Month: May 2018

20: Angels – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a special series on angels, where Denver addresses many questions including…

What are angels like? How do we interact with them? What are they here to do, and how are they different from us and from other heavenly beings?

19: Angels – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a special series on angels, where Denver addresses many questions including…

What are angels like? How do we interact with them? What are they here to do, and how are they different from us and from other heavenly beings?

 

Improper Assertion of Authority

Joseph Smith spoke at a conference in Philadelphia on January 13th, 1840. Included in his remarks was this recorded prohibition (he called it an “injunction”), the “traveling elders” were to be prevented from encroaching on local authorities.

The “traveling elders” were the twelve and seventy. They were missionaries. They had no right to interfere or encroach on the stakes or wards. The stakes were equal in authority with the twelve and first presidency. The minutes of the conference include these words from Joseph Smith:

“directed it should be entered on the minutes as the injunction of the Presidency that traveling Elders should be especially cautious of incroaching on the ground of stationed & presiding Elders and rather direct their efforts to breaking up and occupying new ground” JS Papers, Documents, Vol. 7: September 1839-January 1841, p. 115, spelling as in original.

Meaning that the twelve and seventy should occupy themselves with missionary work (breaking up and occupying new ground) and leave governing stakes to the “stationed and presiding” authorities who held the actual authority to govern.

An organization with divided and co-equal authorities cannot survive the ambition of conspiring men. And church members willingly surrender the right to govern to claimants, even when the claims are improper. The solution is to never establish anything other than equality. Even that presents challenges because impatience, haste, ambition and fear motivates even the best of people.

Bogus Brazilian Book of Mormon

I got an email inquiring about the “record coming out of Brazil” that claims to unseal the Book of Mormon’s missing parts. In response I sent this reply:

I usually do not comment on claims others make about visitations, angels, etc. I let every person decide for themselves about such claims.

What I understand of the claims are that Moroni delivered the plates to a fellow in Brazil. That seems to be inconsistent with the record and known history of the restoration.

In a post titled Nephi on December 10, 2013 and again in a post titled The Angel’s Identification on December 15, 2013 (among other places) I’ve shown, using the historical record, that Joseph Smith originally and consistently identified the angel who delivered the plates as “Nephi” not “Moroni.” Therefore, it seems like the claim to have “Moroni” deliver the plates is inconsistent with my understanding of history and accountability over the plates.

Once the plates were given to Joseph, he became the custodian. He was responsible for sealing and hiding up the plates when his work was completed. In the New Covenants, 2 Ne. 11: 20, Joseph Smith was given direction about what he was to do with the plates when he finished translating the portion to be published: “Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again and hide it up unto me that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.”

Because he was the successor responsible for sealing and protecting the records, Joseph followed those directions. I’ve studied Joseph’s life enough to know he would not have violated that trust. Nor would he have given the responsibility to seal and hide the plates to someone else. And Joseph Smith never set foot in Brazil.

There is also the notion of the “the economy of heaven” where angels do not do for humans what humans can and ought to do for themselves. For example, the angel did not bring the plates to Joseph, instead Nephi required Joseph to go to the place and engage in the labor to recover the buried object. Angels do not become errand boys relieving us of work devolving upon us.

If these Brazilian claimants knew more about church history, they would have been able to make a more plausible claim. As it stands, I do not think their claims can be credited because they identify “Moroni” as the custodian when they ought to have used the correct identify of “Nephi.” They make the claim that the plates Joseph Smith sealed and hid up were located in Brazil where Joseph Smith could not have hidden them up to the Lord. They invoke work on an angel to do what mankind is responsible to do. The angel “Moroni” was not resurrected (because he died after Christ’s death and therefore would not have been among those who rose with Christ). Nephi would be resurrected, since he died prior to the resurrection of Christ and would be a candidate for physically handling the object. It is unlikely that a disembodied spirit would transport the plates.

Given how inconsistent the claims are with my understanding of the history and the Book of Mormon’s direction to Joseph Smith, I’ve not troubled the Lord with an inquiry about the matter.

Conference Announcement

The organizers of the upcoming conference have asked that I post their announcement, which I have copied and pasted below:

Teaching Our Children to Honor God through Service

 An Invitation to all Fellowships

Preparation for the 2018 Fall Conference

In order to actively participate in the theme of the 2018 Fall Conference, “Preserving the Hope of Zion, by Teaching our Children to Honor God, we are inviting all fellowships to plan and participate in a community service project.  As followers of Christ all over the world we invite you to prayerfully organize and participate with your children in a service project that is needed in your area.

For those fellowships that feel inspired to participate with their children, please document the service projects with pictures and short video clips.  You can upload your documentation in the Google Drive link below.  Email the conference committee at preservingthehopeofzion@gmail.com to let us know about your project.  Please provide a brief description of what you did.  These projects will be shared at the main Sunday conference session.  This effort is not meant to brag, or to let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.  We hope that the children will be reminded of the joy they feel in serving their community, and be uplifted in viewing the projects of other youth around the globe.  In the spirit of charity for others, we desire to strengthen our connection to the Lord and to one another.

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God”.  (Mosiah 1:8, New Covenants)

We look forward to sharing in your experiences and discussing the joy of service to God with each other at the conference.  Please plan on participating and sending in your pictures and short video clips by August 20, 2018.

“Yea, a man may say, I will show you I have faith without works.  But I say, show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  (Epistle of Jacob 1:11, New Covenants)

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1X60G2fQ1omNAgziNfl8PtSuwGtAXHtcM

  1. Click on the Google Drive Link.
  2. Right click in the middle of the screen, select (add) + New Folder to create a new folder for your fellowship group and service project.
  3. Right click to Upload Picture/Videos of your service project/event.
  4. After uploading photos/videos, email preservingthehopeofzion@gmail.com and notify the conference committee of your contribution to the volunteer service project for the fall 2018 conference.

We look forward to gathering and fellowshipping with you this coming September.

Have a beautiful summer!

God bless,

The Wasatch Front Planning Committee