A new interpretation of Psalms 110


The context of Psalms 110 is the end times and the whole psalm is in chronological order.

Verse 1

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Psalms 110:1)

The psalm begins in the meridian of time with the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven after His resurrection, to sit down at the right hand of the Father. He remains there in heaven until the end times, until the restoration of all things,

…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 3:20-21)

even until the destruction of His enemies at the Second Coming, when they will finally be made ashes under His feet.

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch…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 4:1,3)

The LORD in the verse is God the Father, and the Personage who is referred to by David as “my Lord,” is Jesus Christ.

Verse 2

The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. (Psalms 110:2)

Verse two continues within the context of the end times.

Here David is speaking to Jesus Christ, saying that the LORD (God the Father) will send the rod of Christ’s strength out of Zion. The rod of Christ’s strength is the same rod that comes out of the stem of Jesse, mentioned in Isaiah 11:1. This rod is Joseph-Nephi (who is the Elias that restores all things) and he is a servant in the hands of Christ:

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

What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power. (D&C 113:3-4)

Zion in this verse is in the New World, not the Old World.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (Articles of Faith 1:10)

This part of the verse (in bold type) :

The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. (Psalms 110:2)

is David quoting God the Father as He speaks to the rod and gives the rod instructions. The New International Version shows the speech in this way:

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (Psalms 110:2)

The Father’s instructions to the rod are, essentially, to switch into root mode (thus becoming the root of Jesse) and to rule over his enemies (who are Gentiles.) It is the root, not the rod, that reigns over the Gentiles:

And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. (Romans 15:12)

This switch from rod to root will be repeated in this psalm, as we shall see. But before I continue on to verse three, I will expound more on the rod and root.

The Rod and the Root

What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

Behold, thus saith the Lord:

It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.

What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?

Behold,

thus saith the Lord,

it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.

(D&C 113:3-6)

Two or one?

There are some Mormons who think the rod and root are two different men, while others believe that it is one and the same person. Joseph Smith’s revelation on the rod says he is to be “partly a descendant” whereas Joseph Smith’s revelation on the root has no such wordage, indicating that the root is not partly descended.

This means that the rod is partly descended from Jesse (through one parent), while the root is fully descended from Jesse (through both parents.) Thus, it is impossible for the rod and the root to be one and the same man, because it would require the man to have two sets of parents.

I say, however, that none of that matters. The rod and the root are still one and the same man, for the man will become the rod first, whereby he will obtain “much power,” and then he will use that power to give himself a second set of parents. Thus, Nicodemus’s question to Jesus will be answered with a resounding, “Yes.”

Nicodemus saith unto him,

How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

(John 3:4)

Thus, the rod will switch his parentage, from the lineage in which he was partly descended through only one parent, to a lineage in which he is fully descended through both parents. There will be, then, two men who will claim to be his father, and two women who will claim to be his mother and who will testify that they gave birth to him, and their testimonies will be correct, for he will go into the womb of the second mother and she will give birth to him, so that he is born a second time. It doesn’t matter that that is impossible. He will do it anyway. The ministry of Elias, after all, is meant to be strange:

For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. (Isaiah 28:21)

That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God. (D&C 101:95)

The meaning of Ephraim

The revelation on the rod says he will be of Ephraim, but Ephraim can mean many things. Ephraim can mean the man Ephraim, who was the son of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. It can mean the tribe of Ephraim, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. It can mean the northern kingdom which broke from the rest of the tribes and were led north. Fortunately, the revelation gives a clarifying phrase, to explain what is meant by “Ephraim.”

of Ephaim, or of the house of Joseph

The words “or of the house of Joseph” is a clarifying phrase, defining what is meant by “of Ephraim.” Ephraim, then, in this revelation, refers to “the house of Joseph,” which consisted of two tribes; namely, Manasseh and Ephraim, which together are called, “Ephraim,” just as the northern kingdom, although consisting of multiple tribes is all lumped together under the heading, “Ephraim.”

Now, if the revelation meant Ephraim to mean a man named Ephraim, it would have left off the clarifying phrase, and would have simply said:

It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, on whom there is laid much power.

But it doesn’t say that. Instead, Joseph Smith added the clarifying phrase, which broadened the meaning to include the whole house of Joseph, which contains not one, but two tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim.) This shows that the word Ephraim is also a title that is used to refer to the house of Joseph, and not just the name of a man who was born to the Joseph that was sold into Egypt.

Now, if the revelation had meant that he would descend from the tribe of Ephraim, it would have been worded thusly:

It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of the tribe of Ephraim, on whom there is laid much power.

But again, it doesn’t say that. So, it doesn’t refer to either the man Ephraim, nor to the tribe of Ephraim. Nor does it refer to the northern tribes, for if it had referred to the northern kingdom, which contained more than just the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, it wouldn’t have included the clarifying phrase which limited its meaning to just the house of Joseph:

It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.

The northern kingdom is never referred to as “the house of Joseph.” Only Ephraim and Manasseh can be called, “the house of Joseph.” And the house of Joseph is not just one tribe, but consists of two, therefore neither the tribe of Manasseh alone, nor the tribe of Ephraim alone, can be called, “the house of Joseph.” Nevertheless, both tribes taken together are collectively called, “Ephraim,” and this is the manner in which the revelation uses the phrase.

Thus, the rod will be partly a descendant of Jesse, as well as of the house of Joseph, which means that the rod will have three lineages: Judah, Manasseh and Ephraim. The only way to arrive at a Ephraim-only view, with no Manasseh attached, is by dropping the clarifying phrase which identifies the revelation’s title of Ephraim as referring to “the house of Joseph,” encompassing both the tribe of Ephraim and the tribe of Manasseh.

Why did the revelation state it this way?

Joseph could have simply dropped the Ephraim part and used only the phrase, “of the house of Joseph,” but had he done so, it would not have given the understanding of this additional use of the title of Ephraim (in which it refers to both tribes descended of Joseph), nor would it have allowed the shadows to go forth. By phrasing it this way, putting out the title Ephraim, and then clarifying its meaning afterward, the Lord allowed people’s natural spiritual filters to “filter out” the clarifying phrase, allowing the revelation to cast an “Ephraim”-only shadow before its literal fulfillment of Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus, people who read this revelation read it as if there is no clarifying phrase, or as if the phrase doesn’t clarify anything (in other words, they read it as a redundancy), not understanding that the phrase is intended as a clarifying phrase meant to define the use of “of Ephraim,” and thus it must mean more than just “of the tribe of Ephraim” or “of the man Ephraim.”

The root

After the rod revelation, the root revelation drops all reference to Ephraim and merely mentions that the root is “of Joseph.” Again, everyone’s spiritual filters only read, “of Ephraim.” And yet, the text doesn’t say, “of Ephraim,” but “of Joseph.” And Joseph had not one, but two sons. Therefore, “of Joseph,” must refer either to Ephraim or to Manasseh, or to both. Which of the three must it be? It must refer to both. Why? Because there’s no point in using the more general term of, “of Joseph,” when you are just referring to the narrower meaning of, “of Ephraim,” or, “of Manasseh.” In other words, there must be a reason why the Lord uses the general term instead of opting for the more narrow term which is more specific. And there is a reason: because the root is a descendant of both Ephraim and Manasseh. So Joseph is referred to, and not one of Joseph’s two sons.

Again, the use of the term Ephraim in the rod revelation wasn’t meant to be a narrow meaning, narrowing it down to one tribe (the tribe of Ephraim), but as a general term referring to both tribes, who are the house of Joseph, but this usage of the term Ephraim is unfamiliar to Gentiles, hence it was followed up by the clarifying phrase, which defined its usage. But the follow-up revelation, on the root, entirely leaves off the usage of the title Ephraim, and just settles for calling the lineage, “of Joseph,” which phrase in itself also acts as a general or umbrella term, referring again to both tribes.

Despite the explanations in this post, I suppose people will continue to believe that the root and the rod are two different people, and that the lineage given in these revelations is only of Jesse and Ephraim. As a result of such beliefs, all impostor rods or roots will continue to affirm that they are of Ephraim and Judah and will never say that they are also of Manasseh, in order that they may deceive the people. Only the real rod and root will give the additional lineage of Manasseh. And only the real rod and root will state that he was born twice, of two different mothers.

Birthright and the firstborn status

There is a difference between the status of “firstborn” and the “birthright.” Normally “firstborn” and “birthright” go hand-in-hand, but not always. A birthright pertains to the firstborn, but may be transferred to another, or even to others, because it is sold (think: Esau’s sale of his birthright to his brother Jacob for a mess of porridge) or because of the firstborn’s transgression.

The status of firstborn remains intact regardless of the transference of the birthright to another, however whoever obtains the birthright gets the double portion and the additional responsibilities that accompany it, and thus may be considered as obtaining a “spiritual firstborn” status.

In the case of sale, the firstborn loses the birthright because it is sold to another, who then obtains it. In the case of transgression, the birthright is taken away by God from the firstborn because he transgresses, and thus it is lost to him, and then God gives it to another more righteous than he. (There is also a third case, which I will not discuss here.) In each of these cases, the birthright is always first lost to the firstborn, and then transferred to another. Thus, we find Isaac’s firstborn son Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob, and thus losing it; and Jacob’s firstborn son Reuben transgressed God’s commandments and lost his birthright, which was then given to his brother Joseph’s sons; and Lehi’s firstborn son Laman transgressed God’s commandments and lost his birthright, which was transferred to his brother Nephi.

In the case of Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph’s sons, Joseph obtained Reuben’s birthright and, because Jacob made Manasseh and Ephraim tribes of Israel, both Manasseh and Ephraim received this birthright:

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:) (1 Chronicles 5:1-2)

When Israel blessed the sons of Joseph, he gave the lads the very same blessing, for they both had the birthright of Reuben:

And he blessed Joseph, and said,

God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

(Genesis 48:15-16)

However, Manasseh was the firstborn son of Joseph, and within the house of Joseph, Manasseh had the birthright, which meant he got the double portion of the house of Joseph. Nevertheless, Israel prophetically perceived that Ephraim would obtain the naming rights and also would inherit the Gentiles, so he crossed his hands upon their heads, placing his right hand (which pertained to the firstborn and birthright) upon Ephraim’s head. Notice that Joseph was displeased with this action:

And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father,

Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

(Genesis 48:17-18)

These were two holy prophets of God essentially having an argument in front of these kids. Joseph perceived that what Jacob was doing was wrong, and protested, for Manasseh never lost his birthright! Birthrights can only be transferred upon sale or transgression, and Manasseh was just a kid who never sold his birthright, nor did he transgress and lose it. But here was Israel placing his right hand upon Ephraim’s head anyway. Why? Because Jacob perceived that the birthright these boys had received was split between the two, and thus he gave Ephraim a spiritual endowment in order to make that split happen.

In essence, Manasseh received the double portion of land, and thus the birthright responsibilities to provide, both spiritually and temporally; whereas Ephraim received the naming rights and the Gentile converts, or, in other words, a double portion of people.

Thus, in the house of Israel, Reuben was the natural firstborn but lost his birthright to Manasseh and Ephraim, both of whom obtained a spiritual firstborn status. And in the house of Joseph, Manasseh was the natural firstborn and held the natural birthright, which he never lost, but through this blessing of Jacob, Ephraim received a spiritual firstborn status and thus shared in Manasseh’s birthright, in which the naming rights were transferred to Ephraim, and the double portion was split between the two lads, the double portion of land going to Manasseh (which double portion I will not expound upon, so don’t bother asking me about it), and the double portion of people (converted Gentiles) going to Ephraim.

The reason why Ephraim is placed before Manasseh is because he holds the naming rights. Thus, all in which the tribe of Ephraim participates is called Ephraim. The name Ephraim, then, can denote:

1. The man Ephraim, who was the son of Joseph the son of Israel;

2. The tribe of Ephraim;

3. The house of Joseph, which consists of two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh; or,

4. The northern kingdom, which consisted of ten tribes (including Ephraim.)

We call each of these things Ephraim because of his naming rights, not because Manasseh lost his birthright and firstborn status to Ephraim. (For he didn’t lose them.) The two tribes share everything, except in the divisions I have stated above. This is why the blessing of Joseph speaks of both tribes gathering the people together during the end times:

And of Joseph he said,

Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

(Deuteronomy 33:13-17)

Ephraim’s numbers are inflated because all Gentile converts get placed into the tribe of Ephraim. This is why the Lord stated the following:

For, verily I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out. (D&C 64:36)

The Lord doesn’t mean to say that if you are not of the blood of Ephriam, then you are rebellious. He is not saying that those of the tribe of Judah, or Manasseh, or Levi, or whatever, are rebels. No, the Lord is here referring to the Gentiles, for the Gentiles are always put into the tribe of Ephraim. If you have received a patriarchal blessing and it says you are of the tribe of Ephraim, it means one of two things: either you are an actual descendant of Ephraim, or you are a Gentile who is not descended from Ephraim, but who has been put into that tribe anyway. If your patriarchal blessing says any other tribe of Israel, it means you are an actual descendant of that tribe, having actual blood from that tribe. Only those whose blessing lists them as of Ephraim may be of Gentile origin.

