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Cursings Instead of Blessings

Passing the Heavenly Gift is not an historic analysis of Mormonism. It is primarily a doctrinal analysis and only incidentally related to history. The many different historic sources allow different stories to be told and supported by selecting from among them. There are some undeniable events foretold by prophecy. It is prophecy which should allow us to make a correct choice between a false and a true narrative. In Passing the Heavenly Gift, I tried to see if there was another possible narrative conforming to the prophecies to replace the traditions we all know. The book explored this possibility.

In the January 1841 revelation to Joseph Smith the Lord stated “the fulness of the priesthood” had been “lost unto you, or which [The Lord] hath taken away.” (D&C 124: 28.) To “restore” it the Lord needed to personally come to a Temple that He was required to be built within a limited time frame. The length of the time given to accomplish the building was not specified by a date certain. Instead the Lord said He would give to the Saints “sufficient time to build a house unto me.” (D&C 124: 31.) In the time between January 1841 and the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June 1844, the Nauvoo Temple was not completed. The walls were only complete to the second floor.

The absence of any date for “sufficient time” to build the Temple leaves that an open question. Traditionally, we believe that extended until sometime following the departure of the Saints in February 1846. A small group remained behind and eventually the Temple was dedicated. But these are undisputed facts:

1. When the endowments were performed between November 1845 and February 1846, the attic was used, but even it was not finished. Canvas was used to separate different areas.

2. At the time the endowments were performed, the rest of the Temple was incomplete.

3. When the endowments were performed, the attic was the only place temporarily dedicated for that limited purpose.

4. The day before departing Nauvoo, the Apostles prayed they would be able to finish the incomplete Temple.

5. The next day, the attic caught fire and the area used for the endowments was badly damaged. Although it was subsequently re-shingled, the charred attic space, which had not been finished before the endowments were performed, was never re-finished to the condition it was in with the canvas dividers. They re-roofed the outside top and left the charred interior alone.

6. When it was finally dedicated, it was only “considered complete enough to dedicate” and not actually a finished structure.

It does not matter which historic source you use there is no diary, letter, journal or talk which says that Christ came to the Nauvoo Temple and “restored again the fulness of the priesthood” which He had previously taken away from the church. Most importantly, there are no claims made by any of the leaders of the church that the “fulness of the priesthood” was bestowed upon them by Christ in the Nauvoo Temple. There are multiple explanations of how “the keys” (which the typical LDS apologist claims to be the same as “the fulness”) were passed to the church’s leaders. None of these involve Christ coming to the Nauvoo Temple to restore again that which was lost. These accounts of “passing the keys” to the Apostles include the following:

1. By virtue of the Apostleship, which is the highest office in the church, keys are automatically passed.

2. By the rituals Joseph performed in the Red Brick Store.

3. By Joseph’s declaration about the “keys of the kingdom” made in a meeting of the Council of Fifty in May 1844.

4. By reason of the equivalencies (Twelve “equal in authority” to the First Presidency, etc.) set out in D&C 107 (an argument never raised during the election in August 1844).

Never has there been a claim that the “fulness” was “restored” to the church by the visit of Christ in the Nauvoo Temple after it had been completed.

The argument that the Lord didn’t need to come because the “fulness” was dispensed by the Apostles in the Nauvoo Endowments in November 1845-February 1846 ignores the language of the revelation. The language of the revelation required the Lord to come and restore again what was lost: “For there is not a place found on earth that he [Christ, personally as I read it] may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you.” (D&C 124: 28, emphasis added.) I take these words at their plain meaning. Therefore. I view the complete absence of any record or claim that the Lord came to the Nauvoo Temple and restored again the “fulness of the priesthood” as an important point to be accepted. The traditional narrative is that the endowments were sufficient to restore the removed “fulness” to the Saints.

History also reflects the Saints were chased out of Nauvoo by an armed mob. They left with considerable hardship in the dead of winter, leaving for the most part in February 1846.

The January 1841 revelation states: “ye shall build [the required Temple] on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build [the Temple which Christ was to visit to restore again the fulness]. If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy. And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place. But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.” (D&C 124: 43-48.) If you accept these words as a guide to knowing the truth, then answer for yourself the following questions about what happened:

Was the Nauvoo Temple consecrated by the Lord?

Was the Nauvoo Temple made holy by the Lord?

Did the Lord visit it?

Did the Lord restore the fulness to the church within it by coming to bestow it again? How? To whom? When? What was involved?

Did the Saints hearken to the voices of their leaders, Joseph and Hyrum, who had been called by the Lord?

Why did Joseph complain that the church failed to listen to Hyrum? Was there some greater risk to the church if it did not hearken to Hyrum?

