Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley was an apologist. He did not expand, alter, amend, or correct anything Joseph Smith accomplished. He defended Joseph’s work and labored to better understand it. His life’s work focused on antiquity to demonstrate the restoration through Joseph Smith was authentic. Antiquity was useful in recognizing that Joseph was the real thing, an authentic prophet. Nibley’s work confirmed there were details of the restoration that were mirrored throughout the ancient world in past, fallen civilizations. He never preferred the ancients over Joseph, but showed us that Joseph “restored” what was lost from earlier ages. Hugh Nibley did not presume to change Joseph’s work, instead he tried to change our appreciation for it.

The Search

The search for the truth is individual. Everyone must undertake if for themselves. One woman’s search is never the same as another’s. One man’s experiences will never be another’s. That does not mean there are never common elements. Mileposts along the way are common to almost all searches.

Where is the most valuable place to start the search? This question requires us to answer others. For example, was Joseph Smith divinely inspired to translate and publish the Book of Mormon? Were his revelations and translations of other records also divinely inspired?

Since I believe Joseph Smith was divinely inspired, the search for me begins there. It requires me to then proceed in these steps: First, find information about Joseph’s teachings, translations, discussions, revelations and beliefs from the most reliable sources. This is not as easy as it once seemed. The materials made available through The Joseph Smith Papers, for example, require some assumptions and conclusions to be revised, discarded, modified or perhaps even noticed for the first time. A great deal of information about Joseph’s life, his words, even his revelations has not been accurately transmitted across a mere two centuries. But this is the best and most recent place for the search to begin.

Second, Joseph’s paradigm must be adapted, modified and corrected by what the new view of Joseph Smith’s ministry reveals and recovers. This is not easy because traditions and presumptions are part of our internal thinking. We hold on to presumptions until forced to abandon them. Even if we think we can begin with a blank slate, we cannot. We do not know what we do not know, and therefore proceed blind to these defects. It requires us to be ever willing to admit we need and must accept correction. This is not easy, but it is necessary.

Third, we must live our lives in conformity with the truth as we understand it so that we gather light and truth from heaven. We cannot live hypocrisy and expect divine aid. We cannot abuse our neighbors and expect divine favor. We are helped by God as we are clean before Him. He (and we) know if we have clean hands and a pure heart.

Fourth, until we have done the work of the first three, there is no justified expectation to discover or have revealed to us something new. Revelation comes at the end of the search, not at the beginning. When, however, the revelation comes, we must be willing to accept it and then reconsider everything in the first three steps in light of what we have gained in the fourth. Even if we think we are living true to the light we had before, once we have more light we must reflect that in our lives. What we did, said, believed or thought before may no longer be consistent with what was just learned.

Likewise, the work of the second step (adaptation, modification and correction) may be wholly inadequate for what new truth has been gained.  And finally, the first step (source interpretation and understanding) may change because of the new light.

Every one of us is put through this same process. None of us are spared.

This leads to the question of how to integrate what has been gained in this process with other important information. The best example of a faithful search I can think of is Hugh Nibley. His relentless searching was always informed by the primacy of Joseph Smith and the restoration. He believed in the Book of Mormon even when the LDS Church and its leaders did not. This is discussed in Eighteen Verses. Brother Nibley was himself a restorationist who amplified our understanding of antiquity. However, Hugh Nibley died three years before a single volume of The Joseph Smith Papers was in print. He died five years before the five volumes of The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young were available in print. He never had an opportunity to see or read most of what Brigham Young said. He died before many of the journals of church leaders and apostles were made available. Brother Nibley’s work sought to harmonize the restoration with antiquity. He did a great work. But he lived and died without having at his disposal a great body of additional material now accessible to us. It begs the question of whether he would (or should) have reconsidered the content and meaning of the restoration and Joseph’s teachings if he learned new information by that process. From all that can be said about Hugh Nibley, it is apparent to me he would have rethought everything he learned if new revelation of the restoration suggested it ought to be done.

