ship converted to the Lord as well as all 120,000 Ninevites. In fact, Jonah may have been on the same level as Nephi, whose preaching power was so great that “it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words” (3 Ne. 7:18.) This is important to understand because when Jesus said that “a greater than Jonas is here” (Matt. 12:41 and Luke 11:32), He was comparing Himself to one of the greatest of all preachers, if not the very greatest. So, the Savior essentially was saying, “This is the greatest preacher you’ve had, and he truly was great, but I’m even greater.”

*Note: Jonah became a mediator of the Ninevites, mediating between them and the Lord and advocating their cause before Him. He did the same thing that Moses did for the Israelites—who pleaded with the Lord to pardon the iniquities of the people each time His wrath waxed hot and He was about to destroy them and make a new nation out of Moses—by appealing to the Lord’s gracious nature. See Exodus 32, Numbers 14 and Deuteronomy 9.

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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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The seeds of the powers of godliness


We are here on Earth in a temporal (mortal) existence to develop our faith as a principle of power by walking by faith. As an aid in that endeavor, we are offered the gifts of the Spirit.

Walking by sight

In our pre-mortal life, we walked by sight.  As we saw, so we did, imitating the beings around us, learning by copying what we saw others do.

Upon entering mortality as children, we bring this capacity to imitate others with us.  We imitate or emulate our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and associates, the celebrities of the day, etc.  Eventually we assimilate into whatever society we are born into.  Like the chameleon, we become what is around us.  A baby born in France, raised by French parents with French customs and language will soon feel and act like all other Frenchmen.  It is the same with every other culture.

While we resided in the heavens, we copied our perfect, heavenly Parents and their angels.  Here, we copy imperfect mortals.  Mortality, then, does not limit our ability to walk by sight.

Two principles of faith

The Lectures on Faith divide faith into two principles: one of action and one of power.

Regardless of which principle you use, all things are done by faith, though most everything in mortality is done by using faith as a principle of action.

Moving mountains

There are two ways of moving a mountain.  You can move it stone by stone with your hands, or by using shovels, bulldozers or other technologies, to force the elements that make up the mountain to move to another spot.  This would be faith as a principle of action.  Or, conversely, you can command the mountain to remove and it can obey you.  This would be faith as a principle of power.  The former uses coercion or force, wrestling with the elements to model them however you want them to be.  The latter uses agency.  The elements must voluntarily move themselves at your command.

Power faith is celestial

When we lived in the heavens, as all things were given agency, nothing that surrounded us there could be forced to do anything.  We could not even pick up a handful of heavenly dirt without its say-so.  Everything in heaven was accomplished “without compulsory means,” meaning that coercion, force, was (and still is) non-existent there.  In other words, we exercised faith only as a principle of power.  The elements around us obeyed us only insofar as they respected us and they respected us only insofar as we followed (imitated) the “grown-ups.”  There we learned to use faith as a principle of power by observing our heavenly Parents and the angels, for that is the only way that they operate.  They commanded the elements and were obeyed and so did we.

Action faith is earthly

Mortality is different. It is designed to allow faith to function under both principles.

Action faith is given to us a temporary crutch, as well as a test.  The elements that surround us here are commanded by God to allow us to push them around, regardless of our righteousness or lack thereof.  They voluntarily submit to His divine command and thus we can manipulate all the various earthly materials here.  If we desire it, we may never need to develop faith as a principle of power.  Mankind can survive on this planet (for a limited time, at least) solely on action faith.

Once we come here from heaven, we find ourselves in a fallen world.  Sin is rampant, both around us and in us.  Were the elements here operating like they did in heaven, everyone would immediately die.  We wouldn’t be able to even force air into our lungs, for the air would not allow itself to be forced into the lungs of a being it did not respect (a sinful being).  This would frustrate the design of God to prepare a world in which we could be tried and tested and in which would could develop faith as a principle of power.  So, as explained above, God commanded the elements that make up our temporal (mortal) existence to allow themselves to be pushed around by us, according to a specific set of laws that we term physics.

Imperfect memory is necessary for our test of power faith

If we had arrived here with our memory of pre-mortal life intact, we would remember how to use faith as a principle of power and would never sin, keeping our heavenly powers intact, as all things would continue to respect us and obey us.  But by the design of God, our memories are wiped clean and we become, as a result, unable to use faith as a principle of power (because we have forgotten how to).  The situation is okay, though, because we now can use faith as a principle of action, forcing the elements to sustain us.

Our limited memories serve another divine purpose.  As we cannot remember our past life in the heavens and we cannot see the future, plus the memory we have of our mortal lives is patchy at best, nothing is remembered perfectly and only bits and pieces remain in our minds to access at moments of recollection.  All of this is done so that we become blinded, so as not to instinctively walk by sight as we did in the heavens (and use power faith).  By limiting our memory (which is primarily a visual organ), we can only really see the present clearly.  The future is pitch black and the past is foggy.

Blindness required to walk by faith

In this state of blindness, we can be put on probation (tested) to see if we truly desire to use faith as a principle of power.  Whereas in the heavens we all learned to use faith as a principle of power, by walking by sight (because there was no other way to operate), here on Earth we can go our entire lives without ever using power faith, for action faith is available to us.  Thus, only those who truly desire to (re-)learn to use the heavenly powers will do so.  And so mortality becomes a test.

Additionally, mortality allows us to more fully develop our faith as a principle of power by walking by faith*.  There is no one to look at (imitate) to learn how to use the heavenly powers, nor can we access our memories to remember examples of how it is done.  When we walk by sight here we only learn to use faith as a principle of action, for this is the principle under which everyone here operates.  So, to use power faith we must walk by faith, or walk blindly, trusting in only the word of God and not the sight of Him.

(*Note: Although all things in heaven walk by sight, God walks both by sight and by faith.  In order for us to become like Him, then, mortality is given to us to develop this capacity.  I may have already explained this concept in the Faith of God series, but if not, I will, that is if I ever get around to finishing it.)

To re-iterate:

In the heavens we walked by sight, imitating the celestial beings we saw around us, copying what they did, and learned to use faith as a principle of power, for that is the only way that we saw them operate. We had no capacity to walk by faith, only by sight.

In mortality, we also walk by sight, imitating the fallen beings we see around us, copying what they do, and we thus learn to use faith as a principle of action, for that is the only way that fallen beings operate.  We are unable to exercise the power faith we previously had because we cannot remember (see) how to do it.

Being essentially blind, once we are presented with the word of God we are enabled to walk by faith and re-learn to use power faith.  Mortality is a test to see if we will choose to drop the crutch of action faith and start using power faith by walking by faith.

