To facilitate record submissions, the Recorder has a new website now operating. It is named Recorder’s Clearinghouse.
The link to the site is www.recordersclearinghouse.com
It will be used for announcements from time to time as needs arise.
To facilitate record submissions, the Recorder has a new website now operating. It is named Recorder’s Clearinghouse.
The link to the site is www.recordersclearinghouse.com
It will be used for announcements from time to time as needs arise.
Joseph Smith wrote this counsel in a letter to the church in March 1834:
[T]he commandments of our Lord, we hope, are constantly revolving in your hearts, teaching you, not only his will in proclaiming his gospel, but his meekness and perfect walk before all, even in those times of sever persecutions and abuse which were heaped upon him by a wicked and adulterous generation. Remember, brethren, that he has called you unto holiness; and need we say, to be like him in purity? How wise; how holy; how chaste, and how perfect, then, you ought to conduct yourself in his sight; remember too, that his eyes are continually upon you. ( JS Papers, Documents, Vol. 3, p. 474.)
This is consistent with his many other letters and public sermons. He denounced sexual impurity and promoted chastity in word, deed and thought.
In that same letter he wrote:
[T]hough we cannot claim these promises which were made to the ancients …we can approach the Father in the name of Christ as they approached him, and for ourselves obtain the same promises. These promises, when obtained, if ever by us, will not be because Peter, John and the other apostles, with the churches at Sardis, Purgamos, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, walked in the fear of God and had power and faith to prevail and obtain them; but it will be because we, ourselves, have faith and approach him in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, even as they did; and when these promises are obtained, they will be promises directly to us, or they will do us no good; communicated for our benefit; being our own property, (through the gift of God,) earned by our own diligence in keeping his commandments, and walking uprightly before him. (Id., pp. 483-484, italics in original.)
This explanation is consistent with Lectures on Faith. He urged us, like the ancients, to all approach God. He believed the religion of antiquity could be lived again by us.
In 1839, the Lord predicted the following regarding Joseph: “fools shall have [him] in derision, and hell shall rage against [him]; While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under [his] hand.” (D&C 122:1-2.)
More than two centuries after his birth, he remains controversial and misunderstood. Even those who acknowledge him to be a prophet fail to understand the man. His legacy was entrusted to a group of people in Nauvoo. In his last general conference, April 1844 he said this about the members in Nauvoo:
You don’t know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born into the world. My voice is always for peace. …When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will know me then. (TPJS, pp. 361-362.)
If those he lived among never knew him, then what they bequeathed to us only makes our challenge to understand him even greater. Many people, even believing Mormons, attribute to him the worst of malignant conduct. They believe him to be morally corrupt, lacking virtue, an egomaniac and a liar. Can anything good come from a man such as that? Fools hold Joseph in derision still.
Recently, I was asked, “What would you change in your writings if you had it all to do again?”
If I were writing The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil today, I would write it differently. But I do not regret having written it in its present form, and will not go back and edit it to change the content. It is an accurate book for the moment in time it was written. It is important to preserve that moment in time.
When I wrote it, I was an active, faithful member of the LDS Church. The book was written inside that environment and represents a triumph of the faith. The triumph was achieved inside the institution. For that reason, the book continues to remind me, and every reader, that it is possible to devote yourself to Christ under challenging circumstances.
Nephi’s Isaiah is also a book I would not change, because it likewise demonstrates that an active, faithful LDS Church member can awaken to the terrible circumstances of our plight. It is a key book. It shows a pattern: God passes information forbidden to be revealed as a new, original revelation, and leaves Nephi to the task of teaching by using earlier writings. Nephi used Isaiah, Zenos and Zenok to deliver new revelation using old, familiar scripture. It is a key to understanding Nephi; and a key to understanding a modern burden I carry.
Things are changing rapidly. The books I have written reflect changes underway. Circumstances changed affecting the content of later books. The changed conditions and changed response are chronicled in the series of books. It is important to leave them as they are, reflecting the different moments in time.
