House of the Prophets

19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh— 20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; (D&C 1:19–20)

And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church… For to some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby… to some is given the working of miracles; and to others it is given to prophesy… (D&C 46:10–22)

8 Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of. (D&C 49:8)

A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers. (D&C 77:15)

In Mormonism, we sometimes forget our prophetic roots and confuse the concept of the prophetic leading high priest (of which there is only one per priesthood sect – D&C 107), and a prophet (of which there can be many). Mormonism was not just started by Joseph Smith, but by a whole group of individuals with a prophetic or mystical worldview. Scores of people who regularly saw visions and believed in prophetic ability. To be a prophet or prophetess in Mormonism was not a privilege reserved for the Pope or people of the scriptures, but a right that came with faith and good works. It was a body of people who believed they received revelation from heaven in order to start religious movements which could stand as the cornerstones of upcoming philosophical thought for the new age.

Through the years, the Mormon movement continues to be a ‘house of the prophets’. Not just with leaders who believe themselves capabable of revelation from heaven, but by scores of visionaries who have been raised under the faith. Sometimes these visionaries, mystics and prophets have stayed within the faith… and sometimes they have broken off to form their own sects. But regardless, they are a continuation of an ancient tradition of people who believe themselves moved upon by divinity to change the course of the world.

Prophets of the Second Great Awakening

Many LDS people don’t realize that Joseph Smith’s first vision experience was not entirely unique. Many individuals both in recent and ancient times have had experiences with what they believe are angels and deity. Many of the worlds largest religions are the result of such experiences. Many smaller faiths within the mysticism movement have a long history of having and analyzing these types of experiences (see this article for a discussion on this).

Theophany” (θεοφάνεια/theophaneia) is the word coined by the ancient Greeks to describe the appearance of a deity to a human. This term has been used to refer to appearances of the gods in the ancient Greek and Near Eastern religions. While the Iliad is the earliest source for descriptions of theophanies in the Classical tradition/era (and they occur throughout Greek mythology), probably the earliest historically dated description of a theophany is in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Similar experiences have continued throughout recorded history.

In the Book of Oahspe the idea is proposed that true prophets RARELY come as isolated instances; because they are the product of powerful heavenly forces which send THOUSANDS of influencers to all parts of the world simultaneously to affect human events. Indeed, this is supposedly one of the ways people can know whether a movement/inspiration is sourced in the higher more powerful heavens, or just by random un-exalted spirit beings. Because it will show up an inspirational movements among multiple cultures simultaneously. This is relevent in Mormonism, as the Joseph Smith was but one grand player, in many ‘prophets’ of the Second Great Awakening. The following is a list of theophanies, ordered by their relevance to Mormonism.

Joseph Smith Jr

Joseph Smith (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844), was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont. By 1817, he had moved with his family to western New York, the site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw “two personages” (whom he eventually described as God the Father and Jesus Christ), and another in 1823 in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called “Latter Day Saints” or “Mormons”, and Smith announced a revelation in 1838 which renamed the church as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Taiping Heavenly King (太平天王)

Hong Xiuquan (Jan 1814 – June 1864), was a Hakka Chinese prophet/leader of the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, establishing the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Peace over varying portions of southern China.

In 1837, Hong reported being visited by two figures, an old, paternal figure and an elder brother-figure who he later described as God the Father and Jesus Christ. In the vision the old man [Father] complained to Hong about men worshiping demons rather than him. In a second vision, Hong saw Confucius being punished for his faithlessness, after which he repented. In another dream, Hong dreamt of angels carrying him to heaven, where he met the elder-brother figure [Jesus] wearing a black dragon robe with a long golden beard who gave him a sword and a magic seal, and told him to purge China of its demons. Much like Joseph Smith in America, started a church which he called ‘the heavenly kingdom’ and instituted polygamy as well as a form of ‘consecration’ or communism. Hong’s religion or ideology was broken up when his rebellion was destroyed by Chinese imperial forces in the Taiping Rebellion, and his followers put to death. (Deaths from the Rebellion are estimated at between 20-70 million). Without the the foundation of individual freedom and independence which the United States environment gave Joseph Smith’s movement, Hong’s promotion of consecration ended up being more extreme than that of the Latter-day Saint movement. His legacy lived on, and became a major basis for the later popularity of the Communist revolutions of China.

The Báb, given name, Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi

The Báb, whose birth name was Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi (October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá’í Faith (~8 million adherents). He was a merchant from Shiraz in Qajar Iran who, at the age of twenty-four (on the evening of May 22, 1844), claimed to be an inspired interpreter of the Qur’an within the Shaykhi school of Twelver Shi’ism. In a series of several stages, he first introduced himself as the Báb (meaning “Gate” or “Door”) to the Promised Twelver Mahdi or al-Qá’im, then the Mahdi himself, then the Prophet of a New Age, and finally, as the essence of God and his being.

Bahá’ís claim that the Báb was also the spiritual return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the saoshyant referred to in Zoroastrianism,[3] and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, was a follower of the Báb and claimed to be the fulfillment of his promise that God would send another messenger. In 1850, at the age of thirty, the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabriz.

Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad مرزا غلام احمد

Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad (13 February 1835 – 26 May 1908) was an Indian religious leader and the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (~20 million adherents). He claimed to have been divinely appointed as the promised Mahdi, in the likeness of Jesus (mathīl-iʿIsā),[1][2] in fulfillment of Islam’s eschatological prophecies, as well as the Mujaddid (centennial reviver) of the 14th Islamic century.

When he was just over forty years of age, his father died and around that time he believed that God began to communicate with him. He claimed countless dreams and visions from God. In 1889, he took a pledge of allegiance from forty of his supporters at Ludhiana and formed a community of followers upon what he claimed was divine instruction, stipulating ten conditions of initiation. Ghulam Ahmad was a prolific author and wrote more than ninety books on various religious, theological and moral subjects between the publication of the first volume of Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya (The Proofs of Islam, his first major work) in 1880 and his death in May 1908.  In addition to the claim of being God’s Messenger and “god or one with God” Mirza wrote, of one particular theophany as follows,

“I saw God Almighty personified as a human being in a vision. He put His arm round my neck and said [Punjabi]: If you will be devoted to Me, the whole world will be yours.” (from Tadhkirah, page 609, page 571 in the hardcopy)

By the time of his death, he had gathered an estimated 400,000 followers, especially within the United Provinces, the Punjab and Sindh and had built a dynamic religious organisation with an executive body and its own printing press. After his death he was succeeded by his close companion Hakīm Noor-ud-Dīn who assumed the title of Khalīfatul Masīh (successor of the Mahdi).

—–finish this sometime——

Prophets of the Catholic Reformation

Martin Luther
John Calvin

Prophets of the Jewish Awakening

Jachanan Ben Kathryn

Mormon Modesty (What I’d Like My Daughters to Know)

I think these are the main points I try and will try to teach my daughters.

1. THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES in dress standards. “God” does not care how you dress. And dress is all relative. If you were born an aborigine in 18th century aboriginia… you’d go around in a loincloth showing your boobs and butt and no one would care. And neither would “god”, or the gods. In some polinesian cultures it was worse to show your lets than your chest (even for a woman).  Modesty is a social construct, but the sex drive is NOT, and the two are inseparable in ways I’ll talk about in a minute.

Culture dictates dress standards. And those cultural standards can be a bit chauvinistic, because men typically make the rules. It may not be right, but its the world we live in. Deal with it. Feel free to challenge it if you feel you need to–but understand the implications of it. Many standards, however, come from a place of good intent. Learn to see the motivation behind the standards of different aspects of modesty culture.

2. DRESS IS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION. The way you dress says something, just as if you wore a sign on your shirt or forehead. The problem is that WHAT IT COMMUNICATES IS OFTEN AMBIGUOUS. If you walk down the street in a miniskirt and stickers on your nipples, many guys are going to think you are TRYING to communicate something like “I’m sexually available, please make advances on me”. In fact they are going to think that anytime you push the envelope of what socially “acceptable”. What they think is NOT YOUR FAULT. But it is something your going to have to deal with, so be smart about it.  If a boy gets a tattoo on his forehead that says DTF, he’s sending a message. And whether he meant to communicate “Dare To Fly” or “Down To F#&%” might not matter as much as what OTHERS THINK HE’S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE.  So he’s going to have to deal with that in the work place, and social arena and all parts of his life. This is no different with your clothing.  Understand what different types of apparel communicate to men and other girls and make sure that’s the message you want to send.

What you wear to church or school or the swimming pool communicates something different to all the people who look at you. (Just like the type of house you live in or car you drive or bumper stickers & shirt slogans you sport). Become savvy to what you are communicating by your apparel and take responsibility for it.  But at the same time you are only responsible to a certain extent–and that extent is dictated by society as a whole NOT BY SOME FRINGE ASPECT of society.  Some will tell you that “you are NOT responsible for other people’s thoughts”. Others will tell you “You ARE LARGELY responsible for other people’s thoughts”. Both of these are extreme stances of a complex situation.  The truth is, society at large makes the rules for what’s “normal” and you as a youth must learn what is “normal” or mainstream and then decide whether you want to push the envelope of those norms or be conservative in keeping those norms.  I hope you’ll consult with me to get a feel for what’s mainstream in our social circle and be sure that you are communicating intelligently within those bounds.

But I hope you internalize this ONE takeaway. Boys are biologically programmed to interpret the way you push the envelope of dress standards to equate with your sexual availability. Just like a courting bird that ruffles her feathers or a cat in heat that walks past potential sex partners with their tail in the air, when you expose more of your body than is normal for the situation, boys will see it as an invitation to hit on you and explore your sexual availability. Be ready for it. And be firm in helping them know your intentions.

3. CLOTHING SHOULD PRIMARILY BE A TOOL. A BODY SHOULD NOT. Use clothing wisely, use it selflessly. It can keep you warm or cool you off. But you can also use clothing to gain power over others. You can use your body to gain power over others. You can use it as an object just as you would use other objects which equate to power. Power in social status, Power in sexuality, Power in relationships. Attractive bodies can be powerful. And you can use that power selfishly or unselfishly. I hope you try and use the way you dress to polarize toward selflessness. The more selfless you are, the easier your relationships are going to be to maintain.

Try to use your body, and the clothes you display it in, to serve others (within limits). Relationships that are based on power plays have a greater change of ending poorly and painfully. You need to realize how many people out there USE OTHERS BODIES to explore and validate their own power and social status. In other words, if they see a really ‘attractive’ person, they will try and get that person to like them (or have sex with them) in order to prove to themselves and others that they are ‘equal or better’ than that person. They often do this subconsciously.  You will do it subconsciously.  Once we get someone to like/love us, we prove to ourselves and others that we are ‘equal or better’ than them. If there is no other component to bind a couple together, once that goal has been ‘proven’, the relationship falls apart.

Don’t allow yourself to ever be used by selfish people. Don’t let people take advantage of you. Don’t do it yourself to others. When you are selfless in a non-equal or non-reciprocating relationship, no-one wins. When you date for power no-one wins. Pandering to a man’s selfishness simply makes him more selfish. If people see you doing this to men, they will call you a slut or gold-digger. Try to be selfless, and if you give your body in a selfless way to please someone else be sure it is building an equal relationship of give and take reciprocity.

4. Realize that a lot of what you are going to learn about “modesty” in our culture or at church is remnants of social mores dating from a less civilized time when women lived in constant fear of being raped, stalked or seduced by sexual predators. (or stolen away by the king or people of higher class, power and estate.) Other rules and social mores were created from a desire of other women to level the playing field so socially ‘attractive’ women don’t get all the attention. Standards were created to encourage attractive women to cover themselves so as to not make less “attractive” women jealous (by whatever cultural standard of beauty). In some cases women used shame as a way to deter other women from luring away their men. (such as an older woman calling a young attractive, sexily dressed co-worker of her husband’s a whore or slut and shaming her into dressing more “modestly”.)

You didn’t create these social customs, you don’t need to feel bound by them or responsible for them. But you should understand the psychology behind why they exist and navigate the ‘cultural modesty’ issue with an intelligence that is aware of the why’s and how’s behind our social and religious mores. If you ever feel tempted to shame someone because of their body, be sure to understand the fears or biases which are causing you to do it. Body shaming isn’t very productive. Don’t do it to yourself or others.

5. UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALE & FEAMALE SEX DRIVES.  If you get on Tinder or online dating sights you’ll notice right off the bat that a huge percentage of women’s profiles say something like “no one night stands” or “not DTF” or LTR only. On the other hand essentially NO men’s profiles say this.  Why? Because much like a monkey or dog, men are programmed to desire sex with almost any eligible partner. Even if they aren’t really physically, emotionally, socially or spiritually matched with that person they still desire sex with them. This is very different than the typical female who expects physical, emotional, social & spiritual compatibility before sex. This mismatch primal desires VERY often leads to a mismatch in expectations and hurt feelings.  The female thinks if he’s willing to have sex with her, he must feel the same way she does about him!  NOTHING COULD BE MORE WRONG! Typically, until a man is older or has an innate strong spirituality, his sexual desire is based on hormones and visual/chemical triggers.  The male sex drive can be INCREDIBLY strong, and once aroused he will say/be/do many completely uncharacteristic things in order to follow that animal programming to its natural end of sex (and much of this is actually subconscious).

If you want to avoid the heartbreak that comes from believing a man is physically, emotionally, socially or spiritually matched and bonded with you, only to find out after the sexual chemicals subside that he is not, then you must go to extensive lengths to assure those physical, emotional, social and spiritual compatibilities before the hope of sex causes him to alter his behavior. You also need to realize that the hope of ‘sexual security’ and being ‘valued and cherished’ tend to be the primal drivers in the female sexual drive, and can induce the same short term changes in rational behavior in you, as his drive for sex or an attractive partner induce in him.

It is ESSENTIAL to a happy, lasting relationship that you realize early the characteristics which lead to lasting relationships and pursue THEM, instead of simply perusing your/his sexual triggers as a basis for relationships.  I hope after putting some thought into what I’ve explained above you also see the danger of getting a boy to ‘like you’ by wearing clothing which consistently evokes his sex drive as a means of encouraging him to pursue you.

6. FEEL AWESOME ABOUT YOUR BODY. No matter what stage of life or shape you are in, feel awesome about your body, AND DON’T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT IT. If they do, avoid them. If you need to wear ‘modest’ clothes or even a burka to feel good about yourself, go for it. If you need to go naked to free yourself to feel good about yourself… go for it. Don’t shame others. Don’t shame yourself. But be smart. Be confident. Be considerate. Be kind to yourself and others.  Think of the effects of your dress on other girls as well as guys, but if that responsibility brings you pain, then you likely need to readjust your thinking.  Nothing should make you feel crappy about your body.  (But at the same time, realize myself and pretty much all of us do for much of our life, so it’s pretty damn normal.)

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Sons need a different lesson. Why? Because they typically don’t really give a damn about dress—but they do have to deal with other types of inadequacy (particularly height, muscle mass, wealth and social standing). And they’re not going to get a bunch of stupid “modesty” lessons in school or church which end up often distorting the important reasons behind modesty anyway.

And importantly men rarely get raped. Women do. Women rarely commit adultery with their hot young coworker who wears a muscle shirt.  Men do.  Modesty and purity culture have been shaped by the reality of dangers which exist in the world of sexual expression & sexual violence. We shouldn’t be a fool who pretends these realities don’t exist or that they are ONLY a social construct. Its not true. I once watched a national geographic show about some loin-cloth-only topless aborigines in Africa, where one of the attractive young ladies was talking to the translator about how she wanted to murder one of the older men in the tribe. The translator later found out she was so upset because she had been repeatedly raped by this man over the years. This problem had nothing to do “purity culture” or “being/not being responsible for other people’s thoughts”.  All of that was irrelevant. The question for parents and social leaders in nearly every culture on the planet is HOW TO WE PROTECT OUR YOUNG GIRLS FROM THESE ABUSES?!  Modesty is one way. Burkas are one way. Laws and rules concerning both modesty and rape are one way. Teaching young boys informed consent is one very important way. Carrying guns and mace is one way.  You can decide which of those ways seems to be the most logical way to balance the risk and rewards of sexual expression.  But realize this… men are driven by different sexual stimulus than women.

Tinder is the perfect place to see this through experimentation. Take a marginally attractive man or woman, with great bodies and put them on tinder–the man with his shirt off and the girl in a bikini, and see who gets more matches.  The woman will get 10x the matches every time. Because contrary to what many might try and say, men are apparently, indeed more visually driven by sex appeal.  On the flip side take the same people and put pictures of both the man and women in situation which display social standing, status and wealth and the exact opposite effect will manifest. Because woman appear to be generally more attracted to these things than simply masculine sex appeal.

On top of that we must add in the undebatable fact that MEN are far, far more prone to inflict sexual violence on a woman than vice versa.  So why do we impose modesty on women and not men?  Simple… it is to protect women. If a modesty norm, rule or lesson does not tend toward helping the goal of protecting women, it needs to be reworked.  And this includes the “protection” that comes from making one girl feel horrible about her body because it cannot ever compare to the body of another girl nor does she have any chance of attracting the positive attention and social approval that comes with the body type which men tend to be physiologically drawn to like a moth to a flame.  So we need to keep in mind that its not all about protecting girls from boys or predatory men.  It can be about leveling the playing field among girls in general—something which carries its own ethical debate.  And it can also be about helping potential mates focus on physical, emotional, social and spiritual compatibilities instead of just sexual attraction.

What I’d Like My Kids to Know About Love

To My Kids…    about this crazy thing called love.

Guys…  I’m not sure if your adolescence will be anything like mine. I know there’s a lot of different ways to guide your life that are all unique and beautiful in there own way.  I hope at very least I can give you a feeling of being loved and valued as you grow up.  And I also hope I can impart some life-learned wisdom to give you a head start on your journey.

I know when I was an adolescent, I was very confused about love. It made little sense to me. I heard one thing from movies and the media, another thing from my friends and another thing from church—and none of them made a lot of sense. I really didn’t believe much in love growing up… I saw it as a farse, or set of nearly random emotions that only the simple-minded fell pray to. I’ve always been very thoughtful and analytical, and at very least I understood at a fairly young age that the “love” I wanted in order to make my future marriage work needed to be stronger than the sorrow-filled “love” that made my parent’s marriage an ill-ending disaster. Love, to me, was a commitment. You loved by staying with and being committed to someone. I understood that there was a huge difference between love as a verb and love as a feeling or noun–but because of my lack of understanding I think I shut my heart and actions down to some extent in a misguided effort to avoid pain. In retrospect I wish I would have gotten involved in a lot more foolish flings. Put myself out there enough to have a broken heart a few times.  And had fun making out and being more sexual. I hope that my advice will help you find the right balance and harmony to make your love life a happy one.

 

What is Love

Love is not the same as romance, although that is an aspect of it. It is definitely not synonymous with sexuality. It is not simply a friendship or family bond, although that gets closer to the meat of it. It is not simply a feeling, nor are there different unrelated types of love (Eros, Agape, Phileao, Storge). All descriptions of it are mired in arguments of semantics or opinions of definitions. So I’d like to start by laying a scientific framework I read about in a book called ‘The Law of One’.  It’s probably the most powerful framework I’ve come across in respect to the idea of love.

As I’ve searched through a lot of religious and philosophical material to find the best cohesive, scientifically viable definition for love,— Fractal Theory combined with the Chakra philosophy make the most sense. I’ll try and quickly summarize them as a foundation for a discussion on how to have a beautiful love-filled life.

In short, fractal theory or the law of relative relationships teaches that everything in the universe evolves or is created to follow a similar pattern wherein the small is relatively a copy of the large. In particular it means that you can learn about yourself by studying the planet, or the solar system or the atom. Plato called this microcosm and macrocosm, but some form of this framework of parallelism exists in every global religion.

Each unit of the fractal has

The fractal

The reason why this matters is because using this framework we can compare Love (n.) to Cosmic Energy. By Cosmic Energy, I mean the energy in the cosmos that all matter is made of. Thus just as everything in the universe is made of energy… all things are made of love.  This is why God is often called ‘love’. Additionally we can compare and define Loving (v.) as the focus and use of that energy. Every “living” sphere in the galaxy lives because it has created a system of absorbing and giving cosmic energy or love, and the same is true for you. The Chinese called this cosmic energy Chi. The Hindus called it Prana. The Christians call it God’s Spirit, and Mormonism sometimes equates it with Spirit and sometimes with priesthood. Jesus and all the great pillars of humanity come to symbolize it and show its possible uses. Regardless of what we call it, in your adolescence you will decide on a delicate balance of receiving and giving that same energy or love. It will be your focus and use of love or your energy that makes you who you are, determines your joy, your happiness and your eternal identity. You can decide whether to be a sun, or a black hole, a thriving planet or a near-dead rock, a rogue asteroid or a communal pillar of the Galaxy. You can decide to focus your energy or love on yourself or others—or to shut it down and not love much at all.

 

Here’s a few points concerning love that I hope you can understand and remember.

-With the act of loving (giving or receiving energy & attention), comes emotion. Do not confuse the emotions of love, with love, loving or being in love.  But realize that the emotions of love are a measuring stick to let you know how much–and what types–of love you are giving and receiving. Think of it in regards to physics. When a system gains energy it creates heat. When it looses energy, it manifests cold. The same goes for your body. When you gain energy, you will experience emotional ‘heat’. That heat can be interpreted as passion, anger, sexual attraction, excitement or other types of love. When you lose more energy than you are gaining you will experience emotional ‘cold’. That cold can manifest as loneliness, depression, indifference, hate or certain types of love.

-Sometimes the most rewarding relationships… are the hardest ones. The ones where you feel the least feelings of love, but are challenged to be loving and giving in new and different ways.

-The increased feelings of the emotions of love that come with new relationships do not mean you love that person more than your existing relationships.

 

A Short Overview of the Chakra System

The ancient Hindus came up with an amazingly effective system of describing how the human body uses love, energy or “spirit” to affect our emotions, actions and personality. In this system, each individual finds a unique balance of dispersing their energy to 7 bodily energy centers which each have unique functions. Comparing this system to the modern understanding of biology, many have noticed that these ancient centers seem to correlate with the way in which our nervous system disperses its energy to the endocrine glands–which are in charge of translating the nerves energy signals to chemical hormones which in turn govern the bodies feelings and emotions.

The hormonal balance which dictates your emotions of happiness are said to be the result of a combination of your own decisions, the decisions of your ancestors (as passed through DNA), and the configuration your spirit brought with you from your pre-mortal existence (past lives). Each energy center or endocrine gland controls specific hormones which govern your biology and emotions such as testosterone/estrogen (which govern sexuality and physical size),  epinephrine/adrenaline (which govern your anxieties, fears & risk taking proclivities), pancreatic polypeptides like glucose/insulin (which govern your energy levels) ,  serotonin/melatonin (which help govern joy/depression and chronobiology) and many, many more. (For more information see my more detailed article on chakras/endocrine glands).

Knowing exactly what these hormones are and what they do, is not as important as understanding that your emotions are a result of the “directions” your brain sends to your endocrine glands to tell them what balance of hormones to stick in your blood stream. In other words it is important to understand that your thoughts and behaviors have a direct influence on your joys, feelings of love and emotions. At the same time, it is important to realize that many of these things are controlled subconsciously, and just like taking control of the usually subconsciously controlled speed of your heartbeat— can take great meditation, intelligence and practice. This is one important function of religion and spirituality. With religion, great masters have sought to institute ways of life which bring balance; and systems of ritual which allow you to take conscious control of otherwise subconscious biological processes. Whether it be singing in church or in your car, taking the sacrament or doing yoga and meditative breathing, or going to the temple or losing yourself in nature I hope you will learn to intelligently use the tools you have been given to manage your energy or love pathways which regulate your chemical balances and thus your emotional and spiritual well being. I pray you will not be tempted to synthetically regulate your hormonal system with drugs or tobacco—since all of the euphoric feelings drugs will give you can be gotten naturally—without the devastating addiction and toxic side effects.

 

Bonding

Other than regulating your own chemical balances, the most important thing you will do with love in your life is bonding. The same is true for any planet or atom.

 

 

 

The internal energy configuration of these bodies dictates what they will be attracted to and what they can or will bond to. Oil will not mix with water and inert gasses will not bond to much of anything. On the other hand, what Florine wants, Florine gets.

 

 

 

 

periodic table of the elements showing the electron shells of each element.

periodic table of the elements showing the electron shells of each element.

