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Joseph’s History

Joseph Smith wrote this counsel in a letter to the church in March 1834:

[T]he commandments of our Lord, we hope, are constantly revolving in your hearts, teaching you, not only his will in proclaiming his gospel, but his meekness and perfect walk before all, even in those times of sever persecutions and abuse which were heaped upon him by a wicked and adulterous generation. Remember, brethren, that he has called you unto holiness; and need we say, to be like him in purity? How wise; how holy; how chaste, and how perfect, then, you ought to conduct yourself in his sight; remember too, that his eyes are continually upon you. ( JS Papers, Documents, Vol. 3, p. 474.)

This is consistent with his many other letters and public sermons. He denounced sexual impurity and promoted chastity in word, deed and thought.

In that same letter he wrote:

[T]hough we cannot claim these promises which were made to the ancients …we can approach the Father in the name of Christ as they approached him, and for ourselves obtain the same promises. These promises, when obtained, if ever by us, will not be because Peter, John and the other apostles, with the churches at Sardis, Purgamos, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, walked in the fear of God and had power and faith to prevail and obtain them; but it will be because we, ourselves, have faith and approach him in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, even as they did; and when these promises are obtained, they will be promises directly to us, or they will do us no good; communicated for our benefit; being our own property, (through the gift of God,) earned by our own diligence in keeping his commandments, and walking uprightly before him.  (Id., pp. 483-484, italics in original.)

This explanation is consistent with Lectures on Faith. He urged us, like the ancients, to all approach God. He believed the religion of antiquity could be lived again by us.

In 1839, the Lord predicted the following regarding Joseph: “fools shall have [him] in derision, and hell shall rage against [him]; While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under [his] hand.” (D&C 122:1-2.)

More than two centuries after his birth, he remains controversial and misunderstood. Even those who acknowledge him to be a prophet fail to understand the man. His legacy was entrusted to a group of people in Nauvoo. In his last general conference, April 1844 he said this about the members in Nauvoo:

You don’t know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born into the world. My voice is always for peace. …When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will know me then. (TPJS, pp. 361-362.)

If those he lived among never knew him, then what they bequeathed to us only makes our challenge to understand him even greater. Many people, even believing Mormons, attribute to him the worst of malignant conduct. They believe him to be morally corrupt, lacking virtue, an egomaniac and a liar. Can anything good come from a man such as that? Fools hold Joseph in derision still.

What Would You Change?

Recently, I was asked, “What would you change in your writings if you had it all to do again?”

If I were writing The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil today, I would write it differently. But I do not regret having written it in its present form, and will not go back and edit it to change the content. It is an accurate book for the moment in time it was written. It is important to preserve that moment in time.

When I wrote it, I was an active, faithful member of the LDS Church. The book was written inside that environment and represents a triumph of the faith. The triumph was achieved inside the institution. For that reason, the book continues to remind me, and every reader, that it is possible to devote yourself to Christ under challenging circumstances.

Nephi’s Isaiah is also a book I would not change, because it likewise demonstrates that an active, faithful LDS Church member can awaken to the terrible circumstances of our plight. It is a key book. It shows a pattern: God passes information forbidden to be revealed as a new, original revelation, and leaves Nephi to the task of teaching by using earlier writings. Nephi used Isaiah, Zenos and Zenok to deliver new revelation using old, familiar scripture. It is a key to understanding Nephi; and a key to understanding a modern burden I carry.

Things are changing rapidly. The books I have written reflect changes underway. Circumstances changed affecting the content of later books. The changed conditions and changed response are chronicled in the series of books. It is important to leave them as they are, reflecting the different moments in time.

As things continue to change, what I write will reflect the events taking place. Nothing is static. Everything is in motion.

A Reminder

I want to reiterate what was said at the end of the ten lectures (as it has been edited for the forthcoming book). Below is an excerpt dealing with the problems I warned were coming:

There are so many potential mistakes we can make we ought to remember the early problems in Kirtland. D&C 50:2-25. “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed.” [This is not referring to the hypocrites, because He will not reclaim them. But He will reclaim those who are deceived by the hypocrites.] “But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand; Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—unto what were ye ordained? To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified? Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you; He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.”

This is how we should edify one another, how we should be preparing our children. This is what we should seek: truth, light, understanding, knowledge of the principles of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.

False spirits will come among you. Prideful and pretentious people will ask you to give them honor. Honor God instead. Do not let a personal revelation displace your attention from the scriptures. Our scriptures are sufficient for our day. I hope this new book demonstrates that. I have expounded the scriptures as Moroni did to Joseph, and as Christ did on the road to Emmaus the day of His resurrection. We must first remember and observe. Preserving the restoration requires us to be very familiar with the scriptures of the restoration. At present we should fear most our ignorance of them.

A Worthwhile Post

I had the following brought to my attention by an email this morning. It was written in January, but the content of this is so worthwhile I post a link to it below.

 

I was very encouraged by the discussion identifying false and deceiving spirits. Then the discussion about the limits and responsibilities within a sharing, cooperative community was insightful and instructive. I do not know who wrote this, and have not had time to read any other post on that blog, but this post was instructive and worth everyone’s time to read.

