If every human being who has, or ever will live is to be judged by the law of redemption as Christians believe, and there be no repentance beyond the grave, how then shall infants and heathens who never heard of Christ or his law be redeemed? To say nothing about the dead what is to become of the four hundred millions of Chinese now inhabiting the empire of China, who do not, and in all probability will not in this life, know anything about the Gospel? What about the two hundred and eighty million followers of Mohammed, who, like the Chinese, have never heard of water and spirit baptism? Then think of the billions who have died equally or more ignorant of these vital questions, and tell me that God intends to mix them up with infants a span long, who died without being sprinkled by some poor, narrow-minded priest without authority from heaven, and I will tell you that I don't worship that kind of a God. Christians may do so, and speak of him as bodiless and passionless; he certainly would have no passion either of justice or affection. The God we worship is full of compassion, justice and love. Hence the broad scope of His plan of human redemption, reaching the living and the dead, in time and in eternity. I can comprehend how a demon might want to consign to eternal punishment without a hearing, without law, His creatures, but how men can pretend to worship a God possessed of such attributes is a mystery.
This is why Mormonism is the only practical Christian religion, in my opinion. No where else within the vale of Christianity do I find a God who is truly Loving. It is either Mormonism or Nothing, and after some experience, I determined that Mormonism is the truth, but that is something that has to be learned by each of us through the Spirit. No other Christian religion has any ground to stand on if they cannot answer the simple dilemma put forth above in a satisfactory manner, and even if they were right, and their God would send millions to Hell for such a petty reason, I would gladly be thrust to hell with them than be eternally under such a monstrosity as they believe in.
Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1
You can also preview the contents to see how I've done.
This edition of the Journal of Discourses is blessed with wide outside and bottom margins for easier note-taking. It has been repaginated to accommodate this format while retaining a plain round type that aged persons can read with ease. The traditional page numbers are notated within square brackets at the place in the text where the original page commenced.
The text for this edition has been obtained from various public domain electronic text editions available on the Internet, and whenever any part of the text has been questioned, it has been compared and corrected based on scanned pages from the original printing, currently available in the Online Collections at BYU (www.lib.byu.edu).
We hope to release the remaining volumes of the Journal in this format in the near future so that this great collection of sermons, so influential in the development of Mormonism, may continue to be available at an affordable price to all who desire to read its words.
For those who haven't heard of this set before, here are some excerpts from the original introduction:
It affords me great pleasure in being able to put in your possession the words of the Apostles and Prophets, as they were Spoken in the assemblies of the Saints in Zion, the value of which cannot be estimated by man, not so much for any great display of worldly learning and eloquence, as for the purity of doctrine, simplicity of style, and extensive amount of theological truth which they develop.
To those who are unacquainted with the Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are mantled in the darkness of ages, whose minds are sunk in the almost impenetrable shades of error, uncertainty, and doubt, but who sincerely desire to know the truth, these Sermons will prove a source of light, information, and joy. And, according to the vocation which belongs to the Eternal Priesthood, all authorized ministers of God will hail their publication with gladness, for such an embodiment of doctrine will greatly accelerate the grand object they have in view—the salvation of souls, the instruction of Saints, and the building up of Zion in the last days.
Particularly to the Elders who are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, far from those who alone can instruct them in the more exalted branches of the Everlasting Gospel, these Sermons will be most valuable, as a gauge of doctrine, a rule of rectitude, and a square to life, furnishing at the same time an extensive repository of historical information.
It is apparent that the original intent of the Journal was to serve as a tool for missionary work, as an introduction to the Latter-day Saint religion, in addition to its place as a resource for members of the Church to study. I agree that everyone should have a copy in their homes, and there are now several ways to do that: Find an ebook edition, buy a full set from eBay, or buy the one I just put together.
I'm planning on doing the remaining volumes as I find time, provided at least one person has interest in this project. ;)
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.
I will reserve my own interpretation until at least someone else has been given a chance to bite at it.