The naming of tribes in patriarchal blessings, what they are for, what their purpose will be in the future, pertains to tribal functions, which the Lord has not, as yet, fully revealed. Nevertheless, the Lord has begun to reveal some of these things to me (because of my curiosity and my application of the gift of the word of knowledge), therefore the Lord has begun to give an understanding of these things to the saints, to replace the endless guesses and speculations found among the people.

Anyway, back to my point. I call the tribe of Ephraim “the Gentile-dumping tribe” because that is where all the Gentiles will go. As a result, Ephraim’s numbers will be vastly greater than Manasseh’s:

And his father refused, and said,

I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

(Genesis 48:19)

That “multitude of nations” that he refers to are the Gentiles. Also, Ephraim is greater than Manasseh because of the naming rights. Thus, whereas it was Manasseh and Ephraim prior to this blessing, now we say, “Ephraim and Manasseh,” putting Ephraim before Manasseh. Why do we do this? Because of this naming right.

Even the record of Joseph, or the stick of Joseph, gets Ephraim’s name.

The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying,

Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

Say unto them,

Thus saith the Lord GOD;

Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

(Ezekiel 37:15-19)

So, Joseph began the record we know of as the plates of brass, and Joseph wrote it in Egyptian and had his son Ephraim’s descendants keep the record, all the way down until Laban, and then when Laban transgressed, God had Lehi and Nephi, who were descendants of Joseph through Manasseh, obtain the record and they and their descendants were made custodians of it from then on. Yet those same plates of brass are still called, “the stick of Ephraim.” Ephraim’s naming rights apply to it, as well, and it gets his name, just because his descendants kept the record (until Laban, that is.) The plates of brass are still in the custody of the Nephites (who were all descendants of Manasseh), for they are in the hand of Moroni, who holds the keys to that record, yet it is still, to this very day, called the stick of Ephraim.

Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim; (D&C 27:5)

Latter-day saints, not understanding what all these scriptures are talking about, read the above and think, “Oh, the stick of Ephraim must be the Book of Mormon.” No, the Book of Mormon was written by Nephite prophets of the tribe of Manasseh. The stick of Ephraim (the plates of brass) were written by those of Ephraim, which is why it bears the name of Ephraim, for all that the tribe of Ephraim participates in ends up getting the name of Ephraim, per the naming rights blessing.

Or, latter-day saints will read the following scripture and mistakenly think, “Oh, that must mean that Ephraim got the birthright from Manasseh!”

They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. (Jeremiah 31:9)

They will cite the scripture and say, “See?! It says he is the firstborn! He has the birthright!” But it doesn’t say “the tribe of Ephraim is my firstborn,” nor does it mention birthright anywhere. Ephraim can denote 1 of 4 things, remember? It can denote “the house of Joseph,” which contains not one but two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh together got the birthright from Reuben, and they together became the spiritual firstborn of Israel, but because of Ephraim’s naming right blessing, Ephraim and Manasseh are simply called, “Ephraim!”

Now I know no matter how much I expound these things, people will remain in their die-hard beliefs. God put these names the way He did in the scriptures so that the shadows can go forth first, so that when the Josephite stands up and starts teaching this stuff in perfect clarity and with power, everybody will be surprised and finally understand what all this means. But in the meantime, I will expound some of it, too.

It is Manasseh that will convert the world

The Book of Mormon is a record of the tribe of Manasseh, and the Book of Mormon will convert the entire world. (This will happen when it is powerfully re-translated by the Josephite.) During the times of the Josephite, almost all principal players will be of Manasseh. For example, the Josephite himself will be of Manasseh, being a descendant of Lehi (who was descended from Manasseh.) His two witnesses will likely be his sons, who also, of course, will be of Manasseh. The four angelic helpers mentioned in the Book of Revelation will be four translated Nephite prophets, three of which will be the Three Nephites and the fourth will be some other Nephite (such as Alma the Younger.) That makes the six main players all of Manasseh, although being Nephites, they will also have the blood of Ephraim (through the daughters of Ishmael) and the blood of Jesse (through the group led by Mulek) in their veins. But the principal blood is of Manasseh.

Additionally, Moroni, a Nephite prophet of Manasseh, will be actively participating in the end time events, committing the gospel to many:

And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth. (D&C 133:36)

(John the apostle will also participate, but he’s of Judah.)

Then there are the 144,000. Now, notice that the tribe of Manasseh is listed among the 144,000, but not the tribe of Ephraim!

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

(Revelation 7:4-8)

Dan and Ephraim are simply not on the list. But, curiously, “the tribe of Joseph” is on the list. And yet, there is no such thing as “the tribe of Joseph,” for Joseph was split into two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh. The typical latter-day saint mind would use their spiritual filters to “see” Ephraim in “the tribe of Joseph.” It doesn’t say “tribe of Ephraim,” yet they will read it that way, nonetheless. Ephraim is simply not mentioned in the end times events of the book of Revelation, as if Ephraim sits this one out. Does Ephraim sit it out? Yes, sort of.

Everything is a prophetic switch. At the beginning it was first Manasseh, then Ephraim. Then at the end it will be first Ephraim (with Joseph Smith and the Gentile converts of Ephraim), then Manasseh (with the Josephite and his helpers.) The Josephite, curiously, will bear the name Joseph-Nephi. As such, his name, Joseph, will be had for good and evil everywhere during his ministry, fulfilling Moroni’s prophesy:

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (JS-H 1:33)

Moroni’s prophecy didn’t apply to the name, “Joseph Smith,” but to the name, “Joseph,” and it referred, as a shadow and type to Joseph Smith’s name of Joseph, but its literal fulfillment would come later with Joseph-Nephi’s name of Joseph.

Now, Joseph-Nephi undoubtedly will be forming a tribe. His tribe will be a tribe of Josephites, and thus will be “the tribe of Joseph.” Thus, “the tribe of Joseph” that John the Revelator mentions might not be “the tribe of Ephraim” that everyone likes to think it is. And if it turns out that “the tribe of Joseph” is a tribe of Josephites, these 12,000 people will be Nephites, and thus they will be of Manasseh, as well as a mix of Ephraim and Judah, and thus Ephraim “sort of” sits out.

The children of Ephraim

The one scripture that every latter-day saint points to as “proof positive” that the tribe of Ephraim will direct all the end times work is found here:

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. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. (D&C 133:30-34)

Remember those naming rights I mentioned above? Who are “the children of Ephraim” and who is “Ephraim and his fellows” in this scriptural passage? Specifically, who are the “fellows” of Ephraim in the passage? What does the name “Ephraim” denote in the above scripture?

1. The man Ephraim, who was the son of Joseph the son of Israel?

2. The tribe of Ephraim?

3. The house of Joseph, which consists of two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh? Or,

4. The northern kingdom, which consisted of ten tribes (including Ephraim)?

Unless a person knows exactly what the term, “Ephraim,” denotes in these scriptures, any interpretation of them will be merely a guess.

Inserting David into Jesse

Many latter-day saints believe that the rod and the root of Jesse refer to a descendant of David. The revelations Joseph Smith received on these symbolic expressions revealed that the rod “is partly a descendant of Jesse” (D&C 113:4), whereas the root “is a descendant of Jesse” (D&C 113:6.) Nowhere in the text is there any indication that these descendants come through David. Despite that fact, these saints equate Jesse with David anyway.

But Jesse does not equal David.

Jesse had eight sons, the youngest of them being David. The firstborn son was Eliab (which means: God is my father/God is the father.) Next was Abinadab (which means: Father of a vow; or of willingness), then Shammah (Waste/ Appalling Desolation.) Then the rest (I won’t list them all.)

Mulek was the son of Zedekiah, who was a descendant of David. That puts the descendants of David among the Nephites. But Mulek did not come alone. Thus, the other sons of Jesse may have also had descendants among the Nephites.

There were always two end time kings that would come forth. One would come through David (which means Beloved), a son of Jesse. David was the type of King Messiah, and it was King Messiah (Jesus Christ) who routinely referred to Himself as the Son of David and also as “the Root of David.” This Son was the Beloved Son of the Father, just as the ancient David was the beloved (David) son of Jesse. All the symbolism fits.

But what of the other king? King Abaddon (Destruction)/Apollyon (Destroyer) would be the son who represented the Father’s left hand of justice, who would be associated not with mercy, like Christ, but with anger and desolation. When we turn to the text, we find that all the symbolism still fits:

And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:6-7)

Here we see Samuel being sent to Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the new king, and when he comes to Eliab, the firstborn, he is sure that this must be the Lord’s anointed. Why? Because Eliab was large in stature and of kingly countenance. He was imposing, but He wasn’t the Lord’s pick for the Beloved type. (Christ is the literal Beloved, whereas David of old is the ancient Beloved type.) Eliab didn’t fit the Christ type. He fit the destroyer type. In fact, he is spoken of in the text as being angry, just as Elias will be:

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (1 Sam. 17:28-29)

Although seven of Jesse’s sons are mentioned in the scriptures, the first three are singled out:

And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. (1 Sam. 17:13)

Elias will come with two witnesses, just as Eliab came with his two brothers. This may be another type and pattern.

Again, there is no evidence that “a descendant of Jesse” means “a descendant of David.” None, whatsoever. Isaiah used Jesse for a purpose, and not David. It is appropriate to suppose that Jesse was used, and not David, because this descendant wouldn’t be of David, but would be of another son of Jesse, the one who was the type of the destroyer, king Abaddon.

Jesse=Father and David=Son

When Isaiah says:

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

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

the use of Jesse and not David additionally strikes me as a prophetic reference to the Father. Jesse was the father of David, who was the son of Jesse. Therefore, these four titles: rod, Stem, Branch and root, all of Jesse, may indicate that the personages are emissaries of the Father, and not of the Son. Now, I already teach this very thing, that the rod and root are the same man: the Josephite, who is an emissary of the Father (representing His left hand.) And the Stem and Branch, who is Jesus Christ, is also an emissary of the Father (representing His right hand.) So, the use of “Jesse” may indicate special representatives, or emissaries, of the Father, indicating the work of the Father. Whereas use of the name “David” indicates and points one’s mind prophetically to the Son. Hence, both the meaning of the name David (which, again, means Beloved) and also the name itself (David) in the scriptural expressions, “my servant David” and “David my servant,” which occur in passages such as Ezekiel 37, etc., and which refer to an end times Personage who will reign as king and prince forever over the house of Israel, identify the Beloved (David) Son of God.

Recap before continuing with verse three

Joseph-Nephi, then, will start out as the rod, with a Nephite lineage of Manasseh, Ephraim and Jesse (through one of Jesse’s eight sons, but probably not through David) through one parent, while the other parent will be of Gentile lineage. Then God the Father will send him forth with the instructions to rule in the midst of his enemies (the Gentiles) as the root, which means he must switch his parentage and become the root of Jesse. At that point, Joseph-Nephi will miraculously get himself a new set of parents, in which he will still have a Nephite lineage of Manasseh, Ephraim and Jesse (most likely not through David), but this time it will be through both his new mother and his new father, making him now of non-Gentile lineage.

And he will have a tribal kingdom of Josephites, over which he will rule as king Abaddon/Apollyon. This tribe of his will be his people. Now, let’s continue on to verse three.

Verse 3

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. (Psalms 110:3)

The context of verse three is the end times.