Understanding The Times and Seasons

 

 

Uncontacted primitive tribe living in Brazilian rain forest photographed in 2010

Uncontacted primitive tribes like this one currently living in Brazilian rainforest help us to consider how our world might also be just like these groups which are totally unaware of the advanced civilizations which dwell around and above them. Just as international laws are being drafted to protect the self-determination of these groups, it is logical to consider that higher dimensional groups are also constrained by law in the manners they are allowed to subtly influence human culture, through the imaginations, thoughts and visions of our cultural icons. (see Zoo Hypothesis & Fermi Paradox)

 

Cosmology of the Times and Seasons
The first step to understanding “eternal progression” is to have at least a general understanding of the earth’s progression or orbit within the galaxy. Since this progression somewhat follows that of the earth’s evolution, an understanding of cosmology gives a framework for us to better understand earth’s origins and destiny. Many LDS scriptures, show this is often the first step taken by higher beings in educating mystics/prophets, and was among the first concepts shown to Moses (Moses 1:4,33–38), Abraham (Abr 3:2–21), Enoch (Moses 7), the Brother of Jared (Ether 3:25) and others. Joseph Smith purports to have introduced a very basic version of this cosmology in the Pearl of Great Price (see facsimile 2). In his channeled works (footnote: it is important to note that Joseph’s works were channeled, not translated), Joseph Smith suggests that there is a physical and spiritual hierarchical order to the universe where stars/planets gravitationally and energetically rule over the evolution of other stars/planets and the higher dimensional rulers of those systems rule over the inhabitants of the governed bodies as well. Abraham states that he,

2 …saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

In the notes written by Joseph Smith for the hypocephalus (facsimile 2) we get more detail stating that “Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.” Is “first in government, the last pertaining the the measurement of time”. Abraham is further taught that Kolob has a binary or sister sphere of sorts called Oliblish by the Egyptians that “stands next to Kolob”, being “the next grand governing creation near the celestial or the place where God resides. …which is equal with Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time”. The account suggests these bodies are either governing masses in the center of our Milky Way galaxy, or a binary system composing one of the “twelve fixed stars” described below. The power and gravitational influence of these bodies is then traced down through two more “stars” called Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam which then pass their power onto Kae-e-vanrash which in turn “governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, [including]… the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions.” In Joseph Smiths personal notes to the hypocephalus and “Alphabet of the Egyptian Language”, he goes into a bit more detail naming the “twelve fixed stars” (of which Kolob belongs) and “fifteen moving planets”, as well as giving what seems to be a slightly different explanation of some of the aforementioned spheres…

“Oliblish, Enish-go-on-dosh, and Kaii-ven-rash, are the three grand central powers that govern all the other creations, which have been sought out by the most aged of all the fathers, since the beginning of the creation, by means of the Urim and Thummim: The names of the other twelve of the fixed stars are: Kolob, Limdi, Zip, Vusel, Venisti, Waine, Wayoh-ox-oan, oansli, Shible, Shineflis, flis, os. The Egyptian names of the fifteen moving planets are: Oanisis, Flosisis, floese, Abbesels, Eleash, Subble, Slundlo, Carroam, Crashmakraw, obblesisim, Izinsbah, missel.

“Kli flosisis signifies Kolob in its motion, which is swifter than the rest of the twelve fixed stars; going before, being first in motion, being delegated to have power over others to regulate others in their time” (J.S. Alphabet of the Egyptian Language)

Comparing this to what we currently know of our Galaxy, its not easily understood what Joseph Smith was getting at (or if this is a feasible astronomical model at all). But although this cosmological model may at first seem a bit far-fetched, it in fact has more witnesses to its general validity in both John Newbrough’s work and in Hindu and eastern cosmology. Newbrough wrote of a cohesive and highly illustrated cosmology consisting of our solar system orbiting through our Milky Way galaxy in a circuit, in his book Oahspe, A Sacred History of the Higher and Lower Heavens on the Earth.

1. First, the earth plieth in a circuit around the sun, which circuit is divided into four arcs called spring, summer, autumn and winter.
2. Second, the sun, with his family, plieth in a large circuit [around the center of the galaxy], which is divided into one thousand five hundred arcs, the distance of which for each arc is about three thousand years or one [harvest] cycle.
3. During a cycle, the earth and her heavens fall in the spiritual regions of hundreds of etherean worlds, where dwell Jehovah’s high-raised angels, whose Chiefs have to do with the management of worlds.
4. During the time of a cycle, the earth is therefore under the control and management of such of Jehovah’s angels for the resurrection of man of the earth. (Oahspe 9/1.1)

Like Joseph Smith’s work, Newbrough’s work suggests that as our Solar System orbits the Galactic core, we pass by higher dimensional “etherean” worlds or “governing” systems which are inhabited by higher dimensional beings who subtly govern the inhabitants of world who pass within their domains. Newbrough’s works contain hundreds of pages which detail the histories, philosophies and tactics of these extra-dimensional beings. And the picture they paint is surprisingly similar to Joseph Smith’s and many ancient religious myths which integrate religion into the movement of our solar system’s as it orbits around the milky-way galaxy. Just as a single rotation around the sun can be separated into 4 seasons, 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days; so also did the ancients try to give names to the corresponding orbital periods of the solar system moving in the Galaxy. An example is given below

1. And thou [speaking to an officer of the current governing “god” of earth] shalt dwell in thy kingdom seven years and sixty days, and the time shall be called the first dawn of dan, and the next succeeding shall be called the second dawn of dan, and so on, as long as the earth bringeth forth.
2. And the time from one dawn of dan to another shall be called one dan’ha; and four dan’ha shall be called one square, because this is the sum of one density, which is twelve thousand of the earth’s years. And twelve squares shall be called one cube, which is the first dividend of the third space, in which there is no variation in the vortex of the earth. And four cubes shall be called one sum, because the magnitude thereof embraceth one equal of the Great Serpent. (Oahspe 07/2.6)

The Zodiac, Precession of the Equinoxes & their Effect on Earth
Both Newbrough’s and Smith’s works suggest that in ancient times, higher beings came to earth and taught men a general understanding of astronomy & astrophysics and their relationship to galactic rule. The idea of a “great celestial serpent” is found in many ancient cultures and generally seems to describe the Galactic Orbit of our Solar System following a sinusoidal or possibly helical pattern as it dips above and below the galactic equatorial plane. These motions relate to Earth’s precession of the equinoxes as well as the precession or axial wobbling of our sun. (The sun wobbles and travels in a slight helical pattern because of the gravitational effects of Jupiter and the other large planets; seen from the side this orbital path would look like a stretched spring or partially coiled flying serpent.) What makes Oahspe, the Law of One and Joseph Smith’s mystic works unique is the picture they paint of how these well understood astronomical phenomena affects the earth and its inhabitants. Their works agree, first in suggesting that just as the earth experience’s periodic “conjunctions” with other larger planets in its orbit around the sun, our solar system also experiences conjunctions with far larger star clusters as it orbits the galactic core. These star clusters not only subtly affect our solar system gravitationally and electromagnetically, they also rule us spiritually as they contain “gods”, archangels or unified planetary consciousnesses who “have to do with the management of worlds” (Oahspe 9/1.3). This gives a bit more insight to Joseph Smiths hypocephalus where “god”, who is associated with a celestial body (throne) is said to rule earth from/by the fixed star known in a certain Egyptian dialect transliterated as ‘Kolob’. This idea of course, is not limited to Mormonism, Star Wars and other science fiction but exists in some form in the astrology of many ancient cultures. The following is another excerpt from Oahspe which gives a more detailed account of earth’s galactic orbit and how it relates to “heavenly” government.

04/7.2. And Jehovah caused the earth, and the family of the sun to travel in an orbit, the circuit of which requires of them four million seven hundred thousand years. And He placed in the line of the orbit, at distances of [approximately] three thousand years, etherean [celestial] lights, at which places, as the earth passes through, angels from the second heaven come into its corporeal presence. As ambassadors they come, in companies of hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands, and these are called the etherean [celestial] hosts of the Most High.
04/7.3. They come not as single individuals; nor do they come for a single individual mortal.
04/7.4. And Jehovah gave this sign to man on earth; which is to say: In the beginning of the light of dan’ha, the spirits of the newly dead shall have power to take upon themselves the semblance of corporeal bodies, and appear and talk face to face with mortals. Every three thousand years Jehovah gave this sign on earth, so that those, who learned the powers and capacities of such familiar spirits, could bear testimony regarding the origin of man on earth. || Jehovah said: And when it shall come to pass in any of the times of dan’ha that these signs manifest, man shall know that the hosts of the Most High come soon after. Let him who will become wise, enumerate the great lights of My serpent, for in such times I set aside things that are old, and establish My chosen anew. ||
04/7.5. In the time of the earth, when man was brought forth from mortal to immortal life, the earth passed beyond se’mu [interstellar organic debris]. The angels of heaven remained with corporeal man, but not in the semblance of mortals, but as spirits; and by virtue of their presence, strove to make man wise and upright before Jehovah. Upon the earth the number of such angels was millions. To these angels Jehovah spoke:
04/7.6. Behold the work you have taken in hand! It was commanded to you all, to partake of all the fruits of the earth except of the fruit of the tree of life, which is of the knowledge of the earth and heaven, lest you lose your inheritance in etherea.
04/7.7. Behold, you now have sons and daughters on the earth; by your love to them you have become bound spirits of the lower heaven. Until you redeem them in wisdom and power even to the sixth generation, you shall not rise again and inherit My emancipated heavens.
04/7.8. To which end you shall be co workers with one another in system and order. In My name you shall become an organic body and known as the heaven of the earth, or lower heaven, which shall travel with the earth.
04/7.9. And I will allot to you a Chief, who is wise in experience in founding heavenly kingdoms; and he shall appoint from among you, officers, messengers, ashars, asaphs, and es’enaurs [angel leadership positions], and you shall be numbered and apportioned to your labor and places, like in My other lower heavens on other worlds.
04/7.10. He who is Chief shall be called God of this heaven and the earth, which are now bestowed to his making.
04/7.11. And God shall have a Council and throne within his heavenly city; and the place shall be called Hored, because it is the first kingdom of God in this firmament.
04/7.12. And God shall rule on his throne, for it is his; and his Council shall rule with him; in My name they shall have dominion over angels and mortals belonging to the earth.
04/7.13. And God shall appoint Chiefs under him who shall go down and dwell on the earth with mortals; and the labor of these Chiefs shall be with mortals for their resurrection. And these Chiefs shall be called Lords, for they are Gods of land, which is the lowest rank of My commissioned Gods.
04/7.14. And God and his Lords shall have dominion from two hundred years to a thousand or more years; but never more than three thousand years [a Dan]. According to the regions of dan (light) into which I bring the earth, so shall the terms be for the office of My Gods and My Lords.
04/7.15. And God and his Lords shall raise up officers to be their successors; these officers shall be appointed and crowned in My name by God and his Lords.
04/7.16. At the termination of the dominion of My God and his Lords, they shall in these, My bound heavens, gather together all those angels who have been prepared in wisdom and strength for resurrection to My etherean [celestial] kingdoms. And these angels shall be called Brides and Bridegrooms to Jehovah, for they are Mine and in My service.
04/7.17. And in the time of dan I will send down ships from etherea to God, his Lords and the Brides and Bridegrooms; by My etherean [celestial] Gods and Goddesses, these ships shall descend to these heavens to receive God, his Lords and the Brides and Bridegrooms, and carry them up to the exalted regions I have prepared for them.
04/7.18. All those who ascend shall be called a Harvest to Me, through My God and Lords. And the time of My Harvests shall be according to each dan, which is two hundred years, four hundred years, six hundred years, and five hundred years; and these shall be called My lesser cycles, because they are the times of the tables of prophecy which I give to My servants.
04/7.19. But at no other times, nor in any other way, shall My Harvests ascend to My emancipated worlds in etherea. For each and every dan’ha I have created seven dans, and to each dan given six generations of mortals.

Oaspe as well as other channeled texts also detail the spacecraft and dimension shifting technology which these higher beings use in covertly guiding and governing the affairs of earth. The Law of One, a more modern cosmological work channeled by Don Elkin, goes into great detail to explain the rules of non-intervention these beings are bound by, in order to preserve man’s rights to self-determination. These texts also explain the way in which communication and travel between the various dimensions is bound by laws of physics relating to the earth’s 11 year solar cycle and the position of our solar system within its Galactic orbit.

 

[add another illustration that is a closeup of a square made on the above illustration. so in a small portion of the universe orbit we zoom in on the earth going from one of these “fixed” star systems to another. make its orbit a sinusoidal wave like oahspe shows, and explain that it is spiraling and show how it moves through the dimension, and perhaps even how it splits or activates new dimensions…]

Additionally, Oahspe and the Law of One suggest that as the earth travels through differing energetic densities of the galaxy, it affects the consciousness and intelligence of mankind in general. This concept linking energy or light in the galaxy with intelligence and consciousness is also taught in Mormonism in the Doctrine and Covenants.

7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made….
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88:11–13)

Oahspe and the Law of One go into far more detail on the specifics of how the intensity of cosmic energy affects human consciousness and behavior. It suggests that most ages of enlightenment as well as ages of apostasy and intellectual darkness are caused by the amount of intergalactic energy reaching our solar system.

38/7.6. The prophets of old divided time into cycles of three thousand years, with slight variations. And they found that at the beginning of these periods of time, a certain impulse came upon the people, causing them to try to be better and wiser—even as the same feeling is manifesting itself this day in many nations.
38/7.7. The scale then rises for four hundred years, more or less; and, after that, wars and epidemics come upon the people. They then begin to decline, especially in virtue and peace, but the general intelligence suffers little for about another six or seven hundred years. After which time, they destroy their libraries and records, and reduce themselves to ignorance and vice. Then a darkness follows of one thousand or more years, with slight intermissions. And after that, for six hundred years the corporeal senses [intellect] begin to ascend. Self conceit comes upon them; they think they are the beginning of wisdom on earth. Then comes another cycle of light. Angels descend from the unseen worlds. New revelations crop up in every quarter. Inspiration comes upon mortals, and they go to the opposite extreme, becoming superstitious and obedient to unseen influences.
38/7.8. Such, then, is the general character and behavior of man during a cycle (dan’ha cycle). And he rises and falls in all these particulars as regularly as the tides of the ocean.
38/7.9. These revelations are chiefly made so that man can begin to comprehend these things, and learn to classify them so as to rise in wisdom and virtue, and thus overcome these epidemic seasons of cycles.
38/7.10. As previously shown, there are positive and negative forces continually going to and escaping from the earth. Without these no creature could live on the earth. The negative imparts to man his corporeal growth, as well as his corporeal desires, passions, and so on.
38/7.11. According to the quantity and quality of the corpor solutions in the firmament and their precipitations to the earth, so will man be affected and inclined to manifest. These influences are easily discernible by some persons. As one is depressed by a dull day; another inclined to drunkenness and fighting. A bright day inspires man with energy… (Oahspe 38/7.6-11, Cosmogony)

[add a law of one quote here illustrating the same point. That the “logos” (law of one terminology for a governing celestial body) dictates progression of consciousness on earth ]

The following illustrations visually depict the theorized “arcs” or regions of reinforcing or cancelling galactic energy patterns described in the preceding verses.

Much of the Christian idea of “harvest” (Rev 14:15) comes from this same concept of Galactic “Times & Seasons”. Suggesting that higher beings in our galaxy seek to help people on earth progress in the same way that a gardener tends his garden. There are cosmically induced “winters” where the earth travels through un-energetic or thick nebulous regions of galactic dust which inhibit earth from receiving much of the higher wavelengths of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum (God’s spirit in religious terms), which mankind’s body and spirit rely on for intelligence and connectivity with each other and the rest of creation. These beings plant the “seeds” of civilization in the autumn (such as Moses to Christ), clear the weeds during winter (such as the dark ages), pour down inspiration during spring (such as the renaissance to present) and gather the fruit during summer (coming millennium). The higher off-planet beings who aid the earth transmit most orally communicated information first to the upper realms of earth’s spirit world where it filters down through multiple realms of that dimension before passing on to our dimension in the material world (see D&C 76:86–88).

18/6.21. Is a summer on the earth not half a time? And the winter half a time? And the two, one full time? So also I created for atmospherea [the spirit dimension] a dan (cycle) of four hundred years, and a half time of two hundred years. And in seven times and one half time I created one dan’ha.
18/6.22. For thousands of years I sent My Gods to teach these things, so that My angels could know the times of My resurrections. Does a farmer not have knowledge of the resurrection of spring, when I cover the earth over with new growing things, which I raise up out of the earth? How much more knowledge should My angels have of My spring times, in atmospherea [earth’s spirit world], when My archangels come to gather in My harvests of emancipated souls?

There are several other cosmic influence dictated by our position in the galaxy, explained in Oahspe’s cosmology which we dont have time to cover in this article. These include the 11 year solar cycle affecting the ability to travel and communicate through space. There are many activities which can occur only with the collapse of the sun’s magnetic field during solar max (get refs). These cycles as well as regions of nebula and gas clouds also affect man’s ability in the spirit world to raise or be resurrected between realms or kingdoms (refs). The realms or kingdoms of the spirit world are also raised or lowered depending on these galactic conditions (get refs).

[Add a few paragraphs here showing how the highly fragmented hindu, buddhist and mayan cosmological belief systems and calendars each sought to literally or figuratively describe the “arcs” or discs of the solar system’s orbit through the galaxy. Name specifically a few of the most popular. End with a chart showing how they fit with Christian Harvest cycles, Mormon cosmology ideas and how Oahspe contains the most detailed and believable framework for tying them all together with modern scientific/astronomical observations.]
Timeline summarizing the historical correlations or types between the times of Israel and the times of the Gentiles. Redraw this to show correlations better.

Timeline summarizing the historical correlations or types between the times of Israel and the times of the Gentiles. Redraw this to show correlations better.

[Go through and rewrite this. Remake first image to show how the pattern of each dispensation fits with the cosmology.  Especially understanding how dictatorships & monarchies are established during times of low energy… and then transition to democracies as we raise in cosmological “glory” (dictated by our location in the universes energy fields).  Add more about the gospel pattern from times of Israel to times of gentiles, etc)

The Sin Next To Murder

 

The hallmark of religious fundamentalism is promoting a worldview that does not accord with reality. In fundamentalist religions, things that don’t matter much, get blown out of proportion and things that cause social collapse, war and anarchy are dismissed as inconsequential.  For Christians, the Jewish religion at the time of Christ is a classic example. Jewish leaders executed the pacifist Christ because he dare heal on the Sabbath and declare himself Messiah, and yet allowed the insurgent Barnabas (and many like him) go free. The country was teetering on the brink of rebellion, anarchy and war, and yet the religious fundamentalist leaders were more concerned about the minutia of the Mosaic law, than the things that were truly destroying their society.

In Mormonism, we too have some history of fundamentalism—particularly in regard to sexual matters.  Marion G. Romney’s conference talk of “better dead clean, than alive unclean” is a great example of this. In the talk this LDS Apostles tells the story of his father’s harsh words as he left on his mission, that he’d rather see his son come home in a coffin, than to be sent home for sexual impropriety.  For most modern Christians this idea is of course, morally repugnant, and entirely contrary to Christ’s merciful example with the harlot (John 8:1–11). Instead it is completely in line with the world-view of the evil pharisees who brought the woman to Jesus in the first place.

Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness has some similar examples of this language and mindset. (Things condemned by Modern LDS therapists, and quoted as being “regretful” to Kimball himself later in life. see here, here and here.)

Few intelligent sociologists or therapists will dispute that there are destructive sexual practices which have the ability to rip at the fabric of a healthy society. But what I am talking about are the past LDS practices of blowing fornication (which is defined as sex between two unmarried consenting adults or minors) or other minor sexual practices way out of proportion by equating them with violence and murder.  Its this same type of unjust comparison that causes many Islamic cultures (and ancient cultures) to use violence against women as a “punishment” for sexual impropriety. LDS views of fornication may stem primarily from our interpretation of a statement made in the Book of Mormon.  In the Book of Alma, Alma the younger (who was a bit of a rebel himself in his youth) councils and censures his son Corianton for his “forsaking of his ministry” in order to make a trip to the harlot Isabel. In response to this action, Alma tells his son.

5 Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?
6 For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.
7 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good. (Alma 39:5–7)

 

The traditional interpretation of this verse has been that the prophet Alma is teaching his son that pre-marital fornication, or sex out of wedlock, is the worst sin possible with the exception of murder and “denying the Holy Ghost”.

The idea that polygamy (with its often scores of wives AND concubines) can be sanctioned by God.  But that simply unwed fornication (even if it’s between in-love, consenting adults) — is worse than torturing someone, physically assaulting someone, stealing or destroying someone’s property, blasphemy, or any of the 10 commandments except murder and being a son of Perdition (denying the Holy Ghost) is against scripture and most rational individual’s consciences.

There’s a high probability that something else is going on this this story. There’s almost certainly something we as Mormons have culturally failed to grasp in this scripture, and by not addressing and reforming this false concept, we run the risk of damaging people’s testimonies when those members finally realize how contrary to conscience and scripture the idea that ‘fornication is next to murder’ is.

The New Testament is unequivocal in declaring fornication a sin (1 Cor 5), but gives little clue to its ranking among other sins — and gives no letter of the law commandments against it. Fornication has a high likelihood of causing emotional pain, unwanted pregnancy, and selfishness so its no surprise that it would be labeled sin. But the Mosaic law interestingly, does not even specifically declare most fornication as a punishable sin (although it was undoubtedly condemned). FORNICATION WAS NOT EVEN ONE OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS–ONLY ADULTERY WAS. In fact it’s debatable what fornication’s exact place in the right and wrongs of the Mosaic law was. The mosaic law attached the death penalty to nearly EVERY aspect of adultery. And ALL cases of fornication which involve a married individual or “forcing” (rape). As well as temple prostitution (a common old world form of sex trafficking). However, there is no evidence of a physical penalty being addressed to fornication in the Mosaic law AT ALL, except when the woman…

1- Is still part of her father’s house and lies about her virginity, defaming her father’s honor (Deut 22:13–20)
2- Is the daughter of a temple priest. (Lev. 21:9) This may just be talking about making the daughter a temple whore or prostitute (19:29)
3- Becomes a paid prostitute (Duet 23:18).

In typical cases of fornication, the consequence was that the Man had to marry the virgin he slept with. But if she, or her father wouldn’t have it, then the man had to pay a bride-price or tax to the father. (Exodus 22:16–17, Deut 22:22–29)

[Before the Mosaic law, it seems the Middle-Eastern religious customs were often similar to modern back-woods Pakistan and other unequal patriarchal societies. Fornication was more or less culturally/religiously acceptable for men, BUT NOT FOR WOMEN. As illustrated in the story of Judah’s sex with Tamar in Gen. 38. Judah commands Tamar to be put to death when she is accused of being a temple prostitute… until he finds out HE is the father of her child, which causes him to marry her instead of killing her. The Mosaic law undoubtedly incorporated many of these (often unjust) cultural traditions (ie. Numbers 5:11–31), but strangely seems to deliberately avoid penalties for simple fornication.]

From available Old Testament and traditional evidence it seems most likely that in the case of Corianton, either

1- Corianton was married, and was committing adultery.

2- Isabel was a temple prostitute, and Corianton was indulging in an all too common idolatrous temple rite involving (often gratuitous) sexual acts. (Temple prostitutes were an ancient form of sex trafficking and were often lured into the prostitution at a young age, and often engaged in group sex acts). Because Isabel is called a “harlot”, this is the most likely scenario.

The Doctrine and Covenants instructs fornication is to be dealt with on an equal level with stealing, lying, etc.. (D&C 42:74–93). And the new Testament classifies it with sins such as being a hypocrite, greedy or rejecting the law of consecration. So although fornication is unquestionably condemned in scripture, it seems obvious that this B.O.M. scripture has caused the gravity of this sin to be GREATLY overrated.

And since I know how the Mormon mind works concerning anyone who dares question our shady overzealous beliefs on extramarital sex…..
No, this author has never fornicated.  😉

Some interesting references on Fornication & Temple Prostitution

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6238-fornication
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitution
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Prostitution#Religious_prostitution
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/sex-in-the-service-of-aphrodite-did-prostitution-really-exist-in-the-temples-of-antiquity-a-685716.html

http://www.rmsbibleengineering.com/page2/adultery/page2_1.html
http://www.seedbed.com/is-premarital-sex-a-sin-bible-scholars-respond/

Redefining the LDS (Protestant) View of the “Great Apostasy”

In this article I hope to unravel some of the contradiction found it the current LDS perspective on the “Great Apostasy“, which I believe is for the most part a popular protestant view adopted by church leaders during Joseph Smith’s time. Instead of ‘great’ or universal apostasy, LDS scriptures seem to support a dispensationalist view of apostasy. In other words, at no time was there a world-wide or universal apostasy or loss of priesthood and truth. Instead God simply took those things from one people, and gave them to another. Despite their wickedness God allowed ‘Israel’ to be his ‘church’ or archetype of how heaven operates to the world from Abraham to Christ. After Christ, Israel fell into apostasy as the gospel and job of being Jehovah’s church or archetype passed to the Gentiles and Catholic Church. Joseph Smith’s ‘restoration’ heralds the message that the priesthood and truth is about to be taken from the gentiles (as they fall into apostasy) and given back to gathered Israel (Middle Eastern & Latin peoples). Under their new leadership, the neo Christianity will then unite Islam, Old Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism & Traditional Chinese religion too. In the end, the renewal of the covenant and religious priesthood keys, is part of a repeated pattern wherein Israel’s “God” or the “heavenly church” takes turns establishing new covenants and symbolic systems with each of the world’s peoples at assorted key times and seasons of human history. (And has nothing to do with truth, priesthood, the gospel or church being taken completely from the earth.)

