Revising D&C Section 132

It is apparent to any reader that D&C §132 is internally inconsistent. Those inconsistencies suggest to me it is an altered document. If it has been altered and/or is not the original language, then there are two choices – throw the entire document out, or attempt to correct it.

There is already an effort underway to throw the document out, so I will leave that idea to others. I would like to make an attempt to correct it.

By way of background, sometime after Joseph dictated a revelation to William Clayton in July 1843, the transcript was lost, misplaced, hidden or destroyed. The version everyone is familiar with is in the handwriting of Joseph Kingsbury. It is Kingsbury’s (not Clayton’s) handwritten document which has been accepted as the official revelation.

The earliest descriptions of the original document do not match the Kingsbury text. I’ve studied the document and given prayerful consideration to it for years. Before proposing a revised version, consider a few of the irregularities in the published text.

Verse 7 has a parenthetical thought which limits sealing authority to one man at a time on the earth. Brigham Young made this claim for himself, and the insertion conveniently ratifies his claim to complete control. That claim by Young and his successors has produced a great deal of harm (for LDS believers and offshoots of LDS Mormonism). In contrast to the exclusive authority of a single man in verse 7, verse 39 refers to Nathan and “others of the prophets who had the keys of this power” who sealed many wives to David. Verse 39 allows more than “one man at a time” and contradicts Brigham Young (and his successors’) claims. By dropping the parenthetical from verse 7 it harmonizes verses 7 and 39. More than “one man at a time on the earth” is also inconsistent with the sealing power given to Hyrum Smith in a revelation (D&C 124:93). The insertion is obviously wrong.

Verse 19 is poorly punctuated and can be made more clear with revised punctuation.

The thought that begins in verse 40 is interrupted by 4 verses, then continues in verse 45. The content in-between (verses 41-44) appears to be an interlineation. The addition of those 4 verses seems unnecessary, and invites abusive intrusions by a man pretending to judge others.

Everything after the Lord confers the sealing power on Joseph Smith and forgives his sins appears to be either unnecessary, a contradiction, or was used to support Brigham Young’s campaign against the influence of Emma Smith and Joseph’s descendants. The “10 virgins” material (verses 61-63) are in particular a contradiction of the earlier limitations found in the earlier text.

The threats against women in verses 64 and 65 not only abrogates a wife’s agency, but introduces a strange contradiction. An “espoused virgin” has to give her consent for her man to take others (“and the first give her consent”–verse 61). But a wife “becomes a transgressor” if she doesn’t welcome her man’s additional women (verse 65). The practical effect is to let “virgins” make the decision regarding the additional women, but wives get condemned as transgressors, and once they transgress the man is “exempt from the law” (verse 65) requiring her consent.

Based on the earliest descriptions of the text, eliminating obvious parenthetical insertions, removing inconsistencies, treating marriage as the solemn covenant otherwise discussed in scripture, and respecting what I know about our Lord, I believe Section 132 would be more correct if it read as follows:

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

Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.

 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.

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

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

 And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?

 10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?

 11 And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?

 12 I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord.

 13 And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.

 14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.

 15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.

 16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

 17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

 18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

 19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them: “Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection (and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection); and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” Then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood. And if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity. And it shall be of full force when they are out of the world. And they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads. Which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

 20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.

 22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

 23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

 24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

 25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

 26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

 27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.

 28 I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.

 29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.

 30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

 31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.

 32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.

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

 35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.

 36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

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

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

 39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

 40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word.

 41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

 42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.

 43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.

 44 And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committedadultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.

 45 For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.

 46 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven.

 47 And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.

 48 And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven.

 49 For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.

 50 Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.

 51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

 52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

 53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

 54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.

 55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.

 56 And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.

 57 And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him; for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold, and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.

 58 Now, as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.

 59 Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.

 60 Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.

 61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

 62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

 63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

 64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

 65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

 66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.

Reorganizing A Stake

I listened to a lesson today riddled with apostate heresy and historical errors. The lesson was hopelessly beyond repair, so I said nothing. But a little while before attending that meeting I had been reading in the Times and Seasons about the very topic mangled by the lesson.

On May 22, 1841 the saints in Kirtland called a General Conference. There was no central authority consulted before calling the conference. The first presidency was not asked, nor the twelve apostles, nor any seventy. It was a decision made only by the saints themselves.

At the conference Almon Babbit resigned as the stake president. After resigning the conference was adjourned for an hour to allow the saints to decide who they wanted to nominate. Following that adjournment the saints settled on Almon Babbitt as their nominee, but he declined. Despite declining a vote was taken and Babbitt was unanimously elected stake president. Upon being elected, he relented and agreed to serve. He nominated Lester Brooks and Zebidee Coltrin as counselors, who were likewise unanimously elected.

