This post is inspired by a post by LDSA which was entitled: The Book of Mormon is a Litmus Test. In it LDSA identifies a three-stage process to which all churches without exception are subject. The cosmic church of Christ is not an institution of man and not a church in the traditional sense of the word. But as far as all literal churches go there are three stages through which they all pass. According to LDSA those stages are:

1st The works of the Father

2nd The works of men

3rd The works of the Devil.

We will discuss these three stages in more detail and examine the Book of Mormon in a far wider context than it has likely ever been treated at any time since it was published.

This three-stage process is not only observable over the decadent course of decades, but is in fact playing out from moment to moment. A careful student will see the three stages summarized in scriptural accounts, and in spite of the student’s carefulness, a certain degree of whiplash is bound to set in upon the reader’s stiff neck until what is being witnessed is fully realized as a back and forth tennis match between “God” and “Devil” with Man’s head as the ball. Once you have seen the many matches that the holy prophets of all ages have covered like Wimbledon commentators whispering loudly from the dust, you will then be required to acknowledge your part or place in the continuing cycle of violence or be condemned by the words you have read. God does not want us to serve as stooges for a corrupt system. He does not expect you to keep your head in that game. He hopes you will soften your heart and pull your hard head out of the game, out of the sand box that is the Matrix, and into the greater reality that is Zion.

An understanding of the three-stage process invites us to put away childish things like the apostle Paul said and did. The progression of the three stages, from ministering angels on the right to tempting devils on the left hand, places the responsibility firmly on the shoulders of the individual who is endowed with his/her very own crown, a crystal radio receiver which may be tuned to Christ as his/her Head. In the West Afrikan tradition and throughout its various spiritual lineages, The Orisha are spirits and deities who are among the oldest in the expansive divine family of gods who have dealings with this earth. Orisha is a Yoruba word meaning “owners of heads”. There is an old Yoruba proverb that says: “Spirit can not give what head refuses”. This saying reflects the responsibility that each of God’s children bears as a free agent to act for his or herself.

Afrika today is slowly lifting herself out of spiritual darkness into which she fell a long time ago with the rest of the world following suit later, like Jack and Jill, Adam and Eve. But before the really wild fruit began to show up in the world, Afrikan cosmology promoted a much more balanced cosmology which invited men to do good continually and walk peaceably with one another so that they would not be found guilty as harbingers of evil. This ancient cosmology did not include anywhere in their stories of the Orisha, any character quite as despicable as the modern concept of Christ’s evil brother Lucifer. There was only a Heavenly Uncle who was a trickster teacher. His name was Eshu. I would like to share a story about Eshu which illustrates the three-stage downfall of churches/congregations of men as they digress from the works of the Father, to works of Man, and finally to works of the Devil.

Two farm boys, who grew up together and were best of friends, reached the age of puberty and went for a divination ceremony. This is similar to two Mormon buddies going to the Stake Patriarch to receive their Patriarchal Blessings. The Spirit spoke through the Elder and said that the two boys must live on adjacent farms because their abundance would depend on mutual cooperation. No problem there, for as stated earlier the two adolescents were best friends, brothers in the faith. The Spirit said that they needed to make regular offerings to Eshu, in order to ensure that their feelings of brotherhood were never broken.

The two young men could not imagine being separated, they could not imagine being enemies, and they could not imagine living to old age in poverty. There seemed to them no need to appease the spirit of Eshu. One day Eshu came to their joint farm which had by now grown into a huge successful co-op that blessed the lives of many friends and family members. The farmland was separated by a narrow path that went right down the middle. As Eshu walked down the path all the farmhands and every member of this mini-zion, as they supposed, all the men, women, and children stopped what they were doing and stared at this stranger passing by. Eshu, did indeed appear a strange sight to them all, for he had painted one side of his face red and the other black.

When he had passed through one of the young men said “Who in the world was that strange fellow with the red face?” The other responded, “No, your wrong. He had a black face.” The two men got into a heated argument that ended up drawing in the whole community which, up until that day, had always felt comforted by the fact that they were of one mind. The contention even reached the point of physical violence and after that, the friendship, as well as the community, was broken up and ruined.

This age-old Afrikan tale illustrates the three stages in the apostasy cycle that LDSA pointed out. In the first stage the Spirit speaks, the works of the Father are manifest and everyone is happy. The second stage starts out happy enough, but man thinks that his ways are better or at least sufficient and trouble eventually ensues. Finally, in the third stage the Devil shows up and makes short work of what seemed for all the world to be a perfectly secure community of nice and industrious people. eshu the trickster with his red and black hat

The parable also shows how the trait or state of like-mindedness, which is so sought after in today’s world, is quite overrated. This concept of being one in mind will be crucial to an expanded understanding and appreciation of the importance of the Book of Mormon which we will endeavor to achieve later on in this piece, so let’s look at it analytically shall we? As Mormons we have been counseled specifically by the Divine to be of one heart and one mind. But in the thralls of an advanced second stage as we are, we are trying desperately to fool the Lord into accepting our pseudo-zion. In fast & testimony meetings across the U.S. you can hear superficial and stereo-typical tourists give travelogue testi-phonies, talking about how grateful they are that the Church is the same everywhere you go. The streamlined assembly-line Gospel of the Gringos is of course they’re own creation, and at this stage they are oh so proud of it.

When it comes to mentality, diversity of view-points is the whole point of gathering in Zion, that “all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole,” as we are reminded in the temple. There is already one Universal Mind, a Zionistic Ethernet, to which every one of God’s children are entitled unlimited access. The only rule is that the more you share the greater your personal bandwidth will be. But, as society sinks deeper into the second stage of our collective straying from God, we see the three colluded institutions of ®eligion, $tate, and $cience want us all as their stooges hooked up to their RSS feed. In the field of science Nikola Tesla tapped into the spirit of invention and prophesy. And he discovered ways of providing homes throughout the land with free electrical energy, just as it was in the most ancient kingdoms of Egypt, back when Egypt was still in the first stage, working more closely with the Father. Tesla has been lauded as one of the greatest minds of modern times, but he was humble because he knew how things worked. Said he:

“My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

The vast majority of scientists are false priests in white robes working for the gods of the State. The secret-combination system to which they belong, demands that all research and scientific scripture be peer-reviewed. By this system of controls they desire to rip away those protective veils which the Lord puts in place for the sake of his true servants and subject any findings to the peering eyes of wizards, who peep, and mutter, and censor information which could be of great value to the children of men. True prophets do not necessarily receive approval from their peers and that is not needed. External validation and worldly ex-perience is not superior to what we might call in-peerience, or peering within to divine the Mind of the Divine. Meditation is a helpful, purifying, and rejuvenating practice for the mind because it is tuning into OUR energy; not one’s own limited level or private reserve, but the unlimited and consecrated mental capacity of ALL OF US.

Now, in the field of religion we have three notable stooges known as the First Presidency. Most people who act as if they know the mind of God fully are also full of wild and fanciful ideas about the devil. Nothing could be worse than withdrawal of support, displeasure, and discipline from Heavenly Parents to selfish children who do not trust the Father when he says, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good” (D&C 90:24) But whatever our attitudes and personal relationship with God the Father, he certainly seems to have a very, trusting, and respectful relationship with the Devil. LDSA points out that: “the Lord only gathers His own and will not rob the devil of that which pertains to him.” after which he refers us to Mosiah 5:14.

“And again, doth a man take an ass which belongeth to his neighbor, and keep him? I say unto you, Nay; he will not even suffer that he shall feed among his flocks, but will drive him away, and cast him out. I say unto you, that even so shall it be among you if ye know not the name by which ye are called.”

Ok so the conditions described here obviously do not amount to a very Zion-like scenario. Sounds like the type of CONditions set up by CON-men who say “Oh, look! What have we here? Let us put your New World in Order properly.” And we, like dumb asses, go along with their monopoly game of NWO-OWNership. These would-be owners of our heads are no Orisha because they do not serve humanity; they do not answer the prayer of the meek. So how exactly does one secure one’s position in Christ’s flock? The secret to the flock’s firmness is that they are free-range. Esoterically they are fixed, like the stoic spirit of a stone. However, exoterically they are a band of uncontrollable gypsies who take orders from no man, an artful moving target that follows the flow of spirit to the bewilderment of all predators. Let’s break down verse 15 while we’re at it.

Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable,

[not swayable to one side of the paradigm or the other but balanced and Christ-centered. Standing anywhere but with the Mediator of All Mankind would be only an illusion]

always abounding in good works,

[Work is a functional reality that is only possible through duality. Good works indicates a smoothly functioning, or at any rate, enjoyable relationship between the two basic opposing forces of the universe]

that Christ,

[It is important to note that the term Christ does not merely refer to Jesus, but to his entire flock by extension, and more importantly to the pre-existing and eternal spirit-substance which Jesus embodied, and which always has and always will fill the universe]

the Lord God Omnipotent,

[the prefix ‘omni’, means all, and the word ‘potent’ speaks of power. Thus, just as ‘omnivorous’ describes a creature which partakes freely from all forms of sustenance available to it, ‘omnipotent’ describes a god who makes use of all forms of power, not just those powers we say he does.]

may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all.

[as well as in and below all]


[Amen – the name of the All-in-One Godevil of Is-Ra-El who men try desperately to slice in half, or even furiously hack to psychotic pieces, but who remains indivisible – can also be compared to the surname by which the united family of gods pertaining to this earth are called.]

Examples of the three-stage process can be seen everywhere in the Book of Mormon, even and especially in the fault-line cracks of commentary that riddle the record, purposely placed like wounds on the resurrected Christ, to display his power over death. It is like the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold, called kintsugi (gold joinery), which finds beauty in the broken. kintsugi2Words contain living energy, but they freeze as soon as they hit the page, or plate in the case of the Book of Mormon. Like Han Solo in a four-sided metallic bed, the words of ancient Nephite scribes lay frozen until Joseph Smith resurrected the dead characters from the Golden Plates.  With spiritual forensics we can examine a mummified Moroni who departs frequently from the summary of the writings he has been tasked with compiling. Sometimes he shared insights received via the spirit and then promptly proceeded to apply either deductive or inductive reasoning based more on personal life-experience. Moroni was no less susceptible than any of us to following this three-stages/three-stooges process all the way through from Moe to Curly. Everybody plays the fool sometimes, and the man who will not admit this, ends up playing the fool more often than not. As abridger of the record, Moroni can be found depositing and defending the whole range from eternal truths of God, to philosophies of men, to doctrines of devils like racism and violence. Gods are, after all, only men realizing their fullest potential, and devils are only men realizing their lowest natures.


Interpolation of man’s ideas, and often man’s interpretation of God’s thoughts can, if we are not careful, cause an interruption in the flow of spirit. It is said that the words of the Book of Mormon were recorded by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. If the words of The Book of Mormon were originally recorded by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and later translated by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, then they can only be fully understood when reading by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. It should be noted that nothing about the phrase “spirit of prophecy and revelation” connotes rigidly imposed order or external regulation. Spirit is not a controlled substance. Neither does the word ‘prophecy’ confine itself to any one particular person or group’s agenda. And revelation does not work for us only by set guidelines. Control, restriction, and structure, like that which all life-forms possess to one extent or another, are useful, but life-forms are never stronger than life itself. Churches and bodies of all types are tools; spirit is the power by which they may operate. Churches are life-forms but Christ is the Life. There are no rules or commandments by which infinite spirit is bound to operate. It is only out of love and free will that spirit will go along with our games for a season. As soon as love or freedom is violated the spirit begins to withdraw. The word ‘body’ is instantly singular and plural as it is one, but made up of many parts. If a body forgets to honor this duality from instant to instant, and instead insists on struggling against itself, indeed “any-body” which thinks it can gain and maintain the Holy Spirit as an outward badge or a trophy, will ultimately be afflicted with atrophy.

In the case of the Golden Plates, they could not be grasped nor held, not physically, not intellectually, not even tenuously, except as a sacred document. As such, the Golden Plates did not rely entirely on the material composition of the electrically conducive gold, nor upon polished or flowery language meticulously engraved thereon. All of these factors played a role, and the special treatment of the plates continued after Joseph unearthed them. Yet, it was not these actions toward them any more than their physical attributes from whence their sacredness sprang. Sacredness flows through and fills all things but is not limited to any one vehicle or vessel. The fact that Joseph kept the Golden Plates sealed closed and wrapped up in linen, even during much of the translation process, shows how he honored and preserved the sacred electrical charge coming through them and not just the engravings themselves.

To maintain a spiritual charge, temporal triggers must be kept in their proper perspective. The mystical can not be made completely technical and the technical looses relevancy and efficiency if it is not allowed to contrast and serve the mystical. True mysticism is the appropriate equilibrium between spirit and flesh. If it aint mystic it’s a mistake. When LDSA lists the three stages, he has established a trigger point with the powerful energy of the Holy Tri-nity. The advent of the Son is what graduates man and woman to the level of Father and Mother. The Son is the Christ, The First, The Mediator who comes in the Meridian of Time, so it should come as no surprise that as Christians we find ourselves perpetually in the 2nd stage, partaking from two sides of nature which both teach us equally by reflecting the thoughts and emotions we bring to them. Light and Dark, Revelation and Truth, Urim and Thummim function together to provide inquiring minds with Prohibitions and Commands, Doctrine and Covenants, answers of ‘No’ or ‘Yes’.  White and Black divination stones may be set in silver bows and fastened to a breastplate, but this does not mean that the will of God may be set in stone. We may memorize lines and verses which contain lux and veritas, but that does not give us the right to tyrannically take of those scriptures and make rote responses to loyal seekers in varied situations.

Nephi says we must liken the scriptures unto ourselves, but this must be done on a case by case basis. We have to guard against every impulse to pervert that which is spiritual into spiritless social constructs. Dogma is deadly; Holy Scriptures must only ever be used as divination tools to serve the individual in his or her personal life story. Recourse to any collective schema can only be valid if the schema is taken as a descriptive process for indicating potentialities as they uniquely replicate themselves in each and every individual case. In the LDS Church people speak of two types of revelation, institutional and personal. But in truth all revelation is personal revelation. But LDS Inc. says that personal revelation must fall in line with institutional revelation. Such a thing can never be possible without building a lie because the collective is only as strong as its individual members. LDS audiences seem to adore comedian Brian Regan. If they desire to shake off the spiritual schizophrenia that weakens them and stand up in true and instantaneous solidarity, hearts and minds individually as well as collectively in sync, the LDS people should take a note from one of Brian Regan’s stand-up routines, so they can say to each other, and together as brothers and sisters, “Hey, I have that exact same one, only different.” Personal revelation is the key. That’s why even though Nephi expressly stated in the spirit and to his personal Christ-Spirit guide that he desired to see what his father had seen, still he was shown much more. And even those images which Nephi through faith was able to view the same as in the vision his father had beheld, yet the experience was different based on the one experiencing it. You will recall that Nephi noticed the filthiness of the river of water whereas Lehi did not. (1 Nephi 15:26-27)

When Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book we have to remember that he was speaking to a specific target audience. And we should also understand the word correct in its true spiritual sense. To be correct means to be right in line with the core. A man’s or woman’s core is their heart. Men and women are wired to be able to communicate with Spirit but this ability depends on a proper alignment between head and heart. Heart in Spanish is Corazon. The word ‘co-razon’ signifies co-reason, or the reasoning together of heart and mind in which Isaiah 1:18 invites us to participate. This alignment is made or broken in the spine at the place where the neck meets the head. This location is designated with the letter Qof in ancient Hebrew and is the reason why in modern English the letter ‘Q’ still resembles a neck connecting at the base of a head. That is why the afore-mentioned Eshu, the Afrikan cosmological concept of “The Devil,” is described as living at the crossroads. It is the crossroads between mind and emotion or head and heart. When the crossroads is blocked as a result of unexpressed emotion the feeling in the body is experienced as a pain in the neck.

This condition of stiffneckedness is a manifestation of Eshu which is mentioned over and over again in the Book of Mormon, even more than in the Bible. The true vision of Zion is veiled and can not be accurately received by Latter-Day gentiles, the main target audience of the Book of Mormon, and Zion can not be implemented by them in physical form without first doing some serious spiritual chiropractic work. LDSA has discussed at length the veil of unbelief and the chains of hell which the devil attaches at the nape of the neck. He has also spoken of “fear and trembling” as a scriptural prescription for freeing one’s soul from the influence of the devil. He says that the formula of fear and trembling is not a mental process alone, but also a physical one. In Voodoo, when one wants to finally get free from whatever hex Eshu has laid upon the initiate, there is a lot of therapeutic shaking involved. When a man truly accepts Christ to be his ever-living Head, the loftiest languishing branches of his brain get grafted into the ever-loving Heart. In this way the Tree of Life is revived. But when we undertake to separate the grey matter with which our heads are stuffed, into black and white texts to be brashly branded onto the trusting flock of the Good Shepherd, we only succeed in scrambling our own brains into a liturgical lobotomy of confusion.

There is a tree planted in a certain spot of ground which perfectly illustrates this reality and the illusion which imitates and hides truth in a blinding blaze of Luciferian light. The tree stands in a park, right against a fence, on the other side of which, stands an LDS chapel. The tree naturally wanted to branch out from its base in two directions. But it was robbed of this natural tendency towards balance and beauty by the cruel saw of a city worker. Why did this particular tree suffer such an awful and severe truncating at its trunk, while others nearby only receive harmless and even helpful pruning of branches? The reasoning behind this action was to preserve the American Illusion (A.I.) of separation of Church & State. The City-State wanted to publicly respect the private property of the Church-State, so they cut off one half of the tree, right where the trunk first started to split. The result has been a lopsided tree whose leaning foliage just so happened to bloom in the basic shape of the human brain. One can see the graceful curve of the cerebellum resembled in the branches where the natural center of the tree lies. These are lush and green. But the parts which would correspond to the prefrontal cortex and the frontal lobe respectively go from sparse yellow leaves to completely barren branches.

The anterior region of the brain is the thinking area, but it is precisely our thinking that can get us in trouble. If you think you know the mind of God from book reading without specifically asking, then think again. The ancients were exhaustive and tireless in their use of sticks, and stones, tea leaves, and entrails for purposes of divination. But once mankind forgets the proper place of these temporal triggers, an Artificial  Intelligence (A.I.) takes over, and the casting of lots of yarrow stalks turns to a hay-wire trusting in technology that casts a lot of shadows of doubt over the Light of Infinite Intelligence. In Moroni 7:14-15, Moroni tells us:

“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.”

In script-sure-real language the term “perfect knowledge” implies perfect intimacy between two things breaching the ledge of knowing and unknowing. When Moroni employs the stark metaphor of daylight and dark night, it must be understood in spiritual terms, or else we run the risk of relying on the arm of flesh. If this happens we will assume that we know what is right and wrong by default of our belief systems without need of the spirit. In Man of Light, by Henri Corbin, we read:

“The divine and the satanic remain ambiguous so long as consciousness is unable to distinguish between what is its Day and what is its Night. There is an exoteric Daylight: so long as its conditions prevail, the “midnight sun” which is the initiatic light cannot show itself. This Day and this Night are unaware of one another and nevertheless are accomplices; the soul lives in this Daylight only because the Night is in itself.”

The perfectly faithful, despised and crucified Jesus warned us about the light within that is really a great darkness. It is a shadow that shines out of our eyes and projects onto the wall’s of Plato’s Cave (P.C.) captivating and conning our senses into a con-sensus of Political Correctness (P.C.). In We Are The Weather – Pt. 2, I speculate that the majority of humankind may be operating with their physical bodies at an angle of 90 degrees difference (indifference) to their spirit-body (man of light) – the latter generally waking and “getting up” when the former is sleeping or “laying down”, and visa-versa. And so, the Book of Mormon testifies that we are guilty of trampling the Holy One of Israel underfoot. (Helaman 12:2, 1 Nephi 19:7, Alma 5:53)

In the LDS Temple Endowment Ceremony, immediately following his assembly, the two-part creation of the gods – firstly in spirit as Michael, secondly as Adam in the flesh – is put under a deep sleep from which he is commanded to “awake and arise.” The extremely faithful, twice excommunicated mystic, Brother Max Skousen pointed out that it is the Elohim character who tells Adam to, “awake and arise.” Next we hear a voice tell the brethren to arise, but it is not the voice of God. Furthermore Brother Skousen points out that to arise does not necessarily mean to awaken. The verb “awake” is conspicuously missing from the narrator’s command to all male patrons. We stand up, but do we really wake up? The entire endowment ceremony is patterned in such a way to show to our minds that we are the living dead sleepwalkers. And it is meant to instruct us in the art of “Coming Forth by Day” like the original title of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, fragments of which found on ancient papyri served as the temporal trigger for the retrospective revelation known as the Book of Abraham.

Speaking of the Christ Spirit, Moroni 7:16-18 continues:

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.”

You will notice Moroni says that the Spirit of Christ is something which has been given to every individual personally and its function is to invite to do good. To in-vite is to put vitality into, and this process is only completed by the outward placing of temporal triggers to in turn solicit the Spirit of the Lord from its hiding place. The eternal order of events goes: first spiritually, second temporally, then temporally again, and lastly spiritually – repeat ad infinitum. (D&C 29:32) This is how Nephi could be so sure that God “giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:7) The Book of Mormon is a temporal trigger, and just like it says in D&C 84:57, we remain under condemnation if we only say and do not do whatever the spirit prompts us to do according to what we have read therein. In other words, to exercise faith is to work out our spirit-light-body, work it out from within the denser flesh-truth-body by bringing Urim and Thummim into alignment. What we need is coordinated action of simultaneous and spontaneous combustion to propel us away from the sleepy norm and into the invigorating life of true service to our personal Lord.

Divination is the blanket term for any number of techniques which may provide a secure connection for communication between God The Father and His Children instead of the pitiful perversion of prayer taught in churches today which is easily hacked by the watchers from the fallen hosts of those Nephilim Siring Angels (NSA). It is secure because it transpires between an individual and his or her Higher Self. Divination is designed to be fool-proof. When properly understood it is a sure method for the establishment of Zion. This is what gave Enoch and his people such success as the world has never known. Enoch is known as Hermes in other disciplines. Hermes is the later Greek name for the Hellenistic Thoth, which comes from the Egyptian god named Tehuti, who is a deification or Higher Self of Enoch. Long before gathering the faithful and establishing the City of Enoch he preached and was well known in the antediluvian city-states of Atlantis and Egypt. But before all that he was just a common man living somewhere near present-day Ethiopia.


Legend says that one day Enoch was drawing pictures in the dirt near the side of the road when a stranger happened along. The stranger asked Enoch if he knew the significance of the figures he was drawing. Enoch replied that they were merely doodles, but the stranger insisted that they were spiritual memories from his subconscious, and began to expound unto Enoch the meaning of each image. Enoch was greatly astonished and asked the man how it was that he could recall long-forgotten memories from Enoch’s own mind. The stranger then revealed his true identity as Tehuti, Enoch’s personal Christ Spirit. Then he transformed into an ibis and flew away. The 78 ideograms that Enoch then introduced to the world served to awaken the minds of many people to lost truths and gather them back into the Universal Mind which had begun to be scattered because of wickedness. These symbols were God’s gift to the world through his servant Enoch and they survived to form the basis for many hieroglyphic systems in many mystery schools/religions which arose after the flood waters had subsided. There were other great cataclysms which afflicted the earth once Zion, like the ibis in Enoch’s first of many angelic encounters, had already departed flying into the heavens.


From that day when Enoch sat drawing figures in the dust by the side of the road to that day when Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground – language in general, and written language specifically, have had a powerful effect on the hearts and minds of men. But syllables are silly when spoken with no understanding. Punctuation is pointless with no feeling behind it. Documents are dead that are not infused with divine design. Words without wisdom never do humanity any good. The Word of God descends in purity and simplicity and in a few short years we find Him doing the Work of the Father, confounding the teachers of religion. But so free in His association with sinners is He, that the teachers of religion feel the need to nail the Word down. They think the whole purpose of the Word is to nail ‘it’ down to a crossed ‘t’ and dotted ‘i’. Strictly observing the letter(s) of the law always spells D-E-A-T-H.

In the presence of those accusatory Rabbanim who rabidly sought to justify by their law the murder of a woman taken in adultery and also Jesus himself, the simple Son of God spoke the powerful words: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  But it was not that configuration of words alone that caused those wicked elders of the church to go out “one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last” (John 8:6-9). The very fact that they left in such a manner shows that they were completely controlled by the protocols of their religious law (just like the G.A.s). Mere words would not have been enough to stop those murderous men dead in their tracks. They had the law on their side, a law conceived from generations of culturally inculcated hate. Indeed the practice of stoning women accused of adultery did not even originate with Moses, who these Jewish Judges cite, but had been boiling for millennia ever since the edicts of King Urukagina, ruler of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia. And now this cruel sexism raged in their prideful hearts. Armed with socially sanctioned custom, and in the heat of the moment, it would take something more miraculous than religious rhetoric to stop those mad men.

Notice what Jesus does first. He stoops down and begins to write with his finger on the ground as if he doesn’t even hear them. Jesus_writingWhen the aggravated prosecutors pushed him for an answer, he stood up and uttered the by now familiar and famous scolding. But then he went right back to writing on the ground. Writing actually played a very important role in this situation and the double edged sword of the written word was illustrated by the fact that the middle-eastern custom since circa 24th century BC had been to make polyandry punishable by stoning with rocks upon which the woman’s “crime” was written. So those miserable men had already done some writing of their own. What was Jesus writing there in the dust? The words Jesus spoke did not simply spring from his brain. He brought them forth with deep emotion and thought from the Universal Heart and Mind and they served to highlight the words which he wrote on the ground before the woman’s accusers. In tune with Divine Mind as he was, Jesus was able to discover the dark deeds and desires of those perverted priesthood leaders, and he wrote them out to their shock and shame. Jesus was not blackmailing them for selfish intentions; he was merely doing what was necessary to deliver the victim from their clutches. As with the leadership of today, fear of public disclosure was the only thing that could work upon their blackened hearts.

By contrast, the hearts of the Nephites and Lamanites who Jesus visited personally in the Americas were sufficiently pure to be able to not only hear the powerful spirit in Jesus’ voice, but to actually see the glorious geometric shapes and splendid thought forms that generated in the air along with his speech.

“And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak” (3 Nephi 17:17)

Jesus Christ’s prayer was no doubt extremely striking and moving, however, he is by no means the only the only person whose thoughts and words result in some kind of visual display on the astral plane. This goes on every time we speak. The imagery and colors are brighter and more or less spectacular depending on the level of spirit with which the words are imbued. In many times and places on this planet people were able to see and comprehend the mental and intuitive images and sounds. But as civilizations gradually lost this ability, the written word was created as a salvific substitution. What we consider the dawn of history is the point where several major civilizations began to make use of the written word. Many of the writing systems devised during that most ancient period known as the “first time” were greatly superior to the alphabets of later languages. Moroni is impressed with the advanced accuracy and deep capacity for conveying meaning in the characters of the Jaredite writing system. And he makes especial mention of its efficiency for purposes of record keeping. In lamenting out loud to God the limitations of Reformed Egyptian, Moroni describes the Jaredite writings as, “mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.” (Ether 12:24)

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But if those 78 ideograms which served as the basis for the Tarot and virtually all religions from that day forward, were God’s gift to the world through his servant Enoch, then they were also God’s test for the world. The Torah, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible are tools to judge divergent branches. The Jewish, Christian and Mormon religions come from these scrolls and plates and are beholden to them. But we can clearly see that the religions now have twisted things around to pervert the word of God in them and make the books to represent the religions as quaint decorations at best, and venerated but completely inverted symbols of power at worst.  And so we see, according to the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim, any and all who do not take their diplomas in hand and walk away, any who fail to GRADUATE from the religions, coming forth out of the Church and touching not her unclean things, but becoming again People of the Book, Yea I say that all such are set to fail the test with a big fat ‘F’!

The Word is a two-edged (S)word. Like the legendary Sword of Laban, it has power “to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow,” and that is the exact wording used 5 times over as an injunction to give heed to the revelations of the Doctrine & Covenants. What is interesting is how in 4 out of the 5 sections it is listed as verse number 2, emphasizing the principle of duality and division at play in those verses. Only in section 33 does the same wording appear in verse 1 to indicate the power of God’s Word to join two into one. The spoken, and to a less powerful extent in modern times, the written word, provide man with a link to the spiritual world. Or, they can just as easily be abused, and seal up the gates against the blasphemer. Writing is a tricky tool. Sometimes we can hear a conglomerate of sound-bites and know that it is a Golem who addresses us and not a human soul speaking from the depths of the heart. When it comes to writing there may or may not be a high dosage of Holy Spirit behind the words, but because of the nature of letters and words jointed into paragraphs to bear ideas, it is easy to find fault with the messenger and ignore the message.

If knit-picking about grammar or lack of citation, etc. does not deter the messenger, who comes back to us like Abinadi in disguise among the people of King Noah, then we will try to ambush and ensnare the messenger. If none of these tactics work we can actually kill the messenger or spirit behind the words and hijack the body of writing to dress up our own perverted, personalized message. All words are essentially composed of letters or characters which break down to lines. All written language comes from graven images. Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Mormons have all been explicitly commanded to not worship graven images, but they all too often do worship their scriptures. The Ten Commandments which evangelists rant and rave about come from proto-Hebrew pictograms engraved upon stone tablets. We Mormons congratulate ourselves on having graduated from Holy Cows made of gold to Holy Writings made on gold plates. And the scary or most dangerous quality of written language is not that it can be ripped off of the inner-heart of living language, but the fact that lines of letters will not long remain unfilled by some spirit or another. And if the Holy Spirit has been chased off, the vehicle of written language is promptly inhabited by a vain and lying spirit.

Deified documents from the King James Version Bible to the U.S. Constitution have, by this point, been used to do more damage than good. Static interpretation of law leads to memorized statutes and eventually mesmerized worshippers at the feet of stone-cold statues. Ideology is idolatry in its most extreme form. You cannot say, that ideology is not ideolotry until it passes some specific threshold, you cannot say this; because when you and your contemporaries are brought to that awful state of so-called “literal” idolatry it is still the same spirit which possesses the “letter” that composes your “body” of laws. Scripture can have the effect of making us mentally lazy. Failure to recognize the spirit behind the words has caused us to lose the astral-mental capacities that we once had before and also following the time of the great cataclysms. As the lyrics of the spirit-stirring Mormon hymn say: “The visions and blessing of old are returning.” When the Spirit of God, manifest in fiery orations, is again seen in its full light, then latter-day glory begins to come forth. Our job is to not reject it. But if man’s spiritual vision is to fully re-turn to him, it will require some serious re-vision of what we commonly call historical fact.

There is a time in all histories of ancient date, whether oral or written, which testifies to great cosmic cataclysms. There were widespread destructions in the forms of flooding, earthquakes, wind storms, and fires. One thing is clear, when we compile all these various accounts we get a picture of a planet shaken by successive upheavals. The people of the world had already gone willingly into confusion when in the days of Adam and Eve they decided to dispense with the teachings of the first parents. It is said that the first parents “made all things known” unto the rising generations, but they “loved Satan more than God.” (Moses 5:12-13) As this willful confusion grew to an involuntary habitual death-style it naturally led to increasingly more physical effects in what we would call the literal levels of reality. Chaos in the minds of men, and through their words then deeds, finally erupted in the cataclysmic chaos which plunged the people of that time period into a deeper dimension.

That time period in many very real ways has extended to the current time. The more things change the more the essential spirit remains the same. Individually there have been many throughout the ages who have transcended time and space and lifted themselves into a higher dimension where lost knowledge, lost cities, and lost tribes are rediscovered. But, collectively speaking, the grand majority of the earth’s people have remained deeply buried under spiritual sedimentary strata, like seeds which do not sprout until the forest floor has been again completely purged by fire, ensuring that nothing of the past order remains. Some of those few pockets of survivors of the great “deluge” were very tall, classified as giants even. They stubbornly managed to keep their “deluge-in-all” heads above the spiritual waters which were intended to be a cleansing baptism for the lost souls in need of salvation in the days of Noah.

They/we inherited an earth whose geodesic grid-system had been thrown off. The natural harmony had been devalued and had to be slowly ushered back in with humans showing signs of respect for that which they had so carelessly taken for granted before. Simple interventions to stabilize the geodesic currents were no longer successful. As Father Adam had taken action by building an altar after the first major earth transition, so the children of men at this time began to build, or rebuild, physical structures to mark the geodesic currents. Temples of stone appeared again, dotting the land and creating focus-points for the interchange of spiritual energies. The emanations of planet Earth’s spiritual skeleton were canalized to correspond with these cosmic centers. The emanations of the planets and of the Sun, Moon and stars were hallowed and harnessed within geometric structures, master-minded to correspond with the main traits and qualities of the universal flow of spirit.

But take note, and be aware, that as soon as these stone structures are in place and the first words of prayer are uttered from those dedicated grounds; that is the precise moment when Satan steps on the scene. Even though this crafty character had extensive dialogue with both Adam and Eve as Lucifer in previous scenes of the LDS Temple Drama, oddly enough he is not recognized upon his entrance in the opening of this new act of man and his hand-made temples of stone. You would think Adam remembers him, but he asks: “Who are you?” to which Satan responds: “I am the god of this world.” While Adam is crying out to the sky for God to hear the words of his mouth, he is not fully remembering that the temple he has constructed is merely an echo or reflection of the temple which the Lord made to house His Holy Spirit already in the opening scenes of creation. Satan seizes upon any degree of forgetfulness as a chance to commandeer a role as Stone Temple Pilot. This brings him one step closer to his goal of possessing the True Temples of the Lord, becoming not just “the god of this world” but the personal god of Adams and Eves everywhere, “throughout all generations of time”.

Not only do Adam and Eve not recognize Satan, but Peter, James, and John, the very messengers whom they seek, appear to their eyes as strangers. Brigham Young prophesied that:

“By-and-by Zion will be built up; temples are going to be reared, and the holy Priesthood is going to take effect and rule… About the time that the Temples of the Lord will be built and Zion is established—pretty nigh this time, you will see, those who are faithful enough, the first you know, there will be strangers in your midst, walking with you, talking with you; they will enter into your houses and eat and drink with you, go to meeting with you, and begin to open your minds… About the time the Temples are ready, the strangers will be along and will converse with you, and will inquire of you, probably, if you understand the resurrection of the dead… they will then open your minds and tell you the principles of the resurrection of the dead and how to save your friends…They will expound the Scriptures to you, and open your minds, and teach you of the resurrection of the just and the unjust, of the doctrine of salvation: they will use the keys of the holy Priesthood, and unlock the door of knowledge, to let you look into the palace of truth. You will exclaim – THAT IS ALL PLAIN: WHY DID I NOT UNDERSTAND IT BEFORE?” (Journal of Discourses Vol. 6 p. 294-5)

Over time Synagogues, Mosques, Cathedrals, and Temples have come to dot the land once again. However they are not always dotting the ley-lines of Mother Earth’s spiritual body. And even when they are strategically located according to unseen energy currents, they are most affected by the unseen energy of currency, filthy lucre which has corrupted them. Both the previously discussed exchanges – between Jesus and the Jews at Jerusalem, and Jesus with the Nephites in the New World – took place at or on the grounds of temples. Imagine our older Brother Jesus in a Bishop’s or Stake President’s interview for a Temple Recommend – preposterous! Now whip yourself into shape, overturn the money changer’s desk, and imagine yourself out of such blasphemous dealings so that you may rid you and your family’s garments of the Latter-Day Stains. Jesus prophesied the utter destruction of Church owned and operated temples. (Matt. 24) He references the times of Noah and tells us that, as it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end. If we truly consider ourselves Saints of the Latter-Days then we must realize that we are cycling back around once again from a temple-constructing craze, through Jesus’ prophecies of man-made temples being totally leveled, razed, in order to make way for the Son of Man raised in glory. But before the resurrection glory of the coming of the Lord, will come the trampling of the grapes of wrath and the gory fullness of the time of the gentiles, when, as per the three-stage cycle that LDSA has expounded, works of the Devil shall abound, and LDS Temples will become temples of doom.

A true understanding of temples, both the god-given and man-made types, is vital to the discussion of scripture because we are talking about what has been the long-range goal of redemption and restoration across multiple dimensions and multiple times. We often overlook the obvious connection between the word temple and time. Whether we follow the word back to its Proto Indo-European root “temp”, meaning “to stretch,” or the Latin word “tempus” – “time”, we find a history that spans the association between time and body. Whether speaking of stone or skin, Temples or temples – we are made mindful of the fact that both are essentially “timely places” for a “mortal blow,” whether with deadly steel or livening spirit. From inscriptions on the now invisible walls of the Temple of Re-Atum to encryptions within human DNA and RNA, if a man’s spiritual vision is to be fully re-stored to him, it will require some serious re-vision of what we commonly call historical fact. What will we see when spiritual and spatial vision is restored? We will see both living and dead in holy temples together, re-deemed and re-surrected.

Walls of falsehood must come tumbling down. They are as frivolous as passing fashions that superficially separate one dispensation or time period from the next with nothing more than frilly veils between them like the mannequin in H.G. Wells’ classic – The Time Machine. All the veils of the temples shall be rent. Scripture like the Book of Mormon plays a special role in this sacred process. If, as Brother Joseph says, “the Book of Mormon is the key-stone of our religion” then we can infer that it is through subtle manipulation of this sacred text that the Corporate Church has injected poison into the life-stream of the spiritual structure of the real church of Christ. If the Book of Mormon is the key-stone of a real Temple de la Raison, then it also stands to reason that the Book of Mormon would be the wrecking-ball for demolition of the false belief structures (B.S.) which have been set up by Satan to obstruct our multi-dimensional, multi-gene-rational view.

Book of Mormon Stories for Mature Minds


What does it mean to be inactive?

The word ‘inactive’ can be used to mean dormant. When someone or something is sleeping we say they are inactive because we do not detect much activity on their part. In more scientific terms, ‘inactive’ can mean inert. In these cases it is often used to talk about dead matter with no inherent power of motion. Inactive can also mean lazy or slothful. In LDS jargon, being inactive means that you are not attending church at all or your attendance is very sporadic.

In order to understand inactivity it is useful to analyze its opposite. Opposites are merely special relationships; so special that we can really only come to understand one side by understanding the other.

Church Activity

Active LDS regularly attend a minimum of 1-3 hours of church meetings a week. The vast majority are involved in far more activities beyond the minimal Sunday services.

Active LDS:
1. Attend various meetings throughout the week.
2. Are assigned monthly visitations among the membership.
3. Plan and execute cultural and community activities on an ongoing basis.
4. Perform certain rituals in temples which serve as dedicated space for these ceremonies.

Sounds pretty active, indeed LDS are generally very busy people. Not all are necessarily physically active in the sense of getting plenty of exercise, but they keep themselves busy. So what are the specifics of their activity? What exactly do they do? It may be useful to employ a recent trend in social commentary to dissect this subject.


Active LDS think they show devotion to God by attending a myriad of meetings.

In these meetings one can expect to find pretty much what you would find at any meeting in modern society. That is, lectures, books, notes, reports, a few people talking, a lot of folks listening and some sleeping while many more are daydreaming, thinking about being somewhere other than where they are in that moment.

The active LDS think they are loving their neighbor when they make assigned monthly visits (or phone calls if busy schedules do not permit an in-person visit) to other LDS people in their vicinity.

What actually happens is that two adult men or two adult women will drop by a particular residence to engage in a bit of ‘friendly banter’, after which the visitors read a message dictated from the Saltican City and end with a short prayer. At any point in this visit the assigned Home Teachers or Visiting Teachers, as they are called, will insert a key question. This question may be worded in any number of ways but what is always inferred is “Is there anything you need?” or “Is there anything we can do for you?” The customary response is “Oh no, nothing I can think of right now, but thank you.”

In familiar scenes such as this the action of the active LDS is revealed to be mere acting, in the sense of Hollywood actors. This is the sad truth behind such action because, as Justin has written in The Written Records post

“ethics only teach us how to live as though you were one with your neighbor. You learn the modes of ACTION that imply a compassionate relationship with another person. It offers you incentive to ACT in a certain way – but it cannot generate the genuine feeling of it.”

Active LDS think that they serve people through their constant cultural and community events.

In reality LDS people serve the interests of corporations. Whether it be a cultural activity as small as a Singles Ward dance or a local Christmas Pageant, or a huge community effort like Mormon Helping Hands preparing the giant metropolis of Rio De Janeiro for the Olympics or a Historic Vaccine Rollout in Africa. It all serves to reinforce Babylonian deathstyles masquerading as righteous lifestyles.

Corporation is a word that comes from the Latin word for body. The corporations that are served by the LDS people are only the vehicles through which Satan, or the conglomerate of souls who followed Lucifer and denied themselves the opportunity to inhabit tabernacles of flesh , work to force the ways of the World onto the Earth. Corporations according to today’s laws are granted more rights than humans and this was done so that the angels to a devil who take these legal fictions on as their personas can feel themselves superior to man even though they know that cooperation between spirit and matter will always remain the highest ideal in the universe. Incorporation is the act or process of combining of substances; absorption of light or moisture. This should be noteworthy to believers who seek to better understand how a spirit, can either possess or become one with a temporal body –the former being an action of evil spirits and the latter the glorious work of good spirits. In more recent times ‘incorporation’ has been used to mean: The act of uniting several persons into one fiction called a corporation. In 1885, Ambrose Bierce said:

“A, B and C are a corporation. A robs, B steals and C (it is necessary that there be one gentleman in the concern) cheats. It is a plundering, thieving, swindling corporation. But A, B and C, who have jointly determined and severally executed every crime of the corporation, are blameless.”

In this way the definition of a corporation matches that of a Secret Combination as we read in the Book of Mormon.

Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—(Hel 7:5)

Active LDS think they are doing the Lord’s Work when they perform rituals in their temples.

These actions in the modern day church have not received the Lord’s seal of approval and are in fact meaningless in many cases. Of course the rituals can be effective on a case by case basis. But alas the Holy Places have become corrupted by the money changers who charge a 10 percent entrance fee in exchange for what they claim are “saving ordinances”. Some churchgoers who gain entrance to the Celestial Room in one of these LDS temples believe that they are then guaranteed entrance into the Celestial Kingdom of God. But even worse than the mind state of those who assume they have obtained some kind of golden ticket, is the awful state of the millions more who believe they have to “keep working at it.”

The first category is comprised of the blind who will end up being leaders within the ranks of the Church and World. The second category is made up of the blind followers who are led by the blind. Both are necessary components of Satan’s gory work. Jesus tells us that both will end up in the ditch. While willfully ignorant Mormons perform vicarious work for the dead they never once suppose that they are the dead. Their awful situation is reflected by Malcolm, the main character in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. In their pride these individuals fail to see that they are performing dead works in a whited sepulcher. The active member is told that he/she has obtained the highest honor by simply being in the temple. And thus the Devil cheateth their souls. In this way the temples which have now been streamlined and dot the land, function as factories for the continuance of Secret Combinations. Their secretive dispensing of esoteric handshakes and whatnot lay the foundations for the murdering kind of bands that later form using the self same set of symbols. We know this to be the case because this scenario has already played out in every dispensation and is repeating once again. Man-made or should we say Mason-made temples are only stone structures after all. There is a stone that the builders always seem to refuse. As highfaluting symbols of the body, these temples are equally, nay, more susceptible to becoming training grounds for apprenticeship under the Fallen.

Hugh Nibley pointed out the ancient meaning of temples as universities and universities as temples. As a university professor he was thus a temple worker. He also pointed out to active LDS the dangerous route they were actively pursuing. Working hand in hand to bring about the awful state of affairs spoken of by Moroni, The Nazis and The Niceys, The future fools alongside the Gadianton Robbers of tomorrow don cap and gown and graduate. Neither group is fully aware of the fact that they collectively form that combination which is most secret of all, even hidden from its own members.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who remain active as such, do so at a terrible risk. But then again so do Americans, Mexicans, Canadians and basically all people across the planet who consider themselves actively engaged in modern society. Inactivity, meaning infrequent or terminated church attendance, may very well be a part of the solution for you and your family right now, as it will most certainly be an eventual step for all humble followers of Christ in the eternal perspective, but it obviously is not THE answer. We are eternal spirit children of eternal Heavenly Parents, so ‘inactivity’ is never an option for eternal beings. It is rather a question of how and where our eternal flame of activity is directed. As we can see, activity in the church is not what it seems. Activity according to Saltican City is inactivity, slothfulness, trapped potential and misdirected energy according to the Spirit of Truth. What was once a lively body of saints is essentially being rapidly reduced to a Combination of pride and busy-work. The apostasy/atrophy is spreading and the Spirit is quickly vacating. We stand witness along with Moroni of old, to the death and decay. Know this. The LDS church will not recover. Know This, That Every Soul Is Free. Take the good, leave the bad and Press Forward Saints!


Jesus said plainly, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” But that leaves us with a very good question. How in the Hell can we let the Heaven out? Well, questions and answers are opposites. As stated previously, opposites are special relationships; two things so close that they are intimately linked. And ironically we find that the best and truly the only way to learn about one half is to learn from or through the other. So let’s look at two principles which we will term ACTIVE & PASSIVE. There is a much more comprehensive list touching on both of these principles in LDSA’s Split Brain Model of the Gospel post. These correspond to your Left and Right brain so I would strongly suggest reading that entire post. Here I will only list a few key operations.

PASSIVE                        ACTIVE
Reading                          Writing
Listening                        Speaking
Exhaling                          Inhaling
Feeling                            Thinking
Mudra                             Mantra
Love                                Will

It may become increasingly difficult to mentally separate these two states, the more deeply one examines their relationship to each other. This is as it should be, all in one. But God does not want us to be confused so we must learn to combine and utilize both in unison. Our confusion comes only in comprehending these two as separate states. And our insistence that ‘never the twain shall meet’ cuts us off from God. Justin has written a post called “The Tree of This and That,” which is a must read for anyone who is serious in their devotion to God and wishes to overcome this division. If and whenever we find ourselves feeling far from our Heavenly Parents we have to locate some kind of starting point to go from cut off to connected. So we start by making that compartmentalized view which we hold into a positive teaching tool to reverse the effects of having eaten the forbidden fruit. If, as we say in Mormonism, we are to find our way home to God and return with honor, we must stop seeing the passive and active, internal and external aspects of ourselves as existing APART from each other and instead see them as A PART of each other. This looking at the mark is the only way for us to set ourselves apart from the waning world and make ourselves a part of God’s Eternal Work and Glory.