We must walk by faith

Mortality is the brief moment that God has given us to learn to walk by faith.  We are to walk by sight and use faith as a principle of action only until we are enabled to walk by faith.  Once we are presented with the word of God, we must let go of the crutch of action faith and re-enter the world of power faith.  We must stop walking by sight and start walking by faith.

If we do not learn to walk by faith and re-learn to use faith as a principle of power, we will be in for a whole lot of disappointment in the afterlife.  This is because the orders given by God to the elements that surround us in mortality (in which they allow themselves to be pushed around by us) only apply to mortality.  In the afterlife, the former rules (agency) apply and once again it will be impossible to force the elements to do anything against their wills.  In other words, in the afterlife faith as a principle of action no longer works.  If we haven’t re-learned how to use faith as a principle of power here on Earth, we will be powerless in the afterlife.

The best gifts develop power faith

To that end, that we might re-learn how to use faith as a principle of power and that we might learn to walk by faith, God has given us the best gifts of the Spirit.

The best gifts of the Spirit are the seeds of the powers of godliness.  When all of them are possessed in their fullness, one becomes omnipotent, able to do all things.  Here on Earth we are not expected to achieve every gift in its fullness, but we are expected to seek for them continually.

The gifts given to the LDS Gentile church

The LDS Gentile church of God has been given 14 best gifts, with one gift given to presiding elders to be able to discern the other gifts and weed out imposters.  They are obtained by asking God to receive them.  Once one of the gifts are received, faith can be more fully developed, for the gifts only operate on the principle of power.  As faith increases, and petitions for additional gifts are sent up to God, He grants more of them to the individual.  Eventually, following this pattern, all gifts may be obtained.

Gifts are paired

There are seven pairs of gifts.

1st Pair – The gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. The gift of believing on the words of those who have the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

2nd Pair – The gift of knowing the differences of administration according to the conditions among the children of men. The gift of knowing whether the diversities of operations are of God.

3rd Pair – The gift of the word of wisdom. The gift of the word of knowledge.

4th Pair – The gift of faith to be healed. The gift of faith to heal.

5th Pair – The gift of the working of miracles. The gift to prophesy.

6th Pair – The gift of the discerning of spirits. The gift to discern all best gifts.

7th Pair – The gift to speak with tongues. The gift of the interpretation of tongues.

Gifts are designed to be used in a church (group) setting, for the benefit of all

Only one gift is typically given to an individual.  For this reason, God has placed us into groups, or congregations, or churches.  If you have 13 individuals, each with a separate gift of the Spirit, each member of the group receives benefit from the 12 other people who have the lacking gifts.  If their individual gifts are fairly well developed, you can place this group of 13 people in any location, in any situation, and they will have power to do all things which are expedient to the Lord.

For example, place them among a foreign group or tribe who speaks an unknown language and the ones who have the gifts of tongues and interpretation would allow the other 11 members to communicate with the foreign tribe.  Or, place them among sick people and the one with the faith to heal would heal them all.  Or, have them deliver a message to an area of sickness and pestilence, of a highly contagious plague.  Who would be sent?  The one with the gift to be healed.  Place them among an ignorant people with no books or learning materials, whatsoever.  What would they do?  They would have the ones with the gifts of the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge start teaching the people.  And if the 13 themselves have no access to learning, these two individuals would immediately begin teaching the others of the group.  Or, just place the 13 alone, without any means of survival whatsoever, would they survive?  Of course, they would.  The one with the gift to work miracles would assure that.  Put them among a lying tribe and the one who discerned spirits would discover the lies.  Try to surprise them and it wouldn’t work, for the one with the gift to prophesy would have already seen that coming.  And so on and so forth.

Thus we see that by placing us in a congregation or church, the Lord has allowed all members to receive benefit from all the gifts which they may not have yet obtained.  If we were just baptized and told to go home and worship God on our own, we would not receive any benefit from the gifts we lack, until we ourselves finally reached the point where we obtained all the best gifts.  Also, being around others, who possess gifts we do not possess ourselves, makes it easier for us to obtain them.  The same principle of learning by sight, or imitating others, works with the gifts, too.

Perfection of the saints

In fact, the only reason we are commanded to meet together is to perfect ourselves and the rest of the saints assembled through the manifestation of the gifts.  Everything done at church can be done in a home (family) setting if the priesthood is found in the home.  But to obtain benefit from gifts we do not possess, we must assemble with others who possess gifts we lack.  Said Paul:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  (1 Cor. 12)

Paul also said:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Order of the gifts in the church

The church in Paul’s day had an order to the best gifts:

And God hath set some in the church,

first apostles (gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God),

secondarily prophets (gift to prophesy),

thirdly teachers (gift of the word of wisdom and gift of the word of knowledge),

after that miracles (gift of the working of miracles),

then gifts of healings (gift of faith to be healed and gift of faith to heal),

helps (gift of believing, gift of differences of administration, gift of diversities of operations, gift of discerning of spirits),

governments (gift of discerning of gifts),

diversities of tongues (gift of tongues, gift of interpretation). (1 Corinthians 12: 28)

Another of Paul’s lists can also be assigned gifts:

And he gave some, apostles (gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God);

and some, prophets (gift to prophesy);

and some, evangelists (gift of tongues, gift of interpretation);

and some, pastors (gift of discerning of gifts)

and teachers (gift of the word of wisdom and gift of the word of knowledge);  (Ephesians 4: 11)

We see from these lists that church callings are to come according to the gifts a person has.  This is why the gift to discern the best gifts, which is given to the bishop and to the presiding elders, is so important.

Modern view of the best gifts

Modern LDS (the Gentile Mormons) typically avoid the best gifts.  It is unusual to find anyone prophesying or publishing revelations or performing miracles or speaking in tongues or raising the dead or instantly healing people, etc.

When LDS speak of the gifts that they have, they’ll perhaps mention piano playing as a gift from God, or being a good doctor or surgeon, or being a good athlete, or being a nice person, etc.  A certain percentage of Gentile Mormons believe that manifestations of the best gifts routinely happen, but are just never spoken of, since they are “too sacred.”  Stories of gift manifestations are usually hearsay.

“Someone once told me that when he was on his mission, he met a man whose companion had healed someone by…”, etc.

Another percentage of Gentile Mormons have downgraded the best gifts to fit into more acceptable administrations.  So, for example, the gift of tongues becomes going to the MTC for two months and learning the language.  Or, the gift of healing becomes going to medical school and becoming a doctor or surgeon.  Or, the gift to prophesy becomes gaining the title of President of the Church and being called “the prophet.”  In like manner, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge are delegated to those who have enough money to study at a university.   And the working of miracles becomes the “happening of miracles” and every little unexpected thing becomes a “miracle.”  Etc.