The minutes of the General Conference were mailed to Nauvoo, and were published in the Times and Seasons on July 1, 1841.

The whole church with various equal quorums (first presidency, twelve traveling high councilors, seventy, stake high councils) had been fully organized five years before 1841. Everyone at that time understood a stake high council had authority equal to the twelve traveling high council, and equal as well to the first presidency. With equal and separate divisions it was designed to be impossible for one branch to corrupt the entire church.

The early church governed themselves by common consent, without overlords dictating to them. Equality prevailed and authority was disbursed into equal and independent groups. That prevented autocratic rule and guarded against apostasy of the whole body, until church government was overthrown by Brigham Young and replaced by an autocracy of the twelve.

Book of Mormon

Here is how the Prophet Joseph Smith explained the Book of Mormon: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (DHC 4:461; see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194.)

Here is how the Lord addressed those who believed in the restoration (including us) in 1832: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—” (D&C 84:54-57.)

It makes no sense to ignore the Lord’s condemnation. It makes no sense to give primacy to what others have to say instead of remembering and studying the Book of Mormon.

It makes no sense to measure the truth of the gospel by another standard when the Book of Mormon was provided to us as the means to measure that truth.

The writers of the Book of Mormon departed from Jerusalem before the Jewish exile into Babylonian captivity. The first Book of Mormon writers avoided Babylon, and their descendants never knew a thing about it.

The Book of Mormon people migrating out of Jerusalem left the Holy Land at the end of the first temple period. They avoided the triumph of the Deuteronomists over the religion of the Jews. The Jewish Deuteronomists were innovators who repudiated and replaced the original religion with a new, apostate form of worship that dominated the second temple period. The Book of Mormon writers were spared from all that. They were gone before it happened.

Recall the “head of gold” in the king’s dream (as interpreted by Daniel) was the king of Babylon. (Daniel 2:32-38.) It is foretold that in the last days God’s work will provide a “stone” which will break down all the world’s false religious, economic, cultural and philosophical ideas. (Id., vs. 34-35.) As the restoration commenced with Joseph Smith, a book was translated “by the gift and power of God” which was written by authors who were never exposed to, or contaminated by the “head of gold,” or any other subsequent kingdoms of the world. The ONLY text we have that survives without corruption of false religious ideas from history is the Book of Mormon.

I have friends (and of course Hugh Nibley) who will think my statement, “The ONLY text” goes too far because there are earlier texts predating Babylon that were uninfluenced by it. Most notably Egypt. This is an opinion they are welcome to hold. I do not share it, however.

The Book of Abraham shows the path of Abraham crossing into Egypt. The language used on the brass plates (Mosiah 1:3, 5), and by the Nephites (Mormon 9:32), was Egyptian. They remind me that Egypt is significant somehow. But crossing paths and adopting language is not the same as certifying their religion and culture. There are plenty of reasons to question Egypt’s religious material.

Israel was taken out of Egypt. Even though there are Egyptian influences in the religion of Israel, it is certainly clear that Israel did NOT adopt Egyptian teachings wholesale, but included only carefully selected parts. They preserved some, abandoned others, and added still more. If Egypt represents an apostasy, then Israel represents a restoration.

There is no account of angels visiting the Egyptians or an ascent into heaven. The exception is Imhotep, but his story seems remarkably parallel to Joseph’s. Both were commoners. Both were employed by the Pharaoh. Both attained to high status despite their common birth. The tomb of Imhotep is “lost” despite efforts to locate it, and Joseph’s bones were taken from Egypt with the departure of the Israelites (Exo. 13:19). There are others, of course. But apart from questions about dating, their accounts are quite similar. If Imhotep and Joseph are not the same individual, a single exception does not destroy the general rule.

The ceremonies of Egypt spoke of “gods” but the gods did not visit them. After leaving Egypt, God sent to Israel a host of prophets who were ministered to by God and angels, including Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and even His Son, Jesus Christ. These prophets came to Israel, not Egypt, to visit, teach, prophesy, minister and live.

Egypt fought against Israel and hoped to keep them in captivity. But the God of Israel fought for and delivered Israel from Egyptian enslavement. If there must be a choice between religions, then the choice ought to be settled by God’s deliverance of Israel by His own hand, and Egypt’s unsuccessful fight against the God of Heaven to prevent it.

Although Solomon’s temple was architecturally inferior to and much less elaborate than the temples of Egypt, God visited and accepted Solomon’s temple. (1 Kings 8:10-13.) There is no account before or after that time of God visiting and accepting the temples of Egypt.