Here David is quoting God the Father speaking to the rod. The day of the rod’s power is the end times. The rod’s ministry will be noted by the spirit of power. Again, Joseph Smith’s revelation about the rod says the following:

What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power. (D&C 113:3-4)

So, going back to what the Father says to the rod, He says:

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,

This is not talking of the people of the Lord Jesus Christ, but of the people of the rod. So, when Joseph-Nephi (the rod) stands up and begins his ministry, he will have a people and this verse specifically speaks about them. However, the Josephite will also gather the people of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so it also has a more general or wider application. In other words, what it specifically says about Elias’s people, who will be a select group of Gentiles, will be a pattern that will later be applied generally to all of God’s people found throughout the earth.

So, what is it about Elias’s people that will be so special? Here’s the verse again:

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. (Psalms 110:3)

The men of the Josephite’s tribe will be volunteers (willing), and handsome, young, numerous and virile, all to an alarming degree. In other words, these will be genetically upgraded males, made so by the power of God. So, essentially, a tribe of Supermen. Their willingness will manifest in their volunteering to be part of the 12,000 who are sent of the tribe of Joseph, as part of the 144,000 force.

As for the women of the Josephite’s tribe, they will be extremely submissive (willing), astoundingly beautiful, very young, ultra fertile, and exceedingly numerous. These women, and also the men, of the Josephite’s tribe will be set apart (holiness=the state of being set apart) from the rest of society, both in terms of their geographical location as well as their transcendent femininity (for the women) and masculinity (for the men.) Like the men, the women will be genetically upgraded by the power of God, so that all those who behold the male or female members of his tribe will gawk in astonishment, as if angelic beings had just descended from heaven.

Verse 4

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalms 110:4)

The context of verse four is the end times.

Here David is quoting God the Father speaking to the root.

In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul applied this verse to the Lord Jesus Christ, and it certainly does apply to Him, but this passage does not speak of the meridian of time, when the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ occurred, but of the end times, when the Second Coming of Christ happens. This passage, then, is specifically pointing to Elias in root mode, for Elias will be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, just as Melchizedek was, just as Enoch was, and just as Elijah was. In other words, these men were made high priests forever, and thus they never tasted of death. They never died. And neither will Joseph-Nephi.

The Priesthood spoken of in this verse, then, is the translation or transfiguration Priesthood. It is the Priesthood of an endless life, that allows a person to live forever.

Elijah the prophet possesses this Priesthood, and he will be coming back to call and ordain Elias to it, so that Elias will be able to take upon himself the high priesthood forever, becoming a high priest forever, thus living forever as a translated or transfigured man:

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

After Elias is transfigured by this Priesthood and its keys of translation/transfiguration, he will call and ordain (through his four angelic helpers) 144,000 others to it. Thus these 144,000 others will likewise become high priests forever and will be translated/transfigured men who do not die:

Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?

A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn. (D&C 77:11)

These 144,000 translated high priests will be redeemed from the Fall, so that their bodies will return to the pre-Fall condition of translation/transfiguration. Prior to the Fall of Adam, there was no death or mortality. After falling, Adam and Eve became mortal. Thus, before the fall they weren’t mortal. Yet they also weren’t resurrected beings prior to the Fall. What kind of bodies did they have? They had translated bodies, which is an intermediary state between mortal and immortal (resurrected.) Thus, when the scriptures speak of the 144,000 being redeemed, it means the bodies of these men have reverted to the pre-Fall condition:

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:3-4)

All these men, then, will be high priests forever, after the order of Melchizedek, and thus they will be incapable of being killed. This is necessary for their mission, for they will be entering into the territory of the wicked during the end times, and the wicked will be trying to kill them. Also, God will be sending plagues upon the territories of the wicked, and these plagues would also afflict the 144,000, were it not that their bodies were translated. Therefore, these redeemed-from-the-Fall translated high priests will have bodies incapable of being harmed or killed, which will keep them safe and able to continue their mission to completion.

This means that verse 4 not only applies to Elias, but also to the 144,000:

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalms 110:4)

As usual, though, this is an expanding pattern. So, after the root has become a translated high priest, and after that same priesthood has been conferred upon 144,000 others, who will likewise be translated high priests, he will use these keys of translation to redeem all things, bringing all things back into the pre-Fall condition (which is the translated condition), except for the wicked, who will remain mortal:

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

A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming. (D&C 77:12)

So far everything in this psalm is perfectly chronological, according to the end times order.

To recap: Jesus ascends to the Father and remains there until the Second Coming; Elias is sent to subdue and prepare and reign over the enemies of Christ, his preparation being the causing of the wicked tares to fully ripen in iniquity, then gathering them together into bundles, making their bands strong, so that they are ready to be burned at the Second Coming; Elias goes forth in power during his ministry and his people are mentioned; Elias then gets the translation Priesthood, becoming a high priest; he then has his four angelic helpers confer this same Priesthood upon the 144,000, and then, at the very end, just before Christ shows up, Elias will transfigure all things except the wicked, so that all things will be protected from destruction when Jesus returns, except for the wicked, who will still be in their mortal state.

Okay, on to the last verses:

Verses 5-7

The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. (Psalms 110:5-7)

The context of verses five to seven is the end times.

Here David is speaking to the Father, of Christ (the Lord.) We see here that the end of the psalm’s chronology is, in fact, the very end, for Joseph-Nephi has completed his mission of preparing all things and so now the Lord Jesus Christ descends and destroys the wicked at His Second Coming, by fire, which fire “drinks up the brook in the way,” and He becomes exalted in that day (lifting up His head.)

Thus, practically the whole psalm takes place during the end times.

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Word-for-word vs. functional translations


Good translations decode the function from the source language and then encode it into the target language. The language function should be the same, or as close to the same as possible, in each language. If the source language uses formal language, the target language ought to do the same, so: formal decoded and formal encoded, informal decoded and informal encoded, poetry decoded and poetry encoded, and so on, the function of the source encoded into the target language according as the source text changes.

There are five levels of translations with increasing accuracy:

 1) Sounds. What are the sounds of the original?
2) Words. What do the original words mean?
3) Phrases. What do the original phrases mean?
4) Concepts. What concepts are involved in the original?
5) Affect. What does the original do?

The King James Version translators decoded the original words of the Bible as best they could and then tried to make them into phrases that made some sense, keeping the syntax of the original source languages as intact as possible. Joseph Smith did the very same thing in all of his translations and revelations.  Unfortunately, what we ended up with is a text that gets only to the second or third level of translation, and which is constructed not like English, but like Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. English is such an amazing language that, even doing this you can still grasp a lot of the meaning of the original text. But on the other hand, doing this also masks a lot of the meaning, for the phrase, concept and affect levels are never fully revealed. Only by fully decoding the original language in all its levels, and then encoding those levels into English syntax, so that it sounds like seamlessly flowing English and not a choppy translation from another language into English, does the reader get to more fully grasp what the various functions of the original text were trying to convey.

I am going to show what I mean by doing some translation. I am going to translate the title page of Mormon’s Book and part of the first chapter of Nephi’s First Book of His Reign and Ministry (notice my change in titles) by decoding the function of the original translated text, as word-for-word translated by Joseph Smith, and then encode it back into flowing English syntax. We’ll see if I do a good job.

I suppose that I must give a disclaimer: my translations should not be taken in any way as correct. When translating from one language to another, only someone who fully understands both the source and target languages, and who has power to convey the various textual meanings between languages, is qualified to translate. I know neither Hebrew, nor Egyptian, nor Greek, nor Aramaic, and, according to my detractors, I’m also deficient in English. So, I am not qualified to make a proper translation. I’m doing this, then, merely as a demonstration of what a bona fide functional translation might look like.

Joseph Smith’s Translation My Translation
The Book of Mormon

An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. (Title Page)

Mormon’s Book

This account is:—written on plates by Mormon’s own hand; taken from Nephi’s plates, being an abridgment of that record of Nephi’s people and the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel, and also to the Jews and the Gentiles; written by the spirit of prophecy and revelation to fulfill a commandment; written, sealed up, buried in the earth and entrusted into Jehovah’s care, so that it will not be destroyed; prophesied to be taken out of the earth and translated by God’s gift and power; sealed and buried in the earth and entrusted into Jehovah’s care by Moroni’s own hand, to be taken out of the earth in due time by a Gentile who will translate it by God’s gift.

There is also an abridgment taken from Ether’s Book included, which is a record of Jared’s people, who were scattered at the time Jehovah confounded the people’s language, when they were building a tower to get to heaven.

The purpose of this record is to show to the remnant of Israel’s house the great things that Jehovah did for their fathers, and so that they might know Jehovah’s covenants, so that they are not cast off forever. It is also to convince the Jews and the Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, and that he manifests himself to all nations.

Now, if there are faults in this record, they are the mistakes of men, so do not condemn God’s things, otherwise you will not be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. (Title Page)

The First Book of Nephi

His Reign and Ministry

An account of Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his four sons, being called, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Lord warns Lehi to depart out of the land of Jerusalem, because he prophesieth unto the people concerning their iniquity and they seek to destroy his life. He taketh three days’ journey into the wilderness with his family. Nephi taketh his brethren and returneth to the land of Jerusalem after the record of the Jews. The account of their sufferings. They take the daughters of Ishmael to wife. They take their families and depart into the wilderness. Their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness. The course of their travels. They come to the large waters. Nephi’s brethren rebel against him. He confoundeth them, and buildeth a ship. They call the name of the place Bountiful. They cross the large waters into the promised land, and so forth. This is according to the account of Nephi; or in other words, I, Nephi, wrote this record. (1st Nephi Title and Summary)

Nephi’s First Book of His Reign and Ministry

This account is of Lehi, of his wife Sariah, and of his four sons, who were named, (from oldest to youngest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi.

In this record:—Jehovah warns Lehi to leave the land of Jerusalem because the people seek to kill him after he prophesies of their iniquities; he travels three days into the wilderness with his family; his four sons, led by Nephi, return to the land of Jerusalem to get the record of the Jews; there is an account of their sufferings; they take Ishmael’s daughters to wife; they depart into the wilderness with their families, suffering afflictions during their journey; their travelling path is given; they come to a vast ocean; Nephi’s brothers rebel against him, he confounds them and builds a ship; they name the place Bountiful; they cross the ocean, arrive in the promised land, and so forth.

This record is taken from Nephi’s version and testimony of the facts, or in other words, I am Nephi and I wrote this record. (1st Nephi Title and Summary)

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. (1 Ne. 1:1) My name is Nephi and I am writing an account of the life experiences that I had with God, for I had good parents who taught me what my father knew about God, and although I had many afflictions from time to time, yet Jehovah highly favored me my entire life so that I ended up with a vast knowledge of God’s greatness and goodness. (1 Ne. 1:1)
Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. (1 Ne. 1:2) I am writing this book in my father’s language, which is Egyptian used by the Jews as if it were Hebrew. (1 Ne. 1:2)
And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge. (1 Ne. 1:3) I testify that the book that I am writing is true; and I alone am writing it, by my own hand; and I am writing it according to my firsthand knowledge. (1 Ne. 1:3)
For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed. Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people. (1 Ne. 1:4-5) For as my father, whose name was Lehi, lived in the land of Jerusalem his whole life, I have personal knowledge that in the commencement of the first year of Zedekiah’s reign, who was the king of Judah, and throughout that same year, many prophets came prophesying to the people, telling them that if they did not repent the great city Jerusalem would be destroyed, consequently, on one of my father’s trips away from the land of Jerusalem, he prayed with all his heart to Jehovah in behalf of his people. (1 Ne. 1:4-5)
And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly. (1 Ne. 1:6) While he was praying to Jehovah, a pillar of fire came down onto a rock before him and remained there, and he saw and heard many things which caused him to shake tremendously and to tremble uncontrollably. (1 Ne. 1:6)
And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen. (1 Ne. 1:7) Afterward he returned to his own house in the land of Jerusalem and he threw himself upon his bed, for he was overpowered by the Spirit and by the things that he had seen, so that he had no more strength. (1 Ne. 1:7)
And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. (1 Ne. 1:8) Then the Spirit carried him away in a vision, so that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God himself sitting upon his throne, surrounded by innumerable groups of angels who were singing to and praising their God. (1 Ne. 1:8)
And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. (1 Ne. 1:9) Afterward he saw Someone descending to earth from the heavenly throne and he noticed that this Personage radiated light brighter then the noon-day Sun. (1 Ne. 1:9)
And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. (1 Ne. 1:10) He also saw twelve others following him, and the light they radiated was brighter than the stars in the sky. (1 Ne. 1:10)
And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. (1 Ne. 1:11) These came down to earth and went forth upon it, but the first Personage went to my father, stood in front of him, and gave him a book, telling him to read it. (1 Ne. 1:11)
And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. (1 Ne. 1:12) As my father read, he was filled with Jehovah’s Spirit. (1 Ne. 1:12)

And he read, saying:

Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations!

Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon. (1 Ne. 1:13)

He read,

“Wo, wo to Jerusalem, for I have seen your abominations!”

In fact, my father read many things about Jerusalem, namely, that it and its inhabitants would be destroyed, and many would die by the sword and also would be carried away captive into Babylon. (1 Ne. 1:13)

And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as:

Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish! (1 Ne. 1:14)

After my father had read and seen the many great and marvelous things of this vision, he voiced many praises to Jehovah, such as:

“O Jehovah God Almighty, your works are great and marvelous! Your throne is high in the heavens and your power, goodness and mercy are over all the earth’s inhabitants; and you will not allow anyone to die who comes to you, because you are so merciful!” (1 Ne. 1:14)

And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him. (1 Ne. 1:15) This is how my father praised his God, for his soul rejoiced and his whole heart was filled with emotion, because of all the many things that Jehovah had shown to him. (1 Ne. 1:15)
And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account. (1 Ne. 1:16) Now I do not give an unabridged account of my father’s writings, for he wrote a lot of things that he saw in visions and dreams, and also that he prophesied and spoke to his children. (1 Ne. 1:16)
But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life. (1 Ne. 1:17) Instead, I will write of my own life experiences with God, but notice that I am abridging my father’s record in this book, the plates of which I have made with my own hands, and then afterward I will give the account of my own life. (1 Ne. 1:17)
Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard. (1 Ne. 1:18) So I want you to know that after Jehovah had shown to my father so many marvelous things concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, notice that he went forth among the people and began to prophesy, and to declare to them all the things he had seen and heard. (1 Ne. 1:18)
And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world. (1 Ne. 1:19) But the Jews mocked his testimony, for he testified that he knew of their wickedness and abominations; and he testified that the things he had seen and heard, and also the words he had read in the book, plainly showed that a Messiah would come and redeem the world. (1 Ne. 1:19)
And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance. (1 Ne. 1:20) It was at this point that the Jews became angry with him, after they had heard these things about the Messiah, just as they had been angry with the ancient prophets, whom they had cast out and stoned and killed; and they also sought to kill my father. But notice that I will show to you that Jehovah’s tender mercies are over all those who he has chosen, making them so mighty that they are empowered with deliverance, all because of their faith. (1 Ne. 1:20)
For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him:

Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life. (1 Ne. 2:1)

For notice that Jehovah spoke to my father in a dream and said to him,

“Lehi, you are blessed because of what you have done; and notice that this people seek to kill you because you have faithfully declared to them the things I commanded you to declare.” (1 Ne. 2:1)

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. (1 Ne. 2:2) Then Jehovah commanded my father in a dream to flee into the wilderness with his family . (1 Ne. 2:2)
And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness. (1 Ne. 2:3-4) As he was obedient to Jehovah’s word, he did as Jehovah commanded him, and so he left his house, the land of his inheritance, his gold, his silver, and all his precious things, and took nothing with him, except it were his family, provisions and tents, and fled into the wilderness. (1 Ne. 2:3-4)

Analyzing the two versions

English titles—First of all, I did away with all the funky Hebrew title syntax and just called it by what a person speaking English would call it: Mormon’s Book and Nephi’s First Book. Nephi’s First Book Of His Reign and Ministry presupposes that there is at least one other such book, and there is: Nephi’s Second Book, which is also of his reign and ministry. The difference between the two is that the first book deals with his reign over and ministry to his brothers, whereas the second book deals with his reign over and ministry to his people (for the brothers split and formed the Lamanites.)

No more broken sentences—It is not correct English to say: “An account of that.” No, you need to say, “This is an account of that.” The function remains the same, even though the syntax is different in the two languages. Joseph, though, keeps the Hebrew syntax intact, creating a non-English sentence. (Never mind that we can still understand it. That is simply the immense power of English to communicate, even when written and spoken incorrectly.)

Lord to Jehovah—There is no need to hide the name of God anymore. This translation is not intended to hide meaning, but to reveal it, therefore all the “Lord’s” are converted into “Jehovah’s.” (You can think of a functional translation as an unfolded translation, which reveals what a native speaker of the source tongue would understand by the source text.)

Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men.  (Mosiah 8:19)

I, Nephi and my father, Lehi—In the source language, these demarcations indicate a switching of gears. When Nephi is talking of himself and then he switches to talking of his father, he uses, “my father, Lehi” to make note of the switch.  When he is talking of his father and then he switches to talking of himself, he uses, “I, Nephi.” These things are not necessary in English because we can understand the narration just fine with a simple “I” or “my father.” Also, “I, Nephi” can mean “I am Nephi” and “My name is Nephi” and also “I myself” or “I personally,” emphasizing that the person speaking is going to show something through their own power, with an emphasis on “I”. Etc. My translation takes advantage of these nuances. Joseph’s does not.

Clause orders reversed—In English we say “I did this because of that,” not “Because of that I did this.” The latter syntax is fine for Hebrew, but in English it’s bad. Converting it into the proper English order, although a different syntax, does not reduce the function.

Functional translations are plain—Starting in 1 Nephi 1: 1, it can be plainly seen what the functional translation is trying to say, namely that Nephi is uniquely qualified to write what he is writing and that this book is a book of divine manifestations. There is nothing secular even implied. Now, a Gentile might read Joseph’s translation of 1 Ne. 1:1 and say, “But the text doesn’t say that!” That’s true, the words in Joseph’s translation do not implicitly state what is in my translation, but that is because it isn’t a functional one, but merely a word-for-word one. For example, the movie “Like Water for Chocolate” is a translated movie, from Spanish to English. The title was translated word-for-word from Como Agua Para Chocolate into Like Water For Chocolate (Como=Like, Agua=Water, Para=For, and Chocolate=Chocolate.) To a Spaniard, though, what those four words are referring to is the making of hot chocolate, which is made with nearly-boiling water. The meaning to a Spaniard then is: At the Boiling Point, meaning that things are getting so hectic that the protagonist of the movie is about to explode. The English title translation doesn’t communicate the function of the original Spanish text, it merely translates the four words of the original title word-for-word. So, for example, a Gentile that says that Joseph’s translation, which says, “like water for chocolate” doesn’t say what my translation converts it into (“at the boiling point”), would be both right and wrong. On a word-for-word level, that’s true, it doesn’t say that. But on a functional level, it communicates exactly what the author was trying to convey.

Some examples of this in my translation are “which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians” converted into “which is Egyptian used by the Jews as if it were Hebrew,” or “I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge” converted into “I testify that the book that I am writing is true; and I alone am writing it, by my own hand; and I am writing it according to my firsthand knowledge,” etc.

Yeas—The word translated by Joseph Smith as “yea” means “yes” on a word-for-word basis, but “indeed” or “in fact” or “in truth” on a functional level, and when used with “and” the order should be reversed in English, so that “yea, and” becomes “and in fact.” But these affirmative additions in Hebrew are not always necessary when encoding the function into English, and so they often can be left out.

And it came to pass that—This phrase, found in the scriptures, and more especially in the Book of Mormon, is merely an indicator that “this is the next thing that happened.” It is not meant to be translated out into words, but the KJV translators, and also Joseph Smith, did so anyway. And so we get 50 million “and it came to passes” in the Book of Mormon. Pretty much every single one can be left out of the text without changing the meaning one iota. English doesn’t need them to convey the source function. It can be translated as “then,” or as “afterward” or as “so then” etc., or it can be merely left out.

At Jerusalem—The functional understanding of “at” + [city] means “in the land of [city].”

First year/same year—The reason why Nephi even mentions these facts (in 1 Ne. 1:4), as well as the fact that Lehi lived there all his life, is to show that he has personal knowledge of what he is saying, since, as he is Lehi’s son, he also must have lived at Jerusalem his whole life.

As he went forth—The function of this expression in 1 Ne. 1:5 is to show that Lehi routinely left the land of Jerusalem. This is why verse 7 says, per Joseph Smith:

And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen.

Behold—The function of the word Joseph translated as “behold” means “pay attention to what follows.” Unfortunately, we don’t use the word “behold” very much in modern speech, therefore it doesn’t have the effect on us that it should. Perhaps in Joseph Smith’s time it did, but not any longer. So, to make it have the oomph it needs to have, to draw the readers attention to what follows, it needs to be translated as “notice that” or as “observe this.”

Saying—”Saying” is a marker in the source language and it was never intended to be translated out. It literally means “to say” and it indicates that what follows is a direct quotation. In English, when we want to show a direct quotation, we use “comma, quotation mark…” And that is how it is supposed to be translated, not as the word, “saying.”

Why we have only word-for-word translations

I suspect that both the King James Version translators (who did a word-for-word translation of the Bible) and Joseph Smith (in his continual use of the KJV translation style, both for the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the JST of the Bible, and also for his revelations in the D&C), were divinely inspired of God, so as to keep the Restoration of the Fulness of Times at less than a “1/100th part” of the total Restoration. In other words, I now believe that Joseph Smith’s translations and revelations were intended to keep almost all of the facts hidden so that when Joseph-Nephi goes back over these things to re-translate them into plain English (and into other languages), not only are we going to get the 116 lost pages of the Book of Mormon restored, but the text of the Book of Mormon will now be a fully functional translation, so that now the Gentiles will fully comprehend all the Nephite meanings. Hence, we will get a fulfillment of these prophecies:

Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.  (2 Ne. 3:21)

And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them  (2 Ne. 33:4)

So, even the English translations we have will be strengthened by the Lord, through the faith of the Josephite.

Expressing beyond Joseph Smith’s language

Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know.

Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you; or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true; but if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true. For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights. (D&C 67:5-9)

Notice that the Lord merely says that the language of Joseph has no unrighteousness in them, not that that it is strong or powerful. So, as the saints did desire to express beyond Joseph’s language, and as God grants to His saints what they desire to have, it would not surprise me if we are slated to get at some point a new, vastly improved and quite different English version of the entire canon, courtesy of the Josephite.

New witnesses must appear

Keeping in mind that if I am right on this point—that the Josephite will re-translate the Standard Works, including the Book of Mormon, and all the revelations of Joseph, into exceedingly plain and powerful English—then the Book of Mormon he brings forth will not look in any way like what we currently have.  So the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, whose testimony is affixed to Joseph Smith’s translation, cannot be affixed to the new edition.  Three new men must be selected to witness that the vastly different re-translation is of God.  This means that those prophecies in the Book of Mormon that speak of the witnesses to the book must have a dual fulfillment, and the second fulfillment will really be the primary fulfillment, while the first fulfillment was merely a shadow.

The full power of the Urim and Thummim to be employed

The Lord said this about the Urim and Thummim, or the interpreters, as the Nephites called them:

For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write. (Ether 3:24)

When something is magnified, it becomes larger and you can notice more detail about it. Thus, when translating ancient (or even modern) languages, a seer (using the Urim and Thummim) can notice and fully understand all the functions of the text, but notice that Joseph Smith didn’t really use the Urim and Thummim, except at the very beginning of the translation of the Book of Mormon, in which he produced the 116 lost manuscript pages. As they became lost, no one but Joseph, his scribe and a few others (such as the people who stole them) ever got to see them. For the rest of the translation, he used a “seer stone” and interestingly enough, what he produced wasn’t a functional translation, but merely a word-for-word translation. The use of the Urim and Thummim for the first part may have been necessary for a shadow fulfillment of Moroni’s prophecy that the Book of Mormon would be translated by the Urim and Thummim. But as the shadow is never meant to be the principal fulfillment, those pages went missing and the Urim and Thummim was taken from Joseph and never returned, and we ended up with a translation produced by a single, solitary “seer stone.” So, it may have been that Joseph, using the seer stone, could not notice and fully understand all the functions of the text, and thus produced a word-for-word translation, which was what he could perceive through the use of the stone, and later on, even without it.