So to gain our bearing once having admitted and let go of our misguided ways, we should begin to see our turning away from the institutionalized church not as inactivity, but a glorious opportunity for inner activity. This would be a good saying to keep in mind and use when people come to try and question or pressure us into returning to the ways of the church-world. Tell them, “My inactivity is inner activity. Dispute not because you see not.” Proper understanding of the passive side of life, will come through breathing exercises, scripture study, meditation and prayer. And this understanding will bring personal revelation. No one can tell you exactly what to do. But when the Holy Spirit brings suggestions and solutions to your heart and mind, you must then apply them actively in your life. For that reason it was given. The inspiration will come as it is sought. IF PERSONAL REVELATION IS NOT SOUGHT OR NOT PUT INTO ACTION WHEN RECEIVED THEN DAMNATION AND DEATH WILL FOLLOW.

I know this is not what we like to hear, but it is true. There are really only two things in the universe. Those two things are things to act and things to be acted upon, energy and matter, father and mother. In this way life has been and will continue for ever more. Eternal life is happening right now. It is granted unto men to choose or reject it according to their wills.

Think about this. For the last 2000 or so years of the Piscean Dispensation humanity has been evolving with the Revelation expressed by the Christ that God is Love…for the next 2000 or so years of the incoming Aquarian Dispensation, humanity’s contribution to the plan will be to realize the next imminent Revelation by the Christ which is the Will aspect of God and this time Jesus will come in power and great glory. The Soul itself is pure electricity arising from the Father Spirit connecting with Mother Matter and all in creation, seen and unseen, exists because of this. We as souls are self conscious electricity and our energy follows thought. In the years approaching the Millennium we will see with more and more clarity that we are not the field of knowledge, nor the knowledge, but the Knower; that we are the Thinker (not the thought). Even Einstien’s great equation is the equation of Spirit in Matter. That is all there is to it. Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother want naturally to be together to cleave to one another. They are eternally sealed. If we will accept this simple fact we too may be sealed for time and all eternity with them as their offspring.

Love and will, can only be understood together. Aligning our will with His will does not mean doing something we don’t particularly want to do just because we think it is what God would like us to do. This is in fact the way of the Devil and should alert us to the truth about so much so called service performed vainly in Jesus’ name. Aligning our wills necessitates knowing. We will only come to know God’s will when we know our own will and this can not happen while following rules set by anyone else. Much of our experience within the church was backwards. So we simply need to flip it around to realize the great purpose of life. Life is to be given and shared in love. Life without love serves no purpose and love without life is nothing.

In Sunday School, Seminary or Gospel Doctrine we have all heard it taught that we have spirit bodies. But only now are some of us awakening to the fact that our eyes, ears, mouths and noses; as the primary song goes, are not without their spiritual counterparts. The five physical senses are only the tip of an iceberg of pre-seeding spiritual faculties. As members of the corporate church we wandered around thinking of ourselves as human beings trying to have ‘spiritual experiences’. But when we stop partaking of the Kool-Aid just long enough to start waking up, we REMEMBER THAT WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS TRYING TO HAVE HUMAN EXPERIENCES. I realize that this is a popular and perhaps cliché phrase these days but think about the word ‘trying’ and how it implies that THIS LIFE IS what our spirits aspire to not some next life. Eternal life starts for you when you say it does. The eternal union, the mystic marriage of flesh and spirit is what it’s all about. There are many paths but they all lead to this. Many of them are much more exciting than Church Activity ever was or could be. This is an exciting time for you and your loved ones as paths that were formally forbidden open up you can feel the Spirit of Christ Triumphant, the tingling of the Holy Spirit. And if at this point you can not be sure whether that sensation is of God or of the Devil well then you have two options before you. Either press forward with faith in God or GO BACKwards TO the CHURCH Wards.

New thoughts on prayer

My prayers are largely ineffective

Everyone in the gospel has a weakness. Mine is prayer. Although I have received answers to prayer on many occasions, for the most part it has been hit-and-miss. During times of sin, this is understandable, but during times of righteousness, unanswered prayers can be awfully frustrating, especially in the light of the Savior’s promise that whatever we ask for in faith, nothing doubting, would be received.

It is written,

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4: 3)

Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen. (2 Nephi 4: 35)

The word amiss is an adverb that means “in a faulty manner; contrary to propriety, truth, law or morality.”  This means that if a person prays to God for something and does not receive, he is praying incorrectly.

Starting from scratch

I once learned from a certain person that most men, when trying to win the hearts of women, will use the techniques they think are best. If their techniques don’t work, they try harder, using the same techniques. The idea is that if the square peg ain’t going in the round hole, use a bigger hammer. The wiser course of action, though, would be to re-evaluate the techniques and perhaps throw them right out the window and start altogether from scratch.

This is what James McCanney did when tackling the prime number enigma (which he ended up breaking as described in his Calculate Primes book). I heard that he took all the books and papers he had in his library about prime numbers and put them away, out of sight, and then took months of time to work to forget it all. When the information that others had written about prime numbers was completely out of his mind, he looked at prime numbers with a clean sheet and was finally able to crack the code, without any false presuppositions to cloud his view.

In the same manner, I decided a few days ago that everything I thought I understood about prayer was wrong and threw it all out the window (mentally).  So, with this absolutely clean slate in front of me, I looked at prayer again.  Here is what I saw:

What prayer isn’t

Prayer is not how we talk to God, nor how He talks to us. When we pray, we are not to be picturing God in front of us, or standing on a cloud above us, or sitting on a throne, etc. Prayer is not designed to be a conversation, similar to one we would have with another person, with the exception being that we can say anything we want to say, and bare our whole souls without fear of judgment because the person we are talking to is mute (doesn’t talk back) and invisible. Prayer is not even communication, in the typical sense, with anyone, at all. It is not meant to be the means to tell God what we need or want or desire. He already knows all that. In fact, prayer cannot tell God anything more than He already knows. Nor is it designed to reveal us to ourselves. It is not intended to express or reveal how we feel, such as gratitude, praise and desires, or fears, guilt and hatred. It is not designed to humble us or make us feel guilty or miserable or lowly or meek, by kneeling down, folding our arms, bowing our heads, speaking in reverent tones, using reverent language, lifting up the arms, prostrating oneself, etc. It is not so that we convince ourselves to repent or that we are okay or that the principles of the gospel are true, etc. It is not designed to be a psychological tool, although it can be used as one. The frequency of prayer is not random, nor are the types of prayers offered. In short, virtually everything I thought I knew about prayer is wrong.

What prayer is

Prayer is an ordinance

Just as the sacramental prayer is, in fact, nothing more or less than a prayer, yet we consider it a sacred ordinance of the gospel, all prayers are likewise sacred ordinances of the gospel. They are performed by the power of the priesthood. Not the Melchizedek, Aaronic, Levitical or Patriarchal orders of priesthood, but a different order available to all the children of God, priesthood being a divine language. Nevertheless, all priesthood is Melchizedek, meaning that all priesthood power and authority is an appendage of the Melchizedek priesthood.

Prayer is a role play

The words of the prayer are the words that God wants to hear.  They are the words that Jesus Christ would say in our place.  We are not to say what we want to, or feel like, saying.  We are only to say what God wants to hear.  (And it is through the scriptural patterns of prayer that we learn what God wants to hear.)

Prayer is an exercise to develop the right-brain-heart

In a previous post, I wrote:

Belief, Doubt and Prayer

The right-brain-heart is the believing brain, whereas the left-brain-mind is the doubter, unless the belief is based upon logic, facts, peer-reviewed evidence, etc. So, when the Lord instructs us to pray in faith, believing that we will receive, nothing doubting, he is explaining the manner of using both hemispheres of the brain. Verbal prayers require the left-brain-mind, while faith and belief both originate in the right-brain-heart. And by saying “nothing doubting” He is explaining that the left-brain-mind is to speak but do nothing more. So, there is to be no conflict between left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart. Belief and faith are to come from the right-brain-heart without any doubt from the left-brain-mind. In our prayers, then, we are to be one, meaning that our left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart are to be united, with the right-brain-heart in its proper role as the primary and dominant brain. Prayer, then, becomes a means whereby we may train our left-brain-minds to be subservient to our right-brain-hearts.

Prayer is to be performed in a temple of God

The kingdom of God is within you, said Jesus. It is located in the right-brain-heart. It is the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells. When we pray, we are to mentally enter this specific temple and offer our prayers there, in the midst of the right-brain-heart. We are not to imagine looking outward at an image of God, but are to imagine looking inward into this eternal area of man, even the organ of eternity. Only by mentally entering and focusing on this organ, which is eternal in its scope, being patterned after the brain of God, can we access its powers and gifts and fully develop them.

Prayer is to be performed vocally three times a day

Just as the sacrament ordinance is performed routinely (weekly), daily prayer ordinances are to be offered up morning, mid-day and night, creating a routine. These are vocal prayers in which the individual enters the temple of God and performs the ordinance with mind, body and spirit.

Prayer is to be performed vocally and in secret (in one’s heart), publicly and in private

These prayer ordinances, when performed in one’s head, are done using mind and spirit, but not the body (for they are not voiced out loud). This means that we speak in our minds, hearing our own voices in our heads, but not in our ears.

Prayer is to be carried around in one’s heart continually

This refers to prayer done using only the spirit. It means to remain centered or focused on the right-brain-heart, meaning that we imagine that we are still in the confines of this sacred, inner temple, and that we feel towards God continually, praising Him, thanking Him and asking Him for blessings upon us and others using only our feelings, with no mental or spoken words.

Prayer is to be done with family and friends

The promise is that when two or more are gathered in the Lord’s name, He will be there and whatever they ask in faith, believing they will receive, will be granted. All of the family or friends gathered should be “in their temples” for these prayers to be effective.

Prayer, whenever possible, is to follow the true order

The most effective prayer is one in which the ordinance is done in complete union. The true order of prayer given during the endowment shows, first of all, that such a prayer is to be offered only in the temples of God (the right-brain-heart) and secondly, that each person is to repeat the exact words offered by the one acting as voice. In this way, all voice the same prayer. Although the church will crack down on anyone attempting to perform the full true order of prayer outside of a church temple, meaning that the signs of the priesthood are made also, anyone can gather around an altar and perform the true order of prayer outside of a church temple and merely leave out the signs. As long as each of them are focused on their right-brain-heart (their inner temple), the Lord will bless them even as they ask.

In the ordinances the power of godliness is manifest

Without the ordinances of the gospel, the power of godliness is not manifest. This is why the ordinance of prayer has been given to us, all of us, that we might have the power of godliness manifest to us in the flesh. But unless the ordinance of prayer is performed properly, no power will be manifest.

Everything is found in the right-brain-heart

It is not necessary to feel what you are praying for. Everything is found within the right-brain-heart, all variations of feelings. So, even if you don’t feel grateful, once you mentally “enter” the inner temple of God and begin to pray, you can speak words of gratitude in truth. Every feeling is there, perhaps found buried deep within, but there nonetheless. We are directed to praise God, even if we don’t feel like praising Him; to thank Him, even if we don’t feel thankful; to ask Him for all things, even if we don’t feel faith. The inner temple is an environment devoid of doubt. It is endless and therefore contains endless power and possibilities. Once we “enter” it, or center our thoughts upon it, looking inward and not outward, and then begin saying the words of the prayer, not what we want to say, but what we think God wants to hear from us, the temple comes to life and responds with faith, powers and gifts. Prayer is an ordinance that trains us to be like Christ because once we enter the inner temple and voice a prayer that God wants to hear, we speak the words of Christ, for only prayers that speak the words of Christ please God. Prayer trains us, then, to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, for the Spirit speaks the words of Christ and when we pray in the Spirit, we also receive in the Spirit.

The routine of prayer is necessary

We are commanded to say so many daily prayers, of the three types (spirit-mind-body, spirit-mind and spirit-only), because this is a training ordinance. Man learns by doing. He learns to walk by walking, run by running, ride by riding, talk by talking, etc. Prayer can only be learned and mastered by praying. And it must be mastered by all disciples of Christ. But repetitively praying amiss does nothing except causes doubt and despair to come upon us. So, a proper understanding of what prayer is, how to perform it correctly, and why we need it is necessary for it to have its designed, divine effect upon us.

The reason why prayers are ineffectual

People are not praying in inner temples of God. That is the main reason. They are praying as if they are speaking to some invisible, mute person. They are saying words that they want to say. They are not trying to please God with their words, but are only saying what they are thankful for, instead of thanking God for everything; they are only confessing the hand of God in the things that they can see it in, instead of confessing His hand in all things; they are only asking for those things they want or those things they think they can get, instead of asking for all things. They are only praising God when they feel like praising Him, and not all the time. They are in the wrong environment. They are utilizing only the left-brain-mind, which is selfish. (The right-brain-heart is selfless.) They are looking outward from their perspective, not inward from God’s perspective.

Once we look inward, at ourselves, as if we were God (or Christ), and pray after this manner, always remembering that God dwells in the right-brain-heart and not the left-brain-mind, and thus looking to or “entering” the right-brain-heart, our prayers will become effectual and we will receive what we ask for.


I admit that this new way of looking at prayer may not be correct. I am currently trying it out, testing the waters, so to speak. I plan on reporting whatever results I get from this new understanding and prayer experiment. If anyone would like to try to pray in the manner explained in this post and report back on their experience, with comparison to how they normally pray, that would be great, also. I would recommend an extended test, such as a seven-day experiment, with three vocal prayers a day minimum, including all the other prayers we are supposed to do, but always in the way stated in this post.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Apostasy of the LDS Church

Note by LDS Anarchist: The 54,169 word article found below was not written by me.  It was authored by Curtis R. Porritt.  I invited him to participate in the blog, or, at the very least, to give me permission to publish his articles here, but have yet to receive an answer.  So I am publishing this particular article with the understanding that if he emails me back and does not extend permission, I will delete it.  With that in mind, should you decide to comment, just be aware that there is the possibility that the post and your comments may disappear, depending on what Curtis decides.  Also, just because I am publishing his words does not mean that I agree with everything he has written.  Please remember that these are his words, not mine. The original article contained graphics which I was not able to upload, but at least you can read the text.



Curtis R. Porritt

September 25, 1999

“If I said what’s on my mind,

You’d turn and walk away,

Disappearing way back in your dreams.

It’s so hard to be unkind,

So easy just to say

That everything is just the way it seems.”

From the song, “A Man I’ll Never Be,” by Boston


This manuscript discusses some very difficult issues. It is not intended for non-Mormons. Nor is it intended for those who’s faith is weak or who are not well versed in the doctrines, history, and/or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I feel it is important that a foundation of faith and knowledge exists before a person attempts a study such as this one. Without such a foundation, the discussion which follows may do more damage than good to a person as far as building faith and promoting righteousness are concerned. I encourage all who receive a copy of this manuscript to use wisdom before sharing it with others – always keeping in mind the welfare and best interests of those with whom you share it.

Joseph Smith once said,

I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (TPJS Pg.331)

It has been my experience that even among the most active and faithful Mormons, we will find those who have great difficulty with some of the issues that follow. Please know that it is my intent to learn truth and to promote Zion, not to deceive or destroy. If there are false teachings found within these pages, which there probably are, I would encourage the reader to judge the teachings, rather than the author. If there are offensive but true teachings found within this manuscript, I would encourage the reader to prayerfully judge themselves in relation to those teachings, rather than judging God, his gospel, or his servants. I feel this is important to keep in mind as we proceed.


There are at least three types of “Mormons.” I refer to these three types as anti-Mormons, social Mormons, and ultra-Mormons.

Everybody is familiar with anti-Mormons. These are people who claim to know more about Mormonism than most others. They tend to pride themselves on knowing the “deep dark secrets” of LDS history and doctrine. Yet, for whatever reason, they have come to view it all from a rather negative perspective. Seldom do anti-Mormons say anything positive about the LDS church or its doctrine. They tend to view the whole of it as negative, hypocritical, and false. They often believe that no good thing could ever come from any part of Mormonism. They have the uncanny ability to find something wrong with even the most innocent and positive remarks made by leaders of the church. Anti-Mormons generally claim that both social Mormons and ultra-Mormons are misled, naive, and uninformed. Yet, for some reason, many anti-Mormons find it difficult to leave Mormonism alone. They often refuse to leave quietly or let well enough alone. It is not enough for anti-Mormons to simply reject Mormonism and leave it behind. For some reason, they feel they must attack it. They often seem to feel somewhat “duty bound” to correct others or justify their own views and conclusions regarding Mormonism.

The social Mormons, on the other hand, are those who are basically the rank and file members of the church. They are, in some ways, the opposite of the anti-Mormons. These are the devout church goers who tend to doubt no portion of the restored gospel, whether they understand it or not. In word, social Mormons accept literally all of the leaders of the church, both past and present, without question or debate. Yet, in common study, conversation, and practice, social Mormons tend to appreciate the modern leaders of the church more than the early leaders, especially Brigham Young. Social Mormons are generally unable to successfully combat anti-Mormons. For the most part, social Mormons don’t have the knowledge, or even the interest, to do so. They all but ignore the anti-Mormons and are usually content to remain active in the church without ever really gaining an understanding of the higher doctrines or difficult issues involved with Mormonism. Social Mormons usually have testimonies of the restored gospel, but may not fully understand or appreciate the source or content of their testimonies. Often, social Mormons can be accurately described as having “zeal without knowledge” or as accepting without question or understanding. Social Mormons may also include those who are simply inactive in the church – not because they know something, but more often because they don’t.

Ultra-Mormons are a unique group of people whose numbers seem to have grown dramatically in recent years. Because of their diversity, they are a little more difficult to define. In general, ultra-Mormons are those who have spent a good deal of time thinking about the hard questions of Mormonism but who continue to have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel. They’ve dealt with most of the difficult issues and are generally aware of the arguments of the anti-Mormons, both historical and doctrinal. In fact, ultra-Mormons even view some of the anti-Mormon arguments as further evidence that the restored gospel is true. Much of what is considered to be a negative by both the antis and the socials, such as plural marriage, Adam-God, or the united order, is often sweet to the taste of an ultra-Mormon. Ultra-Mormons also tend to have more appreciation for the early leaders of the church, especially Brigham Young, than they do for the modern leaders. Often frustrated by “modern Mormonism” in general, ultra-Mormons are not always active members of the LDS church. Some are even members of various LDS fundamentalist groups, while others have either been excommunicated for “apostasy” or have drifted away from the church on their own accord. Yet, there are numerous, active, church-going ultra-Mormons, many of whom are unknown to the general population of the church. This is often by design because of fear that they will be kicked out if their views are ever discovered. Some of these active ultra-Mormons are viewed as trouble-makers by the social Mormons because they continually bring up difficult issues or “off the wall” comments in Sunday School, Relief Society, and/or Priesthood meeting. Due to their love for and knowledge of the restored gospel, they are often a little too adamant in their approach, making people uncomfortable and causing themselves to look and sound like fanatics.

These three general categories are not rigid in their definition. There are many shades of gray between them. However, most Latter-day Saints start out as social Mormons. As time passes, some of these social Mormons end up migrating into one of the other camps, a difficult and often painful transition indeed. Unfortunately, many of those on the path of becoming ultra-Mormons never finish the process and end up as anti-Mormons. This is often the result of having a bad experience with the LDS church or its leadership. When one is on the path of becoming an ultra-Mormon, there are many questions to be answered. The LDS church generally provides few good responses to these questions. In fact, often it provides incorrect answers or no answers at all. This leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the learning ultra-Mormon. In some cases it causes them to stop the learning process altogether and leave the whole issue behind them. Other people tend to only focus on the negative parts of the restored church, without giving equal time to the positive issues so clearly present. Still others are able to overcome these difficulties and continue the process of objectively and honestly searching for answers to their difficult questions. This last group generally becomes the ultra-Mormons.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description of Graphic: “The Path of Mormons” in bold letters at the top.  Three boxes with words in them.  At the bottom, Box #1 has the words, “Social Mormons” with an arrow pointing upward to Box #2 and an arrow going up and then veering to the right to Box #3.  Box #2 has the words, “Ultra-Mormons”.  Box#3 has the words, “Anti-Mormons”.]

As a general rule of thumb, you can tell which type of Mormon you’re dealing with by the comments they make about the church and the restoration of the gospel. In most cases, over 90% of the comments made by social Mormons will be positive as far as the church, it’s leadership, or the restoration in general is concerned. On the other hand, you can usually identify an anti-Mormon because over 90% of their comments on similar topics will be negative. Both socials and antis generally only find and speak about those things they’re looking for to defend their own perspectives on Mormonism. They sometimes have a tendency to put the whole truth aside in lieu of their personal agendas of either defending or attacking the church. Unfortunately, they are often more concerned with who’s right than they are with what’s right. Ultra-Mormons, however, tend to see and speak about both the positive and the negative aspects of Mormonism. They may not always be 50-50 in their views and comments, but they will seldom be as extreme as either the socials or the antis. A true ultra-Mormon will usually be more interested in what is right or wrong than he is in who is right or wrong. Because of this, they will tend to find and comment about both the positive and the negative within Mormonism.

This manuscript was written mostly with the ultra-Mormon in mind. It is an effort to keep new or fledgling ultra-Mormons from becoming anti-Mormons. In general, most social Mormons won’t be aware of or even care about the issues raised in this work. It is possible, however, that a social Mormon may begin the journey of becoming an ultra-Mormon through reading this material. On the other hand, most anti-Mormons are too far gone to give these arguments any credence. My experience has been that most anti-Mormons have pretty much made up their minds and that a legion of sword-carrying angels could not convince them otherwise. I’m sure they see themselves quite differently, as is their right.

In general, this paper will likely be unpopular among most groups associated with the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith. It will probably be unappealing to both “apostle” and “apostate” alike, however you may define those terms. The arguments presented here reflect somewhat of a “lose-lose” scenario. And everybody hates to be on the “losing team.”

Most social Mormons will find the contents of this work offensive due to the references regarding apostasy in the LDS church. However, most anti-Mormons, and even many ultra-Mormons, will also find portions of it unappealing due to the defense given to the position of the LDS church. In some cases, those who read this work will claim that it is half right and half wrong, depending on their current view of Mormonism. Yet, I feel this is a work that is worth writing and should be seriously considered by all who claim to have an in-depth interest in Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel in the latter days. It is a work that searches for harsh honesty and difficult truths in the midst of hypocrisy, pride, and apostasy. It tries to point out the gray area on topics that most people want to see as either black or white. Although certainly not complete in its scope, I feel that those ultra-Mormons who honestly care about the work of God in the latter days will likely find this work appealing in some way or other, even if they disagree with some of the arguments presented.


It is clear that we live in a time of great religious confusion. There is a lot happening today that is difficult to explain. For some, Mormonism and all of its associated factions or split-off groups has become similar to the times of Joseph Smith, when he was trying to find the true church among all the different denominations of his day. This problem is especially acute among the ultra-Mormons, who are actively looking for answers to their complex questions. The number of people today crying “lo here and lo there” has reached epidemic proportions within the realms of Mormonism. To make things even more difficult, because of their LDS roots, many of these groups cling desperately to the principle of personal revelation. There is an increasing number of people who claim that personal revelation or some other spiritual experience has confirmed their convictions. These experiences, they testify, have pointed them in some spiritual direction or other regarding the restored gospel and the LDS church. These various groups tend to employ the same arguments of conversion used by LDS missionaries since the church was established. They not only claim personal revelation themselves concerning their own beliefs, but they also claim that anyone can receive the same witness for themselves and thus “know” that the direction being taught to them is the correct one. This seems to throw an added wrench into the cry of “lo here and lo there” that was not so prevalent in Joseph Smith’s day. As we’ve seen from the success of the LDS church, this method of getting converts tends to work well among people who truly care about God and his gospel.

In addition to the plea for personal revelation, this spiritual confusion is also increased because more and more people are learning the higher principles of the gospel, as taught by the early leaders of the LDS church. Access to church historical documents is at an all time high. With a short search on the Internet or a quick spin of a CD, Mormons and non-Mormons alike can have literally thousands of LDS references at their fingertips regarding almost any topic. Unfortunately, what most people are finding is that there is a significant discrepancy between the early LDS church and the modern LDS church. For those who are true believers of Joseph Smith and who honestly want to live according to the fundamental principles he restored, this tends to cause some anxiety concerning those principles. To some extent, this is what causes social Mormons to become either anti or ultra. Many Latter-day Saints are becoming confused and frustrated by the apparent incongruities between “early Mormonism” and “modern Mormonism.” These incongruities have become so obvious and easy to research that it is no longer a viable option to ignore the issues or try to cover them up them. For perhaps the first time in LDS history, church leadership is unable to control what people read and hear about LDS doctrine and history. Given some recent comments in General Conference and other forms of media, it seems clear that LDS church leadership is both aware of this problem and they are concerned about how to deal with it. Yet, it seems equally as clear that no easy solutions are readily available.

In general, the LDS church seems to like the social Mormons, while disliking or not caring much about the anti-Mormons, and being confused by the ultra-Mormons, many of whom have no desire to fight against the church in any way. Many ultra-Mormons simply love the restored gospel and have strong desires to pursue it in its fullness. For a while the ultra-Mormons appeared to be largely disliked by church leaders. In many instances the church even confused them with anti-Mormons. They were often excommunicated as apostates and troublemakers. However, this attitude seems to be changing over the last several years. Although still concerned about the ultra-Mormons, the LDS church seems to be taking a slightly different approach than it once did. The results seem to include more tolerance and fewer excommunications, as well as perhaps a different curriculum focusing on the teachings of early leaders (though watered down somewhat). There seem to be fewer “witch hunts” than there used to be in the church. Yet, even with these changes, it is still unclear how the church views ultra-Mormons. Excommunications still take place and most local church leaders, comprised mostly of socials Mormons, still seem largely unprepared to deal with the issues raised by the ultra-Mormons.

By way of example, I believe the following portion of a letter adds substance and meaning to the problem at hand. This letter represents an example of how one family chose to deal with the apparent discrepancies between what we will call “early Mormonism” and “modern Mormonism.” This letter came to me anonymously from a friend on the Internet. I feel it characterizes the concerns more and more people are having with the LDS church today. The letter was originally written to a Bishop and Stake President in an effort to explain why this person and his family had chosen to become inactive. I feel it is a classic example of how many ultra-Mormons feel today and that it also expresses the complexity of the issue.

In 1977, we purchased a set of the JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES, and that purchase changed the entire course of our lives. As you know, the JOURNALS consist mostly of conference reports and other addresses by the General Authorities of the Church. Members of the Church are encouraged to be concerned only with the reports of current conferences, because, since it is only necessary to “follow the living prophet,” no one need be concerned about the teachings of former prophets. Most members who buy the 26 volumes of the JOURNALS leave them unread on the shelf. Well, we not only read them but studied them, and this has made all the difference.

As we continued studying the JOURNALS, they led us to other sources of information about the teachings and practices of the Church and its leaders in the 19th Century. Over the months and years, it gradually dawned on us with an ever increasing awareness that the Church we belonged to as mid 20th Century Mormons was not the same Church as that founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith and perpetuated by Brigham Young. In spite of the constant reassurances by contemporary Church leaders that, only procedural matters of “form and policy” have changed, we began to realize that the changes have been much more extensive and profound. In fact, there have been drastic doctrinal changes, including total reversals of official Church position. How could this occur in a system based on the revelation of absolute, unchanging and unchangeable “truths” to prophets of God? Could one of the “prophets” have been wrong? Or both? Or maybe all?

For years we attempted to work it all out so that it all made sense. The more we studied and prayed, the less the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit, and the greater became our concern and our dismay. Eventually, however, we came to realize that the reason the pieces did not fit was because they were pieces to different puzzles. The Church had changed so much from its 19th Century origins that it was no longer the same.

To list the changes of which I speak and to document them would lengthen this epistle into a volume of unwieldy size. Some of the more outstanding areas of concern, however, include the identity of and nature of Deity (“Adam God”); Jehovah of the Old Testament and Christ; consecration, united order and tithing; the nature of eternal progression; the temple endowment; eternal marriage, polygamous and monogamous; Negro and priesthood; the priesthood garment; priesthood offices, particularly that of Seventy; blood atonement; preaching by the spirit vs. written speeches; method of missionary work; trusting our salvation to human leaders; world and national politics, government and friendship with the world; infallibility of the President of the Church; the nature of revelation; gathering of Israel; rebaptism; adoption; laws of God and laws of man; establishment of the Kingdom of God; sacrament; and more. In all of these areas, the present teachings of the Church are not the same as they were before the great transition in Mormonism which occurred just after the turn of the century. (Anonymous letter received from a friend in the fall of 1997)

Regardless of our own personal views regarding each the various doctrines mentioned above, the point to be made is that more and more people are beginning to see differences between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism. An article in a recent Utah newspaper also outlined the problem.

Salt Lake District Attorney Neal Gunnarson talks about a caller who said he could point out 500 ways the LDS Church has been changed since Joseph Smith. An excommunicated Mormon, the caller said he can’t follow the LDS Church but he will always believe in Joseph Smith. Therefore, the caller tells Gunnarson, he must believe in polygamy. “Do you have more than one wife now?” Gunnarson asked the caller. “No, but my wife and I are looking.” (Deseret News, Sunday, August 30, 1998)

The crime of these particular ultra-Mormons, if one has been committed at all, is apparently that they love the restored gospel with all their heart and honestly want to know and do what is right, but they are having difficulty reconciling the “truth” of early Mormonism with the “truth” of modern Mormonism. This creates no small problem for church leaders who are also trying to do what they feel is best and right. As this work will attempt to show, this problem is complex, with few black and white solutions.

Another good example of the problem at hand can be found in a letter written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie to a member of the church. In that letter Elder McConkie openly admitted that he objects to certain points of doctrine espoused by President Brigham Young regarding Adam. Elder McConkie stated,

Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel. (Letter to Eugene England, February 19, 1981)

The reason this statement is so meaningful is that it is a clear admission that Brigham actually taught what he taught about Adam and that Elder McConkie believed these teachings were “out of harmony” with the gospel. If nothing else, I believe this is an honest assessment of the situation. It also raises some good questions about the popular LDS belief that a prophet of the church would not be allowed to lead the church astray or teach false doctrine. Evidently, Elder McConkie believed otherwise in the case of Brigham Young. Brigham Young’s teachings regarding Adam are not only clear, but relatively consistent. To say that there is no discrepancy between Elder McConkie and President Young on this point is to state an untruth. Yet, this is only one of many areas of disagreement between Elder McConkie and President Young.

From such statements as these it is easy to see how a person with a strong testimony of the restoration can become a “Mormon fundamentalist.” Many people who are honest and serious about living the fullness of the restored gospel want to know what is true and correct concerning these doctrines. Yet, when they study the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others, they build a strong argument for following their teachings instead of people like Elder McConkie. For example, consider what we know about the “spiritual resumes” of President Young and Elder McConkie:

President Brigham Young

• Member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles

• President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles

• President/Prophet of the LDS church longer than any other man

• Member of the council of 50

• Member of Joseph Smith’s “inner circle”

• Member of the Church of the Firstborn

• Close friend and confidant to Joseph Smith

• Established much of the temple ceremonies

• Many other church leaders testified that they received spiritual witnesses concerning the truthfulness of his teachings

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

• Member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles

• Author of “Mormon Doctrine,” which was found to have as many as 1067 doctrinal errors within its 776 pages by a committee under the direction of the 1st Presidency1

• Author of many other publications which propagate many of the same teachings as those found in Mormon Doctrine

The list of credits to Brigham Young could probably go on and on. But this is sufficient to make the point. When compared with Elder McConkie, President Young comes out way ahead. It is difficult to choose Elder McConkie’s teachings over President Young’s. This creates no small problem for honest people studying these issues and trying to deal with the apparent discrepancies. It should be easy to see why many people choose to believe some of the early brethren over some of the modern brethren.

So clear are the discrepancies between early and modern Mormonism that even non-Mormon scholars are starting to speak out rather authoritatively on the subject. For example, Professor Harold Bloom, a non-Mormon scholar of religion from Yale University has stated,

It has become somewhat of a commonplace to observe that modern Mormonism tends to reduce itself to another Protestant sect, another Christian heresy, while the religion of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley and Orson Pratt and other leading early Mormons was a far more radical swerve away from Protestant tradition. (The Annual David P. Gardner Lecture, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, November 15, 1990)

Notice that this scholar is not necessarily attacking Mormonism or the LDS church. He’s simply stating that there is a difference between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism – a difference that seems so clear and obvious to him that he refers to it as “commonplace.” More and more people, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, are coming to the same conclusions as they study and learn about the teachings of the early leaders of the LDS church. For those who truly love the gospel, and have an unwavering testimony of Joseph Smith, this creates no small concern about the current status of the LDS church. Regarding some issues, either they were right then or they are right now, but not both. Trying to reconcile the various points of disagreement is difficult to say the least.

Elder B. H. Roberts once made a very applicable observation when he said,

Suppose your youth receive their impressions of church history from “pictures and stories” and build their faith upon these alleged miracles [and] shall someday come face to face with the fact that their belief rests on falsehoods, what then will be the result? Will they not say that since these things are myth and our Church has permitted them to be perpetuated …might not the other fundamentals to the actual story of the Church, the things in which it had its origin, might they not all be lies and nothing but lies? … [Some say that] because one repudiates the false he stands in danger of weakening, perhaps losing the truth. I have no fear of such results. I find my own heart strengthened in the truth by getting rid of the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre, as soon as I learn that it is based upon worthless testimony. (Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story, p. 363)

Elder Roberts’ insight seems to have proven prophetic. He seems to describe exactly what is happening today among many Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, many of these people are doubting even the restoration itself because they cannot deal with this problem.

Given the evidence, it is easy to see why confusion regarding the principles of the restored gospel is increasing. There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue. I see no way to keep the flood of information about LDS doctrines and history from the masses. I also see no way to reconcile many of the apparent contradictions found within this information.2

This paper attempts to address some of these difficult issues from the perspective of the scriptures and key teachings from the leaders of the LDS church, both past and present. As mentioned earlier, for many social Mormons, the issues presented here won’t even be a concern. For the most part, social Mormons are still largely unaware of the inconsistencies between the early LDS church and the church today. In addition, many won’t even care or see these issues as problematic. The LDS population in general falls into this category and is relatively ignorant of the gospel principles and ordinances originally taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others. Yet, I believe there is an increasing number of Mormons for whom this work will have significant meaning.

We will begin our discussion by establishing the fact that apostasy is, indeed, a valid concern within the LDS church today. We will then discuss what this means in the context of latter day prophesies about the LDS church. Finally we will address what our responsibilities might be regarding apostasy in the last days.


As the letter above mentions, it may be impossible to adequately document all of the differences between the early teachings of the church and those of today. Suffice it to say that the list would be large, somewhat speculative, and fairly controversial. It would require a lot of research and arguments which offer fair perspectives on both sides. One might well grow weary of it before reaching the end.

Rather than trying to deal with each and every issue, it is perhaps more expedient to touch on a few specific areas for the sole purpose of showing that there are differences worth mentioning and that the concern for the LDS church is legitimate. No claim is made by the author that the issues chosen are the best ones to illustrate the problem at hand. I’m sure that other people will have their own favorites. However, I feel the list that follows represents some good examples of the apparent problems between early LDS teachings and modern LDS teachings. They illustrate the kinds of things with which many people are struggling today.

Acknowledgments Of Apostasy Within The LDS Church

One of the most interesting aspects of the latter-day apostasy are the references made to it by the leaders of the LDS church. Surprisingly, there is a great deal of acknowledgment on the part of the General Authorities. As far back as 1873 Elder Orson Pratt saw how the saints had begun to fall short in their responsibility to live the higher laws. Elder Pratt said,

What kind of a revolution would it work among the Latter day Saints if the revelation given in March, 1831, were carried out by them, “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?” How much of a revolution would it accomplish in Salt Lake City if this order of things should be brought about? I think it would work a greater revolution among this people than has ever been witnessed amongst them since they had an existence as a Church. (JD 15:355 356)

Later in the same address Elder Pratt made the following observation:

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (JD 15:360)

Given the evidence available to us, it is reasonable to assume that these problems exist to a far greater extent today than they did in the time of Orson Pratt. It is reasonable to assume that Latter-day Saints today are at least as far away from living the principles of Zion as they were in Elder Pratt’s time. It might even be fair to say that most Latter-day Saints today can’t even carry on an intelligent conversation about the principles of Zion, let alone live them. Indeed, the whole concept of equality in riches is a fairly foreign idea to most Mormons today. Yet, it is repeated in the Doctrine and Covenants with all but redundant clarity.2

In 1886 President John Taylor made this prediction about the membership of the church:

I would be surprised if ten percent of those who claim to hold the Melchizedek priesthood will remain faithful to the gospel at the time of the seventh president and that there would be thousands that think they hold the priesthood at that time, but would not have it properly conferred upon them. (Minutes of a meeting, September 7, 1886)

President George Q. Cannon seemed to agree with President Taylor’s assessment.

The day will come when man’s priesthood and authority will be called to question, and you will find that there will be hundreds who have no priesthood, but who believe they hold it, they are holding only an office in the church. (Truth, 3:153)

In more recent years other General Authorities have expressed their concern about the general state of apostasy taking place in the LDS church. For example, in 1938 President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote the following in his journal:

It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years. What the future will bring I do not know. But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ. Are we not traveling the same road? (Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, 28 December 1938)

Notice how President Smith boldly declares that we are following the same path of apostasy that occurred in the primitive church of Christ. It is difficult to misunderstand his meaning.

Elder H. Verlan Anderson placed the apostasy of the LDS church into a fairly clear perspective.

To fail to consider the possibility that the members of the church are again “falling away” would be to ignore one of the most thoroughly documented lessons of history. Especially is this true in light of the fact that the cultural, political, and educational life of Church members has become so deeply and thoroughly involved with that of non-members that they are overwhelmingly influenced by the “ways of the world.” Through newspapers and magazines, motion pictures and television, schools and lecture halls, and a thoroughly integrated economic system, Church members come into close and continuous contact with those not of their faith.

Some may assume that a “Gentile apostasy” in these latter days cannot occur because Christ’s Church is here to stay this time. They may assume that widespread departure from gospel principles by Church members is contrary to prophecy. While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170)

In later sections of this work we’ll discuss some of those scriptures to which Elder Anderson referred. For now, let’s continue with comments about apostasy within the LDS church.

President Ezra Taft Benson once declared,

Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: “They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14). (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89 90)

Notice how President Benson associates the scripture in 2 Nephi 28:14 with the members of the LDS church. Most of the time when this scripture is used it is assumed that it refers to those outside the LDS church. However, it is clear that President Benson interpreted this verse quite differently. President Benson has also said,

Watchmen – what of the night? We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. (Conference Report, May 1986, Pg. 4. See Isaiah 21:11.)

This statement was made concerning the conditions of the church from President Benson’s perspective. In a more direct manner, President Benson has boldly told us that the church is “under condemnation” because of the lack of diligence given to the word of God.

The Lord declares that the whole Church and all the children of Zion are under condemnation because of the way we have treated the Book of Mormon. This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent. (See D&C 84:51-81.)

The Lord states that we must not only say but we must do! We have neither said enough nor have we done enough with this divine instrument–the key to conversion. As a result, as individuals, as families, and as the Church, we sometimes have felt the scourge and judgment God said would be “poured out upon the children of Zion” because of our neglect of this book (D&C 84:58).

The Lord inspired His servant Lorenzo Snow to reemphasize the principle of tithing to redeem the Church from financial bondage. In those days the General Authorities took that message to the members of the Church. So too in our day the Lord has inspired His servant to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church out from under condemnation–the scourge and judgment. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.63-6. See also A Witness and a Warning, Pg. vii-viii and p.9)

Imagine if similar words were uttered by Alma to the church in his day regarding the way they were treating the brass plates. If Alma had said that the church in his day was “under condemnation,” we would likely view it as a very serious situation – a situation of great apostasy and wickedness. When viewed in this light we can perhaps better understand the direct language President Benson has used with us in our time.

In a 1990 meeting with Regional Representatives of the LDS church Elder Boyd K. Packer expressed his concern about the state of the church today.

In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church. You cannot appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today.

Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur in the space of not many years. In one instance it took only six years. (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990, underline added)

Notice how Elder Packer says “we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church.” This implies two very important points. First, that the church is, indeed, off course. Otherwise there would be no need to correct its course. Second, that we are so far off course that Elder Packer is worried that we are “losing the ability” to correct it. These are bold statements from one of the Twelve Apostles of the church.

Likewise, Elder L. Tom Perry has made some rather direct comments about the state of the church today. In a recent conference address he taught that some of the most condemning prophecies found in the Book of Mormon apply not to those outside the LDS church, but those within the LDS church. In the October Conference of 1992, Elder Perry stated,

He [Moroni] realizes that the record will be a voice of warning to future generations of what occurs when nations like his own turn away from the teachings of the Lord. It is from the depths of his heart that Moroni cries out to those who will eventually receive the record. He wants to spare those who read his account the heartache and misery which comes from disobedience.

He writes first to the members of the church and then to those who have not embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni’s last words to the members of the church are written as a voice of warning. He writes as one who sees the history of his people repeating itself in the future. From the Book of Mormon we read:

“‘Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

“‘Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

“‘And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

“‘For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

“‘O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of god? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?’ (Mormon 8:34-38)

I guess one of the greatest mysteries of mortality is why mankind fails to learn from history. Why do those who profess to be true followers of Christ so often become victims of the enticements of the world? The evidence is so strong regarding the blessings which accrue to those who trust in and follow the ways the Lord has prescribed for us. (Conference Report, Ensign, November, 1992, underline added)

When these words were spoken by Elder Perry, I doubt that most Latter-day Saints understood the significance of those verses to the LDS church. According to Elder Perry, these verses apply directly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Look at the following list of evils that Elder Perry is associating with those in the LDS church today, as prophesied by Moroni long ago. According to Elder Perry, the membership of the LDS church is guilty of,

• Walking in the pride of their hearts

• Lifting themselves up in the pride of their hearts

• Wearing very fine apparel

• Envying

• Strifes

• Malice

• Persecutions

• All manner of iniquities

• Being pollutions

• Being hypocrites

• Selling themselves for that which will canker

• Polluting the holy church of god

• Polluting all of their churches – “yea, even every one”

• Being ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ

• Loving money, and their substance, and their fine apparel, and the adorning of their churches, more than they love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted

• Not thinking that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world

This list clearly describes an apostate people. And yet it would be difficult to interpret Elder Perry’s comments in any other way than to say that he’s using Moroni’s prophecy to describe the LDS church today.

Years before Elder Perry made these comments Elder H. Verlan Anderson also taught that these verses in the Book of Mormon referred to the LDS church. He said,

Moroni was similarly explicit in predicting false teachings among the saints. Reflect upon the unmistakable implications of this point-blank indictment of members of the “holy church of God:”

“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?” (Mormon 8:38)

Since there is only one “holy church of God” on earth, and since it is being polluted, the blame therefore appears to rest upon the teachers and hypocrites within that church. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 170-171, underline added)

President Spencer W. Kimball also associated these verses with the Latter-day Saints.

Saints must keep the covenant of consecration. The Lord has blessed us as a people with a prosperity unequaled in times past. The resources that have been placed in our power are good, and necessary to our work here on the earth. But I am afraid that many of us have been surfeited with flocks and herds and acres and barns and wealth and have begun to worship them as false gods, and they have power over us. Do we have more of these good things than our faith can stand? Many people spend most of their time working in the service of a self image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life. Forgotten is the fact that our assignment is to use these many resources in our families and quorums to build up the kingdom of God—to further the missionary effort and the genealogical and temple work; to raise our children up as fruitful servants unto the Lord; to bless others in every way, that they may also be fruitful. Instead, we expend these blessings on our own desires, and as Moroni said, “Ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not.” (Mormon 8:39.) (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.357)3

On another occasion President Kimball expressed further concern about the state of the members of the LDS church.

…when I review the performance of this people in comparison with what is expected, I am appalled and frightened. If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit. In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had–in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people–a condition most repugnant to the Lord. (Ensign, June 1976)

All of these statements from leaders of the LDS church indicate that there is a significant concern among some of the brethren regarding apostasy in the church. Some of these authoritative statements even use the word “apostasy” to describe our current situation. Others use specific details to describe the apostasy within the church. It is clear that at least some of the brethren view the LDS church as being off course, “polluted,” and “under condemnation” because of wickedness. It is important to note that these accusations are not coming from enemies to or outsiders of the LDS church. These accusations are coming from within – from the leadership of the LDS church.

These statements present a “no win” scenario for Latter-day Saints. If what these brethren are saying is true, then the church has some serious problems. If what they say is not true, then some of our leaders have some serious problems, including some of our most recent prophets. Especially for social Mormons, this presents somewhat of a “lose-lose” scenario.

Now that we’ve established the possibility that the church is, indeed, off course, let’s look at some of the specific areas of alarm, as far as apostasy in the LDS church is concerned.

Becoming Popular

As Elder Packer stated, one of the first areas that should catch our attention regarding apostasy in the LDS church is the focus of modern Mormonism on becoming popular. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley has recently stated,

Ours is the blessing to live in a better season [than the early saints]. The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us. Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world. (Ensign, Conference Report, November, 1996)

President Hinckley has made other, similar statements from time to time. Not the least of which was a statement on the television program 60 minutes in which he classified the LDS church as being “mainstream” with other churches. This seems to coincide with Professor Bloom’s assessment mentioned earlier.