As things continue to change, what I write will reflect the events taking place. Nothing is static. Everything is in motion.
I want to reiterate what was said at the end of the ten lectures (as it has been edited for the forthcoming book). Below is an excerpt dealing with the problems I warned were coming:
There are so many potential mistakes we can make we ought to remember the early problems in Kirtland. D&C 50:2-25. “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed.” [This is not referring to the hypocrites, because He will not reclaim them. But He will reclaim those who are deceived by the hypocrites.] “But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you; He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.”
This is how we should edify one another, how we should be preparing our children. This is what we should seek: truth, light, understanding, knowledge of the principles of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.
False spirits will come among you. Prideful and pretentious people will ask you to give them honor. Honor God instead. Do not let a personal revelation displace your attention from the scriptures. Our scriptures are sufficient for our day. I hope this new book demonstrates that. I have expounded the scriptures as Moroni did to Joseph, and as Christ did on the road to Emmaus the day of His resurrection. We must first remember and observe. Preserving the restoration requires us to be very familiar with the scriptures of the restoration. At present we should fear most our ignorance of them.
I had the following brought to my attention by an email this morning. It was written in January, but the content of this is so worthwhile I post a link to it below.
I was very encouraged by the discussion identifying false and deceiving spirits. Then the discussion about the limits and responsibilities within a sharing, cooperative community was insightful and instructive. I do not know who wrote this, and have not had time to read any other post on that blog, but this post was instructive and worth everyone’s time to read.
Whether we welcome or oppose it, the truth is going to win. Monuments and cultures erected on lies will weaken and fall to the dust. But truth has a strength that does not decay. Lies cannot defy it, greed cannot corrupt it, lust cannot tempt it, and wicked men cannot for long successfully imitate it.
The times of the gentiles is ending, and truth has begun to break forth; just as Christ explained to His disciples while living among them (and then repeated to Joseph in 1831):
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:28-32.)
When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matt. 16:2-3.)
The Lord described our day. But we live in it and do not see it right before our eyes.
Brian Hales has responded. His response misstates my position, teaching, testimony and message, but it is nevertheless his response. For those interested you can find it at:
His biggest error in the response is to cite as authoritative a number of sources I would question. Brigham Young’s ability to ignore revelations of others does not contribute to whether the revelations of others should be ignored.
The sharp differences in views are useful. I leave it to the reader to sort out the truth from error.
The voting on the Recorder has concluded and Ken Jensen sent me an email confirming the outcome. His email is below:
86% of the participants voted for Keith Hernderson
I asked Keith Henderson for his contact information and permission to post it here. He gave the permission and provided the following:
This is the holy day on which the Lord rose from the dead. He lives. I know because I have seen Him and He has ministered unto me.
Not everyone knows He has risen, yet believe it to be true. Those who believe witnesses, whether in scripture or living, “might also have eternal life if they continue faithful.” (D&C 46:14.)
He will return again, descending from heaven. (Acts 1:11.) He “cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth” (D&C 49:22) but now appears in glory.
He sits on the throne of the Father, and offers us that same throne if we overcome: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:20-21.)
Joseph of Egypt was a prophet, seer and Patriarch. He was a remarkable and gifted prophet. God promised through him a last-days seer would be sent to the world. The promise was accomplished through Joseph Smith:
Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer [Joseph Smith] shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer [Joseph Smith] will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give a commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him [Joseph Smith] great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. …But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him [Joseph Smith] will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth of my word only; saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them. …Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him [Joseph Smith] shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise. (2 Ne. 3:6-14, emphasis added.)
I reject the accusation Joseph Smith was ever a “fallen prophet.” He was promised by God, sent by God, commissioned, guided, directed, inspired and led by God. His life was foretold in prophecies almost as many centuries beforehand as Christ’s life was foretold. We diminish Joseph Smith and his ministry at the peril of being “confounded”–as the prophecy of ancient Joseph of Egypt promises.