None of the best gifts work this way.  You cannot use faith as a principle of action to activate a best gift.  They only work by faith as a principle of power.  To illustrate, let’s examine the gift of the word of knowledge.

The gift of the word of knowledge

And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.  To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.  (D&C 46: 17-18; the gift of the word of knowledge is in bold type.)

Ammon possessed the word of knowledge

The Book of Mormon contains an example of the gift of the word of knowledge in action:

And it came to pass that when they had established a church in that land, that king Lamoni desired that Ammon should go with him to the land of Nephi, that he might show him unto his father.

And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying:

Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.

Now it came to pass that when Ammon had heard this, he said unto Lamoni:

Behold, my brother and brethren are in prison at Middoni, and I go that I may deliver them.

Now Lamoni said unto Ammon:

I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things. But behold, I will go with thee to the land of Middoni; for the king of the land of Middoni, whose name is Antiomno, is a friend unto me; therefore I go to the land of Middoni, that I may flatter the king of the land, and he will cast thy brethren out of prison.

Now Lamoni said unto him:

Who told thee that thy brethren were in prison?

And Ammon said unto him:

No one hath told me, save it be God; and he said unto me—

Go and deliver thy brethren, for they are in prison in the land of Middoni.  (Alma 20:1-5)

Ammon had knowledge that his brethren were, at that moment, in prison.  No one but God gave him this knowledge.  He then communicated the information to others, namely Lamoni.  This wasn’t knowledge of a spiritual thing, but of a physical fact that could be verified: Aaron, Muloki and Ammah were in prison at that very moment.  So, this was knowledge of something physically happening in the present.  It didn’t deal at all with anything pertaining to the future.  Nevertheless, no one but God told Ammon this fact, so, although it was knowledge of a physical thing that could be verified with one’s own two eyes, it was communicated via spiritual means.  This is, essentially, what the gift of the word of knowledge is all about.

The Savior mentioned the word of knowledge

Another example from the Book of Mormon comes from the Savior’s visit. Speaking to the Nephites, he said:

And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. (3 Ne. 16: 4; the gift of the word of knowledge is in bold type.)

Contrasted with the gift to prophesy

Notice how the gift of the word of knowledge contrasts with the gift to prophesy.  Again, an example from the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.  For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city.

And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness.

Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness.  Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha)—now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them:

Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites.  (Alma 16: 1-6)

In this case, Alma the younger had the spirit of prophecy, in other words, he had the gift to prophesy, and so he inquired of the Lord and received a prophecy of the future.  The “Lamanites will cross the river Sidon” (a prediction of the future), “there ye shall meet them” (another prediction of the future), “the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren” (a third prediction of the future).

Similar gifts

Prophecy does not deal with knowledge of things present and past, it deals with things pertaining to futurity: what will or shall happen.  On the other hand, the gift of the word of knowledge deals only with what has happened (the past) and what is happening (the present).  Both gifts, though, come through the manifestation of the Spirit.  Or as Ammon put it, “no one hath told me, save it be God.”

So, prophecy and the word of knowledge are almost the same gift, except for this one division: facts revealed of the present or past correspond to the word of knowledge, whereas words pertaining to the future correspond to prophecy.

All best gifts obtained by faith, not by study

All gifts of the Spirit are obtained by faith.  The healing gifts are called “faith to heal” and “faith to be healed” (see D&C 46: 19-20), but all the gifts could be worded the same way.  In other words, faith to speak the word of wisdom, faith to speak the word of knowledge, faith to prophesy, faith to work miracles, faith to speak in tongues, faith to interpret tonges, etc.  Without faith, none of these gifts are obtainable.

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.  (D&C 88: 118)

The above scripture speaks of wisdom and learning (knowledge).  Wisdom and knowledge are two gifts of the Spirit, but the only way to obtain them directly from the Spirit is by having faith.  However, because not everyone has faith to speak the word of wisdom and faith to speak the word of knowledge, we are instructed to seek words of wisdom and learning out of the best books and teachers by study.  Wisdom and knowledge obtained by studying the best books and teachers should not be confused with the gift of faith to speak the word of wisdom and the gift of faith to speak the word of knowledge.  These gifts come by faith, not by study.

Nevertheless, the Lord is saying in this verse that those who do not possess the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, can still obtain wisdom and knowledge through those who possess these gifts.  In other words, the two gifts of wisdom and knowledge are for the express purpose “that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.”  Those who possess these two gifts of the Spirit are to be the teachers that “teach one another words of wisdom” and “learning.”  They are to be the ones who write “the best books” in which are found “words of wisdom” and “learning.”  Their wisdom and knowledge does not come to these teachers through study, but by faith, directly from the Spirit, for they are spiritual gifts.

Confusion of the gifts

Modern LDS often confuse the obtaining of knowledge or wisdom through study and life experience as gifts of the Spirit.  If we find a man who is possessed of great knowledge or wisdom, and who seems to be a God-fearing righteous man, we are apt to believe he possesses the gift of the word of wisdom or knowledge.  He may or may not possess those gifts.  It all depends how he obtained his wisdom and knowledge.  If it was through studying at a university and life experience, then he doesn’t possess the gifts.  If it is through the revelations of the Spirit, (“no one hath told me, save it be God”), then he possesses these gifts.

How the best gifts work

“No one hath told me, save it be God” is the standard to determine whether a best gift is operating or not.  Regardless of the gift, for it to be a legitimate operation it must be by faith as a principle of power, meaning that if you speak words of wisdom, you must have gotten those words from God and no one else; if you speak words of knowledge, you must not have learned it from anyone but God; if you heal the sick, the healing power must not have been learned at medical school but must have come solely from God; if you work miracles, it must be a work done by you (such as Jesus turning water into wine) and not mere happenstance; if you prophesy, it must not be an educated guess based upon others’ speculations or statistics, but must be a prophecy you received solely from God; if you speak in foreign or unknown tongues, it must not have been learned through study; etc.

Let’s say that I prophesy that during this month of September (2010) that there is going to be a massively destructive earthquake in California that will turn the financial markets upside down.  Let’s say that I am the only one saying this and that I am claiming that no one has told me this, save it be God.  Let’s say that others believe me and then they also go around saying that in September there will be a great quake in California, as if it were their own prophecy. Then, along comes some date in September and lo and behold, a moment magnitude 9.0 quake strikes, sinking California’s economy and plunging the nation’s finances into the worst mess ever seen.  In which of the individuals would the gift to prophesy have been manifested?  In me or in the others who parroted my words?