It is difficult to listen to General Conference or read a church publication these days without some reference given to the LDS church’s growth, influence, and the respect it receives from the world. Even other religions and the media are coming to its defense for perhaps the first time in history. Yet, as much we seem to enjoy basking in our new found popularity, it should be recognized that the early leaders of this church both predicted and condemned this state of affairs, especially President Brigham Young. The following quotes reflect President Young’s concern about the day when the saints would become popular. Notice the direct, almost prophetic tone which he takes as he expresses his concerns and the consequences he associates with popularity.

And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come. (JD 4:326 327)

There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods. (JD 10:32)

When we see the time that we can willingly strike hands and have full fellowship with those who despise the Kingdom of God, know ye then that the Priesthood of the Son of God is out of your possession. Let us be careful how we make friends with and fellowship unrighteousness, lest the curse of God descends heavily upon us. (JD 10:273)

When “Mormonism” finds favor with the wicked in this land, it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, “Mormonism” will never become popular with the wicked. (JD 4:38)

They would come now by thousands and thousands, if the Latter day Saints were only popular. “What, these honorable men?” Yes, they would say, “I want to be baptized. I admire your industry, and your skill in governing. You have a system of governing that is not to be found anywhere else. You know how to govern cities, territories, or the world, and I would like to join you.” But take care if you join this people without the love of God in your soul it will do you no good. If they were to do this, they would bring in their sophistry, and introduce that which would poison the innocent and honest and lead them astray. I look at this, and I am satisfied that it will not do for the Lord to make this people popular. Why? Because all hell would want to be in the Church. The people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them. Although it is admitted that we are honest, industrious, truthful, virtuous, self denying, and, as a community, possess every moral excellence, yet we must be looked upon as ignorant and unworthy, and as the offscouring of society, and be hated by the world. What is the reason of this? Christ and Baal can not become friends. When I see this people grow and spread and prosper, I feel that there is more danger than when they are in poverty. Being driven from city to city or into the mountains is nothing compared to the danger of our becoming rich and being hailed by outsiders as a first class community. I am afraid of only one thing. What is that? That we will not live our religion, and that we will partially slide a little from the path of rectitude, and go part of the way to meet our friends. (JD 12:272.)

This last reference should perhaps be of particular concern to us considering that certain cities in Utah have taken great pride in recent years for being classified among the best places to live in America.

Notice how the statements by President Hinckley almost sound like a fulfilling of these prophecies made by President Young more than 100 years earlier. What President Hinckley perceives as a “blessing,” President Young clearly viewed as a curse, placing the very priesthood itself in jeopardy.

In addition to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith also gave us some guidelines regarding how the world generally treats true prophets and false prophets.

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

This seems to match Samuel the Lamanite’s assessment as well. He told the wicked, church-going Nephites,

…if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. (Helaman 13:25-28)

As already mentioned, in more recent years Elder Boyd K. Packer has also expressed his concern about becoming popular as a church.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today. (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990, underline added)

In addition to statements such as these, it seems clear from the scriptures themselves that the Lord’s people are seldom very popular when they are truly living and preaching the word of God. In fact, a good argument could be presented to show that the higher the doctrines lived by the people of God, the more persecution they generally receive from the world. There seems to be a direct relationship between righteousness and persecution. There has seldom, if ever, been a time when the Lord’s people were praised and accepted by those around them. Why should we believe that Latter-day Saints today are any different than all the other examples of God’s people throughout history?

The conclusion we come to on this subject is that although we may enjoy our current popularity in the world and a general lack of persecution, this may be nothing more or less than an indication that the LDS people “have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked,” as President Young put it. This should be of great concern to us as we consider the possibility of apostasy within the LDS church.

Prophecies About Salt Lake City

In connection with the problems associated with becoming popular, there are also other prophetic statements suggesting that Salt Lake City will become one of the wicked cities of the world. For example, Elder Heber C. Kimball once prophesied that,

After a while the gentiles will gather to this place by the thousands and Salt Lake will be classified among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the saints, and the result will be financial bondage. (Amanda Wilcox records, BYU. See also Prophecies of the Latter Days, p.86 compiled by Ogden Kraut.)

It is important to note in this prophecy that Elder Kimball is associating this wickedness with “the saints.” He isn’t referring to those who are not members of the LDS church. Rather, it seems clear that his concern is focused on those within the LDS church.

Mosiah Hancock also tells of President Brigham Young’s views on “the saints in the mountains.”

He (Brigham Young) conversed freely on the situation of the saints in the mountains, and said that he dreaded the time when the saints would become popular with the world; for he had seen in sorrow, in a dream, or in dreams, this people clothed in the fashions of Babylon and drinking in the spirit of Babylon until one could hardly tell a saint from a black leg. …Many of this people for the sake of riches and popularity will sell themselves for that which will canker their souls and lead them down to misery and despair. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.73)

In another account from Mosiah Hancock, we find similar concerns about the saints in Salt Lake City. This time Brother Hancock is quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith on the subject.

…you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. …you will live to see men rise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.19)

It seems clear from these references that the early brethren were quite convinced that Salt Lake City would become ranked among the wicked cities of the world and that this wickedness would be among the members and leaders of the LDS church. It is difficult to interpret these prophesies any other way.

Scriptural Prophecies About The Latter-Day Apostasy

In addition to statements made by the leaders of the church, there is ample support from the scriptures regarding a latter-day apostasy within the Lord’s church. As has already been established by Elders Perry, Anderson and others, Mormon chapter 8 contains a prophecy by Moroni that applies directly to the “holy church of God” in the last days – the LDS church. Other prophecies spell out this falling away with equal or greater clarity. For example, in 3 Nephi 16 we find a prophecy about the Gentiles to whom the gospel is given in the last days. It tells us that these Gentiles will eventually reject the fulness of the gospel and that it will be taken away from them and given back to the house of Israel.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel. (3 Nephi 16:10-12)

Notice that these verses talk about a day “when” the Gentiles “shall” sin against His gospel. These verses tell us that a day will come when the Gentiles shall reject the fulness of the gospel. Verse 10 even provides a list describing these latter-day gentiles that is unmistakably similar to the list found in Mormon chapter 8 mentioned earlier.  The result of this rejection will be that the fulness of the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and given to the house of Israel. This rejection of the gospel is not conditional, it is prophetic. This can be seen from the verses that immediately follow.

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. (3 Nephi 16:13-14)

Notice that even if there are Gentiles who repent after rejecting the gospel, they will be numbered among the house of Israel – those to whom the gospel will be given after it is taken away from the Gentiles. In addition, the blessing to those Gentiles who repent will be that they will not be trodden down by the house of Israel. Clearly the house of Israel will become the covenant people in these verses, not the Gentiles to whom the gospel was first given.

Just in case there is any doubt that the Gentiles spoken of here are, indeed, the members of the LDS church in the latter days, the Lord continues by telling us what will happen to those Gentiles who do not repent.

But if they [the Gentiles] will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15)

Notice in this verse that those Gentiles who are trodden down “shall be as salt that hath lost its savor.” In the Doctrine and Covenants we are given a clear definition of what this means.

When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40)

It seems clear from the scriptures that the Gentiles referred to in 3 Nephi 16 are those Gentiles in the last days who have been called unto the everlasting gospel and have made an everlasting covenant with God. According to these scriptures, these covenant people will then reject the fulness of the gospel and have it taken away from them and given to the house of Israel. When read in context, it is difficult to interpret these scriptures any other way.

The scriptures also speak of a point in the last days when the times of the Gentiles shall come in and the gospel shall break forth among them. However, in almost the same breath, the Lord declares that the Gentiles of the last days will reject that gospel. At that point, the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.

And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (D&C 45:28-30. See also D&C 45:25, Luke 21:24, JST Luke 21:25-30.)

These verses are often used as a reference to those outside the church – those who are never baptized in the first place. However, given the evidence in chapter 16 of 3 Nephi, it is easy to see how the verses in D&C 45 are more likely referring to those Gentiles within the church. We should keep in mind that synonyms of the word “fulfilled” include “finished,” “completed,” “consummated,” and “terminated.” To say that the times of the Gentiles is “fulfilled” suggests an end of those times. It suggests finality, as if the Gentiles will no longer be a major part of the gospel plan in the last days.

The scenario in 3 Nephi 16 also matches other scriptures on the same subject. For example, in chapter 5 of Jacob we find the allegory of the vineyard. This allegory discusses the history of the Lord’s people clear up to the millennium. A careful reading of the chapter indicates rather clearly that the gospel will be given to the Gentiles (the wild branches) and that they will eventually “overrun the roots” and bring forth “evil fruit.” (Jacob 5:37) The Lord deals with this problem by restoring the house of Israel (the natural branches) to the gospel. (Jacob 5:54-56) The allegory goes on to say that as the house of Israel receives the gospel, the apostate Gentiles are “cast away.” (Jacob 5:65, 69, 73-74) This seems to match the prophesy in 3 Nephi 16 very well.

That these prophecies were understood this way by the early brethren of the church can be seen in the words of Elder Orson Pratt when he said,

What says the Book of Mormon in relation to the building up of the New Jerusalem on this continent one of the most splendid cities that ever was or ever will be built on this land? Does not that book say that the Lamanites are to be the principal operators in that important work, and that those who embrace the Gospel from among the Gentiles are to have the privilege of assisting the Lamanites to build up the city called the New Jerusalem? This remnant of Joseph, who are now degraded, will then be filled with the wisdom of God; and by that wisdom they will build that city; by the aid of the Priesthood already given, and by the aid of Prophets that God will raise up in their midst, they will beautify and ornament its dwellings; and we have the privilege of being numbered with them, instead of their being numbered with us. It is a great privilege indeed (and we are indebted to their fathers for it,) that we enjoy of being associated with them in the accomplishment of so great a work. (JD 9:178, underline added)

As 3 Nephi 16:10-15 suggests, the only way that the covenant Gentiles will “have the privilege of being numbered” with the house of Israel is if they repent from rejecting the fulness of the gospel as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.

Another important prophecy about the latter-day apostasy can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Notice in the following verses that the calamities of the last days will actually begin upon the Lord’s house.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112:23-26)

Now, regardless of how we define “my house” in this verse, there are few Latter-day Saints who would say that these verses are talking about anything other than the LDS church. Notice the sins that accompany those who belong to the Lord’s house. They are described as a people who “profess” to know God’s name but who have not really known Him. They are a people who have blasphemed against God in the midst of His house. Can this be interpreted as anything other than apostasy within the LDS church?

On another occasion the Lord told Joseph Smith that He will send one mighty and strong to “set in order the house of God.”

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; (D&C 85:7)

It seems reasonable to assume that the house of God would only need to be “set in order” if it were somehow out of order to begin with. President Brigham Young once said the following about this scripture:

Brethren, this church will be led onto the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people, then God will send the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this church. (Truth, March 1, 1936, 1:10, p. 135)

Is it any wonder that the Book of Mormon offers us the following depiction of the people who have gone astray (apostatized) in the last days?

They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)

Notice that even the humble followers of Christ will “err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” We must remember that President Ezra Taft Benson associated this scripture with those who are members of the LDS church, not those outside the church.

Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: “They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14). (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89 90)

The scriptures seem clear and consistent regarding the apostasy of the Lord’s house in the latter days. As Elder H. Verlan Anderson put it, the scriptures “foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles.”4 Denying this apostasy or making believe that it couldn’t happen to us, seems to place us in the same basic category as the Pharisees, Zoramites, Nephites, or other religious groups who thought they were somehow infallible or immune to apostasy.

Changes To The Temple Ordinances

Most of those who have held a temple recommend in the LDS church for any length of time generally know that there have been recent changes made to the temple ordinances. In addition, those who have seriously studied LDS church history or who have made an in-depth examination of the temple ordinances know that there have been multiple changes made to these ordinances over the years. There are at least three major issues to consider when we discuss the changes made to the temple ordinances:

1) Do these changes represent a move towards higher or lower gospel awareness?

2) What are the reasons behind these changes?

3) At what point does an ordinance cease to accomplish what it was originally designed to accomplish?

With regard to the first question, the fact that changes have occurred, in and of itself, is perhaps of little consequence to our discussion of apostasy. It is safe to assume that changes made to any ordinance can be either an improvement or a regression. Certainly the Lord can alter the ordinances given to his people via one of his authorized prophets. In Joseph Smith’s time the ordinances were frequently changed according to new revelation and the faith of the saints. Likewise, President Brigham Young made other significant changes to certain ordinances. These changes for the better were spoken of by Elder Orson Pratt when he said,

When the Temple was built, the Lord did not see proper to reveal all the ordinances of the Endowments, such as we now understand. He revealed little by little. No rooms were prepared for washings; no special place prepared for the anointings, such as you understand, and such as you comprehend at the period of the history of the Church! Neither did we know the necessity of the washings, such as we now receive. (JD 19:16)

However, it is also important to note that even though the ordinances have changed from time to time to accommodate more or less righteousness among the Lord’s people, the requirements for exaltation and the fullness of the ordinances do not change. Every person must eventually experience the fullness of the ordinances in order to be exalted. Hence, a change in a given ordinance does not mean that the rules for exaltation have changed. It simply means the Lord has given us either more or less of what we need in order to be exalted. Of this fact, Joseph Smith once said,

Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles. (TPJS 308)

Since there was a difference between the ordinances performed in the Kirtland temple and those performed in the Nauvoo temple, we can assume that Joseph Smith was referring to the complete set of ordinances in their fullness – those required to take us all the way to the Celestial Kingdom. The fact that Joseph Smith himself changed the ordinances from time to time, according to his knowledge and the instructions of God, indicates that the above statement was talking about what is necessary to be saved, rather than what portion of the ordinances the Lord will allow his people to possess at a given time. President Brigham Young went into even greater detail with regard to what things can and cannot change and the effects those changes have on our efforts towards salvation.

The Ordinances of the Kingdom of God on the Earth are the same to the children of Adam from the commencement to the end of his posterity pertaining to the carnal state on this Earth, and the winding up scene of this mortality. With regard to the Bible; we frequently say, we believe the Bible, but circumstances alters cases, for what is now required of the people may not be required of a people that may live a hundred years hence. But I wish you to understand, with regard to the ordinances of God’s House to save the people in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, there is no change from the days of Adam to the present time, neither will there be until the last of his posterity is gathered into the Kingdom of God. . . I can tell you that no man from the days of Adam, no woman from the days of Eve to this day, who have lived, and who are now living upon the Earth will go into the Kingdom of their Father and God, to be crowned with Jesus Christ, without passing through the same Ordinances of the House of God, you and I have obeyed. I wish you distinctly to understand that. There are many duties, and callings spoken of in the scriptures, and there are many not written, those for instance which are handed out to you by your President as circumstances require. Those imposed by the President of the Church of God, or by the president of any portion of it, are duties as necessary to be observed as though they were written in the Bible; but these requirements, duties, and callings change with the circumstances that surround the people of God.

But when you speak of the system of salvation to bring back the children of Adam and Eve into the presence of our Father and God, it is the same in all ages, among all people, and under all circumstances, worlds without end. Amen. (TPBY 3:347 348, underline added)

This presents us with a difficult situation when trying to explain the reasoning behind the recent changes in the temple ordinances. What is perhaps particularly significant to us is that the changes made to the ordinances since the time of Brigham Young have been largely comprised of omissions rather than additions. In other words, with almost every change made to the endowment since the late 1800’s, teachings once considered as important have been removed and the ordinance has been consistently shortened. Considerably less information is shared with us in our current temple ceremonies than was shared in the early church. In addition, there seems to have been a shift in the function or purpose of certain ordinances over the years, especially celestial marriage. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage was viewed quite differently in the early church than it is today.

These omissions or deletions from the original ordinances do not necessarily render them false or of no value. For example, the ordinances performed in the times of Moses or the Kirtland temple were fairly abbreviated versions of what transpired in the Salt Lake temple during the time of Brigham Young. Yet, these “lesser ordinances” were authorized and recognized by God inasmuch as they lead the people to a certain point in their salvation. They didn’t take them all the way by providing everything necessary for exaltation. But they did provide as much truth as the Lord saw fit to give his people at that time. They were valid and true “in so far forth.”

However, it would be difficult to defend the idea that the current endowment offers as much valuable information to us as it did in Brigham Young’s time. With this in mind, the real problem with the changes in temple worship today doesn’t seem to be an issue of true or false. Rather it seems to be largely an issue of more or less. Simply stated, we have less of the original endowment today than we used to. Hence, we may have less of the “system of salvation” than we used to.

This issue is comparable to holding up a copy of the Book of Mormon and asking, “Is this book the word of God?” Assuming a positive response is returned, suppose we opened the book and tore out the entire book of Alma and asked the same question again, “Is this book still the word of God?” The answer should still be, “Yes, what is contained in that book is still the word of God.” However, it would clearly be less of the word of God than it was before. From a certain perspective we could with honestly say that it is “less true” than it was when it contained the book of Alma. But it would still be a true record with valuable information to offer.

To some extent, it seems to be just so with the ordinances of the temple. If we compare the original endowment ceremony with what we have today and ask, “Is today’s ceremony still true, even with all the changes that have taken place?” I believe the honest answer would be something akin to, “Yes it is. However, it contains less truth than it used to.” It seems clear that since the time of Brigham Young much has been removed from our temple ceremonies and little has been added. People who receive their endowments today don’t receive nearly as much information as previous temple goers have received. In addition, it seems reasonable to assume that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young considered those omitted portions to be important and of worth to our salvation, otherwise they would not have included them in the first place. Because almost all of the changes made to the temple ordinances over the years involve omissions instead of additions, I feel we can safely say that this has been a move towards lower gospel awareness, not higher. The ordinances simply contain less truth than they once embraced. Likewise, it is not a far stretch to conclude that some of those changes may affect the results or purposes of those ordinances. It is certainly possible that, just as in the days of Moses, the ordinances we have today do not provide us with all we need for our salvation.

When we consider the second question regarding possible reasons for these changes and omissions, few legitimate options seem to arise. It seems unlikely that the Lord would remove knowledge as a reward for increased righteousness. Generally the Lord gives more knowledge to His righteous followers and less to the wicked. Therefore, it is more reasonable to assume that He would remove spiritual knowledge because of our wickedness. Via the Book of Mormon, the Lord has warned us about the results when we don’t give sufficient heed to the things He has reveals to us.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30, underline added)

Given all the evidence for a latter-day apostasy in the LDS church, it is not hard to believe that omissions made to the temple ordinances may be a literal fulfillment of this scripture. This scripture clearly states that the Lord will “give more” to those who hearken unto his precepts and “take away” from those who do not. Which has He done with respect to the temple? As far as the temple is concerned, it would be difficult to argue that the Lord has given us more rather than less. It would also be difficult to view this as a result of righteousness. It is far more likely that these changes are the result of neglect or apostasy within the LDS church.

This brings us to our third question. As far as trying to discern when a given ordinance ceases to accomplish what it was originally designed to accomplish, we are perhaps only able to make educated guesses or take the matter to the Lord. Clearly if we continue to remove portions of an ordinance, it will sooner or later become nothing more than a worthless ritual. This has happened before from apostasies in other dispensations and it can certainly happen again. However, at what point this occurs can perhaps only be answered via personal revelation. It is important that we view the changes in the temple as various shades of gray, rather than a black and white issue. Just like the Book of Mormon example mentioned earlier, it is likely a case of more truth vs. less truth, rather than all truth vs. no truth. However, it is equally important to view these changes as negative, rather than positive. The evidence seems to suggest that these changes have occurred due to a lack of diligence among the Latter-day Saints. They seem to support the idea of apostasy within the church.

Celestial Marriage

One of the more obvious contradictions between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism is found in the doctrines surrounding celestial marriage. There are at least two main issues to consider during a discussion about celestial marriage. One is whether or not the plural marriage is a doctrine of the restoration and essential for exaltation. The second is whether or not the Lord’s authorized servants can revoke this law for a given time and people.

The latter issue of whether or not the Lord can revoke certain laws for certain people seems clear from the scriptures. For example, in Doctrine and Covenants 56 the Lord states,

Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. (D&C 56:3-4)

In addition, the Book of Mormon provides us with a clear example of the Lord temporarily revoking plural marriage for a particular group of people.

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. (Jacob 2:27)

It seems certain that the Lord can revoke the law of plural marriage “as seemeth Him good.” However, it is the issue of whether or not plural marriage is an essential doctrine for exaltation that provides us with a more difficult challenge to modern Mormonism.

In recent years it has been clearly taught that plural marriage is neither “doctrinal” or essential for exaltation. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley has recently stated,

I condemn it [polygamy], yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. (Larry King Live, Aired September 8, 1998, underline added)

Likewise Elder Bruce R. McConkie has taught that,

Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the Lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the Lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. (D. & C. 132:1 28.) (Mormon Doctrine, p.578, underline added)

In addition, President Spencer W. Kimball has taught the following about plural marriage,

Plural marriage ended through revelation. We warn you against the so called polygamy cults which would lead you astray. Remember the Lord brought an end to this program many decades ago through a prophet who proclaimed the revelation to the world. People are abroad who will deceive you and bring you much sorrow and remorse. Have nothing to do with those who would lead you astray. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.447)

There are at least three main points that can be derived from these quotes by modern leaders of the church. They are:

1. Plural marriage is not doctrinal,

2. Plural marriage is not essential to exaltation, and

3. Plural marriages were no longer authoritatively solemnized in the church after the 1890 manifesto by President Wilford Woodruff.

Those who have taken the time to study the history of the church and its doctrines in detail know that none of these statements are entirely true. For example, it was clearly taught in early Mormonism that plural marriage was essential for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. When carefully studied, this can be derived from the scriptures themselves, especially section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants which states:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. (D&C 132:4)

We must ask ourselves what this verse was talking about. Was it talking about monogamy or polygamy? In this we should turn to Joseph Smith himself. The prophet had a “key” by which we can gain further understanding of certain scriptures. He said,

I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable? (TPJS, p.276)

Now, if we apply Joseph Smith’s “key” to the verse above, it is easy to determine what the Lord is talking about in this verse. The question the Lord was answering for the prophet was specifically about polygamy, not monogamy.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines— (D&C 132:1)

Since the question specifically dealt with plural marriage, using Joseph Smith’s own key for understanding scriptures, we can only interpret the answer as dealing with plural marriage as well. If the answer dealt with monogamy then it wouldn’t serve as an answer to the original question. In addition, the whole point of writing down the revelation(s) found in section 132 was to convince Emma, Joseph’s wife, that plural marriage was a true doctrine of God.5

Another clue concerning the relationship between plural marriage and exaltation rests in the fact that the word “exaltation” appears only 12 times throughout the entire cannon of LDS scriptures. 11 of those 12 occurrences are found in section 132.6 Surely this is more than just a coincidence.

In section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read the following regarding the requirements for obtaining the highest degree of the celestial kingdom:

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. (D&C 131:1-4)

It is clear from the historical documents of the early church that the leaders of that time, including Joseph Smith, understood the new and everlasting covenant of marriage to include plural marriage. Hence, according to these verses, in order to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom one must “enter into” plural marriage. “If he does not, he cannot obtain it.” The abundance of statements in support of this conclusion are not hard to find. For example, William Clayton once wrote,

From [Joseph Smith] I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle, no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in celestial glory. (WC, Historical Record 6:225 7, as quoted in MHP 4:214)

President Brigham Young had much to say about the importance of plural marriage. The following series of quotes all come from President Young.

Now, where a man in this Church says, “I don’t want but one wife, I will live my religion with one,” He will perhaps be saved in the celestial kingdom; but when he gets there he will not find himself in possession of any wife at all. He has had a talent that he has hid up. He will come forward and say, “here is that which thou gavest me, I have not wasted it, and here is the one talent,” and he will not enjoy it, but it will be taken and given to those who have improved the talents they received, and he will find himself without any wife, and he will remain single for ever and ever. But if the woman is determined not to enter into a plural marriage, that woman when she comes forth will have the privilege of living in single blessedness through all eternity. (JD 16:166).

…[men] who did not have but one wife in the Resurrection that woman will not be his but [will be] taken from him and given to another. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Typescript 7:152)

I wish here to say to the Elders of Israel, and to all the members of this Church and kingdom, that it is in the hearts of many of them to wish that the doctrine of polygamy was not taught and practiced by us. It may be hard for many, and especially for the ladies, yet it is no harder for them than it is for the gentlemen. It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. (JD 11:268 269)

If any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned. (Deseret News, 14 November 1855)

Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of Heaven among men. (JD 9:322)

In line with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, President John Taylor also taught that plural marriage was essential to returning to our Heavenly Father.

If we do not embrace that principle soon (plural marriage), the keys will be turned against us. If we do not keep the same law that our heavenly father has kept, we cannot go with him. A man obeying a lower law is not qualified to preside over those who keep a higher law. (Matthew Cowley, Life of Wilford Woodruff, p.542 — as quoted in MHP 1:311 312)

Given President Taylor’s warning, we must ask ourselves, “Have we embraced plural marriage in the church today?” If we have not, which seems to clearly be the case, have the keys been turned against us?

Even President Wilford Woodruff, who issued the first manifesto in 1890, understood and clearly taught that D&C 132 refers to polygamy, not monogamy, and that we “must” abide this law in order to become heirs of God.

The new and everlasting Covenant is marriage, plural marriage men may say that with their single marriage the same promises and blessings had been granted, why cannot I attain to as much as with three or four, many question me in this manner I suppose they are afraid of Edmunds, what is the Covenant? It is the eternity of the marriage covenant, and includes a plurality of wives and takes both to make the law…Joseph Smith declared that all who became heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ must obey his law or they cannot enter into the fullness and if they do not they may loose the one talent, when men are offered knowledge and they refuse it they will be damned and there is not a man that is sealed by this priesthood by covenants to enter into the fullness of the law and the same with the woman she says she will observe all that pertains to the new and everlasting Covenant both are under the Covenant and must obey if they wish to enter into a continuation of the lives or of the seeds. (Utah Stake Historical Record #64904/CH0/1877 1888. Quarterly Conference held March 3rd and 4th, 1883; Sunday, 2 PM, p.271, underline added)

President Joseph F. Smith taught the following about plural marriage:

Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. There is no blessing promised except upon conditions, and no blessing can be obtained by mankind except by faithful compliance with the conditions, or law, upon which the same is promised. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the will of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part–and is good so far as it goes–and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefor, and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. (JD 20:28-29, underline added)

This doctrine of plural marriage is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become Gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase. (JD 21:10, underline added)

In addition to the prophets of the church quoted above, it is clear that other leaders understood that this was the official doctrine of the church. These leaders also bore strong testimony of the importance of plural marriage. The following quotes are just a sampling of some of their teachings.

The great question is this will we unite with the plurality order of the Ancient Patriarchs, or will we consent voluntarily to be doomed to eternal celibacy? This is the true division of the question. One or the other we must choose. We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity, without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives. (Elder Samuel Richards, Millennial Star 15:226)

I bear my solemn testimony that plural marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens. I bear my testimony that it is a necessity, and that the Church of Christ in its fulness never existed without it. Where you have the eternity of marriage you are bound to have plural marriage — bound to; and it is one of the marks of the Church of Jesus Christ in its sealing ordinances. (Elder George Teasdale, JD 25:21, underline added)

Some quietly listen to those who speak against the Lord’s servants, against his anointed, against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half a dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny “Mormonism,” and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned. What are you opposing it for? It is a principle that God has revealed for the salvation of the human family. He revealed it to Joseph the Prophet in this our dispensation; and that which he revealed he designs to have carried out by his people. (Elder Heber C. Kimball, JD 5:204-205)

But, says the objector [to plural marriage], we cannot see how this doctrine can be embraced as a matter of religion and faith; we can hardly conceive how it can be embraced only as a kind of domestic concern, something that pertains to domestic pleasures, in no way connected with religion. In reply we will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fulness of the Lord’s glory in the eternal world. (Elder Orson Pratt, JD 1:54)

It is obvious that plural marriage was an official doctrine of the church and that it was clearly viewed as being necessary in order to receive the full blessings of exaltation. One would have to be blind to miss these differences between the teachings of early Mormonism and modern Mormonism concerning plural marriage.

Another important issue involves the teaching that plural marriage officially ended in the church with the 1890 manifesto. Most social Mormons are unaware that there were two other manifestos given after 1890. This was in part due to the fact that plural marriages were still secretly being solemnized in the church and sanctioned by members of the first presidency for many years after the 1890 manifesto. There is good evidence to show that plural marriage was alive and well in the church for at least 20 years after 1890. In fact, many of the general authorities of that time entered into plural marriages after the manifesto, including President Wilford Woodruff, who issued the manifesto in the first place. These post-manifesto plural marriages were solemnized by members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and others who were duly authorized to perform such marriages.

There are many publications in print today that provide this information to any who want to look for it. The book Solemn Covenant, for example, by B. Carman Hardy, provides a list of over 200 well documented, plural marriages that were authoritatively performed in the church after the 1890 manifesto.7

With such evidence available to us, it is easy for one to see how some have become frustrated and confused by the statements of modern church leaders regarding plural marriage. The public statements from modern LDS leaders simply don’t match either the scriptures or the huge amount of historical evidence now available to the public.

The Leadership Of The Church

One of the areas of concern expressed by many Latter-day Saints today is the concept of infallibility of the church leaders. It seems to be generally taught in the church today that the General Authorities, and especially the prophet, can’t make important mistakes or teach things which are incorrect. Yet, as we have already demonstrated, it is clear that there are contradictions between the teachings of the early prophets of the church and the later ones. In almost every major area of LDS doctrine, from the attributes and nature of God to the purpose and function of the ordinances, we find discrepancies that are difficult, if not impossible, to completely harmonize. This tends to give rise to debate by honest seekers of truth and doubt to those who would find fault with the church or the gospel. Given these apparent contradictions, an honest truth seeker should not be too heavily criticized for asking which position is correct, if any. It seems to be a legitimate question to ask.

Unfortunately, some of these apparent contradictions are easily demonstrated in the remarks of President Gordon B. Hinckley, especially when he talks to the press. For example, in an interview with President Hinckley given by the San Francisco Chronicle on April 13, 1997 the following exchanged was published regarding the LDS doctrine that God was once a man:

Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don’t Mormons believe that God was once a man?

A: I wouldn’t say that. There was a little couplet coined, “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” Now that’s more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.

Q: So you’re saying the church is still struggling to understand this?

A: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can. (San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, April 13, 1997)

Notice here that President Hinckley clearly states that he “wouldn’t say” that Mormons believe God was once a man. This same issue came up again several months later in an interview with Time Magazine.

On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he (President Hinckley) sounded uncertain, “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it… I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.” (Time Magazine, August 4, 1997)

Statements such as these create certain problems for those who have spent the time to research this doctrine. Not only is this doctrine taught with great clarity in the church by both the Gospel Principles manual as well as the 1998 Priesthood/Relief Society manuals, it is clear that this doctrine has been an important part of LDS theology since the time of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith himself had this to say about the doctrine:

These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. (TPJS p.345)

Notice how Joseph Smith considered this to be part of the “the first principle of the gospel.” It was clearly a very important doctrine to him. This inconsistency is made even worse by the fact that President Hinckley claimed we don’t understand this doctrine. This seems to fit right in with Joseph Smith’s statement that although these are simple concepts, “these are incomprehensible ideas to some.” Understandably, this does not sit well with many of those who love this doctrine and view it as one of the “pearls of great price” of the restoration.

With perhaps even more force than Joseph Smith, President Lorenzo Snow once taught the following concerning this doctrine:

I had a direct revelation of this. It was most perfect and complete. If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.5)

Given the teachings of the early leaders of the church, combined with what we are taught in our current manuals, it is difficult to reconcile President Hinckley’s remarks concerning this doctrine.

Other comments from President Hinckley seem equally alarming. Compare the following answers to the same basic question, first from Gordon B. Hinckley and then from Brigham Young 120 years earlier.

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received.

Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. I liken it to Elijah’s experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that’s the way it works. (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, April 13, 1997)

And now, the same basic question as answered by Brigham Young.

Q: [Do] you, like the old prophets, receive direct revelation from God?

A: Yes, and not only me but my brethren also.

Q: Does that extend to all the church without reserve or rank?

A: Yes, and it is just as necessary for the mother to possess this spirit in training and rearing her children as for anyone else.

Q: It is not absolutely necessary, then, that each person receive revelations through you?

A: Oh, no; through the spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost; but to dictate to the church is my part of it. (Deseret News, May 23, 1877)

It is easy to see a stark contrast in these two answers. There is a clear difference in not only the content, but the attitude with which these questions were answered.

As mentioned earlier, there are also differences regarding how the church should be viewed and accepted by the world. President Hinckley apparently likes the idea of the church becoming popular in the world.

Ours is the blessing to live in a better season (than the early saints). The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us. Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world. (Ensign, Conference Report, November, 1996)

President Brigham Young, on the other hand, apparently viewed this quite differently when he said,

And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come. (JD 4:326 327)

I dare say that anyone who fails to see a major difference in these two statements is simply not comprehending the obvious. They are dramatically different.

This list could go on to include many other examples of different doctrines and approaches between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism. These teachings are by no means restricted to President Hinckley. They can be and have been fairly easily documented over the course of many years of LDS church history. As the letter quoted earlier mentions, many have found a rather lengthy list of discrepancies between the teachings of the early LDS prophets and those of more recent years. How do we explain these discrepancies? Who is right and who is wrong? Or is it somehow possible that both groups are right or both are wrong? It seems unfair that many of those who are honestly asking such questions with sincere hearts are judged rather harshly and are often cast out as obvious apostates. Although some may be a little too hasty in their judgements of such issues, these are legitimate questions for which there are few good answers. One possible conclusion is that the leaders of the LDS church are, indeed, fallible and may not possess all the answers or revelation that we would like them to. We may not like that answer, but if we are honest with ourselves, it must be listed among our possible conclusions to this dilemma. If we accept the fact that they are fallible, then we must ask which are right, the early prophets or the modern ones.

It is interesting to note that the doctrine of infallibility itself seems to be one of the apparent discrepancies between the early brethren and the modern leaders. Although it is taught with great frequency and force in the LDS church today, most of the early brethren seemed to stay away from the doctrine of infallibility. For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith boldly taught,

We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them (even) if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves. (Millennial Star, Vol. 14, Num. 38, pp.593-595)

President Brigham Young was also very concerned about the saints blindly following their leaders.

What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually. (JD 9:151)

The First Presidency have of right a great influence over this people; and if we should get out of the way and lead this people to destruction, what a pity it would be! How can you know whether we lead you correctly or not? Can you know by any other power than that of the Holy Ghost? I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness, each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray. (JD 6:100)

I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveller. There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need. Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information? Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth? No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case. And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye. It is not what we see with our eyes they may be deceived but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever. We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord. (JD 12:96)

These remarks seem to be quite a different story from the “follow the brethren” rhetoric so often taught in the LDS church today. This teaching continued through President Joseph F. Smith’s day.

I know of but One in all the world who can be taken as the first and only perfect standard for us to follow, and he is the Only Begotten Son of God. I would feel sorry indeed, if I had a friend or an associate in this life who would turn away from the plan of life and salvation because I might stumble or make a failure of my life. I want no man to lean upon me nor to follow me, only so far as I am a consistent follower in the footsteps of the Master. (Gospel Doctrine, Pg.4, underline added. See also the Juvenile Instructor, 1915, Vol. 50, pp. 738, 739.)

One modern “standout” in an otherwise standard approach to following the brethren can be found in President Ezra Taft Benson. He warned us against “trusting in the arm of flesh” instead of trusting in God, even if that “arm of flesh” is a high-ranking church leader.

The Lord strengthened the faith of the early Apostles by pointing out Judas as a traitor, even before this Apostle had completed his iniquitous work (see Matthew 26:23-25; Luke 13:21-26). So also in our day the Lord has told us of the tares within the wheat that will eventually be hewn down when they are fully ripe. But until they are hewn down, they will be with us, amongst us. (See D&C 86:6-7.) (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

Notice how President Benson is not referring to the general membership of the church as “tares within the wheat.” He seems to be referring to the General Authorities of the LDS church, perhaps even the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These are the ones he refers to as “tares within the wheat.” Notice in the following remarks that President Benson not only opens the door for continued problems within the leadership of the church, but even goes as far as to equate the General Authorities with “the arm of flesh.”

Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church. Three of Joseph Smith’s counselors fell one even helped plot his death. A natural question that might arise would be that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as He undoubtedly did, why did He have His prophet call them to such high office? The answer is: to fill the Lord’s purposes. For even the Master followed the will of the Father by selecting Judas. President George Q. Cannon suggested an explanation, too, when he stated, “Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men.” (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891) And this would parallel Nephi’s warning, put not your “trust in the arm of flesh.” (2 Nephi 4:34) (An Enemy Hath Done This, Pg. 290, underline added. See also Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

The entire verse in 2 Nephi quoted by President Benson reads as follows:

O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)

With almost a prophetic voice, President Benson tells us that there will always be problems among the leadership of the church. And, along with most of the early LDS leaders, he also tells us in whom we should place our trust instead of any man on earth, including the leaders of the church – even Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg. 90)

In summary, for those who are informed about the teachings of the early church leaders, there is an unmistakable difference in both the doctrine as well as the manner in which LDS leaders teach us today. Some of this may be contributed to a simple lack of gospel scholarship among today’s General Authorities. Some of it may also be due to a lack of revelatory experiences such as those found in early Mormonism. Perhaps there are other reasons as well. However, we should not overlook the possibility that there are “tares among the wheat” within the LDS church leadership. We must be open to the idea of apostasy existing even in “high offices” of the church “to fill the Lord’s purposes…in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men.” As Joseph Smith prophesied,

…you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. …you will live to see men rise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.19)

For those who believe in Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God, these words give cause for great concern in our day. If Joseph Smith was right, then we should have a legitimate fear of trusting too much in the arm of flesh known as the General Authorities of the LDS church. This is especially true given the apparent contradictions and inconsistencies between the teachings of the early leaders vs. those of the modern church. As Brigham Young warned, to overlook such possibilities is to “settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting [our] eternal destiny in the hands of [our] leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in [our] salvation, and weaken that influence [we] could give to [our] leaders, did [we] know for [our]selves, by the revelations of Jesus, that [we] are led in the right way.”8 Is it any wonder that President George Q. Cannon once taught,

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will NEVER fail us. When men and women depend upon GOD ALONE and trust in HIM ALONE, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322 [Mar 7, 1891]).

I fear that too many Latter-day Saints, including some fledgling ultra-Mormons, are making this mistake today by placing too much trust in church leaders, only to lose faith when they find those leaders saying or doing something which seems contradictory or conflicting. Too many people wrongly judge the church or the restoration as a whole, or even God himself due to this problem. It is clear that the modern Mormon’s cry to “follow the brethren” is simply not the all-encompassing answer that we would like it to be.

Holy Men That Ye Know Not Of

Another issue that ought to be raised regarding the latter-day apostasy concerns the popular belief that the members of the LDS church are the only group of people recognized by the Lord as having proper authority. Within the LDS church we tend to believe that we are the only ones on earth through whom the Lord is working or who are authorized to act in the name of God. This not only seems somewhat arrogant and proud, but seems to place restrictions on the Lord that contradict both logic and prophetic utterances. For example, the Lord himself told Joseph Smith that there may be other righteous groups on the earth that we know little or nothing about.

Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of. (D&C 49:8)

Notice that the men spoken of in this scripture are not “under sin” and hence have no need to repent. I think it is safe to say that the LDS church has never achieved such a level of righteousness in its entire history. And according to this verse, not even Joseph Smith knew who these men were.

Likewise, the Savior himself had no problem allowing for proper authority outside of the main group of saints.

And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

For he that is not against us is on our part.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41. See also Luke 9:50.)

How would most Latter-day Saints react today if they “saw one casting out devils in [Christ’s] name, and he followeth not us?” It is reasonable to assume that we would tend to forbid him as well or at least claim that he has no authority because he is not a member of the LDS church. Yet, in light of this passage in the New Testament, it is doubtful that the Savior holds this same view.

Is it possible that the Lord could reserve a righteous people unto himself in our day – a people apart from the mainstream LDS church? Remember the prediction of Elder Orson Pratt quoted earlier?

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (JD 15:360, underline added)

Of course, this is exactly what some of the fundamentalist groups claim – that they have been led out by the Lord from the midst of the LDS church to continue practicing the higher laws revealed to Joseph Smith. That this is a possibility seems obvious. The Lord can do whatever He wants to in this regard. It is even possible that a separate group is secretly living the higher laws under the direction of the First Presidency of the LDS church. Why not? What’s so wrong with Elder Pratt’s idea to keep the higher principles alive among those who are willing to live them?

This idea is neither inconceivable nor contrary to what the Lord has done in the past. There are many occasions in the scriptures where the Lord is dealing with different groups of people in various parts of the world. In fact, the entire Book of Mormon story, including both the Nephite and Jaredite accounts, is one of the Lord leading a people away from the prevailing religious group of the time and starting anew in a different part of the world while still actively working with the old group at the same time.

The real problem with this concept is that there are so many groups claiming to be the “one and only” authoritative group. Again, in many ways it is a situation closely resembling that of Joseph Smith’s day. Some groups are crying “lo here” while others are crying “lo there.”

If there are other groups of people who have proper authority from God and who have separated themselves from the LDS church under the direction of the Lord, who are they? Even the best of scholars can’t determine for sure whether fundamentalist founders like Joseph Musser or Loren Wooley received the authority they claimed to have received. Although there are decent arguments on both sides, there is simply not enough evidence one way or the other to be converted via the historical data available.

It seems clear that if one is to know whether or not any of the fundamentalist groups are acting under the direction of the Lord, they would have to know this in the same manner that Joseph Smith came to know about the religious groups in his day, namely, through some kind of revelatory experience. I doubt that there is any other way to know for sure. I don’t think it is too far out of line for us to take the route Joseph Smith took regarding the religious confusion experienced in his day.

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. …so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Joseph Smith History 1:8, 10-11)

There is precious little fault that can be found with Joseph Smith’s manner of dealing with religious confusion. Investigate as often as occasion permits, stay aloof, realize that you can’t figure it out on your own, and then pray to find out for yourself, not relying on the testimony of any other person for your conversion. It is just so today. Believing solely in the experiences of others is a poor means of conversion in these cases. Unfortunately, fundamentalist claims to conversion via personal revelation are just as common as they are within the mainstream LDS church. In order to know for sure, one must answer these questions for themselves via a personal experience with God or his messengers, just as Joseph Smith did. This is just as true for fundamentalist groups as it is for the LDS church itself. The following words of Brigham Young ring true for us whether we are talking about the LDS church or some other group out there who claims to be true followers of God.

I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveller. There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need. Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information? Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth? No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case. And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye. It is not what we see with our eyes they may be deceived but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever. We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord. (JD 12:96)

My own experience has been that receiving these answers to prayer is often more difficult than either Brigham Young or the scriptures seem to indicate. I don’t think I know anyone who claims to receive all the revelation they seek. And I fail to believe that every person out there who claims personal revelation is telling the truth or receiving it from the proper source. However, I also fail to believe that all are either liars or deceived. Some of them seem to be very honest, humble people who are sincerely trying to do what they believe the Lord has told them to do, whether they are members of the LDS church or not. Yet, it seems unlikely that all, or even most, are correct in their claims.

In general, I don’t think we are aware of who has authority from God and who does not. Although we are not obliged to believe or accept another person’s claim to personal revelation or authority, it is a claim that is impossible to refute without receiving revelation on the subject for ourselves. If you ask someone why they believe what they believe, and the answer is, “I received a personal witness from God,” there is no adequate argument under heaven that can be used against this claim except that of personal revelation for yourself. It would be like trying to tell Nephi that he didn’t really receive revelation to kill Laban because the scriptures clearly teach “thou shalt not kill.” To make such an attempt without knowing from God yourself is futile.

It seems clear that throughout history the Lord has lead various groups of people at the same time, all receiving revelation through various prophets called by the Lord. In fact, it is difficult to find instances in the scriptures where there is only one active prophet at a time. It is much more common to find multiple prophets preaching to multiple groups of people. Why should we expect anything different in our day? It is also a common theme for the Lord to lead a people out from the midst of the main group in order to start anew. Whether or not He has done something similar today is certainly worth considering, but not readily apparent. Finding out whether a given group or other is actually led by the Lord seems to be purely a matter of personal revelation, and perhaps even a personal calling by God. Joining any of these groups without some sort of personal, spiritual experience seems to reduce that choice to simply a luck of the draw, or perhaps an educated guess, the results of which could be either exaltation or condemnation.


It will be said by some who read this work that there are many more issues that could have been covered to show that the LDS church has taken a downward path. These people are correct. We have only scratched the surface. However, these issues can be found by any who honestly seek them. The purpose of this work so far has been to convince the reader that there are, indeed, legitimate concerns within the LDS church – that it is entirely possible, even probable, that the LDS church is taking a downward path of apostasy. I have raised only a few issues which I hope will lead people to this conclusion.

The graph below attempts to illustrate what we’ve discussed so far. It suggests that knowledge was dispensed rather quickly to Joseph Smith, who shared much of this knowledge with his “inner circle” of faithful followers. However, less knowledge was dispensed to the general membership of the church and less still to the non-Mormon community or mission field.

After the prophet’s death, Brigham Young and others began to openly teach many of the doctrines previously given only to the inner circle. The general membership of the church was raised to a whole new level. However, since the late 1800’s, this higher knowledge has been gradually and consistently “taken away” from the general membership of the church.

Beginning in the 1970’s, church historical records were more freely released to the public. Since that time, the history and doctrines of early Mormonism have begun to be published with more accuracy and frequency. This milestone, combined with modern technology which allows for easy access to a great deal of LDS information, has resulted in somewhat of a subculture of Latter-day Saints who understand far more about these early doctrines than most members of the church, and who are having difficulty reconciling many of their findings with the teachings of modern Mormonism. Likewise, non-Mormon scholars, as well as the media, can now access this information rather quickly and easily. Indeed, many non-Mormons are emerging who now know more about LDS history and doctrine than do the rank and file members of the church.