Where does the prophecy God gave to Joseph of Egypt foretell the promised seer’s failure? Instead of failure it promises the seer “will the Lord bless” and the Lord will “make him great in mine eyes” and he would “be esteemed highly” among people of faith. God said to Joseph, “I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee [Joseph] even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity[.]” (D&C 132:49.) Those who testify against him do not persuade me to disrespect him.
God blesses and visits those who take seriously the Book of Mormon, which we only have because of the latter-day seer, Joseph Smith.
Joseph was not without his faults. But they were acknowledged by Joseph publicly, condemned by God in revelations, and apparent in the history. For example, he lost the 116 pages, was reprimanded and lost possession of the plates, Urim and Thummim, and gift temporarily as a result. God rebuked Joseph: “behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God.” (D&C 3:6-7.)
He admitted his foolishness. (JS-H 1:28.)
He failed in business with the Kirtland Anti-Banking Society in 1837, and had a pending bankruptcy when he died in 1844.
He was told by God he could not judge between the righteous and wicked. (D&C 10:37.) That would plague him throughout life, and lead him to foolishly trust John Bennett.
Joseph made other mistakes and had other failures. Weaknesses are nothing, for all men are subject to weakness. For our part, we should “take no advantage of [any man’s] weakness.” (Ether 12:26.) Weaknesses are unimportant to me because we are all imperfect. (Ether 12:25-27.) Joseph Smith was great in God’s eyes (2 Ne. 3:8) and therefore great in mine also.
I have prepared a document based on the transcript of the talk on Plural Marriage. The document is footnoted, expanded and clarified and therefore does not exactly mirror the recording. It is available on this site under “Papers and Lectures” under the title: Plural Marriage. (The link is at the top of the papers section.)
In a recent post I suggested Keith Henderson be approved as the recorder, recognizing it would require common consent because no one has the right to appoint anyone. The name of Jon Durfee was then suggested as another possible recorder. I received an email proposing Ken Jensen take votes on-line, and I put that up on this website also.
In the aftermath of my suggestion a voted be taken, there were intemperate comments made about the process, and also about both of these men. From my distance I only observed with interest the reactions.
Both Jon Durfee and Keith Henderson have individually contacted me and offered to withdraw their names to end any further conflict. I have told them both in separate conversations that I would not encourage them to withdraw. I think a choice is good and they should see it through.
The fact that both of these men offered to withdraw because of the reactions from others has impressed me. We are fortunate to have both of these men. We cannot do better than what I have witnessed in each of them.
Both of them have paid a price for their faithfulness. Both of them have suffered because of unwanted attention. Both of them would rather serve and obey God than appease improper demands by their fellow-man. Both of them have every quality I would want, you should want, or God should expect in the recorder, and both have my trust and confidence.
Rather than keep this to myself, I thought while voting was still taking place I would make this comment. There are good men and women among us, and Jon and Keith are two of them.
Now I have email questions about priesthood. Before setting this aside for more important things, let me add only:
Priesthood has never been confined to one individual. Remember that from Adam to Enoch there were seven living generations with many unnamed priests. Every righteous son of the family of Adam held the priesthood. He led a priestly family. But the names of these other righteous sons have not been fully preserved. Nevertheless, they were “the residue of his posterity who were righteous.” (D&C 107:53.)
The sons of Adam who were named were descended in a direct line from Adam. All of those sons held the same Patriarchal Priesthood, at the same time as their father Adam. There was not a “single individual” who held priesthood. But in each generation, from Adam until Noah, there was one who stood at the head of that generation. This direct line were the Patriarchal heirs, and stood in the position of the Patriarch for that generation. Only one on earth occupies that role for each generation, unless there is an apostasy. In that case, the one would default back (a completely different topic not important to us nor worthy of causing a lot of speculation if I were to give only a brief explanation).