The Great Apostasy doctrine was conceived by 16th century reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Thomas, John Knox, and Cotton Mather. It is a necessary pillar in the protestant idea of the universal priesthood of all believers, and was used to justify the protestant view of salvation without need for Catholic priesthood or apostolic succession. For early Mormon’s the doctrine was seen as an effective backdrop to show a need for priesthood restoration and exclusivity claims. However, I hope to show how adopting this doctrine has caused us to misinterpret the Bible and modern scripture and actually weaken the LDS position. It causes many to lose faith in the WEAK, illogical, contradictory and inconsistent ‘God’ that this doctrine requires. As an example I offer the following logical contradictions and inconsistencies that are caused by mixing the idea of Universal Apostasy with LDS theology.

  1. Why would divinity reject the religious priesthood (or keys) of the Gentile Medieval Church for their possible small succession breaches and doctrinal corruptions, when he supposedly continued to honor the priesthood of ancient Israel despite their enormous repeated succession crises, repeated disobedience, doctrinal corruptions with neighboring false religions, idol worship (including the promotion of the ashterah sex cults and the sacrifice of their children to Baal), as well as killing of the prophets and even their national destruction and captivity?
  2. If God’s priesthood and ordinances are so important, why did God wait nearly 2000 years to restore them after they were supposedly lost? If God’s church plays such a huge role in salvation, why has it always had such a minimal (or non existent) role in human affairs (according to the great apostacy model)? Why couldn’t God select a few people to go 2000 miles into middle of uninhabited Asia and reestablish his Church like he did with the early LDS Saints? If we think the devil would have destroyed any attempts, then doesn’t that make God weaker than the devil? Couldn’t He have preserved the church with his “matchless power” as He did over and over with the tiny (and usually wicked) nation of Judah? (Or as we suppose He did with early Mormonism.)
  3. Why would God have ancient prophets prophesy that the gospel & kingdom would be taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles, and later command the apostles to preach his gospel to the ends of the earth— just to let that kingdom completely fail within a few hundred years? Didn’t he say to Peter “thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matt 16:16–19). So why did the gates of Hell prevail within a few hundred years? Especially when history shows there were so many scattered groups of good (priesthood authorized) people doing their best to live this newly formed Christian faith throughout the history of the Gentile church.
  4. Suggesting that the Catholic/Orthodox Church, which is by many standards the largest and most influential, globally civilizing church that the world has ever known, was completely rejected by God because of its numerous issues and evils (or in fact is the Church of the Devil as some have suggested)—requires the logical thinker to draw the same conclusions about the ancient Israelite religion, and also modern Mormonism when presented with the repeated episodes of internal conflict, church endorsed brutality, succession crises and doctrinal corruptions that each of these organizations have experienced.
  5. LDS scripture suggests that God “restored” gospel knowledge and a new priesthood covenant to many different dispensations throughout the scriptural history (such as Abraham, Moses, Nephi and the Jaredites). None of these restorations were the result of universal apostasy. In each of these cases OTHER priesthood holders and ‘branches’ of the church existed simultaneously. What evidence is there that Joseph Smith’s case was any different?
  6. Why does close examination of the most prominent scriptures which have been used to support a universal apostasy, show that they make little sense in such a context?

I believe these issues come from a fundamentalist interpretation of restorationism, history and scripture. Instead of seeing Biblical prophets as religious archetypes and messengers of a heavenly church, and seeing the Israelite and Christian priesthood covenants as divinely created symbols or shadows of what heaven is planning for the whole of society; fundamentalist interpretations get caught up in narrow-minded and overly-literal scriptural interpretations that end up destroying faith in god and dividing groups and distorting the heavenly system they are supposedly meant to display to the world.

As a beginning proof of divinity’s guiding hand in both the history of Israel and the European Gentile Church (which includes protestant Christianity), I offer this comparison of the unbelievable symbolism, historical typology, and repeated patterns displayed in the histories of Israel and the Gentile Church. In this article I will attempt to show those patterns as proof of heaven’s influence on human affairs, as well as taking another look at the scriptures used to uphold the misunderstood doctrine of universal apostasy. (This historical dualism concept comes from the recently “revealed” Jewish revelation, The Book of Ben Kathryn — and is suggested to be the key to unraveling Daniel’s 70 weeks prophesy concerning the Restoration of Israel and end of the Times of the Gentiles)

Timeline summarizing the historical correlations or types between the times of Israel and the times of the Gentiles. Redraw this to show correlations better.

Timeline summarizing the historical correlations or types between the times of Israel and the times of the Gentiles.  Note the similarities in the upper timeline (spanning from Abraham to Christ), and the lower timeline (spanning from Christ to present). The following section will show how each “age” or “time” followed a divinely guided blueprint in order to create a group capable of having the largest possible impact on human evolution and history.

14 And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived (D&C 52:14)

The Divine Pattern of Western Civilization & Global Advancement

People tend to find meaning and patterns in the strangest things. Apophenia, which is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data, is something I’m all too aware of.  But as I’ve studied religious history over the last decade or so I have been amazed by the striking patterns and types that I myself (and thousands of others) have seen between the biblical narrative of Israel’s history and the Gentile Christian Dispensation. In my opinion, self fulfilling prophesy seems a far stretch to account for all the correlations. To begin with, as shown in the above diagram, both dispensations were started by a “King of Righteousness” known as a “Son of God” (Melchizedek vs. Christ). Both involved an early period of 12 closely related tribalistic factions. Both tribal groups were brought into special position and growth within a major southern global empire, only to later be enslaved by the arrangement (Joseph of Egypt vs Constantine of Rome). Both were freed from that arrangement about the same time that a spirit of legal codification swept the region. (The Mosaic code, with Hammurabi’s code and others matching with Justinian’s code, Sharia law and the host of legal codes which swept through the Germanic nations almost exactly 2000 years later.)

Both of these periods of codification (legal codes which strongly shaped the future of civilization) were accompanied by a type of imperial Holy War to help bring those legal codes to a larger populous. Joshua and Hammurabi’s conquest of the Holy Land and Mesopotamia corresponding to Belisarius’ and Muhammad’s conquest of the Mediterranean & Middle East (where Belisarius expanded the rising Christian Byzantine Empire to double its size). Just as Joshua’s conquest occurred nearly the same time as Babylon’s first major burst of expansionism, Belisuarius’ campaigns match very closely with the rapid growth of early Islam. The rise of Islam from Judaic & Christian roots in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, matching the raise of proto-Indo-Aryan religion out of Babylonian and Egyptian traditions 2000 years earlier. This indo-Aryan religion would go on to spread into Rome, Greece, Persia and India and was the base for the pantheons of Vedic/Hindu, Zoroastrian, Akkadian and Greek religions.

Each of these dispensations went through a centrally defining period of religious imperialism, where the religious leader began to anoint the emperor (Samuel anointing Saul in the case of Israel and Pope Leo II anointing Charlemagne in the case of the Gentile Church/Holy Roman Empire). Both of these religious empires shortly thereafter experienced a major schism. The division of the kingdom of Judah & Israel in the dispensation of Israel, and the Great East-West Schism which split the Roman & Eastern Orthodox Church. And not too long after that, both dispensations faced a radical destruction of their power and authority. Israel’s ‘Babylonian Captivity’ matching with the 70 year Avignon Papacy, called the ‘Babylonian Captivity of the popes’ by many. In both cases this destruction of power created a dissatisfaction with authoritarian/priesthood abuse and gave rise to a spirit of protestant or sectarianism. Ezra’s reforms matching those of Luther, where scripture was rewritten, translated and recanonized–accompanying fundamental shift in the way authority was viewed. In both cases this pluralistic religious sectarianism (called ‘Second Temple Sectarianism’ in Israel, or ‘schools’ by Josephus) seemed to accompany a similar spirit in the regional political arena where democracy and republics began to replace monarchies.

Also during this period, each dispensation went through a matching colonial phase where people from the region began to colonize the entire world. Although 15th-20th century European expansionism and colonialism is well known, fewer are aware of the massive Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Jewish colonial efforts which took place 2000 years earlier. Apart from the well known colonies of the Mediterranean, Britain, Scandinavia, Crimea, India and central Asian (Scythian) colonies, Mormon theology proposes that at least three distinct and influential colonies to non-eurasian continents or “isles of the sea” (2 Ne 10:21, Jacob 5) existed—suggesting that the Israel/Gentile Church pattern or analog may be even stronger than modern archaeology is willing to currently accept.

In my article Parallels between the Times of Israel and the Times of the Gentiles, I detail many additional types, patterns and parallels many of which are inevitably a product of confirmation bias, but given as a whole the correspondence is not easily dismissed. Indeed LDS and other restorationism scriptures are replete with allusions to the parallelism between dispensational ages. (see Ether 13:2–12, JS-Matt 1:32–33, 3 Ne 8, 2 Ne 21:1, D&C 113:3, Deut 8:15, Acts 3:22, 3 Ne 21:8–11, D&C 103:16, etc)  By comparing the dispensation of Israel with the dispensation of the Gentiles, we can see how a Universal Apostasy in either of these dispensations makes little sense given scriptural and historical accounts. I think these strong parallels and the doctrinal contradictions which they help clear up are a solid reason to take another look at the scriptures which we use to support the old protestant Great Apostasy doctrine promoted in modern LDS theology. I propose that just like throughout the Dispensation of Israel, priesthood continued in the Catholic Church throughout the Dispensation of the Gentiles. However, much like the forerunner John the Baptist, Joseph Smith was one of many restorationism mystics who felt “called” to announce the End of the Gentile Dispensation and its coming fall (its fullness), and the restoration of the Lord’s covenant to Israel.

Why Stay LDS (with tips for challenging, and handling challenges to your faith)

1. I stay because my extensive (obsessive? 😉 ) research into religion and the afterword, as well as my metaphysical experiences have convinced me that religious experience in a group is a vital key to graduating to the next higher dimension after death. (see LOO 43.14-15 38.7, Oahspe 05/14.1-3 18/6.21-28 27/28.15-23 32/1.28-52 32/6.1-19 33/2-7 i030, JS. Ward, etc..)
2. I stay because I am convinced that nearly all major religions are divinely inspired to increase the likelyhood of harvest (exaltation), by placing us in a system of difficult ambiguities, opposites or paradoxes. Solving those paradoxes makes individuals and groups ready to move on to the higher dimensions after death. (which ends up advancing earth’s evolution)
3. I stay because I believe Mormonism (like most large religions) was divinely inspired in its founding (in ways more complex than one might think). I believe the negative aspects of its theology, founders and leadership are part of a plan. Much like Pharisaical Judaism or legalistic Catholicism or Islam, these issues are tools to help the group grow by learning good from evil. The organization is made to by a type or copy of the good and evil in the world  and its social systems in general.
4. I stay because I believe LDS scripture and temple ritual is designed to show us the natural progression from selfishness and egotism, to unconditional love and selflessness. Paradoxically, early selfishness actually increases the power and influence the group will yield once it grows up and transmutes the bad into good.
5. I stay because LDS and Christian scripture exposes and prophesies of its current condition in incredibly sophisticated ways. This proves to me that God has intelligently designed earth’s largest religions (inc. Mormonism) as object lessons for us. And inspires me to help others through the system, not simply fight them or the system.
6. I stay because ALL religion and earthly social systems have major issues. I seek to follow Christ’s example in reforming those systems through humility, wisdom and martyrdom. By this, more progressed souls help the less progressed souls and advance the world in its evolution little by little.
7. I stay because I am convinced there are higher dimensions in the Universe which are inhabited by beings who wish to help us advance. I also am convinced of an incredibly complex system of life after death, and an even more complex system allowing distorted communication between the dimensions. I believe Mormonism is subtly influenced by these beings… who have planed for our inevitable distortion, culturalization and misunderstanding of their attempted direction. I believe they have shared incredible wisdom in their channeled messages — and we should not get hung up over the egregious cultural distortions or inevitable egotistical wickedness of their chosen channels.

Introduction

First off. I hope this article doesn’t come across as patronizing. I don’t want to talk down to anyone as if my truth should be your truth, or like my perspective is more valid than yours. And I’m not here to verbally strong-arm anyone into staying in, or leaving Mormonism. But I do want to share with you my unique pluralistic perspective in hopes that it might be helpful to you or someone you know who might be struggling with certain aspects of the LDS Church or religion in general.

Like many out there, adulthood and the internet has brought me unimagined insight into Mormonism’s faith inspiring story and its nearly insurmountable issues. But perhaps more uniquely than many practicing Mormons, it’s also helped me to study much of the the world’s prominent religious works; inspiring me to realize the amazing ways that a universalist view is supported by Mormon scripture. I’m attempting to show with this site how Jewish, Christian and LDS scripture & ritual may have been intelligently designed to purposefully begin believers on a path of egocentric belief, binary thinking & fundamentalism, in order to bring them onto more nuanced beliefs respecting universal love and religious pluralism. Transforming them, as Paul in the New Testament puts it, from a “slave” of lower religion, to a “joint-heir” of the ‘gods’ themselves. (Gal 4:5–7, Rom 7, Rom 8:17, see details in my articles Is the LDS church True, and My Testimony of the LDS Church.)

My interesting spiritual experiences may also make my perspective unique to you. From the baptism of fire or burning heart, to visions and dreams of ministering beings or seeing spirits. I’ve not only had profound metaphysical experiences, but I’ve carefully analysed and written about them from both a faithful religious perspective as well as from an agnostic scientific perspective. (I’ve tried to explain these experiences as frankly as possible in one of my articles.) I’ve scoured countless religious canons, near-death experiences and channeled works to find a worldview that best harmonizes my subjective supernatural experiences with both Mormonism’s and those of countless others coming from various cultures. In addition to Joseph Smith’s visions of Deity, I’ve studied the incredibly similar subjective theophany experiences and revealed scripture of contemporary modern ‘prophets’ like Siyyid Shírází (Founder of Bahá’í Faith; 8 million adherents), Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad (Aḥmadiyya Muslims; 20 million adherents), Hong Xiuquan (prophetic icon of Chinese millennialism), Jachanan Ben Kathryn (Messianic Judaism), and others. I hope that the perspective and worldview that I attempt to share in this and my following articles might help you as they’ve helped me to find a space in the Mormon tradition that is objectively aware of both its divine destiny and beauty, as well as its contradictions and humanistic aspects while still remaining a believing active participant of the faith and its culture—even if like me you come to see its exclusive truth claims as a common example of mistaking intelligently designed symbols, shadows, types and archetypes for the unexplainable & unknowable realities they are meant to symbolize (see Col 2:16-19Heb 10:1).

What do u see Optical illusion

Perspective is Everything. The differences in human perspective can make the same truths take completely different shapes and memes depending on the way we look at them.

The Power of Perspective & Empathy

As I get older, I’m continually amazed at the difference perspective makes. The angle you approach a topic from, or the biases you are culturally conditioned with can mean the difference between seeing an old ugly hag or a beautiful young maiden in all the things of life (to borrow from William Hill’s famous illusion shown above).  Like many youth raised in a religion, when I was young all I could see was beauty in my religious culture, doctrines and history. The untimely death of my father just before my mission prodded me to seek solace in Mormonism almost as if it were a parent to me. Like a beautiful new bride, the church and its doctrines were my model of truth and perfection. But as I got older and continued really dedicating myself to knowing the truths of religion and the afterworld — and began carefully comparing the Church’s teachings to its own history & scriptures, or to that of other religions and their holy literature, I came to see a dark side I never anticipated. Instead of just seeing the LDS church’s teachings as the pinnacle of divine truth and right-living, I came to see a more human, conflicting, contradicting and egotistical side of the church (see here for examples).

Perhaps coming to see the “shadow side” of my religion shouldn’t have come as a surprise in my life. As opposed to my literal marriage, which I fully expected would be a challenge as the infatuation glasses slowly came off—I never suspected that close scrutiny of my religion might reveal a combination of truth mixed with well meaning pretense.  As the shiny ‘correlation’ clothes and the ‘hidden-history’ makeup have come off, I’ve had to make a decision of loyalty and focus. Do I choose to focus on this newly discovered ugliness to the point that I forget the divine beauty I once was in love with? Do I divorce or leave this “bride of Christ” because she made herself out to be far more divine than human?  Or do I recognize her mixture of falsity and divinity as a reflection of the same conditions in my own nature, and use it as a tool for social, spiritual and personal improvement?

Through my faith journey I’ve striven for the goal to see all people, religions and concepts from an eye of unconditional love and universal understanding. I’ve been lucky enough to have dreams and visions to show me unique new ways to see how my cultural beliefs fit into the larger picture of faith and human spirituality. Maybe my experiences were my imagination—but either way, I’d like to share with you some of the concepts I’ve learned. I hope I can show how the pluralistic beliefs of powerful thinkers like Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell or even contemporary authors like Richard Rohr or Reza Aslan (interviewed by Oprah in the hour long special posted at the end of this article) can fit within the Mormon scriptural narrative. And how the Mormon scriptural narrative might be intelligently designed to fit into the global human drama. Like them, I’m trying to speak from a perspective of one who is fully aware of both the positive and the negative fruit in all religion but has overcome the true/false trap, consciously choosing to find beauty, meaning and utility in the whole of it.

The Church’s Pattern of Progression in its Historical Context

As we come to understand how culturally influenced, partial and flawed our human religions are, I think that more than anything else it’s important to come to see them as the dynamically changing and evolving social structures that they are. Like living stones in a rising temple of humanity that has, is and will go through the same Fowler’s Stages of Faith and progression as the rest of us. Although impossible to prove or disprove, the Christian and LDS scriptures (as well as many other holy texts in other cultures) seem to present the idea that a combination of deceased ancestors, higher dimensional beings, a collective unconsciousness or even our future selves are somehow involved in starting religions and then intermittently working on them through the different times & seasons like a gardener. In the cold and darkness of early spring the imaginations and subconscious of charismatic (but often egotistical) dreamers and visionaries are used to plant revolutionary religious seeds according to the pre-existing soil type or culture. Religious mystics like those I mentioned earlier will have powerful visions and channel thousands of pages of sophisticated religious literature. (ie. see here) As the creators step back to watch and see which new religious branches or sects do best they often allow rigid garden cages or strict rules and mores to be emplaced in order to hold the ‘plant’ while its young. They seem to often allow (or possibly encourage?) fanatical egotism, rampant falsity and violent struggle in the early stages to build a cohesive culture and sustainable base of cohesive believers. Eventually, they come again in early summer to remove unsuccessful starts as well as the stakes and cages on the ‘plants’ that have evolved past them and can stand on their own. Then when fully grown they use those diverse organizations to unify cultures and influence politics according to their aims. And lastly, they come to harvest the souls & new seeds before the winter comes to bring death and dissolution to the spent ‘plant’ religion or culture. (see Scattering and Gathering of Israel)

Uncontacted primitive tribe living in Brazilian rain forest photographed in 2010

Uncontacted primitive tribes like this one currently living in Brazilian rainforest help us to consider how our world might also be just like these groups which are totally unaware of the advanced civilizations which dwell around and above them. Just as international laws of limited or no contact are being drafted to protect the self-determination of these groups, it is logical to consider that higher dimensional groups are also highly constrained by laws in the manners they are allowed to subtly influence human culture, through the imaginations, thoughts and visions of our cultural icons. (see Zoo Hypothesis & Fermi Paradox)

Choosing a Positive Focus Amid Negativity

It seems to be true that like early Judaism, and aspects of CatholicismIslam and many churches before us, Mormonism currently sees itself as God’s highest and most-true, final revelation. It has a unique view of history which often puts itself squarely in the center of almost everything. Many in the church see being a faithful adherent as dependent upon a “testimony” that they are members of the only true church with the only true priesthood in the earth’s final dispensation with the only means of receiving ordinances absolutely necessary for salvation in the highest heavens. Some perceive that our church is fully in charge of single-handedly saving the entire world through our vicarious ordinances. Some view salvation as dependent upon faith in the nearly demigod status and teachings of current or founding prophets. A few see every human advancement (like democracy, airplanes and the internet) as specifically given by God to mankind JUST to help Mormonism be spread throughout the world. The almost narcissistic exclusivism inherent in these beliefs, when compared to similar beliefs in religions like radical Islam — and combined with overwhelming historical proof of our fallibility on topics like early polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, myth in scripture, or ‘prophetic’ errancy combined with the numerous historical and doctrinal contradictions like those addressed in the popular CES letter, may upset many members to the point where they want to abandon belief in divinity or the church.

Before I had really studied out the opposing arguments, I was once absolutely convinced that my powerful spiritual experiences validated the above LDS truth claims, and I can empathize with those who still feel that way. On the other hand, if my words on LDS narcissism explains part of the negativity you perceive, let me just say I get you too, and can truly empathize with you–even though I hope to show you a way to stay a positive, loving participant in the faith by showing how Mormonism might have been designed to fill a more humble role within a larger divine universalist perspective.  My existing paradigms and faith were seriously challenged and entirely rebuilt, when my own spiritual experiences and research on history and other religions helped me see how complex, contradictory and difficult some of our exclusivist beliefs and traditions were to defend. (Given we simply use different words to say essentially the same things as so many others religions which we call falseand our testimonies are based on the same logic and emotional/spiritual confirmations. Watch this video for example.) My experiences growing up in the church were so positive and full of overwhelming spiritual confirmation that I never quite understood friends and family members who left. But when my desire to empathize with those I loved caused me to study enough to really see the ‘ugly old woman’ of contradiction in the same doctrines which had once given my life beauty and purpose I fully understood why many people I know would leave or feel forced out. But my advice for those just beginning this process, echoes the advice given to me in my own dark night of the soul as well as that given in Christian Scripture. That “Christ” (as an archetype of unconditional or universal love – not as a religious idol) is divinely designed to show the way to a joyful escape from the binary paradox or true/false paradigm in fundamentalist religion.

Allow me to unpack what I mean by that.

By seeing that Christian and LDS core scripture and temple ritual may be divinely written to show the progression of Israel and mankind from an essentially false, egocentric, overly-literal fundamentalist outward religion to a more true, unteachable, archetypal loving inward religion one can peacefully make that transition in their own worldview—and have a confidence that there is indeed an unseen divine working behind the scenes to guide evolution in an upward direction. All religion’s radically change over their lifespans, and I believe Christian scripture is designed not only to show you that cyclical progression—but to help you determine where you and your denomination are in that cycle. So if you’re ahead of the group in your love and awareness of contradiction and falsity; the most effective solution may be to follow Jesus’ lead of being patient and thoughtful with those who might be behind the curve. And just as there is wisdom in the idea of being a saving light in the darkness, or the salt of the earth—there is also wisdom in the idea of being a Mormon who sees through the fundamentalism and cultural mythos and yet still humbly participates in the underlying divine community in order to save or help others by your example of selflessness. Realize that like the Chinese yin and yang seeks to symbolize — that bad, falsity, egocentrism and negativity are an inseparable part of humanity’s good, truth, selflessness and positivity. Because of the binary nature of human perspective, they cannot meaningfully exist apart from each-other. Every individual, human religion, political entity or scientific organization has a healthy mixture of both across its lifespan. Realize that there might be intelligent reasons why most of the world’s largest and most influential organizations have been led by strict, narrow-minded, egocentric and sometimes even blindly fanatical individuals and power structures in the early stages of their development. As much as I hate to be machiavellian, It seems all too clear to me that without power (which tends to be dogmatic and inherently egocentric), the good one has to offer in the world is often largely irrelevant. It seems obvious to me that the good people of this world (and we might suppose divine beings in the next world), use these inherent attributes of human nature to both build influential people and organizations and turn them toward the light.

All organization go through different stages in their lifecycle. The Judeo christian canon seems to paint a historically based metaphorical story of life stages and archetypes. Early group archetypes selfishly focus on increasing the power & purity of the group through legalism, absolutism and fundamentalism (typified by orthodox Judaism and the Mosaic law). Later the group reaches an inflection point or transformation to selflessness through mercy and universal love (typified by Christ’s sacrifice & Pauline Christianity). Finally the unified view gained from their various experiences give them the wisdom to guide future generations from beyond the grave (symbolized by Resurrection eschatology. (see Redefining the LDS/Protestant view of the Great Apostasy)

The Inevitable Idolatry of Organized Religion

As I’ve moved from the fundamentalist orthodoxy of my youth to perhaps more nuanced rational beliefs, one of the most impressive testimony builders in my view of Mormonism & Christianity has been how (like most global religions) the revealed aspects of the religion seemed to be intelligently designed to allow for opposing perspectives of interpretation. Like brilliant poetry, musical lyrics or literature which purposely use ambiguity to allow their works to mean different things to different people. It seems each generation is purposely given the opportunity to reinterpret the same scripture, and use them for good or bad, pride or humility, power, love or wisdom. And what’s more, LDS revelations seem to have hidden clues to the religion’s own inevitable falsities or lower aspects within its own doctrinal narrative (especially within its temple rituals)! As one Judaic example of this— the beginning of the Biblical narrative essentially starts with Moses coming down from the Mount with a law from God, commanding above all other things not to put human-imagined gods before the ONE incomprehensible universal god of creation who just freed these ignorant slaves. This God tells them not to kill or be unfair and especially not to make or worship human-conceived gods, religious systems or idols (and especially not to do it in the name of God!).