For the honest, truth seeking Latter-day Saint, the church presents some significant puzzles to solve. These puzzles are now readily available to any who will take the time to study the history and doctrines surrounding the restoration. Indeed, there is no hiding them. We must face the fact that the LDS church has changed in significant ways since its early days. With few exceptions, these changes tend to reflect a downward path, one of increased apostasy and ignorance of God’s ways and laws as revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith and other key figures of early Mormonism. This fact is becoming as clear as any story of apostasy found in the scriptures. As President Joseph Fielding Smith put it, “It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ. Are we not traveling the same road?”9 The undeniable answer is that we clearly are. We are finally at a point in the history of the LDS church in which we can no longer cover up the problems that exist.

If the course of the LDS church is to be corrected, as Elder Packer suggested, there are at least two possible scenarios for the LDS church to follow. One involves the calamities that are prophesied to come upon the Lord’s house in the last days.10 As we’ve seen from the many scriptures on the subject, calamities are a common way for the Lord to deal with his unrighteous children. They often have the effect of humbling them towards repentance. The other option for the church involves a “reformation” as mentioned by Elder Orson Pratt.11 However, it seems evident that such a reformation would have to be led by a rather powerful and charismatic prophet of God. Such a reformation or “course correction” would have to involve revelation directing us to higher levels of righteousness regarding a great many issues. If it did not include prophetic leadership then it would be no different than the other protestant reformations that have occurred since the time of Christ. Without divine revelation, it would be unlikely to produce the results we seek. Hence, the need for “one mighty and strong” is essential. Under such a reformation, it is probable that severe persecution from the world would begin again against the saints. In addition, a reformation of this nature would almost certainly mean leaving the weaker members of the church behind. Many would simply leave the church because the higher doctrines and persecutions would be more than they could endure.

Whatever happens, if no action is taken soon, there may be little left of the foundation Joseph Smith once established. We must begin to face the fact that the LDS church is in trouble and that we need to repent and start the process of progression anew. If we don’t, little will separate us from the Pharisees and Zoramites of past dispensations. Like them, most members of the LDS church will tend believe that “all is well in Zion, yea Zion prospereth”12 – that they and the church are on the correct path of righteousness, when in fact they have apostatized from the truth.


With all the evidence against the LDS church, the question must be asked, “Is the LDS church still true?” Is it still of worth to us in our search for spiritual guidance? Or is it in a more or less worthless state of apostasy, similar to that of other Christian denominations in the world?

In order to properly address these questions it is important that we have an accurate understanding of what apostasy is and is not. I fear most people misunderstand the true nature of apostasy and sometimes jump to conclusions too quickly. Many people have a tendency to view apostasy as an all or nothing, black and white issue. If we don’t understand what apostasy is and is not, how can we accurately judge any church or group?

What Does “Apostasy” Mean?

This question is more complex than most people realize. Generally, when we think of apostasy, we think in terms of either being “in” apostasy or “out of” apostasy. We tend to deal with apostasy as somewhat of a black and white issue. For example, many Latter-day Saints believe that there was a specific time in history when the “great apostasy” occurred after the time of Christ. We often believe that we should be able to find one significant event or date when the great apostasy took place. This, however, is clearly an incorrect view of how apostasy happens. If there is one thing that we should understand about apostasy, it is that apostasy is not an event, it is a process. If we study the apostasy that occurred after the time of Christ we will never be able to find a single event or date that “flipped the switch,” so to speak, and changed Christ’s church from true to false. Rather, what we find is that it was slowly dismantled and corrupted over a long period of time. This is true of most apostasies. Generally speaking, we find that during most apostasies, knowledge is lost in much the same way that it is gained during a restoration. That is, apostasy usually occurs line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. This is important to understand as we discuss apostasy in the LDS church.

Via the Book of Mormon the Lord has outlined what will happen to us when we hearken unto His counsels and when we don’t.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30)

This is again outlined by the Savior in the New Testament.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matthew 13:10-12)

This concept of giving more to some and less to others is reaffirmed later in the Book of Mormon.

It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. (Alma 12:9)

This is also taught in the Doctrine and Covenants.

And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.

For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. (D&C 19:21-22)

And again,

And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you; (D&C 45:72)

Thus, the gospel is given to us “precept by precept, here a little and there a little.” It seems reasonable to assume that during an apostasy, the Lord will take the gospel away in much the same manner. In addition, these scriptures seem to indicate that the Lord will teach people according to their own level of acceptance and faith, different people being at different levels and hence being taught at different levels of the gospel accordingly. This creates no small problem for the church. How can the church adequately teach all people at different levels? It’s like teaching first graders and college students in the same class.

We should notice in each of the scriptures above that the Lord clearly doesn’t give everything to those who begin to hearken unto Him. Rather, He gives us a portion of His word to see how we will react. Then, according to our diligence, or lack thereof, He will either give us more or take some away. I think it is a fair assumption that the Lord will not take away everything all at once. It is more reasonable to assume that this happens line upon line and precept upon precept. However, it seems clear from these scriptures that He will give more to those who hearken to His precepts while taking away from those who don’t want to go any further with what they’ve been given. In addition, it seems He will reveal “mysteries” to some people, while keeping the rest in the dark on certain issues “lest they perish.” Yet it is also clear that the Lord is still very active among those who do not receive the mysteries. He is still revealing truth to them on their level. This seems to be how apostasy works, as well as restoration. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an all or nothing condition of either having God’s word or not having God’s word. It seems to be more of a continuum that deals with various degrees of righteousness and wickedness, more truth and less truth, and hence, various degrees of knowledge, ignorance, and authority to match. Indeed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell when “total apostasy” occurs. Just as there are different levels of righteousness and wickedness, there are also different levels of apostasy and restoration.

In addition to variations in the quantity of truth the Lord reveals to us, another important point to recognize regarding apostasy concerns the quality of revealed truths, or the existence of higher and lower laws. Not only does God give and take away his laws on a quantitative basis (I.E. a higher number of laws to the righteous and a lower number to the wicked), he also gives and takes away from us on a qualitative basis. Some laws of God are even intended to completely replace other laws, whether higher or lower.

For example, if we compare the law of tithing with the law of consecration, we find two similar, but somewhat opposing laws of God. Basically, the law of tithing is intended to be replaced by the law of consecration. It is fair to say that where one exists, the other will not. If you are living the law of consecration, there is no need to live the law of tithing. What is giving 10% of your income compared with giving all of your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you? Once you begin to live the law of consecration, the law of tithing becomes obsolete. Yet, both of these laws came to us by God through revelation via proper authority. One is simply “higher” than the other. You might accurately say that one law is of higher “quality” than the other. A reasonable question could be raised as to whether those people living the lower law of tithing are “in apostasy?” The answer might be “yes” when compared to those living the law of consecration, but “no” when compared to those living no law at all. Thus we can see how apostasy is a relative issue.

Another example of higher and lower laws is found in the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses is clearly a lower law. This lower law was given to the children of Israel because they rejected the higher law. Then, when Christ came to earth in the meridian of time, this lower law was replaced by a higher law. It is not that the Law of Moses was false or incorrect. Nor is it the case that Moses was a fallen prophet because he taught such low laws. It is simply a lower law, given by God according to the faithfulness and diligence of the people at that time.

Again, we should ask ourselves, “Were the children of Israel under the Law of Moses in apostasy?” I believe the answer to this question is, “Yes, in that they were only worthy of the lower law, but no in that they were living a law given to them from God, by revelation, and via proper authority.” When viewed in this manner, we quickly see that a people can be authoritatively led by God and still be in some form of apostasy. In fact, a quick inspection of the Lord’s people throughout history will show that this is the case most of the time. With very few exceptions the Lord’s chosen people have always been at some level of apostasy. This is true even when they were lead by and obeyed true prophets.

With this in mind, whenever we speak of apostasy, we should always be careful how we think about it and how we choose our words and actions. We should be cautious that we don’t view it as purely a black and white issue. Questions such as, “Is the LDS church still true?” or “Are we in apostasy?” may be too simplistic to give an adequate response. A better, more accurate question might be, “Are we in the process of apostasy?” In other words, which direction are we headed? Are we moving up the ladder towards higher truths or down the ladder towards lower truths? We should also ask, “At what level of apostasy are we?” Where are we on the continuum of righteousness and wickedness? Are we currently teaching and trying to live the higher principles as revealed by Joseph Smith or lived by the City of Enoch, or are we shying away from such things and becoming more and more like other Christian churches who possess and live spiritual truths on a fairly low level? I feel these are more meaningful questions to ask about the current state of apostasy in the LDS church, or any other religious group for that matter.

So we see that apostasy is a process, not an event. It is a continuum rather than a line that either has or hasn’t been crossed. In addition, we should see that there are both quantitative and qualitative aspects associated with the various degrees of apostasy and righteousness.

The Four Main Areas Of Apostasy

Another aspect of apostasy worth adding to our definition is that it can be broken down into four main areas. These areas are:

• Revelation

• Authority

• Doctrine/Principles

• Actions/Attitude

Most of the time when we speak of the apostasy of a given group or person, the issues that concern us can be categorized into one or more of these four general areas. Whenever apostasy occurs it is always because of a lack of revelation, authority, doctrine, or conformance to what God has told us to do or be. It may include only one of these areas or it may involve all of them. But it will always deal with at least one of these four general areas.

It is important to note that although all four of these areas of apostasy are important, they are not equal in significance. As far as the church is concerned, it is reasonable to assume that revelation and authority are more important than doctrine and actions. This is because regardless of whether we are currently living higher laws or lower laws, if we are doing it without God’s approval, we are wrong. As the Lord himself explained in the Doctrine and Covenants,

Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.

Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. (D&C 56:3-4)

Likewise, the prophet Joseph Smith once said,

Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. (Sangamo Journal, August 19, 1842)

God always knows best. It is clear that the Lord sometimes commands us to live higher laws and other times He commands us to live lower laws. For example, if the Lord says, “live plural marriage,” then we should live it. However, if He says, “don’t live plural marriage,” then we should not live it, even if it has been commanded previously and can be shown to be a higher principle of the Celestial Kingdom. As far as our actions are concerned, the question isn’t merely whether or not a given doctrine is a higher or lower principle. The more important question is always whether or not God condones or approves of it in our particular situation or at this particular time.

If we look at the various possibilities regarding these four areas of apostasy, as outlined in the graphs below, we see that there are various combinations or types of apostasy.

[MISSING GRAPHICS.  There are four bar graphs shown at this point.  Each graph is entitled, Scenario #1, Scenario #2, Scenario #3 and Scenario #4, respectively.  There are four bars in each graph and the bars are labeled Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Scenario #1 has all four bars at 25%.  Scenario #2 has Revelation and Authority at 25% and Doctrine and Obedience at 100%.  Scenario #3 has Revelation and Authority at 100% and Doctrine and Obedience at 25%.  Scenario #4 has all four bars at 100%.]

There are clearly more possible variations than the four listed above. However, these should be sufficient to make the point at hand. A close inspection of each scenario provides us with some better insight and should help us to make better judgements regarding the apostasy of the LDS church or any other religious organization. Let’s look at each scenario in more detail and see how they compare to the LDS church.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #1.”  There are four bars in this bar graph, all at 25%.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.]

Scenario #1 is what we might refer to as a “complete apostasy.” It represents a state of little or no revelation, authority, doctrine, and obedience. It is how most Mormons would describe other Christian religions. For example, we politely say that the Catholic and protestant denominations have some truth, but that it is at a relatively low level and that they have lost the authority to act in God’s name or be divinely led by their leaders. Religious organizations that are at low levels of revelation, authority, doctrine, and obedience are generally considered to be “in apostasy.”

It is certainly possible that the LDS church today matches this scenario. As we have already shown, the church has fallen dramatically in the areas of doctrinal purity and obedience. We have also shown earlier that this can be easily demonstrated by comparing the doctrines of the restoration, as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early LDS leaders, with what is taught and lived today in the church. The question remains, however, as to whether or not the church is led by revelation or whether it still has proper authority and recognition from God. These two issues are far more difficult to determine via a simple comparison or study.

An interesting thing often occurs when members of the LDS church come to the conclusion that the church has fallen into a state of “complete” apostasy. It has been my experience that such people tend to be much more lenient and forgiving of other apostate churches than they are of the LDS church. It is as if they are saying, “You were once my best friend and I trusted you. But you betrayed me and now you are my worst enemy.” It seems to be somewhat of an all or nothing attitude. However, they don’t often express this attitude towards other denominations – those who were never trusted as a “best friend” to begin with, but who also never really offered them anything more than the LDS church. Some will even go as far as to claim that the LDS church has become the Great and Abominable Church of the Devil spoken of in the scriptures. It seems that for some people, either they want the LDS church to be “everything” to them or they want it to be “nothing.” It is either their best friend or their worst enemy with no middle ground or gray area. Yet they will gladly allow this gray area to exist in other churches which have been in a far greater degree of apostasy for centuries.

Although this black and white attitude is perhaps understandable under the circumstances of their experience, it hardly seems fair or accurate to view the LDS as being worse than other apostate churches. Even if the LDS church is in “complete” apostasy, it still has such things as the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the greater portion of the temple ceremonies, access to the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others, etc. Access to these things alone would seem to place it in a position much higher than most other religious organizations. It certainly wouldn’t be all we want or look forward to in a church, but I think it’s fair to say that it is head and shoulders above any other Christian church we know of, at least in the area of doctrine.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #2.”  There are four bars in this bar graph.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Revelation and Authority are at 25%, while Doctrine and Obedience are at 100%.]

Scenario #2 is also a common theme in religious history. It suggests that an organization may not have the proper authority or be lead by revelation, but that they are trying their best to live the higher laws as best they can. Many LDS fundamentalist groups likely fall into this category. For example, it seems reasonable to assume that not all fundamentalist groups (if any) have the authority they claim to have. Yet, many of these groups try to live according to the higher principles of the gospel, especially plural marriage and the united order. This often comes with great sacrifice and hardship on their part. There are also many other doctrines clearly taught by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that are common among fundamentalist groups. Hence, in many respects, it can be said of these groups that they are more doctrinally sound than the general membership of the LDS church and that they have made a better attempt to live by the higher principles. Yet, as already stated, it seems clear that in spite of their good intentions and sacrifices, it is unlikely that all of these groups receive revelation from God and have proper authority to practice and preach the doctrines they espouse. It is important to note that this may separate them little from other Christian churches who also have no authority to practice and preach the doctrines and ordinances they espouse. However, if God has truly revoked these laws, as seemeth him good, then all this “obedience” may end up being answered upon the heads of these rebellious people.13

The key to righteousness is clearly to do as you are told by God. This can be seen from the examples of the ancient patriarchs as mentioned in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Some of these patriarchs were justified in living plural marriage while others were not. In each case they were judged according to their obedience to God, not according to their adherence to higher principles independent of God’s will. Notice in the following verses why living plural marriage was accounted as righteousness in the cases of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. (D&C 132:29)

God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.

Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. (D&C 132:34-35)

Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods. (D&C 132:37)

Now notice the differentiating factor for those who “sinned” because they lived plural marriage.

David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. (D&C 132:38)

Again, the key to righteousness is clearly to do as God tells us to do, not to simply live the higher laws independent of his will. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were exalted because they “did none other things than that which they were commanded,” but David and Solomon sinned against the Lord in “those things they received not of [Him].” Likewise, the Lord told the Nephites that “there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife.”14 Therefore, those among them who took only one wife were clearly doing “none other things than that which they were commanded,” while those among them who took plural wives were receiving things not of the Lord. It is very doubtful that those Nephite monogamists will be damned while those Nephite polygamists are saved. It is more likely to be just the opposite.

The same is true of our day as well. Just because plural marriage is a requirement for exaltation doesn’t mean that it is always a righteous act for all people to live it at all times. Again, the issues of authority and revelation are far more important than the issues of doctrinal knowledge and obedience to higher principles. The Lord has provided a way for those who miss the opportunity to accept the ordinances in this life to accept them in the next life. This includes plural marriage as much as it includes baptism.

It seems clear that scenario #2 is unlikely to apply to the LDS church today. If Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the church were true prophets of God, then there is little or no chance that the LDS church today is living, or even knowledgeable about, the higher doctrines of the gospel, as taught by those leaders. In fact, you will most often get into some trouble by even discussing those doctrines with the general membership of the LDS church today. Hence, regardless of the questions involving revelation and authority, scenario #2 doesn’t seem to fit “modern Mormonism.”

It should be reiterated, however, that even though the LDS church has fallen from the lofty goals of Joseph Smith and the restoration, it is still far and away more doctrinally sound than any other Christian church on earth, barring, perhaps, some Mormon fundamentalist groups. Even if scenario #2 doesn’t apply when comparing modern Mormonism to early Mormonism, it certainly could apply when comparing modern Mormonism to any other modern Christian church. I feel this is important to realize when comparing the apostasy of the LDS church with that of other churches. If one leaves the LDS church because of doctrinal impurity, he or she is unlikely to find any satisfaction among any other church of our day.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #3.”  There are four bars in this bar graph.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Revelation and Authority are at 100%, while Doctrine and Obedience are at 25%.]

Scenario #3 suggests that although a people may be receiving proper revelation and have proper authority from God, they are largely ignorant of the revealed doctrines and struggle obeying them.

Examples of scenario #3 are common throughout the scriptures. The Law of Moses and the Children of Israel were excellent examples of this. Even though the Law of Moses was a very low law, intended for a people who had difficulty understanding and obeying even the simplest instructions from God, it was still revealed from God and given to the people through an authorized prophet. The key to it’s truthfulness was not a matter of higher or lower laws. Rather, it was a matter of authority and revelation. Likewise, the question of whether or not the children of Israel should have followed those lower laws and the organization that promoted them cannot be reasonably refuted. It cannot be said, for example, that Moses was a fallen prophet because he taught the lower laws instead of the higher ones. Nor can it reasonably be argued that the children of Israel should have tried to live higher laws instead of the lower ones given to them by God at that time. It seems clear that they were expected to strictly live the lower laws first. Any deviation from this course brought about the swift judgements of God.

In addition to the Old Testament, this scenario also plays out in much of the Book of Mormon. For example, the prophets Lehi and Jacob both preached against the higher law of plural marriage, even though Joseph Smith and others clearly taught it’s necessity for exaltation.15 Likewise the prophets Abinadi and Ammon taught doctrines about the nature of God that were a far cry from the higher truths restored through Joseph Smith.16 It is possible that some of these prophets even misunderstood the higher doctrines themselves – not having had the full account revealed unto them at the time of their preaching. Such seemed to be the case with Alma the younger and his understanding of the resurrection, for example.17 Yet, all of these prophets clearly received revelation and had the authority to teach these lower doctrines as inspired by God. It is also fair to say that the people they taught were under obligation to follow the teachings of these prophets.

As far as “modern Mormonism” is concerned, it is certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that scenario #3 applies to the LDS church. Even if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is currently teaching and living lower laws, this fact, by itself, is no indication that the Lord’s involvement has been removed or that he is no longer at the helm, as some would suggest. Clearly, the higher and more important question deals with revelation and authority, which are often closely tied to one another. Just as God directed Moses to bring down the lower laws after having already brought down the higher laws, so also the Lord could easily be directing a similar effort today by taking away even that which was previously given to the Latter-day Saints in this dispensation. We seem to have a fairly clear precedent concerning this issue. It seems that God does not always use his prophets to take his people to a higher level. Sometimes He uses them to bring the doctrine down to match the level of the people. In fact, part of the very purpose of the Book of Mormon seems to be to prove the people of the latter-days with lower doctrine in order to see if we’re prepared for the higher teachings.

And these things have I [Mormon] written, which are a lesser part of the things which he [Jesus] taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.

And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.

And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. (3 Nephi 26:8-11, underline added)

Again, we must ask ourselves how the Lord would withhold the greater things from us today, especially after some of them have been revealed apart from the Book of Mormon. Given the general disregard the members of the church have for “lesser things” found in the Book of Mormon, what charge would the Lord likely give to the leaders of His church today regarding these greater things? The guidance of Alma is again very applicable to this situation.

And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. (Alma 12:9)

Given all the scriptural evidence, it is certainly possible, perhaps even probable, that the leaders of the LDS church are doing exactly what the Lord has told them to do, that is, teach the lower doctrines and encourage the members to stay away from the “mysteries.” This, however, would not be so much a reflection or statement on the leaders as it would the members. Perhaps the leaders are simply obeying what the Lord has told them to do under the circumstances.

When comparing modern Mormonism with early Mormonism, scenario #3 offers the best possible hope for the LDS church. Again, it is important to not only compare the LDS church with it’s early beginnings, but also to compare it with the rest of the world’s churches. If the LDS church still has proper authority and is still receiving revelation and guidance from God, then it is still head and shoulders above all other churches on earth, both authoritatively and doctrinally.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #4.”  There are four bars in this bar graph, each one at 100%.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.]

Scenario #4 represents the ideal. It is what we tend to expect from a “true church of God.” It represents a situation in which there is plenty of communication between God and man, plenty of working priesthood authority from God, a high level of doctrinal purity, and a people who obey that doctrine well. This is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this level of spirituality has only been accomplished a few times in the history of the world. Barring the city of Enoch and perhaps a few other instances, the Lord’s chosen people have seldom come close to achieving these goals.

As we have already established, it seems highly unlikely that the LDS church in its current state fits this scenario. I believe any serious observer would agree that the LDS church is lacking in several key areas. However, it is also fair to say that the LDS church has never achieved this level of righteousness throughout it’s entire history. Even during it’s early years, the LDS church continually fell short of the Lord’s desires and expectations in one or more of these same areas. The point made in the first half of this work is simply that the LDS church is worse now than it was in its early years. This, again, seems to suggest a continual change in the degree of righteousness and apostasy during the history of the church rather than a black and white scenario.

When compared to the early LDS church, it seems clear that scenarios one and three are more likely to apply to modern Mormonism than scenarios two and four. In other words, there is a large amount of evidence to indicate that the LDS church has gone astray in the areas of higher doctrine and obedience to higher principles. However, it is much more difficult to show that revelation and priesthood authority are lost. And, as we have mentioned, these last two issues, revelation and authority, are the real keys to the issue of apostasy. Yet, barring personal revelation on the subject, it may be impossible to determine whether the church is acting with proper authority and direction or not. It is not something that can be easily determined by study alone.

As already mentioned, in addition to comparing modern Mormonism with it’s early roots, we should remember to always compare it with other religious organizations in the world today. When all is said and done, I think it is fair to say that modern Mormonism still compares extremely well against most other churches of our time. Even with all it’s flaws and it’s apparent downward path, the LDS church still offers it’s members a much higher level of doctrine than most churches on earth. Today, it is relatively easy for almost anyone to acquaint themselves with the “mysteries of Mormonism.” The church has little or no control over the vast amount of information available to both Mormon and non-Mormon alike. However, as in the past, few people today seem to be either interested in or prepared for these doctrines.

These graphs help to point out that whenever we talk about apostasy we should always address the issues of authority and revelation. When discussing the possibility of apostasy within any religious group, the lower and less important question is, “Does this church/group currently teach and live the higher principles of the gospel?” The higher and more important question is, “Does this church/group have the proper authority from God and is it receiving revelation to teach the principles and ordinances God wants them to receive at this time?” If any church or person has authority from God then they are right, regardless of whether they are teaching higher doctrines or lower doctrines. It is that simple. In fact, if God tells one group to live plural marriage and another group to live monogamy, then they are both right, even though they are living two different sets of laws. The important issue is not which law they are living, but whether or not God told them to live it. On the other hand, if any group or person lacks this authority from God, regardless of what they are living, then they are no different than any other gentile philosopher commenting on religious issues. To follow such a group merely because you like their doctrine, without questioning their authority, is to potentially make one of the biggest mistakes of your life. As far as religious organizations are concerned, proper authority will always be more important than proper doctrine.

Whenever any religious organization exists it can generally be placed somewhere along the continuum of truth and apostasy. Unfortunately, most churches seem to be digressing, rather than progressing. Because of this, they all tend to fall short of the goal to one degree or another. They are all less than perfect and therefore in some form of apostasy.18 The LDS church is no exception. Yet, wherever there is authority and revelation, there is truth and goodness worth following.

Is the LDS church in apostasy? Yes, it always has been to one degree or another, in that it has never achieved a celestial way of life. Nor has it ever achieved what the City of Enoch did. In fact, it has seldom come close to it. The real questions are, “How far into apostasy is it? “Which direction is it headed?” and “Is the Lord still in charge of the LDS church?” These are the real issues that need to be considered.

If we think of doctrines and ordinances as more or less and higher or lower instead of simply true or false, we will possess a far more accurate concept of apostasy. At what level the Lord removes all authority and revelation is certainly a significant issue and perhaps only determined via prayer and personal inspiration. Although there are significant scriptural comments on this subject which we will discuss later in this work, I’m not sure that it can be completely discerned by study alone. However, as the scriptures indicate, it seems that God will often stoop to quite low levels in order to redeem his people. We should not be too surprised to find that He is very much involved with teaching His children at all levels of gospel instruction, not just at the highest ones. And given the state of the world today, a generally low level of gospel instruction clearly seems to be necessary if we are to have any affect at all on most people. As the Lord explained to Joseph Smith many years ago regarding the people in his day:

For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. (D&C 19:22. See also D&C 45:72; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 and Hebrews 5:12.)

However, it also seems clear that a time must come when the Lord will raise his level of expectation, gather the elect from the four corners of the earth, and destroy the wicked who could not even accept the lower laws given to them. The scriptures seem to clearly teach that those who continue to be satisfied with, and even desire, the milk over the meat will eventually be swept from the earth prior to the millennium. And perhaps of even more significance than being swept from the earth is the apparent fact that these people will never qualify for a higher exaltation until they start to spend more time thinking about and accepting the higher principles of the gospel, even if they can’t live them at this time. As the Lord has taught,

And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.

All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. (D&C 88:38-39)

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world. (D&C 132:5)

It seems that no person can enter the Celestial Kingdom without accepting the laws and principles of that kingdom during some point of their existence. To assume that we can receive the higher blessings without conforming to the higher principles, at least in our hearts, is to believe in something that is simply not true. Yet, if the Lord tells us to live lower laws, we must live them according to His word.

The first step of repentance is recognition. If the process of repentance applies to the LDS church as it does to individual people, then it may be high time the church recognizes and accepts the seriousness of it’s current direction of apostasy. Without this recognition it is doubtful that the church will be able to correct it’s course and move towards a Zion society. However, this seems to be in the hands of the Lord and not any self-proclaimed scholar.

The remainder of this section deals with evidence that the LDS church still has the proper authority and that the Lord is still very much involved with it. Evidence will be given to support the idea that, although modern Mormonism is digressing in the areas of doctrine and obedience to higher principles, it is still very much the Lord’s church and will be redeemed at some point in the future.

The Calamities Will Begin Upon The Lord’s House

One of the scriptures that has a direct bearing on the status of the modern LDS church is found in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112:23-26)

These verses talk about the calamities of the last days. Verse 25 makes it clear that these calamities will begin upon the Lord’s house. To what is the Lord referring when He says the calamities will begin “upon my house?” If it is not the LDS church then what is it?

This scripture is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it seems clear from these verses that the Lord’s house has major problems. The Lord seems very upset with those hypocrites and blasphemers within his house. This clearly seems to point to at least a partial apostasy within the LDS church. In fact, the Lord is apparently so displeased with his church that the calamities of the last days will actually begin within the LDS church and spread from there. On the other hand, the Lord still seems to refer to the LDS church as his house, indicating that he still owns it and is actively involved with it at the time of these calamities. This would suggest that there is no complete apostasy taking place.

An experience I once had helps to bring the significance of this scripture into focus. I once entertained a couple of missionaries from a well-known fundamentalist group in Utah. They were attempting to show me that the LDS church was in apostasy and that their group was the “true organization” with authority recognized by God. During our discussion they asked me to read the verses above from D&C 112. Upon reading them, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: What do you think the words “my house” refer to in these verses?

Them: It obviously refers to the LDS church. This clearly shows that the LDS church is off course and in a state of apostasy.

Me: So you believe the Lord’s house, as spoken of in this scripture, refers to the LDS church?

Them: Certainly. What else could it refer to?

Me: So this scripture is not talking about your church?

Them: No.

Me: So, you’re saying that this scripture clearly states that “His house,” the Lord’s house, is the LDS church and not your church. Is that right?

Them: Right.

Me: So, why would I want to join your church when I clearly belong to the Lord’s house already, even if it is having problems?

Them: (No response.)

Me: Where in the scriptures is your organization referred to as the “Lord’s house?”

The two missionaries had no answer. Not only were they unable to overcome the fact the Lord referred to the LDS church as His house, but they could provide no scriptures to indicate that any other organization had become the Lord’s house other than the LDS church. The point was made that although these verses speak poorly of the LDS church, the Lord still clearly regards it as his own. This caused a paradox for my fundamentalist friends that is not easily overcome. On the one hand, they were proud not to be among the blasphemers who would be the first to experience the calamities of the last days. On the other hand, they would have really liked to claim that they were a part of the Lord’s house in the last days. Yet, based on this scripture, they simply couldn’t have it both ways. It is truly a lose-lose scenario.

Another interesting point worth mentioning is that this scripture does not condemn the whole LDS church. Rather, it suggests that the Lord is only displeased with a subset of “those among” his house. Note that He did not say that the calamities would come “first among all those within my house.” Rather, He said the calamities will come “first among those among you…who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house.” Given the wording of the scripture, this apparently does not condemn the entire LDS church or even the church itself. It apparently condemns only that subset of people within the church who are guilty of these specific offenses.

We can learn at least three important truths from these verses in D&C 112. First we learn that the LDS church has some major problems – problems so large that the Lord will send calamities first to those within the church. Second, we learn that the Lord is only displeased with a subset of those within the LDS church, rather than the whole church or even the church itself. And third, we learn that even with these apparent problems, the Lord still refers to the LDS church as “my house,” indicating that He is still at the helm of the organization. These factors are significant factors to consider as try to develop a clear view of the situation within the church.

John Taylor’s Vision

The basic scenario found in D&C 112 is also supported by a dream or vision President John Taylor had regarding the calamities of the last days. The events in his vision seem to have been given to him in chronological order, beginning in Salt Lake City, the headquarters of “the Lord’s house.” Notice the situation President Taylor observes in Salt Lake City.

I was immediately in Salt Lake City wandering about the streets in all parts of the city and on the door of every house I found a badge of mourning, and I could not find a house but what was in mourning. I passed by my own house and saw the same sign there, and asked, “Is that me that is dead?” Something gave me answer, “No you’ll live through it all.”

It seemed strange to me that I saw no person on the street in my wandering about through the city. They seemed to be in their houses with their sick and dead. I saw no funeral procession, or any thing of that kind, but the city looked vary still and quiet as though the people were praying and had control of the disease whatever it was. I then looked in all directions over the territory, east, west, north and south and I found the same mourning in every place throughout the land. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, June 5, 1878, underline added. See also Unpublished Revelations, pp.119-123.)

It is interesting to note that although President Taylor witnesses great distress and mourning in Salt Lake City, his impression is that “the people were praying and had control of the disease whatever it was.” This seems to contradict some who believe that Salt Lake City will be completely destroyed in the last days. It suggests that there will be those who, through prayer and righteousness, will survive and overcome these early calamities pronounced upon the Lord’s house.

President Taylor’s dream continues in what appears to be chronological order:

The next I knew I was just this side of Omaha. It seemed as though I was above the earth, looking down on it as I passed along on my way east. I saw the roads full of people, principally women, with just what they could carry in bundles on their backs traveling to the mountains on foot. And I wondered how they could get there, with nothing but a small pack upon their backs. It was remarkable to me that there were so few men among them. It did not seem as though the cars were running. The rails looked rusty and the road abandoned and I have no conception how I traveled myself. (Ibid.)

If the calamities of the last days are to come mostly upon the wicked, then we have reason to believe that these people spoken of by John Taylor were spared because of their righteousness. That said, it is significant that these people were traveling towards the mountains, not away from them. They were going towards Salt Lake City, not towards Jackson County. These are apparently righteous people who were headed to a place they considered to be safe – a place they were likely instructed to go by the Lord. This suggests that the Rocky Mountains will become a safe haven for the righteous who survive these difficulties.

President Taylor continues to travel east in his dream, witnessing “horrid” sites in Missouri, Illinois, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Then, after seeing the massive destruction along the east coast, he returns to the states of Missouri and Illinois, which he now found “were a complete wilderness with no living human being in them.” At this point he sees the beginnings of the building of the New Jerusalem and rejoices in it.

Interestingly enough, the dream ends with him back in Utah.

Instantly I found I was in the Tabernacle at Ogden and yet I could see the building going on [in Jackson County] and I got quite animated in calling to the people in the Tabernacle to listen to the beautiful music that the angels were singing. I called to them to look at the angels as the house seemed to be full of them and they were saying the same words that I heard before “Now is the Kingdom of Our God and His Christ established forever and ever.” And then a voice said, “Now shall come to pass that which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, That seven women shall take hold of on man saying etc…” (Ibid.)

Notice that the dream ends in Utah under favorable circumstances. That this is the Utah of the post-calamity period receives support from at least two remarks. The first is that President Taylor is still viewing the building of Zion in Jackson County and is trying to call the people’s attention to it. It is as though it is still happening while he is in the tabernacle at Ogden. The second bit of evidence comes from the mentioning of Isaiah’s prophecy being fulfilled. This is clearly a reference to an event that will not happen until after the calamities, not before.19 The voice heard by President Taylor seems to be saying, “Now that the wicked have been swept off the earth, the saints in Utah have recovered, and the New Jerusalem is being built, Isaiah’s prophecy about plural marriage will be fulfilled.”

Not only does this dream collaborate with the story in D&C 112, it also indicates that the calamities which begin at the Lord’s house in Utah will eventually be controlled and recovered from in Utah, and that the Utah region will become a safe haven for the righteous survivors. It indicates that there will be congregations of saints meeting together in Utah after the worst is over. Again, these issues should be considered when judging either the church, it’s members, or the region in which the church predominantly resides.

The Church Will Be Set In Order

Another scripture that seems to support these same ideas is found in section 85 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads,

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;

While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. (D&C 85:7-8, underline added)

This scripture also seems to indicate that at some point in the last days there will be a need to “set in order the house of God.” The fact that it needs to be “set in order” suggests that it is out of order to begin with – that there are problems that require attention. However, even though these problems exist in the Lord’s house, these verses also clearly suggest that the Lord still considers it His house and that He will send someone to fix the problem at some point.

President Brigham Young, commenting on these verses once stated,

Brethren, this church will be led onto the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people, then God will send the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this church. (Truth, March 1, 1936, 1:10, p. 135, underline added)

Although many people have claimed to be this “one mighty and strong,” it seems clear that this is still a future event. It seems clear that the house of God has not yet been set in order, saved, or redeemed. However, as already indicated, the church may very well have already been led onto the very brink of hell. It is unclear in Brigham Young’s statement whether the “leaders of this people” to whom he referred were church leaders or government leaders. Either may apply. Perhaps he was referring to both. The point is that the Lord plans to save his church at some future point in time.

It is important to note that this scripture isn’t saying that the Lord will abandon his church and start over again. Rather, it states that He will fix the house that already exists, the one that needs to be set in order. This again seems to cause problems for those who want to have it all. It seems we can belong to the authorized house of God with all its problems or we can belong to some other organization that is not the house of God or we can belong to no organization at all. Unfortunately, the scriptures don’t seem to talk about a house of God in the last days that is problem free.20 It is also reasonable to assume that the Lord would want us to belong to “his house,” even with all of its problems. When the Lord does set his house in order, where will you want to be? With what organization will you want to be affiliated? What will you be in a good position to support?

It should also be noted that verse 8 speaks of those who are “called of God and appointed” in the last days. It suggests that in spite of their calling and appointment from God, there will only be one man called to “steady the ark” and “set in order the house of God.” He is referred to only as “one mighty and strong.” We can only speculate about who those are who are called of God and appointed. However, it is not too far fetched to assume that at least some of them are leaders of the LDS church. If this is the case, then according to this scripture, even though these leaders are called and appointed by God, they would not be allowed to fix the problems with the church, for it is not their calling. In fact, verse 8 suggests that if they try to fix the problems within the church they “shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.”

When viewed in this light it is easier to see a potential dilemma for LDS church leadership. On the one hand, they are called and appointed by God to lead this church. On the other hand, they are not allowed to fix many of the problems of apostasy within the church. If this is a true scenario, then it would be clear why they haven’t taken a stronger stand against the apostasy going on within the church. It would tend to make us confused by many of their words on the subject, or lack of words, as the case may be. It would be a frustrating situation for both the leaders as well as those members of the church who see these problems and wonder why nothing is being done to correct them.

In addition to the general authorities, this scripture also indicates that anyone else, whether appointed church leader or otherwise, who tries to set the house of God in order, will also meet the same fate. This seems to be true even if they are called of God and appointed to perform some other important work in the last days. Apparently the only person who is allowed to “set in order the house of God” is the one mighty and strong. All others will be struck down if they try to steady the ark.

Interestingly enough, the counsel that immediately follows the verses regarding the calamities and problems in the church in D&C 112 is this:

Therefore, see to it that ye trouble not yourselves concerning the affairs of my church in this place, saith the Lord.

But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it; (D&C 112:27-28)

Perhaps this is exactly what the leaders of the church are doing today. It seems to be the mission of the church at this time to focus mainly on missionary work, rather than perfecting the saints. Perhaps this is council that all of us should consider as we try to sort out all of the problems and purposes of the church. While the church seems to be here mostly to do missionary work, purifying our hearts seems to be largely an individual effort, at least for now. There is wisdom in following this counsel, both on a church level as well as an individual level. Instead of troubling ourselves concerning the affairs of the Lord’s church, perhaps we should simply be trying to purify our own hearts and then join in the effort to preach the gospel until called by God to do something else. The Lord will take care of his church in due time. We need to recognize what our responsibilities are and are not.

We learn many of the same basic truths from D&C 85 as we did from D&C 112. As with D&C 112, section 85 tells us that the LDS church has some major problems – problems so large that the Lord will have to send “one mighty and strong” to set his house in order again. We also learn that even though the Lord is displeased with how His house is ordered, He still refers to it as “the house of God” and will eventually take action to correct the problem. This indicates that He is still at the helm of the organization and that He does not plan to completely abandon His house or start over again with a different organization. Rather, He plans to fix this house at some future point. In addition, these verses tell us that the Lord disapproves of just anyone trying to set His house in order. This work will be done by the one mighty and strong who will be sent to set the house of God in order in the Lord’s own due time, probably at or near the same time that the calamities are sent upon the Lord’s house. Even the General authorities of the church will find themselves in ill favor with the Lord if they try to perform this work.

The Priesthood Restored For The Last Time

Later in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants we find another statement by the Lord which sheds light on the apostasy in the latter-days. Speaking of restoring the priesthood in the last days the Lord has said,

For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;

For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you. (D&C 112:30-32, underline added)

These verses seem to indicate that the priesthood that was given to the 12 Apostles and First Presidency of the church has been restored to the earth for the last time in this dispensation. This suggests that this priesthood will not be restored again prior to the second coming of Christ. Hence, if this priesthood exists on earth today, it finds its origin in the LDS church. We should not look to any other restoration of this priesthood, as is claimed by some.

Concerning this, the prophet Joseph Smith once said,

No true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto;…the priesthood once being established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more…You may therefore know, from this time forward, that if any man comes to you professing to be ordained by an angel, he is either a liar or has been imposed upon in consequence of transgression by an angel of the devil for this priesthood shall never be taken away from this church. (Millenial Star, 20 Nov. 1846, p.139, underline added)

There are a few key points made in this statement by the prophet. The first is that the priesthood will never be restored again. The second is that anyone claiming that the priesthood was restored to them apart from the church is either a liar or has been deceived. And third, the priesthood “shall never be taken away from this church.” This says much about which of our graphs discussed earlier likely applies to the LDS church. It seems to give rather good support for scenario #3.

Decades later, President George Q. Cannon reiterated these same points.

Men have pretended that angels have visited them, and that, in consequence they must have authority. This was the pretense made by James J. Strang. But he did not understand that the oracles had been given through Joseph, according to the revelation given in March, 1833, to the Church. Others had also had the keys given unto them to enable them to exercise the power and authority which Joseph held. Now we may come to this conclusion; that God, having once bestowed the keys of the holy Priesthood on man here on the earth for the up building of His Church, will never take them from the man or men who hold them and authorize others to bestow them. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.13, p.46 p.47, December 5, 1869, underline added)

President Brigham Young also taught that the priesthood will not be taken from the earth again.

The Government of the United States and all the kings of this world may go to war with us, but God will preserve a portion of the meek and humble of this people to bear off the Kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, and the last gathering time; and He will not suffer the Priesthood to be again driven from the earth. They may massacre men, women, and children; but the Lord will not suffer them to destroy the Priesthood; and I say to the Saints, that, if they will truly practice their religion, they will live, and not be cut off. (Journal of Discourses 2:184, underline added)

These quotes seem to provide a fairly strong argument in favor of the church still having the priesthood. First, the Lord tells us that the priesthood will never be restored again. Then, Joseph Smith adds that the priesthood shall never be taken away from this church. Next, Brigham Young teaches that the priesthood will never again be driven from the earth. Now, if we take these statements to heart and recognize that they come from some of the early founders of the church – the men who likely understood these issues the most, then we must come to the conclusion that the priesthood will never be taken from the church, nor will it be restored to any other person or people. It is difficult to come to any other conclusion from these statements.

Coinciding with these thoughts, Joseph Smith also taught,

I will give you a key that will never rust, if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray. (William G. Nelson, Young Woman’s Journal 17 (1906), p.543, underline added)

Because he referred to this as “a key that will never rust,” it is clear that the prophet was not referring only to the Twelve Apostles of his day. He apparently uttered this statement with the long-term status of the church in mind. “Never” is a long time. It is important to note what is and is not said in this statement. For example, the suggestion that we stay with the “majority” of the Twelve Apostles indicates that the “minority of the Twelve” may not always be worth following. In addition, the prophet encourages us to stay with the “records” of the church. This seems to imply that we should possess a knowledge of the doctrine, history, and origins of the church in order to avoid deception. I feel both of these points are significant if we are to avoid being led astray.

That said, what these statements do not indicate is whether or not a small group may be properly authorized by God, through the leaders of the church, to live certain principles apart from the main body of the church. It is certainly possible, for example, that a group of men was properly ordained by some president of the church to carry on with the work of plural marriage. This would not involve a restoration of this priesthood, nor would it conflict with any of the statements just cited. If such a group does exist, they would have to be called of God and authorized via the Lord’s chosen servants in the last days. They would have to have received their priesthood from the leadership of the church.

It is clear that there are many major events in the last days that are still future events, not the least of which is the coming of the one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God. It also seems clear that this person, as well as many others in the last days, are going to have to be properly authorized by God to perform many important works. We must ask ourselves, “If the priesthood was restored in the days of Joseph Smith for the last time, and if it will exist within the church right up to the coming of Christ, how or from whom will these people in the very last days get their priesthood authority?” Given the teachings from sections 85 and 112, as well as the statements from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others, the only possible answer is that it will be passed down from person to person until all those who have a mission in the last days are bestowed with proper authority. In other words, latter-day servants of God will not have the priesthood restored directly to them. They will receive it from those who have already had it bestowed upon them in the latter-days.

This tends to limit the field of possible of latter-day prophets a little bit. Whenever we talk about authority in the last days, these scriptures tell us that we need to be able to trace that authority to the leaders of the LDS church on whom it was originally restored. It tells us that there will be no more “restorations” of the priesthood in the last days. Hence, anyone claiming that they have received this priesthood authority directly from God may find it difficult to reconcile their claims with the teachings of the early church leaders.

If the LDS church is the only source for proper authority in the last days, then we have a limited number of options available to us. The possible options include,

1. The authority has gone away entirely and there are no authorized servants of God in the last days. However, this seems to contradict the statements above by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. It also contradicts prophecies concerning the priesthood power needed for future events and future servants of God in the last days. Hence, this does not seem to be a legitimate option for most ultra-Mormons.

2. The authority has been conferred onto another people by those within this church and either,

3. The LDS church has authority in addition to this group(s) outside the church, or,

4. The LDS church has lost its authority altogether after conferring it upon other people outside the church. This, however, also contradicts the statements by Joseph Smith.

5. The authority stays with, and only with, the LDS church and is never taken away.

From this we can see that, unless we are willing to simply throw out the statements on the subject by the Lord and early church leaders, the only legitimate options available to us are 2a and 3, both of which include the LDS church still possessing the priesthood spoken of in the scriptures. I believe it would be difficult to formulate an argument stating that the authority will go away from the church entirely at some point prior to the second coming.21

As mentioned earlier, it is certainly possible that the Lord has provided for multiple organizations to be duly authorized from the same original source and yet to operate separately from each other. In fact, this is exactly the claim of some fundamentalist groups. With the possible exception of “staying with the majority of the Twelve Apostles,” this view provides no apparent contradictions with the early teachings of the church and actually tends to receive some support. As already referred to earlier, Elder Orson Pratt once stated,

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (Journal of Discourses 15:360, underline added)

An argument clearly exists for some (not all) fundamentalist groups who claim authority from early church leaders. There is evidence that President John Taylor gave authority to certain men regarding the continued practice of plural marriage and that this authority has been passed down to the present day apart from the mainstream LDS church. It is claimed by some that President Taylor authorized these men to practice plural marriage in secret until it could be openly practiced again without persecution.

However, even if this turns out to be the case, we still have basically the same issues surrounding the LDS church. Regardless of these claims to authority, does the LDS still have priesthood authority as well? Given the scriptures in D&C sections 85 and 112, and the comments as outlined above, it seems that it must.

When we say that the LDS church is the house of God referred to in these scriptures, it is important that we understand what we mean. What makes the LDS church the house of God? Is it revelation, authority, doctrine, or actions? As we have established, doctrine and actions seem to be suffering. In fact, this is exactly what D&C 85 and 112 are saying. That leaves revelation and authority. If the LDS church is referred to as the house of God, even in it’s apostate condition, then it is reasonable to assume that it is because it still has the authority of God and is still directed to some extent by Him. If it did not have proper authority then it would make little sense to refer to it as “the house of God.”