The answer is only in me. Since I received the prophecy from no one, save God, the gift was manifested in me only.  The others benefited and repeated the same message, as if it came to them directly, but they didn’t have the gift.  Just because you repeat a real prophecy doesn’t make you a prophet.

In the same manner, just because some obtain words of wisdom and knowledge (through study and schooling) or ability to heal people (through study and learning) or language learning ability (through study) doesn’t mean they are possessors of these best gifts.

Some personal experience

I have had some limited experience with the various gifts. In the vast majority of the manifestations, if not all of them, I have been left totally perplexed. To the rational mind, it all appears insane.

For example, I once received a prophecy whose fulfillment was a distinct possibility. Then conditions changed and it became totally impossible for its fulfillment. But, I was sure that as crazy as it sounded, it would come to pass. So I simply waited for the conditions to change. Eleven years later conditions miraculously did change and the prophecy was fulfilled every whit.

On another occasion, I was praying for guidance on what to do and a manifestation of the word of wisdom occurred (the only time that has ever happened to me). I was told what would be the wisest course of action to take but it was the absolute craziest thing I had ever heard. But I knew this was from the Spirit and so I did it. In hindsight, I see that it really was a word of wisdom.

On yet another occasion, I remember, I was at work when the Spirit came upon me and told me that a friend of mine was in great danger. Who gave me this knowledge? “No one, save God.” As soon as I was able to, I made the phone call to my friend and sure enough, the Spirit was right.

Each manifestation I’ve received over the years has caused my logical, rational mind to protest. Yet, I have continued to ignore it. In fact, as time goes on, the revelations, prophecies and manifestations seem to be getting even more illogical and bizarre, at least to my rational mind. So, based upon my own experience, I don’t believe that we should expect to rationally understand the manifestations that may come. After all, the natural man cannot comprehend the things of God. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what the manifestation is, the only really important thing is that the manifestation comes from God.

Gifts are unscientific

Recently I commented on a blog by posting a link to The Split-Brain Model of the Gospel post. The blog’s owner replied,

“I will allow the link, but please note that I do NOT accept the proposed model therein as either good science or good theology.

A significant problem with “split-brain” popularizations is one of going far beyond the data into the realm of wild speculation. Readers of such popularizations should beware.”

The reply is interesting because it beautifully shows the reaction of the logical, rational, intellectual left-brain-mind to something written from the right-brain-heart (my post). I especially enjoyed reading that the model was considered unscientific.

Gifts are intended to engender and develop faith

Taking the gift of the word of knowledge again as an example, we should understand that even this gift, which appears to be based upon science (after all, it is knowledge, right?), is primarily designed to develop faith, not impart knowledge. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

Knowledge communicated by the Spirit through this gift is fact, not fiction, nevertheless, it is information that may not be readily verifiable.

For example, when Lehi stated, “I know that Jerusalem is destroyed,” this was the gift of the word of knowledge working in him. It was a fact. Jerusalem was destroyed at that time. This could be verified with one’s own two eyes if one could visit Jerusalem and see it for oneself. However, the Nephites could not visit Jerusalem, so they could only take Lehi’s words on faith.

Ammon’s word to Lamoni also were verifiable fact, but Lamoni could not verify them at that moment, so they had to be taken on faith.

So, the word of knowledge is a gift that imparts knowledge of present and past things that cannot immediately be verified using secular means, to the end that the listeners can develop their faith. The knowledge imparted is not of eye-witness accounts, but is a revelation from the Spirit.  The only way to immediately verify it is by another witness of the Spirit.

To illustrate, let’s say a group of 200 people are congregated and a man stands up and says that there is an army of 50,000 men in Cuba making preparations to attack Florida. Who told him this? “No one,” says he, “save it be God.” The man is not an eye-witness. The knowledge is received through spiritual means. Can it be verified? Sure, if one could be transported to Cuba. But as one can’t, it must be taken on faith.

Now let’s say that 5 other people in the group stand up and say that the Spirit has just told them the same thing. Does this add to the credibility of the first man? Not really, as none of them are eye-witnesses. There is nothing scientific about this. Yet, this is how the gift of the word of knowledge functions. It is designed to engender faith, not mere knowledge. Is this good science? Nope. Is this good theology? Yep.

Now let’s say 6 other people stand up, having just come from Cuba and they state they are eye-witnesses and can corroborate that indeed, Cuba is getting ready to invade Florida. Is this good science? Perhaps, if the witnesses are reliable. Is this good theology? Not really.

Don’t avoid the best gifts

I’ll be the first to admit that the best gifts take some getting used to, like an acquired taste. But again, we shouldn’t have an expectation that the things of God are going to be like the things of men.

The current trend in the church is to mainstream our image. As a result, I largely see LDS avoiding the best gifts. But this is a dangerous mistake, one which will lead to widespread deception among the membership.

The gifts are to avoid deception

The Lord said, “that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts” (D&C 46: 8). Any man or woman who possesses one of these gifts and actively uses them will be protected from the deceptions of the day, whether they be “doctrines of devils, or commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils” (D&C 46: 7).

Nephi prophesied that the Gentile churches “which are built up, and not unto the Lord” will “deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.”  (See 2 Nephi 28: 3, 5-6.)

Sound familiar? We are well on our way to fulfilling this prophecy, as LDS blindly follow their leaders, trusting that the leading brethren will not deceive them and relying upon their mortal guidance, without earnestly seeking and manifesting the gifts.

The gifts are no more

Among the majority membership, most of the best gifts are no longer manifested. The first two gifts are still among us: knowing Jesus Christ is the Son of God and believing that He is. But the rest of them are all but gone. At church, where the gifts are supposed to be manifested for the benefit of the congregation, no one prophesies, no one knows the diversities of operations, no one knows the differences of administration, no one teaches words of wisdom and words of knowledge, no one heals, no one is healed, no one works miracles, no one discerns spirits, no one speaks in tongues, no one interprets tongues, and none of the leadership discerns the gifts, for there are hardly any gifts manifesting which need discerning.

We have replaced a reliance upon the gifts with a reliance upon our leaders (the Brethren), setting up the fulfillment of Nephi’s prophecy. Instead of going to church and being spiritually uplifted and edified by participating in the manifestations of these gifts, we are lulled into a deep slumber and security. Our meetings are largely spiritually dead. The Holy Ghost has all but left the LDS Gentiles.