And what happens when Moses comes down from the heavenly Mount? His brother Aaron is already making the people an Egyptian golden calf-god to worship!  So in a strange display of irony, we are told that this divine deity representing the One True Universal Reality or I AM makes that same idol-creating man and his posterity, Israel’s religious priesthood who are put in charge of executing opponents, and building and officiating in a temple and religious system that history has shown was in many respects uncannily similar to the one they just left. One which (like almost every major religion since) then goes on a rampage of supposed benevolent genocide conquering desired territory in the name of the national God (see Ex 32:19-29!).

Volumes could (and have) been written on the paradoxical irony of the amazing biblical account. An account of a universal God who is in so many ways the exact opposite of every religious system and deity of the time, within the framework of a people and priesthood who in more ways than not, behave exactly the same as every selfish and egocentric religious and political system in history. So I ask myself what might wise humans or divine beings be trying to teach us with the story of how Jewish priesthood originated? Somewhat secular books like free-masonry’s Morals and Dogma by Robert Pike lay out the conclusion of many of the most wise and influential minds of the post-medieval period. While angelically revealed books like Oahspe share a surprisingly similar message from a divine perspective. A message that I believe is clearly and cleverly hidden within eastern religions like Taoism, the LDS endowment, the writings of Paul and all Christian scripture.

Every religion is a temple that (even if founded on divine foundations) is largely built by human hands which creates an idol or image of God that by the very fallibility of man must inevitably be carved from a limited and biased human perspective. Whether you believe a prophet or scripture is divine or not should not change the inescapable truth that all men intentionally or accidentally create idols of God by projecting or mirroring their cultural biases and paradigms onto God/the divine (even in their revelations and visions of the metaphysical realms)! But part of what makes religious participation so divine is the way that simply participating in these traditions helps to unify huge groups of people, creating culture and paving the way for nation-building, democracy and global unity. Religion is a key component in driving philosophical and political thought as adherents learn to find and ‘prize the good’ by learning to differentiate the human from the divine through the trial and error of darkness. It is the practice hall or schoolmaster for political thought. The thinkers who have effectively worked their way through the gambit of these religious paradoxes rule the world and heavens, and the befuddled religious faith of today becomes the more perfect cultures, gods and political realities of tomorrow.

Timeline summarizing the scriptural types, pattern or repeat of history between the times of Israel and the times of the Gentiles. The two segments of the four thousand year history are placed one on top the other to better illustrate the repeated events. Within this historical allegory are countless other types, shadows, historical allegories and teaching tools reportedly created by higher divine beings to manifest their influence on the current age of human history. See Parallels between the Times of Israel and Times of the Gentiles. Note the progression of the religious systems from dogmatic authoritarianism to more pluralistic democracy.

Keeping the Faith & Staying Mormon.

I want to offer the reader an unpressured bias to reconsider the importance of faith despite the contradictions or paradoxes you may have found. In my experience of spending a few years on Mormonthink, Reddit and other assorted webpages and facebook groups I found that although the thoughtful negativity found in those places may have helped to deconstruct the idols of cultural understanding that my mainstream Mormon upbringing may have carved in my mind— it didn’t give me many constructive ideas on how to improve myself, my culture or my spiritual understanding. It definitely didn’t bring me any profound visions of my own. I found that re-reading core LDS scripture in completely new ways and thoughtful esoteric literature such as featured on this site, did a much better job of giving me spiritual insight and heavenly visions that completely reconstructed my Mormon faith and religious views. What did bring me happiness was learning to see past the cultural bias, symbols, metaphors, memes, myths, rules and carved idols of our man-made aspects of religion— into the hidden universal truths, purposes, wisdom and communion of divine spirituality. Finding ways to steer the culture into more constructive paths instead of merely abandoning it or trying to tear it down. (see needed reformation in the church)

I believe Mormonism is built upon some pretty amazing divine religious metaphors. I’ve found it has within its scriptural theology the language and symbols to begin to reconcile some of the world’s most difficult opposing religious ideas. Issues such as polytheism versus monotheism; visionary experience versus hallucination; resurrection versus reincarnation; legalism versus antinomianism, priesthood versus protestantism, heavenly revelation versus human thought, religious infallibility versus pastoral errancy, and Christian exclusivism vs universalism. And reconciling each of these paradoxes has essential political applications to help societies prosper. Today, the church may ostracize you for challenging their one-sided views of these complex ideas. But I encourage you to follow Christ into the true baptismal grave of standing for whats right even when your religious leaders wish you were dead. In fact your debate, even if it means excommunication, is essential to the eternal progression and power of the group. I believe Christ’s central lesson was that constructive change usually comes from humble activists (even if they’re excommunicated), more than separatists and that all earthly religion is divinely designed to be continually transmuted by “Christ’s” followers (the loving martyrs) from selfishness to selflessness. I made a decision sometime ago that I would not throw away any of my relationships simply because I saw the yin when everybody else only seemed to be blindly aware of the yang. (Even if sharing my personal perspectives and truths occasionally causes conflict.) Although perhaps more people are leaving Mormonism today over the issues I cover on this site, than has ever occured in it’s history, I offer you the unpressured bias that staying with open eyes is possible and worth it—and I hope my articles give you some scripturally-based language to share perspectives differing from the often fundamentalist mainstream. I hope I can illicit your help and friendship as a new generation of Mormons begins to take the reigns of the church and steer it ever closer into line with what the subtle whispers of Spirit constantly direct for it and all mankind.

Its important to realize that the groups we immerse ourselves in, have immense implications.  Although I’m asking readers to take what I’m about to say on faith, I hope you’ll believe that religious adherents (especially Mormons and Jews) have a level of psychic connection that most simply don’t understand. Some authors have referred to this connection as a “social-memory-complex”. In essence, the rituals and practices that Mormons participate in create a subconscious connection to a pool of shared intelligence which can be accessed by the entire group. This can have both advantages and disadvantages. Many of the phenomena that adept members often mistake as “being in tune with the Spirit” actually has to do with individual’s abilities to access that shared subconscious pool of information. It also has implications on the subjective afterlife state as well and the transmigration of the soul. There is a reason why Jews have been such powerful inventors and philosophers over the last 4 millennia. Although Mormonism has some repenting and purging to do, I assure you that staying close to the group (even if not an active participant–until after their cleansing) will have rich rewards to those able to draw from both the physical and metaphysical energy, intelligence & resources of the group consciousness.

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I hope these articles I’ve written can help you look at LDS and Christian scripture from a new perspective that reconciles many of the issues you may have discovered.

Article 1. Re-examining what LDS scriptures say about the ‘Only True Church’ doctrine.

Article 2.  A Doctrinal Look at The Universal Priesthood of God & Its Relationship to LDS exclusive truth claims.

Article 3.   Re-examining the LDS adoption of the protestant fundamentalist view of the “Great Apostasy”.

Article 4. Clearing up Misunderstandings in the LDS View of the Afterlife (The 3 Degrees of Glory and their support for religious pluralism)

See Also. Needed Reformation in the LDS Church.

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(if the below video does not display, open it in a new window here)

LDS Eternal Progression

Clearing up Misunderstandings in the LDS View of the Afterlife

Note

This article is Under Construction.

It is an excerpt from my larger treatise on Eternal Progression, Degrees of Glory, and the Resurrection: A Comparative Cosmology.

Perhaps more than any other area of religious theology, understandings of the afterworld have repeatedly been used by fundamentalist traditions and individuals to manipulate adherents into conformity with their assorted religious and cultural mores, laws and customs. From the practice of some Evangelical fundamentalists of condemning to Hell those who don’t “profess Jesus as Lord”, to the past practices of some Catholic literalists of condemning even children who die without baptism to Limbo—nearly all the world’s large religious traditions develop popular myths and egocentric beliefs about what it takes to go to a good place when we die. Like Muslims, Catholics and Jews, Mormonism also, has our own similar cultural teachings and mores which often suggest that only the faithful of our own religion who receive all the needed LDS ordinances (personally or vicariously) get to make it to the highest heaven.

In this article I hope to show that like most inspired religious canons, LDS scriptures on the afterlife are deliberately ambiguous about such matters. They are divinely designed to allow the freedom of exclusivist interpretation, while at the same time hiding a more broad pluralistic or universalist perspective within their metaphors. Churches are allowed to piece together a theology according to their agency (which often tends to be egocentric early in a religion’s lifespan). In this article we will show how by looking closely at LDS scripture and comparing Joseph Smith’s revelations to those of other mystics of the restorationist movement and near-death experiences, a far more open and common sense view of the afterworld in LDS scripture becomes apparent. A view showing that the same principles that make a nation or kingdom strong, advanced and free from corruption, moral decay and division in this life — are the same principles which classify nation’s in the afterworld as heavens. And conversely the same exclusivists fundamentalism which make nations and religions weak, divided and self-deceived in this world, makes those cultures hells in the afterworld.

The LDS View of the Afterlife

The plan of salvation

typical LDS view of eternal progression

Although LDS theology on eternal progression has changed fairly radically over time, for the typical LDS adherent the view of eternal progression and the afterworld goes something like this. After death all souls go to either the Spirit World or Spirit Prison. In some of the more egocentric LDS views, all those who reject the LDS gospel go to spirit prison until they accept the LDS version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Gospel Principles, Encyclopedia of Mormonism). In other more pluralistic LDS interpretations the divisions have less to do with religious affiliations and more to do with right living. In the Spirit World, both those of paradise and prison await the resurrection which reunites one’s spirit with a physical body. In the most accepted LDS theology, individuals are resurrected into one of three degrees of glory as delineated by Joseph Smith in D&C 76. The highest degree, called the Celestial Kingdom is for the faithful who receive all the necessary LDS ordinances and live the LDS commandments. The middle degree, called the Terrestrial Kingdom is more ambiguously defined as the abode of those who rejected the Gospel in life, but accepted it in the Spirit World. The lowest degree is typically defined as those who rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both life and after death.

In the first part of this article, I challenge some of these interpretations in order to show that LDS scripture teaches that placement in the afterworld has little to do with one’s religious membership—and everything to do with one’s desires, character and social connections. In part two (coming soon), I’ll attempt to show the similarities and differences of the after-world according to other mystics who claim to have seen it. Showing how Joseph’s vision of the three glories in D&C 76 is actually an expanded view of the spirit world, instead of simply a view of possible heavens after the resurrection.

Requirements for Entrance into Heaven

Although I’ll show in a minute how such a belief is contradictory, it’s easy to see why many (if not most) LDS people believe that the highest heaven or Celestial Kingdom is reserved for only faithful LDS members who receive (either in life or vicariously after death) all the necessary LDS ordinances and live the LDS commandments. In Joseph’s vision of the Celestial Kingdom given in D&C 76, it begins right off the bat by saying,

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. (D&C 76:51–54)

D&C 88  & John 3:5 follows in a similar fashion saying,

21 And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. 22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. (D&C 88:21–22)

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

At first glance, it’s easy to assume these scriptures are saying that LDS ordinances like baptism and confirmation by a living LDS priesthood holder is required for admittance into the highest heaven.  Although a careful reading shows that no LDS scripture specifically says any such thing.  A careful reading does show that the scriptures ALWAYS deliberately use carefully worded dualistic metaphors when talking about such matters. The need to study out these metaphors to find out why they are so purposefully vague and full of symbol becomes more apparent when we look into scriptures like the one’s we’re about to go through.

In fact, it’s easy to see how Joseph himself might have been troubled by a simple unnuanced reading of the above scriptures when considering the death of his brother Alvin–who died without receiving baptism or any of the LDS or christian ordinances. Perhaps in response to this apprehension, Joseph received a vision in 1936 concerning the afterworld. Here, Joseph saw Alvin in the Celestial Kingdom with God and the Holy Patriarchs of the Bible, and was assured that all are judged and exalted “according to the desires of their hearts” and not simply according to whether they received “saving ordinances”.

The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God…
6 And [I] marveled how it was that [Alvin] had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;
8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. (D&C 137:6–10)

Some modern LDS orthodoxy might be surprised that the answer wasn’t, “Don’t worry Joseph, Alvin is in spirit prison right now with every member of humanity whose lived outside the Gospel Covenent since the beginning of time, but he will be saved just as soon as you baptize him vicariously.”  Instead the revelation essentially says, “baptism is not the prime consideration… people are judged and placed in the afterworld “according to their works, according to the desires of their hearts.”  This revelation was given shortly after the completion of the Kirtland Temple, but nothing is said of vicarious temple work.

Despite the contradiction to this scripture (and those we’re about to cover) many LDS adherents then and now still insisted on using the verses from John 3:5 and D&C 76:51–52 (given four years earlier), to reason that physical baptism was absolutely necessary for anyone to be exalted to the highest heaven [1].  This inability to see past rigid, cultural scriptural interpretations seems quite likely the impetus for the eventual revelation on vicarious temple work completely absent in the Kirtland era and then finally revealed years later in Nauvoo. Much like Christian’s who condemned unbaptized children to hell, many church members couldn’t get past the idea that Christ might have been alluding to a deeper metaphorical meaning when he said all men must be “born of water and of the Spirit, [or they] cannot enter into the kingdom of God” or that “baptism and laying on of hands” might be symbolic of more important spiritual ordinances administered by the Heavenly church.  So revelation provided an ancient symbolic ordinances of baptizing the dead to help literalists overcome their stumbling block.  Apparently many Saints then and now, just couldn’t wrap their head around the idea that scripture might require nuanced interpretation to get past its use of tricky metaphors, complex wordplays and even scare tactics. For example, consider this revealed nuanced interpretation of the Bible’s true meaning of “endless torment”, where D&C 19 explains that this phrase is a metaphorical construct meant to put the fear of God into causal readers, but in reality had nothing to do with unending punishment.

6 Nevertheless, it is not [literally] written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment. (D&C 19:6–12)

There is no doubt that throughout the scriptures, the importance of following prophets, keeping ordinances and obeying political and religious law is emphasized (Alma 13:16D&C 84:21; 124:38-39, Isa. 24.5; Mal. 3:7, etc). LDS scripture also makes clear the importance of baptism for those within our religious covenant (see 2 Nephi 31:5–9). However, leaders or members who take those allusions too far, and pridefully try and suggest that obedience to LDS ordinances are absolutely necessary or the primary requirement for anyone to be exalted in the highest heavens are reading undue literality into metaphorical scriptures. By teaching things that contradict both LDS scripture (as we’ll see in the next section) and the conscience of so many good people on earth, they harm the church and drive away righteous members whose hearts tell them that it makes no sense to send good people to lesser eternal abodes simply because they did not receive the ordinances of an earthly religious sect. Or as some LDS traditions suggest, to have wait outside the highest heaven until their temple work is done.

The Scriptural Case for Salvation without Ordinances

In reality Joseph Smith should have never had the concern which necessitated his vision of his brother Alvin in Doctrine & Covenants 137, because the Book of Mormon already cleared this issue up.  Like most Mormons today, Joseph must not have noticed that Nephi 9:25–26, Mosiah 15:21–25 and Moroni 8:20–24 all teach clearly that those who die “without law”, are saved without baptism by the atonement. The picture painted in all three of these verses is that every good person is saved and exalted except those who specifically transgress the laws they have access to. Nephi says of those without law.

25 Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
26 For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel. (2 Ne 9:25–26)

And Abinidi echos this sentiment in Mosiah 15 saying children and those “not having salvation declared unto them” are redeemed to eternal life in the First Resurrection.

 23 They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ, who has broken the bands of death.
24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord.
25 And little children also have eternal life. (Mosiah 15:23–25)

Later in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon sharply rebukes not only those who believe children are in need of baptism, But also those who believe baptism is required for the eventual salvation of those outside the Jewish religious law or gospel covenant.  Note verse 22, where “all they that are without the law” are made synonymous with children. Bracketed text is mine.

 13 Wherefore, if little children [and also they that are without the law- as per verse 22] could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell… 15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism. 19 [But] Little children [and those without the law. ibid] cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy. 20 And he that saith that little children [and those without the law. ibid] need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.  21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.
22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing
23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.  24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.  25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; (Moroni 8:13–25,  see also Romans 5:13)

Phrases in these verses like “dead works”, “alive in Christ”, and “without the law” parallel Paul’s writings in the New Testament (fn) which denounce the legalistic ideas of Pharisaical Jews who insisted salvation came by fulfilling the “outward ordinances” of ancient Jewish religious law. The same ideas that caused legalistic Christians of the middle ages to believe children or non-Christians would be damned without baptism or Christian ordinances—or legalistic Mormons to mistakenly believe that the purpose of baptisms for the dead is to save those who died without knowledge of the gospel law. (fn) Like Paul, Mormon explains that baptism is a physical symbol which is only for those Jews & Christians in the covenent and under condemnation of “a broken law” or under the curse of “dead works”.

Paul emphasizes over and over in his epistles the idea that outward ordinances of religious law (though vitally important as symbols) are not strictly required for salvation — and are not at all required for Gentiles unfamiliar with them (Gal 2:16-21; Eph 2:8–18, Rom 3-8; Acts 15:1–10; 1 Cor 15:56). In his epistle to the Romans he reminds the Roman Jews that circumcision (the ancient Jewish ordinance equivalent to Christian christening and baptism) was a symbol which did not have saving power in and of itself as the Jews thought it did. In fact he says those who are “circumcised of heart” fulfill the law without the physical ordinance. While those who receive the temporal ordinance without fulfilling the spiritual counterpart, receive no saving benefit. Simply replace the word “circumcision” in the following verses with “baptism”, “confirmation”, or any of the LDS “saving ordinances” to see how what Paul says in Romans applies to LDS theology.

25 Circumcision [baptism] has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised [baptized]. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised [baptized] keep the [spirit of the] law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised [baptized]? 27 The one who is not circumcised [baptized] physically and yet obeys the [spirit of the] law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision [baptism], are a lawbreaker. 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision [baptism] merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision [baptism] of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. (Romans 2:25–29)

Peter, the leader of the Church after Christ’s death appears to have not understood this principle, just as modern church leaders don’t. In fact it took a sharp confrontation with Paul, to get Peter and his brethren to stop requiring church members to keep many Jewish traditions, laws and ordinances which Paul knew were unnecessary under Christ (see Gal 2:11–19; Acts 15:5–20).

Baptism is a rich metaphor, and is meant to represent an inflection point of spiritual transformation from old to new or from dead to living in one’s personal and social evolution. Likely based on the Mosaic purification rite of Tvilah (which was especially required for those who had come in contact with a dead body), it was made to represent the point where one dies to selfishly living after the manner of the beast, the flesh, a ‘dead law’ or a religious system that had become a lifeless idol to an individual— and is then purified and reborn as the Spirit of God or Holy Ghost is breathed into their body and a new life and new communion established. Christ’s sacrifice and crucifixion obviously echoed this same eternal metaphor for Israel, representing an infection point of their culture— where the dead, corrupted religious system or law of the Jewish people was destroyed and reborn into a new Christian covenant of love, life and selfless service.

The Book of Mormon gives several examples of this group ritual where a new generation reinvented and renewed their religious system and commited to living the new transformed version (see Mosiah 6; 18; 21; Alma 7). So although the Book of Mormon emphasizes the importance of baptism within a particular religious communion or covenant (2 Ne 31-32),  Mormon’s point in his letter quoted above seems to be that neither children nor those without or outside of a particular religious culture are capable of repenting and renewing a covenant with God they know nothing about. So it is a mockery (defined as a misrepresentation) of the ordinance to use it to condemn them. Especially since baptism’s primary purpose was to renew and free people who were already condemned by the “dead works” of a broken, misunderstood or distorted religious law (v. 23) — by turning baptism into a ‘dead work’ used to condemn others, followers twist its purpose into the exact opposite of its original design! Baptism, like other Jewish or Christian outward ordinances, has no saving power of itself, it is simply a symbol pointing our minds toward these sublime concepts of personal and social reform which bring true salvation. It is spiritual baptism into the Heavenly Church which saves… not the physical counterpart which is given to symbolize it.  (see Romans 3:20, 4:14-20, 5:20, 6:14, Romans 7:1–13,8:2-3, Acts 15:101 Cor 15:562 Cor 3:7–10).

10 The law [ie. the Jewish outward ordinances] is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices [or ordinances] repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. (Hebr 10:1 NIV)
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter [γράμμα: that which is drawn or written] but of the Spirit; for the letter [of the law] kills, but the Spirit [meaning behind the symbols] gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NIV, compare NLT))
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Gal 5:14)

A Better Model for the Three Degrees of Glory

Joseph’s revelations were meant to reconcile the seeming contradictions in salvation and prescribed Christian ordinances, not perpetuate them as they ended up doing. Christian theologians have argued for centuries over how to reconcile Paul’s words which suggest that there IS salvation for those who die without the Christian gospel law or ordinances (ie. Rom 2:25–29)— with scriptures which at first glance seem to say there is NO salvation without the Christian Gospel and ordinances (ie. John 3:52 Thes. 1:8–9, Rev 20:6–15). So D&C 76 canonizes and expands the early Christian concept of Purgatory by describing a “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2), situated between the heaven and hell of the Bible and Book of Mormon. This Terrestrial glory is defined as a sort of doorstep or subsphere of heaven, where those who “died without law” (v 72), and “received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh” (v 74), could go to get taught the same Gospel law so they “might be judged according to (or like unto) men in the flesh” (v 73) and be heirs of the first resurrection and Celestial glory (Mosiah 15:24). Thus there is salvation for non-believers—they go to heaven. But their place in heaven often is still lacking the law & understanding present in the highest parts of heaven.

However, from the early days of the church, LDS leaders misunderstood the revelation in D&C 76, believing these “glories” to be abodes of the dead AFTER instead of BEFORE the resurrection. (ie. Teaching the Terrestrial & Celestial glories as being completely separate resurrected heavens, instead of just two sub-glories of the same spirit “heaven” of the bible.)  This was an easy mistake to make, since as we will cover in more detail later, the Spirit World is a microcosm or dualistic shadow of the earth’s eternal progression (D&C 128:13, Alma 40:15). In fact the revelation seems to have been written to purposefully allow for a partially dualistic interpretation — as seen in other parts of the Doctrine and Covenents usage of the three degrees of glory (see D&C 63:20–21; 130:8–11; 77:1; 29:23- fn). But, the problem with interpreting D&C 76 as predominately POST-resurrection is that it directly contradicts modern scriptures like Mosiah 15:23–252 Ne 9:25–26 and Moroni 8:22, destroying universal salvation. Now instead of sharing an equal eternal reward with those who “died without law”— Mormons relegate non-Mormons to a lower eternal kingdom. In D&C 76, the Terrestrial glory, like purgatory, was meant to be only a temporary subset of spirit heaven where EVERYONE  who “died without law” and thus “didn’t obtain a crown” in Gods kingdom could eventually be “raised to dwell with God” before the final judgement and resurrection, thus having “part in the first resurrection”.[3]  This, opposed to those evil-loving beings who repeatedly transgress the law given to them, causing them to be without civility and “without light and knowledge” and thus “cast down to hell”, which D&C 76:106 says IS the Telestial Kingdom which are only resurrected after the blissful Millennium (ie. “these are they who are thrust down to hell”. v 84,106).

The Post-resurrection model for the three degrees of Glory is simply not supported by scripture or the LDS endowment. Instead the scriptures and endowment show that the three degrees of glory are primarily an expansion of the ancient heaven/hell view of the Spirit World, with only a subtle dualistic allusion to the state of the earth after the resurrection.

Interpreting D&C 76 as POST-resurrection, requires you to ignore nearly EVERY VERB TENSE in the section, which clearly indicate Joseph was seeing the abode of spirits (compare v. D&C 76:73,69,88; to Heb 12:23 & D&C 129:3) in heaven & hell (see v.84, 106, 66-68), awaiting the resurrection, NOT the abode of resurrected beings! (The resurrected beings were to abide together ON transfigured EARTH during and after the archetypal Millennium once time is no longer). It also requires LDS theologians to invent wacky explanations like there being two paradises, two hells, and two prisons and explain away scriptures which suggest the righteous dwell with God after death (Mosiah 2:41, Mosiah 15:21–25, Luke 23:43, Luke 13:28–29/16:19-31) . Not to mention how ridiculous it is to suggest that D&C 76 quotes 1 Peter 3:19 & 1 Peter 4:6 in describing the Terrestrial world — verses obviously talking about spirits in the spirit world.

Behold, these [Terrestrial World beings] are they who died without law. And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them [as spirits], that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it [ie. Spirits in Hell or the Telestial World that accept the Gospel in death & are thus raised to the Terrestrial glory to dwell in heaven/paradise with Christ and all those who died without law]. (D&C 76:72–74. compare 1 Peter 4:6)

Likewise D&C 76 equates the Celestial Glory world with the “Church of the Firstborn”, which Hebrews 12:23 makes clear is composed of “the spirits of just men made perfect”.

22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Heb 12:22–23)

D&C 76:69 specifically says of those in the Celestial Kingdom, “these are they who are just men made perfect.” (Using the language of Hebrews to affirm that it’s talking about SPIRITS.) It’s a bit hard to believe so many Mormon’s have come to believe that D&C 76’s three degrees of glory are referring simply to resurrected abodes when there are so many scriptures making it clear that these are primarily descriptions of the spirit world. Even D&C 129 specifically explains that a “just man made perfect” refers to A SPIRIT BEING! (It also shows the dualism in these terms explaining that spirits can attain the same glory as resurrected beings).