If there is a group outside of the mainstream LDS church that has proper authority in addition to the church, then they would tend not to be an enemy to the mainstream church. Rather, they would likely be looking forward to the time when they can be reunited with the church again. They would likely view themselves as somewhat of a secret part of the mainstream LDS church. They would understand their role as supporting the basic cause of the LDS church, rather than fighting against it and claiming that it is in complete apostasy. These are important principles to take into consideration.

In any case, it seems clear that option three is potentially true. It is possible that the LDS church is the only group on earth today in possession of the restored priesthood referred to in D&C 112. As we’ve discussed, the Lord will “save and redeem” his church at some future point and he will still refer to it as “the house of God” even during its most troubled times. The authority of God, in some shape or form, will apparently continue with the mainstream LDS church right up to the millennium. As Elder H. Verlan Anderson correctly pointed out,

Some may assume that a “Gentile apostasy” in these latter days cannot occur because Christ’s Church is here to stay this time. They may assume that widespread departure from gospel principles by Church members is contrary to prophecy. While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170, underline added)

This statement seems to agree completely with the scriptures we’ve been discussing. The scriptures seem to “foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles” within the church. As we have established, this seems to be happening today. However, the scriptures also “assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming.” This seems to include both revelation and priesthood authority.

This discussion also has great significance with regard to certain events of the last days. For example, we are told in the Book of Mormon that in the last days, when the times of the gentiles are fulfilled,22 the fullness of the gospel of the Father will be taken away from the gentiles and given back to the house of Israel.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fullness of my gospel. (3 Nephi 16:10-12, underline added)

By reading all of 3 Nephi, chapter 16, it is easy to see that the Savior is talking about the last days, after the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith. By comparing 3 Nephi 16:15 with D&C 101:39-40 we can also see that the Gentiles spoken of here are the covenant people. Notice how the Lord refers to the Gentiles in this verse as “salt that hath lost its savor.”

But if they [the Gentiles] will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15, underline added)

To help us better understand these words, the Lord has given us a definition of “salt that hath lost its savor.”

When men are called into mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40, underline added)

We can clearly see from these verses that the Gentiles spoken of by the Savior are not those who reject the missionaries, they are those who have made an everlasting covenant with God and then reject that covenant. The Savior seems to be referring to us, the members of the holy church of God23 in the latter-days.

As far as our discussion of the LDS church is concerned, here is the key question: “If God is going to take his gospel away from the gentiles and give it to the house of Israel, then what affect does this have on the house of God in the last days? What effect does it have on the church?” When we combine these scriptures with our other verses from D&C 85 and 112, and the references from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, it seems likely that this church will also be taken away from the gentiles and given to the house of Israel. The priesthood will remain in tact within the church and the church will remain in tact among the house of Israel.

Elder Orson Pratt has said,

What says the Book of Mormon in relation to the building up of the New Jerusalem on this continent one of the most splendid cities that ever was or ever will be built on this land? Does not that book say that the Lamanites are to be the principal operators in that important work, and that those who embrace the Gospel from among the Gentiles are to have the privilege of assisting the Lamanites to build up the city called the New Jerusalem? This remnant of Joseph, who are now degraded, will then be filled with the wisdom of God; and by that wisdom they will build that city; by the aid of the Priesthood already given, and by the aid of Prophets that God will raise up in their midst, they will beautify and ornament its dwellings; and we have the privilege of being numbered with them, instead of their being numbered with us. It is a great privilege indeed (and we are indebted to their fathers for it,) that we enjoy of being associated with them in the accomplishment of so great a work. (Journal of Discourses 9:178, underline added)

Where will this remnant of Joseph get the authority to perform this important work? They will get it from the gentiles within the LDS church. It will not be restored to them separately by God or angels. And if that same priesthood will never be taken away from the church, and the church is going to be set in order by the one mighty and strong, it stands to reason that it will have it’s place among the righteous house of Israel in the latter-days. The LDS church will not go away or fall into complete apostasy. But it will evidently undergo some dramatic changes before the second coming of Christ.

All the evidence seems to suggest that this church has priesthood authority now and that it will continue to have it right up through the second coming. Whether or not that priesthood is fully functional is another question. However, as we’ve discussed, there is every reason to believe that it will become fully functional again at some future time between now and the millennium. This suggests that even though we will experience tough times of severe apostasy, the LDS church is not altogether lost and is even a fairly good place to be when all is said and done.

What About President Benson?

As we have already established, among the list of recent prophets there are several who have apparently contradicted the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Statements made by these leaders are often confusing to those who are aware of the issues. As a result, teachings from many of these more recent leaders have tended to give ammunition to the claims that the LDS church is in a state of apostasy. The conclusion many have come to is that it is impossible to have a true church if the leaders either don’t understand or disagree with the original doctrines of the restoration. They claim that since the leaders have “fallen away,” the church has fallen away as well. Yet, in the midst of these claims of false or “lesser” prophets, one prophet seems to stand out. That prophet is President Ezra Taft Benson.

President Benson is one of the interesting phenomenons of recent church history. Among those ultra-Mormons who rigidly criticize the church and its leaders, most have found a friend in President Benson. There are even compilations of President Benson’s talks put together in book form by the leaders of certain fundamentalist groups. In fact, fundamentalists in general seem to have mostly kind words to say about President Benson, as do most other types of ultra-Mormons.

The reason for President Benson’s popularity among ultra-Mormons seems clear. Among other things he had the tendency to speak out rather harshly about certain issues. He called us to repentance in several unpopular, even controversial areas. His sermons were more about repentance and traditional values than about conformity and acceptance in the world. He also questioned, perhaps even attacked, both the church and the government in very direct and straightforward ways. He even declared that the church is “under condemnation” for the way in which we have neglected the Book of Mormon.24 He spoke as one having authority – as one who knew. To a large extent, he sounded like the prophets in the scriptures and seemed to echo the attitude and strength of many early LDS leaders.

The fact that President Benson stands out has no small affect on those claiming apostasy within the church. If the church is in a state of “complete” apostasy, then we are left with the question of how to explain President Benson. If the other recent prophets have all been false prophets, was President Benson a false prophet as well?

It seems that regardless of how one views the church or it’s leaders, most ultra-Mormons would be inclined to say that President Benson was a true prophet who spoke with the authority of God. If this is true, then we must also admit that the Lord was recently very active with both the church as well as it’s leadership. We would have to admit that it was not in a state of complete apostasy a very short time ago. To say the least, it seems to be difficult reasoning to accept President Benson as a true prophet of God and throw away many others before and after his time. It seems more likely that we are dealing with “greater and lesser” prophets and that different prophets have different callings in the last days. It may even be the case that the Lord is prohibiting most of His prophets from speaking due to the unrighteousness of the saints. We must remember that even a man who is “called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.”25

Perhaps the experience of the prophet Mormon among the apostate Nephites has bearing on this discussion, both with regard to President Benson as well as other, recent prophets.

And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.

But I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake. (Mormon 1:16-17)

Perhaps, just as in the days of Mormon, many of our modern prophets have been forbidden to truly preach the higher laws unto the people today. Perhaps this silence tells us more about the members of the church than it does about the leaders of the church. To some extent, it probably tells something about both. I believe that only personal revelation can answer these questions fully. Yet, some people continue to have a “guilty until proven innocent” approach to church leadership.

It should be mentioned that President Benson is not the only recent general authority who has spoken out boldly against the church. As quoted earlier in this work, others such as Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and Elder H. Verlan Anderson have made rather significant remarks about the status of the LDS church. To completely discount the contributions of these other brethren is to take a rather close-minded and one-sided approach to the issue.

Whatever the status of the church, it seems those who assume that church leadership is in a complete state of apostasy have difficulty explaining President Benson. In addition, such people may also be neglecting some of the scriptural precedents of the past regarding both the existence of lesser prophets as well as true prophets who have been silenced by the Lord for one reason or another. It is an extremely important issue. On matters of such significance, we ought not to judge with too much haste or too little personal revelation.

What Constitutes A Prophet?

If we can accept Joseph Smith’s words that the priesthood will never be taken from the church or restored to another group, then we must begin the process of reconciling some of the statements of the modern prophets with those from earlier leaders of the church. We must look to the scriptures and the early leaders of the church to see if we can try to figure out what the modern prophets might be doing or trying to accomplish. Surprisingly, it is relatively easy to find examples of righteous prophets who have done and said things similar to the modern leaders of the church. Some of these examples are worth mentioning.

Perhaps part of our concern about church leadership comes from a misunderstanding of what it means to be a prophet of God. If our definition of what a prophet is and does is not accurate, then our perceptions of true and false prophets are likely to be flawed as well. Joseph Smith clearly recognized the problem of discerning the true prophets from the false when he said,

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

This seems to be true in any age, including our own. Most of the true prophets, both ancient and modern, were thought to be false prophets by at least some of the people. Joseph Smith was all too familiar with this problem. Of necessity he had to curb his tongue to keep the people from falling away or even killing him. Because of this, Joseph Smith sometimes taught things that he knew were false. In other instances he told the people that he wasn’t living certain principles, such as plural marriage, even though he clearly was and a few others knew it. Even his own wife was kept from knowing about many of Joseph’s plural marriages. He openly taught one thing, knowing that another was true. By most people’s definition, he lied, plain and simple. When some people found out the truth about these issues, they often left the church, accusing Joseph of being either a false prophet or a fallen prophet. Some even became strong enemies to the prophet and to the church in general. Yet, I believe Joseph’s motives were pure. I believe he was acting on behalf of the greater good of the church and the saints in general.

Another interesting aspect of the prophet’s revelatory responsibility is found by investigating the dates of his published revelations as found in the Doctrine and Covenants. As indicated in the graph below, the number of canonized revelations hit a sharp peak in 1831. From that point on, Joseph Smith apparently began to share less and less of his revelations with the general membership of the church.

Given the rich abundance of new doctrine taught in the Nauvoo era, it is reasonable to assume that the prophet was still receiving a great deal of new revelation during the latter part of his life. Yet, he apparently chose not to openly publish or canonize this information. Why not? The most reasonable explanation is that it is not always in the best interests of the people or the work of God to reveal all things to all people. Joseph had to keep most of these higher truths secret.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: This is a graph of the number of Revelations in the D&C received year by year, beginning in 1823 and ending in 1844, with some in a “Post J.S.” category.  Here are the results: 1823 – 1.  1824 to 1827 – 0.  1828 – 2.  1829 – 14.  1830 – 19.  (The 1823 to 1830 revelations were received in New York.)  1831 – 37.  1832 – 18.  1833 – 12.  1834 – 5.  1835 – 3.  1836 – 4.  1837 – 1.  (The 1831 to 1837 revelations were received in Kirtland, Ohio & Jackson County, Missouri.)  1838 – 8.  1839 – 3.  1840 – 0.  1841 – 3.  1842 – 2.  1843 – 4.  1844 – 0.  Post J.S. – 5.  (The 1838 to 1844 revelations were received in Nauvoo, Illinois.)]

Although the prophet frequently “tested the waters” to see how the saints would react to the higher doctrines, such teachings as plural marriage, the true attributes of God, the temple ordinances, certain aspects of the priesthood, and other difficult doctrines were generally taught only to a select few. The prophet would often have to be somewhat misleading, if not outright dishonest in order to bless the people in the best possible manner. Yet, all this “dishonesty” was done with an eye towards building the kingdom of God in the best possible manner. It is a difficult problem – one which all prophets have faced in every dispensation of the gospel. Of this problem Joseph Smith once said,

But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (DHC 6:183 185, Jan. 20, 1844.)

On another occasion the prophet stated,

If the Church knew all the commandments, one-half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance. (TPJS Pg. 111)

Hence, it is clear that Joseph Smith didn’t teach all that he knew was true. In fact, given the statement above, it is possible that he gave less than half of the commandments he knew of to the church. He apparently only taught that measure of the truth that would help the people progress at a level they could reasonably handle.

There is undoubtedly an argument that the modern leaders of the church are doing exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, the members of the church today are even less prepared to handle the higher doctrines than were the members in Joseph Smith’s day. Hence, we can expect our prophets today to teach on a much lower level than the early prophets. What else would we expect them to do? We tend to want more revelation from our modern prophets. What for? Most of the members can’t even handle what we’ve got now. What possible motive could there be in giving us more than what we’ve got now? If anything, we don’t deserve what we currently have. As Joseph Smith recognized, giving the saints more than they can handle will cause them to “fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all.” It is simply a difficult problem – one which our current prophets are just as ill-prepared to deal with today as any prophet in any dispensation of the gospel.

In addition to the difficulties of teaching higher doctrines within the church, we also have the problem and responsibility of teaching those outside the church. The church is much more public today that it ever has been in the past. Official teachings of the church are spread all over the world via TV, radio, various publications, and now, the Internet. It is virtually impossible to teach the difficult doctrines to the members of the church without them reaching the far corners of the planet. Given the pattern set forth by Joseph Smith and the scriptures, it should be no surprise that very few “mysteries” are taught from the pulpit anymore. It would simply destroy the missionary effort around the world, as well as the faith of many of the long-time members, and probably the church itself. At some point in the future, these mysteries will have to come forth. But it likely won’t happen until the Lord is ready to do so. From a scriptural standpoint, it probably won’t happen until the wheat and tares are fully ripe.26

Another important aspect of all of this deals with the fact that we want to view prophets as perfect – as our examples to look to in all things. And yet, we should seriously ask what we can reasonably expect from them. Any time you place a prophet on a pedestal, the only thing they can generally do is fall off – the only direction they can go is down. It is reasonable to assume that eventually they will fall off in some way or other. As President George Q. Cannon once taught,

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will NEVER fail us. When men and women depend upon GOD ALONE and trust in HIM ALONE, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322 [Mar 7, 1891]).

Unfortunately, we seem to have difficulty following President Cannon’s advice. People in general want to view prophets as perfect – as the ideal examples for us to follow. This is often one of the first challenges new ultra-Mormons face. If they were previously faithful social Mormons, then they generally held the prophets and apostles in very high regard. Indeed, to a large extent their faith was likely directed at these men, rather than the Lord. When they discover that these men may not be as perfect as all that, it becomes a difficult challenge to their misdirected faith. Good men, who probably have far fewer flaws than most, can become viewed as hypocrites and deceivers. This is not because they are bad people or have terrible flaws, but mostly just because they are people with normal flaws. One could even say that they possess characteristics and attributes of above average people. Yet, they will never be able to live up to our expectations or remain on the pedestal upon which we have placed them. Hence, we tend to judge them far more harshly than we should.

Prophets are men who happen to be called of God to perform some work or other. They are not to be viewed as the perfect standard for us to follow. Often, in our efforts to avoid trusting in the arm of flesh, we slingshot to the other end of the spectrum by not allowing these people to be both men and prophets at the same time. If such a study could ever be made, I think we would find that those people who viewed Joseph Smith as a prophet first and a normal man second, often fell away from the church. Their expectations were simply too high for any man, even a great prophet of God. On the other hand, I think we would find that those people who viewed Joseph Smith as a normal man first, who also happened to be a prophet of God, were most likely those who were able to overlook his faults and weaknesses while respecting his role as a great prophet and remaining faithful to the church in spite of any problems or faults among it’s leadership. The same is likely true regarding how we view the leaders of the church today.

The fact is, there were many things said and done by Joseph Smith that many people don’t generally associate with a prophet of God. Just ask any anti-Mormon. They’ll be happy to provide an entire list for you. I think the response given by many ultra-Mormons would be something like, “If Joseph Smith did things that we don’t generally associate with a true prophet of God, perhaps it is because we do not yet understand what it means to be a true prophet of God.” It seems reasonable to assume that much of this misunderstanding comes from the fact that God’s ways are higher, and hence different, than our ways. God and his prophets do not always speak or act in accordance with our expectations or personal beliefs, which are generally based on our culture and traditions. In our arrogance, we usually choose our perceptions of reality over God’s chosen course, through his chosen servants. Many people choose the “traditions of our fathers” over the traditions of our God. Many anti-Mormons seem to take this course with a full conviction that the traditions of our fathers are so obviously correct that they couldn’t possibly be questioned. Hence, the “great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation.”

I believe we make potentially the same mistake with many of the modern prophets of the church. There are things we either don’t like or don’t understand or both. And we are often quicker to place blame than we are to search for possible answers. We must ask ourselves what the role of a prophet of God is. What must he endure in order to accomplish the things commanded of him? What must he say and, perhaps more importantly for this discussion, what must he not say? What precedents do we have in the scriptures regarding these issues?

A good example of this problem can be found in some recent statements made by President Gordon B. Hinckley. For instance, in a recent interview, President Hinckley made the following remarks:

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. (Interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley, as published on the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997)

These comments, and others similar to them, left a bad taste in the mouths of many ultra-Mormons. What we want is a prophet who gives us new revelation and who does not defer to past prophets. This answer by President Hinckley seemed to be somewhat of a “cop-out” to some. Yet, there is clearly a scriptural precedent for such a course found in the Book of Mormon.

And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations. For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me. (Jarom 1:2. See also Omni 1:11.)

These words by the prophet Jarom seem to differ little from the words of President Hinckley. Yet it seems clear that Jarom was a true prophet and did have prophecies and revelations. The fact that other prophets, both before and certainly after Jarom, contributed greatly to the record is no evidence in and of itself that Jarom was a false prophet or that he did anything other than what God wanted him to do, or not to do, as the case may be. I’ve often wondered how we would view Jarom if he were President of the LDS church today and made similar statements to us that he made in his day. Undoubtedly, some would have difficulty with his approach to revelation. The same could be said of Moses, Jacob, Abinadi, and many other prophets who either withheld the higher laws from the people and/or openly taught the lower laws in preference to the higher.

It is also important to note that other presidents of the church have made rather direct comments about their prophetic callings. For example, the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith is generally quite alarming to those who have placed their faith in the leaders of the church, rather than God and Christ.

I have never pretended nor do I profess to have received revelations. I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown to me that so called Mormonism is God’s divine truth; that is all…Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, just as any good Methodist or any other good church member might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not revelations. (President Joseph F. Smith before Congress during the Reed Smoot Hearings Vol.1, p.483 1904).

Does this mean that Joseph F. Smith was not called of God or was not a righteous man? Does it mean that he was an imposter or a fraud? Does it mean that he was unable or unworthy to receive visions from God regarding important matters? I think not. In fact, given section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, it seems that he found a decent amount of favor before the Lord and was used as an instrument in God’s hands for receiving revelation sufficient to direct and guide the church. However, as far as being a prophet is concerned, it is not likely that Joseph F. Smith was in the same league as the prophet Joseph Smith. Few prophets are, either today or in the past. To shun Joseph F. Smith as an authorized leader of Christ’s church in the latter days simply because he wasn’t the prophet others may have been, seems a little irrational to say the least.

The point to be made is not that President Hinckley, or any other modern president of the church, is perfect or even that they are great prophets. The point is that much of what modern presidents of the church are criticized for saying (and not saying) has a clear precedent in either the scriptures or early church history or both. Again, this does not mean that they are great prophets. It merely suggests that they might be justified and that we should be cautious when judging them. How President Hinckley is viewed by God is something that can perhaps only be discerned by personal revelation. I have heard people criticize the brethren for a lack of new revelation while openly admitting to receiving no revelations themselves. I have also heard people claim revelation about the brethren from both sides of the argument. Some saying “yea” and others saying “nay.” Clearly not all are correct. We need to find out for ourselves, not from the experiences of others. And we need to be aware of false impressions, visions, and dreams – a difficult challenge indeed.

It seems clear that some of the modern prophets are saying things that are out of harmony with earlier prophets of the church. It may also be the case that they are saying things that they know are not really true. Given the evidence available to us, these facts, I believe, are difficult to dispute. However, I think it is fairly short-sighted to automatically assume that this reflects poorly on them in any way. Those who have studied church history in any detail know that this was clearly the course taken by Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the church. They often had to conceal the truth in order to save the church and redeem the saints. This approach is also found throughout the scriptures. Christ himself deliberately said certain things in such a way that some wouldn’t understand what he was talking about. He purposely concealed the truth from those who could not handle it.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-13, underline added)

In fact, even God himself has told his children things that were not wholly true in order to “work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s sake.”27 Why would we expect anything different from our current prophets? Again, the goal is the salvation of man. And whether we like it or not, the ends often justify the means in the sight of the Lord. Fortunately, the Lord is wise enough to know when and how to do this. Unfortunately, most of us trying to figure it out are not wise enough to do so with any great accuracy. Hence, many mistakes are made in our judgements of how the Lord governs and instructs his people. This is especially true for those who are in the process of becoming ultra-Mormons. If an individual learns the mysteries and difficult doctrines before they have a solid testimony or a foundation of faith in God, they will often fall by the wayside and wither as seeds who have no root.28 As we have already mentioned, the Lord is quite clear about how he shares knowledge with his children.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30, underline added)

If the Latter-day Saints are struggling with righteousness, as this work claims they are, then we must ask ourselves how the Lord would go about taking away that which has already been revealed to them. What has been revealed that can easily be taken away from us? How would He do it? How would He use his prophets under such circumstances?

As mentioned earlier, one seemingly obvious area involves the temple ordinances. It is fairly easy for the Lord to take away parts of the endowment, for example. This He has done multiple times and, for the most part, most social Mormons are relatively unaware of these changes. Generations of Mormons have grown up without any knowledge at all about the teachings in the early temple ceremonies. Most of these teachings are available to those who search for them, but generally only those who search for them will find them. Thus, it seems a likely place for the Lord to take away even that which they have been given.

But what about the other doctrines that were plainly taught during the early years of the church – doctrines with associated “thus saith the Lord” authority attached to them? It seems to be a difficult chore for the Lord to completely take these truths away from his people. How do you stop talking about or, in some cases, completely discount, doctrines that are clearly accessible and even published within our own canon of scriptures? How would you handle it if you were the Lord? How would you handle it if you were the prophet of the church?

What seems ideal would be to take the higher doctrines away from some while somehow making them available to others. This seems to be what the verses in 2 Nephi indicate. Ideally, the Lord would want to find a way to meet the need for milk among the masses, while at the same time allowing the meat to be available to those few who truly seek it, thus allowing all people to progress as much as possible and at their own level without “perishing” due to too much or too little meat. The fact that the LDS church has difficulty accomplishing both goals seems obvious. In fact, the ability to successfully deal with both the milk and the meat seems to be almost an impossibility – a task the Lord has never been able to accomplish with any of the churches he has organized throughout history. Why should we expect any more from the Lord’s church today? Yet, as we follow Joseph Smith’s council to “search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness,”29 we are faced with a dilemma regarding our responsibility to the Lord. What do we do about these higher doctrines and the apparent state of the LDS church? What do we do when Joseph Smith said one thing and the current prophet says another?

At this point a story from the Old Testament may help to evaluate our current situation. In 1 Kings, chapter 13 we find a story about two prophets of God. The first prophet was told directly by God not to eat or drink in the kingdom of Israel, nor to linger in that land after his mission there was completed. Yet, as he was leaving Israel, the second prophet stopped the first and invited him to tarry in the land of Israel and to eat with him there. The first prophet explained that he was not allowed to do so, as commanded by God. At this response, the second prophet explains,

I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. (1 Kings 13:18)

Having no reason to doubt the old prophet or the angel who spoke with him, the first prophet obeys or “follows” the admonition of the second and went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.30 But then a strange thing occurs.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:

And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,

But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. (1 Kings 13:20-22)

The first prophet was actually cursed for following the counsel of the second prophet, even though he was a true prophet and stated that this counsel came from an angel of God. He was actually deceived by the second prophet on purpose as a test to see what he would do. To put it another way, the first prophet was punished because he placed his trust in the “arm of flesh” rather than his own personal knowledge of God’s commandments.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this story. The first is that we should always look directly to God for our surest answers, not to any man on earth, even if he is a true prophet. We should place God’s word above anything we hear or see from any of his servants. Personal revelation has always been the highest form of authority and truth. It reigns above the words of other prophets. This thought was echoed by the words of President George Q. Cannon when he stated,

Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men. (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891)

As strong as this lesson is, we also learn other important truths from the account in 1 Kings. According to this story, is it possible that a true prophet of God might actually say things that are not true in order to test us? Is it possible that the Lord may use this approach to find out who will be faithful to what they know is true and who will blindly “follow the brethren?” According to this story, I think this possibility clearly exists.

Could the Lord take an approach similar to this today? Could He be using his prophets today in such a way as to appease and progress the masses with milk, lest they perish,31 while at the same time testing those who know better to see what they will do? I think this is clearly possible. Would this mean that they are false prophets? No it would not. In fact, it would be a great way to meet the needs of the social Mormons while providing a very good test for the ultra-Mormons – those who are truly interested in the higher principles. This approach may meet multiple needs the Lord has today in helping his children progress on different levels.

It is important to note that both of the prophets spoken of in 1 Kings were true prophets of God. The second prophet was obeying the Lord when he said things that were not altogether true. The fact that he “lied” to the first prophet is no indication whatsoever that he was a false prophet.

That said, it should also be recognized that believing a principle and openly living and/or preaching it are two different things. It is one thing, for example, to gain a testimony of plural marriage or the Adam-God doctrine. It is completely another to begin living or preaching these principles without God’s approval or calling. This should be clear by now. Yet, the choice of what one believes, prays about, and desires in his heart, regardless of what “the brethren” are saying about it, provides for an excellent test of our character, testimony, and willingness to accept what God has revealed.

When modern prophets make statements which seem contradictory to the revelations given to earlier prophets, it usually has to do with higher or difficult doctrines. Whenever this happens we have a choice. We can choose to simply reject one or both of the prophets. We can “settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting our eternal destiny in the hands of our leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in our salvation.”32 Or we can choose to study, ponder, and pray about the issues, as the scriptures direct us to do, realizing that contradictory or even false statements do not necessarily imply that a false prophet is at work and that we may have a similar responsibility when it comes to living or preaching these doctrines. I feel the latter choice is clearly the wisest.

In past dispensations the Lord has often used his prophets to preach lower doctrines to his people. In many cases He has used them to enforce lower doctrines even when knowledge of higher laws existed. Such was the case with Moses as well as several of the Book of Mormon prophets. That the Lord can use modern prophets in this same manner should go without saying. In our day, taking this approach would provide a way for some truths to be “taken away” from the masses while still allowing those who “hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel” to receive more, just as Nephi stated. In fact, the current course of the church may be the only way to allow for both milk and meat to exist on earth at the same time. It may be the only way to do world-wide missionary work while still allowing some saints to pursue the path of perfection, at least to some extent.

Here lies the great choice for the modern church and it’s leaders, namely, to choose between missionary work and perfecting the saints. You simply can’t have it both ways. Within the entire cannon of scriptures and throughout all dispensations of the gospel you will not find an adequate solution to this problem. You can either preach milk and put off perfecting the saints, or you can teach meat and leave people behind. The LDS church seems to have clearly chosen the former at the expense of the latter, at least for the time being. This, however, is no indication of apostasy among church leadership. The Lord has taken this approach countless times in the past. And, given the prophecies concerning the church in the last days, there is every reason to believe that He is taking this approach again in our day. The greatest prophets on earth, including Joseph Smith and the Savior Himself, never overcame this problem of milk vs. meat. Some people they exalted and others they lost. It is just so today.

Again we must cry for personal revelation on the matter. The modern leaders of the church simply cannot be pronounced as false prophets based solely on their teachings or apparent contradictions alone. There is a scriptural and/or historical precedent for almost everything the modern prophets have said and done.

That the church is on a downward path is clear. That some of the modern leaders of the church are contributing to this downward path seems equally clear. What is less clear is the will of the Lord concerning his church and what the roles of the modern prophets are regarding the church. Are they commanded to reach higher to perfect the saints, as was Enoch? Or have they been commanded to lower themselves to the masses, as was Moses? If the latter, are they true prophets or false prophets? If the latter, what is our responsibility regarding the church and its leaders? What is our responsibility concerning the higher doctrines of the gospel as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others? These are important questions, the answers to which may be as unique and individual as the role of a prophet itself.

Ultra-Mormons are like the young prophet in Israel, instructed by God in certain principles restored through Joseph Smith. At the same time, perhaps they are in the midst of true prophets – leaders called of God to both teach the masses and try their faith. If this is true, what a grand way to lead the people towards God! What a perfect plan to introduce the milk to the masses while determining who will truly seek and believe in the meat of the gospel in spite of the teachings of the arm of flesh. At some point there is no choice but to place your whole trust in God. It is not that His prophets are false. Rather, it is that his prophets can only take you so far. From there you are forced to let go of the iron rod and walk by what God has allowed you to see with your own eyes. We must now decide whether we want to proceed by partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and helping others to find their way through the darkness, or give in to pride and criticize the iron rod because it didn’t take us the whole way. At some point there is no progression other than that which occurs between God and myself. However, this may still have a lot to do with God’s church and it’s leaders in the last days, even if they are a fair distance from Zion. At some point along my path towards perfection, the church will cease to be there for me in the same manner that it has in the past. Perhaps it is at that point when I should stop asking what it can do for me and start asking what I can do for it.

We can learn a lot from one of the changes Joseph Smith made to the New Testament. In the original King James version of the Bible we read,

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And this will we do, if God permit. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Some people have used this scripture to indicate that we should leave the lower principles of the church, and even the church itself, behind in favor of the higher principles. However, Joseph Smith recognized this inconsistency and felt impressed to correct it. In the Joseph Smith Translation, these same verses read as follows:

Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And we will go on unto perfection if God permit. (JST Hebrews 6:1-3, underline indicates changes made by the prophet)

At least two important points should be gleaned from these changes. The first is that in our efforts to move on to perfection, we should NOT leave the basic doctrines of the gospel behind. Although we don’t want to remain solely in the areas of lower doctrines and ordinances, continually repeating and emphasizing the same fundamental principles over and over again as if they were all we needed for salvation, we also should not abandon them as if they never came from God in the first place. What Paul and Joseph Smith seem to be saying is, “Yes, we absolutely need the basic ordinances and principles of the gospel and we always will. They are a major part of God’s plan. Yet, if that is all you ever deal with, you will never move on to perfection.”

The second point to be noted is that our effort to “go on unto perfection” is dependant upon whether or not God permits it, not whether or not we desire to do so. The question should be raised, “Why would God not permit someone to go on unto perfection?” The clear answer seems to be that there is often a greater good to be accomplished by keeping the masses on a lower level of gospel awareness. Unfortunately, those who are prepared and who desire to move on to higher things tend to be held down by the masses. Hence, God does not always permit the few to move forward as they would like to. The good news is that we live in a time when the few are free to learn about and gain testimonies of the higher principles, if they so desire. This has not always been the case. I also think it is safe to say that the time will come when all who are worthy will be given the opportunity to move forward towards perfection by acting on their knowledge. Eventually, all those who prove themselves worthy will be allowed to actually live the higher principles that they can only gain testimonies of during our present circumstances. However, this will likely not be in the manner or at the time we may desire. In the meantime, while we wait upon the Lord, we should not leave the basic principles behind. We should use them to bless and serve others as best we can, while at the same time, seeking the higher principles for ourselves with equal intensity. Both of these pursuits have a great deal to do with our activity and participation in the LDS church. In fact, it is perhaps only through taking an active part in “modern Mormonism” at all levels, that we are able to fulfill our responsibilities in both of these areas.


What we have proposed so far is that the LDS church is in a downward process of apostasy but is still accepted by God as his church, that it still holds proper authority from God, that it is still led mostly by righteous men who hold that authority, and that it will someday be saved, redeemed, and set in order again. This places honest followers of truth in a difficult situation. What should our role be in a church that is “falling away” but not “fallen away” from the truth?

To some extent, the frustration of an ultra-Mormon can be expressed by the familiar saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Why are many ultra-Mormons frustrated? Because even with all of their knowledge and love of truth they are seldom called to lead, yet they have difficulty finding anyone they truly want to follow, and just getting out of the way is generally not very satisfying or exalting. What is left for them to do but hang around and be frustrated?

We have already formed an argument warning us not to “steady the arc” unless we are called to do so by God. Hence, it seems reasonable to assume that most people should not “attack” or try to correct the church or it’s leaders. But this is only half of the question. What if you know enough to recognize false statements, lower laws, and prohibiting programs or policies of the church? Where should the line be drawn concerning what we should follow and what we should not? How much allegiance should one give to a falling church? How can those who want to progress further find a satisfying place in a church that offers only milk?

The answers to such questions are likely to be different for different people. Some may be used by the Lord to teach within the LDS church. Some should perhaps remain quiet and simply wait upon the Lord. Still others may be led to fulfill other needs that the Lord may have. As with many other issues, questions such as these might only be fully answered via personal revelation.

This section is an attempt to address some of these difficult issues. Again, what to do about the current state of the church must be a personal issue. I don’t believe there are any “one size fits all” answers. Yet, there are some things that ought to be considered as we try to make decisions about our relationship with the church. There are some simple truths and scriptural precedents that may apply to our current situation that ought to be taken into consideration. It is important to note that we are not unique in this problem. This problem has existed in all ages and during every dispensation of the gospel.

Dealing With Local Leaders

One of the reasons many ultra-Mormons become anti-Mormons stems from the fact that church leaders are generally unable to address their needs, especially when both sides are encountering the difficult issues for the first time. The transition from social Mormon to ultra-Mormon is a difficult process. Most people are fairly vulnerable during this transition and often become anti-Mormons because their needs are not being properly met. When a social Mormon first becomes aware of some of the difficult doctrines or events in church history, they generally want to talk to someone about it. This is often a bishop or stake president. Unfortunately, these leaders usually provide very little understanding or insight on the matter. In some cases all they provide is criticism and rebuke. The new ultra-Mormon is left unto himself to decide how to deal with this dilemma. At this point they may leave the church, either due to pride, a lack of good information, or just a simple desire to find the truth elsewhere because they couldn’t find it here. They can’t lead. They no longer feel they have anyone worth following. So, they simply get out of the way.

It’s not very hard to understand why the church has such difficulty addressing issues regarding the meat of the gospel. As strange as it may sound to some, church leaders in general are fairly unprepared to deal with these issues. It simply isn’t their primary calling. In most cases, bishops and stake presidents are comprised of social Mormons. They are often called because of the goodness of their hearts and their willingness to act rather than their doctrinal prowess. This is not a criticism. Their stewardship simply requires a great deal of goodness and action, much more so than gospel scholarship. The church has no choice but to call such people to these positions. Yet, the fact remains that there are relatively few local leaders who can intelligently discuss the higher doctrines or give constructive feedback to ultra-Mormons searching for answers to difficult questions. Elder Boyd K. Packer explained this problem well when describing the life of a typical, faithful member of the church to a group of regional representatives.

He [the faithful member] will be a bishop for perhaps six years, then he will be thirty-three years old. He will then serve eight years on a stake high council and five years as a counselor in the stake presidency. At forty-six he will be called as the stake president. We will release him after six years to become a regional representative, and he will serve for five years. That means he will have spent some thirty years as an ideal, the example to follow, the image, the leader.

However, in all that time, he will not have attended three gospel doctrine classes in a row, nor will he have attended three priesthood quorum lessons in a row.

…Unless he knew the fundamental principles of the gospel before his call, he will scarcely have time to learn them along the way. Agendas, meetings, and budgets are not usually overlooked.

But the principles are overlooked – the gospel is overlooked, the doctrine is overlooked. When that happens, we are in great danger! We see the evidence of it in the church today. (Principles, Ensign, March 1985, p.9)

As Elder Packer indicates, this is a real problem within the church today. One of the main difficulties for those seeking the higher truths of the gospel comes in that they often expect too much of their local leaders. Quite often, an honest seeker of truth either confronts or is confronted by their bishop and/or stake president in an effort to address doctrinal or historical concerns. These discussions can vary greatly in their scope, content, and effectiveness in addressing the real issues. Quite often, local leaders of the church are viewed as those who should be able to adequately answer all of our doctrinal questions. It usually doesn’t take very long to determine that this is not the case and we are left to deal with these issues pretty much on our own.

Much of the problem deals with our own pride. Years ago, for example, when I first started to learn about the law of consecration, I determined that I was not even close to living the covenant that I had made in the temple. With a strong resolve to do what’s right, I decided to begin answering questions more accurately during temple recommend interviews. When asked if I lived up to all the covenants I made in the temple, I would say, “No, I don’t live the law of consecration as I understand it.” Having done this with several different bishops over several years, I received all kinds of responses. Some became very concerned for my welfare. Some tried to explain the issue away with all kinds of differing justification. Still others simply said, “Yep, me neither,” and moved on to the next question.

As time passed, I began to answer other questions with equally disturbing, yet honest, responses. Without going into lengthy explanations of each issue, the more I studied, the less I found my answers to conform with what was expected of the rank and file Mormon. At some point I found myself looking forward to these interviews, just so I could bring up these troublesome issues. It wasn’t until I had a bishop who really didn’t understand a lot about the gospel that I realized my self-righteous approach may have been doing more harm than good. Not only was I causing unnecessary problems for my bishops and stake presidents, who were usually unprepared to deal with such issues in the first place, but I noticed that I found great pleasure in displaying my doctrinal prowess to those who were supposed to be my spiritual leaders. I was showing off. I was no longer concerned about what was right and wrong, I was concerned about showing them how much more I knew about the gospel than they did. In my effort to become intellectually superior, I had abandoned common sense. In my hopes of becoming an expert on the laws of God, I had neglected the spirit of the law, in preference to the letter. I was accomplishing nothing with my witty responses. To this day, I still believe the answers I gave were doctrinally accurate. They simply weren’t spiritually appropriate.

Since that time, my answers have once again become more conventional – only venturing into deeper discussions with those leaders who I feel will appreciate a more detailed discussion of the issues. Am I telling the whole truth with each temple recommend interview? No, I am not. Am I fulfilling the purpose and intent of the interview? Yes, I believe I am.

On a more severe level, I know people who have had church action taken against them because of their beliefs and/or attitude. Whether they simply had their temple recommend taken away or were excommunicated, there are those ultra-Mormons who seem to relish the idea of being at odds with the church. In many cases, they seem to want to view themselves as some sort of martyr for righteousness’ sake. There are, undoubtedly, some who have had action taken against them who have humbly and prayerfully done their best to do what is right and who have been wrongfully excommunicated. However, there are also many people who are clearly doing little more than letting their pride lead them away from the church. They don’t see the big picture and tend to be worried mostly about themselves. They are not sad about the state of the church. In fact, in an odd sort of way, they actually relish it. They actually find joy in the idea that they are somehow above or better than the church. To me, the attitude of many of these people seems more like that of Korihor and Nehor, who criticized and condemned, rather than Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith, who humbly condescended, taught, and rebuked with wisdom, love, and firm patience that tended to elevate and exalt at all levels of the gospel.

It has been my experience that many of these would be martyrs are not as truly interested in building up the kingdom of God as they are in building up themselves. They’re not so much interested in helping the church or the cause of righteousness as they are in showing off their superior knowledge – the fact that they are right and others are wrong. In many cases, they are simply defending themselves in a fairly self-serving way. They often find more pleasure in selfishly being right than they do in unselfishly doing right.

In many cases people who fall into this category are doctrinally correct. They often understand the higher doctrines and the situation in the church better than those who are taking action against them. However, this matters little in an honest pursuit of God’s will. Many of these people are excommunicated not because of their beliefs, but because of their selfish and proud “look at me” attitude and their inability to know when and with whom they should share their knowledge. We must remember that Satan was cast out because of rebellion and selfishness, not necessarily because he was doctrinally incorrect. In our pursuit of knowledge and our efforts to truly become pure in heart, we must be as concerned about other people as we are about truth. These two major parts of the gospel are not one and the same. Yet, both are necessary to achieve exaltation in the eternities. Progression in the gospel comes only when truth and people are mixed together in the proper proportions – not all at once and not only one or the other exclusively. Brigham Young put it well when he said,

There is one principle that I wish the people would understand and lay to heart. Just as fast as you will prove before your God that you are worthy to receive the mysteries, if you please to call them so, of the kingdom of heaven–that you are full of confidence in God–that you will never betray a thing that God tells you–that you will never reveal to your neighbour that which ought not to be revealed, as quick as you prepare to be entrusted with the things of God, there is an eternity of them to bestow upon you. Instead of pleading with the Lord to bestow more upon you, plead with yourselves to have confidence in yourselves, to have integrity in yourselves, and know when to speak and what to speak, what to reveal, and how to carry yourselves and walk before the Lord. And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to be–that you will deal out to your neighbours all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbours, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally he will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity.”

Let every person be the friend of God, that whatever He reveals to you, you can wisely handle without asking Him whether you shall tell your wife of it or not…I say this that you may learn to reveal that which you ought, and to keep the rest to yourselves. By so doing you prove to God that you are His friends, and will keep His secrets.

The world may howl around you and plead for the secrets of the Lord which he has given you, but they will not get them. When the Lord has proved His children true to what He has given into their charge, and that they will do His bidding, He will tell such persons anything that they should know. A great many desire just enough of knowledge to damn them and it does damn a great many. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, Pg.371, underline added)

Notice how Brigham Young emphasizes doing what’s right over knowing what’s right. Notice also that he’s more concerned with people saying too much than he is about them saying too little. According to Brigham Young, our very ability to gain knowledge depends upon our ability to keep that knowledge to ourselves. This means that we sometimes allow others to be wrong. It means that we should sometimes teach half-truths and withhold what to us may be some of the sweetest doctrines our hearts have ever known. It means that in order to exalt and bless our neighbor, we sometimes have to be more concerned about them than we are about the whole truth. President Young clearly teaches that how you deal with your knowledge is far more important than having the knowledge in the first place.

If ultra-Mormons would humbly follow this counsel from President Young, there would be far less action taken against them in the church. But unfortunately, many give in to their pride and selfish insecurities. Some ultra-Mormons wear their church action on their sleeves as if it were some sort of red badge of courage. In reality, most are like the Pharisee who “prayed thus with himself” and thanked God that he was not as other men are, for he is righteous and they are not. And yet, this Pharisee, in spite of being technically correct, went away unjustified before the Lord. While the lowly publican, who undoubtedly knew much less about his religion than did the Pharisee, found favor in the sight of the Lord.33 How many technically correct ultra-Mormons are there who are unjustified before the Lord because of their Pharisee-like attitude? At the same time, how many Bishops and Stake Presidents are there who know very little about the mysteries of God, but who are justified before the Lord because of their humble, loving, caring attitudes?

I feel these examples apply directly to many of our dealings with local leaders. We must understand that when we tread into the mysteries of the gospel, we can’t expect everyone else to go there with us. The fact is that most won’t. This includes the local leaders of the church. It wasn’t that way in the time of Enoch, Christ, or Joseph Smith and it won’t be that way in our day either. This does not mean that they are bad people. If our goal in studying the mysteries is to serve God and truth by further purifying our own hearts and helping others to do the same, then we will do a better job of judging people by their intentions rather than their knowledge. We won’t be quite as hard on our local leaders just because they have not studied the things we have. We will teach them “here a little and there a little” by the spirit, rather than blasting them with our pride and with things they’ve never heard of before. We won’t say in our hearts, “Those of you who think you know what you’re talking about are annoying to those of us who really do.” I believe most experienced ultra-Mormons are familiar with these principles. It is usually the new ultra-Mormons or those leaning towards becoming anti-Mormons who have the greatest difficulty controlling their pride in these matters. Just like the scriptures teach, pride is our greatest enemy, even within our honest efforts to progress in and teach the gospel.

Local leaders are no more perfect than anyone else. And, just like anyone else, some are good ones and some are bad ones. However, in our pride I fear many ultra-Mormons have become confused as to which are which. One of the more difficult lessons to learn in life is that not everyone should be corrected, even when they are wrong. Likewise, not everyone who is wrong, is evil. We always say this in our minds. But we seem to have difficulty living it with our hearts.

They Who Sit In Moses’ Seat

An interesting scripture that sheds light on our relationship with the leaders of the modern LDS church is found in the New Testament. From an LDS point of view, it is fairly safe to assume that the Jewish religious leaders were in a state of apostasy during the time of Christ. The Savior spent considerable time contradicting and criticizing them. Yet, it is clear that Christ held some respect for the authority and position of these leaders, as well as the organization they represented. Consider the following counsel from the Lord to the people of His time:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:1-7, underline added)

Notice how the Savior clearly recognizes the problems and wickedness among the scribes and Pharisees. He doesn’t see them as the ideal leaders in any way. Yet, because they “sit in Moses’ seat,” He teaches his followers to observe and do all that these mediocre leaders tell them to do. This is significant. Here we have a case of religious leaders being in a state of apostasy but still deserving respect and obedience. With no other group did the Savior disagree more than with the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, because of their position and apparent authority, He taught his disciples to follow their counsel.

It certainly seems that we can liken this scripture unto our own times. Even if some of the LDS leaders are not all that we think they should be, perhaps we should still recognize and follow this counsel from the Savior by having respect for both their position as well their teachings.

One of the key questions seems to be, “Do the leaders of the LDS church still sit in the modern version of Moses’ seat?” As we have already outlined, the scriptures seem to indicate that they do. If they contradict the teachings of the early brethren, I think the Savior might say that we don’t have to follow suit and do “after their works.” But when they teach good, wholesome doctrine such as making public proclamations against child abuse, homosexuality, and encouraging fidelity within the family unit, we should certainly recognize such statements for the good that is obviously there. In most cases, an honest observer will find that most of what the general authorities say is righteous and good in nature. They may be speaking about tithing instead of the united order and adherence to monogamy instead of plural marriage, but their teachings are generally a large step up from where our society currently lives. It is clear that it is the right direction for most people, most of the time. I think this clearly must be admitted by the honest observer.

One of the contributing factors to the problem of having to teach only the milk is the increase in public speaking engagements from the leaders of the church in recent years. Their words are appearing in the media far more than they have in the past. This naturally brings with it some very difficult questions – questions dealing with tough subjects like plural marriage, revelation, and priesthood. It has been fascinating to watch the reaction to these interviews and other media events. Different types of Mormons tend to react quite differently to these media events.