There was a prominent anti-Mormon radio preacher named “Dr. Walter Martin.” He had a radio call in show I listened to for years. He got most of what he said about Mormonism from dubious source material and he made bombastic claims that were unpersuasive to anyone who had read the widely available book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, by LeGrand Richards–still a very good book. But Dr. Walter Martin had a constant refrain: “It is the first principle of Biblical hermeneutics that you interpret the old in light of the new.” Meaning, you understand the Old Testament by study of the New Testament. It is a sound principle. Of course, he violated this first principle when it came to the Book of Mormon and Joseph’s revelations. He discarded the new and judged it only by the old.

This is the one rule Dr. Walter Martin and I agree upon. I apply that across the board with all learning, study and meditation. To recover the past we do not begin the search there, but we begin the search with the latest revelation and attempt to recover truth as we measure it beside what we have received in our day from God.

If the search and accompanying conclusions into Joseph and the restoration are much different now than they were just a few years ago, and the intervening traditions and practices are clearly divergent from Joseph’s in just four generations, what does that tell us about caution for antiquity’s remaining documents? Even our understanding of New Testament times is only fragmentary. The historian Norman F. Cantor wrote about how little we really understand the middle ages in his book titled, Inventing the Middle Ages. He explains how traditions rather than proof inform much of our re-creation of the period in the relatively recent past. Going back another millennium to the New Testament is even more difficult. And the earliest ages are more challenging still.

The farther back we journey the more we need the restoration to guide, inform and set the framework for the search. This is why Joseph Smith was a necessary figure in this late date in history. We will not get far if we do not accept him as the indispensable milestone marker for the correct path that God would ask us to follow for the walk back to His presence.

I advocate study of the past, including Egypt. What I do not suggest is we measure Joseph Smith by beginning with the New Testament, Old Testament or Egypt. We work backward to test for truth. I think anyone who believes in the restoration would agree with that.

Virtue and Righteousness

There is a difference between virtue and righteousness. Virtue is laudable, required and necessary, but righteousness has priority. Virtue surrenders to righteousness, not vice-versa. The point can be illustrated from scripture:

It is not virtuous to kill. Nephi was repulsed at the idea, but the Lord required it, and Nephi complied. The doctrinal reasons justifying the killing are set out in The Second Comforter, and there were sufficient reasons both under the Law of Moses and the Lord’s standards of judgment to vindicate the Lord’s decision to kill Laban. The killing was offensive to virtue, but it was righteous.

It is not virtuous to mockingly taunt others. Yet Elijah was pursuing a righteous course against the priests of Baal when he did just that: “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” (1 Kings 18: 27.) Mocking is both unvirtuous and uncouth, and in this context would qualify only as righteous.

It is not virtuous to rail against the religious leaders of any faith. Yet John the Baptist rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees as a generation of vipers: “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3: 7.) This term of derision, “generation of vipers” is graphic and in context it is both offensive and uncouth. Yet he was a righteous man, moreso than any other apart from Christ. (Luke 7: 28.)

It was not virtuous for Christ to rebuke His accusers: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, … ye fools and blind…” (Matt. 23: 14-17.) The language of the Lord here is quite blunt, uncouth and in the context of that language, gutteral. It was righteous, but not an example of virtuous language.

It was worse still for Christ to call Herod “that fox.” This is a term of derision comparable in our own language to calling someone a “son of a bitch.” (Luke 13: 32.) Yet it was righteous, justified and appropriate.

It was blunt and threatening for Joseph to tell his guards in Liberty Jail: “SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!” (Taken from The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, emphasis in original.) Calling another a “fiend of the infernal pit” is quite abrasive and offensive; it was intended to be so.

Those who prefer virtue to righteousness will handicap their ability to work for the Lord’s ends. He will always require righteousness to be done. When someone prefers virtue and neglects righteousness, or condemns the righteous for their lack of virtue, their inappropriate standard serves only one purpose. It gets applied against the one proposing to use it. They get to be measured by the standard they apply. (Matt. 7: 22.)