I will let Brigham Young answer this. Please bear with this, as it is lengthy, but each statement adds upon the other and his view, I think, will be made clear by careful reading. I have made bold certain parts for emphasis on this subject:
You may ask any practical chemist, any man who knows, understands, and studies the elements, and he will corroborate these statements. This is a matter I want you to look at, to think and meditate upon. I do not talk about the expense of the building, and the time it would take to erect it, but its durability, and which is the best material within our reach to build it with. If you take this clay, which is to be found in abundance on these bottom lands, and mix with it these pebble rocks, and make adobies of the compound, it will petrify in the wall and become a solid rock in five hundred years, so as to be fit to cut into millstones to grind flour, while the other materials I have mentioned will have decomposed, and gone back to their native elements. I am chemist enough to know that much. My simple philosophy is this. The elements of which this terra firma is composed, are every moment either composing or decomposing. They commence to organize or to compose, and continue to grow until they arrive at their zenith of perfection, and then they begin to decompose. When you find a rock that has arrived at its greatest perfection, you may know that the work of decaying has begun. Let the practical chemist make his observations upon a portion of the matter of which this earth is composed; and he will find, that just as quick as it is at its perfection, that very instant it begins to decompose. We have proof of this. Go into Egypt, for instance, and you will find the monuments, towers, and pyramids, that were erected in the days of Joseph, and before he was sold into Egypt; they were built of what we call adobies, clay mixed up with straw; these fabrics, which have excited interest for so many ages and are the wonder of modern nations, were built of this raw material. They have bid defiance to the wear of ages, and they still remain. But you cannot find a stone column that was reared in those times, for they are all decayed. Here we have actual proof that the matter which is the furthest advanced to a state of perfection, is the first to decompose, and go back into its native element, at which point it begins to be organized again, it begins to congeal, petrify, and harden into rock, which grows like a tree, but not so perceptibly.
--BY Oct 9, 1852
The principle opposite to that of eternal increase from the beginning, leads down to hell; the person decreases, loses his knowledge, tact, talent, and ultimately, in a short period of time, is lost; he returns to his mother earth, his name is forgotten. But where, Oh! where is his spirit? I will not now take the time to follow his destiny; but here, strong language could be used, for when the Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed, after the termination of the thousand years' rest, he will summon the armies of heaven for the conflict, he will come forth in flaming fire, he will descend to execute the mandates of an incensed God, and, amid the thunderings of the wrath of Omnipotence, roll up the heavens as a scroll, and destroy death, and him that has the power of it. The rebellious will be thrown back into their native element, there to remain myriads of years before their dust will again be revived, before they will be re-organized. Some might argue that this principle would lead to the re-organization of Satan, and all the devils. I say nothing about this, only what the Lord says--that when he comes, "he will destroy death, and him that has the power of it." It cannot be annihilated; you cannot annihilate matter. If you could, it would prove there was empty space. If philosophers could annihilate the least conceivable amount of matter, they could then prove there was the minutest vacuum, or empty space; but there is not even that much, and it is beyond the power of man to prove that there is any.
--BY Feb 27, 1853
The people in this age, are like the old miser, whose latter end was drawing nigh; he had saved a good purse of gold, but he was blind and could not see it, so he requested the attendants to bring him the gold that he might put his hand on it; when he laid his hand upon it, he could go to sleep. He possessed the negative of true riches. Again, they are like the man who found a lump of gold which weighed 100 pounds, the last that was heard of him was, he was sitting upon it, offering a great price to the passers by for something to eat, and swearing that if he had to starve to death, he would stick by the gold, and die a rich man. If he had understood the principles of life--the principles of true riches, he could have commanded that gold in California, in England, or anywhere else; but he had no power over it, and died like a fool, no doubt. What good was his gold to him? He had not the power of endless life in him, particles which compose his body and spirit will return to their native element. I told you some time ago what would become of such men. But I will quote the Scriptures on this point, and you can make what you please of it. Jesus says, he will DESTROY death and him that hath the power of it. What can you make of this but decomposition, the returning of the organized particles to their native element, after suffering the wrath of God until the time appointed. That appears a mystery, but the principle has been in existence from all eternity, only it is something you have not known or thought of. When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, they are thrown back again, like brother Kimball's old pottery ware, to be ground up, and made over again. All I have to say about it is what Jesus says--I will destroy Death, and him that hath the power of it, which is the devil. And if he ever makes "a full end of the wicked," what else can he do than entirely disorganize them, and reduce them to their native element? Here are some of the mysteries of the kingdom.