For example, social Mormons generally love to see church leaders in the media. They think its great and have a tendency to either ignore or, in many cases, not even recognize potentially incorrect statements being made. To the social Mormons there is only good and nothing bad in any of these interviews. No matter what is said, it tends to make the social Mormon proud to be a part of it all.

On the other hand, anti-Mormons tend to go the opposite direction. Anti-Mormons will generally see nothing of value in these interviews. They tend to see them as all bad, with no good thing being accomplished whatsoever. To them, it is a corrupt church, with nothing but corrupt leaders, sending a corrupt message.

Ultra-Mormons’ opinions tend to vary greatly on this issue, depending on what is said and which end of the spectrum they find themselves. As with most things in life, it is not so much a question of all bad or all good, as the socials and antis would have you believe. It is clearly a question of various shades of gray. I believe a realistic ultra-Mormon will generally come to this conclusion about public statements made by church leaders. They will have problems with some things that are said while completely admiring other things. In addition, they will understand why some half truths and complete falsehoods had to be uttered during those situations. In fact, they often come to the conclusion that the Savior or Joseph Smith would do pretty much the same thing under similar circumstances.

It seems clear that the truth of the issue lies somewhere between the two polarities of the social and the anti. In most cases, a fair assessment of these media events is that they generally promote good. For the most part, what is said is true and wholesome and difficult to throw stones at. However, it is also fair to say that some percentage of each interview is little more than public relations rhetoric and some portion is just plain misleading or false. It has been my experience that most people tend to only see what they want to see and are relatively black and white on this issue. The cry is generally one of “all bad” or “all good.” There seem to be relatively few who have the objectivity to see both the good and the bad which clearly exists in almost every interview.

Regarding the “bad” or incorrect statements made during these interviews, the real question at hand deals not so much with the statements themselves, but more with the motivation behind those statements. In spite of what is actually said, are these people trying to do good or evil? Are they trying to raise people towards God and promote a higher degree of righteousness as best they can, or are they making a conscious effort to deceive and bring people down to bondage and a lower level of righteousness? Are they honestly trying to serve God or are they knowingly fighting against God? These are important questions that cannot be answered by simply pointing out the inconsistencies of some of the statements made.

Again, Joseph Smith did basically the same type of thing in his day. For example, similar questions could be asked of Joseph Smith when he publicly denied living plural marriage. Why he said it is far more important than what he said. Should we expect any less from our leaders today? How did Joseph Smith answer some of the questions directed at him regarding some of the difficult doctrines, such as polygamy? How did he publicly deal with other higher doctrines – doctrines which most of the people listening to him were unprepared to receive? Did he ever cover things up? Did he ever say one thing to the learning masses and another to the faithful minority? Those who have studied the prophet’s life know that he did all of these things and more. Yet, the real question deals with why he did so. This point cannot be overstated. As far as judging the statements of church leaders is concerned, motivation is far more important than content. Joseph Smith’s motivation seemed to be to exalt some of the saints without destroying the rest in the process. However, the prophet faced the same challenge back then that the current church leaders also face today, namely, how do you give meat to those who are ready to progress while providing milk to those who are not? How do you help each person progress when they are all at different levels?

Again, motivation seems to be the key. What motivates the leaders of the church, both past and present, to say some of the half-truths and complete falsehoods they have said? If their motivations are good, then we should be satisfied, for they are better than the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s time. However, even if their motivations are corrupt in some way, like the scribes and Pharisees mentioned by Christ, we should probably still view their role as those with authority who “sit in Moses’ seat.” We should perhaps do as the Savior instructed the disciples in His day by giving honor to their position as leaders of God’s house, while at the same time, recognizing that “all is not well in Zion” and that there will be problems among them. As President Benson stated on this issue,

The Lord strengthened the faith of the early Apostles by pointing out Judas as a traitor, even before this Apostle had completed his iniquitous work (see Matthew 26:23 25; Luke 13:21 26). So also in our day the Lord has told us of the tares within the wheat that will eventually be hewn down when they are fully ripe. But until they are hewn down, they will be with us, amongst us. (See D&C 86:6 7.) (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg. 90, underline added)

President George Q. Cannon seemed to agree.

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle, or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will never fail us. When men and women depend upon God alone and trust in him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322, Mar 7, 1891, underline added)

The fact that there are tares among the leadership of the church places us in a situation no different from any other time on earth, even Christ’s time. As president Benson suggests, it is likely that they will remain with us for a while yet. In spite of this, the LDS church will continue to have authority right up through the second coming and at some point these tares will be hewn down and separated from the wheat. Until then, however, our duty seems to be to recognize the authority of the church, live according to the commandments of God, and try to understand our role as it relates to these events.

To Whom Shall We Go?

As already mentioned, barring personal revelation on the subject, we are left with whatever other gifts the Lord has given us to find the truth. If we become disgruntled at the modern LDS church or any of its leaders, we must carefully evaluate our options. From a certain perspective, this places us in a setting similar to that of the time of Christ, when people became disgruntled with what Christ was doing and saying. One such instance was recorded in the book of John. It reads,

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:66-69)

A similar type of reasoning can be applied to the LDS church. If we decide we don’t care much for the teachings or activities of this church, for whatever reason, to which church should we go? Which other church has the words of eternal life? If we truly believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the restoration was a reality, then we must also accept his prophecies regarding the authority within and the future cleansing of this church. If we believe and are sure that this church is the one spoken of as being “set in order” by the one mighty and strong, then where else do we plan to go?

There really aren’t very many other options available to us. We can join another Christian church with much less doctrine and authority to offer than the LDS church. We can search out the various fundamentalist groups to see if we can determine whether or not any of them have proper authority. Or, we can just quit and cease having any affiliation with any religious organization. Beyond that, there aren’t very many other options.

When considered carefully, it doesn’t make much sense to join another Christian church. I doubt that this is a legitimate option for most ultra-Mormons, or even many of those who used to be ultra-Mormons and who are now anti-Mormons. This option holds little satisfaction to one who loves Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. When looking closely at the areas such as doctrine, revelation, authority, and self-improvement, as found within Mormonism, other Christian churches tend to pale by comparison.

When considering the various fundamentalist groups, there are really only two major issues at hand. The first is whether or not they have the authority they claim. The second issue deals with whether or not God wants you to join such a group, even if they have the authority they claim. If these two issues can be verified by personal revelation, without deception, then this is a legitimate choice. As already explained, however, this should be a choice that includes the idea that the LDS church will be redeemed and set in order at some future time. Any fundamentalist group that views the LDS church as being entirely lost – with no hope for its future redemption, is likely to provide little or no long-term satisfaction. The fundamentalist groups worth researching the most should be those who believe that the LDS church is still recognized as Christ’s authorized church on earth with a specific mission to perform in the latter days. They will likely hold to some type of concept that they are temporarily fulfilling a special calling in the last days and will someday become a part of the mainstream LDS church again. Regardless of their relationship with the LDS church, without personal revelation on the topic it is extremely difficult to make good decisions regarding any fundamentalist group. However, this clearly must be an individual decision, made solely between an honest truth seeker and God.

That said, it doesn’t seem reasonable to assume that the Lord wants us to simply quit and cease having any affiliation with any religious group. In the first place, it is clear that the Lord likes to work through a church or organization of some kind. During his ministry in Israel, as well as his visit to the Nephites, one of the Savior’s primary activities dealt with the establishment of a church. Likewise, when restoring the gospel to Joseph Smith, establishing a church was a major part of the restoration effort. In addition, there is no argument that churches are only for the weak or those with little faith. For example, as we move up the chain of righteousness, beyond the lower laws of the church of Jesus Christ, we find the Church of the Firstborn, entered into by receiving and obeying the higher ordinances of the gospel. This indicates that even if we can achieve a higher level of personal righteousness, churches will likely be a major part of the Lord’s plan for us. It seems reasonable to assume that, barring a special calling outside the church, He would want his followers to be members of these churches, regardless of His displeasure with these organizations or the level of doctrine they may be teaching.

Another important issue for “quitters” to consider involves our desires for righteousness and our love for other people. If we’re prepared to leave the LDS church because we feel it is no longer meeting our needs, perhaps we need to reevaluate our priorities to see if they are righteous. Perhaps this is merely an indication that we should continue progressing by seeking to help others instead of seeking to help ourselves. Perhaps we misperceive our real needs as far as the next step in our progression is concerned. If the only thing we ask of the church is, “What’s in it for me,” we likely misunderstand both the purpose of church as well as our own readiness for something better. Perhaps we could rephrase the famous saying by President Kennedy to make it applicable to our relationship with the church: “Ask not what your church can do for you. Ask what you can do for your church.” As silly as this may sound, the concept is worth consideration.

If we feel that we are somehow better than or above the general membership of the church or that our hearts are so pure and our knowledge so great that this church has little more to offer us, then perhaps it is time to do as the Savior did and begin serving those within the church who would be benefited by our knowledge and goodness. Perhaps we should take on the role of other servants of God, Joseph Smith included, who, in spite of their desires for and knowledge of the higher things, were just as concerned about teaching and helping other people as they were about their own perceived needs. If this church doesn’t offer everything we want in the way of higher laws and ordinances, surely it offers us a means to teach and help others in meaningful ways, that someday we can become worthy of those higher things. Why not take advantage of these opportunities? They will likely be no more frustrating for us today than they were for the Savior or Joseph Smith in their days.

Being pure in heart includes the idea of being more concerned about others than you are about yourself. I feel those ultra-Mormons who leave the church because of its problems are probably thinking more about themselves than they are about serving others. Which, in turn, indicates that they are probably not ready for the higher principles of the gospel in the first place. Often, such people choose not to do anything with their knowledge and desires for righteousness. Since the work and glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and since this work, by its very nature, requires that we condescend to lowers levels in order to raise up the weak and the faithless, I doubt that the Celestial Kingdom or the Church of the Firstborn has a lot of room for such people. Leaving the church because of its frustrations and low level teachings may be a great indicator of who is and is not ready to move on to higher things.

If men such as Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Moses, and others lowered themselves to serve and teach the people on a fairly low level, even though they were ready for more, then it seems clear that this attitude is the one that we should foster as well. In order to prepare for the higher things yet to come, we must first show our worthiness of these laws by serving and blessing people on the lower level we’ve current been given. We must first show our willingness and ability to condescend to those who don’t know as much as we claim to know. The LDS church provides an excellent avenue for this attitude of service – an attitude which must be had by any who honestly desire to move to higher levels of righteousness and knowledge. What other organization or group is there that offers as many privileges and opportunities to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ and build up the kingdom of God in the way the modern LDS church provides? Although there are a lot of good, worthwhile organizations out there, I maintain there are none that equal the modern LDS church in these areas.

Who Are The Real Apostates?

One of the problems with all of this talk about latter-day apostasy comes in trying to determine who among us is an “apostate” and who is a true follower of Christ. In other words, are the apostates those who buck the system or those who go with the flow? Are they those who point out the problems in the church or those who don’t even see them in the first place?

The social Mormons are probably the most confident and calm on this issue. For them, anyone who questions or doubts any part of the church or it’s leadership is generally on the road to apostasy. I hope it is obvious by this point that the issue is more complicated than that.

Likewise, the anti-Mormons often take a similar black and white approach to the issue, claiming that anyone who likes the church and wants to be a part of it is deceived and gullible. As we’ve already discussed, both of these extremes are little more than that – extreme. Yet, it can be quite difficult to determine who is an honest seeker of truth and righteousness and who is just out to satisfy their own pride or insecurities.

History provides us with a good platform for discussing this issue. For example, if you were a member of the primitive church of Christ, at what point after Christ’s death would you start to stand up against the apostasy creeping into that organization? At what point, if any, would you have left that organization because you could no longer be a part of the false doctrine, hypocrisy, and lack of authority? Would it have been right after Christ died? After all of His apostles died? After the Nicean Creed was established? Or at some other point? Is it possible that you would have never stood up and raised objections about the gradual changes in doctrine and ordinances? Would you have gone along with all those changes and even supported them in an attempt to follow the church or it’s leaders? These are very difficult questions.

When we consider the apostasy of the primitive church, we have to ask ourselves, “Who were the real apostates back then?” Were they those who stood up and fought against (or at least questioned) the changes being made to the gospel and the church, or were they those who simply went along with those changes, never standing up for the truth by challenging the new directions? Of these two types of people, which of these potential “apostates” was more interested in truth? With which was God more pleased? Which of them sacrificed more for righteousness’ sake? If one is really concerned about God and truth, these same types of questions simply must be applied to our day as well. Recalling the words of Joseph Smith, as quoted before, we can perhaps apply his words to apostates as well as prophets.

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

Perhaps these same words can be said of the difficulty in discerning true and false apostates, both in the past as well as in our day. Maybe it is more difficult than we think. Samuel the Lamanite’s words to the Nephites apply to us as well in this regard.

And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. (Helaman 13:25-28)

I think this scripture applies well to some of the comments made about “apostates” in the church today. We generally like to hear that “all is well” in the church. We like to hear flattering words. But if someone comes along and begins to testify of our sins and potential problems in the church, we tend to find fault with that person. The church in general, especially the social Mormon, tends to view such people as sinners or apostates of some kind. The problem is that apostasy almost always deals with a very religious people. In most cases, it involves a people who believes they are following the right path of God. Yet, these words by Samuel the Lamanite seem to give us some clues as to what we should be looking for. In general, repentance seems to be the cry of most true prophets while flattery often seems to be spoken by false prophets or apostates. As President Benson once pointed out:

As I have sought direction from the Lord, I have had reaffirmed in my mind and heart the declaration of the Lord to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” (D&C 6:9; 11:9) This has been a theme of every latter-day prophet, along with their testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.

Repentance was the cry of our late and great prophet, Spencer W. Kimball. This theme permeated his talks and the pages of his writings, such as his marvelous book the Miracle of Forgiveness. And it must be our cry today, both to member and to nonmember alike – repent.

Watchmen – what of the night?34 We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. (Conference Report, May 1986, Pg. 4.)

In light of this, we should probably tend to be more open to those who are crying repentance than we are to those who are declaring that all is well in Zion. I don’t believe that this should be viewed as a black and white way of judging people, but rather as a general guideline. For example, in high school I once had a fairly wise seminary teacher who had a philosophy of teaching that I’ve always admired and tried to emulate. He said that his goal in teaching was to “calm the disturbed and disturb the calm.” I think this attitude is reflected by the Savior and the way he taught. To the proud (the calm), the Savior was usually fairly ruthless and harsh. To the humble sinner who had lost all hope (the disturbed), He was generally fairly forgiving and kind. In the midst of calling people to repentance, we must remember that we are trying to do what’s best for the individual. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to teaching and helping others in their spiritual progress. In general, the true follower of Christ will likely tend to display a few key characteristics:

1. First, he will tend to claim that all is not well in Zion. He will talk about the problems, the “sins” if you will, among us rather than how wonderful we are. True prophets tend to “say nothing but repentance” unto the people of their time.

2. Second, a true follower of Christ will not generally teach doctrine so high or deep that the majority of his listeners will perish. With a few exceptions, he will not teach to destroy, but rather to uplift and challenge at a level that people can handle. He will find more joy in the concept of people repenting than he will in people being destroyed because of wickedness. Hence, he will reveal only that which he ought to reveal for the salvation and blessing of those around him and no more.

3. Third, in his efforts to cry repentance, a true follower of Christ will tend to speak harshly against the proud and softly against the humble. He will tend to take this course regardless of whether the proud or humble are “sinning” or not.

These are difficult concepts for us to learn, regardless of what type of Mormon we are. They are harder still for us to incorporate into our daily attitude and actions.

It is true that few, if any, are currently called to “set in order the house of God.” However, each of us is called to pursue our own salvation as best we can and perhaps to “warn our neighbor” as the D&C directs.35 If a person stands up and makes negative comments about some portion of the church, it does not necessarily mean that this person is an apostate. In fact, it may be much more of an indication of apostasy if people just go with the flow and question nothing within the church or it’s leadership.

On the other hand, if people stand up and defend the church or promote a lower law, it is no evidence that they are apostates either. It should be clear by now that all knowledge is not for all people. The Lord calls people to teach his children at all levels of the gospel. The motive behind teaching is often more important than the teaching itself. “Why” is often more important than “what.” A wise and faithful servant of God will always seek the mysteries and deeper doctrines but will seldom reveal more than he should. As already cited, President Brigham Young expressed this principle as well as anyone.

There is one principle that I wish the people would understand and lay to heart. Just as fast as you will prove before your God that you are worthy to receive the mysteries, if you please to call them so, of the kingdom of heaven–that you are full of confidence in God–that you will never betray a thing that God tells you–that you will never reveal to your neighbour that which ought not to be revealed, as quick as you prepare to be entrusted with the things of God, there is an eternity of them to bestow upon you. Instead of pleading with the Lord to bestow more upon you, plead with yourselves to have confidence in yourselves, to have integrity in yourselves, and know when to speak and what to speak, what to reveal, and how to carry yourselves and walk before the Lord. And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to be–that you will deal out to your neighbours all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbours, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally he will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity.”

Let every person be the friend of God, that whatever He reveals to you, you can wisely handle without asking Him whether you shall tell your wife of it or not. You can recollect the backhanded blow I gave to some of the brethren last winter. They were in pain, because they knew something which they could not tell to their wives. I would not trust such men out of sight of my dinner. God will not trust the least thing to such persons. Sisters, if you are in pain, because you cannot tell your husbands everything, you had better take a little catnip tea, and get over it, if you can. What will God reveal to such persons? Just enough to keep them from the gulf of despair, and lead them along until they get a little sense. I say this that you may learn to reveal that which you ought, and to keep the rest to yourselves. By so doing you prove to God that you are His friends, and will keep His secrets.

The world may howl around you and plead for the secrets of the Lord which he has given you, but they will not get them. When the Lord has proved His children true to what He has given into their charge, and that they will do His bidding, He will tell such persons anything that they should know. A great many desire just enough of knowledge to damn them and it does damn a great many. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, Pg.371, underline added)

It is clear that the ultra-Mormon’s zeal for the gospel often leads him to say things that ought not to be said. If the definition of an apostate includes the notion of destroying the faith of the weak by giving them meat when they really need milk, then there are many apostates among the ultra-Mormons. Knowing what to say or not say to people is a difficult task. There are no clear guidelines or instructions concerning the matter. It is a judgement call. Unfortunately, many ultra-Mormons don’t use good judgement in these matters, believing that all truth should be poured out in great abundance among the masses, blatantly disregarding the Lord’s admonition to provide milk instead of meat. Even among those with nothing but pure intentions, mistakes will be made and people will “perish” because they were fed meat too early and too quickly. I speak to you as one who has experienced this first hand, and who will perhaps be held accountable for destroying souls with too much truth. It is a burden I hope others will avoid.

That said, we must also be cautious about not giving enough meat to the people. We sometimes feel that if one soul is lost due to teaching the higher doctrines, a mistake must have been made. This is simply not the case. Every prophet who ever lived lost people because of what they taught. Even the Savior himself, the greatest teacher ever, was continually losing followers because he taught them more than some could endure. This is just part of teaching the gospel. We should be cautious not to make the mistake of always teaching to the weakest among us for fear of offending them. There is no progression in this approach. If you teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ for very long, eventually you will offend someone. If you don’t, then you’re probably not doing a very good job of teaching the gospel. And you’re certainly not following the pattern set forth by the Savior and his prophets.36

As far as personal apostasy is concerned, the hardest part seems to be making the transition from being a social Mormon to becoming an ultra-Mormon. During this stage people feel that they should be able to discuss their views on the church openly and honestly, expecting to be corrected by authoritative “thus saith the Lord” kinds of statements which are consistent and make sense. But these tend to come all too seldom. Most of the time these people don’t even get a discussion worth taking part in. So, they tend to get themselves in trouble by speaking out about “the mysteries” or by asking the hard questions. Usually it isn’t because they are apostates, but because the gospel is very important to them. From a certain perspective, this seems to be exactly the type of person God and Christ would have us be. Yet it is difficult to manage in a church of 10 million people, most of whom are social Mormons.

The question as to who is an apostate today and who is not is a difficult issue. I don’t think it can be automatically associated with either the social Mormons or the ultra-Mormons. There are apostates in each group – both among those who don’t say or do enough as well as among those who say or do too much. Both are problems and both can be damaging to our progress in the gospel.

Rules Of Thumb For Ultra-Mormons

At the risk of belittling the significance and complexity of these issues, there are a few simple guidelines that I’ve found helpful when trying to keep things in perspective. These rules do not pretend to solve the problems at hand. But a brief discussion of them may help the ultra-Mormon cope with the church and all of it’s problems with a little bit better attitude.

Rule #1: Learn to love people as much as you love truth. The Savior once taught that the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath.37 The same could be said of truth and the gospel in general. Truth is for people, not people for truth. Truth is there to bless people, not the other way around. Without people, truth has no meaning or significance. It is a great thing to love the truth and to seek the higher things of the gospel. But if we can’t find room in our hearts to properly bless others with that truth, we will find it may leave us empty and cold in the end. For those who honestly love truth and the higher things of the gospel, there is a real decision to made between our love for truth and our love for people. Which do we love the most? In general, the higher we go with truth, the more people we will lose along the way. Yet, the more we lower ourselves to the people, the more truth we leave behind. Because many ultra-Mormons find themselves loving truth more than they love people, they have the tendency to say or do things that may spiritually harm individuals or groups who are not prepared for such things. They have difficulty leaving part of the truth behind in order to bless the individual. Our love of truth often blinds us concerning the special needs of others. There clearly must be a balance of affection between truth and people. We cannot choose wholly in favor of one side or the other and we can’t have it both ways, at least not in this lifetime.

Rule #2: Nothing is all good or all bad. We have to start seeing issues in the church as various shades of gray rather than simply black or white. The church and it’s leaders are not all good, as the social Mormons would have us believe. Nor are they all bad, as the anti-Mormons tend to preach. There is good and there is bad. Like truth, righteousness is where you find it. I think all of us know this deep inside. We even verbalize it on a regular basis. But I don’t think we actually live it very often. When we encounter problems or difficult issues, we tend to be all or nothing in our judgements of the church and it’s leaders. For some reason, it is very difficult for us to accept the good that is left in the temple, in spite of the changes. It is difficult for us to accept the good that President Hinckley does and says, in spite of his apparent contradictions. And it’s hard for us to be a part of a church that is not what it used to be – a church that is on a downward path. When it comes to our religion, we seem to either want everything to be perfect, or we don’t want any part of it. This is a tendency we should fight against. There is always good and there is always bad in every person and every organization. That’s just the way life is. If we are sincere truth seekers we will try to separate the good from the bad and avoid making rash judgements that place people and things in either extreme category.

Rule #3: All truth is not for all people. This thought has been expressed in multiple ways throughout this document and it is simply true. Knowledge is a great asset – a great blessing. However, knowledge can either exalt you or damn you. The wisdom to control our knowledge and the love we develop for others will determine what effect our knowledge will have on our salvation.

Rule #4: Help the church, perfect yourself. Some may see these as two separate, perhaps even opposing, issues. I don’t believe they are, at least not completely. Even if the church no longer provides you with the new doctrines or higher principles and ordinances you crave, there is much to gain by sharing yourself with an organization that has access to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the principles of Zion, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, just to mention a few. The fact that there is room for improvement only tends to emphasize the need for those with knowledge and a sincere love for the gospel to take an active part. It is true that we can’t preach all we would like to. It is also true that there will be many frustrations. However, these are the same frustrations faced by the likes of Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others. Their perfection came in that they learned how to be humble and loving enough to teach and serve others at various levels of gospel understanding and acceptance – not always at their own level. It should be just so with us today. To not take this course only shows our unworthiness of the knowledge and gifts God has given us. It only shows our own imperfections and weaknesses, not theirs.

Rule #5: Be careful how you judge. There are a lot of loving leaders in the church who honestly do their best. I am convinced that these people as a whole are generally good people. They pray for guidance often and they try hard to do what is right as best they know how. Many of these men and women are working out their salvation with fear and trembling just like everyone else. The fact that they’ve been called to a position of leadership shouldn’t make us judge them more harshly. If anything, it should make us sympathize with them to a greater degree. They need our help, not our condemnation. Leaders of the church will make many mistakes in all their varieties. Yet, I have to believe that the Savior is pleased with a great many of them – much more than He is with the intellectual fence-sitter who does little more than complain and criticize. I’ve sat in bishopric and quorum meetings in which I’ve watched loving bishops and quorum leaders break down and cry over the welfare of those in their stewardship. I’ve listened to them pray from the bottom of their hearts on behalf of others. Surely, in spite of their weaknesses or lack of gospel scholarship, their efforts generally bode well before the Lord. We must remember that it is charity that “endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”38 Although knowledge is important, it never receives a praise as high as charity does in the scriptures. A decent argument could be made in favor of those with great charity and little knowledge over those with great knowledge and little charity. May we never let one defeat or overpower the other in our search for salvation. Both are requirements and should work together to promote the kingdom of God at all levels of gospel awareness and obedience.

A Plea For More Revelation

When all is said and done, we simply must have more revelation, both on a collective basis, as well as an individual basis. Perhaps the only way to fully answer some of these questions and know what the Lord would have us do is via personal revelation of some kind. I feel we should follow the example Adam set for us when he was faced with not knowing what to do. How did Adam go about the task of avoiding deception and determining what his course should be amidst all the confusion? He sought for messengers from his Father, pure and simple. And what’s more, he waited until he received them. Nothing else was satisfactory to him. When he became confused by the teachings of those around him, he did not succumb to those teachings. He was not pacified by the false doctrines taught to him, even though many others delighted in them. Even when his desires for messengers was belittled by the learned and powerful religious leaders, he remained steadfast to his goal of learning truth via revelation. He waited patiently in frustrating ignorance until he got his answer. Should our course be much different than this?

Nobody was more in favor of the saints receiving personal revelation than was Joseph Smith. Although he was recognized as the mouthpiece of God for an entire dispensation, producing by far more published revelations than any other prophet of our time, Joseph Smith was always trying to get the saints to obtain revelation for themselves. He said,

Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject. (TPJS Pg.324, underline added)

It could be easily argued that the entire endowment is little more than an effort to show us how to obtain personal revelation. Joseph Smith’s effort was always one to make saints out of sinners, and prophets out of saints. Concerning the latter effort, the prophet also taught that,

The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching. (TPJS Pg.190)

Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this. (TPJS Pg.160)

Could we likewise make a similar statement about our relationship with the LDS church? Could we, with honesty, say that many men of the present time testify of both the good and the bad within the church, and most have received a personal witness of neither? Could we further say that no man knows of these things without this? I believe we could.

In addition to teaching the importance of receiving personal revelation, Joseph Smith also taught the importance of avoiding a dependency upon our leaders. How appropriate the following words are for us considering the difficulty and confusion of our day.

You need present revelation from God to your own dear self, in order to help you out of this nasty, confused labyrinth, and to set your feet firmly upon the solid rock of revelation. Mere flesh and blood cannot help you now. It requires an Almighty arm to effect your deliverance. Therefore, put no more trust in man, for a curse rests upon him that will be guided by the precepts of man…. You … must know…for yourself, and not of another. (MS 15:276, underline added)

President Brigham Young was no different in his teachings about the importance of personal revelation.

Without revelation direct from heaven, it is impossible for any person to understand fully the plan of salvation. We often hear it said that the living oracles must be in the Church, in order that the Kingdom of God may be established and prosper on the earth. I will give another version of this sentiment. I say that the living oracles of God, or the Spirit of revelation must be in each and every individual, to know the plan of salvation and keep in the path that leads them to the presence of God. (Journal of Discourses 9:279, underline added)

Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods…They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. (Journal of Discourses 1:312, underline added)

How often it has been taught that if you depend entirely on the voice, judgement, and sagacity of those appointed to lead you, and neglect to enjoy the Spirit for yourselves, how easily you may be led into error, and finally be cast off to the left hand? (Journal of Discourses 8:59)

Barring personal revelation on the matter, we seem to have no choice but to do the best we can with the information the Lord has already given us. We ought to do our best to understand what the Lord has told us through his prophets, both ancient and modern. Often, all we really need to seek is a confirmation or understanding of what has already been revealed. However, without direct revelation on the subject, we have no choice but to use what gifts God has given us to search the scriptures and words of the prophets to see if they can provide us with enough information to make an informed decision in the matter. For “whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived.”39 That is what this manuscript attempts to accomplish. Yet, even with all the evidence the Lord has provided us, there is a better way to know what is true and what is not. That way is personal revelation.

In a world that largely shuns the concept of God talking to man, I cannot help but wonder if increased humility and a sincere plea to God from more people, more often, would call down the powers of heaven on our behalf and lift much of our current confusion. I cannot help but wonder if a collective outpouring of our souls would yield the revelatory results we seek and so earnestly need. I wonder what would happen if more people became knowledgeable of the higher doctrines, more sincere in their desires to unselfishly purify themselves before God, and collectively more devout in their efforts to look for messengers from our Father, as Adam did. I wonder if we, just like Adam, would experience a time of testing and trial – a time full of confusion, concern, and preachers of all manner of false doctrine, only to find that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of more revelation – more true messengers sent to us from our Father.

I believe God hears the prayers of the people when they are gathered together in unity and faith. If there ever was a time when we needed to gather together and look for true messengers from our Father, that time is now. It is a time when the very elect are liable to be deceived, a time when even the humble followers of Christ err because they are taught by the precepts of men, and a time when the events of the last days and the second coming of Christ should be knocking at the door. The church of Christ is in turmoil and many of those who are sincerely seeking the will of God are confused and discouraged. There are many people crying “lo here” and “lo there.” Most of these people claim some sort of personal revelation in defense of their cries. Surely this is a time when we need to stop trusting in these people by turning our attention away from the arm of flesh and towards God himself.

As we seek for more revelation, we should also keep in mind that the Lord does not trivialize revelation for our own selfish desires. Revelation is to be sought after for the glory of God, the building up of His kingdom, and the blessing of mankind. It is intended for the purposes of righteousness, not selfishness. If sought after selfishly, the results may take us down paths of destruction and despair rather than exaltation and enlightenment. As President Brigham Young once warned us regarding our revelatory experiences:

Now hear me, and I will try to talk so that you can understand. I will presume to go a little farther than I did, with regard to the President of the Church, and say to this people, a man might have visions, the angels of God might administer to him, he might have revelations, and see as many visions as you could count; he might have the heavens opened to him, and see the finger of the Lord, and all this would not make him the President of the Church, or an Elder, a High Priest, an Apostle; neither would it prove that he was even a Saint: something else is wanted to prove it. Why I mention this, is because of the frailty, weakness, and short sightedness of the people. If a man should come and tell you he had a vision, and could appear to substantiate his testimony that he had had the heavens open to him, you would be ready to bow down and worship him; and he might be, at the same time, perfectly calculated to destroy the people — one of the biggest devils on earth. He would appear to be one of the finest men, to be honest and unassuming, and come with all the grace and generalship of the devil, which is so well calculated to deceive the people. Admit this to be the case.

If you ask me what will prove a man or woman to be a Saint, I will answer the question. “If you love me,” says Jesus, “you will keep my sayings.” This is the touchstone. If you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father, you will keep the commandments of the Son — you will do his will. If you neglect to do this, you may have all the visions and revelations that could be bestowed upon a mortal being, and yet be nothing but a devil. Why I use this expression is because when a man’s mind is enlightened, and he turns from that light to darkness, it prepares him to be a devil. A man never knew how to be wicked, until light and truth were first made manifest to him. Then is the time for man to make their decision, and if they turn away from the Lord, it prepares them to become devils. (Brigham Young, JD 1: 133 4)

There is little sense in judging either the church leadership or any others who claim revelation and visions until we know for ourselves what is true and what is not true and what we should do about it. As Brigham Young has indicated, we must first understand the righteous principles of the gospel in order to judge whether or not a visionary man is righteous or worth following. We must be able to righteously judge the “whys” of the church and it’s leadership, not just the “whats.”

When all is said and done, only a few options exist concerning the professed revelations of others, whether in the church or out. Either they are receiving true revelations, or they are being deceived, or they are simply lying. There are no other options. How can we know which is the case? I believe we can know in the same manner that Adam knew, by making good judgements regarding the reasoning of and motivation behind the “preachers” around us, by humbly remaining faithful to that God has already given us, and by earnestly seeking messengers from our Father who will further teach us the ways of truth and light. We must also remember that there is much deception in the world today. Adam asked a legitimate question when he uttered, “How may I know that you are true messengers?” There can be nothing wrong with us asking the same questions regarding our own revelatory experiences or those of others. We must be cautious not to fall into the trap of loving revelation or gifts of the spirit more than we love God, righteousness, or the truth.

Let us place our trust in the Lord. Let us collectively begin pouring out our hearts to him in humble, but mighty prayer. And if He chooses not to answer our prayers in the manner or time frame we desire, let us continue to wait on Him, just as Adam did, before choosing a course that may harm either ourselves or Christ’s church in the long run. To abandon the church merely because it is not all that we want it to be, seems to be the opposite of this course. Pray to see if the LDS church is the place the Lord wants you to be, in spite of all of the apparent contradictions, milky doctrines, and frustrations. You may just find that it is. In fact, you may just find that there is a lot of personal progression yet to be experienced within this falling church – progression which may be little more than a preview of what its like to be a God throughout all the eternities yet to come.


This represents the eighth manuscript I’ve written on gospel topics. I’ve written about eternal progression, the attributes of Zion, the importance of plural marriage, the attributes of deity, the nature of priesthood power, and much more. Yet, due to the nature of the topics discussed, I feel that only two of these manuscripts are appropriate for general consumption. The others, this one included, are only given to those who I feel are prepared to read such things or who have a special need of some kind.

I’ve also been heavily involved over the years with what could legitimately be called “study groups,” both on the Internet as well as in person, both formal and informal. In spite of the negative connotations often given to such things by the church, these discussions have taught me a great deal and I am grateful to have been a part of them. Yet, in most of these groups I’ve watched people fall by the wayside because they couldn’t handle some teaching or other. I’ve also watched while others twisted and warped the simplest doctrines to fit their own particular desires or whims in life – desires which probably have little or nothing to do with truth, Zion, or the Celestial Kingdom.

It has been my pleasure to know people, both in and out of the church, who have tremendous gifts of the spirit. It has not always been clear to me whether these gifts were being used for good or evil, but the fact that some of these people have gifts can hardly be disputed in my mind. I’ve experimented with some of these gifts myself and have firsthand experience with some of them.

I’ve also spent time among some of the fundamentalist groups. I’ve sat in their homes and have invited them into mine. I’ve listened to their teachings and I’ve become familiar with some of their character, personalities, and convictions, which vary greatly in my opinion. I’ve even been invited to speak at their firesides and visit with them in their places of worship, which I’ve enjoyed very much. Given the right group, and becoming convinced of proper authority, I would probably make a great fundamentalist. Some of them are very much my kind of people.

I’ve placed my beliefs, and my ability to support myself financially, in the line of fire by studying philosophy in college, with an emphasis on religious philosophy. I’ve also made it a point to learn as much about other religions as possible. At one point in my life I used to collect anti-Mormon materials, which I read with great interest. I’ve home schooled my children. I’ve been into herbs and health foods. I’ve studied and experienced auras, chakras, pressure points, and kinesiology. I’ve listened to many people as they talked about many things and I’ve questioned and prayed about everything with a sincere desire to know the truth. I’ve wanted to know every point of view I could possibly find regarding my beliefs and have made sincere efforts to investigate all such things.

I’ve studied hard, I’ve prayed hard, I’ve fasted often, and I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about, discussing, and teaching things associated with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ over the span of many years. In short, I feel I’ve had a relatively in-depth experience with the things of this restored gospel. It has been a major part of my life for many, many years and will likely continue to be so.

From a doctrinal standpoint, I’ve finally come to a point where I feel there isn’t much more of great significance to learn until the Lord sees fit to reveal more to us. I don’t say this to satisfy my feelings of pride or arrogance, but rather to express my frustration with our current situation. In fact, I’d love it if someone would prove me wrong. Of course there will always be new insights here and there. But it requires much more effort to find them than it used to and they are much more speculative in nature. In addition, I suppose there will always be more to learn regarding history and there will always be endless debates on the finer points of doctrine or possible truths outside of Mormonism, such as Kabbalah, mysticism, myths, Gnosticism, or other potentially apostate versions of once revealed truths. However, whose opinion is right regarding most of these discussions is anyone’s guess. It is my belief that they are unlikely to be resolved without more revelation of some sort. I tend to grow weary of such endless, highly speculative debates. For the most part these debates are not that different than the preacher who teaches the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. Which teachings are true and which are meant to deceive can only be truly discerned with the help of God.

All that said, I am still very hungry for more. I delight in the things of God. Yet, I weep and wail unto the Lord constantly about these depressive, telestial circumstances in which I find myself. I feel I can say in all honesty that I sincerely “hunger and thirst” after more knowledge and righteousness. And yet, very seldom do I feel that my hunger is being satisfied or my thirst quenched. Needless to say, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time over the last few years pondering and praying about my role within the church, the gospel, and life itself. The answers I feel I have found generally only serve to raise many more questions. It is difficult for me to accept the fact that this is all there is – that for some reason, the Lord has seen fit to give me this much and no more…at least for now. It is hard for me to accept and live with this conclusion. A part of me will probably never accept it fully, which I believe is a good thing in the long run. However, I have no choice but to live in the circumstances or “sphere” in which God has placed me. And perhaps my role at this time is not so much to learn more, but to do more with what I have already learned, both with my family as well as with other adults.

A testimony can be a complicated thing. Due to differing capacities and experiences, it can be quite different for different people. Yet, as I recently wrote in one of my papers, true faith, as spoken of in the scriptures, should always be based on some sort of support or evidence in order to draw a conclusion. To believe in something for no reason is to place your life in the hands of random chance. It is like trying to read an eye chart in a completely dark room. Your chances for success are extremely low, if there is any chance at all. This principle applies to spiritual truth as much as it does to any other kind of truth. We must find “substance” and “evidence” to support our spiritual faith or it will be of little or no value to us. (See “Truth and People” p.7.)

With this in mind I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to pinpoint why I believe what I believe regarding the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith and Mormonism in general. As a result, I’ve categorized my reasons for belief into three major areas. These three areas are:

1) Spiritual Experiences,

2) Rational Explanations, and

3) Moral Principles.

These three areas combine to create the bulk of my testimony regarding Mormonism and the restored gospel. Each deserves some explanation and detail in order to be at least partially understood by those who have not personally experienced the same things I have had the privilege of experiencing.

Spiritual Experiences

My spiritual experiences have ranged from small, seemingly meaningless events to significantly deep and often profound incidents. One of the most significant and intense experiences occurred while reading the Book of Mormon in the Missionary Training Center. During the two months I was there I woke up earlier than the other missionaries for the sole purpose of gaining the spiritual testimony of the Book of Mormon of which so many have spoken. I prayed as sincerely as I ever had up to that time in my life. The result was an experience that was more powerful than my words will be able to communicate. The book came alive to me. Tears became common, even while reading portions that few people would consider terribly spiritual or emotional. Both my mind and my “heart” were affected by this experience, which lingered throughout my reading of the book. In fact, this experience had such a powerful effect on my mind that by the time I had finished reading the book this one time, I was able to ask others to begin reading anywhere in the book and I could tell them within a few chapters where they were reading. Regardless of what the Book of Mormon may or may not be, I could no more deny the experience I had at that time than I could that I exist. It has continued to influence my life ever since.

In addition to my experience with the Book of Mormon, I’ve been subject to many other experiences that I can only describe as being primarily spiritual in nature. The most constant and reoccurring of these experiences have probably occurred during times when I was teaching, writing, and giving blessings. At these times I have often had feelings and/or thoughts that have clearly led me along some path or other – telling me what to say and how to say it. In many instances, words have come to my mouth very quickly, without thought or deliberation of any kind. It would be difficult for me to argue against the idea that I was being led by some unseen force. It has been as though the words have “flowed” through me to the audience for which they were intended. Again, these experiences have often involved both my thoughts and my feelings.

Less consistent, though no less meaningful, have been my experiences with certain gifts of the spirit. Some of these gifts are so remarkable and extraordinary that I would not have believed them possible had I not experienced them for myself. Without going into too much detail, included in these experiences have been such things as dreams of future events, feelings enabling me to predict certain events with repeated consistency, the ability to perceive what other people are feeling or thinking (which seems to be especially acute when I’m teaching), immediate and unmistakable answers to specific prayers, seeing beings from beyond the veil, and more. These experiences go way beyond the typical confirmation or “warm feeling” sometimes experienced by hearing a rousing speech or reading a heart-warming story. Many of these experiences have been predictable and able to be repeatedly tested by myself over the span of many years. Some of these experiences have been a part of my life since childhood. Others became more prevalent and recognizable later in life. In the end, I’ve experimented with them in ways that have not only amazed me but have satisfied my soul that they are real and involve powers beyond those with which mankind is typically aware. As with my experiences with the Book of Mormon and inspiration outlined above, I can only describe these “gifts” as being spiritual in nature.

In addition to these more concrete experiences I’ve had many other impressions to both my heart and mind that have helped to shape my system of beliefs. Many of these have been difficult to discern from other common feelings or thoughts that may or may not have their origins in anything truly spiritual. Yet, they likewise cannot be thrown out as true spiritual experience. It is simply difficult at times to tell the two apart.

Rational Explanations

From my youth my nature has always been to ask questions and try to figure things out. I’ve seldom been satisfied by pat answers or “status quo” rational. For better or for worse, I’ve challenged everyone from parents and other family members to school and university teachers to church leaders and friends regarding a great many issues. Truth and choosing the “right” way to do things is, and always has been, all-important to me. The study of philosophy in college for five years was a relatively perfect fit for my naturally questioning and logical disposition.

As a result of this natural characteristic, I’ve always sought the best explanations I could find regarding the gospel and religion in general. I’ve never been satisfied with the standard answers – often resulting in difficult discussions with people regarding sensitive subjects. In my search for spiritual and moral truths I’ve seldom been content to answer only the “what’s” of an issue. I’ve always felt the need to answer the “why’s” as well. This has led me down many paths of discovery and reconciliation of otherwise apparent contradictions or difficult problems.

Through all of this relatively deep investigation and thought, I have almost unwaveringly been impressed with the solutions provided within Mormon theology. While studying philosophy at BYU, for example, I had a rare opportunity to compare the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, B.H. Roberts, and others to those of the great religious philosophers throughout history. In what can only be described as “amazingly brilliant,” these teachings from LDS leaders proved superior time and time again. Philosophical bottomless pits such as the problem of evil, the nature and character of deity, divine foreknowledge and human free will, and others are addressed far more adequately within LDS theology than any other religion with which I am familiar. This has been so much the case that I have become convinced that one of two scenarios must be true: Either Joseph Smith was the most underrated, dishonest genius of our time or he was a true prophet getting his thoughts from some power beyond his own. Given the spiritual experiences mentioned above, I can only opt for the latter explanation.

In addition to comparing LDS theology with other systems of belief, I’ve found even more credibility by comparing Mormonism against itself. “Mysteries” or apparent contradictions have fallen one by one as I’ve compared, prodded, and searched the scriptures and words of the leaders with an open mind and a certain amount of sincere prayer. As a result I’ve come to firmly believe that the greatest truths of Mormonism are those that both solve some of our greatest theological problems and are, at the same time, the least understood by both Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Simple teachings about the nature and character of God, for example, are both beautifully profound and, at the same time, amazingly offensive to most people, including members of the LDS church.

From an intellectual standpoint, studying Mormonism for me has been like putting together a grand puzzle with no complete picture to use as a guide and many unrelated pieces thrown into the pile that must be sifted through and either kept, set aside, or thrown out one by one. Although there are still plenty of loose pieces on the table and the picture is not yet completed – not by a long shot, I feel I’ve been able to fit too many of the other pieces together to abandon the puzzle now. I honestly feel much of the picture is there before me and I honestly like what I see. It is my firm belief that I will be able to continue adding more pieces to the puzzle and will someday have a complete, finished picture that is both beautiful and makes perfect sense – if not in this life then in the next. In the end I can only say that LDS theology not only offers a vast amount of breadth and depth, but also provides a rational basis for that content. To me, it is practical, rational theology.

Moral Principles

Finally, a large and significant portion of my testimony rests in the simple fact that Mormonism teaches good and wholesome principles as the core of the gospel plan. When all is said and done, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith is all about incorporating unselfish, moral, and righteous principles into the minds and hearts of its followers. All the rest is merely a means to that end. It is my belief that anyone who honestly and open mindedly seeks to embrace the wholesome principles outlined in the scriptures will also love Mormon doctrine and theology in its true form, for it is impossible to separate the two. Those who don’t care for such principles are likely to find little comfort within the confines of true Mormonism. Although mistakes and ulterior motives within the LDS church often muddy the water, I believe that the core principles of faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, hope, love, humility, gentleness, meekness, diligence, holiness, lowliness of heart, long suffering, and all others found in the scriptures are at the heart of the restored gospel and are good and upright in and of themselves.

It is difficult for me to imagine anyone openly desiring to argue or fight against such principles. Although difficult to understand at times, the more I have studied the doctrines of the restored gospel and the history of the church, the more I have become convinced that Joseph Smith’s motives were pure and wholesome – that everything he did was for the direct purpose of promoting and instilling these types of principles into the hearts and minds of the people. I am convinced that these principles describe both Zion and the Celestial Kingdom – the ultimate goals of all things LDS. Within every ordinance of Mormonism, from baptism to endowment to plural marriage, I see these unselfish, loving principles upheld and advanced. In every bit of doctrine, from simple faith to the united order and consecration, I only see a good and unselfish lifestyle that, if honestly lived, would bring about the very heaven we all claim to seek so badly. I could no more reject the truthfulness and goodness of these core principles than I could life itself. Without them, there is no hope. With them, all good things are possible. Inasmuch as these principles are the main focus and motivation behind Mormonism, I am, and will in all likelihood continue to be, a “Mormon.” I love them. I seek them. I wish I were a better example of them. And I am convinced that if all people would embrace and uphold them by keeping the commandments and honoring their covenants with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, we would experience the highest degree of joy and happiness available to any living soul.