I choose to look at Elijah, John the Baptist, Christ and Joseph Smith, as well as any other person moved to rebuke me or anyone else by the power of the Holy Ghost as fully justified and Christlike. I do not resist the challenge of a righteous rebuke. I welcome them. No one should feel they cannot “damn” me. I’ll consider it important and will respond with my defense, or an apology if I think it is warranted.

It is important for you to know that I do not think Christ is a limp-wristed, lisping chap who dotes on us and has nothing but bouquets of flowers to dispense to us. I think He’s about to return in judgment, dressed in red to burn the wicked. He has said that is who He is and I believe Him. I would like to have as many people take that seriously and consider repenting. We are mistaken in our belief that we are chosen. We are mistaken when we think we are too good to be in need of continual repentance. We are nothing before God. We are about to see His judgments. I know these ideas make me irritating.

As Hugh Nibley put it, “there is nothing so irritating as being awakened from a sound sleep.” But my hope is to awaken some few. Therefore, it is worth offending a great number if the result benefit a few. That is the way things work here and I am quite realistic about it all.

It is also important to be clear about some things. First, the Strengthening the Members Committee is a real group, although its existence was denied for a while by the church. Second, they are not supposed to be pressuring local leaders to harass church members. When they do, it is considered a violation of the process because all church discipline is supposed to be 1) local, and 2) independent. When they interfere it is inappropriate. Third, I WANT them to know there are leaks, and they have spilled onto the Internet. They should do what they need to do to plug them. It should be noted that there have been several forum discussions related to me shut down and deleted since my earlier post. Fourth, I want everyone to know if there is a problem which has offended a distant and imperial committee, it is not because I believe too little in the Lord, but too much in Him and too little in men. Fifth, they are misbehaving in a cowardly, unmanly way by this stealth attack. It would be far better, if they want to be credible, for them to address it openly. Do as I have invited them to do. Show me where I’m wrong. Let me respond. Let some sunlight on the matter. It is shameful, even cowardly, to avoid and accuse from a shadow, only to later pretend they weren’t involved. Pressuring local, reluctant leaders who know better from personal experience with their local members is manipulative.

I consider the words chosen by me to be measured, appropriate and inspired by the right reaction to a cowardly and shameful act by this subversive committee. They are wrong to behave this way. They have probably engaged in illegal activity by leaking onto the Internet what should be kept confidential. I have done them a service by alerting them to this misconduct. Surely, no matter how misguided their deliberations may be, they intend to preserve their legal protection to claim to have privileges under the law. That protection is forfeited when they act this way.

2 Nephi 31: 2

“Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.”
Nephi has been pondering for over four decades about the great revelations given to him in the Arabian Peninsula. (2 Nephi 4: 16 and 2 Nephi 5: 34.) His creation of, and inscription on the plates were after these long deliberations and reflections.

When he says “the things which I have written sufficeth me,” he is putting a punctuation mark on his plates. He is saying he has finished his ministry, finished his prophecy. He has refined and set out his message in a deliberate, careful way. These books of Nephi are not internet blogs undertaken daily. They are not rapid-fire responses, nor stream-of-consciousness statements. They were planned for the ages. Born from pondering, inspired by revelation, described as prophecy by the author, and filled with light and truth if considered with care by any reader. Nephi’s pronouncement that they “sufficeth me” is a powerful statement by an aging prophet.

Years of preparation and reflection allow him to “speak plainly” to us. There’s no need to be vague. No reason to hide our plight from us. He wants us to understand. When he attempts to “speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying,” we read into it the wrong definitions, associate his words with others who will never read the book, and consider ourselves blessed and vindicated instead of condemned, and called to repentance. We do that a lot. What good is it to read things which tell you to be proud?  Why follow a religion that tells you you’ve no reason to repent? Everyone but you is going to hell, right? (Alma 31: 17-18.) Because so long as you remain affiliated with the broad mainstream of your church, God will save you. And if there’s any hint of error, He will beat you with a few stripes and all will be well. Nephi has already condemned that as an error, hasn’t he? (2 Nephi 28: 8.)