The religion of Israel worked. The religion of Egypt did not. Heaven ministered to, visited with, sent angels to teach, and His Only Begotten Son to dwell with Israel. The Egyptians kept elaborate ceremonial complexity which awed their people, and preserved a false tradition generation after generation despite its powerlessness. It was impressive to men. It was ineffective to save.

Perhaps most importantly, after adhering to the original religion in the Americas, being instructed, warned and led by prophets who spoke with God, the Lord Himself, as a risen being, descended to visit with the people of the Book of Mormon. The religion of Israel also had the power to connect anew with heaven. Even after 600 years of difficulties and disputes, they still retained a religion with the vitality necessary for Christ to come to visit.

I studied the Book of Mormon for over two decades before being fully persuaded of its power. My sense of wonder increased over time. It was ONLY because I came to regard with tremendous respect the Book of Mormon that the Lord condescended to visit with me. The religion of the Book of Mormon saves. Through it, the only “stone” upon which it is safe to build will roll forth in the last days. That “stone” is Christ. (1 Peter 2:6.)

Paper: Mormon History

The recent talk on Mormon History in the “Downloads” page now has a paper based on the talk. The paper has been edited and additional supporting materials and citations have been added.

Syria

Below is an excerpt from an article reviewing the news about a crisis in Syria:

“No nation can claim the name Syrian. A chaotic mixture of all tribes and tongues remnants of migrations from north and south, they disturb one another in the possession of this glorious land where our fathers for so many centuries emptied the cup of joy and woe, where every clod is drenched with the blood of our heroes when their bodies were buried under the ruins of Jerusalem.” Times and Seasons, Nauvoo, Illinois, June 1, 1841.

Rebaptism

On Sunday, March 20, 1842 Joseph Smith preached about baptism and rebaptized about 79 church members and at least one new convert. The first baptism was the convert.

Wilford Woodruff’s Journal records: “President Joseph Smith went forth into the river & Baptized with his own hands about 80 persons for the remission of their sins & what added Joy to the seene the first person Baptized was Mr L. D. Wason a nephew of sister Emma Smith was the first of her kindred that have embraced the fulness of the gospel.”

On the next Sunday Woodruff recorded: “After the meeting closed the congregation again assembled upon the bank of the river & Joseph the seer went into the river & Baptized all that Came unto him & I considered it my privilege to be Baptized for the remission of my sins for I had not been since I first Joined the Church in 1833. I was then Baptized under the hands of Elder Zerah Pulsipher. Therefore I went forth into the river & was Baptized under the hands of JOSEPH THE SEER & likewise did Elder J Taylor & many others…” (March 27, 1842, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal.)

In just these two journal entries we see rebaptism was taught and practiced by Joseph Smith, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. If other contemporaneous records are consulted it is clear that rebaptism was universal in the early days of Mormonism. It was not the sacrament that renewed baptismal covenants, but rebaptism.

Fellowship Locator

A website to assist in locating fellowships worldwide has been completed and is now live. You can find the site at the following address and link:

http://www.fellowshiplocator.info

This site allows anyone to enter a fellowship and provide information for others to identify and contact you. You can also use it to locate the nearest fellowship. It is designed to facilitate worldwide identification for those who share beliefs in the restoration of the gospel.

This particular site has a limited purpose: to facilitate worldwide identifying and contacting fellowships. It will not have any commercial use or activity on it. It will not be used to promote any product or sell. The site permits feedback about the fellowships, including complaints. Those complaints will be made public. Complaints will be investigated and if abuse is discovered (the fellowship is a sham), the location will be deleted.

There are other sites with different fellowship goals, including social interaction. One was built to help in the Midwest. It is also live. That site is found at:

www.zionfellowships.com

A third site providing some fellowship related information and service is:

www.RestoreZion.com

 

A Gospel of Christ

Joseph Smith wrote or spoke on different occasions describing the First Vision. This has become a source of criticism from some and doubt for others. The question at hand is why he would tell the story differently, using different words on two or more occasions?

I think the criticism is unwarranted. But I have taken note of it and intend to make different mistakes.  I have written only one account of my testimony, witness and gospel (announcement of “good news”) of Christ, and published it in the book Come, Let Us Adore Him. To avoid the inevitable criticism I would receive if I were to use a different pronoun, adverb or adjective by giving a second account, I intend to leave the account in that book to stand as the only statement I will make about those visits from the Lord.

He took some patience over a number of visits to help me understand His suffering in the atonement. Then He showed me His resurrection. The account of Gethsemane and the resurrection in Come, Let us Adore Him are consolidated into one narrative, although it required a number of visits for me to understand. It is written in the third person, imitating the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12:2-5.