 

 

Truth Will Win

Whether we welcome or oppose it, the truth is going to win. Monuments and cultures erected on lies will weaken and fall to the dust. But truth has a strength that does not decay. Lies cannot defy it, greed cannot corrupt it, lust cannot tempt it, and wicked men cannot for long successfully imitate it.

The times of the gentiles is ending, and truth has begun to break forth; just as Christ explained to His disciples while living among them (and then repeated to Joseph in 1831):

And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:28-32.)

When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matt. 16:2-3.)

The Lord described our day. But we live in it and do not see it right before our eyes.

Hales Responds

Brian Hales has responded. His response misstates my position, teaching, testimony and message, but it is nevertheless his response. For those interested you can find it at:

josephsmithspolygamy.org/response-to-denver-snuffer/

His biggest error in the response is to cite as authoritative a number of sources I would question. Brigham Young’s ability to ignore revelations of others does not contribute to whether the revelations of others should be ignored.

The sharp differences in views are useful. I leave it to the reader to sort out the truth from error.

Recorder Voting

The voting on the Recorder has concluded and Ken Jensen sent me an email confirming the outcome. His email is below:

According to the nominations and votes submitted to me at kenjensen.insurance@gmail.com, Keith Henderson is now the elected Central Recorder by the Common Consent of those Invloved. 

86% of the participants voted for Keith Hernderson

10% voted for Jonny Durfee
4% were satisfied with either and gave their general consent to whoever is elected
Many of those who did vote for either Jonny or Keith also indicated their consent to whomever actually was elected.
I shared the google spreadsheet with you so you can see the details and pass along to the central recorder, if desired.
I know of a bunch of people who have been re-baptized, but did not actually send an email to vote/participate because they were likewise satisfied with whomever the group decided upon.
I can certify that the results & tallying of the votes and nominations is accurate and true according the the best of my knowledge.

I asked Keith Henderson for his contact information and permission to post it here. He gave the permission and provided the following:

Email address is:  keelhenderson42@gmail.com
You can post this phone number: 801-825-5822
Our mailing address is 1178N. 1500W. Clinton, Utah 84015
If you maintain records for any group, please forward the names of those baptized and the year of the baptism to him at the above contact locations.

He is Risen

This is the holy day on which the Lord rose from the dead. He lives. I know because I have seen Him and He has ministered unto me.

Not everyone knows He has risen, yet believe it to be true. Those who believe witnesses, whether in scripture or living, “might also have eternal life if they continue faithful.” (D&C 46:14.)

He will return again, descending from heaven. (Acts 1:11.) He “cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth” (D&C 49:22) but now appears in glory.

He sits on the throne of the Father, and offers us that same throne if we overcome: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:20-21.)

A Choice Seer

Joseph of Egypt was a prophet, seer and Patriarch. He was a remarkable and gifted prophet. God promised through him a last-days seer would be sent to the world. The promise was accomplished through Joseph Smith:

Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer [Joseph Smith] shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer [Joseph Smith] will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give a commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him [Joseph Smith] great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.  …But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him [Joseph Smith] will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth of my word only; saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them. …Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him [Joseph Smith] shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise. (2 Ne. 3:6-14, emphasis added.)

I reject the accusation Joseph Smith was ever a “fallen prophet.” He was promised by God, sent by God, commissioned, guided, directed, inspired and led by God. His life was foretold in prophecies almost as many centuries beforehand as Christ’s life was foretold. We diminish Joseph Smith and his ministry at the peril of being “confounded”–as the prophecy of ancient Joseph of Egypt promises.

Where does the prophecy God gave to Joseph of Egypt foretell the promised seer’s failure? Instead of failure it promises the seer “will the Lord bless” and the Lord will “make him great in mine eyes” and he would “be esteemed highly” among people of faith. God said to Joseph, “I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee [Joseph] even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity[.]” (D&C 132:49.) Those who testify against him do not persuade me to disrespect him.

God blesses and visits those who take seriously the Book of Mormon, which we only have because of the latter-day seer, Joseph Smith.

Joseph was not without his faults. But they were acknowledged by Joseph publicly, condemned by God in revelations, and apparent in the history. For example, he lost the 116 pages, was reprimanded and lost possession of the plates, Urim and Thummim, and gift temporarily as a result. God rebuked Joseph: “behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God.” (D&C 3:6-7.)

He admitted his foolishness. (JS-H 1:28.)

He failed in business with the Kirtland Anti-Banking Society in 1837, and had a pending bankruptcy when he died in 1844.

He was told by God he could not judge between the righteous and wicked. (D&C 10:37.) That would plague him throughout life, and lead him to foolishly trust John Bennett.

Joseph made other mistakes and had other failures. Weaknesses are nothing, for all men are subject to weakness. For our part, we should “take no advantage of [any man’s] weakness.” (Ether 12:26.) Weaknesses are unimportant to me because we are all imperfect. (Ether 12:25-27.) Joseph Smith was great in God’s eyes (2 Ne. 3:8) and therefore great in mine also.