1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven (ie. the celestial kingdom), namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.
4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.
5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.
6 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—
7 Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. (D&C 129:1–7)

Joseph’s revelation’s go even further to destroy exclusivists views of salvation in elaborating on the Biblical concept of  “Christ & law” and how it is taught to mankind. Christian exclusivists use scriptures like John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 to suggest that Salvation is only available to mortal Christians. They use scriptures like Romans 10:14 and 2 Thes. 1:9 to suggest those those who don’t “know” Christ or haven’t been preached the Gospel will be damned. But Joseph’s revelation in D&C 84 & 88, harmonize these concepts with universalism by teaching first that eventually “ALL shall know [Christ]… even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.” Secondly D&C 88 goes one step further in broadening any narrow cultural concepts of what Christ’s law is and how it’s taught. It teaches that the archetypal Spirit or “light of Christ”, permeates the entire universe, and can teach the Christian Gospel law of love to the inhabitants of the earth without any need of a preacher. It suggests that Gospel law transcends time, culture, language and religion and is passed throughout the universe just like light is. Thus there is no such thing as an individual who has not been taught the law of Christ because it is passed to all sentient beings in the form of conscience (called the “light of Christ”). This echoes Paul’s teachings in Romans 2:25–29 that all humanity is taught God’s law whether they know it or not, and each will be judged and rewarded according to how they obey that spiritual knowledge, NOT simply according to whether they receive symbolic ordinances or the teachings of a human preacher.

11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

36 All kingdoms have a law given [through the light of Christ];
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
38 And unto every kingdom is given a law [invisibly through the light of Christ. v12]; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
39 All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. (D&C 88:11–13;36-39. Bracketed text mine)

After chastising the Jews for their “stiffneckedness and unbelief”, Christ builds on the idea we’re discussing in his sermon to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, by stating that it was never part of the plan that the pre-Christian Gentiles or non-Jewish Nations should receive the gospel, except by the invisible Spirit which informs all human conscience.

And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost. (3 Ne 15:23)

In fact he calls the non-Christian people of the world (or Gentiles) “blessed… because of their belief in [him], in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of [him] and of the Father.” (3 Ne 16:6)  In other words he’s saying blessed are the people of the world who have learned about Christ’s gospel of love and freedom through the Spirit even though no one has ever preached Christ to them! (see v.7)

Thus the picture drawn by LDS revelation in D&C 76 is that the same sociality (130:2) and divisions which exist on earth will exist in heaven. The vast majority of earth’s good hearted inhabitants will end up with Christ in the Terrestrial (earth-like) glory of heaven directly after death; including all those who die without law and all Saints who are not “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise” (v. 53, 71-80). Where they will be taught the Celestial law and given the chance to live it (just like we are here). Those who are sealed by living a Celestial law on earth, following Christ’s example of self-sacrifice or true baptism, regardless of religion or temporal baptism (as per D&C 137:6–10; 88:2-4,29 ) will directly inherent Celestial Glory in the Spirit World or Heaven.

The main body of Terrestrial spirits in heaven will continue to learn and progress until “everyone knows the Lord from least to greatest” (Heb 8:11, Jer 31:34), and will finally all be equally exalted when the “kingdom is ready to be presented to the father” after the second resurrection (D&C 76:107). Likewise those in Telestial Hell will continue to be preached to, but inevitably with less success.  Hell being composed of a smaller group of evil and deceived individuals who “choose darkness” (2 Ne 26:10. Hell/prison and the Telestial Glory all being synonymous: see D&C 76:81–85). Up until the final judgement hour, angels will work to exalt souls to the highest heaven possible. At the final hour, some dimension of physical earth will be transfigured to a Terrestrial glory, time as we understand it will be no more there, and the Celestial and Terrestrial glories of spirits will be resurrected together to live physically on the Millennial Paradise Earth (An earth that’s been essentially dimension shifted by its position in the Galaxy). After a period of time symbolized by the “thousand years”, the earth will again cycle back down to a Telestial glory and the remaining Telestial spirits in hell will then resurrect for a “short time” (likely through mortal birth / reincarnation. See To Go no More Out). After that unspecified time, the earth will again cycle up toward the Terrestrial glory, never to cycle back down again. By the end of that short Telestial period, all spirits who still haven’t progressed to a Terrestrial glory will have to go to another planet to live as the Telestial earth as we know it will pass away/end. A new heaven and a new earth of Celestial Glory will then eventually be created (dimension shifted) on a higher plane for all earth’s inhabitants. (see Law of One and Oahspe for detailed cosmological descriptions of this process)

LDS Eternal Progression

#1 Very little is known about the premortal life. See To Go no More Out for conjectures concerning it. #2 Earth has two primary dimensions, the physical dimension we live in, and a spiritual dimension we go to after death. The spiritual dimension is often arbitrarily separated into three realms which are symbolized by #3, these were simplified by certain ancient writers into two principle realms of paradise and prison, but expounded into three degrees of glory by early Christian writers and Joseph Smith. Many other writers have further divided this realm into seven or nine divisions. The Spirit world or metaphysical realm is essentially the earth’s history separated spatially instead of temporally. Time as we know it does not exist there. #4 The earth in its orbit around the galactic core moves into energy densities which affect the intelligence and evolution of its inhabitants. On this journey, technologically advanced 4th density (terrestrial) beings move inhabitants to and from earth’s spirit dimensions and off planet locations. (5th density celestial beings can do this by thought without the use of technology.) #5 As the earth moves into higher energy densities and mankind evolves into greater levels of harmony, beings from earth’s higher spirit realms can resurrect back into the physical plane as it’s vibratory level comes to match the spirit world glory in which they reside.

Sectarians Who Brag or Argue Over Baptism Go To Hell

Perhaps nowhere else in scripture is the inefficacy of ordinances alone to save taught than in Joseph’s description on Hell or the Telestial World in D&C 76. … Like Paul’s teachings, Joseph Smith’s revelation of the afterworld in D&C 76 hits the point home by specifically pointing out that religious groups who accept Christ or Peter or any true prophet and their outward ordinances, but misunderstand or don’t actually follow the spirit of the unifying “gospel” those prophet’s revelations teach will take their place in the lowest afterword abode with liars, adulterers and whoremongers.

98 And the glory of the telestial is one..  99 For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.  100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; [might we add, some of Joseph Smith, some of Brigham Young here?]  101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.  102 Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud.  103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. (D&C 76:98–103)

Like most of the descriptions in D&C 76, these statements concerning some “of Paul and of Apollos”, is an allusion to Paul’s writings in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3 he chastises the Corinthians for their divisions relating to baptism, where “there is jealousy and quarreling” among them (1 Cor 3:3 NIV). Just like the modern sects of Christianity it seems that the early Corinthians were already pridefully dividing themselves according to which apostle they considered greatest or who they were baptised by. Paul says,

11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas ”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name… 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…  (1 Cor 1:11–17 NIV)

Paul seems horrified by the idea that the early Saints were using baptism of all things as a tool for divisive pride (suggesting the authority of the one who baptized them makes them more legitimate than others). His letter is a strong rebuke reminding the Corinthians that the gospel is what’s important, not baptism or sectarianism! And D&C 76 seems to use this as a perfect example of the Telestial mindset. Those individuals, churches and religions which get caught up in the mindset of divisive sectarianism cannot produce the harmony and universal love necessary for exaltation. They are counted among “liars, sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” because their fruits are equally divisive on a society.

This important lesson is explicitly taught in the Book of Mormon’s appearance of Christ in 3 Nephi. The very first order of business in Christ’s visit to the Lehites after proving his divinity is to chastise the people for their “contentions” specifically concerning baptism. Given that pride and ‘inequality’ are said to have caused the church to be “broken up in all the land” some four years earlier (3 Ne 6:14), we can assume that a spirit of sectarianism promoted by both politicians and the religious ‘high priests’ (v. 21,22,27) had over taken the people. Christ’s rebuke echo’s Paul’s… that disputations concerning baptism are a tool of the devil, and have no place in Christ’s spiritual church— nor anyone wishing to call themselves after his name.

28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. (3 Ne 11:28–30)

So although Joseph Smith seems to be specifically instructed in D&C 22 to re-baptize converts from other Christian churches, it is clear that such baptism in itself should never be a source of dispute between Mormons and those of other sects or faiths. Nor should it be a source of pride or religious exclusivism. In addition to Joseph Smith’s revelation of his unbaptised brother Alvin, the scriptural stories of the criminal on the cross in Luke 23:43 who is assured of paradise; and the beggar in Christ’s parable of Luke 16:19–31 who goes to “Abraham’s bosom” suggest no absolute need for personal or vicarious baptism or other ordinances to make it to heaven. As mentioned in the article ____ it seems more than reasonable to assume from the account of Christ’s coming to the Nephites that when Christ comes in unmistakable glory to found his kingdom both on earth and in heaven, he will gather all the righteous together and help them fulfill any needed outward ordinances of the Gospel, while making any and all needed exceptions in the name of mercy.

So then why the LDS practice of vicarious temple ordinances some might ask? To give an answer to that, it might help to consider the influence of the afterworld on the mortal world.

Understanding the Afterworld

If you are interested in a more detailed picture of the afterworld as well as detailed quotes and diagrams from the many channeled works I have read (which aided me in working out this model), please see my article “Eternal Progression, Degrees of Glory, and the Resurrection: A Comparative Cosmology”.

 UNDER  CONSTRUCTION 

Emmanuel Swedenborg

Eman lived in…

Oahspe

Oahspe, a channeled text written by John Ballou Newbrough’s work in ~1870 claims to be a book of scripture revealed by higher dimensional light-beings. In its view of the afterworld, beings pass from life into a realm which he refers to as “atmospherea”. (roughly analogous to the LDS concept of the Spirit World)  This realm is said to be more subtle than

John Ward, Gone West Series

John Sebastian Ward (1885-1949) was a British authority on Masonry who wrote a series of channeled texts concerning life after death. In his Book “Gone West”, he receives descriptions from his dead brother about a Spirit Realm divided into “seven planes” (p. vi). He suggests that higher beings are unwilling to communicate knowledge of the higher planes to those of the lower planes. And concerning “resurrection” and forewards a dual view where “the most exalted spirits rise [or resurrect] higher and higher without the need of reincarnation, whereas more lowly spirits need to return to earth to develop certain characteristics.” (p. vi)

Urantia Book

Law of One

I want to show you first the differing models and scriptures… and then spend the last section clearing things up.

Any way you look at it there is a good amount of contradiction in our understanding of these models that needs to be addressed. The LDS endowment and numerous other scriptures support paradigm #1 shown above, where the Telestial kingdom IS “the world in which we now live”. Perhaps confusingly, D&C 76:84,106 echoes this understanding by describing the Telestial World as those “who suffer the wrath of God on earth” (although it also supports model 2). Later in the Temple endowment we are taught that the earth will become a Terrestrial world when Satan “is cast out of our midst” (as in at the beginning of the Mellinium when Christ comes to reign on earth and Satan is bound and earth receives its paradisaical glory. 1 Nephi 22:15, 26; Revelation 20:1–3; D&C 88:110; 101:28. D&C 63:20–21; Articles of Faith 1:10; 2 Peter 3:10–14 ). D&C 76:77 seems to somewhat support this paradigm by saying of Terrestrial souls “these are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father” (but then it goes on to also support model 2). The doctrine and Covenents ALSO teaches that the earth WILL become a Celestial world which is “crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever” (D&C 88:17–20).  When earth become a Celestial world, it “in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it”. (D&C 130:9. see also D&C 77:1)

NOW HERE’S THE PROBLEM WITH THE PREDOMINATE MODEL, AND ITS A BIG ONE. The entire vision of the Three degrees of glory in the Doctrine and Covenents is framed around the question of who would come forth in the ‘resurrection of the just’ and the resurrection of the unjust. In D&C 76 (v. 17,50,65) we are told that BOTH Celestial and Terrestrial souls will be be resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium during the resurrection of the just. But how is that possible if the earth is only to have attained a terrestrial glory at that time? Most people say, “well, they don’t get resurrected to earth, they resurrect to other worlds or reams”. But that simply does not work, it contradicts D&C 88:17–20 which says says that this earth is..

D&C 76 can’t be states AFTER the resurrection if it teaches that both Celestial and Terrestrial spirits will come forth in the Resurrection of the just at the same time. But that Resurrection is said by some scriptures to be on earth (refs) and other to be in heaven (ref). In either case it occurs at Christ’s coming at the beginning of the Millennium.  Joseph Smith in the x article of faith states that the resurrection is to mellenial earth..   So if the earth is going to be the Celestial glory one day “like unto a sea of glass glass”

[http://www.phildrysdale.com/2013/10/37-scriptures-that-prove-christians-are-not-under-the-law/]
-born again of water and spirit is refering to the two states

-when scriptures talk of flying “in the air” or “from the sea”, they are making this distinction

Look at nearly every allusion to  in the description of the Celestial world of D&C 76. The “general assembly and church of Enoch and the Firstborn” is an allusion to Hebrews 12:23, which clarifies that these are “the SPIRITS of just men made perfect”. In fact D&C 76:69 quotes this phrase as well in describing Celestial Beings, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant”.

In the description of terrestrial world, the clarification of what type of beings we are talking about is made again. “And also they who are the SPIRITS of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh” (D&C 76:73). Isn’t it clear that this is equating the terrestial world to the Spirit Prison of 1 Peter 3:19, Rev 20:7, and Alma 40:14?

Even the description of the telestial world seems pretty clear that it is speaking of beings in hell or prison BEFORE the resurrection of the dead.

84 These are they who are thrust down to hell. 85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work. 86 These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial; (D&C 76:84–86)

However, these descriptions are dualistic….  (how do I summarize that…?)

D&C 129:1–3 explains it clearly, there are two different kinds of beings in “heaven”, resurrected angels and disembodied spirits. Both, it says, can inherit the same glory.

1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory [as resurrected personages]. (D&C 129:1–3)

The term “just men made perfect” in verse 3 is an allusion to both Hebrews 12:23 and D&C 76:69 which speaks of Celestial beings saying, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant”

D&C makes this dualistic distinction as well saying “88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, OR who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.”  The telestial glory can receive the gospel from terrestrial ministering resurrected angels OR terrestrial ministering spirits.

-temple work’s purpose (which is an important one) is to make a “welding link” between the living and the dead.   does it say it is to fulfill the law?—the law never required baptism while alive. It’s silly to suggest that baptism can’t occur in heaven just as easily as it can occur on earth.

Outline of Points

-at the end you need to summarize as succinctly as possible the symbolic nature of christian eschatology as clarified in Oahspe and the Law of One. The seven thousand years is symbolic for a complete ‘time’ or harvest from Oahspe. Cycle times in scripture is highly symbolic because of its complexity and relativity. Almost ALL the supernatural events in biblical eschatology occur in the afterworld. Even Christ’s second coming occurs predominantly in the afterworld. (don’t get caught up in timeframes). Paint the picture, we live on earth, we go to the afterworld and continue almost the exact same system of veiled progression with minimal difference. The afterworld can be seen as a composite of the earth through all its progression and times. Thus the future celestial earth, is in the afterworld now. So also the past hellish societies of earth’s past, are in the afterworld now. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVSe8JZ_eag)  Societies are subject to rises and falls in heaven just as they do on earth. Christians are prodded to avoid the falls by making the small windows of resurrection which allow societies to rise to higher levels before a heavenly or earthly collapse. Resurrection is a dual term and occurs between major levels of the afterworld occur only at Dans or minor cycles. The biblical resurrection which occurs when Christ comes, is also dualistic. One meaning has to do with Christ coming in heaven, the other with the time the earth finally rises to the level of glory matching the saints in heaven (terrestrial/celestial). The nature and timing of that transition is not clear, however it appears that there will be birth but no death and thus after the transfiguration of the earth to a higher plane and different order of natural law. When it occurs, the saints will re resurrected back to earth.

-The Telestial World Church is in reality two churches. Both the Church of God and the Church of the devil—the wheat and the tares, the goats and the lambs—all huddled together in one organization. This telestial world (and the church as the living metaphor of this world) is the place where people are tested and polarized into choosing which path they will follow in the next round of progression. The church’s purpose is to train and polarize the elect of both the left and right hand path.

-Most LDS people (as well as the orthodox of every major religion) view the “faithful” of their church as being holy and good, and view the unfaithful, lackadaisical, and unorthodox as being more or less “evil”.  (rewrite this paraphrased content) D&C 76 subtly alludes to the truth that the sons of perdition, or the devil and his angels, are actually among the most faithful and orthodox of the church in every dispensation. The son’s of perdition (those who will be taken with “Satan” off-planet at the judgement) are “all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power— They are they who are the sons of perdition” (D&C 76:31–32)…Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame (D&C 76:35).

-A proper understanding of the afterlife helps us to see how the only true church doctrine (although having a semblance of truth) is actually Satan’s most important tool in creating the pride necessary for the physiological captivity which maintains the structure of the church of the devil.

It’s fairly obvious that this is talking about those faithful enough to have been made “partakers” of God’s covenant and power. Those who have received the Holy Ghost, which is a conscience that has been properly informed as to right and wrong by God’s law. But the part here which is most important to church goers is the reference to “having crucified [the Son] unto themselves and put him to an open shame”. So in figuring out what type of individual this is talking about just ask yourself who did that historically? Was it the Samaritans?  Was it the harlots? Was it the Romans? No, it was Judas Iscariot and the Jewish priesthood. It was those who by every indication where the elect of God, and yet they denied what the Spirit or Holy Ghost told them was right (that Christ was a good man and that to kill him was completely unjustified), and they had him, his gospel and his followers shamed and killed.

LDS people generally believe that the three realms or degrees of glory spoken of in D&C 76 are separate planets or realms of sorts–separate from the Spirit World—which the righteous will inherit AFTER the “resurrection of the dead”; the first of which is said to occur at Christ’s return to the mortal earth. Comparison with other available revelatory texts suggest this is in some ways a misunderstanding of our own revelations. We see this not only from Oahspe and other more descriptive texts, but by the revelation itself (as we will address in a moment). Comparative analysis shows that the three degrees of glory shown in Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s vision, are actually just a more detailed description of the earth’s spiritual dimension or “Spirit World” where souls await the various resurrections. Although, because of the fractal relationship (see main article) they could also be used as dualistic descriptions of a future state of earth when it will obtain these glories by virtue of its orientation in the galactic energy field (see main article for details). Oahspe and JS Ward’s works spend hundreds and hundreds of pages describing these same 3 degrees of glory in detail, making it clear that they are principally realms within the current ‘spirit world’ or spirit dimension of earth.

The fact that Joseph Smith’s vision is speaking principally of souls in the spirit world before the physical resurrection is clear from a careful reading of the revelation, as it consistently speaks of “those who SHALL [at a point future to the revelation] hear the voice of the Son of Man; and SHALL [at a future point] come forth in the resurrection” (D&C 76:15–17). The entire vision is of the inhabitants of the heavenly realms BEFORE their resurrection at Christ’s second coming and is correspondingly framed with the resurrection in future tense. Notice for instance at the end of the description of the Celestial Glory, it says that this was a description of “they who SHALL [in the future] have part in the first resurrection.” or “they who SHALL come forth in the resurrection of the just” (D&C 76:63–65).

  50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth [not those who “have” come forth, but those who shall come forth at a point future to this revelation] in the resurrection of the just—
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever [after they are resurrected].
63. These are they whom he shall bring with him [not those whom he did bring], when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people
64 These are they who shall [in the future] have part in the first resurrection.

Not those who have come forth or did come forth or do come forth, but those who shall in the future. As opposed to the next verses which explain that these celestial spirits “are those who ARE [currently] come up to Mont Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all” (D&C 76:66). Which Oahspe explains in detail is the name to the highest realm of earthe’s Spirit dimension where the currently acting god of earth dwells (see next section for misunderstandings in the concept of resurrection). Likewise in the description of the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom it says its inhabitants are “they who ARE thrust down to hell” (D&C 76:84).

81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser…
83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.
84 These are they who are thrust down to hell.
85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.

It does not say the Telestial Kingdom is those who were or shall be, but instead speaks of those who “ARE” [currently] in the telestial realm—which IS hell or spirit prison. It continues to say that those in hell or the telestial kingdom “are they who SHALL [future tense] not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection” (D&C 76:85) which is after the millennium. There are literally dozens of references where the verb tense shows clearly that these visions were not so much of a future state of people after the resurrection, but the current state of those in the Spirit World awaiting the resurrection; the time in which they are raised or will come back to a physical plane of earth when it has attained a glory equal or greater than their own.

Now this is where the confusion comes in, because these realm names are often used dualistically. They can refer both to a realm within the earth’s spirit world (as in D&C 76) OR to the earth itself at a future state when it reaches that same glory (as in D&C 77:1, 88:18-31, D&C 130:9). In fact the term resurrection (which comes from the latin, ‘raise or appear again’) can also be used dualistically. It can refer to an ascension within the earth’s spirit planes (as in Alma 40:15, or Oahspe which ubiquitously uses it in this sense.). Or to the return of an individual to the physical dimension of earth, which occurs when earth has risen to a density/glory or vibratory level which matches that of their spirit world abode. For instance, terrestrial souls would wait in the terrestrial realm of the Spirit World until a Physical Dimension of the earth attains an equal energy density; which then allows them to be either resurrected (in the case of the 4rth density earth plane) or reincarnated (in the case of the 3rd density earth plane) back to earth’s “physical plane” or dimension (for more information on reincarnation, see the article, To Go No More Out).

Hopefully this will all become a bit more clear in the next sections, where we will describe how for the last few thousand years, the earth has been at or below a telestial glory. But it is currently moving into a terrestrial level as well as activating a physical 4th density (or a parallel physical plane that is roughly a Terrestrial glory) which will climax during the prophesied “millennium”. This will be followed by other raises and falls, until the earth one day far in the future is irradiated sufficiently to contain a dimension where it is a celestialized star (D&C 88:18–20, 130:9).

[Put in footnote. Misinterpretation of D&C 76:106–112 is a big part of LDS people’s incorrect views. verse 106 steps out of the vision and begins to talk about the telestial glory (a state which the physical realm of our earth currently exists) after the fulness of times or the end of the millennium. It is after that future date that Christ shall deliver His kingdom to the Father (at which time all remaining terrestrial glory people of earth will be “caught up” or translated to the “new” 4rth density parallel “heaven and earth”. Leaving the Telestial glory inhabitants of earth’s corporal and spirit dimensions to be judged and transplanted or “cast out” to a telestial sphere in the Galaxy which because of laws of divergence will entail that “where [our] God and [his] Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end” (D&C 76:112, Rev 12:10). ]

[Also might want to note the discrepancy between sources concerning whether our current 3rd density/telestial earth will fluidly transition into the 4th density/terrestrial world (as oahspe suggests) or whether the 4rth density is activating in parallel with this 3rd density existence and all will have to die or be translated to make the transition. (Law of One states this emphatically and LDS suggests it with scriptures such as “there will be a new heaven and new earth, like unto the old, save that the old has passed away”. There are far more witnesses suggesting the latter, which also seems more logical. This is where many of the misunderstandings in Christianity come with groups mistakenly believing they will suddenly disappear in a “rapture” or that Jesus will come flying through heaven with his Saints in a grand mystical experience which defies all the current laws of physics. ].

Misunderstandings in the Concept of Resurrection

There are a few complicated concepts which make understanding the earth’s Spirit World and the Christian “Resurrection” very difficult. The first has to do with the ambiguous meaning of the words “physical” and “spiritual” in relation to bodies and realms. Most Christians view the “Spirit World” as somehow inferior to the “Physical World” (because people only have spirits there). Mormon’s especially, because of statement like those in D&C 45:17 & D&C 138:50, see the Spirit World as an inferior “state of bondage” where beings live in constant anticipation of “resurrection” back to earth–or some separate planet/realm. Both LDS scripture, other descriptive revealed texts and numerous life after death experiences suggest this to not exactly be the case. For example, Christ took his resurrected “physical body” back to heaven, showing that resurrected bodies are not just about returning to earth, but can live in heaven. Likewise many angels in the Old Testament (such as the one who wrestled with Jacob or wrote on Nebacanezzers wall; see) apparently had bodies just as corporal as Jesus’s or any mortal on earth. Moses and Elijah were both translated to heaven in their bodies without tasking death (ref). So what was so special about Christ’s resurrection which made him the “first fruits”? (see 3 Ne 28:36–40)  And what really is the difference between a spiritual body and a physical body?

Joseph Smith himself seems to have tried to address misunderstandings in these concepts by explaining that “there is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes” (D&C 131:7–8).  This idea that the spirit dimension is made of perceptively palpable or “physical” matter just as this dimension, is verified in other religious accounts of the after world as well as life after death experiences. All the accounts cited in this work assert that, despite the many different descriptions of the places people find themselves after death, they all seem to agree that they still have a “body” very similar to the one they possessed in mortality (most agree it is a better body than their earth body). They also suggest they live on an improved version of “earth”. It is simply an earth in a parallel reality which has little interaction with our own. As we shall see in a moment, the only individuals to whom the spirit world is a “bondage” or inferior state to that of earth, are those who level of personal glory or righteousness causes them to inherit a realm of the Spirit Dimension which is below the earth’s level of glory at their death. For example, since the earth is currently nearing the threshold of Telestial/Terrestrial glory (3rd/4rth Density in other texts), then any one who dies and has failed to raise their spirit to that median level–will find themselves with all the other like-minded people in a less comfortable or “hellish” type of society and environment after death. 3 Ne 28:36–40, Oahspe and the Law of One also detail that the times of resurrection (called times of Dan in Oahspe) entail a “greater change” of the physical reality and thus constitute major jumps in the “glory” or core vibrational frequency of matter.