The first seven generations of Patriarchs all held exactly the same priesthood and lived concurrently. Gentiles, in their pride, always want to be “top-dog.” They are unwilling to be saved in the Kingdom of God unless they, like Lucifer, can be at the top of the sides of the north sitting on the Throne of God. (Isa. 14:13.) Fools all. No comprehension of how great a price will be required to ascend there. Utterly forgetting that you must be “exactly” like the “prototype of the saved man” to be there. (Lecture Seventh, ¶9.)
Try to keep a few things in mind about priesthood:
There are three different degrees of priesthood. Two of those were in the church in 1835. (D&C 107:1.) Discussed in the Orem talk. (Transcript and audio links on the website)
Although there are different degrees of priesthood, the Patriarchs all held the same at the same time. Check who did the ordaining in the scriptures (D&C 107:41-53), and you will discover that it is always the oldest living (most often Adam during the Patriarchal era) because he stood at the head.
Priesthood can be given, held, and spread widely even though only one will stand at the head of a generation. It is also possible to have generations who have priesthood without a return of the original order held by the Patriarchs. Priesthood and the organization of God’s family on earth are NOT the same thing. Throughout history the absence of this order is the rule. The return of this order is the exception.
As things wind down, there will need to be a return to the beginning. The term “Adam-ondi-Ahman” is a description of an event, not merely a name of a location. When the event happened the first time, the event was used to identify the place. When the final ceremony occurs, it will be “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” no matter what spot in the mountains it is located. It will require a living heir with the same rights as the original Patriarchs, so the return of governance can authorize Christ to return as the “King of kings” and “Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16.)
These things are explained in scripture. Study them. If you can’t figure it out, then PRAY AND ASK GOD, who gives to all men liberally and does not upbraid. He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things. But ask in faith, for if you waiver you will be tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea.
Ordination can and does happen in the Spirit World. (D&C 138:30–this is why it is unnecessary to “ordain” on behalf of the dead; because they can be ordained in the afterlife.)
For the most part this is terribly unimportant for now. It is something I mentioned in passing ONLY for one purpose: to suggest that Joseph Smith had a much bigger concern than just getting women into bed when he rolled out the idea of sealing, eternal families, exaltation and the eternity of the marriage covenant (all part of Section 132). A tiny, tiny part of that picture involved the subject that subsequently fixated Mormonism. Brigham Young wanted to breed, and wanted to establish it as a “fundamental part of his religion” so it would pass the legal challenge under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Joseph Smith was not Brigham Young. Brigham Young did not comprehend the things Joseph comprehended. It is time to throw away the detour Brigham Young imposed on Mormonism and to search into and reclaim what began with Joseph. You cannot get into heaven without sealing, eternal families, exaltation through the eternity of the marriage covenant. Satan has controlled Mormonism through this distraction and caused incalculable harm to the work God began with Joseph Smith. Plural marriage is hell.
It is a distraction to be fixated on the issue of how to get what the Patriarchs had. We are like Abraham, our “fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them,” (Abr. 1:5) and are now left to go back across the apostate generations separating us, like him, from the Patriarchs. We must become “one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge.” (Abr. 1:2.) He had to first search for the truth. THAT is our big challenge. Until it is accomplished we needn’t concern ourselves with how to obtain the ordination from the last holder (Melchizedek in Abraham’s day D&C 84:14). Melchizedek had tarried to hand off the Patriarch’s status to a descendant, and when Abraham finally returned to claim the right, Melchizedek conferred it and then departed. Do not worry about how God plans to accomplish this. Just know He will.
Before any of this is important a great deal more pressing challenges must be addressed. In fact, the more fully it is explained, the more likely it is that pretenders will begin to make false claims to hold something God has not given and will not give to the vain, ambitious, aspiring, and proud gentiles who think themselves chosen by Him. God requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Love one another and serve one another and leave God’s work for His hand to accomplish.