The Lord wanted my testimony of what He suffered to be public. The book has not been widely read, and I do not think that it needs to be. Those who are interested in His great condescension for our sake can seek it out. It was meant for them. For that reason I have never repeated it.

There have been other encounters between the Lord and me, including a first one that conveyed interesting information about His return in glory. I believe He will want that one to be made public at some point, but He will have to determine whether and when that will happen. I have no intention to go beyond the specific direction He gives.

Imitate or Appropriate

Lucifer and his followers damn mankind by employing the following strategies.

Imitate: Lucifer makes what he does resemble what the Savior does. He teaches as closely as possible what the Savior teaches. He claims what the Savior claims. He promises what the Savior promises. But in every case, he does so falsely so that it cannot save anyone.

Appropriate: He gains control over whatever the Savior establishes. The very best way to insure no one is saved is to take the actual House of God and make it Lucifer’s house.

The weak-minded are easily fooled into believing they have salvation when they only have a powerless imitation. Hence the Lord’s prophesy that many will claim at the last day they did many wonderful things in His name. To them He will say: “I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:21-23.)

It may seem challenging, but making the right choices is not difficult. As long as we take this concept seriously (our salvation depends on it) and we study carefully using the scriptures as our guide, it is easy to tell imitation from the real thing. It is also easy to see when the order established by Christ has been misappropriated. The scriptures tell us the test for priestcraft. Do men seek the welfare of Zion, or their own benefit?

Cain’s Legacy

In addition to the first murder (Moses 5:32), Cain’s descendants also introduced taking multiple wives (Moses 5:44). Murder to gain control and the adulterous taking of multiple wives is a pattern originated by Cain and later imitated by Brigham Young. Young called the former “blood atonement” and the latter “Celestial Marriage.” Cain slew only Abel, so far as the record reports, but Brigham’s followers accepted his doctrine and slew hundreds.

“Some have reported that we not only dedicated our property, but likewise our families
to the Lord, and Satan taking advantage of this has transfigured it into lasciviousness, a
community of wives, which things are an abomination in the sight of God…if any person,
has represented anything otherwise than what we now write they have willfully
misrepresented us.”
—Joseph Smith, 1838 Letter from Liberty Jail

 

At least Cain did not claim he could not lead others astray.

Fidelity in Marriage

Fidelity to your spouse is foundational to righteousness. Immorality is disruptive of marriage, destructive of families, and has no place in a City of Peace.

Group sex, immoral relationships and free intercourse is offensive to God, a violation of the Ten Commandments, and the means of spreading disease.  God does not justify carnal relations except between one man and his one wife. They two are the image of God. Anything else degrades and corrupts. Participants in immoral behavior become laden with sin.

Those foolish enough to be misled by this darkness deserve to be taken captive and destroyed, as will certainly come to pass.

Reformation Sunday

As this Reformation Sunday draws to a close I wanted to honor those who went before: Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, John Wycliffe, and the Pilgrims who were inspired by their cause to come to American to establish a New Jerusalem, a land of faith, a place of peace and freedom.

We went to the services of the Presbyterian Church on South Temple in Salt Lake City this morning to celebrate the occasion. The bagpipes and drums stir the heart of even the casual believer. That building’s great stained glass windows testify in the west of Christ’s birth and in the east of His resurrection. The sun was rising in the east during the early morning service, and lit the image of the angel in announcing His resurrection. The lower stained glass windows in the west testify of the many events in His life and ministry. What a wonderful setting it was to remember the Reformation.

The Reformation set the stage for God’s final work. A Restoration began in Joseph Smith. It will continue. That New Jerusalem sought by the reformers will yet be established.

How odd it seems that in this dreary last chapter where rampant impurity, gross immorality, the love of man growing cold against one another–how odd it is that in this day the Lord would again stir us to remember His promise of Zion. Yet it was always foretold to be so, for the Lord said both wheat and tares would grow together until ready for harvest. (Matt. 13:24-30; D&C 86:7.) Tares are ripening. What is God to make of His wheat?

My Son’s Self-Sustaining Experiment

I have a son who is experimenting with self-sustaining lifestyle. He has moved to rural New Hampshire on an isolated tract of land where he and his family are trying different ventures. One of them (soap production) is now past the hobby stage and into production. We have been buying and using the soap for about a year now. He has now produced enough to sell to others outside the family.