But two gifts left

The day that the last two remaining gifts are taken away from us will be the day when no one will join this church anymore. People currently join the church because the Holy Ghost manifests that the message is true. But the day fast approaches when the Holy Ghost will stop manifesting even that. When that occurs, the church (or churches, as it will be), will need to change their proselytizing methods. No more will it be, “ask God if these things are not true” but “come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins” and other wicked enticements to enter the church.

At that point, the wo pronounced by Moroni to the Gentiles will come to pass:

And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God. And wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and I speak it according to the words of Christ; and I lie not. (Moroni 10: 24-26)

The return of the gifts

The good news is that although at some point the gifts will be lost to the Gentiles, He will send more messengers who will be manifesting these same gifts. Unless you, yourself, as an individual, have developed one or more of these best gifts, and have come to recognize the manifestation of the gifts that you do not have—by being around people who have them (a congregation)—you will, like the majority member, be deceived into rejecting the new messengers sent from heaven. You cannot recognize bona fide best gifts of the Spirit unless you have experience in them. We must all then become familiar with these gifts, lest we perish at their re-appearance.

The future use of the best gifts

There is a great work to be done in the future, using these seeds of power, before the advent of the Lord. Everything mentioned in the scriptures that was done by them will be done again, with additional, new uses. Everything done before is but a precursor to what lies ahead.

To give an example, we are told that the Nephites had power to move mountains, that the brother of Jared moved mount Zerin (sounds similar to Zion, doesn’t it?), that the Savior told his disciples that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed, they could move mountains.

Why all this mentioning of moving mountains by power faith? What is so important about it? Why do we need to learn this power? The obvious answer is that at some point in the future, prior to the Second Coming, mountains will need to be moved to fulfill the prophecies. Previously on this continent, the Nephites (and the brother of Jared) moved mountains. It may be that those mountains will have to be removed (or moved back) to their original locations at a future time.

There will not be the time nor the means to accomplish this using action faith, so we must learn to plant and engender and develop these seeds of the powers of godliness that the Lord’s plans may be fulfilled through us. If we do not develop these gifts, someone else will and it will be he or she who fulfills the prophecies, while we are cut off from the privileges we might have had.

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Body modesty is not a principle of the gospel


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

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

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

What I teach my children

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

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

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

Heavenly Father’s rule of modesty

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Everything above and beyond that standard is man-made.

Moroni the naked angel

Said Joseph of the angel Moroni:

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

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

Isaiah, the naked prophet

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

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

Our first parents naked

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

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

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

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

Satan did.

Why Satan told our first parents to clothe themselves

I think Bette Davis said it best:

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

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

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

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

The Lord looks upon the heart

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

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

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

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

Not all Mormons are prudes

For example:

LDS Skinny Dippers Forum

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

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

The audience of all modesty talks

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

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

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

Legal public nudity is coming soon to a city near you

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

GoTopless.org

Here are some quotes from the web site:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIA

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

AUSTIN, TEXAS

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

OAHU, HAWAII

DENVER, COLORADO

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

What will the LDS ever do?

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

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

Eyelids, necks and feet to the rescue

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

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

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Lehi’s Josephite Prophecy


The chapter heading

The chapter heading of 2 Nephi 3 says the following:

Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision—He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer; of Moses, who would deliver Israel; and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

I have always been taught that this particular chapter contains, as its heading indicates, a prophecy of Joseph in Egypt about Joseph Smith, Jun., Moses and the Book of Mormon.  I assumed that every mention of a seer was Joseph Smith and that every mention of a scriptural record was the Book of Mormon.  I no longer hold that view.

11 possible personages and 8 possible scriptural records

As I have gone through this chapter, comparing it to the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 50: 24-36, I have found 11 possible personages spoken of by either Joseph in Egypt or Lehi.    In addition, I see a possibility that 8 separate records are spoken of, not just one (the Book of Mormon).  Here is the list of people mentioned:

  • 1.  A righteous branch – per Lehi
  • 2.  The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt – per Joseph
  • 3.  A spokesman for Moses called Aaron – per Joseph
  • 4.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 5.  A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph – per Joseph
  • 6.  A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi – per Lehi
  • 7.  A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon) – per Joseph
  • 8.  A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon) – per Joseph
  • 9.  A descendent of Lehi who brings forth Lehite scripture – per Lehi
  • 10.  A spokesman for the Lehite descendent – per Lehi
  • 11.  A Josephite restorer working miracles – per Lehi

Here is a list of possible scriptural records spoken of in these scriptures:

  • 1.  “a work” performed by a seer “like unto” Moses
  • 2.  “power to bring forth my word” and a “thing” brought “forth by his hand” by a seer “like unto” Joseph
  • 3.  “power to bring forth my word” and a “thing” brought “forth by his hand” by a seer”like unto” Lehi
  • 4.  The Brass Plates* (“that which shall be written by the fruit of thy [Joseph’s] loins”)
  • 5.  The Bible (“that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah”)
  • 6.  “judgment in writing” and “my law” by Moses
  • 7.  The Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, Jun.
  • 8.  “the writing of the fruit of thy [Lehi’s] loins” (expedient words) by a descendant of Lehi

Same or different people/records?

Some of these individuals may be the same person, just as some of these records may be the same.  But, there is also the possibility that they are all different people and all different records.  It is possible to narrow things down a bit.  For example, let’s take a look at only the list of 6 people who were mentioned by Joseph in Egypt:

  • 1.  The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt – per Joseph
  • 2.  A spokesman for Moses called Aaron – per Joseph
  • 3.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 4.  A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph – per Joseph
  • 5.  A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon) – per Joseph
  • 6.  A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon) – per Joseph

Moses and Aaron (#1 and #2) can be set aside.  We know who they were and the records they brought forth.  Joseph and Sidney (#5 and #6) we can also set aside.  That leaves a seer “like unto” Moses (#3) and a seer “like unto” Joseph (#4).  Are these two seers the same person?  Are they all the same as Joseph Smith, Jun.?  That is the current interpretation of most LDS.  It may be the correct one.  However, verse 12, which speaks of the Brass Plates* and the Bible, presents a problem because the Brass Plates are listed as either making up “my word which shall have already gone forth among them” or as being “my word” which the seer “like unto” Joseph would bring forth.  During the time of Joseph Smith, Jun. the Brass Plates weren’t around, nor did Joseph translate them.  Therefore, Joseph doesn’t fit as this seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt.

That said, it may be that Joseph Smith may yet fulfill the prophecy of this seer if he comes back and translates the Brass Plates or if he comes back after the Brass Plates have been revealed.