We need to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and learn to become “one” with each other through the Doctrine of Christ. That is a formidable challenge. It will require patience and kindness towards one another. Community participants are much abused, hold many legitimate complaints and are fearful that abuse will continue in yet another gathering of believers. We need to be patient and loving to one another. We need to give each other the opportunity to come out from the corrupt, manipulative and compulsive congregations we have fled or been cast from.
Learn from our errors. Give each other the kindness and respect of allowing legitimate fears gained by sad experience to be overcome. The return and reconstruction of God’s family will not be necessary unless we are worthy of it. Leave it for God to decide when we have done enough to justify Him moving His hand again to restore that which was lost. What need is there for a family head if there is no family to organize? When He does that, it will be through “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 113:6.) There will be people “whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel, and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.” (D&C 113:8.) God will send one who “holds the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God.” (D&C 85:7.) Become that person. Work on your own faith, spirit and challenges and allow God to fulfill His promises in His own due time through His way.
It will happen. But you may be left without a part of that inheritance if you neglect the duties now devolving on you. Stop running about to hear every new thing offered by those willing to fill your itching ears. Stop listening to toxic flattery about your greatness. Stop listening to fables, conjecture, half-truths, vanity, foolishness and the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. We are a failure until we see Zion. And we are a long, long way short of that mark.
I got this email asking for clarifications:
Can you clarify these statements?
Here Denver seems to be saying we can obtain salvation now.
“You’re hedging up the way of your own salvation, and of the salvation of others when you say no one has the privilege in our day yet, to lay hold on salvation. You’re hedging up the way, you are damning yourself, and you are damning those who will listen to you when you say, people in our time are not yet authorized to exercise faith in God unto salvation because you are authorized. I have done so. I have spoken with Him as a man speaks to another. He speaks in plain humility, reasoning as one man with another. He will reason with you.” (40 Years, Faith)
Here he seems to be saying that we can come into the presence of the Lord and by so doing, obtain covenants.
“But in terms of someone whom the Lord has struck a bargain with and made a covenant at the moment we are looking at in 1829, that person was Joseph Smith. Our Lord is a Man of covenants. Our Lord enters into covenants on a regular basis. To know Him is to covenant with Him. And Joseph when section 5 was revealed had one.” (40 Years, Be of Good Cheer, Be of Good Courage)
Sounds like priesthood must be obtained in a previous probation or it cannot be obtained here. If it cannot be obtained in this life unless it was had before, how is it ever had in the first place?
“So here priesthood has its beginning before this world even was organized. There is a necessary link between those hallowed days and power here. No person has authority here unless it was first obtained there.” (http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/alma-133.html )
Zion can come to individuals:
“The Lord has been willing to bring individuals back into His presence on the same conditions throughout all time. Read again The Second Comforter if you do not remember what those conditions are. He is as willing to make you a citizen of Zion, member of the church of the Firstborn, and part of the general assembly today (D&C 76: 66-69) as in the future established Zion spoken of in the verses we have been reviewing. Many have done it in times past. Some have done it in our day. All are offered the same opportunity, but always on the same conditions.” (http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/07/3-nephi-21-25.html )
Zion can’t come to individuals:
“You may think this can be done in isolation as a faithful individual, but Zion will not be built by solitary souls. Nor will the required covenant be offered to an isolated individual. This is about God’s FAMILY.” (http://denversnuffer.com/2015/03/a-great-whole/)
People are authorized to exercise faith, just as Lectures on Faith explain. That includes coming back to God’s presence here and now. It likewise includes obtaining covenant status with God and the promise of exaltation. All that is true. Many have done this in mortality. All who have done so depart this life firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection. (D&C 138:14.) But do not assume you have a correct picture in your head about what happens between the time of the promise (covenant) and when the day of your exaltation will arrive.