The Dualistic Meaning of the world Resurrection

Another complicated concept which causes confusion concerning the Spirit World, has to do with the dualistic meaning of the word “resurrection”.  As mentioned above, Oahspe and many other texts give strikingly similar accounts of the earth’s heavenly kingdoms. They also talk about the principles governing movement (ascension and declension) between these realms. In Oahspe this movement is confusingly called resurrection, which is the same term it and the biblical canon use for movement to other higher dimensional locations in the galaxy, as well as the prophesied return of souls to the millennial “terrestrialized” or “celestialized” earth when the physical dimension of earth raises to a level of vibration or glory matching those found in the spirit world and the temporary abodes of the estranged heavenly travelers (more on this later). Alma speaks of the confusion caused by this terminology in the ancient texts when we speaks to his son Corianton about paradise and prison in earth’s spirit dimension.

14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.
15 Now, there are some that have understood that this state of happiness and this state of misery of the soul, before the resurrection, was a first resurrection. Yea, I admit it may be termed a resurrection, the raising of the spirit or the soul and their consignation to happiness or misery, according to the words which have been spoken. (Alma 40:14–15)

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve also speaks of these dual resurections

2. As all creatures come forth from the unseen into this world, so they return to the unseen, and so will they come again till they be purified. Let the bodies of them that depart be committed to the elements, and the Father-Mother, who reneweth all things, shall give the angels charge over them, and let… their souls awake to a joyful resurrection.
3. There is a resurrection from the body, and there is a resurrection in the body. There is a raising out of the life of the flesh, and there is a falling into the life of the flesh. Let prayer be made For those who are gone before, and For those that are alive, and For those that are yet to come, for all are One family in God. In God they live and move and have their being.
4. The body that ye lay in the grave, or that is consumed by fire, is not the body that shall be, but they who come shall receive other bodies, yet their own, and as they have sown in one life, so shall they reap in another. Blessed are they who have worked righteousness in this life, for they shall receive the crown of life. (See the article “To Go No More Out” for more details on the relationship between resurrection and the eastern notion of reincarnation).

So although there can be some confusion when certain texts speak of resurrection, when the bible and LDS cannon speak of resurrection, they are sometimes referring to the return of souls to the physical dimension of earth, and sometimes referring to the periodic ascensions which occur between the various sublevels of the earth’s spirit world or spiritual dimensions. For instance, both Abinadi and Alma in the Book of Mormon define the “first resurrection” as occurring at the time of Christ’s mortal resurrection (Mosiah 15:21–26; Alma 40:15–17). But Joseph’s Doctrine & Covenants define the first resurrection as occurring at Christ’s Second Coming (D&C 45:54; 63:18, 132:19-26). This discrepancy can be harmonized by understanding the dual nature of the term resurrection.

Time translation  & movements between dimensions

[to finish… wrap it up…..]

All of these concepts are simplified by understanding that time is measured differently in the earth’s spiritual dimensions than it is here in the mortal dimension. The spirit world is a fractal of the earth and contains its entire history from beginning to end. All points in times exist simultaneously there.

Perhaps explain the cosmically induced cycles, how they relate to the solar cycles and solar max. How the current reversing of the earth’s magnetic field relates.  Go through examples of scriptural references to resurrection and show how some are in heaven, some are on earth…    Or just link back to the christian eschatology section of the main article?

-The after-world presented in LDS scripture and most channeled teachings is a whole lot like the present world. Your hell or heaven is a product of your own thought patterns and behaviors and those of the social groups, religions and nations you have bound yourself to.
-LDS scripture teaches that Church membership has only minor bearing on one’s placement in the afterlife. Placement has to do with earthly affiliations, faith and rightful living. All afterword states have earthly equivalents.
-Telestial glory is the level of progression of the majority of the earth for the last many thousand years.  It is comparable to a modern 2nd or 3rd world nation. It is scripturally synonymous with hell or prison because most the world’s ‘telestial’ inhabitants are servants to dictators, kings or despots. It is compared to Babylon, Egypt or Rome because these dictatorships were typical telestial societies.
-The Terrestial Glory of D&C 77 represents groups (such as the Church) who still live in Hell (a Telestial World), but have separated themselves from that society and adopted a higher more civilized, harmonious and selfless sub-culture. This higher standard of living prepares them for a place in the Resurrection of the Just (A resurrection or reincarnation within a Celestial or heavenly nation, instead of the telestial nation they belonged to).
-Celestial glory is synonymous with the biblical heaven. It is a higher dimension where the beings who guide this world live. It is the future abode of those who learn the degree of harmony, unity, love and ‘respect for law’ required for admittance into the higher heavenly realms (More comparable to a 1st world democratic nation which enjoys equality, freedom, peace and harmony).
-Each afterword ‘glory’ or kingdom of D&C 76 & D&C 84 are dualistic. Meaning the terms refer to two distinctly different things. Each has a metaphysical aspect (in the earth’s spiritual dimension), as well as physical aspect or dimension which the earth will at some future point progress through.

.

Other Articles In This Series

Article 1. Re-examining what LDS scriptures say about the ‘Only True Church’ doctrine.

Article 2.  A Doctrinal Look at The Universal Priesthood of God & Its Relationship to LDS exclusive truth claims.

Article 3.   Re-examining the LDS adoption of the protestant fundamentalist view of the “Great Apostasy”.

Article 4. Clearing up Misunderstandings in the LDS View of the Afterlife (The 3 Degrees of Glory and their support for religious pluralism)

Notes on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: A Timeline

a time line of Joseph Smith's Polygamy, and events surrounding the breakup of the Nauvoo experiment.

a time line of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, and events surrounding the breakup of the Nauvoo experiment.

The history of polygamy in the LDS Church is certainly interesting. Perhaps more than any other issue, it has given me a somewhat naturalistic view of the church and church history. It has helped me to reevaluate my views on God, revelation, prophetic gifts and spiritualism. (I still have many strong spiritual beliefs)

As I’ve gotten older and learned more, I’ve been forced to nuance my once highly orthodox views. I’ve replaced my view of Joseph Smith as a god-like Saint who stood next to Jesus in wisdom and righteousness to a view that Joseph was simply one of many clairvoyant spiritualist (prophets) who played a key role in a divinely inspired nineteenth century political and religious restorational movement which revolutionized the world (and is paving the way for the restoration of Israel–see this article).

I’ve moved past the polarized views which most LDS and anti-mormon ideologues try to force upon others—one which requires you to take sides in whether the man was a saint or a charlatan. I realize that he was what he was, and forming rigid opinions on things which can’t be difinitively proven isn’t going to help me be a happier person. The historical sources seem to suggest he did a lot of good and also caused a lot of division and ill feelings through some very unorthodox religious views and social practices. In my experience it seems that the ideological issues surrounding Joseph Smith and religion in general, boil down to the effects of men who try to use God, or dead prophets as a means to legitimize their own authority over others.  Those who have fallen prey to this type of modern idolatry often become very upset when the reasons they trusted and obeyed others fail to hold up to logical scrutiny.

But once you free yourself of that subservience from manipulation, you can begin to look at Joseph and all others with love and objectivity regardless of their behavior. (Joseph’s own council in D&C 121:41–42 concerning “no power or influence… being upheld by virtue of priesthood authority” was a major aid in helping me do this.)

Maybe Joseph had sex with Fanny maybe he didn’t (see church topical essays). Either way, Fanny, her parents and Emma all seem to been fine with it, at least for some time afterward.  Joseph almost certainly slept with Lucinda Pendleton… but yet her husband also seemed totally fine with both the open marriage and the later eternal sealing to Joseph. Maybe Joseph did or didn’t sleep with the other 30 or so women he was wed to in the last few years of his life. To me, Joseph’s arguments for moral relativism given to Nancy Rigdon are both religiously convincing and consistent with naturalistic logic. And looking at the whole situation naturalistically, who cares if a bunch of consenting adults decided to enter into a bunch of crazy polyandrous relationships? (Obviously, we should care when teens, or even young immature adults are pulled into these types of sexual relationships, especially if religious manipulation or flaming swords are involved).

If we are to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt, and concede that he was receiving revelations from an exalted extra-dimensional group, or even from the biblical Jesus himself, wouldn’t we expect and hope their revelations aligned with the principles of agency? That if Joseph and this group were burning with lust from religiously repressed sexual desire, that these beings would eventually give revelations that religiously unblocked the desires these people were repressing? Like a father saying “look, I’ve told you multiple times that monogamy has been historically proven to be the most stable sexual relationship, but if you and your community want to experiment with unorthodox polyandrous sexual arrangements, go ahead and try it out so you can learn from your own experiences the difficulties inherent in these forms of sexuality.”

What I, and I think many, find troubling about this whole polygamy debacle is the religious fanaticism involved from beginning to end. It was too often presented with the excuse “I didn’t want to do this, but God made me do it”.  Us Mormons still use this excuse to the world “we only tried polygamy because God commanded us to!”  Whether it be the manipulation involved in the institution of plural marriage or the idolatrous deceit involved in its termination; the actions of men were constantly blamed on the God of creation.  I’m not fundamentally opposed to polygamy or unorthodox sexual arrangements, but to me these excuses leave a sour taste in my mouth because they sound a lot like the one’s my 5 year old uses when they misunderstand my counsel and get in trouble for doing something stupid.

For my faith, I think the most relevant aspect of the Mormon Polygamy experiment was that it teaches me how fallible all men (especially my church leaders) really are. It teaches me to be very wary of anyone who uses their priesthood (religious position) to legitimize their “power or authority”.  The whole issue helps me to keep my religious views founded on love (Christ), I try to remember that the erroneous statements or acts of Joseph or other Church leaders do not negate the good these men do. I judge each act and statement independently, gleaning from any good I can and rule my life according to my own personal inspiration

——————————————————————————-.

Note: In fairness. Although it is obvious that polygamy was one of the largest if not the single largest contributing factor to Joseph Smith’s murder and the schism of the early church, cases have been made that Joseph did not have sex with any of his plural wives. Some have put forth arguments to suggest that Joseph took plural wives to protect assorted women from what had become a polygamous “free for all” in the Nauvoo experiment. And that he was commanded to reveal polygamy because its “what the people wanted”. The reader can decide whether these arguments have any merit.

see Why I am not Persuaded Joseph Smith had Sex with Plural Wives
And Without Disclosing my True Identity appendix 2

A lot of the “Notes” below are facts corroborated by multiple first hand witness and historical documents. However, much is also complete here-say. It is important to for each individual to do their own research and try as best as they can to separate the fact from the fabrication.

Event Name Start Date End Date Category Notes

Marriage – Joseph to Emma Hale 18 Jan 1827 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Smith enlisted the help of a third treasure-seeker to obtain Emma Hale as a wife according to the requirement of Moroni. Emma did not mention her father’s claim that this happened while he was away from home on business, but later told her children, “I was visiting at Mr. [Josiah] Stowell’s, who lived at Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell’s, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, aided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented.” The couple eloped on 18 January 1827 (1879, 289; I. Hale 1834, 363; HC 1:17; D. Hill 1977, 69; Youngreen 1982, 5-6). In commenting about this, Mormons typically speak of romance and Smith’s love for Emma as the reason for their elopement (e.g. Cadwell 1879). It is more probable, however, that Smith risked alienating his parents-in-law from his new bride by eloping—not for love alone—but to fulfill the requirement of Moroni.PLACE: South Bainbrudge, NYSOURCE: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.140-141

Marriage – Joseph to Fanny Alger, age 16 Apr 1833 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Fanny Alger is Joseph’s first known plural wife, whom he came to know in Kirtland during early 1833 when she, at the age of 16, stayed at his home as a housemaid. Described as “a varry nice & Comly young woman,” according to Benjamin Johnson, Fanny lived with the Smith family from 1833 to 1836.Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, recalled that the prophet’s “servant girl” claimed he had made “improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people.” Mormon Fanny Brewer similarly reported “much excitement against the Prophet…[involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection.”Former Mormon apostle William McLellin later wrote that Emma Smith substantiated the Smith-Alger affair. According to McLellin, Emma was searching for her husband and Alger one evening when through a crack in the barn door she saw “him and Fanny in the barn together alone” on the hay mow. McLellin, in a letter to one of Smith’s sons, added that the ensuing confrontation between Emma and her husband grew so heated that Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery had to mediate the situation. After Emma related what she had witnessed, Smith, according to McLellin, “confessed humbly, and begged forgiveness. Emma and all forgave him.” While Oliver Cowdery may have forgiven his cousin Joseph Smith, he did not forget the incident. Three years later, when provoked by the prophet, Cowdery countered by calling the Fanny Alger episode “a dirty, nasty, filthy affair.”Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship: “Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house”.SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p.291At least one account indicates that Fanny became pregnant. Chauncy G. Webb, Smith’s grammar teacher, later reported that when the pregnancy became evident, Emma Smith drove Fanny from her home (Wyl 1886, 57). Webb’s daughter, Ann Eliza Webb Young, a divorced wife of Brigham Young, remembered that Fanny was taken into the Webb home on a temporary basis (Young 1876, 66-67). Fanny stayed with relatives in nearby Mayfield until about the time Joseph fled Kirtland for Missouri.Fanny left Kirtland in September 1836 with her family. Though she married non-Mormon Solomon Custer on 16 November 183614 and was living in Dublin City, Indiana, far from Kirtland, her name still raised eyebrows. Fanny Brewer, a Mormon visitor to Kirtland in 1837, observed “much excitement against the Prophet … [involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection” (Parkin 1966, 174).SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.8

Marriage – Joseph to Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, age 37 Jun 1838 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date inknown, sometime in 1838, Joseph Smith likely married Lucinda in 1838 when she was staying at the Harris home in Far West (History of the Church, vol. 3, pg. 9). This is supported by a statement made by Mrs. Sarah Pratt, “Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph had made his dastardly attempt on me [in 1842], I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: ‘How foolish you are! Why, I am his mistress since four years’.” (Mormon Portraits, 1886, pg. 60)PLACE: Far West, MISOURCE: Historical Record 6:33: “Lucinda Harris, also one of the first women sealed to the Prophet Joseph”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 60; 4 Apr. 1899 sealing, Salt Lake Temple Sealing Records, Book D, 243;

Smith possible father of John R. Hancock (by Clarissa Reed Hancock) Jul 1840 19 Apr 1841 Pregnancy Presently, there is only anecdotal evidence that Clarissa Reed Hancock (Mother of John Reed Hancock) was a plural wife of Joseph Smith. DNA testing would shed further light in this regard.

Smith defends church member for “sleeping with two women” 06 Feb 1841 Polygamy Smith tells the Nauvoo high council not to excommunicate Theodore Turley for “sleeping with two females,” requiring him only to confess “that he had acted unwisely, unjustly, imprudently, and unbecoming.”PLACE: Nauvoo High Council MeetingSOURCE: Minutes of the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Nauvoo Illinois, 6 Feb 1841

Marriage – Joseph to Louisa Beaman, age 26 05 Apr 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Joseph B. Noble officiatingSOURCE: Noble affidavit, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 2:102; Erastus Snow affidavit, in Historical Record 6:232, 233; speech by Joseph Noble, 19 Dec. 1880, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Emma carries child, premature baby dies at birth Jun 1841 06 Feb 1842 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record www.FamilySearch.org

Smith possible father of George A. Lightner (by Mary Elizabeth Rollins) Jun 1841 12 Mar 1842 Pregnancy Mary Elizabeth Rollins, married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner since 11 August 1835, was one of the first women to accept the polyandrous teachings of the Prophet. “He was commanded to take me for a wife,” she wrote in a 21 November 1880 letter to Emmeline B. Wells. “I was his, before I came here,” she added in an 8 February 1902 statement.Brigham Young secretly sealed the two in February 1842 when Mary was eight months pregnant with her son George Algernon Lightner. She lived with Adam Lightner until his death in Utah many years later.In her 1880 letter to Emmeline B. Wells, Mary explained: “I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Things the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with.” She added on 23 January 1892 in a letter to John R. Young: “I could explain some things in regard to my living with Mr. L. after becoming the Wife of Another, which would throw light, on what now seems mysterious–and you would be perfectly satisfied with me. I write this; because I have heard that it had been commented on to my injury”SOURCE: Mormon Polygamy in Nauvoo, Richard Van Wagoner, Dialogue, Vol.18, No.3, p.77

Smith tells 19 year-old married woman that she must marry him or an angel with a sword will slay him 25 Oct 1841 25 Oct 1841 Polygamy Already married, 19 year-old Zina remained conflicted with Smith’s polygamy proposal “until a day in October, apparently, when Joseph sent [her older brother] Dimick to her with a message: an angel with a drawn sword had stood over Smith and told him that if he did not establish polygamy, he would lose “his position and his life.” Zina, faced with the responsibility for his position as prophet, and even perhaps his life, finally acquiesced.” They were secretly married within days.SOURCE: In Sacred Loneliness, page 80-81

Marriage – Joseph to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs, age 20, already married 27 Oct 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Smith marries a woman polygamously who lives with her legal husband. Elder Dimick B. Huntington officiating. Brigham Young University would later name one of its residence halls after her. Zina D. Huntington would also marry Young after Smith’s death, her legal husband standing in as witness. This is the first of a dozen known cases of polyandry in Mormon history.SOURCE: Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:5, 4:5, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” 348; Historical Record 6:233;

Smith preaches that what people call sin is not sin 07 Nov 1841 Polygamy Smith preaches: “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down;”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.445PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Prescendia Lathrop Huntington, age 31, already married 11 Dec 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Dimick B. Huntington officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact Date unknownPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Agnes Moulton Coolbrith, age 33 06 Jan 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Widow of Joseph’s brother, Don Carlos SmithSOURCE: Brigham Young journal, 6 Jan. 1842, LDS archives and Marriott Library; Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. A**** S****”; Testimony of Mary Ann West in U.S. Circuit Court (8th Circuit) Testimony (1892), Manuscript Transcripts, 521, questions 676-79, LDS archives; Nauvoo Female Relief Society Minutes, 28 Sept. 1842, 89, LDS archives and Lee Library.

Smith says an angel with a sword has visited him three times about polygamy 10 Jan 1842 Polygamy Faithful member Mary Elizabeth Lighner publicy stated:“Much has come and gone from me through the powers and vicissitudes of this Church. I have been in almost every mob. I have been driven about and told I would be shot and had a gun pointed at me, but I stayed with the Church until it was driven from Nauvoo. The words of the Prophet that had been revealed to him always have been with me from the beginning to the end of the gospel. Every principle that has been given in the Church by the prophet is true. I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know and I know what I testify to you is the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah, it is true. And when you stand before the bar you will know. He preached polygamy and he not only preached it, but he practiced it. I am a living witness to it. It was given to him before he gave it to the Church. An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle, he would slay him.””Well,” said I, “don’t you think it was an angel of the devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, it was an angel of God. God Almighty showed me the difference between an angel of light and Satan’s angels. The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me. “But,” said he, “they called me a false and fallen prophet but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before. I know that I shall be saved in the Kingdom of God. I have the oath of God upon it and God cannot lie; all that he gives me I shall take with me for I have that authority and that power conferred upon me.”SOURCE: Testimony of Sister Mary Lightner, Address to Brigham Young University, April 14th, 1905, BYU Archives and Manuscripts, see alsohttp://www.ldshistory.net/pc/merlbyu.htm

Smith and Young propose to young woman to enter in polygamy 15 Jan 1842 Polygamy Martha Brotherton, a young Nauvoo woman, was allegedly approached by Brigham Young in Joseph Smith’s private office. “Were it lawful and right,” Brotherton reported Young as saying, “could [you] accept of me for your husband and companion? . . . Brother Joseph has had a revelation from God that it is lawful and right for a man to have two wives; for as it was in the days of Abraham, so it shall be in these last days . . . if you will accept of me, I will take you straight to the celestial kingdom.” Brigham then left the room and returned ten minutes later with the Prophet. “Just go ahead, and do as Brigham wants you to,” Brotherton reported Smith as saying. “I know that this is lawful and right . . . I have the keys of the kingdom, and whatever I bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” Martha noted she begged for time to consider, then left for Saint Louis, where she published her story in the 15 July 1842 St. Louis Bulletin.PLACE: Joseph Smith’s private office, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: St. Louis Bulletin, 15 July 1842

Marriage – Joseph to Mary Elizabeth Rollins, age 23, already married 17 Jan 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage In a sworn affidavit, Mary Lightner said, “Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in the Masonic Hall, over the old brick store by Brigham Young in January 1842 and then again in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C. Kimball.” (Original sworn affidavit owned by Mrs. Nell Osborne of Salt Lake City, February 8, 1902).Mary also admitted her marriage to Joseph Smith in a public address. She said in part, “I am the first being that the revelation was given to him for and I was one thousand miles away in Missouri, for we went up to Jackson County in 1831 ….. I went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham young performed the sealing, and Heber C. Kimball the blessing. I know Joseph Smith had six wives and I have known some of them from childhood up. I knew he had three children [by his plural wives]. They told me. I think two are living today, but they are not known as his children as they go by other names.” (Mary Lightner,1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg. 2-3)PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.net record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Sylvia Sessions, age 23, already married 08 Feb 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Sylvia Sessions told her daughter Josephine that Joseph Smith was her biological father. Josephine left an affidavit stating that her mother, Sylvia, on her deathbed told her (Josephine) that she (Josephine) was the daughter of Joseph Smith.SOURCE: Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, fd. 5, 1:60, 4:62, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” affidavit #77 (unsigned, but supporting evidence makes this marriage close to certain); Historical Record 6:234; affidavit by Josephine Lyon Fisher, Sylvia’s child, 24 Feb. 1915, LDS archives; Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph Smith III, 25-26, LDS archives.

Emma carries child, boy dies shortly after birth Mar 1842 26 Dec 1842 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record, www.FamilySearch.org

Marriage – Joseph to Patty Bartlett Sessions, age 47,already married 09 Mar 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Patty Sessions was sealed to Joseph Smith on March 9, 1842 as indicated by her personal journal entry, “I was sealed to Joseph Smith by Willard Richards March 9, 1842, in Newel K. Whitney’s chamber, Nauvoo, for time and all eternity ….”PLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Marriage – Joseph to Nancy Marinda Hyde, age 27, already married Apr 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Ten years earlier, Smith had been tarred and feathered for supposedly seducing Nancy at age 16 while staying with her family. Nancy was likely taught polygamy by Joseph when her husband, Orson Hyde, was on his mission to Palestine. In 1841, Nancy was given a direct revelation through Joseph to “hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph in all things whatsoever he shall teach unto her” (History of the Church, vol. 4, pg. 467). In May 1844 Nancy would become pregnant with Smith’s child while Hyde was on another mission (sent by Smith). She later divorced Hyde and voiced her disgust of polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith journal, LDS archives, a list of marriages in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock, entered after 14 July 1843: “Apr 42 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith,” in Scott Faulring, ea., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1989), 396. For a second marriage to Joseph Smith, in May 1843, see Marinda Hyde affidavit, 1 May 1869, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:15,

Smith proposes secret plural marriage to 19 year-old Nancy Rigdon 10 Apr 1842 10 Apr 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith invited Nancy Rigdon, nineteen-year-old daughter of his close friend and counselor, Sidney Rigdon, to meet him at the home of Orson Hyde. Upon her arrival Smith greeted her, ushered her into a private room, then locked the door. After swearing her to secrecy, wrote George W. Robinson, Smith announced his “affection for her for several years, and wished that she should be his…the Lord was well pleased with this matter…here was no sin in it whatever…but, if she had any scruples of conscience about the matter, he would marry her privately.”Incredulous, Nancy countered that “if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all.” Grabbing her bonnet, she ordered the door opened or she would “raise the neighbors.” She then stormed out of the Hyde-Richards residence.The next day, Smith wrote Nancy a letter, where he justified his advances, saying ” That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. … Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. … even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.” This is his first written statement of theocratic ethics.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, Sidney Rigdon Biography by Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.295

Marriage – Joseph to Elizabeth Davis, age 50, already married May 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. D*****”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 54; Jackson, A Narrative, 14, links Elizabeth with Patty Sessions as a Mother in Israel who helped arrange polygamous marriages for Joseph. Patty Sessions was certainly married to Joseph. Emily Partridge, Autobiography, 4, LDS archives, shows Elizabeth relaying a marriage proposal to Emily, which confirms Jackson. Joseph often relied on previously married wives to educate and recruit new plural wives. A Nauvoo temple proxy marriage to Joseph is good supporting evidence, Sealing and Adoption Book A, 505; cf. p. 385: “Elizabeth Davis Smith.”