When the Urim and Thummim is given to the next seer, then, it will be used to produce a fully functional text in English, for the next seer will perceive every functional nuance of the original language, but that is only half of the work of translation, because then you need to encode those functions into the target language, and every man is limited both by his knowledge of the target language (which is usually his own) and also by the limitations of the target language to express the functions of the source language. English is an extensive language, having not only a lot of words, but also a whole lot of shades of meaning, so attempting to know all of the various English words and ways of expression seems to me like an impossible task, but perhaps it is not necessary to know everything, for most English speakers don’t use the entire gamut of the English lexicon anyway. Perhaps they use only, say, several thousand words over their whole lifetime, and so let’s say that a seer may be able to learn the number of words necessary. But what about the functional limitations of a language?

Impossible translations

It is often impossible to decode the functions from one language and then encode all those same functions into a second language.  Everyone who knows two or more languages knows that each language has strengths and weaknesses and they are not always the same, and often what needs to happen is the use of circumlocution, which is speaking in a round-about way to communicate the general idea of the source language function to the target language audience, because there is no direct way to do it.  For example, if I say, “She sells sea shells by the sea shore,” and then I tell you to translate that into another language, you may be able to translate the word function but perhaps not the sound and affect functions (all the ‘s’ sounds and the tongue-tying effect.)  Depending upon what the functions are, it may simply be impossible to do.

But remember that the Josephite is going to be working in the spirit of power, so even though it may be impossible for you and me and everyone else, that isn’t going to be able to stop him from doing it.  If necessary, he will alter the target language miraculously, so that now these functions will be able to be expressed in it, new words appearing instantly with etymological histories already attached.  (Remember what was stated about the Lamanites in the post, The definition of eternal!)  So, we are in for days that will cause everybody, both believer and unbeliever alike, to gape in amazement.

More on Joseph Smith’s translations

In the above side-by-side comparison, we see that Joseph translated the engravings into English pretty much word-for-word, writing out each clause as they appeared on the plates. Although his translation still retains meaning, a translator isn’t supposed to simply convert a word from one language into an equivalent word in the target language, because there are idioms and word plays and other functions in the text that give fuller meanings and understandings to the one who knows the language. So, a translator must be familiar enough with the source language to fully understand the text and all its intricate functions in that language, and also must be familiar enough with the target language to be able to convert the functions and not just the words of the source text, into the target language. Joseph Smith didn’t do this. He merely converted one word into another word and when the output text didn’t make any sense in English, or not enough sense, or when it seemed to say the opposite of what it was intended to say, then he took what he translated out and made it more readable and understandable by doing the slightest functional translation he could. To demonstrate what I’m talking about, consider the two versions of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, the first draft and the revised draft:

1851 Edition of the Pearl of Great Price (First draft of the JST) 1878 Edition of the Pearl of Great Price (Revised draft of the JST)
Behold, this is my work to my glory, to the immortality and eternal life of man. For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
blessed be the name of God for my transgression, for in this life I shall have joy, Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy,
Behold, you have driven me out this day from the face of men, and from your face shall I be hid also; … And it shall come to pass, everyone that finds me will slay me because of my oath. Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the Lord, and from thy face shall I be hid; … and it shall come to pass, that he that findeth me will slay me, because of mine iniquities.
inasmuch as they were born into the world by the fall which bringeth death, by Water and Blood and the Spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again of Water and the Spirit, and cleansed by Blood, even the Blood of mine Only Begotten, into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. By reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.

(Btw, I took the above from the article, How We Got the Book of Moses.)

There is also Alma 46:40, which was improved by Joseph Smith after the first version:

And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year was very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, which was subsequent to man by the nature of the climate— (earliest version) And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate—(current version)

This shows that Joseph Smith didn’t really do a functional translation, but instead he gave us a word-for-word translation.

Don’t compare the seed to the mature tree

Mark Twain wrote this about the Book of Mormon:

All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few, except the elect have seen it or at least taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me. It is such a pretentious affair and yet so slow, so sleepy, such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print.

If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle. Keeping awake while he did it, was at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out of the way locality, the work of translating it was equally a miracle for the same reason.

The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history with the Old Testament for a model followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint old fashioned sound and structure of our King James translation of the scriptures. The result is a mongrel, half modern glibness and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained, the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern, which was about every sentence or two, he ladled in a few such scriptural phrases as, “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc. and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass,” was his pet. If he had left that out, his bible would have been only a pamphlet. (Taken from here and with corrected spelling.)

What Twain was looking at was the seed. Everything we have in scripture is simply in seed form, almost entirely folded up and devoid of functionality. Knowing this allows us to reply to assessments like Twain’s by saying, “Wait a bit. This is just a foundational seed and it is going grow into something that will knock your socks off.”

Now, we know that the scriptures that we have are going to be dumbfounding when converted into their functional form, because they are not man’s words, but God’s words, and God’s words are always greater than man’s words. In fact, God’s [fill-in-the-blank] is always greater than man’s [equivalent fill-in-the-blank.]

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa. 55:8-11)

So, when the scriptures are converted from their present seed form into their fully functional, mature tree form, these works of literature are going to outstrip every and all literary works combined that man has ever been able to produce. God is going to show to the world that man is absolutely nothing compared to Him. The current release of His word in seed form to man is almost like a running joke, a game that He is playing, and the joke is on us because we are so ignorant and stupid that we look at the seed and say, “Bah! That’s ain’t nothing! I can do much better than that! Is that all you got? That’s the best that you can do?” And so forth, like idiot children who know nothing at all about anything, who when presented with a seed they’ve never seen before and told, “This is the most amazing thing you’ll ever see,” they don’t understand that it’s still in seed form and that when it sprouts, after they have ridiculed both the seed and the Man that planted it, they are going to eat their words and be put to shame.

Speaking of words, there is also this to consider:

Mighty in word and deed

Lehi prophesied this about the Josephite:

And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren. (2 Ne. 3:24)

So, he will be mighty both in word and in deed. There are only four individuals in our current canon who are referred to as being “mighty in word and in deed.” Moses was one of them. Christ was one of them. Nephi was another one. And the last one will be the Josephite.

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. (Acts 7:22)

And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: (Luke 24:19)

And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. (Hel. 10:5)

I have repeatedly emphasized that Joseph-Nephi will be the greatest miracle worker bar none, but that only covers deeds. His words, both spoken and written, are also going to enter into the realm of the impossible.

Another functional translation

Just for fun, I will do another functional translation, of a scripture that causes a lot of confusion among latter-day saints. I do this to show that a word-for-word translation might give one impression of the meaning of the source language text, while a functional translation of the same text might give exactly the opposite, or at least a vastly different impression of the meaning. So here is Jacob 2:23-24 word-for-word translated by Joseph Smith and functionally translated by me:

Joseph Smith’s Translation My Translation
But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord:

This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me,

saith the Lord.

But God’s word weighs heavily upon my shoulders because of your grosser crimes. For notice that this is what Jehovah says,

“These people begin to grow iniquitous, for they do not understand the scriptures that were written about David and his son Solomon having many wives and concubines, and thus they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, which has always been abominable to me,”

says Jehovah.

Fulness has two stages or forms: seed and sprouted

The functional translations for the Standard Works can be considered part of the developing fulness of the gospel and scriptures. We currently have the fulness of the gospel in word-for-word (seed) form, but later, when we get it in functional form, there will be Gentiles that are going to reject that particular form of the fulness. The example above shows the reason for the rejection, because there are two forms or stages of gospel fulness, seed (folded) and sprouted (unfolded), and not everyone is going to like the sprouted form, because it gives the plain meaning, without any room to wiggle around it.

Plainness for Nephi and even for Isaiah

Nephi wrote the words of Isaiah and said that Isaiah’s words “are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy” (2 Ne. 25:4.) He also said that

in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass. Wherefore, they are of worth unto the children of men, and he that supposeth that they are not, unto them will I speak particularly, and confine the words unto mine own people; for I know that they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them; wherefore, for their good have I written them. (2 Ne. 25:7-8)

Nephi also said of his own words that “I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know that no man can err” (2 Ne. 25:7.) And yet, men do err over Nephi’s words, so Nephi is not speaking of nobody erring while his words are in their seed stage, but when they are transformed into their functional form. The same goes for Isaiah, which is going to completely shock the world, for Isaiah is hard to understand and nobody but liars and bona fide prophets—and I know of no prophet—can read Isaiah in seed form plainly. So, “the words of Isaiah are not plain” (2 Ne. 25:4) to anyone currently in existence.

The transformation of Isaiah’s words from seed to sprouted form will be part of the reason why in “the last days,” when Isaiah’s prophecies start to come to pass, men will know of a surety and will understand them and will look upon them as “of great worth.” Nobody is going to be left with even one single excuse that “they didn’t understand” God’s words. Everything we have is about to be

given unto [men] in plainness, even as plain as word can be. (2 Ne. 32:7)

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The Book of Mormon Is a Litmus Test


Stage three is on the horizon

There are three prophesied stages of the church: first, the works of the Father; second, the works of men; and third, the works of the devil. Stage one is attended by miracles, which show the approbation of the Father. At some point in the past, the general membership of the church entered into stage two, which is a state of condemnation, and the work of miracles ceased, except for the occasional individual here and there who was full of faith.

There is only one reason, only one, why the saints of God become condemned before Him. It is because they no longer listen to His voice. Anyone who has a friend and who knows his or her voice and how he or she speaks, is acquainted with the voice and words of that friend. But if you stop listening for a long enough time, the day will come when it is no longer a familiar voice and can no longer be recognized. This occurs with all of us in our dealings with our fellowmen. It also occurs with God.

The word of God, found in the scriptures, allows us to become familiar with His voice. The more of His word we receive, the more familiar it becomes. This is the good Shepherd principle. He calls His sheep and they, being familiar (or acquainted) with His voice, listen and obey. If they do not listen and obey, they are not His sheep and are accounted as the devil’s sheep and upon death are delivered up to him, for the Lord only gathers His own and will not rob the devil of that which pertains to him (see Mosiah 5:14.)

And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me…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. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. (D&C 84:52,54-58.)

The second stage, then, occurred when the general membership of the church gave lip service to the Book of Mormon without actually doing what was written there, or ignored it altogether and used the Bible or even the words of their living leaders, to guide them. We are living right now in the second stage and there is both good and bad news associated with it, namely, that compared to the first stage, the second stage is not a good place to be, but compared to the third and final stage, it is infinitely better. As long as we do not descend into the third stage, we have reason to rejoice.

The problem is that we are currently nearing the very end of stage two and stage three is about to begin. The defining feature of the end of the second stage is the hardening of the hearts of the church so that they no longer believe the words of the Book of Mormon and eventually end up rejecting the entire thing.

The Lord said of the Book of Mormon, “Those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life; but those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation” (D&C 20:14-15.)

So, the first stage church believes the Book of Mormon to be true and lives it, and the second stage church believes the Book of Mormon to be true but does not live it, while the third stage church does not believe the Book of Mormon to be true.

Up until recently, we have weathered attacks on the Book of Mormon from outside the church only. Why the attacks on this book? Because the devil knows that the Book of Mormon is key to the salvation of those living in these days. If they believe it and work righteousness, per the Lord’s words, they will receive eternal life, so it has ever been his plan to destroy belief in it. However, as we near the beginning of the third stage, we are now weathering attacks on the Book of Mormon from within the church.

More and more members are beginning to doubt its truth and accuracy. For example, we have already seen the appearance of the New Order Mormons, who generally do not believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. But they are not the only ones in the church who have begun to doubt its divine origins. There are many now who secretly doubt in their hearts. All of this means that we are at the end of the second stage and the third stage is about to begin.

Now, I will talk about the third stage and you can take what I write as prophecy, if you want.

The third stage church will be divided, with one faction holding control over the printing of the scriptures. This church will seek to alter the word of God, as found in the scriptures. In particular they will seek to alter the words of the Book of Mormon so that they read contrary to how they read now. This will fulfill the scripture found in Mormon 8:33, in which Moroni asked, “Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?”

By the way, the last half of Mormon chapter 8 is a prophecy of the future, meaning that it has not yet been fulfilled. It speaks of the third stage church, when wicked members will secretly slay righteous members in order to shut their mouths, because these saints will stand up and speak against the incredible wickedness they will be witnessing. It is after these acts of wickedness that the Lord will send again new prophets and the full Nephite record, with all the Nephite laws, which these wicked churches will reject.

The unchanged Book of Mormon, meaning the version of the Book of Mormon that will exist prior to the transfiguration that the third stage church will perform upon it, will be used by the righteous members to preach to the wicked members, and to show that their wickedness at that time will be in fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophecy.