One statement by me or in scripture is not EVERYTHING. Never assume you can reduce it to one, simple picture when you are talking about the landscape of eternity, and endless lives.
(It amuses and frustrates my wife when people assume I have disclosed everything I think, understand or know about a subject when I give a two- or three-hour talk.)
Why did the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration “look upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies to be a bondage?” (D&C 45:16-17.) [Because going to the Spirit World means a lengthy tenure there, awaiting the resurrection.] Why did John the Beloved (who was among those on the Mount) then ask to “tarry until [Christ] comes in His glory?” (D&C 7:3.) [Because he would rather be here working than in the Spirit World trying to bring people along there.] Why did three Nephites likewise ask that they not “taste of death; but [to] live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men?” (3 Ne. 28:6-8.) [They had the same concern as John.] What were the other nine Nephite disciples really asking when they requested to “speedily come unto [Christ’s kingdom]” instead of either living here or waiting in the Spirit World? [They wanted to rise quickly from the dead and resume the journey as those who had arisen from the dead with Christ.]
These were all men who were in Christ’s presence and had the promise to be exalted. Yet they were either: 1) remaining here without death to minister, or 2) going to what they thought would be “bondage” in the Spirit World to await their eventual resurrection, or 3) dying but then proceeding “speedily” [or immediately] into Christ’s kingdom. Every one of them would be exalted. But that does not change the distance and paths which must be crossed between here in the flesh and rising to exaltation, or the potential choices that can be made.
Likewise, as a living mortal you can have an association with the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn (a priestly reference that requires you to understand about the “rights of the fathers”) here, now. If you do this you become one of those solitary souls who live as a stranger and sojourner on earth. Your association is with heaven, not with earth. But that does not fulfill the prophecies and covenants regarding Zion. You can have the same kind of life—but if it is your life alone if you live without bringing others with you. You will live without a city, a community, all things in common, no poor among that community, a temple, rites, and the completion of the restoration of all things. You may have a life worthy of Zion, but it will not be a City of Zion, the New Jerusalem. You can be a “citizen” but you will be a sojourner in exile here.
If you want to find out how you get priesthood in the “first place” ask God.
Please keep EVERYTHING in mind together. Do not think one isolated statement or paragraph explains EVERYTHING. Further, do not think everything has yet been revealed that needs to be revealed. Thus far I am only taking the things already before us in scripture and weaving them together to persuade some few to believe the restoration can continue. When the time comes, a great deal more can be taught if the restoration does continue.
It is impossible to re-establish the earliest form of the Gospel of Christ with its associated teachings, rites, ordinances, covenants and organization if we insist it fit into our current prejudices. We think so many things are necessary that are not, and we think many necessary things cannot possibly be required.
In the beginning, the Gospel was disseminated through a family. A church was added later. The church was an imitation of the family of Abraham. Abraham-Isaac-Jacob imitated by First Presidency. Twelve sons of Jacob imitated by the Twelve Apostles. Family of Israel entering Egypt (Exo. 1:5) imitated by the Seventy. Church is an imitation, not the real thing.
We think the “priesthood” must be organized into quorums and groups with presiding authorities, presidencies and then integrated into the church. But in the beginning there was a family, and the family had a father who was set at the head by covenant. (Moses 6:3-27; D&C 107:40-55.) The covenant required the father to teach and serve, with God’s approval and authority, in ways to bless his family and have it accepted by God. He taught as a father, mirroring the Father above, filled with the Spirit of His Son, as it was in the beginning. The order of the family is heavenly. God rules through a family structure in eternity. He established a family on earth through Adam. For the first ten generations, it remained intact as a family organization. It eventually ended in apostasy. Then Abraham sought to reconnect to that original priesthood belonging to the fathers, and succeeded in reuniting with the original family line despite generations of apostasy. (Abr. 1:2.) Abraham’s restoration lasted five generations before it was compromised. Moses was not able to bring any other than himself into the family. (D&C 84:19-25.) Moses was able to connect to himself Joshua, Caleb and his immediate family, but Israel did not benefit.
