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Joseph’s First Vision

I was asked if Joseph Smith saw more than two personages in his First Vision.  In the account written in 1835 Joseph stated:  “I saw many angels in this vision.” 

The account in the Pearl of Great Price (written in 1838) omits any mention of this detail.

Adoptionism

I wrote a post about altering or rewriting scriptures to resolve doctrinal disputes.  The example used was taken from the time before the New Testament settled into its final form.  That example, “adoptionism” was rejected by the majority view,  and ultimately the text of the New Testament was changed to make the doctrine “false” from the text.  That change was made during the Third and Fourth Centuries as a result of what is now called the Christological debates.

Someone asked if I thought Christ was adopted.  That wasn’t the point of the blog post.  But as long as the question was asked, here’s my view:

No, He was the Son of God.  However, even as the Son of God He still was required to be acknowledged by Him in mortality to be saved.  Once He entered into mortality, took upon Him blood, He was subject to the Fall.  Despite being subject to the Fall, He lived His life in such a way that the Fall could not have a proper claim upon Him.  It was unjust He should die.  When, therefore, death overtook Him, it was unjust.  That injustice was the reason He could resurrect.  The grave could have no just claim upon Him, and therefore death could be reversed in Him.  The Father accepted Him as His Son while He was still in mortality.  This was done because as a mortal, subject to the Fall, inhabiting a body with blood and the elements of corruption, Christ needed to receive the Father’s acknowledgment as His Son, even though He was indeed His Son.

Now the adoptionist theory was contrary to this.  They held the view that Christ was just another man and got adopted to become the Son of God.  He was God’s Son solely as a result of that adoption and not in any other way.  I reject that idea.  But I accept that He needed, just as everyone else needs, to be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, proceed through the ordinances of the Gospel, and ultimately receive His calling and election made sure.  He said He needed to “fulfill all righteousness” and He did all that was required of any of us.  God acknowledged Him as His Son.  This is required for anyone to be saved.  Christ showed the way and walked the path.  So in that sense He, just as all of us, needed to be “adopted.”  Him because He was mortal.  Us because we are conceived in sin. 

The Word of God

We have a whole different mindset than did the ancients.  We view things through the prism of Aristotle. We think that “reality” is what we can observe and touch and measure. However, there was once a mindset where what is “reality” was what God said.  The Word of God alone was enough to make the reality.
When God said or promised something that was enough to make what God said true, real, and eternal.

God says: “You are my son, this day I have begotten you.” (Psalms 2:7)  When that occurred, it was enough to make a man a son of God.  I don’t know if we even believe that possible now.

Today we assume if it is to happen at all it will be in the afterlife.  To the ancients, the person to whom this promise was made was instantly a son of God, even though he may have to live out a life in mortality before entering into the kingdom promised him.

The “king-making ceremonies” of the Egyptians, for example, made the Pharaoh a son of Horus and a God.  He was a God on earth even though everyone knew that he needed to eat and breathe to survive.  He would eventually die and be buried. He was a mortal – but he was a God.  The promise was everything.  The words of the ceremony, the effect of the anointing, the commitment to the man was enough to make him a God.

This concept of man becoming God hails from a different culture and time.  One untainted by the “head of gold, arms of silver, belly of brass, etc.”  It is from a time when the Eastern mind, (words are eternal, everything here is temporary and an illusion) was in place among those who are talking with God.
 

Christ took the Father’s words so seriously that Christ became the literal embodiment of God the Father’s words.  He, Christ, was known as the “Word of God” because He remained true to every word spoken by the Father.  If you want to know what the Father said, look to Christ.

So believing/accepting the words of God are critical to getting the true reality of what this life is all about.

What a difference an inning makes

I was at the Alta-Jordan baseball game yesterday.  It was almost unwatchable for the first three innings.  There were 6 runs scored without a single hit.  The 3-3 tie was the result of hit batters, walks, errors, and general bad play.  Ugly doesn’t even begin to describe the mess that went on in the beginning of the game.
 
Then both teams seemed to get over their hesitation and actually remember how to play again.
 
Jordan had an 11-6 lead going into the last at-bat in the top of the 7th inning.  Alta needed 5 runs to tie the game.  They put together a string of hits which pushed 5 runs over the plate and tied the game.
 
In the bottom of the 7th, Jordan got runners on, and had runners at the corners with only 1 out.  Alta’s defense rose to the occasion and kept them scoreless.
 
In the extra inning, at the top of the 8th, Alta pushed two runs over.  Then held Jordan scoreless in the bottom of the inning to take a 13-11 win. 
 
Worst three beginning innings of baseball I think I’ve seen in High School play.  Best five innings thereafter I’ve seen.  What a difference!

Have you heard Christ sing?

I had the following article brought to my attention:
 
 
It is my view that Christ’s Sermon on the Mount was actually a hymn.  It was announced as a form of “new law” or higher path.  Those to whom He addressed it would have readily recognized the propriety of it being sung, as the article above reflects.
 