On the other hand, let us take the affirmative of the question; and inquire what is life and salvation? It is to take that course wherein we can abide for ever and ever, and be exalted to thrones, kingdoms, governments, dominions, and have full power to control the elements, according to our pleasure to all eternity; the one is life, and the other is death, which is nothing more or less than the decomposition of organized native element. There can be no such thing as power to annihilate element. There is one eternity of element, which can be organized or disorganized, composed or decomposed; it may be put into this shape or into that, according to the will of the intelligence that commands it, but there is no such thing as putting it entirely out of existence.
--BY, August 14, 1853
We have no shirt-collar dignity to sustain, for we have no character, only such as our friends and enemies give us. It is only a shadow, and we are willing that they should have the shadow, and make the name of our President honourable, if we can. They are welcome to traduce our character, if they choose; but they must not undertake to walk us under foot, contrary to every principle of the Constitution, right, and law. The character of those who are such sticklers for it will perish, for they are taking the downward road to destruction. They will be decomposed, both soul and body, and return to their native element. I do not say that they will be annihilated; but they will be disorganized, and will be as though they never had been, while we will live and retain our identity, and contend against those principle which tend to death or dissolution. I am after life; I want to preserve my identity, so that you can see Brigham in the eternal worlds just as you see him now. I want to see that eternal principle of life dwelling within us which will exalt us eternally in the presence of our Father and God. If you wish to retain your present identity in the morn of the resurrection, you must so live that the principle of life will be within you as a well of water springing up unto eternal life.
--BY June 27, 1858
All organized matter must dissolve and return to its native element, unless it is made pure and holy--capable of enduring eternal burnings.
--BY Oct 7, 1859
"Why," some say, "we thought that the wicked were to be sent to hell to dwell with eternal burnings for evermore." They go to hell and will stay there until the anger of the Almighty consumes them and they become disorganized, as the elements of the fuel we burn are disorganized by the action of fire and thrown back again to their native element. The wicked will endure the wrath of God and be "turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God." What will be done with them there? Those who did not persecute the Son of God in the flesh while acting for themselves and following the direction of their own will--those who did not persecute the holy Priesthood of the Son of God--those who did not consent to the shedding of innocent blood--those who did not seek to obliterate the kingdom of God from the earth, will, by-and-by, be sought after.
--BY Oct 9, 1859
No matter how many deny their God and their religion, God is the same, his holy religion is the same, and all the truth is the same. There is no plan, no device, no possible way in which we can get rid of "Mormonism," only by taking the downward road which leads to hell, until spiritually and temporally the whole organized being is dissolved and the particles thereof have returned again to native elements. We read in the Scriptures of the second death not having power over certain ones. The first death is the separation of the spirit from the body; the second death is, as I have stated, the dissolution of the organized particles which compose the spirit, and their return to their native element. The wicked spirit will have to endure the wrath of the Almighty, until it has paid the uttermost farthing where the "worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." Every debt that has been contracted by it must be cancelled.
--BY Jan 12, 1862
Now I ask the Latter-day Saints, have you anything to fear? Yes, you have. Have I anything to fear? Yes. What is it? I fear lest I may slacken in my faith and obedience in living as the Spirit of the Lord Almighty has required me to live, and is urging this people to live, so that we may be worthy to build up Zion. Have you or I anything else to be afraid of? No; not at all. I have no fear of heavenly beings, for they are my friends. I want to go to their society and to be associated with them. I like some of God's messengers, who travel about, to visit me. I am fond of their society. I like the spirits that dwell there. I want to go home; I want to go back again and live there for ever. Why, the thought that the intelligence that is brought into existence here, may be annihilated, is enough to make one shudder! There are some who go so far in their unbelief that they deny the resurrection of the body; and even to say that the soul sleeps eternally. What is the use of your intelligence, what is it good for if this be true? There is no such thing as destroying element! There is no such philosophy as annihilation. If the spirit should return to native element the element would not be destroyed; the particles of matter will remain for ever. There are some now getting so lofty in their imaginations, and so wise and intelligent in their own estimation that they pretend to explain all the mysteries of the past, present and future. They are like some called Latter-day Saints; they can talk very glibly about the principles of what they term the Gospel; but the practical workings of the religion of the Savior they know or care little about. You come to the Latter-day Saints, and you may find plenty who talk their religion a great deal; you may find a hundred willing even to die for it to one who is willing to live it. If all were willing to live it we would risk the dying; we care nothing about that. We shall all go sooner or later. We shall not stay in this world in our present condition for ever. Something or other will divide this intelligence or spirit from the body which it inhabits; and the tabernacle will go down to dust. Our spirits will not sleep an eternal sleep, but our bodies will be resurrected, and our spirits and our bodies will be reunited; and all who believe to the contrary are in a state of darkness, wretchedness and unbelief.