If his words were plain and intended to be taken at face value, why read into them justification for yourself and your sins? Why think they condemn everyone but you?  Why are they speaking in disparaging terms about those who will never have the book? Why did Nephi write a book condemning only those who will never read it? Surely, if he was in fact “plain” in his meaning, then we ought not read anything into it other than what it says and how it says it. It must be a message to us.
If it is addressed to us, then we have more than one “wo” pronounced upon us by Nephi. We have been warned. We need to change what we are doing. The gentiles with whom we are identified (D&C 109: 60) are collectively condemned. We need to separate ourselves by our behavior from theirs. We need to repent.

Now, just in case you think, as a recent comment has asserted, that the Lord has sent another message vindicating us as a collective gentile body/church in D&C 1: 30, I would remind you that revelation came from the Lord in 1831. In the following year the Lord gave another revelation that put the church under condemnation. (D&C 84: 54-58.) We know that condemnation was not lifted, because of President Benson and Elder Oaks. 

More troubling still is the Lord’s threat to reject the gentile church altogether in January of 1841 if the church did not follow His strict appointment and complete building a temple in the time He provided. (D&C 124: 31-32.) The warning was given that even if the temple were built, we would still be condemned if we failed to do what He said. (D&C 124: 47-48.)
Did we keep the appointment given us? The Nauvoo Temple was not completed before Joseph Smith died. The endowment was not completed by Joseph, but Brigham Young was told he had to finish it. (See this post dated June 30 titled 1 Nephi 13: 33-34.) Did we keep the appointment? Have we been able to avoid being rejected as a church? Have our covenants been fulfilled?

Why do we repeat endlessly the praise from 1831 but ignore the threatened rejection that came in 1841? From January of 1841, until Joseph’s death in June of 1844, we had three and a half years to complete the Nauvoo Temple. Was that “sufficient time” to do what was required of us? If so, we did not complete it. Why was Joseph taken?  Was that any indication about when the “sufficient time” expired? If so, what then?  Where would that leave us?

Is our best hope to be found in the messages and warnings of the Book of Mormon? Can there be gentiles found who will believe its message? How carefully ought we study it?

Did you know the church had almost no use for the Book of Mormon until Hugh Nibley’s efforts? (You know that if you’ve read Eighteen Verses.) Hugh Nibley, by his efforts beginning in the 1950’s, practically discovered the Book of Mormon for the church. He’s gone now.

Even though Moses was taken from ancient Israel, and with him the authority of the priesthood, (see D&C 84: 25-26) the ancient Israelites remained the Lord’s people. He still worked through them and sent them messengers from time to time. These messengers were rarely the High Priest. Although in Samuel’s case he displaced the High Priest.  (1 Samuel 3: 1-21.) They were sent from time to time. Their qualifications were private, as the Lord told Moses they would be. (Numbers 12: 6.) I have no doubt Hugh Nibley was sent to us. If you’ve paid close attention, his departure has created an intellectual collapse at the center of the faith, with various egos contending to be noticed. They aspire to put upon them Hugh Nibley’s mantle. They are not made of the same stuff, called with the same calling, nor endowed with the same capacities.

I doubt we’ll see someone like him again. Perhaps we may someday see someone with an equally important message, but among those born in this dispensation, there is none to compare to Brother Nibley.