Endowment Introduced 04 May 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith introduced the temple endowment to seven men at a meeting in the room over his store in Nauvoo. A few others received endowments before completion of the temple.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: page 343 Deseret News Church Almanac 1993-1994 ed. [Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News 1992]

Smith initiates nine men into secret Quorum of Anointed 04 May 1842 05 May 1842 Polygamy Smith organizes the Quorum of Anointed or Holy Order of the Priesthood, and intitiates nine men into what would later be called the “temple endowment.” He excludes first counselor Rigdon and assistant counselor John C. Bennett. Women do not participate until 28 Sept. 1843.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Three women testify that Smith taught “spiritual wifery” 29 May 1842 Polygamy Three women testify that Assistant President John C. Bennett and Apostle William Smith taught them that Smith approved of “spiritual wifery” wherein several men have sexual relations with the same woman. The women testifying were Margaret and Matilda Nyman and Catherine Fuller Warren. The report of the Nymans was later printed in the 29 May 1844 Nauvoo Neighbor. The sisters said that Elder Chauncy Higbee had advised them that Smith approved of “spiritual wifery” but gave instructions to keep the matter a secret because “there was no sin when there is no accuser.” Catherine Fuller Warren in her 20 May 1842 testimony responded to charges of “unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with John C. Bennett and others” by admitting to having intercourse not only with him but with Chauncy Higbee and the prophet’s younger brother, Apostle William Smith. Speaking in her defense, however, she insisted that the men had “taught the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women and that the heads of the Church also taught and practised it which things caused her to be led away thinking it to be right.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Minutes of The High Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 24 May 1842, Nauvoo Neighbor 29 May 1844 edition

Smith performs secret plural mariage for Brigham Young 14 Jun 1842 Polygamy The first fully-dated plural marriage performed by Smith occurs for Young and Lucy Decker Seeley.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Eliza R. Snow, age 38 29 Jun 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Brigham Yong officiatingPLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Church newspaper publishes phrenoloy chart of Smith, described as ‘passionately fond of the company of the other sex.’ 02 Jul 1842 02 Jul 1842 Polygamy The church newspaper The Wasp publishes a phrenology chart of Smith’s head and personality. The first trait is “Amativeness-11, L[arge]. Extreme susceptibility; passionately fond of the company of the other sex.” The official History of the Church still publishes this chart, along with the caution that such a high score indicates “extreme liability to perversion” in the trait.SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.53PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith attempts to seduce wife of Orson Pratt leads to suicide attempt 15 Jul 1842 Polygamy Thousands of Nauvoo Mormons search for Orson Pratt after discovering a suicide note. They find him distraught because Smith, according to Pratt’s wife, had tried to seduce Pratt’s wife Sarah.PLACE: Navuoo, IL

Orson Pratt votes against defense of Smith virtuous conduct 22 Jul 1842 Polygamy Pratt votes against a public resolution in defense of Smith’s virtuous conduct.SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.33PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Revelation – Polygamy (never canonized or officially published) 27 Jul 1842 Polygamy Pior to his marriage to Newel Whitney’s 17 year-old daughter, Sarah Ann Whitney, Joseph Smith recevied and recorded a revelation on polygamy, which remains in LDS church archives. Although recorded in the official “Revelation Book” of the time, the revelation was not canonized as scripture.In this revelation, the Lord reveals a plural marriage ceremony, which would later be altered and become the sealing ceremony in the temple.From copies in archives at the Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah:Verily, Thus Saith the Lord, unto My Servant Newell. K. Whitney
A Revelation to Newell K. Whitney, 27 July 1842, and Joseph Smith Elizabeth Ann Whitney, and Sarah Ann Whitney”Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant N[ewel]. K. Whitney, the thing that my servant Joseph Smith has made known unto you and your Family [his plural marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney] and which you have agreed upon is right in mine eyes and shall be rewarded upon your heads with honor and immortality and eternal life to all your house both old & young because of the lineage of my Preast Hood saith the Lord it shall be upon you and upon your children after you from generation to generation, by virtue of the Holy promise which I now make unto you saith the Lord.””These are the words which you shall pronounce upon my servant Joseph and your Daughter Sarah Ann. Whitney. They shall take each other by the hand and you shall say ‘You both mutually agree,” calling them by name, ‘”to be each other’s companion so long as you both shall live preserving yourselves for each other and from all others and also throughout all eternity reserving only those rights which have been given to my servant Joseph by revelation and commandment and by legal Authority in times passed.’ If you both agree to covenant and do this then I give you Sarah Ann Whitney, my daughter, to Joseph Smith to be his wife, to observe all the rights between you both that belong to that condition. I do it in my own name and in the name of my wife, your mother, and in the name of my Holy Progenitors, by the right of birth which is of Preast Hood, vested in my by revelation and commandment and promise of the living. God obtained by the Holy Melchisedeck Jethro and other of the Holy Fathers, commanding in the name of the Lord all those Powers to concentrate in you and through to your posterity forever. All these things I do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that through this order he may be glorified and that through the power of anointing David may reign King over Israel, which shall hereafter be revealed. Let immortality and eternal life henceforth be sealed upon your heads forever and ever. Amen.”LOCATION: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Original manuscript of Kirtland Revelation Book, Church Historical Department, Ms f 490 # 2, also The Historical Record 6:222 (1887 edition.), also In Sacred Lonliness, p. 348-349

Marriage – Joseph to Sarah Ann Whitney, age 17 27 Jul 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Father Elder Newel K. Whitney officiatingPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Martha McBride Aug 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Ruth Vose Sayers, age 33, already married Aug 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Earliest reference to secret garments worn by the Holy Order 08 Aug 1842 08 Aug 1842 Polygamy The earliest reference to the special undergarment worn by the Holy Order of the endowment reads for this date: “they have oil poured on them, and then a mark or hole cut in the breast of their shirts… to keep the Destroying Angel from them and their families.” From the eighteenth century to the 1840s, “shirt” referred to an undergarment which was often worn with a separate, tight-fitting underpant reaching to the knees.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.635

Smith writes love letter to arrange night with plural wife 18 Aug 1842 18 Aug 1842 Polygamy To arrange night liason with plural wife, Newel K. Whitney’s daughter Sarah Ann, Smith writes “… the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty. … Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the more Joy, when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts, my life depends upon it. … I close my letter, I think Emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, and affectionate, companion, and friend. Joseph Smith.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, Jr., to Newel K. Whitney, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, etc., 18 August 1842, George Albert Smith Family Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. The text and the signature of this document are in the handwriting of Joseph Smith, Jr. This document has been reproduced in Dean C. Jessee’s masterful The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1984), pp. 539-40. See also In Sacred Lonliness, page 349-350

Smith sends 380 Elders across the country to deny allegations of his polygamy 29 Aug 1842 29 Aug 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith calls and holds a special conference in Nauvoo. At that conference 380 elders volunteer to travel nationwide to distribute a broadside (a two-paged newspaper) filled with affidavits and certificates in a massive effort to convince the public, among other things, that that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist. Smith spearheads this endeavor, which is one of his greatest efforts to deny he was practicing plural marriage. It was such a tremendous undertaking and was promoted with such zeal that it can rightly be called a crusade.Smith had been arrested on August 8 by Missouri officials on charges that he had been an accomplice in the attempted assassination of former Missouri governor,Lilburn Boggs. The Prophet was released the same day of his arrest by the Nauvoo Municipal Court. He then went into hiding—first in Iowa, and then back in Nauvoo.Upon his return to Nauvoo, Smith recorded:”I advised the Twelve to call a special conference on Monday next (August 29), to give instructions to the elders, and call upon them to go forth upon this important mission; meantime, that all the affidavits concerning Bennett’s conduct be taken and printed, so that each elder could be properly furnished with correct and weighty testimony to lay before the public.”On Monday, August 29, a vast crowd of concerned Saints gathers at the Grove near the Temple for the conference. Near the close of Hyrum’s address, Joseph, who had not been seen in public for three weeks, walks up onto the stand and sits down. Joseph’s sudden appearance is a great surprise, for there was speculation among the Saints that he had gone to Washington or Europe, while others believed he was still in Nauvoo. After Hyrum concludes speaking, Joseph addresses the large congregation. He referrs to the affidavits and certificates which he had been busily preparing, by giving both a plea and a prophecy as he proclaimes:”Let the Twelve send all who will support the character of the Prophet, the Lord’s anointed; and if all who go will support my character, I prophesy in the name of the Lord Jesus, whose servant I am, that you will prosper in your missions.” (LDS History of the Church 5:139)After the Prophet speaks, 380 elders volunteer to go on “missions” to spread the Affidavits and Certificates throughout the nation (see Dean C. Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2:447). These men leave their families, homes, and jobs to travel thousands of miles to distribute the Affidavits and Certificates—and to give their own testimonies that Joseph is not a polygamist.LOCATION: Nauvoo, IL

SOURCE: LDS History of the Church 5:131–132; RLDS History of the Church 2:613; ; see also Dean C, Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2 [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1992]: 443–444)


Smith publishes denouncement of polygamy 01 Sep 1842 01 Sep 1842 Polygamy Smith publishes teaching gainst polygamy in the Times and Seasons, of which he was editor.In the September 1 1842 issue, Smith declares:”All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Sep 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.21, p.909

Smith republishes denial of polygamy 01 Oct 1842 01 Oct 1842 Polygamy Smith re-publishes denouncement of polygamy from the Sep 1 Times and Seasons, of which he was the editor.In the Oct 1 1842 issue, Smith re-states:”All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband. All children are bound by law to obey their parents; and to influence them to embrace any religious faith, or be baptized, or leave their parents without their consent, is unlawfularents and masters who exercise control over their wives, children, and servants and prevent them from embracing the truth, will have to answer for that sin.”The publication also includes affidavits signed by twelve men and nineteen women that states in part, “we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Oct 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.23, p.939The signers included Apostle John Taylor and Apostle Wilford Woodruff (who had already been taught the doctrine of polygamy by Joseph Smith), Bishop Newel K. Whitney (who had performed a plural marriage ceremony the previous July for his own daughter and Joseph Smith in accordance with a revelation dictated by the Prophet on the occasion), Elizabeth Ann Whitney (who witnessed the plural ceremony), Sarah M. Cleveland (who had become Joseph Smith’s plural wife early in 1842), and Eliza R. Snow (who also married him on 29 June 1842).

Smith condemns coveting other men’s wives 15 Oct 1842 15 Oct 1842 Polygamy In the 15 October Times and Season, Joseph wrote strongly against coveting other men’s wives. As Editor, he republished an 1830 revelation in which it was revealed to him:“And again: I command thee, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Times and Seasons 3 [October 15,1842]: 944)However, according to LDS authors, by the fall of 1842 Joseph was married to Mary Elizabeth Rollins, wife of Adam Lightner (see John J. Stewart, Brigham Young and His Wives: And The True Story of Plural Marriage [Salt Lake City, Utah: Mercury Publishing Company, Inc., 1961], 89), and Zina Diantha Huntington, wife of Henry B. Jacobs (ibid., 92; see also Andrew Jenson, Ed., The Historical Record 6 [May 1887]: 233; and Times and Seasons 2 [April 1, 1841]: 374). Both women were living with their husbands at that time.

Smith possible father of Orson W. Hyde (by Nancy Miranda Hyde) Feb 1843 09 Nov 1843 Pregnancy

Smith tells temple workers to stop gossiping about polygamy 21 Feb 1843 21 Feb 1843 Polygamy By early 1843 there was much speculation in Nauvoo as to whether or not Joseph Smith was secretly practicing polygamy. More and more were learning that members of the Twelve and others had secret plural wives, and the saying became more popular, “There cannot be so much smoke without some fire.”On February 21,1843, the Prophet spoke to those who were building the Temple — a group consisting of both men and women, and told them that he knew what people were saying about him. According to Official Church History, Joseph told them:”There is a great noise in the city, and many are saying there cannot be so much smoke without some fire. Well, be it so. If the stories about Joe Smith are true, then the stories of John C. Bennett are true about the ladies of Nauvoo; and he says that the Ladies’ Relief Society are all organized of those who are to be the wives of Joe Smith. Ladies, you know whether this is true or not. It is no use living among hogs without a snout. This biting and devouring each other I cannot endure. Away with it. For God’s sake, stop it.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.286

Marriage – Joseph to Emily Dow Partridge, age 19 04 Mar 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Heber C. Kimball officiating. Emily D. Partridge Smith testified that she “roomed” with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had “carnal intercourse” with him. See Temple Lot case (complete transcript), 364, 367, 384.SOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Smith spends honeymoon night with secret bride Emily Partridge 05 Mar 1843 05 Mar 1843 Polygamy In sworn testimony, Emily D. Partridge (Smith Young) testified she “roomed” with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had “carnal intercourse” with him.SOURCE: Temple Lot case complete transcript, 364, 367, 384; also see Foster, Religion and Sexuality, 15

Marriage – Joseph to Eliza M. Partridge, age 22 08 Mar 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Heber C. Kimball officiatingSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Marriage – Joseph to Flora Ann Woodworth, age 16 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date unknown, Spring 1843SOURCE: Elder William Clayton affidavit, in Historical Record 6:225.

Man believes Smith’s angel-with-a-sword testimony, gives him sister as secret wife 02 Apr 1843 Polygamy Faithful member Benjamin Johnson wrote “His brother, Hyrum, said to me, “Now, Brother Benjamin, you know that Brother Joseph would not sanction this if it was not from the Lord. The Lord revealed this to Brother Joseph long ago, and he put it off until the Angel of the Lord came to him with a drawn sword and told him that he would be slain if he did not go forth and fulfill the law.” He told my sister to have no fears, and he there and then sealed my sister, Almira, to the Prophet.”“Soon after this he was at my house again, where he occupied my Sister Almira’s room and bed, and also asked me for my youngest sister, Esther M.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith’s personal secretary and church patriarch, Elder Benjamin F. Johnson, Autobiography “My Life’s Review”

Marriage – Joseph to Almera Woodward Johnson, age 30 03 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder William Clayton officiatingSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Smith challenges members to accuse him directly or keep quiet 06 Apr 1843 06 Apr 1843 Polygamy On April 6,1843, a special conference convenes at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith challenges the members to accuse him directly of sin or keep quiet.The record reveals:”President Joseph then asked the conference if they were satisfied with the First Presidency, so far as he was concerned, as an individual, to preside over the whole church; or would they have another? If, said he, I have done any thing that ought to injure my character, reputation, or standing; or have dishonored our religion by any means in the sight of men, or angels, or in the sight of men and women, I am sorry for it, and if you will forgive me, I will endeavor to do so no more. I do not know that I have done anything of the kind; but if I have, come forward and tell me of it. If any one has any objection to me, I want you to come boldly and frankly, and tell of it; and if not, ever after hold your peace.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons 4, [May 1,1843]: 181

Marriage – Joseph to Olive Grey Frost, age 27 12 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Historical Record 6:235, 234, Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697

Smith secretly marries William Clayton to his wife’s sister 27 Apr 1843 Polygamy William Clayton had learned of plural marriage at least by March 7, 1843, when Joseph Smith told Brigham Young to give Clayton a “favor” regarding priesthood instruction. The word “favor” in Clayton’s journal refers to the granting of an additional wife. Clayton and his first wife, Ruth Moon, were in their seventh year of marriage and had three children. The prophet personally visited the family in their Nauvoo home and suggested that Clayton participate in plural marriage. Margaret Moon, his legal wife’s sister, became Clayton’s first plural wife. The marriage was recorded on April 27, 1843, three months before Smith dictated his plural marriage revelation.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith possible father of Josephine Fisher (by Sylvia Sessions) May 1843 08 Feb 1844 Pregnancy Josephine L. Fisher wrote that her mother, Sylvia Sessions, told her “that [Josephine] was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”SOURCE: Josephine L. Fisher to Andrew Jenson, Feb. 24, 1915. On October 12, 1905Angus M. Cannon confirmed this account to Joseph Smith III, the prophet’s son: “It was said by the girl’s grandmother that your father has a daughter born of a plural wife. The girl’s grandmother was Mother Sessions, who lived in Nauvoo.” He added that Aunt Patty Sessions “asserts that the girl was born within the time after your father was said to have taken the mother.”

Marriage – Helen Mar Kimball, age 14 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Father Heber C. Kimball officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Smith promises family salvation to marry 14-year-old 01 May 1843 01 May 1843 Polygamy Helen Mar Kimball writes of how she married Joseph Smith:“Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet, Joseph, he (my father) offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar: how cruel this seemed to my mother whose heartstrings were already stretched unil they were ready to snap asunder, for she had already taken Sarah Noon to wife and she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more.”SOURCE: Helen Mar Whitney Journal, Helen Mar Autobiography, Womans Exponent, 1880 and recently reprinted in A Woman’s viewJoseph Smith gave her only 24 hours to decide on whether or not to marry him. Of this, Helen wrote: “[my father] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty four hours. … I was sceptical – one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast me off, and this was the only convincing proof That I had of its being right.”The next morning, Joseph Smith finally appeared himself to explain the “law of Celestial Marriage” and claim his teen bride. In her memoir, Helen wrote, “After which he said to me, ‘if you take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.’ This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”Helen also writes about her mother’s reaction to all of this: “None but God and his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart – when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied ‘If Helen is willing I have nothing more to say.””She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older and who better understood the step they were taking, and to see her child, who had yet seen her fifteenth summer, following the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come as the sun was to rise and set; but it was hidden from me.”Helen thought her marriage to Joseph Smith was only dynastic. But to her surprise, it was more. Helen confided to a close friend in Nauvoo: “I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”

SOURCE: Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS member Richard S. Van Wagoner, p. 53.


Marriage – Joseph to Lucy Walker, age 17 01 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder William Clayton officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Maria Lawrence, age 19 11 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.

Marriage – Joseph to Sarah Lawrence, age 17 11 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr., Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.

Hyrum Smith tells congregation only Devil would give plural wife revelation 14 May 1843 Polygamy Presiding Patriarch and Associate President Hyrum Smith assures a citywide congregation that only the Devil would give a revelation approving “wifes & concubines.” Joseph Smih was traveling outside of Nauvoo at the time.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Joseph sleeps with his plural wife Almera Johnson 15 May 1843 15 May 1843 Polygamy Elder Benjamin Johnson wrote, “On the 15th of May . . . the Prophet again Came and at my hosue [house] ocupied the Same Room & Bed with my Sister that the month previous he had ocupied with the Daughter of the Later Bishop Partridge as his wife.SOURCE: Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets, 44.

Emma discovers Smith in bedroom with Eliza Partridge 22 May 1843 22 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith’s personal secretary records that on May 22nd, 1843, Smith’s first wife Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated.SOURCE: William Clayton’s journal entry for 23 May (see Smith, 105-106)

Smith’s first wife, Emma, first approval of polygamy 23 May 1843 23 May 1843 Polygamy First occasion when Emma Smith approves her husband’s polygamous marriages. See D&C 132 where Emma is told to accept polygamy or be “destroyed.”PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Hyrum Smith receives endowment and associated polygamy doctrine 26 May 1843 26 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith begins re-performing the endowment ceremonies for previously endowed men and for others who have accepted polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Joseph Smith and Emma are first couple “sealed” in marriage for eternity 28 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph and Emma Smith are the first couple “sealed” in marriage for eternity. During the previous month, he had married as polygamous wives seventeen-year-old Lucy Walker, sixteen-year-old Flora Ann Woodworth, and fourteen-year-old Helen Mar Kimball who later testified that he had sexual relations with them.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Hanna Ellis, age 29 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date unknown – sometime in Summer 1843SOURCE: John Benbow affidavit, see Historical Record 6:222-23, 234

Marriage – Joseph to Elvira Anie Cowles, age 29 01 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1 :78, 4:80; Historical Record 6:234.

Marriage – Joseph to Rhoda Richards, age 58 12 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Willard Richards officiatingPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Desdemona Fullmer, age 32 Jul 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:32, 4:32; Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” #58; Historical Record 6:225.

Revelation – D&C 132 Plural Marriage secret commandment , dictated by Smith 12 Jul 1843 12 Jul 1843 Polygamy Smith’s revelations on plural marriage and sealing are recorded. Hyrum had asked his brother to dictate it by means of his seer stone, but Smith dictates it from memory. Hyrum uses the written revelation to try to convert Emma Smith to accept the practice.PLACE: Navuoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Nancy Maria Winchester, age 15 28 Jul 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage According to Mormon Church Historian Andrew Jenson, Nancy married Joseph sometime before his death in June of 1844. In addition, Orson Whitmney, son of Nacy Maria’s friend, Helen, also identified her as sSmith’s wife. These two witnesses, taken together, make a good case for NAncy as a plural spouse of Josepoh. Though there is no exac date for her marriage to the prophet, the best hypothosis is that the cereony took place in 1843.LOCATION: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. See also In Sacred Lonliness, page 606.

Smith tells William Clayton to get all the wives he can 11 Aug 1843 Polygamy Smith performs a marriage for his brother Hyrum and his first plural wife and tells William Clayton, “you have a right to get all you can.” Smith also once reportedly explained: “The result of our endless union will be offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven or the sands of the seashore” (History of the Church 5: 391-92).PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” August 11, 1843

Hyrum Smith presents the revelation on plural marriage to the Nauvoo Stake High Council 12 Aug 1843 12 Aug 1843 Polygamy Hyrum Smith presents the revelation on plural and “Celestial marriage” (D&C 132) to the Nauvoo Stake High Council.PLACE: Nauvoo High Council Meeting, Nauvoo IL

Joseph Smith and William Clayton in love triangle 15 Sep 1843 21 Sep 1843 Polygamy William Clayton had already married two sisters and desired to marry the third (and youngest), Lydia Moon. Clayton asked the prophet’s permission bit he refused Clayton permission to marry Lydia, citing a revelation “he had lately, [that] a man could only take 2 of a family.” Smith then asked if Clayton would “give L[ydia] to him. I said I would so far as I had any thing to do in it. He requested me to talk to her.” Lydia Moon refused Smith’s offer because she wanted to “tarry with her sisters” who were already Clayton’s wives.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” September 15, 17 and 21, 1843.

Marriage – Joseph to Malissa Lott, age 19 20 Sep 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Hyrum Smith officiating. Malissa testified that her marriage to Smith included sex. See Affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 Aug. 1893.PLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: FamilySearch.com record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph and Emma are first couple to receive second anointing 28 Sep 1843 Polygamy Joseph and Emma Smith are the first couple to receive the second anointing in which each is “anointed & ordained to the highest & holiest order of the priesthood.”PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith writes in diary that plurality of wives is forbidden 05 Oct 1843 Polygamy Concerning “the doctrine of plurality of wives,” Smith’s manuscript diary reads: “Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife.” When incorporating Joseph Smith’s journal into the History of the Church, Apostle George A. Smith, a cousin, altered this passage to reverse this prohibition on polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Mormon Polygamy, p.63

Smith tells secretary William Clayton not to worry about love child 19 Oct 1843 Polygamy Smith tells his secretary William Clayton not to worry about an upcoming birth from a polygamous union, assuring him that if it becomes necessary to excommunicate him, Smith will immediately reinstate him. Smith told Clayton, said “Just keep her [the mother and baby] at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will baptise you and set you ahead as good as ever.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” October 19, 1843.