Were the Saints moved out of Nauvoo?

Did the “sufficient time” begin in January 1841and last until a date we can now deduce?

What date did the Lord take Joseph and Hyrum from us?

Was three-and-a-half years sufficient to complete the Nauvoo Temple construction?

Were there other projects completed in that time frame, including houses for the church leaders, and Seventies’ Hall, the Masonic Lodge?

If the effort given to these other building projects had instead been spent on completing the Nauvoo Temple, could it have been finished earlier?

Could it have been completed by June 1844?

Was the Nauvoo Temple ever completed?

Were there “blessings” or “cursings” suffered by the Saints immediately following the three-and-a-half years between January 1841 and June 1844?

The effort to build the traditional narrative taught by the LDS church using other source material than I have used can only persuade me I am in error if:

1. There is proof the Lord came to the Nauvoo Temple. (Never claimed by anyone.)

2. There is proof that while in the Nauvoo Temple the Lord restored again the fulness of the priesthood. (Never claimed other than to say the Nauvoo Endowments were the same thing as. But if this were true why did the Lord say He needed to come? I assume the Lord said what He meant and therefore we could only reobtain “the fulness” if He gave it to us, personally, as the revelation promised.)

3. There is proof the Saints were not moved out of their place in Nauvoo because it had become “holy” to the Lord and He defended it. (Which cannot be proven because the opposite happened.)

4. There must be proof the Saints were not cursed, did not suffer wrath, and did not have the judgments of God poured down upon their heads following Nauvoo. (The suffering and wrath of God is apparent from all the contemporaneous accounts of the terrible suffering, privation and death suffered by the Saints in the western trek.)

I have allowed the prophecies to inform the story. I readily admit anyone can build another story that ignores the prophecies, and  tells us “all is (and was) well.” But there is no source you can appeal to that conforms to the prophesied events as well as the story proposed in Passing the Heavenly Gift.

The book was written to explore and introduce an idea. That idea is to let the prophecies, instead of our pride, speak to us about us. I want to see our failures, if we have any. I do not want to substitute a happy account based on arrogance to deprive me of the truth. If the warnings are talking to me about me, then I want to face up to that no matter how painful it might be. In the book, in addition to the January 1841 revelation to Joseph Smith, I also use Christ’s prophecies, and Nephi’s warnings to us from the Book of Mormon to inform my effort to reconstruct what has happened in this dispensation. In the end I think it is faith promoting to see ourselves stripped of our vanity and fulfilling the prophetic warnings by our failure. It it a false faith, only pseudo-faith, to ignore the truth and substitute a false narrative about unmitigated success. It was foretold by Christ that we would reject the fullness.

So far the most critical review of the book assumes I am writing history and it proceeds to gather other historic sources to contradict me and to reinforce the traditional narrative. It damns my book and proclaims again that “all is well.” My book isn’t history. It is doctrine. It focuses on prophecy to see if the subsequent events can be shown to fulfill the prophecy. This is how we should always try to understand our condition. Not through the tools of the apologist historian, but instead through the lens of prophecy. What God has said matters a good deal more than what we think of ourselves.

Appeal Letter

President Hunt called and read me a very short letter from the First Presidency denying my appeal. Because the appeal was denied, I have no reason to withhold a copy of the appeal letter. See below. The letter denying the appeal was approximately 2 sentences long, the second sentence told President Hunt that he could read it to me, but that President Hunt could not give me a copy of the denial.

Marriage

Marriage is the perfect opportunity for learning to live the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is the blueprint for being like Christ.

Wives have claim on their husbands for their support. (D&C 83: 2.)

Neither man nor woman alone can be exalted. (1 Cor. 11: 11; D&C 132: 16-17.)

Divorce was tolerated because of the hardness of the Israelites, but Christ denounced divorce, teaching what God joined no man should set aside. (Mark 10: 4-9.)

If your spouse does not believe as you do, it is your obligation to bear with them in patience, and by your godly walk convert them to the truth. Only a fool will ignore the obligations set out so clearly in scripture and choose to abandon their marriage. Worse still are those who imagine themselves justified in such conduct by claiming they are following God’s will.

The Scriptures

As I have pointed out in recent talks, if you were to be taught by an angel of God it would be a lesson in the scriptures. (See, e.g., JS-H 1: 36-41.) The day the Lord was resurrected He spent the better part of the day expounding the scriptures to two of His followers. (Luke 24: 13-32.)

I teach from the scriptures because they contain everything needed to support, explain, justify and make clear those doctrines which are needed for your salvation. Even the deepest of material I’ve given to you is anchored in the scriptures.