In the midst of all the controversy and unsolved difficulties found among both early and modern Mormonism, fully recognizing the many challenges and trials involved with upholding such a testimony as that which I have born, these three areas of focus continue to be the foundation of my belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am as certain of these things as I am of anything else holding conviction of any certainty in my life. These areas are solid to me. They are not flippant, naïve, or without reason. They are real and provide a solid foundation for both my current beliefs as well as any spiritual learning and growth I may realistically expect to experience in the future.

This is why I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. If I honestly believed that there was anything better under the sun or that would explain the experiences I’ve mentioned to a greater degree, I feel I would pursue that course instead. However, as of the time of writing this testimony, I know of no such course that would offer an adequate response to the experiences and principles listed above. To me, Mormonism is verifiable, rational, morally beautifully, and unable to be adequately explained in any other way than to say that Joseph Smith was who he said he was, and the teachings he espoused and promoted are verily true, wholesome, and exalting in nature.

When all is said and done, I feel I must have some kind of personal witness before I will leave this church for any other option, including inactivity. Though I have prayed often about it, such a witness I have not yet received. To me, even with all of its flaws and problems, this church still offers me and my family a lot of good. It is discouraging that there are so many frustrations and problems within the church. The downward path of the church brings me a lot of sadness, misery, and heartache. It has taken its toll on the zeal and commitment I am able to give to the church today. But in the midst of these negative aspects, I still find a good deal of joy, comfort, and progression with my activity in the church. Alongside the hypocrites and “ignorant faithful,” I’ve found some good, humble people with hearts full of love and faith in God. Along with the sadness I feel every time I go to the temple, there is still much to think about and learn there. In the midst of all the wildly incorrect talks and lessens, there is still the occasional good one that truly makes me think and encourages me to be a better person. And although I am frustrated when my children are taught false doctrines in primary and Sunday School, for the most part, I believe they are being blessed by their teachers and leaders. My children will be better because of the influence and efforts of some of these people. The church still provides a good basis for learning the basics about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the gospel in general – which is pretty much what my children need at this time, as well as many adults I know. And even though I am not able to openly speak about or discuss everything I would like to in the church, I am still given a forum to speak about a lot of things. In fact, I feel I’ve had a hand in teaching many people things that they may not have ever heard about had I not been there to teach them – things that are higher and more exalting in nature. In short, even with all of its problems and frustrations, until the Lord tells me otherwise, I know of no better place for me and my family to be than in this church. Perhaps there is a better place, but I do not know where or what it is at this time. I feel the same is probably true for most other ultra-Mormons as well.

When all is said and done, perhaps the most accurate summary regarding the state of “modern Mormonism” was provided by Elder H. Verlan Anderson when he said,

While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is still true “in so far forth.” It is still the Lord’s house and will remain such until He says otherwise. In addition, I firmly believe that the Lord will eventually send “one mighty and strong” at some point in the future to save and redeem this church and to raise it to a whole new level of knowledge and righteousness in preparation for the second coming of Christ and the building of Zion. I believe these will be very difficult times for Mormons of all types. I believe a great many people will be left behind or destroyed due to their pride, ignorance, and foolish traditions. Yet, it seems that this may be the only way for the church to move forward. Unless the Lord directs me to other paths, I relish the idea of possibly being a part of this redeeming effort within the church. I love the idea of someday being called to help teach the higher truths of the gospel “to the masses” and helping to lay the foundations of Zion. I only hope that my pride or lack of patience and motivation regarding the current situation in the church doesn’t prevent me from being a part of this great effort when it finally happens. I worry that my lack of active participation in the church and my inability to serve people at all levels of gospel maturity may render me as unworthy to be a part of such a meaningful work.

I hope that we will all continue to seek and find true answers from God regarding our current dilemma with the church. I hope we will begin to judge more righteous judgement based on sound reasoning and true revelation from God rather than our own insignificant or selfish desires, and that we will continually and humbly seek only that which is true, good, wholesome, and uplifting for ourselves and our fellow man. May we find favor with God by patiently choosing to serve him in the manner in which He chooses for us, no matter how lowly, frustrating, or condescending it may seem, that we may become as the Lord himself when he taught, “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”40 May we collectively and earnestly beseech God to visit us with more truth, understanding, and righteousness, and may we be ever involved with making ourselves more worthy of such a visitation, is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


1 Journal of President David O. McKay, January 7, 1960.
2 D&C 49:19-20; D&C 70:14; D&C 78:5-7; D&C 104:15-18
3 See also the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.7, Ch.13, p.378 p.379
4 The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170.
5 For a good explanation of some of the circumstances involving Emma and the revelation on plural marriage, see “Mormon Polygamy: A History” page 57 by Richard Van Wagoner.
6 See D&C 124:9; 132:17, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 39, 49, 57, 63.
7 Solemn Covenant, p. 394.
8 JD 9:151
9 Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, 28 December 1938
10 D&C 112:26
11 JD 15:360
12 2 Nephi 28:21 (20-31)
13 D&C 56:4
14 Jacob 2:27
15 Jacob 2:23-35
16 Mosiah 15:1-5; Alma 18:5, 24-28
17 See Alma 40:20.
18 Mormon 8:36. See also 2 Nephi 28:3.
19 See Isaiah chapters 3 and 4
20 One possible exception to this might be found in D&C 49:8.
21 Joseph Smith History 1:69 also seems to provide some support for this claim.
22 D&C 45:26-33
23 Mormon 8:38 (34-38)
24 Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.63-64; A Witness and a Warning, Pg. vii-viii
25 D&C 85:7-8
26 D&C 86:7
27 D&C 19:7 (6-12)
28 Matthew 13:20-21
29 TPJS Pg. 364
30 1 Kings 13:19
31 D&C 19:22
32 Brigham Young, JD 9:151
33 Luke 18:10-14
34 See Isaiah 21:11. See also Isaiah 21:6; Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Jeremiah 31:6; Jeremiah 51:12; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:6-7; Mosiah 12:22; Mosiah 15:29; 3 Nephi 16:18; 3 Nephi 20:32; D&C 101:45-46, 53-54.
35 D&C 88:81
36 Matthew 13:57; Matthew 15:12; John 6:66; Moses 6:37
37 Mark 2:27
38 Moroni 7:47
39 Joseph Smith – Matthew 1:37
40 D&C 122:8

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Our Living Hollow Earth

Our Living Hollow Earth

by Rodney M. Cluff
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The Aurora Australis Over Antarctica

For centuries, people have referred to our earth, the planet upon which we live, as “mother earth.”

In nature, seeds germinate in fertile soil to become giant trees, crops of our fields, or the humble grass we walk on. We don’t even think about the air we breath, but we couldn’t live without it. The soil and waters of earth grow the food we eat. The gravity of earth holds our feet firmly on the ground. Without the gravity of our mother earth, we would float out into outer space and be lost. Our lives depend entirely upon the fortitude of our mother earth. From space, earth appears as a beautiful jewel shining in the light of the sun. Our lives depend so much on mother earth that most of the time we take her for granted, but some people even worship her.

It would seem that mother earth indeed is the source of all life upon it. Seeds germinate in its soil, fish lay their eggs in the sea and hatch to fill the oceans with life. Our very own bodies are made from mother earth — made from the minerals taken up in the plants that we eat. And when we die, our bodies disintegrate into soil once more to provide the fertilizer for yet another life to begin its life’s journey in the light of the sun. Yet science has utterly been unable to generate life from lifelessness. It seems to be an indisputable law of the universe that only life can beget life. Therefore, it is a logical assumption that our earth must be alive in order for it to beget life on and within it.

Indeed, God’s revealed word to man indicates that our earth is alive. It appears that God would have us know that our earth upon which we live is actually a living being. This is not a new idea. The indigenous people of many lands believe to this day that the earth is alive. For example, the American Indian treat the earth with great respect because they believe it is alive.

Is there any scriptural or scientific evidence that would indicate that our earth is alive? Believe it or not, there is an abundance of this evidence. Not that the earth should be worshiped like many ancient peoples apparently did when they worshiped the earth, the sun, the moon and stars. But at least, this knowledge should generate within us a deep respect for the planet upon which we live which provides us our home in the vastness of space.

The scriptures do indicate that our “mother” earth is alive. In the scriptures, we find that the Earth has many characteristics of a living being. It has a mouth, a womb, a heart, a navel, with openings into it’s interior, breathes, and can even “speak” as an intelligent being. Indeed, the scriptures when describing the earth, describe a hollow planet with polar openings and an interior sun with people living throughout its entirety — on its outer surface, within it’s shell, on it’s inner surface and within the interior sun.

Earth’s Premortal Existence

As all living beings, the earth was “born” spiritually first, and then came into existence physically second. It acknowledges the existence of its creator, God, and “obeys” God’s celestial law. As a righteous living being, the Earth underwent a baptism of immersion in water at the time of Noah’s flood. At the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the Earth, it will undergo a baptism of fire, and at the end of it’s temporal existence, the earth will “die” and be brought forth in it’s resurrected form as a celestial kingdom to be inhabited in the eternities by those of its inhabitants worthy of a celestial glory.

All life had it’s genesis with God. Jesus Christ is the creator of heaven and earth — the Great “I Am,” who revealed himself to Moses. And all living things were created first spiritually before they were created temporally upon the earth.

In Genesis 2:5, we learn that “every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew” were created first spiritually before they were created physically upon the earth.
This was clarified in Joseph Smith’s re translation of the Book of Moses: “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 3:5)

All living beings, including the earth, have a spirit body, as well as a physical body. Jesus Christ revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith, “that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.” (Doctrine & Covenants 77:2) It is the spirit within each living being that gives it life. When that spirit leaves the physical body at death, then that body becomes life-less.

From this we learn that within our bodies, we have a spirit that looks like us, but is made of a “spiritual” substance. To the prophet Joseph Smith, it was revealed that, “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.” (D&C 131:7-8)

What’s more, it is evident from the scriptures that the spirit of every living thing had parents in Heaven that gave it life. Concerning our heavenly parents, the scripture states, referring to Our Father in Heaven, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrew 12:9) And Christ told his disciples to pray to “Our Father which art in heaven…” in which Christ is telling us that we all have a father in heaven — the father of our spirit bodies, and if we have a father, we also, of course, have a mother in heaven, — for wherever was there a father without a mother?

Even so, if our earth is a living entity, it must also have a spirit that gives it life. Indeed, it is so, for the spirit world of this earth is where the spirits of all men go at death. The Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, in his book, MORMON DOCTRINE wrote, “The spirit that enters the body at birth leaves it at death, and immediately finds itself in the spirit world. That world is upon this earth.” (MORMON DOCTRINE, p. 68) Since the spirits of all living entities have the same shape and appearance as their physical bodies, so the earth’s spirit world has the same shape and form as it’s physical body — and is what makes the earth alive.

Joseph Fielding Smith, the great nephew of Joseph Smith, stated that, “This earth is a living body.” (DOCTRINES OF SALVATION, Vol. I p. 72) As a living body, the earth actually obeys God’s commands. It is a mortal being and will die and be resurrected the same as all of us by the power of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “And again, verily, I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law. Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall DIE, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.” (D&C 88:25, 26).

As a living being, our earth has a spirit — it is the spirit world where all men go at death. That spirit world had it’s beginning in heaven as did the spirits of all men. The earth was created spiritually in heaven before being created physically here in our solar system. If the earth’s spirit were created in the presence of God, most likely it was created in His world. God, our Heavenly Father’s planet is a star in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. The largest stars are located in the center of the galaxy and control all the other stars throughout the galaxy by reason of their great size, mass and central position.

This was revealed by God to Abraham, “And I Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees; And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was NEAREST UNTO THE THRONE OF GOD; and there were many great ones which were near unto it; And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.” (ABRAHAM, The Pearl of Great Price, 3:1-3) Verse 9 clarifies that it is Kolob that governs our galaxy wherein our earth resides: “And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.”

In the explanation of Facsimile No. 2 in the book of Abraham, Figure 2 says, “Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians, Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides…Fig 4…the time of Oliblish, which is equal with Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time.”

Therefore, as revealed through Abraham, at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy which is “the same order (in the same galaxy) as that upon which thou standest,” are two stars of gigantic size, in rotation about a common center of gravity — a double star system with the rest of the galaxy rotating about them. Both Kolob and Oliblish are the same size and take 1,000 of our earth years to complete one rotation or day. Oliblish “…is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides…” and Kolob is the “…nearest unto the throne of God.” Therefore, I conclude that the throne of God is INSIDE Kolob and Kolob is HOLLOW as are all stars and planets. In fact, the stars ARE planets — the planets of the Gods.

Since a hollow planet or star essentially consists of matter in orbit about its central sun, perhaps we could use Kepler’s 3rd Law of Planetary Motion to calculate the size of Kolob. Using Kepler’s 3rd Law of Planetary Motion, we can use the following formula to calculate orbital radii,
R = a planet’s distance from the sun in astronomical units. One AU equals 93,000,000 miles, the average distance from the earth to the sun.
T = the time for a planet to orbit the sun in earth years
V = 1 divided by the square root of R.
Knowing this formula and the time it takes for one revolution of Kolob,
100 AU = 1/10 earth velocity X 1000 years

From this, we can deduce that the distance to Kolob’s outer surface from God inner throne, “…the celestial or the place where God resides…” would be 100 astronomical units, or 9.3 billion miles. That is 2.5 times the distance from the sun to the planet Pluto. The diameter of Kolob and its companion double star then, would be about 18.6 billion miles — plenty of space could be found within its hollow interior for the creation of planets.

Since spirit beings are the offspring of celestial parentage — just as the human race has celestial parents of their spirits, it is logical to assume that the earth’s spirit body would have celestial parentage also — that being the planet of Our Heavenly Father and His Throne in Kolob at the center of our galaxy.

Earth’s Physical Origin and Characteristics

Just as our physical bodies were created on this earth, the Earth’s physical body probably also originated within our own solar system — a best guess would be the planet Uranus.

One of the physical characteristics the scriptures give in describing our planet earth as a living entity, is that it has a “womb” within it, and that our earth is the “mother” of mankind and can actually utter words.
In the Book of Moses, Chapter 7, verse 48, we read, “And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and HE HEARD A VOICE FROM THE BOWELS THEREOF, saying: Wo, wo is me, THE MOTHER OF MEN; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is GONE FORTH OUT OF ME? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide UPON MY FACE?” Thus Enoch testified that the earth is an intelligence living entity that he heard speak words.

In recent decades with the mapping of earth’s sea floor, it appears that our “mother” earth is expanding, and even has stretch marks in many places on the ocean floor, and many continents appear that they could have at one time fit together as the scriptures indicate that in the beginning there was but one continent that came up out of the sea, and at the beginning of the millennium that the many continents shall be “returned to their own place” as they were before they were divided.

In Genesis, we read, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:9-10)

Even the earth’s oceans shall be driven back into the north countries of our hollow earth where they came from at the time of Noah’s flood, and the many continents and islands will become one continent again in the time of the restitution of all things.

As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21)

At the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign, “He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land; And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.”

The mid-Atlantic ridge was probably where they were divided. It goes from pole to pole paralleling the “everlasting hills” of the Rocky Mountains that joins up with the Andes Mountains that extend even down into Antarctica and on into Inner Earth.

There is a continual series of earthquakes along the mid-Atlantic ridge and around the Pacific “ring of fire” where molten lava emerges pushing the continents apart as the earth expands. Perhaps, when the earth “dies,” after the short period of time after the millennium, the earth will break apart at the mid-Atlantic ridge, and then roll up like a scroll.

After His resurrection, Jesus came to ancient America and spoke of this to the Nephite Nation, “And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away;” (3 Nephi 26:3)

The ancient American prophet Mormon wrote, “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?” (Mormon 5:23)

If the earth is hollow, then earth’s shell could conceivably break apart down the seam of the mid-Atlantic ridge and then roll up like a scroll at the time the earth dies at the end of the earth’s temporal existence.

The earth also has polar orifices that lead into its interior.

Concerning the north polar orifice, God told the prophet Job, “He stretcheth out the north over the EMPTY PLACE, and hangeth the earth upon nothing…” (Job 26:7,9)

The people that live in that region of the earth, the Eskimo, claim that there is a hole in the Arctic Ocean that leads into the interior of the Earth. They have accounts of Eskimos who have gone into the opening and found cousin Eskimos living within the earth. They believe that the woolly mammoth found frozen in Arctic wastes originated within the earth, perhaps because those that have been there have seen them there wandering around alive.

A Baby Mammoth found frozen in Siberia in 1977

Norwegian fishermen claim to have also gone through this polar opening in the Arctic Ocean into the Hollow Earth where they saw great herds of woolly mammoths, and describe how in winter when the Arctic sun has dipped below the horizon, that within the earth sometimes baby mammoths wander out onto the frozen rivers that empty into the polar opening where they fall into crevasses in the ice and are instantly frozen. Later, when the summer sun shines through the polar orifice, the frozen rivers are thawed out and carry their frozen animals and dump them onto the northern shores of Siberia and Alaska. When these frozen mammoths are opened up, they find undigested green vegetation in their stomachs indicating they were frozen so fast the food was unable to be digested before they froze. The remains of other exotic animals have also been found entombed in arctic ice, such as the woolly rhino, steppe lions, giant deer, mammoth and foxes and a hardy breed of horse — that originate from Inner Earth.

One of the things that God describes in His scriptures that comes “out” of the earth’s womb through polar orifices is the fresh water icebergs found in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

To the prophet Job, God asked, “OUT OF WHOSE WOMB CAME THE ICE? and the hoary frost of heaven, who had gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen (icebergs).” (Job 38:29-30)

The ice comes out of earth’s womb through polar orifices. The Norwegian fishermen describe how great rivers dump into the Arctic ocean within the north polar opening, but the river mouths freeze over in the winter. Come summer, they thaw out and the river waters shove the icebergs out into the Arctic Ocean where they cover the entire Arctic basin.

Water vapors also come out of the earth’s womb from the polar orifices.

“When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth THE VAPOURS TO ASCEND FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.” (Jeremiah 51:16)

These water vapors condense into ice and snow and fall onto the Greenland and Antarctic icepacks to the awesome depth of three miles in thickness!

Apparently, all planets have “wombs,” which makes for the possibility that planets could be “born” from the “wombs” of larger planets.

Immanuel Velikovsky wrote that, “The Greek authors described the birth of Athene (which became the planet Venus), saying she sprang from the head of Jupiter.” (WORLDS IN COLLISION, p. 175)

If the planet Jupiter is hollow, then the “head” or north polar area would be the logical place for a planet to be “born” or ejected — out of a polar orifice. Such an ejection could be effected by manipulating the electromagnetic fields of the two planets.

A perplexing discovery was made by Apollo astronauts when they brought moon rocks back to earth to be analyzed. Prior to the Apollo moon shots, scientists had assumed that the moon was made out of the same materials as the earth. Yet the rocks brought back from the moon were found to consist of materials very different from those found on earth, containing very dense rare earth materials. Testing also determined that the moon is much older than the earth.

A prominent LDS geologist, Eric N. Skousen, (son of the late famous LDS author, Cleon Skousen) believes this indicates that the moon may have been here first. According to his theory, the moon originally possessed earth’s orbit about the sun BEFORE the earth was placed here, and that the earth was created somewhere else INSIDE another planet in an actual planetary birth process. (See, pp. 92-96, EARTH, IN THE BEGINNING, by Dr. Eric N. Skousen) Dr. Skousen, quotes one of the earlier LDS church leaders, Heber C. Kimball, as asking, “Where did the earth come from?” To which he answered his own question: “From its parent earths.” (November 8, 1857, Journal of Discourses, 6:36)

Dr. Skousen proposes that the earth could have been ejected out of the planet where it was built by the Gods, and then was guided into the orbit in our solar system that the moon had about the sun in close enough proximity that it caused the moon to go into permanent orbit about the earth.


Man’s Physical Origin Within Mother Earth

Our Earth is literally the “mother” of men.

The scriptures indicate where the original Garden of Eden is located — within the earth’s “womb.”

Out of the Garden of Eden flow four rivers that divide the earth into four parts which converge at the “four corners” of the earth — at Eden.

The prophet Isaiah testified that the four corners of the earth, which is Eden, would still exist in the Latter Days. He wrote that in the Latter Days, that the God of Heaven, “…shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the FOUR CORNERS of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

So if earth is the “mother of men” and has a “womb,” then the logical place for the origin of man would be from the earth’s interior. This would mean that the original Garden of Eden must be located, even today inside the earth.

When Enoch heard the earth speak, he heard it say that it was “the mother of men,” and that the children of men came “forth out of me.” (Moses 7:48)

From THE FORGOTTEN BOOKS OF EDEN we read of the manner in which Adam and Eve arrived on the surface of the planet from the Garden of Eden within. In the book of ADAM AND EVE, we find that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, the Lord commanded them to go into the Cave of Treasures where they wandered for a long time before emerging in their new home on the exterior of the planet. (Chapter III:17, XII)

The sun they saw when they came out of the cave was not the same that gave them light in the Garden of Eden. Chapter XVI says that when Adam came out of the cave, he was afraid of the sun and its extraordinary heat because, “Inasmuch as while he was in the garden and heard the voice of God and the sound He made in the garden, and feared Him, Adam never saw the brilliant light of the sun, neither did the flaming heat thereof touch his body.”

By passing through the earth’s cavern systems from the earth’s “womb” inside to come to the surface, Adam and Eve were “born” into this world by “mother” earth. Their second home on the earth’s surface was near the cavern that brought them here.

Brigham Young taught that, “Joseph, the prophet told me that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. When Adam was driven out, he went to the place we now call Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Daviess County, Missouri.” (WILFORD WOODRUFF, by Cowley, p. 431) Joseph Smith was right. The Garden of Eden IS in Jackson County, Missouri, but NOT on the surface. It is located 800 miles down — on the inner surface of the earth on the highest mountain plateau of the Inner Continent.

The 16th century Spanish scholar Bernardino de Sahagun recorded in his History of the Things of New Spain that the original settlers of America, the ancestors of the American Indians, came in boats from the East in search of the terrestrial paradise. They settled in Central America near the highest mountains they could find, because they had with them an account that the earthly paradise is a very high mountain. (Ancient America and The Book of Mormon, pp. 31, 156.)

Since Christian explorers, among them Christopher Columbus, have sought earnestly the lost Garden of Eden, it is with interest that the actual discovery should fall to a non-Christian, in fact, a worshiper of the Norwegian gods, Odin and Thor. This explorer, Olaf Jansen, actually a fisherman, has related in his book, THE SMOKY GOD, of his voyage with his father into the inside of the earth in their small sail boat via the North Polar Opening in 1829. They were taken in by the people there, taught their language and shown their country. Hence, their great discovery was brought to bear when after one year, they were taken to the capital city which the inhabitants called the City of Eden.

In THE SMOKY GOD, Olaf Jansen gives a description of where the Garden of Eden is located. Inside the earth, Olaf Jansen says, “The City of ‘Eden’ is located in what seems to be a beautiful valley, yet, in fact, it is on the loftiest mountain plateau of the Inner Continent, several thousand feet higher than any portion of the surrounding country. It is the most beautiful place I have ever beheld in all my travels. In this elevated garden all manner of fruits, vines, shrubs, trees, and flowers grow in riotous profusion. In this garden four rivers have their source in a mighty artesian fountain. They divide and flow in four directions.” (THE SMOKY GOD, pp. 113, 114)

Mercators Map of the Arctic

Mercator’s Map of the Arctic

That mountain can be seen on Mercator’s map of the arctic which first appeared as a vignette in his 1569 world map. The Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator’s methods of map-making were so accurate and reliable that they are still commonly used today (for example, the Mercator projection) and have remained virtually unchanged for nearly 450 years! His maps of Europe and the known world were exceptionally accurate and were commonly used with a great degree of reliability for navigation and commerce.

Bear in mind that prior to the advent of GPS and satellite navigational aids, exploration was the sole method of acquiring the data necessary for accurately portraying geographical details on a map. So, when we view Mercator’s representation of the Arctic as containing a large landmass, equally divided into four sections by massive rivers, it stands to reason that this data was acquired by means of thorough exploration. It also is apparent that, according to the perspective of the early explorers, they had no way of knowing that the land mass they were then encountering actually lay at the interior of the earth. Instead they assumed, as did many at the time, that the massive island or continent they found was actually an “island at the top of the world.” Mercator’s representation of the Arctic also very closely parallels the experiences of Olaf Jansen and his father in their exploration of the inner world.

So, it can be seen why and how these myths of an “undiscovered” northern region … a land beyond the north wind came to be and how a man, so obsessed with details as was Mercator, painstakingly reproduced the knowledge he had in his possession on his map of the Arctic.

In 1827, William Morgan, whose wife later became one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, was taken on a mission to Inner Earth — most likely through the same cavern system that Adam and Eve wandered through on their journey from the Garden of Eden within to their home without.

William Morgan had joined the Free Masonic movement with the intent on learning their secrets so he could subsequently publish their secret rites, which he did. As punishment for this, the Masons, had him thrown in jail for a debt, then stole him out of prison. They took him to a secluded shack out in the woods. They dug up a body that resembled him, and threw it into a river and published an account in the papers that it was William Morgan. There was a big uproar by the people that lived in the vicinity — all neighbors of the prophet Joseph Smith — with preachers and citizens rising up against the Masons for what they had done.

But the Masons didn’t kill William Morgan. They secretly took him to live as a prisoner to a cabin in the woods until he grew a long beard. They then added some chemicals to his skin and beard and hair on his head to turn it so he looked like a very old man. They then took him back to his wife, who claimed he wasn’t her husband, that she had seen the dead body of her husband, and that she didn’t now know him. Then the Masons took Morgan to Kentucky, near the Mammoth Cave where he was taken by an Inner Earth guide through the cavern systems to our hollow earth. Many years later, Morgan reappeared as a translated being and gave the account of his trip to inner earth. It was later published by John Uri Lloyd as Etidorpha. Bruce Walton, hollow earth researcher from Provo, Utah, discovered that William Morgan was the I-AM-THE-MAN in the book, ETIDORPHA.

The Lost Ten Tribes in Inner Earth

“I was then really ‘the bosom friend and companion of the Prophet
Joseph.’ … Sometimes when at my house I asked him questions relating
to the past, present and future; … one of which I will relate: I asked
where the nine and a half tribes of Israel were. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘you
remember the old caldron or potash kettle you used to boil maple sap in
for sugar, don’t you?’ I said yes. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘they are in the
north pole in a concave just the shape of that kettle. And John the
Revelator is with them, preparing them for their return.”

– Benjamin Johnson, My Life’s Review, 1947, p. 93

The scriptures indicate that the Lost Ten Tribes have been hidden by God within the earth’s “womb” from which they will emerge in the Latter Days when the earth will “travail” and “bring forth her strength.” (D&C 84:101)

Dr. Clay McConkie, with B.A. in history and a Ph.D. in education, declared in his book, The Ten Lost Tribes, A People of Destiny, that after a thorough analysis of all scriptural references to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel that the scriptures indicate that the lost tribes …”are presently living in a locality not on the earth, but somewhere in the earth… in …an area capable of accommodating a relatively large civilization of people and keeping them hidden from the world for more than twenty-five centuries.” He points out that scripture indicates that this large area inside the earth must be where most of the water came from that covered the earth’s surface at the time of Noah’s flood, and that the exit point in the Arctic must also be the entrance to inner earth that the Lost Tribes took when they disappeared into the north country 25 centuries ago and from which they will someday soon reappear with great fanfare to help spread the Kingdom of God throughout the earth in preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The earth’s “womb” where the Lord has hidden the Lost Tribes is also called in scripture, “the outmost parts of heaven.” The Lord told Moses, “If any of thine be driven out unto the OUTMOST PARTS OF HEAVEN, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:4)

The earth’s “womb” and “the outmost parts of Heaven” to where the Lord took the Lost Tribes in scripture is also called the “North Countries” because it can be accessed through the north polar orifice to the earth’s interior. Jeremiah testified that, “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together OUT OF THE LAND OF THE NORTH to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” (Jeremiah 3:12-18)

Some of the house of Judah are also there, because the scriptures indicate that that is where the lost and legal inherited throne of David is located.

The Political Kingdom of God in Inner Earth

According to the Bible, the Kingdom of Israel in Palestine under King David and his son Solomon became divided at Solomon’s death. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin resided in the south around Jerusalem, and the other Ten Tribes resided in the north of Palestine with their capital at Samaria. In 721 BC, Assyria conquered the northern Ten Tribes and took them into captivity.

A century later, in 687 BC, when Assyria encamped outside Jerusalem to take it captive also, the record of the Jews reported that a blast from space killed all 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. They were preparing to attack Jerusalem the next morning. It was not a flame, but a consuming blast: “Their souls were burnt, though their garments remained intact,” the record stated. The phenomenon was accompanied by a terrific noise. It was probably an interplanetary lightning bolt from a passing planetary body such as a comet.

This event allowed the Ten Tribes to escape their Assyrian captors. Apparently, they were considering returning to their homeland in Palestine, but upon reaching the Euphrates River, they discovered that an earthquake that accompanied the blast from Heaven, had caved in the narrow canyon in the upper reaches of the river, and so the river ran dry at their crossing point. Their leaders were inspired to direct the Israelites to instead of cross the river, that they would instead travel up the dry river bed until they reached a natural caved-in dam caused by the earthquake where they climbed out. The next day, when the home-standing army of the Assyrians in pursuit reached the river, it was again flowing with the turbulent waters of the flood from the broken dam. They could see the tracks of the Israelites entering the river, but could not see where they had come out on the other side. Thus, the Lord assisted the Ten Tribes in their escape from Assyrian captivity.

The Ten Tribes then continued north over the Caucasus Mountains and encamped north of the Black Sea, where many stayed. But a sizeable group continued their trek north into Russia, Mongolia and Siberia, where some of their remains have been found to this day. But they didn’t stay there either. Their trek took them even further north through the northern aperture of the earth led by a prophet of God where they live today in the “North Countries” of Our Hollow Earth.

The Apostle John, gave us an indication where the Lost Tribes of Israel went — through the Earth’s “mouth” into the bowels of the earth where the waters of Noah’s flood had come from and subsided to. In Chapter 12 of Revelations, the “woman,” which is the House of Israel, was persecuted by the “dragon” which is Satan and his followers. The House of Israel escaped into the “wilderness” of Russia, Mongolia and Siberia and passed through the earth’s “mouth” into the interior of the earth 2,500 years ago where they reside to this today.

John recorded, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child (referring to Jesus Christ — a descendant of Judah of the House of Israel). And to the woman (the House of Israel) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent (another reference to Satan. The Lost Tribes went to the Hollow Earth 2,500 years ago. One time = 1,000 earth years, being one day of the Lord). And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (remnants of the House of Israel that stayed on the earth’s surface), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev 12:13-17)

To the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed that the Lost Tribes have prophets, and shall lead the Lost Tribes when they come out of the Land of the North to outer earth to receive their endowments in the House of the Lord by the hand of the children of Ephraim who are the Servants of the Lord, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — in the New Jerusalem, which Joseph Smith said they will help build.

“And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,
And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.
And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.
And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.” (D&C 133:23-33)

This scripture says the Lost Tribes have prophets of God and have the gospel of Jesus Christ — the Jehovah of the Old Testament. They were visited by the Lord Jesus Christ after his visit to ancient America. He told his disciples in Jerusalem, “And OTHER SHEEP I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

When the resurrected Christ came to ancient America, he told them, “And verily, verily, I say unto you that I HAVE OTHER SHEEP, which are not of this land (America), neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister…I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I GO TO SHOW MYSELF UNTO THEM. 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 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…” (3 NEPHI 16:1-3)

“But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.” (3 Nephi 17:4)

After the Lord visited the Nephites in Ancient America, he visited the Lost Tribes of Israel in the North Countries of Inner Earth. And the record of that visit will be found in their holy scriptures when they return to outer earth to expand the Kingdom of God to all the world.

To those that reject the Word of God given to prophets in Ancient America found today in the Book of Mormon, the Lord Jesus Christ saith,

“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and IN THE EARTH BENEATH; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another?…For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I HAVE LED AWAY, and they shall write it…And it shall come to pass, that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.” (2 NEPHI 29:7-14)

Many today reject the record of the Jews, which is the Holy Bible, as the word of God, saying that is just myth and stories made up by the Hebrews. Many more today also reject the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ that testifies that He came to ancient America after his resurrection where he set up his church and taught his everlasting gospel. But when the Lost Tribes return and bring their scriptures, those that reject this third witness that Jesus Is the Christ, the Savior of the World — will be burned at His Coming in Glory.

The law of God and His people Israel, is that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all truth be established, and according to the Law given to Moses on, Mt. Sinai, which was Mt. Horeb in the Land of Midian in Arabia, a man cannot be condemned to death by God’s law, except at the testimony of two or three witnesses. “…at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deut 19:15) During the Millennium, the wicked will be ashes beneath the feet of those who have accepted God’s word in righteousness. “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 4:3)

Before leaving the ancient Americans, Jesus prophesied unto them regarding the Latter Days, “…Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, EVEN THE TRIBES WHICH HAVE BEEN LOST, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem…” in which they will come forth to help preach the gospel to the whole earth for the last time before His Coming in Glory. (3 Nephi 21:26)

The Lost Tribes will bring forth the political Kingdom of God to our surface world.

To King David the Lord promised that he and his sons would rule over the house of Israel forever: “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel said, ‘Although my house be not so with God; YET HE HATH MADE WITH ME AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, ordered in all things, and sure…'” (2 Samuel 23:1,5)

This was the covenant that the Lord made with David: “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee; THY THRONE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOREVER. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan (the prophet) speak unto David.” (2 Samuel 7:16-7)

And of David’s son Solomon, the Lord said, “He shall build an house for my name, and I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOREVER.” (2 Samuel 7:13)

The Lord had explained to David, as he recorded in Psalms 89: Verse 3. “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, 4. Thy SEED will I establish FOREVER, and build up THY THRONE TO ALL GENERATIONS. Selah. 28. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. 29. His SEED also will I make to ENDURE forever, and his THRONE AS THE DAYS OF HEAVEN. 30. If his children FORSAKE my law, and walk not in my judgments; 31. If they BREAK my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32. Then will I visit their transgression WITH THE ROD, and their iniquity with stripes. 33. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I NOT UTTERLY TAKE from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34. MY COVENANT WILL I NOT BREAK, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36. HIS SEED SHALL ENDURE FOREVER, AND HIS THRONE AS THE SUN BEFORE ME. 37. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.” (PSALMS 89:3, 4, 28-37)

“For thus saith the Lord; there shall NOT BE CUT OFF from David A MAN to sit upon the throne of THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.” (Jeremiah 33:14, 17)

From this scripture we discover that there will never be a time that A MAN, a descendent of David, will not sit upon the throne of David. However, the scripture makes clear that the throne of David is now not over Judah but over THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL — the ten tribe nation which went into the North Countries of Our Hollow Earth.

The throne of David today exists in the North Countries. It is the living, legal, righteous and acceptable throne of David. The government of the Lost Tribes is a Theocracy. It is the political Kingdom of God.

Olaf Jansen, the Norwegian fisherman, described his interview with the King of Israel. After obtaining the North Countries in their fishing craft through the North Polar Opening, he and his father were taken before the Great High Priest, Ruler Over All the Land:

“The surprise of my father and myself was indescribable when, amid the regal magnificence of a spacious hall, we were finally brought before the Great High Priest, ruler over all the land. He was richly robed, and much taller than those about him, and could not have been less than fourteen or fifteen feet in height. The immense room in which we were received seemed finished in solid slabs of gold thickly studded with jewels of amazing brilliancy…” (The Smoky God, p. 114)

Joseph Smith spoke of this last of the Kings of Israel before Christ takes over the throne at the commencement of the Millennium, “Although David was king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the NAME OF DAVID in the last days, RAISED UP OUT OF HIS LINEAGE.” (TEACHINGS, p. 339)

This King David, a descendant of David lives today and is the King of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel in Our Hollow Earth. He is a prophet of God, necessarily under the direction of the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who today holds the keys given by Moses to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. At that time, Joseph Smith recorded that “…the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” (D&C 110:11)

The prophet Jeremiah testified that a righteous branch of the House of Israel were taken by God to Inner Earth, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a RIGHTEOUS BRANCH, and a KING SHALL REIGN and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice IN THE EARTH.”

“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;”

“But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the North Country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” (JEREMIAH 23:5-8)

When the Ten Tribes return, a portion will go back to Palestine to join the descendants of Judah there, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”

“And I the Lord will be their God, and my SERVANT DAVID a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.” (EZEKIEL 34:22-24)

The political Kingdom of God presently is headquartered at the City of Eden, in that primeval Garden where our race began, within Our Hollow Earth whose King is a descendant of David, his name is David and he sits on the inherited throne of David of old. He rules over the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. And in fulfillment of prophecy, the political Kingdom of God under the guidance of the living throne of David will expand to the surface of the earth. A highway will be cast up in the midst of the Arctic Ocean, probably a mono-rail train on posts, which Olaf Jansen described they presently use extensively, and “their prophets shall stay themselves no longer” but will proceed to connect a permanent link between their capital city in Eden with the New Jerusalem–the future capital of the Kingdom of God in America to be built in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Near there, at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Adam’s home after being evicted from the Garden of Eden, a grand council will be convened.

At this grand council, the resurrected Adam, and all the prophets down through the ages who held keys in the Kingdom of God, including Joseph Smith and our current living modern prophet, together with the presently reigning King David of Israel will deliver the throne of David and all the keys of the Kingdom — to Jesus Christ who will henceforth reign as King of Kings forever more. Christ is “the root and the offspring of David.” (Revelations 22:16) And thereby will the scripture be fulfilled that said that there will never be a time when a son of David will not sit upon his throne which throne will endure forever.

The scripture testifies of the earth, “And truth is established in her bowels;” (D&C 84:101) It explains that truth is established in the earth’s bowels because people live there who have the truth and live by it. During the Millennium there will be three world capitals of the political Kingdom of God — Jerusalem in Palestine, the New Jerusalem in Missouri, and the City of Eden inside the “bowels” of the earth from whence the word of the Lord will issue forth to all the world.

In fact, the scriptures refer directly to a people who live within the earth’s crust in giant cavern cities, and to the Ten Tribes who live within Our Hollow Earth. In Section 88, verse 104, it is written: “And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to ALL PEOPLE, both in HEAVEN and IN THE EARTH, and that are UNDER THE EARTH–for every ear shall hear…”

The Heart of the Earth

The “outmost parts of Heaven” to where the Lost Tribes were taken, also gives us an indication of where the Heaven of this earth is located within the “heart” of the earth. Christ told the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:43)

The Apostle Paul told us where Paradise or “Heaven” is located — in the “lower parts of the earth.” Paul wrote of Christ saying, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high (referring to the ascension into heaven after his resurrection)…Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also DESCENDED FIRST INTO THE LOWER PARTS OF THE EARTH?…” (Ephesians 4:8,9)

The scriptures teach us that Mother Earth has a heart. It is the location of Paradise, or the Heaven of this earth, where Christ’s spirit went while his body lay in the tomb. He told the Jews where he would be going. Christ told them, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.”

Since the “heart of the earth” can be considered the “center” of the earth, Paradise must be located in the center of the earth, or as Paul expressed it, in “the lower parts of the earth.”

It is covered by a bright cloud and “shines.” The Lord said to Job, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Doest thou know when God disposed them, AND CAUSED THE LIGHT OF HIS CLOUD TO SHINE?” (Job 37:14.15)

It is the location of God’s throne in the Heaven of this Earth in the center of the earth’s womb. “He holdeth back the FACE OF HIS THRONE, and spreadeth his CLOUD upon it.” (Job 26:9)

Paradise, the Heaven of this earth in the “heart of the earth,” is also where Jesus Christ reigns from his throne on this earth. He told the prophet Nephi, “…that I rule in the heavens above and IN THE EARTH BENEATH;” (2 Nephi 29:7)

It is the place that Jesus hides himself. Joseph Smith prayed saying, “O, God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy HIDING PLACE?” (D&C 121:1) To which fact, the prophet Isaiah also testified, “Verily thou art a God that HIDEST thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” (Isaiah 45:15)

The throne of our Savior in Paradise has a cloud that shines and covers it indicating that Paradise is a place of light. Indeed, the Prophet Joseph Smith stated that when the righteous die and go to Paradise (which is another word the Savior used for Heaven), they will be enveloped in “flames of fire.” He stated, “The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. ENVELOPED IN FLAMING FIRE, THEY ARE NOT FAR FROM US, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith.” (TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH, p. 326)

In Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life, in which he saw Paradise, he testified that, “…the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire”… (I Nephi 15:30)

The prophet Enoch testified of Paradise saying, “My spirit saw around the CIRCLE OF THIS FLAMING HABITATION, on one of its extremities, that there were rivers of living fire, which encompassed it.” (Lost Books of the Bible, The Book of Enoch 70:8) He saw this fire coming from Paradise streaming towards the ends of the earth, “Where I beheld the operation of a GREAT FIRE BLAZING AND GLITTERING, in the midst of which there was a DIVISION. COLUMNS OF FIRE struggled together to the end of the ABYSS, and deep was their descent…” (The Book of Enoch 21:4-5, From Lost Books of the Bible) These are the source of auroras that emanate out from the earth’s womb from Paradise within through the polar orifices which are literally the “ends of the earth” from whence the Lost Ten Tribes will come in the latter days. The Lord said through the prophet Isaiah, “I will say to the NORTH, GIVE UP; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the END OF THE EARTH;” (Isaiah 43:6)

The “ends of the earth” are the earth’s polar openings that lead into the interior “womb” of “mother” earth.

The earth’s womb, in scripture, is also called the Abyss, or “Bottomless Pit,” because it has neither a top nor a bottom consisting of the “empty places” spoken by the prophet Job — which are the polar orifices, and is also referred to as the “Great Gulf.” It is a great hollow within the earth’s bowels.

The prophet Abraham in Paradise was speaking to the rich man in hell and said, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a GREAT GULF FIXED: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

The prophet Nephi also saw this great gulf in his vision of the Tree of Life. He testified that between Hell and Paradise was “an awful gulf which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God.” (2 Nephi 15:28)

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “The Spirit World is divided into two parts: PARADISE which is the abode of the righteous, and HELL which is the abode of the wicked.” (MORMON DOCTRINE, “Spirit World” p. 68) They are separated by the great gulf.

Thus, the scriptures describe a hollow spirit world, with Hell located down in the earth’s shell, and Paradise in the center or “heart” of the earth in the “lower parts of the earth” separated by a “great gulf” of space. And since the spirit of all living beings have the same shape and form as their physical bodies, the physical world must also be hollow with a central sun.

“Spirit Prison” would be located on the surface of the planet where spirits that haven’t been cast down to Hell are waiting to hear the gospel, which if they do, and repent and receive a proxy baptism in the Temples of God, they are then empowered to cross the great gulf into Paradise.

Hell, in scripture, is called “outer darkness” because it is dark underneath the surface as anyone who has been in a cavern knows, — and because it is located “outer” or away from the center Paradise or Heaven of this earth. Many who have died and are medically resuscitated report that after leaving their bodies, they are taken through a dark tunnel through the earth’s shell and then come out in brilliant light in Paradise in the center of the earth.

The Tree of Life originally was in the Garden of Eden, but when Adam and Eve were driven out, the Lord transplanted it to Paradise-Heaven, where he placed “Cherubims and a flaming sword which turned everyway to keep the way of the tree of life” so that Adam and Eve could no longer eat the fruit thereof and live forever in their sins. The only way the fruit could to be partaken of again by humans was on condition of repentance and purification of all sin. Then they could be caught up to Heaven to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life. Christ said regarding the blessing of translation, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11:26)

Many Saints have achieved unto this blessing of translation. The City of Enoch, the people who repented in the time of Noah’s preaching that were caught up to heaven, King Melchizedek’s City of Salem, Elijah, Moses, Alma the Younger, many Masters of the Far East, the Three Nephites, and the Apostle John, the Beloved of the Savior, all have partaken of this blessing wherein the righteous that are cleansed from all sin and wickedness may fore-go death and be caught up to Paradise to become translated beings by partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Life in a special gift from the Savior.

Jesus Christ revealed to John that, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (REVELATION 2:7) Many who have died and were medically resuscitated report that after passing through a dark tunnel through the earth’s shell, they arrive in Paradise in the heart of the earth and see a City of Light in the distance. That City of Light in Paradise is the City of Enoch that was physically taken to Heaven — buildings and all — many years before Noah’s flood. It will return to the earth’s surface at the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when Heaven and Hell will change places.

The Celestial Destiny of Earth

In forming the earth, physical matter was controlled and governed by spirit matter. Therefore, a hollow spirit world with a central paradise-sun was organized from spirit matter upon which the physical matter was superimposed. So explained the guide to I-AM-THE-MAN in Lloyd’s ETIDORPHA:

“Matter has no strength, matter obeys spirit, and spirit dominates all things material. Energy in some form holds particles of matter together, and energy in other forms loosens them…The spirit that pervades all material things gives to them form and existence. Take from your earth its vital spirit, the energy that subjects matter, and your so-called adamantine rocks would disintegrate, and sift as dust into the interstices of space.” (ETIDORPHA, p. 253)

The Inner Earth guide further explained, “The earth forming principle consists of an invisible sphere of energy that, spinning through space, supports the space dust which collects on it, as dust on a bubble. By gradual accumulation of substance on that sphere a hollow ball has resulted, on the outer surface of which you have hither to dwelt. The crust of the earth is comparatively thin, not more than eight hundred miles in average thickness, and is held in position by the central sphere of energy (center of gravity, or central sphere of gravity) that now exists at a distance about seven hundred miles beneath the ocean level.” (ETIDORPHA, p. 193)

When we look at the Earth, it may seem to be just one big lump of rock covered with some dirt and water. But if we look at it from God’s perspective, he describes the earth as having two separate parts.

In Genesis, we read God’s account of the Earth’s creation. The Lord spoke to Moses saying,

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”
Notice that “heaven” and “earth” here are both singular. From this we learn that our Earth consists of TWO parts, a “Heaven,” and an “Earth.”
“And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.”