Now, the seeds to those future, wicked days have already been sown today, among the hearts of the church, by their unbelief regarding the divine origins of the Book of Mormon and its truth. The Book of Mormon, then, is a litmus test, to show us where we are in relation to the Lord and salvation, or in other words, to show us what stage we, personally, are in: stage one, stage two or stage three, depending upon our views and actions regarding it.

Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)

To understand why this is so, it is necessary to understand how the Book of Mormon came to be.

How the Book of Mormon was translated

When Joseph used the Urim and Thummim, he thought of a word and then asked God in his mind if the word he was thinking of was right. After asking God, he got a feeling about the word. Sometimes the word felt right and sometimes the word felt wrong. If the word felt right, he would speak the word out loud and Oliver would then write it down. If the word felt wrong, he would discard it and then think of another word, always trying to guess what the next word was.

If Joseph went through a bunch of words in his head and they all felt wrong, he would think that perhaps the next word was one that he didn’t know, such as a proper noun (a name of some ancient person or location), so he would think of a letter, such as the letter “a” and ask the Lord in his mind if the word began with that letter. If it felt right, he would think of another letter and ask if that was the next letter of the word. If any of the letters he asked about felt wrong, he would just go to the next letter of the alphabet and ask about it. He would continue in this manner letter by letter until he had the full name. When he did have the name and all of the letters felt right, he would then spell out the name to Oliver, who would then right it down, or he would just pronounce the name or word if he thought Oliver could spell it.

This tedious process is how Joseph translated the Book of Mormon, from beginning to end, because this is how the angel told him how to do it. With practice, Joseph became more adept at guessing the next word or letter and also faster. Eventually he reached the point where he needed no Urim and Thummim to obtain revelation from the Lord, but could easily and quickly feel out the words from the Spirit. But when he first started translating, he had to first figure it out in his head and then ask if his guess was right. No part of the Book of Mormon was given to him as a text that appeared before his eyes, or in his mind, or spoken to him as audible words. Any words or pictures he saw in his mind was just his own imagination as his mind perused the vocabulary he possessed in his attempt to find the right word so that he could ask the Lord about it.

At one point, Oliver desired to translate and got the okay from the Lord. He asked Joseph how to translate and Joseph told him how he did it, as given above. So, Oliver took the Urim and Thummim and followed Joseph’s instructions. He thought of a word and asked the Lord if it was right, and then felt something. He continued in this fashion, until he had a word that he felt right about. Now, we don’t know how many words he got that felt right, because he never spoke them out loud to Joseph, but we know he got at least one word right and perhaps several, but they all remained in his head.

Oliver began to wonder, in his mind, if his feelings were correct. He began to fear that these words that felt right might be his own words and not those given to him by God. So, he pushed Joseph’s tedious process aside and just asked God, in his mind, to tell him what the next words were. After repeatedly asking and not receiving any answer, he gave up and handed the Urim and Thummim back to Joseph. Joseph resumed to translate and Oliver resumed to be his scribe. Later, Joseph asked the Lord why Oliver wasn’t able to translate and received the revelation found in D&C section 9.

You now have the context of D&C 9. When the Lord said,

“And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.”

it refers to the fact that Oliver actually began translating correctly, for he followed Joseph’s instructions precisely and got at least one divinely inspired word from heaven, if not more. But then he stopped doing what Joseph told him to do.

And when the Lord said,

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.”

it refers to the fact that Oliver discarded Joseph’s tedious method and took the easy way out, merely asking that God reveal the words directly without first searching for them, asking about them and feeling them out.

And when the Lord said,

“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.”

it means that Joseph merely couched his instructions in terms of “feels right” and “feels wrong” and nothing more specific than that, which is why Oliver wasn’t sure whether the word(s) he got was/were right, but here, in this revelation, the Lord gives the exact feelings, even a “stupor of thought” and a “burning in the bosom,” and had Oliver known what exact feelings to “watch for,” he would have had confidence in the words he got and could have translated.

And when the Lord said,

“Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;”

it means that Oliver feared that the words he had correctly gotten from God were his own imagination and not from God. In other words, he feared to destroy the work of God by adding man-made words of his own invention, for he wasn’t certain that the words he got were right.

The reason why Joseph’s tedious approach worked and Oliver’s altered approach did not is that Joseph worked by faith but Oliver sought to work by knowledge. In other words, Joseph thought of a word and asked God if it was right and then if it felt right he simply had the faith that it was right and spoke it out loud. There were no doubts or fears on his part. The words were spoken by him in full confidence, not because God showed them to him in a vision or spoke them to him, but because he operated on faith, or had faith that the feeling he got was right and given to him of God. Oliver, on the other hand, required a witness, or required knowledge, in order to proceed. He required that God tell him in some fashion, by vision or hearing or mental apparition, what the words were. He operated under the principle of knowledge and could get nowhere with God, whereas Joseph operated under the principle of faith and pulled the divine words down from heaven, easily and speedily.

All gifts of the spirit, including the gift to interpret tongues and translate ancient languages are gifts of faith. You are given faith to do something. Not one of the gifts relies upon knowledge. But I’ve written about this before, so I will return to the subject of this post.

The Book of Mormon was created by the power of God

When the Nephite prophets wrote the text that would come to be known to us as the Book of Mormon, they wrote “by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation” (Book of Mormon Title Page.) The spirit of prophecy and revelation is the same spirit by which Joseph translated the Book of Mormon. Just as he received the Book of Mormon word by word, letter by letter, in a tedious process, so it was written character by character, by the ancient Nephite prophets, in the same tedious manner. They wrote their record in reformed Egyptian, using the characters that they knew, but they did not operate under their own power, but under the power of the Spirit. They searched for the characters, just as Joseph searched for the words, and found the ones that God wanted them to write and put them down in their own language, according to their knowledge of the characters. So, it was written under and by the miraculous power of God and not of man.

Later, Moroni hid the record. Then it came out of the earth in a miraculous way, via an angel. Finally, after delivering the plates and Urim and Thummim to Joseph, it was translated into English under or by the miraculous power and gift of God. In every step of its creation, the operation of God was upon the work.

The plates upon which the Book of Mormon was engraved do not contain the words of Nephite, Lamanite and Jaredite men. Although the record was engraved onto plates by Nephite men, it does not contain their words. It contains their characters and language and speech or writing patterns, but not their words. All the words written under the spirit of prophecy and revelation are God’s words, not man’s. He claims them as His own, for they were inspired by Him and given under His power. The men writing or speaking by His power become His proxies and have no claim on the words as their own. This is why we call it the word of God.

So, God gave words to the Nephites that engraved the Book of Mormon, in their own language, then later when the record came forth via the angel, He gave the interpretation of those words to Joseph in his own language, English. Who gave the words? God did. Who wrote the words down? Man did. Whose words did they write? God’s words.

No faults in the text

Moroni wrote, “We know of no fault” in the record. There is no fault in the record because it does not contain the words of men. The only way faults could be introduced into the record is if one of the writers wrote anything by his own power, or not by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. As far as Moroni and the other prophets knew, there was no fault in the record, for all the Nephite writers wrote under the same spirit. The spirit of prophecy and revelation eliminates human error.

For example, the prophecy I wrote above about the corruption of the scriptures, if written by my own power, may be erroneous. If written by the spirit of prophecy, it must come to pass, even as I wrote it, because they no longer are my words, but the words of God, for there is no fault or error in the word of God.

Again, Mormon illustrated this principle when he wrote:

And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity— (3 Ne. 8:1.)

In other words, since this man operated under the power of God (as demonstrated by the many miracles he did) and he kept the record by the power of God, it means that the record is true, for as long as a record is kept (written) by the power of God, human mistakes are eliminated.

The Book of Mormon, then, is without fault, error or imperfections, because all of those who worked to bring it forth (the Nephite prophets and the Gentile prophet Joseph) did so under the power of God.

And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. (Mormon 9:32-34.)

Now, I will reveal a mystery to you. The imperfection spoken of in the above quote does not apply to the English Book of Mormon. It speaks of the limitation of the reformed Egyptian in conveying the full meaning of what was put into the hearts of these prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Hebrew is a language that has the capacity to convey the full meaning of all things, so, when you translate from one language into Hebrew, nothing is lost. But all other languages are limited in their capacity to convey meaning, so that when you translate from one language into another, inevitably some meaning is lost. So, Moroni only referred to the plates of Mormon themselves, which were written in reformed Egyptian, and not to the English Book of Mormon.

The English Book of Mormon was interpreted by God, through Joseph Smith. God knew the meaning of the words that were in the hearts of these prophets and conveyed that meaning into English, in the best way possible. Therefore, had Moroni and Mormon written in Hebrew, God would have interpreted it into English just the same way, for the English Book of Mormon are the words that God wanted us to have. In other words, had the Nephite prophets written the same text in Egyptian and also in Hebrew, and then God interpreted each version into English, so that there were two English versions, one taken from the reformed Egyptians and one taken from the altered Hebrew, the two English versions would have been identical.

The imperfection in their record, then, only applies to the plates themselves and the limitations of the reformed Egyptian in conveying full meaning. It does not signify that the English Book of Mormon contains errors. When the plates come forth and are read by people in reformed Egyptian, we will see that the same information put into Hebrew conveys much more meaning.

Faults in the text

And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. (Mormon 8:17.)

Everything in the Book of Mormon is prophetic (dealing with things pertaining to the future) and/or revelatory (dealing with things pertaining to the present or past.) The record is perfect insofar as the men working on it were operating under the power of God. At any moment that the text comes under human power, errors can be introduced. We know, for example, that Oliver Cowdery sometimes made errors when writing down the text that Joseph dictated. We also know that the printer made errors. So, from the moment that the text began to be handled by men who operated under their own power, it was susceptible to “the faults of a man.”

About this edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith. (A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon.)

Opinions given by prophecy

Whenever a man expresses an opinion by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, that opinion ceases to be an opinion and becomes instead a prophecy (if it pertains to the future) or a revelation (if it pertains to the present or past.) For example, Alma said: “I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven” (Alma 40:20.) Although he expressed it as an opinion, he did so under the power of the Spirit (which is why Mormon included it) and so this opinion concerning the future became a prophecy. In the same fashion, all opinions and assessments expressed by the prophets who engraved the Book of Mormon are prophetic or revelatory, because they operated under the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

Even questions asked by the spirit of prophecy and revelation are no longer just questions, but become accurate assessments of reality. So, for example, in captain Moroni’s epistle “to all those who have been chosen by this people to govern and manage the affairs of this war,” every question he asked of these wicked men concerning what they were or were not doing, or the reasons why they were or were not doing something, was prophetic and revelatory. So, for example, when he wrote, “Do ye suppose that, because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness?” the fact of the matter was that this is exactly what they supposed. In other words, we can remove the question mark and switch the first two words so that it reads as a statement and it would present an accurate picture of what these men were doing and thinking in Zarahemla at that time: “Ye do suppose that, because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness.” The same can be done with all the other questions he asked them. This is why Mormon included captain Moroni’s epistle in the book, because it was written by the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

A prophetic and revelatory history

history, n. 1. A narrative of events connected with a real or imaginary object, person, or career, esp. such a narrative devoted to the exposition of the natural unfolding and interdependence of the events treated; a tale; story. 2. Specif., a systematic written account of events, particularly of those affecting a nation, institution, science, or art, and usually connected with a philosophical explanation of their causes;—distinguished from annals and chronicles, which simply relate facts and events in strict chronological order.

Both of the above definitions apply to the Book of Mormon, which claims to be “an account written” as “an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites” and “an abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared” (Book of Mormon Title Page.) Specifically, the Book of Mormon is a systematic written account of events, affecting the spiritual affairs of the Nephite, Lamanite and Jaredite nations and connected with a theological explanation for their causes.

The Book of Mormon is a theological history that is more concerned with prophecy, revelation and other miracles that occurred among these people, than with secular matters, and can be termed a prophecy that also reveals things about the past, meaning that it is a prophetic revelation. Although the source material is a compilation of books written by various prophets over a long period of time, all of whom were operating by commandment and under the power of God, the interpretation of those ancient words into English were given as a single, but very long, prophetic revelation that took many days to dictate and write down. The Book of Mormon, then, must be treated as a single whole, from beginning to end, even as a divine revelation from God.