Well, now we’re off-point again. So back to Nephi…

2 Nephi 28: 9

“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.”
The alarming use of the word “many” suggests this is to be a widespread problem in our time. These teachings are denounced as “false and vain and foolish.” We should look at each:
What does “false” mean? Does something have to be thoroughly and completely wrong to be false? Is it enough to be off by enough to rob the teaching of power?  How many truths will a liar tell while trying to get you to believe an ultimate lie?  How well does a deception work if there isn’t some truth included in the message?  So, then, how difficult will detecting the error be?  May the very elect be deceived? (Matt. 24: 24, see also JS-M 1: 22.) How will one be able to decide between a false and a true teaching? (Moroni 10: 5.)
What does “vain” mean? Is the best meaning “futile” or “without power?” If a teaching robs you of power, deprives you of the Spirit, is that “vain?” What would you trade in exchange for having power in the Spirit? If a little flattery is enough, would you take the assurance that God loves you, and will never let you be deceived enough to get you to let go of the responsibility to ever have His Spirit to be with you? (Moroni 5: 2.) If the current President of the Quorum of the Twelve has lamented our lack of power, is it really a lament about our vain beliefs? If so, what can you do about it? How can you avoid having your faith become vain?
What does “foolish” mean? Would something that is so poorly based, so weak and powerless to save, and utterly false be foolish? What about trusting a man to save you, rather than the Lord? What about the notion that there is a man who will be perfectly unable to ever lead you astray? How foolish is it to trust your salvation to the inerrancy of a man?
What kind of a heart is “puffed up?” How would these false, vain and foolish doctrines result in a proud following? Why would they think themselves better than they are because of these doctrines?
What does it mean to “seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord?” What does it mean to “seek deeply?” What foolish men would think they could ever “hide their counsel from the Lord?” Who would believe that God would be bound to follow what a man dictates–because they have keys to bind Him– rather than recognizing that the Lord alone holds all authority to judge and will alone determine all judgment? (See 3 Ne. 27: 27.) How foolish is it to become a sycophant of priestly pretenders, hoping that they will save you in the day of judgment? Will appeasing an LDS authority be of any more value than kissing a Cardinal’s ring when you are standing before the Lion of Israel to be judged? How well will the vain ceremonies and guarded conspiracies work in the day when everything is shouted from the rooftops?
What does it mean to have “works” which “shall be in the dark?” Does this just mean hidden? Does “darkness” also include the quality of the works? What kinds of work are “dark?” Can obliterating part of a sacred ceremony remove light and replace it with dark? Does curtailing the Saints’ ability to discuss true principles, exercising control and dominion and compulsion to prevent knowledge from spreading all contribute to darkness in the minds of the Saints?


When is the last time you were encouraged in the Temple to understand and discuss the meaning of the Temple ceremonies? When was the last time you were told NOT to discuss the Temple meaning inside the Temple? If you can’t discuss it inside the Temple, and you covenanted not to discuss it outside the Temple, then where can you discuss its meaning? How will you learn if you are unable to share ideas about the symbols and their meaning? Is it “dark” when the light of teaching is closed to view?
I don’t know if any of you recall that Hugh Nibley was given access to the chapel in the Provo Temple to speak to waiting patrons about the meaning of the Temple for a number of years. While waiting for a session to begin, patrons could listen to and ask questions of Hugh Nibley in an atmosphere of sharing and getting answers.  Today, in contrast, they discourage you from discussing anything about the Temple even inside the Temple. I refer to an incident in the Jordan River Temple in The Second Comforter. I was told to not discuss meanings while in the Celestial Room speaking with full time missionaries assigned to my stake. I presided over the missionary work of the stake and worked closely with these wonderful young men. But I was told to stop teaching them. This is common today. It ought to end.  We will only understand sacred symbols if we are able to teach one another about what we have learned. When I think of the library of material I have had to get through to be able to understand, I am left to wonder at how difficult the process has been made for those who would sincerely and humbly like to seek after further light and knowledge by teaching one another.
We should welcome as much light and truth in our exchanges with one another as we have to offer; in the right setting and with the right Spirit. It is not casting pearls before swine when the audience is prepared, worthy and interested in obtaining knowledge for the right reason. Now even if you have the very best of audiences, in the most sacred setting, we are told to not discuss what may be of vital interest to a soul seeking to gain further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil.
How little discarding of light must one cause before they are doing “works in the dark?” It is such a terrible question with such fearful results that I would hesitate to be the one who limits the Saints’ ability to seek into truth.
Now, to balance things somewhat, I want to affirm several fundamental truths:
-We are accountable for our own search into the truth.
-No one can limit you if you are searching with real intent having a contrite spirit and broken heart.
-There is no conflict between fulfilling your duties to the church on the one hand and your responsibilities to the Lord on the other.
-You cannot blame anyone else if you have not been diligent about your own search.
-In the end, whether there is active opposition or active assistance provided to you, it is necessary for you to make the internal changes and to follow the path.
  