--BY April 17, 1870
There are but two roads, one in the way of life, glory and excellency, and crowns, and kingdoms, immortality and eternal lives; the other is drunkenness, debauchery, beautiful manners in the light, but shameful conduct in the dark. "O!" say they, "don't you think we are wise? Why, we are very wise, we have studied and been to college." Yes, I know the extent of your wisdom. I now, too, the road you are traveling; it leads down, down, down, until you become as nothing, returning to native element, and losing your identity,--you are lost forever and forever. These are they who have sinned away the day of grace, and denied the Lord, who bought them.
--BY Sept 17, 1876
Spirit and intelligence is Eternal. Spirits (Meaning Spirit Bodies) are clearly not.
I find especially interesting the quote that was dated Oct 7, 1859. Apparently part of our Exaltation is that we get to experience eternal burnings!
As a brush-up in our recent history, here's an article that was written in response to the Church's (and similar) activities about 6 years ago concerning Same-Sex Marriage.
I find the glimpse into the laws relating to Tax Exempt Status very interesting.
I believe that we should work on this problem from the other end. If we have a problem with the lifestyle that gay people are living, lets confront them about the problem directly, instead of playing games of legislation with others at their expense. We should be able to win these people over as converts to the Gospel, and allow them to choose Good over Evil. In order to leave possibilities for us to do this, we need to stop trying to force their hand because that offends them.
So why don't we support an amendment to remove Federal power to define marriage, or something similar to this. The problem is actually a problem of wording, I think, and the Church has gotten itself tied up with accepting something worldly as something Holy just because the World has been using a name for it that confused them: Marriage. The Latter-day Saints, of all people, should recognize that there is a higher law, the sealing power exercised in the Temple, that constititutes a different type of union than the civil authority of Marriage.
If the idea is that the Church is claiming the term "Marriage" as its own, we could try to legislate that the word Marriage be used only for traditional marriages, (or for no civil marriages at all!) and set aside another term for any other type of union recognized by law, but afford the other type of union the same legal status as Marriage has. It would be much easier for the Church to adopt exclusively the term Sealing and let the world have whatever word it wants. I thought this was why we had the word sealing to begin with?
The thing that has become blurred is that the Chuch accepts civil marriage as binding currently. This is a mixed message. People who are married by outside authority and yet are members of the Church (either through converting, or otherwise) should be seen as needing to be re-sealed under priesthood authority, as a requirement (even if it is only for Time due to other issues). We expect this of them concerning Baptism, and ordination to Priesthood. Why not expect this concerning Marriage, the holiest of all?
Because the World's Marriage in the 1800s seemed "good enough", I suppose? I don't see us accepting a Catholic priest who has been baptized (christened) into our doors and accepting his Priesthood and his Baptism as "good enough" to allow him to exercise them within the arena of Mormonism. No, we would require baptism by immersion, and a new ordination of him.
If we are going to tie ourselves to the state, wilfully, we need to be willing to go wherever the state takes us. Otherwise, we should dissolve the unholy union between Church and State so that we can remain unspotted from the world.
New Cool Thang » The Prophet lived his life in crescendo
I think the essence of continuing revelation is that it does continue. Joseph was not bestowed with all knowledge at the moment he became a Prophet, but rather, he started on a road of increase that will continue throughout the eternities.
It would be especially nice if it included things such as information from the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge minutes, and childhood information documenting Joseph's early reputation as a seer in a non-judging and simply informative way.
Candidates for consideration: Free Agency, Atonement, Exaltation.
Free Agency: Man can choose between Good and Evil. Removal of Free Agency is itself an utterly Evil act.
Atonement: Man can receive forgiveness for Evil that he has chosen.
Exaltation: Men have the potential for never-ending increase.