The seer “like unto” Moses may also be Joseph Smith, but we don’t have much detail to go on, other than he will be “great like unto Moses” and will do “a work” to bring his brethren to a knowledge of the covenants that the Lord made with their fathers.  That can apply to Joseph Smith, or it may apply to some other seer.  The fact, though, that this seer will be “like unto” Moses and that Moses was a “deliverer” of the Lord’s people, may mean that the seer “like unto Moses” will also be a deliverer of the Lord’s people.  Did Joseph “deliver” the Lord’s people from a Pharaoh-type of individual?  No.

Again, the seer “like unto” Joseph is going to be like Joseph because “the thing which the Lords shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.”  So, just as Joseph saved his family from starvation, so likewise the seer “like unto” Joseph will save the Lord’s people.  From starvation?  We don’t know.  We LDS often assume that everything is spiritual in the scriptures, but really, as Nephi said, things manifested to prophets by the voice of the Spirit are often “things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual”.

So, nothing concrete can be determined about the seer “like unto” Moses and the seer “like unto” Joseph.  We are free to interpret these seers as Joseph Smith (whether his future or past missions), but we are likewise free to interpret them as separate and distinct seers, one that will deliver the Lord’s people (temporally and spiritually) and one that will save the Lord’s people (temporally and spiritually).

However, what we do know is that the seer “like unto” Joseph will be named Joseph, like his father.  And the seer “like unto” Lehi will be named Lehi, like his father.  So, if there is a pattern here, we might surmise that the seer “like unto” Moses will be named Moses, like his father.  If this is a true pattern, then it will be a little easier to determine who these seers are when they show up, merely by finding out their names and their father’s names.

Lehi’s list of 6 seers

Here is the list of personages mentioned by Lehi in the Book of Mormon:

  • 1.  A righteous branch – per Lehi
  • 2.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 3.  A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi – per Lehi
  • 4.  A descendent of Lehi who brings forth Lehite scripture – per Lehi
  • 5.  A spokesman for the Lehite descendent – per Lehi
  • 6.  A Josephite restorer working miracles – per Lehi

I’ve already covered a seer “like unto” Moses.  The “righteous branch” we don’t know much about.  It may be Joseph Smith, or it may be some other seer.  We do know that this “righteous branch” is not the Messiah because Lehi explicitly says so.

A seer “like unto” Lehi, who is called Lehi after the name of his father, has not shown up, yet.  This man may be a descendant of Lehi or merely a descendent of Joseph in Egypt.  But we do know that Joseph Smith doesn’t fit because he had the wrong name.  Also, as this seer will be “like unto” Lehi, it may mean that he will save the Lord’s people in the same manner as Lehi did.  How did Lehi save the Lord’s people?  By leading them away from the apostate majority.

A descendent of Lehi (plus spokesman) still hasn’t shown up.  Also, the new Lehite record that this man will translate hasn’t come forth, as yet.  Joseph Smith doesn’t fit this bill as he’s got the wrong lineage.

Lastly, the Josephite restorer still hasn’t shown up.  Again, Joseph Smith’s lineage is wrong.  This man will be a descendant of Joseph, son of Lehi.  He will not be a Lamanite, Lemuelite, Ishmaelite, Jacobite, Zoramite, Mulekite or Nephite.  This narrows it down a bit.  Once we know the man’s lineage, it will be much easier to determine whether he is the man spoken of here by Lehi.

Prophecy is a pattern

In Lehi’s blessing to his son Joseph, he paraphrased Joseph in Egypt, using Joseph’s prophecies as a base or reference point, upon which to pronounce his own prophecies which were tailored to his son Joseph (son of Lehi).  Unless his words explicitly state that he is paraphrasing Joseph in Egypt, it may be rightly interpreted as being Lehi’s own prophecy, which he was pronouncing on the spot, being filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.  Keep this in mind.

Lehi wasn’t just a simple prophet.  He was a seer.  We don’t know if he possessed a Urim and Thummim, but we do know that he was a “visionary man”, seeing things in visions and dreams.  This is the mark of a seer, not a prophet.  But Lehi also prophesied of things.  So, he was a seer and a prophet.  And he received revelations, new commandments that pertained to the Nephites, altering the law which was given to Moses in significant ways.  He was a prophet, seer and revelator and a dispensation head, being the head of the so-called Nephite dispensation.  In fact, he was very much “like unto” Moses.  Lehi, then, was uniquely qualified to speak of seers, being one himself, and also of prophecies, having spoken and written many of his own, and of revelations, having revealed the word of the Lord to his people.

The tendency to treat 2 Ne. 3 as if Lehi was merely quoting Joseph in Egypt is tempting, as this is what non-prophets and non-seers typically do.  We non-prophets quote others whose words we consider greater than ours.  (For example, consider our favorite past-time of quoting general authorities.)  Instead of adding something new, our own prophecy, we rehash what others have already said.  But Lehi and Joseph were equals, seeing eye to eye.  They both were seers.  2 Ne. 3, then, should be viewed as Lehi’s prophecy, not as Joseph in Egypt’s prophecy.  The paraphrasing he does of Joseph in Egypt’s words is to launch his own prophecy, tailored specifically to his son’s lineage.  In other words, he took the words of Joseph as a pattern and applied it in his own prophecy.  So, when reviewing the differences between the two versions, each version should be taken as a separate and distinct prophecy.

Okay, let’s get into the text.

Lehi’s opening words to his son Joseph

In chapter 3 of 2 Nephi, Lehi gives a father’s blessing to his youngest son Joseph, prophesying concerning Joseph’s seed (the Josephites) in the latter days.  Lehi begins by wishing that the land (the American continent) be consecrated to Joseph and his seed (the Josephites) for their inheritance along with Joseph’s brothers, for Joseph’s “security forever,” if they would just keep the commandments of God.  Next, he wishes that God would bless Joseph forever and then prophesies, “thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.”  (See verses 2 and 3.)

He then attempts to explain or expound upon his prophecy to Joseph, detailing exactly how it is that his “seed shall not utterly be destroyed.”  To do this, Lehi turns to the plates of brass, to a prophecy uttered by Joseph in Egypt.  Lehi cites and/or paraphrases the ancient Joseph’s words, reviewing “the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.”  These words do not appear in the Bible (the stick of Judah) but they were found written on the plates of brass (the stick of Ephraim).  Luckily, however, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible contains a version of this prophecy.

A righteous branch; a prophet; neither of which is the Messiah

It may be helpful to compare the two versions.  I will put in bold type everything that is exactly the same.