Now, since God placed the Sun, Moon and Stars on the 4th Day of Creation, the question that must be asked is, “What lit up on the first day of creation?”

God goes on to describe this light that he lit up on the first day of creation.
“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the FIRST DAY.”
Here we learn another characteristic of this light, is that God divided it into a light side and dark side. How unusual. What light could have a dark side so that is causes Night? The phrase, “The evening and the morning were the First Day” indicates that this light rotates.

Then God, describes this light even more.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the SECOND DAY.”

Here we learn that this light is in the midst of the waters of the earth, and it actually divides the waters below it from the waters above it. How unusual! What kind of light could be suspended between two oceans of water?

Then God describes where this light is located. He says it is located in a “firmament.”

The word “firmament,” translated from the Greek means “expanse.” The dictionary says firmament means, “sky, considered as an arch.” A characteristic of an arch is that it is curved. Apparently, God is describing something that is curved, is in the sky, and it separates an ocean, or “waters” above it from an ocean, or “waters” beneath it, and is an “expanse.” What is more, God gives this expanse a name. He calls it “Heaven.” This part of the creation occurred on a separate day from the first day, so this firmament must have been an important part of the creation of the earth. Where could this expanse, firmament, or Heaven be located?

Planetary Nebula NGC 6369
taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

There is a pattern in God’s creations. Take an atom, for example. It has two separate parts — the nucleus and the electron shell. And they are separated from each other by a considerable space. In other words, an atom is hollow. It has a nucleus suspended within the center of its electron shell. Our sun is located at the center of the solar system surrounded by orbiting planets. And if we look out into space we see many similar creations — all having a central star surrounded by orbiting stars and dust. It seems that all of God’s creations have this pattern.

If we would consider that our earth is built with a similar construction, with two separate parts, one inside the other, then we can begin to understand the Creation account in Genesis. The “light” that God lit up on the first day of creation is the core of the earth, or the “heart” of the earth. And it shines.

This is the discovery made by polar explorers. Through polar openings in the Arctic, at the “end of the earth” they have seen through an “empty place” in the earth’s shell. And what do they see? An inner sun shining within the hollow of our earth!

This inner sun produces a solar wind that emanates out through the polar openings to light up the auroras at both poles. And our astronomers report that most of the planets in our solar system have been found to have auroras at their poles just like earth.

The Norwegian fisherman-explorer, Olaf Jansen, described this inner sun in his book, The Smoky God.

It was the first part of August 1829. They had been sailing in the Arctic about 15 days northeast of Franz Josef Land through leads in the ice when Olaf recorded:

The Inner Sun

The Inner Sun

“One day about this time, my father startled me by calling my attention to a novel sight far in front of us, almost at the horizon. ‘It is a mock sun,’ exclaimed my father. ‘I have read of them; it is called a reflection or mirage. It will soon pass away.'”

“But this dull-red, false sun, as we supposed it to be, did not pass away for several hours; and while we were unconscious of its emitting any rays of light, still there was no time thereafter when we could not sweep the horizon in front and locate the illumination of the so-called false sun, during a period of at least twelve hours out of every twenty-four.”

“Clouds and mists would at times almost, but never entirely, hide its location. Gradually it seemed to climb higher in the horizon of the uncertain purply sky as we advanced.”

“It could hardly be said to resemble the sun, except in its circular shape, and when not obscured by clouds or the ocean mists, it had a hazy-red, bronzed appearance, which would change to a white light like a luminous cloud, as if reflecting some greater light beyond.”

“We finally agreed in our discussion of this smoky furnace-colored sun, that, whatever the cause of the phenomenon, it was not a reflection of our sun, but a planet of some sort–a reality.” (THE SMOKY GOD, pp. 85-7)

Fridtjof Nansen saw a mirage of this inner sun when he was caught in the ice on his ship, the Fram, in February 1894, at 80 degrees 1’ N Latitude. He reported, “Monday, February 19th… Both today and yesterday we have seen the mirage of the Sun again; today it was high above the horizon, and almost seemed to assume a round, disk-like form.” He remarked that it had a hazy, smoky-red color.

As the Norwegian fishermen explorers, Olaf and his father Jens Jansen passed through the North Polar Opening to Inner Earth, they met the Inner Earth inhabitants who were very friendly to them. They were very large in stature, very refined, highly educated and were in many respects as fair and similar in appearance to North Europeans. In fact, his father considered them his cousins. He told Olaf, his son, that their Norwegian legends told of a country in the far north that was a terrestrial paradise where the “Chosen People” lived. They were cousins, descendants of some of his ancestors, whom Norwegians worshiped, such as Odin, and Thor, whom now they considered to be Gods.

Similarly, members of the Church of Latter-day Saints consider some of their ancestors to be Gods also. Members are taught that they are “modern” Israel, many of which are actual descendants of the tribes of Israel, and if not, all who join the church are adopted into the House of Israel — and if they live their lives righteously, taking upon themselves the sacred covenants with God of baptism, and covenants of His holy temple, they become worthy of all the inherited blessings God promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel by an angel of God.

To the prophet Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ revealed, “I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.

Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.”

In fact, the righteous of any age can become Gods, if they live God’s full law — which is Celestial Marriage performed by authorized servants in the Holy Temples of God.

Concerning those who will be privileged to live here when our earth becomes celestialized and they become Gods and angels therein, Jesus Christ revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith, July 12, 1843:

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

“Then shall they be GODS, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be GODS, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.”

“For strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives (posterity), and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.”

“But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.” (D&C 132:19-23)

However, unlike some of our ancestors that went astray in the worship of their ancestors, our worship must be confined to the true and living God of Heaven, even Jesus Christ, of whom the Apostle Peter testified when he healed a man by God’s holy priesthood power, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)

In his sojourn in the hollow earth, Olaf Jansen was very interested in the inner sun and gave several descriptions of it. He called it, “the Smoky God,” because the Inner Earth inhabitants, he reported, believed it was the throne of their “Jehovah.” Here, it is curious that he would mention that the Inner Earth inhabitant’s God was Jehovah — the God of the ancient Israelites, because Olaf and his Father were worshipers of the Norwegian Gods, Odin and Thor, to their dying days.

He wrote, “In the meantime, we had lost sight of the sun’s rays, but we found a radiance ‘within’ emanating from the dull-red sun which had already attracted our attention, now giving out a white light seemingly from a cloudbank far away in front of us. It dispensed a greater light, I should say, than two full moons on the clearest night.”

“In twelve hours this cloud of whiteness would pass out of sight as if eclipsed, and the twelve hours following corresponded with our night. We early learned that these strange people were worshipers of this great cloud of light. It was ‘The Smoky God’ of the ‘Inner World.'” (THE SMOKY GOD, pp. 102, 103)

He further wrote, “The great luminous cloud or ball of dull-red fire–fiery-red in the mornings and evenings, and during the day giving off a beautiful white light, ‘The Smoky God,’–is seemingly suspended in the center of the great vacuum ‘within’ the earth, and held to its place by the immutable law of gravitation…”

“The base of this electrical cloud or central luminary, the seat of the gods, is dark and non-transparent, save for innumerable small openings, seemingly in the bottom of the great support or altar of the Deity, upon which ‘The Smoky God’ rests; and, the lights shining through these many openings twinkle at night in all their splendor, and seem to be stars, as natural as the stars we saw shining when in our home at Stockholm, excepting that they appear larger. ‘The Smoky God,’ therefore, with each daily revolution of the earth, appears to come up in the east and go down in the west, the same as does our sun on the external surface. In reality, the people ‘within’ believe that ‘The Smoky God’ is the throne of their Jehovah, and is stationary. The effect of night and day is, therefore, produced by the earth’s daily rotation.” (THE SMOKY GOD, pp. 108-110)

All living things have been found to have an electromagnetic field about them. It is sometimes called an “aura.” So, the fact that the earth has an electromagnetic field could be an indication that it is alive. Similar to a dynamo, the earth produces an electromagnetic field because it has two parts, both with electrical charges, one rotating about the other. Olaf Jansen reported that the inner sun appeared to be stationary, however, it does rotate very slowly — originally it was once every 1,000 earth years, but since creation, the earth’s rotation has slown down, and has been pushed into an orbit further from the sun, so that the inner sun now rotates about once every 623 years.

Similar to a magnet, the magnetic flux emerges from within at the south magnetic pole, and enters again at the north magnetic pole, which means that within the earth, the directions of the compass are opposite ours on the surface. This is what Olaf Jansen discovered. Their compass continued to point north even after passing through the north polar opening into Inner Earth.

Some people have thought that Olaf’s description of how the inner sun appears to come up in the morning in the east and go down in the west, was an indication of the falsity of his story. But they didn’t think about this carefully enough. Since magnetic flux flows out of the earth at our south pole, and goes in the north pole, and continues towards the south pole within the earth, then our south pole is their north pole and our north pole is their south pole. Since the earth rotates from west to east on the outside of the earth causing the sun to appear to rise in the east in the morning. and the directions of the compass are opposite inside the earth, then the inner sun’s bright “day side” cloud would appear in the east in the morning as seen from the inner surface of the hollow earth, and appear to go out on the west side in the evening so that the dark side of the inner sun then appears for night time.

God’s Genesis account appears to now make sense. The light that lit up on the first day of creation was a different sun that our outer sun that was placed in the sky on the 4th day of creation. (Actually, the earth was probably just put in orbit about the sun so that the sun, moon and stars then appeared in the sky.) That “light” that lit up on the first day of creation has a day and night side, and rotates once for every day of the Lord, which God told Abraham was once every 1,000 earth years. That “light” that lit up on the first day of creation is an inner sun suspended within the “expanse,” “womb,” or hollow of the earth. It is the “heaven” or “heart” of this earth, and “paradise” of the spirit world of earth.

We, as inhabitants of earth, can be grateful to God, our creator, Jesus Christ, and His Father for such a nice place to live. And we can have great respect for our “mother” earth knowing that she is alive, and obeys God’s will. In fact, God’s prophets have taught that our earth after its resurrection, will be the celestial kingdom for those of us found worthy to live on and in it.

Jesus taught his disciples, that the “meek” will inherit the earth. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt 5:5) John, the Beloved, saw the death of the earth and its resurrection in his Revelation.
“And I saw a great white throne and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” Notice the special mention of “the earth and THE heaven, ” again “heaven” is singular.

“And I saw A NEW HEAVEN and A NEW EARTH: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Rev. 21:1-3)

The celestial city, the New Jerusalem, that John the Beloved saw, is being build right now inside our outer sun by Jesus and his Saints and Prophets. Phoebe Marie Holmes in 1933, told in her book, My Visit To The Sun, of her visit to the Celestial City of God within the Sun.

She described how she was taken in the Spirit by angels to the heart of the Sun where the New Jerusalem is today being built. It will be brought to earth after the earth’s resurrection when the earth becomes celestialized and becomes the abode of the righteous. Since it is so big, 1,500 miles long, wide and high, it will probably take the place of the earth’s inner sun in the celestialized earth.

Christ, on his Sermon on the Mount said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” A mansion is being built there right now for each of us, in the New Jerusalem, by our actions here on earth. Phoebe was taken by the angels of God to visit her unfinished mansion, where she found her husband, who had already passed on. She then was brought back to earth to finish her life’s work.

Phoebe reported that the city in the Sun is a giant terraced mountain with a square bottom — having a pyramid shape. John, the Beloved, in Revelations 21 reported that the New Jerusalem is as long and wide as it is tall and gave the measurements, which in our units of measure comes to 1,500 miles, with a wall 1/2 mile thick. So perhaps the ancient Meso-Americans, Chinese and Egyptians knew the New Jerusalem would have the shape of a pyramid, and so built their temples with that shape.

The angels told Phoebe that the Sun is a giant crystal. Joseph Smith also taught, “The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a SEA OF GLASS AND FIRE, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.”

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

“This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.” (D&C 130:6-9)

Scientists, on the other hand, claim the Sun is entirely gaseous. But if it is hollow and has a shell thickness 10% of its planetary diameter, — that would give the Sun’s shell a density of 2.9 gm/cc, and so would have a solid surface! Glass has a density of 2.6 gm/cc.

The scientific work of Michael Mozina at his website at http://www.TheSurfaceOfTheSun.com, presents considerable evidence that the sun has a solid surface covered by some kind of liquid, perhaps silica. In recent satellite images of the sun in various wave lengths, surface features such as mountains and hills can be seen. He even shows a movie on his website taken by satellite of a “sun quake” on the surface of the sun, which sent out a tsunami from it’s epicenter and you can see the waves passing over the mountains.
This evidence that the Sun has a solid surface indicates the Sun is a hollow globe — since it does not have enough mass to be solid all the way through.

And it’s not that hot inside the Sun as scientists claim either. Phoebe described a nice warmth is provided for the celestial city suspended within the Sun’s hollow interior.

Joseph F. Smith, wrote in his book, DOCTRINES OF SALVATION, of the Celestial Destiny of our earth:

“The earth will be cleansed again. It was once baptized in water. When Christ comes, it will be baptized with fire and the power of the Holy Ghost. At the end of the world, the earth will die; it will be dissolved, pass away, and then it will be renewed, or raised with a resurrection. It will receive its resurrection to become a celestial body, so that they of the celestial order may possess it forever and ever. Then it will shine forth as the sun and take its place among the worlds that are redeemed. When this time comes the terrestrial inhabitants (those living terrestrial laws, Phoebe said would be taken to the Moon) will also be taken away and be consigned to another sphere suited to their condition. Then the words of the Savior will be fulfilled, for the meek shall inherit the earth.”

The Meek are those living celestial laws–which includes baptism in the true church of Jesus Christ and subsequent righteousness throughout this life. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by an authorized servant of Jesus Christ and reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and continued living “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4) are the requirements for entrance into the Celestial World.

President Joseph F. Smith, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, continued:

“It is my opinion that the great stars that we see, including our sun, are celestial worlds; at least worlds that have passed on to their exaltation or other final resurrected status. This is in conflict, of course, with the teachings of scientific men, who declare that the sun is losing energy and gradually cooling off and will eventually be a dead world. I do not believe the Lord has any such thing in his plan. The Lord lives in ‘everlasting burnings’ we are informed. President Brigham Young has said that this earth when it is celestialized will shine like the sun, and why not?” (DOCTRINES OF SALVATION pp. 88, 89)

Isaiah wrote, “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall DWELL WITH THE DEVOURING FIRE? WHO AMONG US SHALL DWELL WITH EVERLASTING BURNING?: He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that stayeth his hand from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil: He shall dwell on high…” (Isaiah 33:14)

Indeed, our LIVING earth is alive, and will continue to be our home forever — if we are worthy of such a great an honor. After the resurrection, our Living Earth will become a Celestial World for its righteous inhabitants and will take it’s place as a Star — another of God’s jewels shining in the vastness of space.

— * —

The Golden Question

801 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2006

 The Golden Question

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

Auguries of Innocence, William Blake


True insight comes of pursuing a question or an idea beyond the first impression or answer. It requires earnest searching on one’s part, looking deeper than the surface, where most stop, and probing further to discover more than most will see.

Learning means asking questions. Too often in life, as in the classroom, we are satisfied with an immediate response to a question or the most evident outcome of an inquiry. Our curiosity almost never extends beyond what we see on the surface. We almost never pause to look beyond that first blush of information or results, yet it is in just such a probing inquiry that the most valuable wisdom is often found.

This is nowhere more true than in our gospel study. Joseph Smith noted that the most profound revelations of this dispensation, if not all of them, came as answers to questions he took to the Lord.

Perhaps the most explicit example of the profound value in inquiring beyond the superficial is found in the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon.

After praying at length for forgiveness, his petition was granted. “And there came a voice unto me saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.” (Enos 1:5.)

This would be a remarkable moment in anyone’s life. In Enos’ place, most of us would have been more than satisfied with that answer. After all, what more could we want than to have our slate wiped clean? We would leap to our feet, shout for joy and head for home, satisfied that our prayer had been answered.

But not so with Enos; he had an inquiring mind. “And I said: Lord, how is it done?”

This was someone whose curiosity was not easily satisfied. He asked the golden question: How? How is it that such a thing can be done? How does the Lord accomplish such a miracle? The result was that he gained further insight and a blessing that he might never have had otherwise.

This is a model for our own inquiries into the restored gospel.

For example, most of us are content to read how Moses led the Israelites out of bondage through miraculous means without looking further. After all, who could ask for more than to be saved from one’s enemies and certain death by safe passage through the Red Sea? Had we been there, we would have dropped to our knees, kissed the ground, thanked the Lord and went happily on our way.

But that should not be enough. Like the prophets, we ought to ask how it was done, how this or that is possible? Isn’t there more to be known by looking beyond the moment or the miracle, as Blake wrote in the poem quoted above?

Elder James E. Talmage, an early apostle and recognized doctrinal authority in the church wrote, “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 148.) This truth means that there is nothing mysterious in miracles or in the gospel. We can rightfully look beyond the miraculous as well as the mundane in order to understand the mechanisms or methodologies underlying it.

But which of us does so?

Who among us takes the time to understand why Joseph Smith wanted to obtain those Egyptian papyri so he could study them? Which of us has sought to understand the meaning of his explanations of them as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price? We regard them as mere curiosities, novelties that once captured the interest of a prophet. They seem to hold little of spiritual value, so we pass them by without inquiring further.

Do the symbols on the Nauvoo or Salt Lake temples hold your interest except to notice that they are oddities, seemingly not found elsewhere in the gospel? Do you inquire further as to their possible meaning? Or, do you suppose that the architects placed them there as mere decorative features? Do you ever stop long enough to ask how these relate to the restored gospel?

Even more fundamentally, do you take the scriptures at face value? Do you “search” them and scrutinize them as we have been counseled to do? When asked recently by the Brethren to re-read your Book of Mormon, did your reading raise questions in your mind? If you have Enos’ mindset, it did. If not, you may have missed a glorious opportunity to learn.

It would behoove each of us as believing Latter-day Saints to be more discriminating and inquisitive where the gospel is concerned, to ask questions and seek answers to much of what we take for granted.

If we were to do so, like Enos, we would certainly receive more than the simple blessings for which we typically ask.

The Forgotten Commandment: Watch the Heavens!

4,742 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2007

The Forgotten Commandment: Watch the Heavens!

Part I – The Commandment

Section 84 of the Doctrine & Covenants is a pivotal revelation for Latter-day Saints, or should be.

The preamble to this section says, “The Prophet designates it a revelation on priesthood.” In it, the Lord explains some of the roles of priesthood bearers, including a thorough explanation of missionary work and how it might be carried out.

 “And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.” (verse 75.)

This makes it plain that this “revelation” is not only a disclosure of information, but it also carries a “commandment.”

In the process of explaining this mandate to teach the gospel, the Lord touches on an aspect of priesthood responsibility that is entirely overlooked in the church today when he gives this added command. “Nevertheless, let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things. (verse 114.)

Reading carefully, we see that this directive carries two parts. The first, is to teach the gospel: “warn the people … with the sound of the gospel.” The second is to tell them “of the desolation and utter abolishment” that might befall them.

Clearly, the first directive refers to missionary work, a mandate church members have heeded and apparently fulfilled rather well, given the remarkable growth of the church in the latter half of the 20th century. But, the second reference seems quite vague. What is the “desolation” referred to? What is “utter abolishment?”

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘desolate’ as “barren or laid waste … without inhabitants, deserted.” It also defines ‘abolish’ as “to do away with, to put an end to.”

Since the Lord applied these terms to three major American cities, a rather grim picture emerges. Without equivocation, God seems to be talking about reeking havoc in a catastrophe great enough to entirely wipe the cities of New York, Albany and Boston off the map, complete with all their inhabitants, if they do not accept the gospel.

But that is not all. To clarify and amplify, God reiterates the commandment. “And verily I say unto you, the rest of my servants, go ye forth as your circumstances shall permit, in your several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.” (verse 117.)

So, we learn that this mission was not exclusive to Bishop Whitney; verse 117 extends this commandment to all priesthood holders, “the rest of my servants.” We also learn that they should visit not just the three cities first named, but many others also, “the great and notable cities and villages.”

Then, the Lord repeats his charge that they teach about possible, impending destructions, “the desolation of abomination.”

This presents a problem for today’s priesthood bearers. Which of us can even begin to explain the “desolation” and “utter abolishment” the Lord referred to? What do those terms mean? What could cause such devastation?

While every general conference of the church has one or more talks about the vital importance of missionary work, where are the talks explaining or elucidating the second part of the commandment: teaching “clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination?” More importantly, we must ask why this part of the commandment has not been acknowledged? How is it that we have focused so well and appropriately on missionary work without also teaching the other half of the equation, the promised devastation?

If we’ve not been instructed in these things or discovered them for ourselves, how are we to teach them, as we were commanded to do? How are we going to teach something we do not understand? In that case, how are we going to fulfill the Lord’s charge to teach it at all, let alone do so plainly?

As a matter of fact, any discussion of prophetic destructions has been almost completely banned from our discourse in the church. Over the last half-century, the subjects of prophecy and catastrophe in church discussion have become increasingly taboo. Where once they were central to our very character as Latter-day Saints, they have been almost completely marginalized in our day and age.

Our instruction manuals for teaching in the church almost entirely skirt around the subject of the last days and their associated destructions. The subject is almost never addressed from the pulpit, and even then it is treated in such an oblique manner as to avoid any substantive handling of the subject.

Yet, given the wording of this section, it would seem that we are under as great an obligation to teach about the impending destructions as we are to do missionary work.

So, let’s reverse this trend. Let’s more fully perform our duty as priesthood bearers. Let’s look at this once again to see if we might regain some lost ground and thereby properly fulfill this commandment from the Lord.

One might begin by asking, what is the “desolation and utter abolishment” of which the Lord spoke? What is the “desolation of abomination in the last days” that all priesthood bearers, “the rest of my servants,” are herein commanded to “set forth clearly and understandingly?”

A clue to those questions lies a little further on in that section. “For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.” (verse 118.)

The keywords in these verses are “rend their kingdoms,” “shake the earth” and “the starry heavens shall tremble.” Anyone schooled in the nature of planetary catastrophes that have punctuated Earth’s past and the prophetic metaphors they gave rise to will recognize what the Lord intended. These same metaphors have been used by the prophets to describe numerous episodes in Earth’s past when the entire world came to the brink of destruction-episodes such as Noah’s Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus and numerous other such widespread catastrophes.

The references are subtle but unmistakable. The metaphors “desolation of abomination,” or “desolation and utter abolishment” are coded expressions for planetary catastrophes of the most devastating kind where nature goes on a rampage, where almost all the works of mankind crumble in worldwide earthquakes while oceanic super-tsunamis rush in upon continents, wiping vast areas of the globe clean of any vestige of life, all as the heavens appear to reel about as a result of our planet’s wobbling on its axis of rotation.

As if to put a lock on his meaning, God added this unmistakable declaration. “For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.” (verse 119.)

It is the powers of heaven that wreck destruction and havoc on the Earth, a frequent scriptural theme.

And just to clarify, the Lord says that there is nothing unusual to see in the heavens just now, “ye cannot see it now.” But the time will come when we will all see and know what the desolation of abomination is. That is, “yet a little while and ye shall see it.”

Finally, as a warning against dismissing the importance of this knowledge and its conveyance, the Lord said, “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-

“Which Vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.” (verses 54 and 55)

Make no mistake. Ignoring or dismissing this aspect of our priesthood callings by failing to obey the Lord’s commandment in this regard has brought condemnation upon us all. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the very verses President Ezra Taft Benson quoted when he counseled church members to repent of their doubt and pride, saying also that the whole church was under condemnation.

Part II – Watch the Heavens

To assure the reader that the above is not a strained interpretation of a few obscure and selected verses, we should take a moment to learn why the Lord might want his priesthood to understand the cause and nature of planetary catastrophes.

In all ancient cultures, the priestly class dominated the religious life of any culture, including the symbolic center of their religious tradition: the temple. All ancient cultures had temples wherein the priestly class administered rites and rituals of salvation, whether or not they had the true priesthood.

We learn from Abraham that this was certainly true of the Egyptians. “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations …. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham ….” (Abraham 1:26, 27.)

We know from archeology and research into the Egyptian religion that they not only had temples, but they performed resurrection rituals, much as we do in our temples today. Thus, as Abraham implies, they obviously sought to imitate true priesthood orders and rituals. (See Hugh Nibley’s extensive writings on this subject.)

Some temples were elaborately constructed edifices, such as the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Others were merely groups of standing stones, such as Stonehenge. In the Americas, pyramids were the temples of choice, as were the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Native Americans in the southwestern United States constructed kivas. All these are easily identified as temples because of the rituals practiced therein.

But the temples weren’t only ritual centers. They were observatories, and their architecture abounds in astral alignments. Research has shown us that they assiduously tracked the movements of the heavenly bodies. As we have seen, they were absolutely obsessive about fixing and tracking the points where these bodies rose over the horizon, most especially the Sun during the summer and winter solstices.

A fundamental part of priestly responsibility was to watch the skies by tracking the movements of the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, the planets and the stars, which they accomplished with a variety of ingenious methods.

Most common among these ancient sky watchers was the practice of aligning stones or architecture such that the first rays of light from the Sun as it rose in the morning would fall on a well-marked spot on another stone or marker within a building. Thus, they could track the Sun’s rising on the horizon throughout the year as it varied, moving slightly more north or south each day until it reached its most extreme positions at the winter and summer solstices. This, then, was a simple but effective way of ascertaining that the Earth, not the Sun, was moving in its normal, prescribed path. Any deviation would easily be discerned.

This proclivity has long puzzled archeologists and anthropologists. Why did the ancients seem preoccupied with astronomy? Why did they track the movement of astral bodies? Why was astronomy so important to them that they practiced it and incorporated it into their most sacred shrines, their temples?

This was as true of God’s authentic prophets and priests as it was of the pretenders. We learn this from Abraham, for example. “But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers.” (Abraham 1:31.)

This notion is further confirmed when Abraham is shown stars and planets through the Urim and Thummim. It seems to be God’s desire that the prophets have an intimate knowledge of things astronomical. But to what end, if not to watch for irregularities in the skies?

This is reflected in our modern temples, where astral symbols abound, as they also did in ancient temples. This was and is information about the Sun, the Moon and the many stars or “great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven”-the very icons we find adorning the walls of our sacred temples.

But, what does astronomy have to do with religion and priesthood? It’s really quite simple.

God always warned the world’s inhabitants of impending planetary disasters. The scriptures are replete with such accounts. Adam and Noah warned of the coming Great Flood; Abraham warned Lot to flee Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses warned the Israelites, Pharaoh and the Egyptians of the plagues that would shortly befall them; and Samuel the Lamanite warned the Nephites of the destructions to accompany the crucifixion of the Savior.

Not only that, there are an even greater multitude of warnings regarding identical destructions and devastations in the last days, before the second coming. John wrote extensively in his Revelation. Isaiah, Malachi, Zechariah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Joel and even the Savior himself told of these planet-wide catastrophes as a “desolation of abomination.” Hence, there are a multitude of past and future warnings from the prophets in our scriptures of the “desolation and utter abolishment” that awaits the world in our day, just as they occurred in the past.

 It is only natural, then, that God would charge his priesthood with the sobering task of watching the heavens to discern any change in the motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon or the planets. Alterations in any of those would likely portend trouble.

So, this is the easily discernable reason why all ancient cultures, including those led by prophets, were so invested in watching the heavens. Any deviation in the movement of the stars or planets meant almost certain disaster for Earth’s inhabitants. So, tracking them was the sure way to know at the earliest possible moment if something went awry.

A rather practical, down-to-earth approach for such an esoteric discipline as astronomy, wouldn’t you say?

Since modern astronomy denies the possibility of any deviation in the orbits of the Earth, the Sun and the other planets in our solar system, they are left with no basis for understanding the ancients’ preoccupation with the heavens. They chalk it up to superstition, and that’s where it ends.

But ancient and modern revelation, along with all the texts left behind by other ancient cultures, repeatedly and compellingly insist that the order of the heavens was altered in historic times, in spite of the insistence to the contrary by modern science.

The prophets repeatedly spoke of a change so great, so sweeping that it completely alters both the heavens and the Earth. “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. … Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth ….” (2 Peter 3:7, 13.) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1.)

This principle is most clearly enunciated in latter-day revelation. “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.

“For old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth ….” Doctrine and Covenants 29: 23, 24.)

All this being true, then it only makes sense that God would want to reestablish this practice of watching the heavens among his priesthood in the latter days. And knowing this explains why the priesthood was assigned the duty of “watchmen” in the “watchtowers.” While a watchtower in a fortress or walled city might be useful in spotting an army of approaching foes, an astronomical observatory might effectively be thought of as a “watchtower” and the priesthood as “watchmen” where the possibility of planetary disorder exists.

Hence, the Lord implores his people, and especially those ordained to the priesthood to “Watch, therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42.)

Also, “Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.” (Doctrine and Covenants 61:38.)

This, then, is a duty traditionally assigned to God’s priesthood bearers. That he would again restore this assignment to the priesthood in these latter days is perfectly natural and in harmony with the ancient pattern. That means that this is information and understanding that every latter-day priesthood holder should master, as we have been commanded, in order to fully discharge our sacred duties.

Not only can we better fulfill our callings through this study and practice, this information will further enhance our gospel understanding to a considerable degree, allowing us to better understand the scriptures, the words of the prophets and the symbolism of our temples. This is true because the symbolism that dominates the gospel actually originated in ancient astral events.

 Part III – The Reiteration

Lastly, in order to better understand the 84th Section, we must turn to the 88th Section, where the Lord reiterates in much more detail what he gave in the earlier revelation. Read this revelation with the counsel and commandment of the 84th Section in mind to bring greater clarity and meaning to the Lord’s expressions.

Let’s review Section 88 verse by verse, beginning about half way through.

“77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.”

God here referred to the same commandment he already gave in Section 83, as will be plainly seen as we proceed.

“78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand ….”

This is the very instruction needed to prepare a teacher to explain what the desolation of abomination is, how to watch for it and how to explain it. While we are presently doing a good job of teaching gospel principles and law, we have fallen down in the other two named categories: theory and doctrine. Otherwise, the knowledge of these planetary destructions would be common among us. Since they are not, this is prima fascia evidence of our ignorance.

And what are those things that we have failed to study and fully understand?

“79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass … and the judgments which are on the land ….”

 You see, it is in studying the “things both of heaven and in the earth” that we discover the changes wrought by past planetary catastrophes, because those changes are explicit in ancient history or “things which have been.” Of course, by studying “things which are,” we find a basis for comparison with the past. In so doing, we learn that our world and its heavens are vastly different than they were. Additionally, in studying “things which must shortly come to pass,” we learn that coming planetary disorder will be nearly identical to past catastrophes, giving us yet another basis for comparison and a vivid idea of what the future holds for this world when planetary disorder once again nearly destroys our planet, causing “desolation and utter abolishment.”

“80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”

This is the heart of the matter. We cannot be fully prepared to “magnify the calling” we’ve been given if we have not prepared ourselves with this vital knowledge, which we now utterly lack.

“81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”

This is a restatement of the mission: We must “clearly and understandingly” tell them of the “desolation and utter abolishment” that awaits this world.

“84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry ….”

Without this knowledge of planetary catastrophe, we cannot be “perfected” in our knowledge. And we cannot properly teach if our knowledge is incomplete or incorrect. Hence the Lord’s counsel to “tarry” while we “labor diligently” to learn these concepts.

 “… to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come; …”

Notice here that this mission to teach of planetary catastrophe is not only necessary to teach the nonmembers or “Gentiles,” it is needful “to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment.” Thus, this mission is as much to the members of the church as it is to potential converts. This is the second part of the commandment, which we have completely overlooked.

“85 That their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come.”

Just to clarify that both sections 84 and 88 are talking about the same things, notice that the Lord once again cites the “desolation of abomination,” while yet further defining it as the “wrath of God.”

And here’s the payoff. So that we might be certain of what he’s talking about, the Lord describes the desolation’s most prominent elements.

“87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.”

It is these variously described, symbolic elements that are seen to comprise the effects that accompany a planetary disaster.

In Section 84, he cited another such symbolic, yet very real, element. ” I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.”

It is the comprehension of these metaphors, and the many other symbolically described elements, that are crucial to one’s understanding of the very things we’ve been commanded to teach, that is “set forth clearly and understandingly.” It is these elements of planetary catastrophe that we must master in order to teach them to others.

“88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.”

The Lord said the same thing with more obscure language in Section 84 when he said, “For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms.”

That is to say, first comes the priesthood’s warning, then comes the destruction. It’s the same pattern followed throughout world history: God calls a prophet to warn the people of impending disaster and call them to repentance. That done, the promised destructions are poured out.

For good measure, the Lord then lists many more elements of a planetary encounter.

“89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

“90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

“91 And all things shall be in commotion; surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.”

Again, it is these natural phenomenon that constitute the prophesied desolation.

Next is an entirely metaphorical narrative that cannot be understood until one is thoroughly schooled in the prophetic tradition that arose from past planetary calamity. It is coded language, symbolic allusions to very real things that will be seen and heard.

“92 And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

It is in the decoding of such metaphors or symbolic language that a corrected view of ancient planetary catastrophe becomes vital. With it, we can see what such allegorical declarations truly mean.

Now comes the “piece de resistance” of this revelation.

“93 And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.”

It is this “great sign” that is the cause of these overwhelming natural phenomenon that will sweep the Earth.

Some have supposed that since the word “sign” is used here that there would be some stunning, symbolic manifestation in the heavens that would signal the onset of the destructions. But, the training and education that comes with studying past planetary encounters tell us otherwise.

Joseph Smith explained in more explicit terms what that “great sign” would be.

 “There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man in heaven.  What will the world do?  They will say it is a planet, a comet, &c.”  (History of the Church, 5:337.)

Of course, the entire world will call this sign a planet or a comet because that’s exactly what it will be-a planet-sized orb that also looks and behaves like a tremendous comet.

And just so there are no loose ends to this exposition, make note that Joseph connects this “sign” with all the same devastating natural destructions as the two revelations we’ve been considering. That can lead to only one, inescapable conclusion: The planet or comet is not only a sign, it is the very agent-the single cause-of all the natural destructions that are part of God’s desolation.


 After all this exposition, these points are worth making one last time: It is the Lord who decreed that the priesthood’s role is to be the conservators and expositors of this knowledge among church members. Not only that, they were charged with watching the heavens for deviations that might portend renewed catastrophes.

Sadly, present-day priesthood holders not only do not understand these things, they are inclined to discount and suppress them, thinking they are too fantastic or bizarre to be credible. Most elders in the church know nothing of the simplest aspects of astronomy, thinking it something entirely and completely foreign to the gospel of Christ. Yet, a survey of teachings by general authorities from Joseph Smith on forward has revealed that these subjects have been amply treated and clarified in this dispensation, to say nothing of the preponderance of evidence found in our scriptures and the other records we have from the past.

Today’s priesthood holders have no concept of such a mandate from the Lord, even though it is plainly stated in latter day revelation. Neither have they properly searched our scriptures, otherwise these things would have been self evident. Therefore, today’s priesthood holders are unable to comply with the Lord’s mandate to teach these truths “clearly and understandingly.”

Perhaps its time we stopped treating prophecy and prophetic imagery as the redheaded stepchild of the gospel. Maybe it’s time we reversed our course by taking seriously this commandment. By admitting our oversight, we can begin to correct it.

Remember God’s counsel: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-

“Which Vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.” (Section 84:54, 55.)

Will we allow this to continue?



The Keys to Prophecy XI: Prophecy and the Restored Gospel

781 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2005

The Keys to Prophecy XI:
Prophecy and the Restored Gospel

This series has identified several keys to prophecy in the restored gospel.

When we let our scriptures speak for themselves, without imposing our own ‘modern,’ ‘scientific’ preconceptions upon them, an entirely different picture of the past emerges than the one we’ve been taught.

It was in Earth’s ancient heavens-the Creator’s most spectacular canvas-that all ancient imagery originated.  It is there we must look for the source of all the symbols used by the ancients to depict their gods.

Thus we see that the imagery of the scriptures as well is reflected in the religious, astral icons of the past.  The symbolic icons give meaning to the scriptural imagery, and the scriptural imagery gives meaning to the symbolic icons, as is the case with the Egyptian facsimiles and the Book of Abraham.  They complement and illuminate one another.

With that revised picture, ancient texts become accurate, eyewitness records of marvelous astronomical manifestations that we can only remotely comprehend.  The images carved on the walls of ancient tombs, temples and monuments come alive with meaning.

With this improved perspective, explanations of prophecy, offered by Joseph Smith and all the prophets, turn from metaphorical niceties to accurate, detailed descriptions.

The only way that planets or stars could so profoundly influence peoples of the ancient world-an influence sufficiently strong to give rise to the religious traditions and symbolism of their cultures-is if those orbs were manifestly closer than they are today.  Unlike the mere pinpoints of light we see in our night sky, they must have stood in overwhelming proximity, dominating the ancient sky watchers’ view, giving rise to the primary symbolic themes of those past cultures.

If we allow the traditions, symbols and rituals of the past to speak for themselves, that is the message they convey.

Thus we see that the stories from ancient cultures the world over of astral gods and goddesses who performed marvelous feats and engaged in heaven-spanning battle may have been based in the appearance and movements of these same planets in a near-Earth environment-a concept flatly denied by modern science and rejected by orthodox Christianity, yet supported by Joseph Smith’s observations.

The reason all these images are an enigma to us can be found in relatively recent history when our culture swerved away from their use and adopted a ‘rational’ view of ancient history, as is taught in educational institutions everywhere in the world today.  Cultural, religious traditions that once taught of recent, dramatic changes in the heavens-accounts held sacred by our ancestors-became myths and fairy tales.

We divorced ourselves from our cultural roots.  We cut ourselves off from the message the ancients struggled to convey, the one they assumed would be universally understood: They had seen “marvelous wonders” in the heavens.

The odd thing is that we don’t understand that.  In fact, we believe just the opposite: the heavens have always appeared as they do now.  That flawed, myopic belief prevents us from seeing what the ancients sought mightily to convey.

Also, this is why the imagery of prophecy and mythology are remarkably similar.  They derive from the same source: our early cultural and religious tradition from which we divorced ourselves in the Age of Enlightenment.  It is for this reason that the Bible was rejected by the emerging cult of science and scholasticism.  We really threw the baby out with the bath water!

The oddity in all this is that the guardians of religious traditions fell victims to the same thinking.  They rejected that same imagery, saying it had nothing to do with the proper practice of Christianity.  That left us without the touchstone we need to interpret the imagery of prophecy throughout the scriptures, until Joseph Smith restored that knowledge.

To unravel the mystery that is prophecy, you must first learn the symbolism of antiquity and the cosmological images from which it sprang – prodigious, heaven-spanning displays of awe-inspiring plasma phenomena generated in a neighboring conjunction of planets that produced a monumental sound and light show seen the world over.  This dramatic celestial phantasmagoria dominated Earth’s skies in the earliest epoch of history and indelibly impressed itself on the mind and spirit of all early cultures.

Dibble Illustration

According to Philo Dibble, Joseph Smith’s bodyguard, this is the Prophet’s illustration of the planetary arrangement that existed in Earth’s ancient heavens.  This “stacked” arrangement in common, polar alignment caused them to appear stationary in the heavens.  The Prophet even included the apparent “connections” between planets caused by the plasma phenomenon, as depicted in the adjoining artist’s conception.

These astral events gave rise to the cryptic icons that adorn the walls of ancient monuments, temples and tombs — virtual snapshots, in many cases, of things seen in those ancient skies.  Appropriately, they also decorate modern temples-a testament in stone to the restoration of truth.

The metaphorical language of the prophets also arose from those events.  The rhetorical counterparts of those enigmatic symbols fill the revelations of both ancient and modern prophets.  They are the keys to most scriptural symbolism.

Knowing this makes prophecy plain and easy to understand, as Joseph Smith said.  It also touches on every point of doctrine in the restored gospel revealed through him in these latter days.



The Keys to Prophecy VII: A New Heaven, a New Earth

721 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2005

The Keys to Prophecy VII:

A New Heaven, a New Earth

Our culture knows nothing of the incredible changes wrought in the heavens anciently.  This is so because of our ‘scientific’ view that there have been no significant changes in the solar system’s arrangement during recorded history.

But the scriptures and the prophets are insistent, in spite of our ‘scientific’ beliefs:  The heavens have repeatedly changed throughout ancient history.  This is a primary message the ancients and the prophets sought to convey to us across the millennia.

The result: Our modern ignorance of the true past blinds us to the unanimous declarations of our distant ancestors.

The concept of sweeping changes in the sky and the earth are found everywhere in the scriptures.  For example, in the Doctrine & Covenants we read: “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.

“For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fullness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea.” (D&C 29:23, 24.)

Also, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1.)

Perhaps the apostle Peter said it best when he spoke of the Deluge, explaining that it was the defining event that changed the ‘old heavens’ into the sky we see today.  “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”  (2 Peter 3:5-7.)

Then, he went on to further explain that a similar change was in store for us in the last days.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  (Ibid. 3:10.)

We read the same sort of language in the texts of all ancient cultures, where we find the pervasive, ever-present fear that something terrible that happened in the past would repeat itself in the future.  Indeed, all ancient cultures relate that there have been dramatic changes in the heavens, calling the epochs in between “ages” or “suns.”  The Greek philosopher Hesiod associates these ages with various metals, as does Daniel in his Old Testament vision of the statue with a head of gold, a torso of silver, belly and thighs of brass and legs of iron.

These fearsome changes were universally attributed to stars or planets in the form of gods, goddesses, beasts or serpents.  Surely, then, Joseph Smith was correct to call these images of the ancients “stars” and “planets,” as we have seen.

Even our language retains this key.  The words for world-changing cataclysms are catastrophe (cat-astro-phe) and disaster (dis-aster).  Both bear the same ‘astr’ root as the goddess-stars of antiquity: Aster, Astarte, Ashtoreth or Hathor.  In fact, one interpretation of the word “disaster” is literally “from the star.”

This the ancients feared above all: destruction from the stars that changed everything.

No wonder they were fiercely dedicated sky watchers, including prophets like Abraham, preoccupied with the motions of planets and stars.  No wonder they endlessly adorned their texts, temples and tombs with symbols and metaphors of star gods, goddesses and beasts derived from the appearance of those planets.

But because our culture and science turn a blind eye to these declarations, Latter-day Saints frequently fail to appreciate the many statements by Joseph Smith that echo the beliefs of the ancients: Planets and stars are the origins of almost all scriptural and prophetic imagery.

 Stars and planets on the Salt Lake Temple reflect an ancient, customary obsession with the heavens.  On the west wall buttresses, near the bottom of the photo are Sun Stones.  In the middle are the stars of the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper.  Immediately above those is a repeated pattern of circles within a ring, called Saturn Stones by Brigham Young.

That’s why those images dominate the exterior of LDS temples, just as they did their ancient counterparts.  Our temples reflect both realities, the past and the present heavens.

The prophets, both ancient and modern, understood this key.  So should we.



The Keys to Prophecy VIII: The Grand Sign

753 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2004

The Keys to Prophecy VIII:

The Grand Sign 

Major changes in the planetary order, some involving earth-threatening catastrophes, have occurred within human memory, and they were recorded by the survivors on the billboards of antiquity-temples and monuments-as well as in sacred texts of all religions.

This is a crucial key to understanding scriptural symbolism-not only in prophecy, but also throughout sacred texts.

For our culture, these are found in Old Testament events such as the Creation, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus, Joshua’s Long Day, Elijah’s fire from heaven, and many other such strange and mysterious accounts.

The latter-day revelations, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, reflect that same perspective with numerous accounts of world-changing events connected with heavenly objects or signs, casting Joseph Smith in the same role as all the biblical prophets.

By every means at their command, cultures around the world attempted to communicate their experience to future generations-to us.  Through texts, myth, ritual and art, they preserved records on papyrus, parchment and stone of these tumultuous events.  We fail to recognize them for what they are because we see nothing in our heavens even remotely similar to their accounts.

The first institutions of civilization arose from ritual practices honoring, imitating and memorializing these events and the planetary powers involved.  Those monuments, institutions and practices are remarkably preserved in our cultures even to this day, yet we fail to recognize them for what they are.

Why, then, should it surprise anyone that the prophets would recall and employ the symbolism generated in their cultures by the physical phenomena associated with past planetary pageants to rehearse identical types of events they had foreseen in our future?

Indeed, this is the crux of the story and a truth that Latter-day Saints should readily acknowledge.  The prophets knew that the interplanetary phenomena of past planetary catastrophes, complete with the myriad manifestations that fill ancient texts and adorn crumbling temple walls-images, symbols or icons-would once again be reinstated in the heavens at a future time they called the “last days.”

This approach alone explains some peculiar revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation.

“There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man in heaven.  What will the world do?  They will say it is a planet, a comet, &c.”  (History of the Church, 5:337.)

Of course this sign, as Joseph Smith implied, will be a planet that looks and behaves like a giant comet.  That’s what all the heavenly ‘signs’ in the past were.  But what makes this planet most unusual is that it will make a close approach to the Earth-close enough to instigate all the natural disasters outlined in the beginning of the Prophet’s statement.  (For a more thorough explanation of this revelation, see “Modern Signs” in the August, 2004 issue of Desert Saints Magazine.)

The above quote from the Prophet, as with all prophecy and ancient history, has little meaning unless seen from the perspective outlined in this series.  Only from this point of view does it become truly meaningful, much more than a colorful metaphor.  Now we see it for what it truly is: a completely understandable declaration of fact.

The same is true with many revelations given to Joseph Smith.  They are littered with such declarations.

“… there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.” Doctrine & Covenants 88:93, italics added.)

“… I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.  For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it …  (Ibid., 84:118, 119.)

“… the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath; …”  (Ibid., 29:14.)

Modern revelation brings us the truth: “… knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”  (Ibid., 93:24.)

This is a fundamental key.  We have but to “open the eyes of our understanding” to receive it.