If angels and our Lord all found the scriptures a sufficient text to use in teaching truths, then we should look there, searching deeply for any truths we want to learn. We shouldn’t move our attention away from the scriptures to learn what is needed for salvation and exaltation. No matter how much a topic glitters and begs you to notice it, the scriptures should form a shield to keep away what is unnecessary and save you from unreliable error.

The more exotic the “spiritual” information, the more important it is to find a home in the scriptures. This is because if it cannot be found there, then it does not belong to Christ’s Gospel.

In the traditions of the church, we have added speculation to conjecture, and contradiction to supposition, until the present array of approved topics through the correlation process has been adopted to try to bring an end to the chaos of opinions. Earlier teachings that were thought to be critical to salvation have been abandoned. Earlier practices that were taught as necessary for exaltation are now condemned. Earlier positions on practices and church government are now renounced. It has become an embarrassment to the institution to allow this foolishness to continue. They have resorted to correlation and the current practice of saying “only the living mouthpiece is reliable.” This is anti-historical and renders each leader almost entirely irrelevant as soon as he dies. Mormonism has been reduced to the medieval shout: “The king is dead! Long live the king!” each time a church president dies. Through this means, the church is attempting to bring stability to a reed so thin it cannot be leaned upon at all for your salvation. It will break because it cannot support the weight of your salvation.

Look to the scriptures. They testify of Christ. They were given by Him to teach you of Him. Because if you are to be saved at all, it will be through the knowledge which can be found in the scriptures.

Anyone attempting to save souls who neglects to anchor their teaching in the scriptures offends common sense, and is attempting the impossible. Angels and the risen Lord used them. You should therefore find them sufficient for your own study unto salvation.

Why Am I Unwilling To Answer

I’ve been chastised in a number of comments by those who want me to be more willing to respond to questions, and not be so “evasive” when I respond. They want me to be their answer man for every issue that perplexes them. I won’t.

Do you think I would help you more if I were to create dependence on me? Do you think I want you to be dependent on me? Should you cease to think for yourself, but instead wait to see what I have to say on a topic before you decide a matter? I want you my equal; and if I can assist in accomplishing it, then to help you be my better.

I pay to talk to you. I rely on the good work and problem solving of others to make the recordings available. They are asking for payment to defray their work. Make no mistake about it, they do work to provide these things. Whatever “profit” that may be owed to me after all their expenses are paid is given to others. I keep nothing. I don’t even receive anything. The money is donated to missionaries and others in need. I do not get so much as a tax deduction for those contributions to others. I pay to rent the places where I speak, if they are not donated. I do look for donated facilities to reduce my costs. It is a financial burden to speak to you. That is as it should be. It is my responsibility and between me and the Lord to accomplish. I do not ask you to bear that burden for me or even with me. I travel to different locations to make it possible for those few who may be interested to attend. I am inconvenienced so that you needn’t be.

I try to be the kind of person who I would be willing to trust, have confidence in, and be willing to listen to because of the sincerity of the conduct. And still everything I do is questioned, and foolish people believe themselves justified in using measuring standards that neither they nor their own religious idols would pass.

You need to work some things out on your own. You need to pray and get answers for many, many things. I do not give commands, nor make demands. I tell you what I believe, what I know, and make suggestions in the hope of persuading you. If I fail to persuade you, then I am content to let you go in peace.

All people have gifts. There are a great deal more gifts and capacities than you can possibly imagine. What one person can accomplish through their gift may be something another looks at with disbelief and surprise. But the blessings given by God are without number, and you should be very careful about condemning what you do not comprehend. Encourage your brothers and sisters in their gifts and let them enjoy the freedom which is in Christ. We have too many organizations, governments and churches trying to suppress the freedom of all men. There is an unholy alliance between almost every organization on earth right now trying to suppress the agency of those who belong to them. It does not matter if it is a club, a school, a political party, a government or a church. They are all taking in a spirit which seeks to oppress and control. Everywhere in the world today men are filled with the madness of destroying agency. I refuse to be among them. I work to allow you to freely choose and to reject everything I say or write. I do not even ask you to believe, but to ask God and believe in Him.

As the winnowing continues I want to remind you of something we saw in the ministry of  Joseph Smith. There was contention, disbelief, rejection and treason against Joseph in Kirtland and Nauvoo. He fled Kirtland in the night, and was chased for 200 miles by his former followers. In Nauvoo, he was surrendered to be killed. We have had enough of Kirtland and Nauvoo. When there is a gathering to Zion, if we do not get rid of the faithless, weak, traitorous, foolish and vain beforehand, we will not have Zion at all. Let any and all opposition that can be aroused be permitted to revel in their complaints and draw as many away as they are able. Better they be winnowed before than to be gathered together into disharmony and weakness, only to fail in the end.