I was then asked if I had heard Christ sing.  I replied, “We all have, but only a few can now remember it.”

An explanation

This came to me through an email and I thought I should address it here.  This is the email I received:
 
“I got information through the grapevine about a woman who is claiming that Denver ordained her to do something and that he put his hands on her head and set her apart for some type of work.  I don’t know all the details, but I was not happy when I heard that.  I know that he wouldn’t do that but thought that Denver should know that this woman is going around telling people this.”
 
I thought I would put it on the blog and explain.
 
First, I don’t have any idea what woman this is referring to; nor for that matter who wrote the information in the email. It was just forwarded to me, and I was given permission by the one who forwarded it to use it on the blog.
 
Second, I’ve not “ordained” a woman to do anything.  Nor do I intend to “ordain” a woman to do anything. 
 
Third, I have given blessings to my wife, daughters, home teaching assignments who are sisters, and other women who have asked from time to time, just as others do who hold priesthood and are asked to give a blessing.  That has never involved “ordaining” a woman to some assignment or work.
 
Finally, the only women I have “set apart” for an assignment was done while I served in a Bishopric at BYU, or while serving on the High Council.  Apart from that I haven’t “set apart” any woman.  I’ve done numerous “setting apart” assignments in Elder’s Quorums, and other assignments, but those were men.

All is well in Zion

According to the Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the Restoration occurred because of the apostasy of Historic Christianity.  All churches “were wrong” and their “professors  were all corrupt.”  “All their creeds were an abomination.”  The people who inhabited these churches “draw near [to God] with their lips, but their hearts are far from” Him.  (JS-H 1: 19.)
 
This is the historic moment which justifies the Restoration.  It forces a choice upon the world. Mormonism is either correct, or it has no reason to exist.

This forces The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into a dilemma.  It must either proclaim that it is the only repository of saving truth, or it must strike a compromise which betrays the reason for its existence.  

 
Jesus Christ did not intend to let those who follow the work He was to commission through Joseph Smith to become popular, successful, or live in peace.  He intended to put them at odds with all the rest of the world.  The very reason for His strange act was to notify anyone who heard about it that they were to repent, change, accept new truths, or remain “corrupt” and with “hearts far from Him.”  It is an instant challenge to the world.
 
When we shape the message of the Restoration into a vocabulary which does not offend, we miss the point.  We are REQUIRED to offend.  We are REQUIRED to sound the alarm to “Awake! Arise!”  When the message to those who accept the Historic Christian faiths is that “you’re OK” we are contradicting Christ’s opening statement to Joseph Smith.
 
All of this is only true if what we are doing is continuing the work begun by Joseph Smith.  If we have abandoned what he restored, then never mind.  We can fit in and get along.  In fact, we can not only fit in and get along, but we can even mimic the other mainstream faiths of the day. We can adopt a positive mental attitude, and proclaim:  “All is well in Zion, Babylon, Athens, Rome and Nineveh.  In fact, all is well everywhere.  Don’t get up.  Stay asleep.  We’re just here to help make you feel better about yourself.”

HBO and Politicians

My wife has become a Republican County Delegate again.  I stayed home.
Given the sorry state of the current political class, I’m just glad when the political scandal of the day doesn’t involve sodomy of a parrot.

Sobbing politicians blubbering how sorry they are for the DUI/nude hot-tubbing with underage girls/oral sex or drug use require me to then explain to my kids things I would rather defer until they are older.  What good is it to not buy HBO when the evening news features Republicans and Democrats confessing sins as sordid as anything we get in R-rated movies?

Central America or North America?

I used to view the subject of where the events in Book of Mormon took place as one of those trivial matters (2 on my earlier scale).  However, I’ve found that FARMS has become quite animated about the subject.  They are quite critical of the North American model.  This has somewhat raised the subject’s importance in my view.
There are two views. One is that the events took place in Central America.  The other is that they occurred in North America.  The best explanation of the Central American setting is John Sorenson’s book: An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, published by FARMS.  The best defense of the North American setting is Bruce Porter and Rod Meldrum’s book Prophecies and Promises – The Book of Mormon and the United States of America.  FARMS gave a very critical review of the Porter/Meldrum book.
I used to think this subject was unimportant enough to allow it to remain undecided.  After reading both sides’ arguments, I am inclined to believe it has more significance if you accept Bruce Porter and Rod Meldrum’s view.  If you accept their view, then Joseph Smith knew something more about the Book of Mormon’s events than Sorenson advances.  Also the fit of Book of Mormon prophecies into a highly focused unfolding of events also follows.  In fact, the D&C comes into sharper focus when you accept the Porter/Meldrum view.
I am inclined to now view this as an important or very important issue (7 or 8 on my earlier scale).  I think everyone ought to read those two books and decide the subject for themselves.  Since the Sorenson book was written first, and the Porter/Meldrum book is somewhat a response to it, I think they should be read in that order.