His family’s website is “Earthen Step” located at earthenstep.com

Here is a description of the soap taken from his website:

We started off with cold process soap and became addicted quickly.  The first bars that we made were very mediocre compared to what is being sold on this website.  But, those first bars blew away any soap you can find at your local super-market.  They were even superior to many handmade soaps we have tried since then.  We seemed to have a knack for this “hobby.”  After hundreds of bars we have refined our recipes and only share the best.

These bars are very gentle and have unique scents and attributes.  Many people have told us they don’t need to use lotion anymore after using this soap.  They are very gentle on the skin and help your skin mantle get in balance with itself — they are also very great at cleaning the most dirty of skin.  Most soap out there is too harsh and many aren’t even true soap, just chemical detergents.  These harsh chemicals strip your skin and replace it with nothing.  The bars we sell leave behind high-quality vegetable oils such as: olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, avocado oil — see individual product pages for all the ingredients used.  We do this by “superfatting” our soaps which leaves 5% or more of the oils behind after saponification.

Saponification is the process of fatty acids (we use vegetable oils/butters) reacting to a strong alkaline (we use sodium hydroxide).  This reaction takes place, turning the oil/lye mixture into various salts and glycerin.  The salt is what cleans your skin and glycerin moisturizes. All of the moisturizing glycerin is left in the soap — commercial soaps strip this out and sells it to be used in other cosmetics/lotions.  The extra oils that are left behind from the superfatting condition the skin and help replenish your skin’s protection barrier.

We only use nature-made ingredients to color and scent our bars.  The only synthetic we use is sodium hydroxide, and it is of food-grade quality.  We use vegetable oils andbutters, clays, mud, leaf powders and other natural ingredients.  We list every ingredient used on each product page.

This experiment is to gain practical experience in living self- sufficiently by producing the basic necessities and relying less on others. We all should learn to rely less on a complex society that requires peaceful cooperation to supply the necessities for life and basic hygiene.  There are a lot of needs that our ancestors satisfied by their own hand that are lost to us. Rediscovering those home-manufacturing skills is something we all should consider at least experimenting with to learn how to care for ourselves and others.

Clarifying Distinctions

The “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dan. 2:44-45) is not a corruptible institution but an incorruptible Gospel.

There is no organization currently ministering the “gift of the Holy Ghost” as a right conferred upon an individual to remain always with them. There is an admonishment directing people to: “receive the Holy Ghost.” That admonishment is directed to the individual as advice, counsel or an objective to seek for, not as a right conferred indelibly upon them. (See, David Bednar, Receive the Holy Ghost, April 2010 General Conference; That We May Always Have His Spirit To Be With Us, April 2006 General Conference.) As recently as the Sunday morning session of the last LDS conference, President Eyring explained the limits of the LDS connection to the Holy Ghost. “We desire it, yet we know from experience that it is not easy to maintain. We each think, say, and do things in our daily lives that can offend the Spirit.” (The Holy Ghost as Your Companion.) Anyone of any faith anywhere in the world can have the same experience as a transitory gift from God. (Moroni 10:4-5.) Remember God gives liberally to all; the wicked and the righteous.  People of faith throughout the world have as much access to the Holy Ghost as a latter-day saint. If it were not so, the LDS missionaries could not advise an investigator to pray and ask God – pointing out Moroni 10:4. If it were not so, Joseph could not have asked God relying on the promise of James 1:5. There is nothing special about the LDS admonishment, but it is a good, worthy and correct principle which all mankind ought to follow. If they do, no matter what their faith traditions, they will harvest the same results as those spoken of by President Eyring in the last LDS general conference.

Christ, however, can give the permanent gift of the Holy Ghost by His touch. (3 Ne. 18:36; Moroni 2:1-3.)

There are no “sealing” keys used by any Mormons in their temple rites: “Brothers and sisters, if you are true and faithful the time will come when you will be called up and anointed kings and priests, queens and priestesses, whereas now you are only anointed to become such. The realization of these blessings depends on your faithfulness.” It, like the Holy Ghost, is conditioned on your faithfulness. This same promise is made to all mankind by the Lord. (See, e.g., D&C 14:7; D&C 96:6; Alma 11:40; Moroni 7:41.)

Christ can and does seal a man up to eternal life. (See, e.g., Mosiah 26: 14, 20; Enos 1:5-8; D&C 132:49; 1 John 2:25.)

Institutions who use fear to control the hopes and aspirations of mankind concerning eternal life are in the gall of bitterness. Fear is of the devil. When the final remnant is gathered, they will have shepherds who remove fear. (Jeremiah 23:2-5.) When we are prepared by Christ, and by His word alone, we will not fear. (D&C 38:30.)

If we are warned we should warn others. But the Lord has instructed: “And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.” (D&C 38:41.)