At this point I do not even know if the Lord will permit a gathering in our time. He will decide that, not a man. I only know that He is now offering something. Let every man choose for themselves whether they will hear His voice. Then, when they think they can hear Him, let them follow Him. Until then, we should each one do what the Lord inspires us to do in faith, believing He will bring His will to pass in spite of earth and hell.

Inquiry About Talks

I received an inquiry from someone who asked:

I’ve been reading your 40 Years talks. I came across a post on a blog that states: 


“Regarding this talk and all of them really. Before they are given, I will clear the room, spiritually, then shield it and have Warrior Angels stand guard. It is all done in praise, honor and to the glory of our God, the Eternal Father with proper priesthood. … A good friend was told to come also by the Lord. She was told to produce a huge ball of energy above your heads. It had to be rotated at the right frequency, color and rate. That is to bring those attending up in their own frequency (spirit) so they could have clear heads and understand what he was saying at a higher level. If your frequency or light is at a low level the understanding isn’t there. If you ‘vibrate’ at a higher frequency, as do beings of light, then you can understand at that level. There were several that left at the first brake and a bunch more at the second. I know that some had obligations. But some of these were those in severe judgment. We pray that they won’t be able to take the light. Sometimes those in that much judgment will flee the light like cockroaches and some did. That made it even better for those there. As darkness leaves the light gets brighter.” 

Are these things true? Do you concur with the statements, specifically, the room shielding, Warrior Angels and the ball of energy?

______________________________________

I do not belong to or read other blogs. Therefore, I do not know all of what is discussed or by whom. But I would like to be clear. Since I have given five talks (in the latest series) totaling over twelve hours, and I have thirteen books in print to date, what I believe or concur with should be apparent from what I have published. I have a blog that I have written for years about the gospel. I teach openly and publicly what I believe. I have no spokesmen or agents who speak for me in any place, or with any right to attribute more or less to what I have written, taught, said and declared openly. If you want to know what I would like for others to understand about the gospel, then read or listen to what I have written or said. I cannot be responsible for any other statement, discussion, claim, conclusion or declaration other than those I make directly, publicly and openly.

There are people or friends with whom I have private discussions about a number of topics, i.e the idea of multiple mortalities (not mentioned in the inquiry above but mentioned in a number of emails and blog comments). This is the position I have taken on that topic – ALWAYS: What possible good can it do you to know about your pre-earth record. The challenge in front of us all has “sufficient evil unto the day thereof” without, like the Indigo Girls, to “try and get it right” for some other life. The challenge is underway. Fight now. Win in this present estate and focus on what it takes to get out of here with honor. Nothing else matters. Isn’t this life challenge enough for you? You have time to contemplate what you might have done in some other place, time, circumstance or experience? If the topic were important enough that it should influence you today, don’t you think the scriptures would make the question plain enough so the doctrine is out in the open? If it is veiled, even if it were true, then it is left obscure for a reason.


When Christ asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” The responses varied from Jeremiah to Elijah, to John the Baptist. The Lord never responded to these speculations. Instead, Christ refocused the question and asked, “But who do you say that I am?” That second question mattered. To it, the declaration, made by revelation from heaven announced, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” To this the Lord responded, confirming it not only true but to have been given by revelation from heaven. And “upon this rock” of living revelation from the Father, Christ said “I will build my church.” That church is not made with hands and does not need a building. It needs only a foundation in revelation, and the buildings will all be temples in which Christ and the Father will come to dwell. They will “take up their abode” within such temples.

I can point you in the right direction. I can testify to what is true. But do not expect me to lead you there. I am unworthy to do so. There is only one Lord who can save men. I testify of Him and I work to establish understanding of Him. The fact I am the subject of discussion disappoints me. Any moment spent thinking about me or talking about me is a moment you might have spent thinking and talking about the Lord.

If you want to know what I believe, then listen to what I have said. Read what I have written. I believe in Christ and His mission to save some few souls in the last days. This will be a big enough challenge that there is no time to refocus the discussion away from Him, His prophecies and how great things He will yet do with those who will follow Him.  

Orem Transcript – Priesthood

The transcript from the Orem talk on Priesthood is up. Because the subject required more time than could be taken, the transcript has been edited and enlarged.

First Rung

I got this question handed to me on Saturday: “what is the first rung on Jacob’s Ladder?”

It is to have your calling and election made sure through the Holy Spirit of Promise. That is the beginning.

Details for Saturday

The building is a secured building with a business occupying it. It will be locked until approximately 9:00 a.m. The entrance is on the East, but you must park in the West lot, as the East lot is reserved for employees.

I got an inquiry about seating numbers. There should be approximately 400 seats, which is expected to be more than enough for all who come.