Tag: Garden of Gethsemane

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.

1 Nephi 13: 38

1 Nephi 13: 38:

“And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.”
Roles and definitions continue to be established here.  Nephi’s seed has been “destroyed” and only a “mixture” of his blood remains at the time of these events. Nephi has taken to calling them “the seed of my brethren” rather than a “mixture” of his (Nephi’s) seed.
The “book of the Lamb of God” is later identified as the record we know as the New Testament. Altered, limited, with plain and precious materials removed, nevertheless called the “book of the Lamb of God.” Acceptance of this New Testament book, notwithstanding its limitations and omissions, is akin to Christ referring to the Temple of Herod as His “Father’s house” despite the fact that it had been profaned.
Although Christ called Herod’s Temple His Father’s house, He did not commune with His Father there. Christ visited with angelic ministers on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17: 1-3), in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), in the wilderness (Matt. 4: 11), and alone while apart from others.  But there is no record of Him entertaining angels while in Herod’s Temple. Though the Temple had been profaned and was unworthy to receive such visitors, Christ still honored the site and referred to it in sacred terms. This is a great key to understanding Christ’s language here.
The “book of the Lamb of God” is revered and held in extraordinary esteem, as is evidenced by the terminology used in this revelation to Nephi. Nevertheless the book is corrupted, changed, with many plain and precious things removed.
Can the book that has come to the “seed of Nephi’s brethren” be said to be less than a fullness? Can the book be called “the book of the Lamb of God?” If it can be called “the book of the Lamb of God” can it also be said to contain a fullness?
[Here’s a modern detour in question-asking: Do you focus on the book’s value and worth by calling it the “book of the Lamb of God” or do you focus on the book’s failings by saying many plain and precious things have been removed?  If you do the one are you “positive” and “hopeful” and “Christ-like?” And if you focus on the other are you “negative” and “judgmental” and “un-Christ-like?” Is Nephi being fair and accurate by including the book’s limitations? Or is he just another crank, tearing down the good works and valuable intent of others?  Should he repent of his negativity? Ought we be offended?
These kinds of questions are more a reflection of our own insecurities and foolishness than they are helpful to understanding Christ’s “strange act” unfolding before our disbelieving eyes.  (D&C 101: 93-95.)]
This “book of the Lamb of God” will originate from the Jews, be brought by gentiles, and provided to the “remnant” who are identified with the “seed of Nephi’s brethren.” Since we can recall the history of these events, and know it is talking of the New Testament, we can see the various identities. New Testament converts from Judaism to Christianity, including the Apostles, Seventy, and Paul, are called “Jews.” The descendants of the Puritans, English Colonies, American States and United States who dispossessed the native peoples are all referred to as “gentiles” in the prophecy. (I’m ignoring Central and South American for the moment.) The natives will include among them some faction which is the “seed of my brethren” that is the “remnant” about whom these promises are being made.
The question remains as to the identity of the “remnant” about whom these prophecies are speaking.
I know side-issues are arising throughout this discussion.  But I’ve been focusing only on the “remnant” for weeks now.  I won’t depart from that single subject, despite the temptations that arise from questions flooding in on tangents. Bear with me. We’ll eventually get to other issues.
I’ve debated whether it is even possible to cover this subject on a blog. This is an experiment. I’m trying to cover a topic that should rightly be put into a book. Whether it will work or not is still an open question. I think it is helpful even if the ultimate objective can’t be met. We’ll press forward and see how it turns out.