And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die, and go unto my fathers; and I go down to my grave with joy. The God of my father Jacob be with you, to deliver you out of affliction in the days of your bondage; for the Lord hath visited me, and I have obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of my loins, the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch out of my loins; and unto thee, whom my father Jacob hath named Israel, a prophet; (not the Messiah who is called Shilo;) and this prophet shall deliver my people out of Egypt in the days of thy bondage.  And it shall come to pass that they shall be scattered again; and a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country; nevertheless they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, when the Messiah cometh; for he shall be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the Spirit of power; and shall bring them out of darkness into light; out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.  (JST Gen. 50: 24-25)

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.  (2 Ne. 3: 5)

Notice that there is a difference between the two versions.  The JST seems to have Joseph in Egypt saying that God will raise up two things: 1) a righteous branch out of Joseph’s loins and 2) a prophet, raised up unto Israel.  This prophet was to deliver the people of the Lord out of Egypt in the days of bondage, and was not going to be the Messiah, so presumably this is Moses.  Again, the JST is talking of two separate things: a righteous branch and the prophet Moses.

But Lehi mixes the two together.   Lehi says that it will be a righteous branch that will be raised up unto Israel (not Moses, like Joseph in Egypt said), and that this righteous branch will not be the Messiah.  Lehi completely skips over all talk of Moses.

Okay, thus far we have:

  • A righteous branch mentioned by Joseph and Lehi (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • A prophet mentioned by Joseph only (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)

A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses; Moses identified as the “prophet”

A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.  (JST Gen. 50: 26)

For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.  (2 Ne. 3: 6)

Lehi ceases paraphrasing and here directly quotes from the plates of brass.  Now we have to add a third item on this list:

  • A righteous branch mentioned by Joseph and Lehi (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • A prophet that delivers people from Egypt, mentioned by Joseph only (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer)

The record continues:

Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me, A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren.  And he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers; and he shall do whatsoever work I shall command him.  And I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work; and he shall be great like unto him whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt; for a seer will I raise up to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt; and he shall be called Moses. And by this name he shall know that he is of thy house; for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter, and shall be called her son.  (JST Gen. 50: 27-29)

Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.  And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.  And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.  And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.  (2 Ne. 3: 7-10)

With these verses we now read that Lehi is mentioning Moses and is identifying him as the delivering prophet.  So, our list is now:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) that brings his brethren to a knowledge of the Lord’s covenants which he made with the fathers of Joseph in Egypt; and is considered great “like unto” Moses

A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph

And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth of my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days; wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.  And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel, in the last days.  And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.  (JST Gen. 50: 30-33)

But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.  Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.  And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.  And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.  (2 Ne. 3: 11-15)

Now we have a new prophecy, of a new seer.  (The words, “and again,” found in JST Gen. 50: 30, tips us off that we are now talking of something different.  Also, the writings mentioned in these scriptures are the two sticks, the stick of Judah, which is the Bible, and the stick of Joseph, which is the Brass Plates*.)  Here is our list:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) that brings his brethren to a knowledge of the Lord’s covenants which he made with the fathers of Joseph in Egypt; and is considered great “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, that is given power to bring forth word and convince of word; shall be weak but made strong; shall be called Joseph; father’s name shall be called Joseph; etc.

A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi

There is at least a possibility that Lehi, using Joseph in Egypt’s words found upon the plates of brass,inserted his own prophecy at this point. When Lehi said, “And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold,that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled,” this may have been either a direct quote from the Brass Plates or a paraphrase.  But his next statement may have been Lehi’s own prophecy, using many of the same words Joseph in Egypt used: “Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”

I’ll break the scripture down to better explain what I mean:

And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: [Lehi quoting or paraphrasing Joseph] Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I [Joseph] have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. [Lehi now begins his own prophecy] Behold, I [Lehi] am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me [Lehi]; and it shall be after the name of his father [Lehi]. And he shall be like unto me [Lehi]; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people [Lehi’s people] unto salvation.  [Lehi switching back to Joseph’s prophecy] Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.  (2 Ne. 3: 14-16)

Assuming that Lehi prophesied of yet another seer to appear in the latter days, here is the list so far:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi, having power to bring forth a “thing” that will bring Lehi’s people to salvation

Moses and Aaron

And the Lord sware unto Joseph that he would preserve his seed forever, saying, I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand, and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.  And he shall have judgment, and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of mine own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him, and his name shall be called Aaron.  (JST Gen. 50: 34-35)

Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.  And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.  (2 Ne. 3: 16-17)

Our list continues:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon

And it shall be done unto thee in the last days also, even as I have sworn. Therefore, Joseph said unto his brethren, God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware unto Abraham, and unto Isaac, and to Jacob.  (JST Gen. 50: 36)

And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.  And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.  And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.  Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.  (2 Ne. 3: 18-21)

Whereas the JST Bible (stick of Judah) just gives a summary: “and it shall be done unto thee in the last days, also, even as I have sworn”, Lehi’s words here, if taken to be a paraphrase or quote of Joseph in Egypt’s words, show that the Brass Plates go into much greater detail.  We learn that there will be a repeat of the Moses/Aaron scenario, that a descendant of Joseph in Egypt will have a spokesman and that this descendent will write “expedient” words, which words will “cry from the dust” and that these words are not called “my words” but “their words” (the writings of the fruit of the loins of Joseph).  From all this information it becomes easy to identify who this descendant is, who the spokesman is and what the record is.  Here is our updated list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)

A descendent of Lehi, a spokesman and some Lehite scriptures

The above scripture can also be interpreted as Lehi’s words, not Joseph’s.  So, when Lehi says, “And the Lord said unto me also”, he is not paraphrasing or quoting Joseph in Egypt, but actually giving his own prophecy, yet again.  In that case, there will be a descendent of Lehi raised up, as well as a spokesman, and this descendent will write Lehite scriptures which will be taken to the latter-day Lehites.  In fact, the scripture might actually have a dual fulfillment, one applying to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, and one applying to the Lehite descendent and spokesman.  In other words, “And the Lord said unto me also” might mean that the Lord said this to Joseph as well as to Lehi.  Based on that, here is the potential list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)
  • A descendent of Lehi who brings forth another book of Lehite scripture
  • A spokesman for the Lehite descendent

The Josephite Restorer

As we can see, our list is getting lengthy.  At this point, Lehi has sufficiently reviewed the covenants of the Lord made to Joseph in Egypt to explain how it is that the Josephites “shall not utterly be destroyed.”