No outside party will control what is yours alone to control. But the first step to be taken is to realize you really are personally responsible. You can’t depend on others nor on an institution to do the work for you. But as you awaken to that recognition, you should not lose heart or become discouraged. Nothing has been lost collectively which you may not still lay claim upon for yourself.
I do think we could make a greater overall gentile success with a different, more benign attitude as a group. But even if you must work against a corrosive environment, you can still do it. You have the greatest tool in your hands. You truly can get closer to the Lord through the Book of Mormon than any other means. It is a guidebook written for us and for now.

1 Nephi 13: 39

 
“And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.”
 
We know the New Testament will come forth first and get into the hands of the “remnant” of the promised people. It will get into their hands BEFORE some other materials will also come forth.
 
When did that happen? Was it something that occurred before the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830? Which native tribes received copies of the New Testament before the “other books” came forward? What are these “other books” referred to here? They “came forth by the power of the Lamb” but came “after” the New Testament was given to the “remnant.” What books have come forth “by the power of the Lamb” to your knowledge? Apart from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Moses, Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith History and Matthew, what other books would qualify? Did all these come after the “remnant” had first received the New Testament “book of the Lamb of God?”
 
The effect of the “other books” will be to “convince” the gentiles as well as “the remnant of the seed of my brethren” of the truth of the New Testament and “records of the prophets.” Have the gentiles become convinced? Have the “remnant” become convinced?  Have the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth become convinced? Are they convinced of the truth of “the records of the prophets” even if they are not yet convinced of the truth of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb?”
 
Is this a serial progression? That is, does it come and convince the gentiles first?  Then, having convinced them, does it next convince the “remnant?” Then, after having convinced both the gentiles and the “remnant,” does it in turn convince the scattered Jews? If serial, what stage of the unfolding of these events is happening now? What is needed before the phase would be completed and the next one begin?
What does it mean that “other books” will come forth? What kinds of “books” would they be? Who would have written them? Why would they come “by the power of the Lamb” only to meet the criteria? Is a good commentary written by CES among the promised “books” coming forward? What about the Ensign?
 
How would you be able to recognize a book coming “by the power of the Lamb” in fulfillment of this promise? Will these “books” be recognized as scripture? Do they include discoveries at Qumran and Nag Hammadi? Was Hugh Nibley working on such projects, and if so, was he among those in whom the “power of the Lamb” was working?
This verse has potential for broad application. It raises questions worth contemplating and may surprise you at some of the issues it requires us to confront. Such are the Lord’s dealings with mankind in every generation. We are  made prayerful because He gives us great subjects with which to grapple.

Truth = Truth

Truth is a knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come.  (D&C 93: 24.)  As a result, truth is really not subject to debate.  We either know the truth or we are deceived.  If we know it, we have an obligation to declare it.  If we are deceived, we have an obligation to be humble enough to at least consider the truth before we reject it.
 
When we dispute in anger, we move away from truth.  “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of  contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.”   (3 Ne. 11: 29.)  The truth is not being taught when men argue in anger with one another.  When they do, the Spirit withdraws and learning ends.
 
Truth should appeal to the heart and mind.  It should bring joy.  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;” (D&C 11: 13.)  I do not believe there is any past scriptural precedent for angry people bearing a threatening message about vengeance and revenge who then proceeded to build Zion.  I doubt we will see such an unprecedented and unscriptural event occur in the future.
 
Words that describe Zion include: 
 
Humble
Meek
Submissive
Contrite
One
No poor among them
Presence of God among them
Peaceful
Only people not at war
Singing songs of everlasting joy
Of one heart
 
It is an odd thing how those who learn about the possibility of Zion think that possessing that awareness entitles them to live there.  Before anyone will be admitted to Zion they will necessarily have to bring it into their own lives.  Gathering a crowd without considering first who has been chosen by the angels who possess the keys for this gathering, and those who have been sealed in their foreheads by those angels, is just another foolish and futile act.  (D&C 77: 11.)
 