We think ordinances are required and everyone can receive them ad hoc and be saved. Heaven does not have unorganized crowds milling about, arriving fresh from receiving and accepting vicarious ordinances and claiming the right to be rewarded by entering Celestial glory. IF anyone enters the kingdom of God, she will be there as part of God’s family, not as a freelance believer. Those faithful who received the assurance before death that they would one day enjoy a glorious resurrection (D&C 138:14) were unable to leave the spirit world with Christ, but remained behind to minister to others there (D&C 138:30.)
We think the temples are primarily a place for work for the dead. It is required mainly to organize the living into a family. The organization cannot happen outside a temple. That is the only place God will allow the restoration, rites, ordinances, and covenant to be ministered. Heaven and earth will reunite and angels will attend to many of the required things when an acceptable temple is built. We think a temple can be built following a pattern based on current ordinances. There is no understanding of the ordinances necessary to organize the family of God again.
Trying to fit the original Gospel plan into our incomplete and corrupt model, and make it conform to our expectations will not work. There is not enough information to understand this Gospel, but that does not stop people from complaining and jarring one another with foolish reactions.
Hopefully people will realize there is something now moving forward which will become God’s family on earth. Something far greater than the apostate, fallen and corrupt systems of this world. But ambitious men and women want to mirror the corruption and power of earthly organizations with which they are familiar. Or they fear what is coming will be likewise corrupt and degrading of those who participate. Our fears and experiences become obstacles to what God offers.
We know almost nothing at this point. Even all that came through Joseph is but a glimpse. We are not worthy of the full view. (3 Ne. 26:9-11; Ether 4:4-7.) The question is whether we will become meek and humble enough to endure giving it a hearing before we corrupt it with a flood of errors based on unbelief.
Recall Joseph Smith predicted that although a return to the law of Moses would never happen, the Gospel as practiced before Moses (among the fathers) would return:
Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him [Noah] in a familiar and friendly manner, that He continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory, with which He blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation, therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets; then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering to the Lord….
It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine set forth in the above quotation, and it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e.,] the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets.
The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation. We frequently have mention made of the offering of sacrifice by the servants of the Most High in ancient days, prior to the law of Moses; which ordinances will be continued when the Priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings…
These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass? It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses’ day, namely, sacrifice, will be continued.
It may be asked by some, what necessity for sacrifice, since the Great Sacrifice was offered? In answer to which, if repentance, baptism, and faith existed prior to the days of Christ, what necessity for them since that time? The Priesthood has descended in a regular line from father to son, through their succeeding generations. (October 5, 1840.) DHC 4:207-212; TPJS pp. 172-173.
Joseph only hinted at some of the remaining doctrines of the restoration that will be required to walk back to the beginning. We hardly yet comprehend the Lord’s plans. But to fulfill all that has been foretold, we or some future generation will need to build a temple acceptable to God in the boundary of the everlasting mountains, which will tremble at their presence, where all scattered Israel can return to receive an inheritance at the hands of Ephraim. (D&C 133:31-32.) The promised inheritance can only be received in a temple. It will include uses, layout, design and elements which will themselves testify of God and His Gospel in a way we do not presently have here on earth.
You can choose how much to receive or reject. You can walk away from the gathering by Christ – a hen gathering her chicks. This is not the first generation that has done that. But God has promised that some generation will receive what He offers, allow themselves to be gathered, and receive an inheritance as a part of His Covenant with the Fathers.
You may think this can be done in isolation as a faithful individual, but Zion will not be built by solitary souls. Nor will the required covenant be offered to an isolated individual. This is about God’s FAMILY.
This is why the jarring and contention, envying and strife of Joseph’s time was so toxic. Heaven weeps at us when it might instead rejoice over us.