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.  (2 Ne. 3: 22-23)

The reason given as to why they don’t get destroyed is that the Josephites of the latter-days “shall hearken unto the words of the book.”  The book is not named.  It could be the Book of Mormon, which cries “repentance unto their brethren” from the dust or it could be another Lehite book of scripture that does the same.  Or it could be both records brought together as one book.  Regardless of what the scenario is, the Josephites will end up hearkening and will repent of all their sins.

Because of their penitence, the Josephites will get an additional blessing.  Lehi now proceeds to give his own prophecy concerning the latter days:

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.  And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen.  (2 Ne. 3: 24-25)

“And there shall rise up one mighty among them,” says Lehi.  Who is “them”?  It is the descendents (or seed) of Joseph, the son of Lehi.  It is the Josephites.  This Josephite restorer will be attended with miracles (working mighty wonders) and will bring to pass “much restoration” to the rest of the Lehites as well as to the whole house of Israel.  Here is the final list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)
  • A descendent of Lehi who brings forth another book of Lehite scripture
  • A spokesman for the Lehite descendent
  • A Josephite restorer working miracles

Conclusion

There are potentially eleven people spoken of in this chapter.  Only one of them is plainly Joseph Smith.  And there are potentially eight books of scripture mentioned.  Again, only one of them is plainly the Book of Mormon.  In my view, 2 Nephi chapter 3 is not as cut and dry as the chapter heading would have us believe.

*Note: For more information, see the blog post, Why I Believe the Plates of Brass Are Next.

Update and correction (made 30 March 2014):

When I wrote the text above, I interpreted “that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah” as the Bible. Two years later I wrote the CTC post, which brought out the book of the Lamb of God stuff. Coming back to this post and reading it, I see that “that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah” is likely the book of the Lamb of God, per the CTC post, and not the Bible, as I had previously thought. The Bible is likely just a shadow fulfillment. For more info on the book of the Lamb of God, see the following post: 1 Nephi 13 & 14 commentary, using CTC’s view.

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So John the Baptist Smoked Pot, What of It?


Recent evidence has surfaced which reveals that John the Baptist was high on pot—descending in a cloud of marijuana smoke—when he conferred the priesthood upon Joseph and Oliver.  Some may feel this is unbecoming of an angelic prophet, but I want to state for the record that I support John 100%.

To all the prudes and misinformed:

So John smoked pot.  So what?

A List of Evidences in Favor of Pot

Latest CBS News Polls Finds Majority Of Western Voters, Californians, Back Marijuana Legalization by Paul Armentano, April 27, 2010

End Insanity Of The War on Drugs—Start With Decriminalizing Marijuana at The Federal Level by Ron Paul, April 20, 2010

Marijuana: Recreational drug or natural health miracle? by Kevin Genovario, April 19, 2010

Anti-Pot Propaganda As Stupid As Ever – Yet Our Alarmist Media Continues to Hype It by Paul Armentano, March 10, 2010

The Feds Are Addicted to Pot – Even If You Aren’t by Paul Armentano, December 18, 2009

Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink? by Mark Thornton, December 1, 2009

Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? by Paul Armentano, August 12, 2009

Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought to Condemn the Laws That Brand Him a Criminal by Paul Armentano, February 4, 2009

Drug War’s Latest Tally: 872,721 Pot Arrests, an All-Time High by Paul Armentano, September 17, 2008

Pot Versus the ‘Superbug’ by Paul Armentano, September 2, 2008

So Where Did All The Ditchweed Go? by Paul Armentano, August 11, 2008

20 Years for Pot Possession? by Paul Armentano, July 29, 2008

The Death of Rachel Hoffman by Paul Armentano, July 28, 2008

When It Comes To Medical Pot, Rats Are Smarter Than Our Politicians by Paul Armentano, July 22, 2008

So What If Pot Can Cure Cancer; That’s No Reason For You To Use It by Paul Armentano, July 19, 2008

What the Government Knows About Cannabis and Cancer – and Isn’t Telling You by Paul Armentano, June 26, 2008

Is Senator Kennedy a Victim of Pot Prohibition? by Paul Armentano, May 22, 2008

It’s Official: Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith Have Lost Their Minds by Paul Armentano, May 15, 2008

How to Tell If the Drug Czar Is Lying? His Lips Are Moving by Paul Armentano, May 14, 2008

Setting the Record Straight on Marijuana and Addiction by Paul Armentano, March 31, 2008

Pot Makes You Lose Your Mind! by Paul Armentano, March 21, 2008

Outrageous Anti-Pot Lies: Media Uses Disgraceful Cancer Scare Tactics by Paul Armentano, March 11, 2008

Ending America’s Domestic Quagmire by Paul Armentano, March 10, 2008

The Lies of the Drug War by Paul Armentano, March 1, 2008

Making Pot Legal: We Can Do It – Here’s How by Paul Armentano, February 13, 2008

What’s the Going Price for a Joint? by Paul Armentano, February 5, 2008

‘Pot 2.0’: Where Can I Get Some? by Paul Armentano, November 2, 2007

Could Cannabis Quell Americans Addiction to Pain Meds? by Paul Armentano and Chris Goldstein, September 20, 2007

Nothing’s Either Good or Bad – Unless the State Says So by William Norman Grigg, July 2, 2007

It’s Been an ‘All Out War’ on Pot Smokers for 35 Years by Paul Armentano, March 23, 2007

White House Requests Increased Funding for Failed Student Drug-Testing, Discredited Anti-Pot Ads by Paul Armentano, February 10, 2007

A Billion Dollars a Year for Pot? by Paul Armentano, October 19, 2006

Medical Marijuana and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments byAnthony Gregory, October 5, 2006

Another Marijuana Myth Goes Up In Smoke by Paul Armentano, June 9, 2006

Cannabis and the Brain: A User’s Guide by Paul Armentano, March 2, 2006

NFL’s Buzzkill: No Beer at Giants Stadium by Paul Armentano, January 14, 2006

Here’s Your Cup, Junior by Paul Armentano, October 12, 2005

Bad Trip by Paul Armentano, March 22, 2005

Crimes of the Other War by Paul Armentano, February 8, 2005

High Court Must Take Lead in Medical Marijuana Debate Because Politicians Will Not by Paul Armentano, November 30, 2004

Terror War Takes a Back Seat to War on Drugs by Paul Armentano, October 30, 2004

Exposing Potent Pot Myths by Paul Armentano, October 21, 2004

Federal Drug Use Surveys and Fuzzy Math by Paul Armentano, September 22, 2004

Unlocking a Cure for Cancer – With Pot by Paul Armentano, August 17, 2004

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