Hugh Nibley wrote an article in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless titled: “Zeal without Knowledge.”  That title was taken from Romans 10:2.  In that article he wrote: “We think it more commendable to get up at 5:00 a.m. to write a bad book than to get up at nine o’clock to write a good one.  That is pure zeal that tends to breed a race of insufferable, self-righteous prigs and barren minds.”  Nibley could be so hard on us at times.  But then again, he also hit the nail on the head.
 
For some particularly unsuited people to talk expectantly about Zion when they are utterly unprepared to understand the subject is beyond irony.  For them to be stirred to anger about the subject because they disagree with another’s view about Zion must provoke both bemusement and despair for the gods.  

THE Remnant

The subject of THE “remnant” is too great to undertake in a post here.  I’ve attended meetings lasting two days in which the subject was the sole matter being discussed.  I’ve had discussions, read a manuscript, exchanged emails and spent years on this subject with people who know more about the details than do I.  Therefore my conclusion is that it exceeds the parameters of this venue.
 

Identification of the “remnant” was critical to Joseph Smith.  Although we’ve discarded the issue, it was of central concern to the early Brethren.  So much so that the “remnant” was what drove the movement westward near the “borders of the Lamanites”   The first missionaries were sent to the “Lamanites” as part of the Restoration’s concern with the promised “remnant” of the Book of Mormon people.  (See D&C 32: 2.)  The Saints were required to move west to be near these people as part of locating Zion.  (D&C 54: 8.)
The Book of Mormon is filled with promises addressed to the “remnant” of those people.  Modern revelation promises they will blossom as a rose.  (D&C 49: 24.)
The first Temple built in the west after the exodus was in St. George to be near the suspected “remnant” to be reclaimed.  The first company in that Temple’s first session included a Chief from the Hopi tribe.  Brother Nibley was partial to the Hopi as the “remnant” or at least a part of the “remnant” and he wrote a good deal about them.
This is an important subject.  Worthy of study.  But it is too great a subject for treatment in a limited venue like this.  To do it justice would require this forum to become devoted to that subject for many days.  By the time it was finished, I doubt anyone would still be reading.  So I’ll just reaffirm the subject is important, and there are many passages in the Book of Mormon dealing with the “remnant” of the Book of Mormon people.  Promises extended to them have not yet been fulfilled.  But all those promises will be fulfilled.  As they are, the role of those people will change from what we see it today into something much more central to the Church.

D & C 132, part 5

Section 132, continued.

Words have unique meanings when used in scripture.  The Lord has given us great insight into word usages in D&C Section 19: 4-12.  He uses words as proper nouns which then change meanings.

Part of the question raised concerns the word “destroy” as used in Section 132.  I have described the meaning of destroy or destruction in footnote 225 on page 161 of Nephi’s Isaiah.  It does not mean annihilate.  It means to divest of government or control.  In the context of Section 132 to be “destroyed” does not mean to be killed, or obliterated, but rather it means to lose your order, your government or covenant.  The form of government that will endure into eternity is the family.  Without a family connection, you remain separate and single, without exaltation.  Therefore to be “destroyed” is to be severed from the family unit, or marriage relationship which the section of the D&C is establishing.