Smith republishes condemnation of adultery 01 Nov 1843 01 Nov 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith republishes in the Times and Seasons an earlier 1831 revelation, which includes these commandments:“Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out. Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shalt not have the spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that commiteth adultery and repenteth not, shall be cast out but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out. Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures: he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.24, p.369

Smith marries two women to Brigham Young 02 Nov 1843 Polygamy Young’s30 Oct diary states: “Monday evening Baptized Sisters Cuoub [Cobb] & Hari[e]tt Cook.” Two days later, 2 Nov, Smith marries these two women to Young.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Brigham Young Diary, 30 Oct 1843

Marriage – Joseph to Fanny Young Murray, age 56, already married 02 Nov 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Brigham Young reported the marriage of his sister to Joseph Smith in the Journal of Discourse: “I recollect a sister conversing with Joseph Smith on this subject [of plural marriage]…. Joseph said, ‘Sister, you talk very foolishly, you do not know what you will want.’ He then said to me [B.Y.]: ‘Here, brother Brigham you seal this lady to me.’ I sealed her to him. This was my own sister according to the flesh.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, pg. 166-167).Fanny was already married to a living husband, Roswell Murray.SOURCE: FamilySearch.net record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Smith accuses Emma of poisoning his coffee 05 Nov 1843 Smith becomes violently ill at dinner and assumes that his wife Emma of trying to poison him due to her opposition to polygamy. At the prayer circle meeting that evening Smith accuses her of poisoning his cup of coffee, and Brigham Young regards her shocked silence as proof of her guilt. However, Joseph’s rapid recovery from this illness suggests something other than poisoning, possibly ulcers.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.65, Brigham Young, conference address, 7 Oct. 1866, The Essential Brigham Young, p.188

Emma carries child, David Hyrum Feb 1844 18 Nov 1844 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record, www.FamilySearch.org

Smith is anointed and ordained “King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on Earth” 11 Apr 1844 11 Apr 1844 Polygamy Smith becomes Mormonism’s theocratic king. The kingdom’s clerk William Clayton wrote that during the 11 April 1844 meeting “was prest. Joseph chosen as our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas.” William Marks, who was present at the coronation, later stated that the Council of Fifty performed an ordinance “in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever.” A later revelation to the Council of Fifty affirmed that God called Smith “to be a Prophet, Seer and Revelator to my Church and Kingdom; and to be a King and Ruler over Israel.” In detailed minutes of this same ceremony years later, the Council of Fifty’s standing chairman, John Taylor, was “anointed & set apart as a King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on the Earth.” In a veiled reference to Smith’s kingship, Apostles Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball wrote in 1844 that “you are already President Pro tem of the world.”PLACE: Council of Fifty Meeting in Masonic Hall, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.124

Smith possible father of Frank Henry Hyde (by Nancy Marinda Hyde) May 1844 23 Jan 1845 Pregnancy Frank Henry was born on 23 Jan 1845. Many suspect Joseph Smith was the actual father for two reasons. First, because Marinda had been the polygamous wife of Smith since Apr 1842. Second, because Smith had sent her first husband, Orson Hyde, on a mission to Washington on April 4, 1844 “immediately” after a meeting with Joseph Smith (History of the Church, pg. 286). The gestation period for a human is on average 266 days (not 9 months), which would date the conception to early May 1844. Of course 266 is an average date and the figures vary. To give you an idea of the range, only four percent of pregnancies are actually carried two weeks or more beyond the average time (Guttmacher, 1983). Frank Henry was born on January 23, 1845. Orson Hyde left for Washington April 4, 1844. The difference in these two dates is 294 days! That is almost a month longer than expected and is basically physiologically impossible, especially considering that Orson Hyde had not returned to Nauvoo until August 6, 1844 (Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, August 6, 1844). She later divorced Hyde and voiced her disgust of polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Suit filed against Smith for adultery with foster daughter 23 May 1844 Polygamy William Law files a formal complaint with the Hancock County circuit court charging Smith was living “in an open state of adultery” with Maria Lawrence, Smith’s foster daughter and polygamous wife. Maria Lawrence was a teenaged orphan who was living in the Smith household. In fact, Smith had secretly married both Maria, age 19 and her sister Sarah, age 17 on 11 May 1843 and was serving as executor of their $8,000 estate. William Law apparently hoped that disclosing Smith’s relationship with the young girls might lead him to abandon polygamy, but Smith immediately excommunicated Law, had himself appointed the girls’ legal guardian, and rejected the charge in front of a church congregation on 26 May 1844, denying that he had more than one wife.PLACE: Hancock County Circuit Court, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.403, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p.66

Smith denies polygamy, boasts he has done more than Jesus Christ 26 May 1844 26 May 1844 Polygamy In a now famous speach, Smith publicly denies he has any plural wives. Smith boasts to a congregation “Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.408

Nauvoo Expositor publishes references to Smith’s polygamy and ordination as King on Earth 07 Jun 1844 The first and only issue of William Law’s Nauvoo Expositor is published, with references to the 1843 polygamy revelation and to Smith’s 1844 ordination as king on earth.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Navuoo Expositor

Smith as mayor of Nauvoo orders destruction of Nauvoo Expositor press 10 Jun 1844 10 Jun 1844 Nauvoo City Council discusses Nauvoo Expositor accusation of polygamy against Joseph Smith. Hyrum Smith tells Nauvoo City Council that Smith’s 1843 revelation pertains to ancient polygamy, not to modern times. By Joseph Smith’s order as mayor the council destroys the Expositor as “a public nuisance.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.432-434

Smith declares martial law, gives last public address to Nauvoo Legion 18 Jun 1844 18 Jun 1844 Smith declares martial law and, in speaking to the Nauvoo legion, gives his last public address.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.497-500

Smith writes to apostles, tells them to destroy their garments and return to Nauvoo 20 Jun 1844 20 Jun 1844 Polygamy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.519, Heber C. Kimball’s diary, 21 Dec. 1845, found in the book “Smith, An Intimate Chronicle”, page 224

Smith burns polygamy revelation, flees Nauvoo but then returns 23 Jun 1844 23 Jun 1844 After 1 a.m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet’s departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C.SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives.

Smith surrenders to civil authorities to stand trial for riot and treason 24 Jun 1844 Court/Jail Joseph rode down home twice to bid his family farewell. He appeared solemn and thoughtful, and expressed himself to several individuals that he expected to be murdered. The company (about fifteen) then started again for Carthage, and when opposite to the Masonic Hall, Joseph said, “Boys, if I don’t come back, take care of yourselves; I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.” When they passed his farm he took a good look at it, and after they had passed it, he turned round several times to look again, at which some of the company made remarks, when Joseph said: “If some of you had got such a farm and knew you would not see it any more, you would want to take a good look at it for the last time.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.558

Death of Joseph Smith 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail 5 p.m. A large group of men approaches Carthage Jail disguised with blackened faces. Smith at first assumes it is the Nauvoo Legion he has secretly ordered to rescue him. However, major-general Jonathan Dunham has disobeyed orders knowing that a prison escape would mean the annihilation of Nauvoo. Instead the vigilantes storm the upstairs room, instantly killing Hyrum and severely wounding Taylor. Joseph defends himself with a pistol, killing two men, then jumps out the window, and begins to shout the Masonic cry of distress: “Oh, Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow’s son?” Masons in the crowd show no mercy and prop the semi-conscious Smith against a nearby well and shoot him several times at point-blank range. Willard Richards is the only one not killed or severely wounded. Mormons immediately attribute this to the fact that he alone wore the undergarment given to endowed persons.PLACE: Carthage Jail, Carthage ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.616-623

Smith orders Nauvoo Legion to free him 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail The morning of 27 July, Smith sent an order (in his own handwriting) to Major-General Jonathan Dunham to lead the Nauvoo Legion in a military attack on Carthage “immediately” to free the prisoners. Dunham realized that such an assault by the Nauvoo Legion would result in two blood baths, one in Carthage and another when anti-Mormons (and probably the Illinois militia) retaliated by laying siege to Nauvoo for insurrection. To avoid civil war and the destruction of Nauvoo’s population, Dunham refused to obey the order and did not notify Smith of his decision. One of his lieutenants, a former Danite, later complained that Dunham “did not let a single mortal know that he had received such orders.”PLACE: Carthage Jail, Carthage ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith to Jonathan Dunham, 27 June 1844, in Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, xxv, 616-17; History of the Church, 6:529 referred to this order but neither quoted nor summarized it.

Smith tells associate that he has lost the spirit of God for disobedience 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail Before leaving Carthage Jail at 1:30 p.m., Stephen Markham listens as Smith says he has lost the spirit of God for disobedience in returning to Nauvoo.. In 1858 Brigham Young would say later “If Joseph Smith, Jun., the Prophet, had followed the Spirit of revelation in him he never would have gone to Carthage and never for one moment did he say that he had one particle of light in him after he started back from Montrose to give himself up in Nauvoo.”PLACE: Cathage Jail, Cathage, ILSOURCE: Brigham Young, A Series of Instructions and Remarks by President Young at a Special Council, Tabernacle, March 21, 1858 (Salt Lake City, 1858)

Reposted from http://www.i4m.com/think/polygamy/polygamy-timeline.htm

 

Other Good References

And https://exploringmormonism.com/polygamy-timeline/

http://www.ldsorigins.com/polygamy.htm

http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/faq/sexuality-2/

The Priesthood of God & Its Relationship to the Only True Church Doctrine

The true priesthood is not meant to be like Sauron's ring of power

45 “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood…” (D&C 121:45).

Like many modern books and movies I believe Lord of the Rings teaches an important gospel message. One of its central themes revolves around the idea that power corrupts—so it’s up to the strong and wise to keep it in the hands of the weak and humble until the time that it can be “cast down” by perfect equality and fellowship. I believe this message is very important when it comes to understanding Christian priesthood, and is a theme that runs throughout LDS scripture. In this article I would like to try and show that LDS scripture teaches religious priesthood is not so much a ‘power of God’ but a preparatory symbolic authority given to man by divine beings to test who will stay “humble as a hobbit” like Frodo and Samwise, verses who will be corrupted by its influence like Saruman, Boromir, Theoden, and the race of man.

I love the LDS Church, but I believe that since the days of the earliest Saints there has often been fundamental misunderstandings and misapplications of priesthood in the church which lies at the root of the division this topic has caused—whether it be the use of priesthood authority to to support our exclusive truth claims, or using arguments of priesthood to pressure people into doing things they don’t really feel good about… or even instances of using priesthood arguments to marginalize blacks, women or other groups.

On one hand, misunderstanding and misapplication seems to have has caused people to want a burden and obligation which no person should really desire. On the other hand, privilege and abuse have sometimes caused a thing designed to maintain equality — to promote exclusivity, elitism, inequality and division. Misunderstood principles like “the one true church” and “only true priesthood” doctrines have often turned an equality promoting symbolic responsibility into an inequality promoting honor & privilege. But assuming there is legitimacy in Christian or LDS priesthood, I believe scripture suggests it is part of a test given to religious leaders to find out who might be worthy of true authority in our next rounds of progression.

This article covers the following points using LDS & Christian scripture.
-Scripture makes it clear that the priesthood is not the power to do miracles or create worlds and should not be confused with that ‘power’ of God.
-The priesthood is not, and never was, needed to be a prophet, seer or revelator—otherwise how could you explain biblical prophetesses and the many non-levitical prophets?
-The priesthood is not, and never was, needed to heal; or perform any other skills said to be ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, given freely to all.
-The priesthood was never entirely lost during apostacy. (see D&C 86:8–10; D&C 84:17–18, Abr 1:4, 2:11. ‘keys’ were simply taken from Israel and transferred to the Gentiles; now they’re being restored to Israel.)
-The higher priesthood has never been exclusive to one religion or people. (only the lower priesthood is fundamentally exclusive)
-The priesthood should never be used to support or legitimize the only true church doctrine.
-The lower priesthood appears to be a symbolic authority to administer the offices, ordinances and symbols of salvation.
-The higher spiritual priesthood invisibly governs all the religious and political affairs of the earth while maintaining equality and mankind’s self determination..
-The lower, temporal or religious priesthood should not be confused with the higher universal spiritual priesthood it is was created to symbolize, copy and prepare for.
-ALL priesthood IS a responsibility to active servitude in order to equalize inequalities. It’s proper use NEVER guarantees any special privilege, special standing, special respect, authoritative legitimacy, reward or power simply by virtue of its possession.  If people desire this burden, then it is a sign that it is being misused, misunderstood and misapplied.

Sauron, Satan, and the Corrupting Influence of Power

In the book/movie The Lord of the Rings, J.R. Tolkien walks us through a story which illustrates the corrupting influence of power. The story begins with the forging of the Great Rings of power. Nineteen of these rings are given to the leaders of earth to give them “the strength and will to govern each race”.  But Tolkien teaches that in accepting these rings the leaders…

“were all of them deceived, for another ring was made. In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged, in secret, a Master Ring to control all others. And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One Ring to rule them all.”

With this master ring, Sauron begins to enslave the people of earth bringing about an apocalyptic war for freedom. In the quest to destroy this “Ring of Power”, Frodo and the fellowship are tested and tried as they battle not only the evil followers of Sauron, but the evil that the ring creates in the hearts of the heroes by its very essence. Gandalf summarizes Tolkien’s view of power with his words concerning the ring,

“I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

To Mormon’s & Christians this plot and what it teaches about power and authority might sound eerily familiar to the Biblical concept of Satan’s fall and plan for worldly dominion. In LDS and even general Christian theology it was the lust for power which caused the archetypal Satan to become a “the fallen archangel”—warring against all that is good. In Joseph Smith’s book of Moses (ch.4), it is explained that in the beginning Satan wanted the honor of redeeming mankind. As opposed to Christ’s plan of self sacrifice and equality— Satan’s plan was to use God’s power to “destroy the agency of man”, redeeming “all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost”. We can only assume from the context given in Moses 4:1–4, as well as subsequent biblical history that his plan was one of using “God’s” honor & authority to create a global totalitarian autocracy to coercively exalt all mankind (but especially himself and his crony power structure).

After his totalitarian plan is rejected, Satan rebels and comes to earth to carry out his plan anyway. Without the true secret to God’s political power or authority (which was self-sacrifice) he comes to earth and creates a false priesthood, which like Sauron’s rings of power, he uses to subtly manipulate, “deceive, blind and lead [people] captive to his will” (Moses 4:4). Satan’s goal seems to have been to either manipulate or trick people into obedience to his autocratic system through false pretenses (Moses 1:19–22), or as a last resort to do what the ancient Jews and many Christians still hope of their false Messiah. To come in power and glory dyed in blood, ready to force every knee to bow to his own egocentric concept of truth, order and righteousness (Rev 13, Dan 7). Just as Tolkien’s book details the corruption of earthly authority into what could be considered Sauron’s ‘false priesthood’, the Bible is–cover to cover–a story of the continual corruption of Jewish and earthly priesthoods into ‘Satan’s false priesthood’ of idolotry and autocratic domination.

In this article I hope to show that by upholding the only true church and only legitimate priesthood doctrines, Mormonism has unwittingly gone contrary to the democratic agency-promoting principles given in many of our own scriptures—and sometimes used the same manipulative tactics of Satan’s false priesthood to uphold autocratic power and authority. Something that we must eradicate if we are to play our key part in Christ’s true spiritual church.

The Difference Between Priesthood and The Powers of Heaven or Spiritual Gifts

Before going into other aspects of the priesthood I believe it’s important to cover what LDS scripture says the priesthood is, and is not. There are many traditional LDS beliefs and teachings which have contributed to the general pride that’s developed around priesthood in LDS culture. Some of this stems from the nearly ubiquitous misunderstanding that priesthood is the supernatural power of God [1a] used to create the world or do miraculous or supernatural acts, or that the priesthood is needed in order to be a prophet (one with the gift of prophecy), exercise divine power or be a religious icon like those idolized in Christian scripture. So why wouldn’t everyone lust after it, right?!  If like a magical ring, it gives the power to to heal or to prophesy or to cast out devils or move mountains or split seas or be a leader, prophet, seer or revelator of course it would become a source of pride to those lucky enough to have it, and a source of envy to groups forbidden from it!

A careful examination of the scripture show that priesthood is neither needed nor said to uniquely give people power to do ANY of these things. The scriptures instead teach that Judeo Christian priesthood was simply a symbolic religious order, authority and responsibility which obligates the powerful aspects of society to be a metaphor of the heavenly church, and use one’s attained power for good, and to establish the level of equality needed for group exaltation– and a system to convict it’s holders when they twist it into something opposite its intent. The scriptures make it clear that all the supernatural powers of God are given equally to ALL WORTHY MANKIND (humankind) as “gifts of the Spirit” and are available “by faith” to all people regardless of gender, religion, color or priesthood ordination (see D&C 45, Moroni 7, and 2 Cor 12, 2 Ne 26:33, Lectures on Faith #1).

To confuse the priesthood (which is accessed only by ordination into a specific religious order) WITH the ‘powers of heaven’ or ‘power of God’ or gifts of the Spirit which scripture says are accessed by faith is like confusing the force of George Lucas’ star wars with the order of the Jedi who are trained to use it or Tolkien’s wizards/Istari order with the power or magic they have learned to access. After all, Christian scripture teaches that even Satan and his followers have learned by faith to use the miraculous divine powers, and his power is obviously not the same as the priesthood or order of God. Although mixing these definitions may seem a trivial debate in semantics — by perpetuating these unscriptural misunderstandings we inadvertently cause many to covet or feel excluded from a burdensome obligation of sacrifice that no one should desire.

There is simply NO scriptural support for the ubiquitous traditional LDS doctrine that the “priesthood” is the supernatural power God used to create the world and universe. There is no scriptural support suggesting priesthood has exclusive claim to any of God’s miraculous powers, except an authority or burden of responsibility to religious administration (servitude), to officiate in symbolic ecclesiastical ordinances and seal and symbolically bring a people into God’s presence. D&C 121:45 makes it clear that “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven”, but the priesthood should not be confused for the “powers of heaven” or the “power of God” which D&C 88 teaches is “is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed”.

There are literally hundreds of verses of scripture proving these points, but I trust the average LDS reader can be convinced by reading just a handful. (see footnote [a] for more scriptural examples comparing priesthood with the power of God accessed through faith. see also The Difference Between Priesthood and Prophets , and Ether 12, Heb 11, TG; faith, D&C 88:7–13, 84:45-46, Moses 1:32, Jacob 4:9, Morm 9:17, D&C 29:30–31).

The priesthood is primarily a metaphor or symbol of a heavenly or spiritual system

Technically, priesthood does not even give people a right to authority or rule, per se. Much like Israel and the Christian Church in general, the scriptures teach that the priesthood was created to be an order of servitude and symbol or type of a heavenly spiritual system. A light to show the world how heaven operates. The true priesthood is not like Sauron’s ring, or some imaginary crown which mystically gives individuals God’s authority to rule over others — or to be God’s only revelatory mouthpieces or political regents. [1] Even Tolkien understood that such a system could only come from, and lead to evil. Joseph Smith, perhaps ironically, echoed this sentiment that religious priesthood was never meant to give men true power or authority over others. He wrote in revelation,

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only [but] by persuasion, long suffering, meekness… [and other Christlike attributes]” (D&C 121:45)

This was fairly clear in the Jewish religious system, as the priesthood was held only by Levites, and authorized its holders ONLY to work as priests in the temple. Prophets, Rabbis and many other Jewish political and religious leaders had no need for the priesthood. It was clearly only a responsibility to administer the symbolic outward ordinances of the religious system. With the advent of Christianity, the Church or congregation became the temple, and the symbolic managerial duties of the temple priests moved to ordained men of the congregation (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5) . With the new covenant, instead of sacrificing animals and performing ordinances on behalf of the people, the priesthood was now to follow Christ’s example of sacrificing themselves and performing symbolic ordinances on behalf of the congregation and world (Romans 12:1–2; 15:16; Philip 2:17; 4:18; Heb 13:15–16). So even though early church records show a clear hierarchical administrative system [2] which was associated with priesthood, Christ’s teachings were clear that the Church was not to follow the world’s model of using that priesthood position to support and maintain the organizational hierarchy. (In fact there are many apocryphal sources which suggest Christ created a secret organization of women equal in importance to the men)

The system of heaven which Jesus came to teach was that power and authority came not from position but from self-sacrifice. Knowledge and self sacrifice were to be the “keys” or authority of the kingdom (Matt 16:13–20, D&C 84:19; 107:15). Ordination to an office was never meant to prove one’s legitimacy or give one person authoritative control over another. He taught that only by humbly serving others can we righteously create a hierarchy or gain privilege over the will of another. That no ordinance can truly give authority, the ordinance and priesthood office is a symbol pointing to the type of wise character and level of service which earns true power and authority over others while completely preserving agency. Take the words of Christ to his apostles in Matthew 20 for instance.

25 But Jesus called [his disciples] to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life… (Matt 20:20–28 ESV) [2b]

The narrative of Christ giving Peter the “keys” of the kingdom hit this point home. (A narrative strangely absent from every gospel but Matthew’s.) Instead of Christ ordaining Peter with a magical power that he could use to rule the church and do miracles to prove Christ’s legitimacy, he promises Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” after a lesson on faith and a “charge” not to flaunt the Messiah title to legitimize their teachings. It then states that Christ began then to teach in depth about self sacrifice before the religious elite,

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day… 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt 16:21,24–25)

The entire system of Jewish temple worship & sacrifice, culminating with Jesus coming to be judged and executed by the Jewish priesthood & Roman authorities can be seen as a clear symbolic teaching and example to show both the right way (by humble non-institutionalized example) and the wrong way (by means of religious or political authority) to lead man. The second and third temptations of Christ were an offer by Satan to get power and authority the wrong way. The Christian priesthood was not meant to give man the right or legitimacy to rule over others.  It was instituted to give mankind a symbol of a heavenly system—and to teach mankind that true authority over others comes only through self-sacrifice. Heavenly authority is meant to maintain equality through the self-sacrifice and subservience of the leadership. To humble powerful people into being equal slaves and servants in Christ. This is why this responsibility of servitude is often only given to the most assertive and domineering (masculine) aspects of humanity and withheld from the humble or subjugated (feminine) aspects of humanity. That’s not to say women should not have priesthood authority, but instead that priesthood authority was an order and charge of humility given to the powerful, that they should abase themselves to be equals with the less powerful aspects of society.  (see footnote[2c])

In fact other revealed texts such as Oahspe 32/ch. 30 (God judges dominions) teach the scripturally supported idea that the cost of human leadership is that no leader can ascend to the higher realms of existence, until he has exalted or risen up all those who had become physically or mentally subjected to them! (see Matt 23:12) That is, that the responsibility and burden of both righteous ecclesiastical leaders or wicked despots was that they could not gain an exalted resurrection until they helped every one of their willing subjects ascend with or ahead of them! In Christ’s words, the first will be made last and the last will be made first. (Matt 19:30; 20:1-16, D&C 29:30)

… I show man not only the way of liberty, but the way of bondage. He shall know understandingly the ways of my dominions, and the judgment that is upon him. 32/30.20. And the same rules shall apply to every king, queen, emperor, and every other ruler in the world. 32/30.21. The resurrection in heaven of each and every one of them shall be with, and no faster than, those they ruled over on earth.  32/30.22. And they shall be responsible to all their subjects[2d]

LDS teachings commonly use arguments of priesthood to legitimize LDS authority as the only true church, and our General Authorities as Christ’s only true living prophets and apostles on earth. Our entire cultural system of giving General Authorities and priesthood holders the “chief seats in the synagogues” or always insisting “to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi” [President or Bishop in our case] is directly contrary to Christ’s teachings (see Matt 23:6–12; Luke 23:6, 11:43). Like the Pharisees of Jesus time, I believe we have slowly come to focus too much on priesthood as an eternal authority and honor to be desired instead of merely a responsibility to be shouldered. It has become a way to legitimize dominion and exert one’s own will upon others, instead of being a responsibility of public service which maintains equality. We forget that God respects self determination above all, and will never force compliance contrary to the voice and conscience of the majority. We too often seek to ‘talk up’ the priesthood when we should instead be focusing on the fact that earthly priesthood is a symbolic responsibility and burden that gives assertive individuals an obligation to service — and that service is the true source of heaven’s power (A power open to ALL worthy humankind.)  Paul tries repeatedly in his New Testament letters to show the Jews that the Old Testament system and priesthood were types, symbols or schoolmasters pointing to heavenly systems and spiritual truths—not to be confused with the real thing.

10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. (Hebr 10:1 NIV)
5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Hebr 8:5 NIV)
23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (Hebr 9:23-24 NLT)
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [type/symbol] kills, but the Spirit [meaning behind the symbol] gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NIV, compare NLT)

Latter day LDS scripture echoes the same sentiment,

16 Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order… (Alma 13:16)
13 …that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly… (D&C 128:13)

According to the LDS worldview, the ancient Jews looked “beyond the mark”, and twisted their religious system into an organization satanic enough to excommunicate and execute their own heavenly King (Jacob 4:14, 2 Ne 10:3). We also hold that the Catholics have their own record of priesthood abuse stemming from their belief that their priesthood is what makes them elected or chosen of God. Certainly, when a religion or mankind misunderstands temporal symbols given by heaven and creates an organization that manipulates people into a exclusivist leadership hierarchy fostering feelings of pride, subservience and inequality the true priesthood is corrupted. Just as declaring one’s self “the only true church” makes a religion run the risk of being part of the church of the devil, using any arguments of priesthood to justify our authority over others runs the risk of losing the true spiritual priesthood (D&C 121:37). Paradoxically, if Mormonism wants to be part of the True Church of God, it must never boast of being the only true church. If it wants to be worthy of the true priesthood, it must hide the tokens of that priesthood by never using priesthood as a reason for its authority or legitimacy. (For example: repeated talks on being the only true church or priesthood, talking up church apostles or leadership, or excommunicating those who challenge authority or repeated talks on “obedience to priesthood”, talks suggesting leaders, the “prophet” or General Authorities are unequal or superior to regular members, or manipulatively teaching that their priesthood “mantle of authority” deserves special respect and thus shouldn’t be questioned or challenged (ie. talks on not “steadying the ark”), instead of letting obedience, respect and submission to authority be a natural outgrowth of people wanting to follow their leaders because of the leadership’s humility, service and sacrifice).

The Two branches of Mormon Priesthood and what they symbolize

I believe LDS scriptures teach that the two branches of Mormon/Biblical ecclesiastical priesthood are a type or metaphor of two larger types of priesthood used by Higher Beings in the management of our world— The Aaronic or temporal priesthood and the Melchizedek or spiritual priesthood. In a way, I believe LDS scriptural teachings on these priesthoods are meant to reconcile the Catholic views on ministerial priesthood with the Protestant views of universal priesthood. The Mormon Aaronic or lower priesthood being a type or symbol pointing to the “temporal” priesthood or earthly authority of the earth’s religions & political organizations. The Mormon Melchizedek, higher or “spiritual” priesthood being a symbol of the “invisible” spiritual or universal priesthood which is used by heavenly/spiritual beings to rule ALL earthy political and religious affairs according to their agency.  The earthly temporal lower priesthood like the temporal church, is supposed to copy that higher perfect heavenly system. Its primary purpose is to be a type, symbol or example and schoolmaster to the world.