Just as God gave the Torah to Moses in a miraculous manner, as divine writ from heaven, so God gave the Book of Mormon to Joseph as divine writ from heaven. If you subtract any part of it or alter it in any way so that its message and intended meaning is corrupted or compromised, the purposes of God in regard to the book will be frustrated. This means that all parts of the Book of Mormon are equally important. It was given as a whole and it is designed to be read as a whole. This is why the Lord states:

This work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people…And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. (D&C 10:46,52.)

The Lord did not include superfluous material in the work. It contains everything He wanted it to contain and gives the very teachings He wanted taught.

The Book of Mormon contains many different narratives, taken from diverse sources, but there is no objectivity in any of it. The prophets who wrote the book revealed and judged not only the actions and words, but also the unspoken thoughts and hidden intentions and desires of the hearts of the characters they wrote about. It is entirely subjective material, as if they were God and all people in the account were an open book, so that they could read their minds and hearts and could know what everyone thought and felt. In this sense, it is not a normal history or narrative, for no man can know what is in anyone’s heart. If the word narrative must be used, then it must be called a prophetic and revelatory narrative, not because men with the title “prophet of God” wrote it, but because by using the spirit of prophecy and revelation the men who engraved the record were able to draw out things that cannot be drawn out, except by the power God.

So, for example, when the record states, “And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban,” it reads as a revelatory narrative. An objective history would state that Nephi killed Laban and claimed to have done it under command by the Spirit. This prophetic or revelatory narrative, though, states not only that there was a voice that Nephi heard, but identifies it as the Spirit and goes so far as to reveal what the voice said, Nephi’s feelings about it, and his subsequent spiritual struggle and resolution. Not only that, the whole occurrence of Laban’s death at Nephi’s hands is treated as a miracle, for Laban was apparently impossible to kill:

“How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?…The Lord…is mightier…than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands” (1 Ne. 3:31; 1 Ne. 4:1.)

And then after the act was accomplished, it was used as a sign that God was with Nephi and his group:

Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord hath done for us, in delivering us out of the hands of Laban, and also that we should obtain the record? (1 Ne. 7:11.)

So, the Book of Mormon sees all things through a prophetic and revelatory filter and makes no claim to be any kind of secular history. It is a strictly theological history, or a history of God’s dealings with those people, and takes the form of a revelatory prophecy that can see all things as they really are, even if they are inside a person’s head and heart. It can do this because it emphatically declares that it has been written by the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

From its beginning to its end the Book of Mormon makes outrageous claims of knowing what is in the hearts of men, of what men are thinking, of knowing what is of God and what is not of God, of knowing of secret things that no one in the civilization had any knowledge of (such as what the secret combinations were doing), of knowing the plans of the devil, and a host of other things that are impossible to know except by God’s power. Why does it do this? Because it is not a secular history. It is a prophetic revelation (or a revelatory prophecy), meant to give us a peek into how God sees things, by holding up the Nephite civilization under the light of God. It claims to be God’s word, God’s prophecy, God’s revelation, God’s opinion, God’s facts, God’s thoughts, God’s perspective, etc., because “whatsoever [a man] shall [write] when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4.)

If the Book of Mormon were mere fiction, it would be easier to treat as a strictly literary work, but because it presents itself as real events, yet gives a long list of miracles, it does not fit among other books or literary formulas, instead becoming the perfect tool to generate faith in Christ, for which it was designed. There is nothing rational about faith and there is nothing rational about the Book of Mormon. Yet, it expects the reader to believe its miracles without any doubts, whatsoever, and it presents everything as the absolute truth, regardless of its impossibility. So, when it tells us that Nephi killed Laban under the Spirit’s command or when it says that Zeezrom never intended to give the six onties of silver to Amulek, etc., it always means what it says. It does not matter that no man can know what is in another man’s heart, because the work itself proclaims itself miraculous from the get-go. It does not need to submit to the normal rules that man must operate under, for it is not the work of a man or a group of men, but of God. Since God can see into the hearts of men and can communicate what is there to His prophets, as well as performing all the other miracles in the book, there is no problem. The Book of Mormon, then, can only be said to stay true to one thing: its spirit of prophecy and revelation. It is the only formula it follows precisely.

To deny the Book of Mormon is to deny the revelations of God

And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. (Mormon 9:7-8)

I would go further and say that if he denies the revelations but has read the scriptures and does not understand them it is because he does not believe them. There is a wo pronounced upon all those who reject the Book of Mormon, in whole or in part, and assign a man-made source to it. Paraphrasing Moroni, whoever condemns it as man-made, “let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire” and he that judges it rashly, “shall be judged rashly again.”

The Lord is very sensitive about the Book of Mormon and about how we treat it. It pleased Him to see the immense amount of faith that went into its creation. The prophets who engraved the words or were quoted in the work also pleased Him. He loved them, their faith and their works, which were works of faith in Jesus Christ. He loved their prayers and their desires. And it pleases Him when we receive and believe the book and live its teachings. On the other hand, it incites Him to anger when we disbelieve and reject it.

We LDS typically think of the brother of Jared as one of the mighty ones, of unbelievable faith, and all other prophets among the Nephites as on a lower faith level than him. But this is only because we do not understand the scriptures and have no spirit of prophecy ourselves. Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Mosiah, Amulek, Mormon, Moroni, etc., even all these men and many others like them had faith like unto the brother of Jared. They all could move mountains with their faith. And this is why the Lord chose them to write the record and speak to us.

Why the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth

It is the most correct in the sense that it was entirely written and interpreted by the spirit of prophecy and revelation (the power of God) and has been the least touched by man-made operations as have other books that have been sent forth by God, such as the Bible. It was written to us, in our day, so its prophecy has direct application to us. The theme of the book has always been the same: if you keep God’s commandments (whatever they happen to be, see Mosiah 12:33) according to the law of expediency, He will prosper you and if you do not keep them, you will be cut off from His presence.

Again, its correctness has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the history of the Nephite civilization or the accuracy of its narrative, but on the simple fact that the Book of Mormon is a work of prophecy and revelation that has had minimal input from men operating under their own power. It presents to the world a prophecy and revelation-based reality that contradicts the assumptions under which the works of men and the works of the devil operate.

It is impossible to understand the Book of Mormon from the perspective of the works of men, or through a filter of the philosophies of men, because it contradicts in every fashion those works and philosophies. The only way to make it compatible with modern philosophies of men, which are based upon the works of men, is by altering the text itself so that it reads contrary to how it reads now.

The Book of Mormon as a tool of discernment

Because of these facts, one who is guided by the Spirit can use the Book of Mormon to discern another’s spiritual state, simply by finding out the person’s beliefs about it. If they are members of the church and they believe the Book of Mormon to be true, live its teachings and manifest the spirit of prophecy and revelation, then they are part of the stage one church. If they are church members who say they believe the Book of Mormon to be true, but treat it lightly, preferring other scriptures or the philosophies of men to guide them, and do not live its teachings but merely give lip service, then they are part of the stage two church. And if they are church members who say that they don’t believe the Book of Mormon to be true and reject it in its prophetic and revelatory claims, and seek to alter the text or its meaning, they are part of the stage three church.

Thus, we see that the Lord has made the Book of Mormon a litmus test and He will use it to filter the masses and gather out His elect from the four quarters of the earth, for only the elect will gather around it. All others will end up rejecting it.

Now, in closing, I will prophesy again, for there are “other books” that will be coming forth during the third stage of the church, even the rest of the “last records” that Nephi saw in his vision, and many are thinking, or putting their hopes, on those last records. And this is my prophecy, that no one, at that day when those other records appear, will accept those last records as the word of God while rejecting the Book of Mormon as His word. They will either believe the Book of Mormon is true and also that the other records are true, or they will believe that the Book of Mormon is not true and also that the other books are not true.

So, only those who accept the claims of the Book of Mormon will end up accepting the fulness of the gospel which will be in those last records. And this will be true for all church factions and splinter groups that currently exist, or that will exist in that day, for the elect will accept the new volumes because they also accept the Book of Mormon, while the rest will reject them because they will have already rejected or denied the spirit of prophecy and revelation, as well as the Book of Mormon, which is a product of that spirit.

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The Tree of This and That


The left-brain-mind experiences existence as being some-one or some-thing that is apart from or other than the rest of creation.  This part of the brain is a tool, designed only to look upon the mark – thus it cannot see the fractal nature of the big picture.  From its point-of-view, life is reduced to the sum of its parts – losing all sense of connectivity and spark.  A living body has the same number of particles as a dead one.

Thus, life becomes a task or chore – something that must be done.  You get out of bed in the morning so you can go do life.  Every interaction, every connection, whether with another human, a book, or a sandwich is experienced as though it is foreign.  Life becomes that which implies that you are this.  However this is alone.  It has no role to play and no sense of identity.  This is naked – and always searches for a wardrobe.

There’s nothing wrong with being naked.  You were born naked, and you’ll die naked.  The nude self is the true self.  As the nude self, we are, respectively, Adam and Eve.  Naked, we are dressed for the universal drama – wherein Adams and Eves re-enter the garden from whence they’ve been removed and reenact the ordinance of creation.

Nudity is the experience of pure life – it is just being [as opposed to being this nor that].

God describes Himself as nude.  When Moses asked God:

Who should I say has sent me?

God replied:

I am.

Simply am.  The naked, which surpasses the distinctions of this and that.

Adam and Eve have partaken of a fruit of distinctions.  It grows on the tree of this and that – good and evil, day and night, pleasure and pain, virtue and vice, sickness and health, life and death, God and humans.  They leave the basic experience of “I am” and become this and that.  At this event, self-consciousness is born – replacing the God-consciousness that previously reigned.  Once Adam and Eve are this – this becomes aware of its nakedness.  There never was a problem with the nakedness, but when the self-consciousness gained reign – knowledge of the nudity brings with it shame and sin, which will reign until you lose consciousness [die].

The focus on clothing [and other outward appearances] is but the visual manifestation of the left-brain-mind’s obsession with acquiring a wardrobe – frantically trying to cover the nakedness with distinctions, labels, and boundaries.

The next thing Adam’s left-brain-mind reached for was busyness — labor.  The next step for God’s creation [according to the plan that was counseled on in the beginning] was to enter the Sabbath rest.  However Adams and Eves create a distraction from this rest.  The diversion enables this to ignore the nakedness – God providing associated physical coverings according to their desire.  Now this doesn’t have to be conscious of its nakedness because it is busy doing that.

The left-brain-mind expects life and everyone in it to provide its clothing – because it must be that’s fault that this is naked.  Adam and Eve will pluck from the tree fig leaves of labels for a covering.

The left-brain-mind gains dominion over others by assigning that – this way it can have a self-conscious purpose.  Naming that husband, then makes this become wife.  Now a desire has been formed – but not for the connection made between Adam and Eve – rather for the credentials received from the connectionThe fear of not having such a connection is just replaced with the fear of losing it.  When governed by the left-brain-mind, Adam and Eve are ready to freeze that – to box it up and own it – however, the left-brain-mind is ignorant of the fact that the connection is alive [everything is parts, no life].

Labeling it is a form of slavery, and the left-brain-mind is willing to shove a living, breathing human into a conceptual box and deny her/him the right to freely express their will – all in the name of pretending to be something it is not – clothed.

So we set up stakes and put up conceptual boundaries that suppress the intelligence of another – holding them hostage in order to play dress up in our minds.

The gospel is not a battle between the forces of darkness and light [good and evil, virtue and vice, men and women, etc.] – it is the unification of these things.  Putting the left-brain in unity with the right-brain – the Adam in unity with the Eve.

To cut thru the coverings acquired by your left-brain-mind, you must rest.  But rest doesn’t mean to stop.  Stopping just shifts the idolatry from being busy to being lazy.  The left-brain-mind proceeds to beat you calm— forcing you to relax, which is, of course, impossible.  No real rest is the passive yin principle, it is to be still and know that Jesus is God.

To yield, to submit, to rest, to sit down, to cease your frantic effort to be this or that.

Next Article by Justin:  The conditions of this law

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The faith of God, part ten: The relationship of faith to agency (power)


Continued from part nine.

Faith is not power

In part two, I erroneously wrote “faith is power” in one of the sub-headings. After catching the error, I decided to leave it up as a teaching point.

Many people equate faith with power, just as they equate faith with hope. Part two explained that faith is not hope and that hope comes after one has faith. The present article (part ten) seeks to likewise explain that faith is not power and that power comes after one has faith.