It is also necessary to understand that the role of the woman in the establishment of an eternal family unit is critical. It is central. Some of what is involved in understanding the relationship between the man/woman and covenant making is just not appropriate to be set out in public. Therefore I won’t do it. To the extent it is appropriate, I have given a basis for someone who wants to understand in several things I have written.  The closing chapters on sealing authority/power in Beloved Enos is part of what should be understood.  The tenth parable in Ten Parables is also critical to understanding what and why an eternal relationship would be preserved.  The chapter on Sacred Ordinances in Come, Let Us Adore Him gives some further information.  I’d commend you to that information.
I also found this in Hugh Nibley’s latest book, which helps with understanding, also.  Particularly in light of the information contained in the tenth parable referred to above:
“Sarah, like Isis, is the ageless mother and perennial bride; with the birth of Isaac she becomes young again–‘Is any thing too hard for the Lord?’ (Gen. 18: 14).  The woman who stands behind Osiris on the throne is Isis, sustaining him in his office with uplifted hand; it is Isis, ‘fused’ with Hathor as the ‘king-maker,’ as Jan Assmann puts it.” One Eternal Round – The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, p. 156.
“Neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord,” wrote Paul.  (1 Cor. 11: 11.)  You cannot have an eternal marriage without both.  In the relationship, the woman’s role in creating a king is central, for it is the woman who will establish him on his throne.  In turn, it is the man who will then establish her on her throne.  Her act precedes his, and his act confirms and blesses the new government or family unit as his first act as king.  For king without consort is doomed to end. Together they are infinite, because in them the seed continues. They may still be mortal as the events take place, but because they continue and produce seed, they are as infinite as the gods.
The role or importance of the woman in the eternal family unit is not diminished in any respect by the confusion and sorting out being done in the later verses of Section 132. The information there is attempting to restore order to the chaos that had developed through the half-hearted attempts to comply with the new order without actually engaging in a fully public, acknowledged marital relationship involving a man and multiple wives.
As to the reference to serial marriage of “virgins” in the later verses, this was a return to the original intent.  When you marry a virgin, you are getting someone who does not already have a spouse.  Using innovations, like sealing a second “wife” to a man when she was already married to another, was never the intent.  These verses about marrying virgins returns to the foundation of a first marriage for the woman.  She was to be involved with a direct, actual marriage, not to be in some half-hearted compromise relationship where the relationship was not truly and fully a marriage for her.  She was to acquire a husband and mate.  She would have all the rights and the husband would owe all the obligations, as if he were married to her alone.  She was “his” and therefore he was obligated to her for support, maintenance and duties as a husband.  There could be no sharing.  There could be no half-way measures.  This was to be his wife in very deed.
Now I’ve taken perhaps too long to answer the question, and it may in turn raise other questions, but I’ve tried to bring some clarity to this rather confused and messy circumstance.  It was the confusion of the early practice that brought about the need for multiple updates and clarifications which all got amalgamated into the single Section 132.  Part of the revelation comes from the attempts to work around the earliest portions of the revelation, received between 1829 and 1831.  The clarifications don’t make as much sense when separated from the conduct that resulted in the clarifications.
There is a reason we don’t have much from the church about this section.  Right now the whole thing has become an embarrassment.  We (the LDS Church) have become the chief antagonists of the polygamists in the west.  We want to clearly draw a line between “us” and “them.”  The church learned its lesson by hard experience.  Now the lesson learned is going to be constantly reapplied to show all the world that we have abandoned the practice.  We do that by constantly denouncing the polygamists.  As part of that campaign we can’t really go back and give Section 132 a wholesome treatment.  That would seem to contradict what we now preach and practice.  Such are the results of history.

Genius

Joseph Smith was the first, great restorer of lost light in this Dispensation.  He restored doctrine, authority, ordinances, scriptures and the organization for the Church.  His ministry was one of the greatest among men in any age.
 
The second great restorer was, in my view, Hugh Nibley.  He shed light on antiquity using the scholar’s tools while calibrating the recovery of ancient truth using the restored doctrine, authority, ordinances and scriptures which Joseph had bequeathed him.  Hugh Nibley’s legacy as a restorer of lost truth from the past is second only to Joseph Smith’s.
 
Joseph’s genius was unique and inspired.  So was Hugh Nibley’s.  In the case of Hugh Nibley, he inspired a whole generation of students and produced a small army of those who intended to follow his example.  It is not as easy as it seems, however.  From scholarly disciples, to FARMS to now the Maxwell Institute, the effort has produced some good fruit. but you cannot institutionalize genius.  The great contribution of Brother Nibley is simply something that cannot be replicated or continued.
 
Genius will always be (as Will Durrant put it while intending to be derisive): “isolated and unruly.”  It could not be tamed in the schools of Greece, nor can it be captured in the halls of BYU.  Credentials will never become a substitute for inspiration.