Two types of power

Free agency is one of the two types of power. Agency is the ability to act and not to be acted upon. (See 2 Nephi 2: 26.)

The other type is the ability to act upon something/someone against its/his/her will. There is no scriptural name (that I know of) for this kind of power, but we use descriptive words such as coercion, compulsion, force, enslavement, control, domination, manipulation, captivation, enchainment, etc., to describe its exercise. I suppose it can be termed “anti-agency” as it is diametrically opposed to an individual’s agency, but I will refer to it as coercion.

Coercion and agency both accomplish work or get things done, but free agency is only obtained through faith, whereas coercion is experienced in the absence of faith or with the permission of the free agent.

Another purpose of this article

When I wrote The role of free agency in political systems, I talked about the link between faith and agency (power) in two small paragraphs, which I hope to expound upon in the present article:

The precursor to agency is faith, another gift of God. It is faith that allows agency to be possessed, even faith centered in God. The more faith we possess, the more agency is granted, the less faith possessed, the less agency. If we lose all faith, we lose all agency and thus become like Satan, who is devoid of both faith and agency. If we gain all faith, we gain all agency, and thus become entirely like God.

Faith and agency are heavenly principles and the entire kingdom of God operates on them. This is why all things are done (the action or power to do being agency) according to the faith of men and why God works (the action or power to work being agency) according to the faith of the children of men. (The role of free agency in political systems)

However, before talking of faith, I must expound upon agency.

Free agency alone is the power of God

One of the common misconceptions among LDS is that God, our heavenly Father, uses the principle of coercion to accomplish certain things, such as punishing the wicked. The truth of the matter is that he doesn’t. Coercion is the power under which Satan operates. Free agency alone is the type of power that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost use.

There are scriptures (see D&C 19: 1-20 and especially verse 7) that conjure up visions of God forcing men to do certain things that they don’t want to do, but these scriptures are written “more express to work upon the hearts of the children of men.” For example:

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4: 3-4)

LDS are often quick to point out that Jesus (the Father’s Only Begotten) was the champion of free agency, whereas the devil wanted to destroy it and force us to obey his will, but they don’t bat an eye when they read the above scripture and think that Jesus used the satanic principle of force to cast Lucifer down out of heaven. As a people, we have conditioned ourselves to believe that coercion is okay if God does it, but evil when used by Satan. In other words, that force is merely a tool, it is neither good nor evil, but can be used for good in the hands of God and for evil in the hands of Satan. They will often quote the following scripture with emphasis on the words in bold:

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

Had the verse merely said, “in any degree” there would have been no further discussion, but as the modifier “of unrighteousness” was added, many LDS think that this means that when it comes “to exercising control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men,” there are both righteousness and unrighteousness degrees. Therefore, by their interpretation of this scripture in this way, there is a way to righteously exercise dominion, compulsion and control upon men.

In this line of thinking, if God or his servants are doing it, it is righteous. If Satan or his servants are doing it, it is unrighteous. The rules of English grammar do, in fact, allow this interpretation and as long as you eliminate the following verse in the same section, it might make sense:

The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. (D&C 121: 46)

However, when the two verses are taken together, they paint a proper (and different) picture, namely that the righteous dominion of God is based upon free agency, not coercion, whereas unrighteous dominion is based upon control or compulsion. Leaving mortal humans out of the equation, who routinely compel their fellows and/or allow freedom of choice by turns, and addressing only God himself, the Father’s everlasting dominion flows unto him without any compulsory means. In fact, the very reason why the scepter of God is righteous is because no one is compelled to obey him. All are given free agency. So, as it applies to God, there is no such thing as righteous compulsion. That would be a contradiction in terms.

God uses free agents

When Nephi was commanded to slay Laban, the Spirit said to him, “The Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes.” Yet, who slew Laban, Nephi or the Lord? Nephi did. And also the Lord, vicariously, through Nephi, one of His free agents. Did Nephi have to slay Laban? Was he forced to do it? Of course not. The Lord gave Nephi the law written in D&C 98: 23-32, which has a spare clause: “and then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation” (verse 30). Nephi chose to use his free agency to justifiably slay Laban, but he could have equally spared him.

The power of Jesus Christ is free agency

In Moses 4: 3-4, quoted above, when the Lord says, “by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down,” the power being referred to is free agency. Jesus used free agency to “cast Lucifer down.” He did not use coercion or force. Jesus, like the Father, both has free agency and also works through free agents.

When LDS hear the words “cast down” they envision a forceful banishment, using coercion. But D&C 121: 37, quoted above, states that exercising compulsion causes “the heavens ” to “withdraw themselves.” It doesn’t state that it causes the individual to be banished from the heavens. Yet, the heavens moving or changing location, from where you are to a location above and beyond your reach, has the same result as if you were cast down or fallen from heaven. Again, these scriptures are written more express.

All of the saints and prophets of God are free agents of Jesus Christ. They voluntarily obey his will. As does all the spirit and physical matter that make up the created universe. It is through free agency and free agents alone, that Jesus accomplishes his work.

The power of the Holy Ghost is free agency

The power of the Holy Ghost, likewise, is free agency. The Holy Ghost forces no one to convert to the Lord. The Holy Ghost forces no one to believe. Those who desire to believe on the word of God invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit the gift of belief. Those who believe on the word of God invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit the gift of faith. Those who exercise that gift of faith invite the Holy Ghost to come and deposit other gifts and powers, such as sanctification, purification, justification, wisdom, knowledge, visions, prophecies and the like. Nothing is ever forced. Everything is done according to the desires of the children of men, according to their beliefs, according to their faith, they being free agents capable of choosing to invite the Spirit in. When faith is manifest, the Spirit brings additional manifestations of its power, meaning that the individual receives greater free agency. Remember, the scriptural definition of free agency is the ability to act and not to be acted upon, therefore, for example, a person with the gift of tongues has an additional ability to act (greater free agency) than one who doesn’t possess that gift. The same can be said of all other gifts, powers, fruits and signs of the Holy Ghost. They are all abilities to act and not to be acted upon in certain ways, meaning, they are all manifestations of greater free agency (the power of God) bestowed upon the individual.

Faith determines agency

Again, keep in mind that agency is the ability to act and not be acted upon. The greater your agency, the more ability you have to act and also the less you can be acted upon by others. It is the amount of faith you possess that determines how much agency you possess. If one has sufficiently great faith, nothing can act on you without your say so. The following scriptural examples demonstrate this principle.

Ammon could not be acted upon—due to faith

Now Ammon seeing the Spirit of the Lord poured out according to his prayers upon the Lamanites, his brethren, who had been the cause of so much mourning among the Nephites, or among all the people of God because of their iniquities and their traditions, he fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy; and thus they all three had sunk to the earth. Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead. Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord. And it came to pass that when the multitude beheld that the man had fallen dead, who lifted the sword to slay Ammon, fear came upon them all, and they durst not put forth their hands to touch him or any of those who had fallen; and they began to marvel again among themselves what could be the cause of this great power [which is agency], or what all these things could mean. (Alma 19: 14, 22-24)

Alma and Amulek could not be acted upon—due to faith

When the saints were being burned by fire in front of them, Amulek turned to Alma and said something remarkable:

And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God [which is free agency] which is in us, and save them from the flames. (Alma 14: 10)

Amulek’s words indicate that he knew he and Alma had power to act (agency) to save the saints. Alma’s words also indicate that he knew he had such power:

But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; (Alma 14: 11)

In addition to ability to act, Alma and Amulek also had the ability not to be acted upon. After allowing the Amalekites to afflict them for many days, they finally decided to use their agency and stop their persecutors from acting upon them.

And it came to pass after they had thus suffered for many days, (and it was on the twelfth day, in the tenth month, in the tenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi) that the chief judge over the land of Ammonihah and many of their teachers and their lawyers went in unto the prison where Alma and Amulek were bound with cords. And the chief judge stood before them, and smote them again, and said unto them: If ye have the power of God [which is free agency] deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words. And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God [which is free agency] was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet. Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith which is in Christ, even unto deliverance. And they broke the cords with which they were bound; and when the people saw this, they began to flee, for the fear of destruction had come upon them. And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power [which is free agency], according to their faith which was in Christ. (Alma 14: 23-26, 28 )

You know the rest of the story. The chief judge, teachers and lawyers all thought their power of coercion (forcibly imprisoning Alma and Amulek and torturing them) was greater than the power of agency. It wasn’t. Agency is a greater power than coercion, but agency only exists where there is faith.

Abinadi could not be acted upon—due to faith

And now when the king had heard these words, he said unto his priests: Away with this fellow, and slay him; for what have we to do with him, for he is mad. And they stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them: Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time. But I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me; and because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. And again, because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad. Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord. And he spake with power [which is free agency] and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying: Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities. Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger. But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved. (Mosiah 13: 1-9)

Although the text doesn’t specifically say that Abinadi obtained the Spirit of the Lord through faith, other scriptures teach this principle. (For example, see D&C 42: 14.) Despite having the power to resist these men, Abinadi later allowed them to slay him.

Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands. Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day. (Mosiah 17: 9-10)

Jesus could not be acted upon—due to faith

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power [which is free agency] to lay it down, and I have power [which is free agency] to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 14-17)

All, therefore, that happened to Jesus was allowed by him to happen, as he had a fullness of free agency and thus none could act upon him unless he allowed it.

Enoch and Melchizedek could not be acted upon—due to faith

Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; and it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power [which is free agency], by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. (JST Genesis 14: 26-32)

Translation is the ultimate manifestation that great power not to be acted upon (free agency) has been bestowed, due to one’s faith, as the coercion of death itself is broken. Not every prophet or saint that reaches that level, though, is translated. Some, like Abinadi, choose to allow themselves to be killed, to seal up their testimony in the blood of the innocent.

The Three Nephites could not be acted upon—due to faith

Others choose translation. No matter how much coercion the wicked used against the Three Nephite disciples of Christ, it had no effect on their agency, because of their faith.

Therefore they did exercise power [coercion] and authority over the disciples of Jesus who did tarry with them, and they did cast them into prison; but by the power of the word of God, which was in them, the prisons were rent in twain, and they went forth doing mighty miracles among them. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding all these miracles, the people did harden their hearts, and did seek to kill them, even as the Jews at Jerusalem sought to kill Jesus, according to his word. And they did cast them into furnaces of fire, and they came forth receiving no harm. And they also cast them into dens of wild beasts, and they did play with the wild beasts even as a child with a lamb; and they did come forth from among them, receiving no harm. (4 Nephi 1: 30-33)

And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain. And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them. And thrice they were cast into a furnace and received no harm. And twice were they cast into a den of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts as a child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm. (3 Nephi 28: 19-22)

Agency is the supreme power, which trumps or frees one from the power of all other things, including the power of death, if one’s faith is sufficient. This is one of the reasons why it is called free agency, because it gives you freedom or liberates you from the power of coercion. It gives you the power to choose life (translation and exaltation) or death (physical and spiritual death.) Those who obtain enough faith, are given by God the agency to overcome all things, including death, meaning that nothing can act upon them without their say so.

And now behold, as I spake concerning those whom the Lord hath chosen, yea, even three who were caught up into the heavens, that I knew not whether they were cleansed from mortality to immortality—but behold, since I wrote, I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death; therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world. Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them. (3 Nephi 28: 36-39)

How this relates to God’s faith

The scriptures teach that agency alone is the power of God; that coercion is the power of the devil; that agency is greater or more powerful than coercion; that agency is granted only when faith is present; that agency and coercion cannot co-manifest in the same circumstance, either coercion exercises its power to the reduction of agency (or with the permission of the free agent who chooses not to exercise his agency), or agency exercises its power to the elimination or reduction of coercion; that agency is linked to faith; that faith precedes agency; that agency comes of faith; that the amount of agency possessed is determined by the amount of faith possessed; and that if one loses faith, agency is also lost (see Matthew 14: 25-31 for Peter’s faltering faith.)

As we know that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), meaning that he has a fullness of agency, he must have gotten his agency through the only mechanism given in the scriptures for obtaining it: faith. And as God remains almighty, he must not have lost one iota of his faith, for to do so, according to the scriptures, would remove a portion of his agency. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude, based upon these scriptural evidences and teachings of the relationship of faith to agency, that God does, indeed, possess faith.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part eleven: Why knowledge doesn’t save

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part nine: the ingredients of faith

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