I would almost hesitate to add anything else to this list. What do you think?
You may hear the divines of the day extol the character of the Saviour, undertake to exhibit his true character before the people, and give an account of his origin, and were it not ridiculous, I would tell what I have thought about their views. Brother Kimball wants me to tell it, therefore you will excuse me if I do. I have frequently thought of mules, which you know are half horse and half ass, when reflecting upon the representations made by those divines. I have heard sectarian priests undertake to tell the character of the Son of God, and they make him half of one species and half of another, and I could not avoid thinking at once of the mule, which is the most hateful creature that ever was made, I believe. You will excuse me, but I have thus thought many a time.
-- Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, p.217, Brigham Young, February 8, 1857
I've actually thought that before as well.
So, what this has to do with the Da Vinci Code?
The idea that God is a different type of being than us mortals, leads to Jesus being a mule of sorts. And, that being the case - he would certainly be infertile. A great case for the Catholics, if not for it being so disrespectful. But with an eye on Adam being God, or at least God being a Man, no one has to be a mule - or a donkey :-) And Jesus can have children and still be as divine as we are ... wait! the traditional-Christians would think that's blasphemy as well.
I saw this article on the web. The FLDS "fundamentalist" Mormon sect seems to be looming on the edge of re-instating Blood Atonement, a true principle revealed through Brigham Young. However, like Polygamy, it cannot currently be practiced for many reasons, including legal reasons.
The thing that caught me most, and made me want to blog about the article was this off-the-cuff comment at the end:
"I can see him teaching men who have lost their families that they need to be blood atoned. I think this may get to the point where fathers blood atone sons and sons blood atone fathers."
This comes from a speculation on the part of a dissident from the group, and has not actually been taught or verified to my knowledge. I also misunderstood it on my first reading, and thought it said something it didn't. I thought it was saying that fathers would have themselves killed in order to blood atone for their sons, and that sons would have themselves killed to blood atone for their fathers (possibly already dead), and I was musing over how quintessentially Mormon of an idea it is. Blood Atonement, taken one step further, and made into a vicarious ordinance. Actually, even if it was done in the normal fashion (and what I now realize is the way he said it to begin with) as a Temple ordinance, it would still be vicarious in that you are performing something they are not able to do for themself. But, as to my first and incorrect reading, what greater sacrifice could a person make for their departed family member? It is sinister and clever and ridiculous at the same time. I love it.
No, don't worry, I'm not going to practice it ;) It is purely useful as a bit of humor.
My belief in these things is not unshakeable or dogmatic. I simply believe what I see as evident before my eyes. If something with more evidence is shown to supplant one of these ideas, I have no problem with that either.
As I understand, it is a calling, not like a church calling, but a calling to one's heart, which leads one to enter into the way, the quest for Truth, and to study the doctrines and the words of the Prophets of the Restoration. If you are called in such a manner, and you fail to respond, you may have a judgment upon you for it, but if you do not feel the call that is OK. As long as you live up to the best light you have, and live with faith, real intent, and acting no hypocrisy, you will stand blameless before God at the last day because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. That isn't to say that you won't be put through some mind-benders in the Spirit World before you arrive at the Great White Throne -- We all should expect a few shocks in the Spirit World, as Brigham said there is an eternity of cats that have not yet been let out of the bag.
This also applies to non-Mormons who are trying their best, and have a pure heart. I have often simplified it such: If you have the right heart and are willing to obey God's Word as it is made known to you (not a mental knowledge, but a deep testimony gained inside) then you have nothing to fear, and you are on the pathway to the Celestial Kingdom, whether you are Jew, Gentile, Christian, Mormon, Baptist, Pagan... If a Mormon does not have that heart, they are on the path to bondage (or, a lesser glory). This doesn't mean that Baptists receive Exaltation, for it is all a matter of heart, and if you follow the Spirit and act according to God's will you will end up converted into the correct "Church" either here, or in the hereafter, and only members of that true Church, the Church of the Lamb, will gain exaltation. I don't know how many Mormons today belong to the Church of the Lamb. Maybe a few, maybe a great multitude. Only God knows.
To explain this all too frequent phenomena (frequent meaning that I am not alone in this position), the initial answer I gave was essentially this:
- Because I need the Priesthood Authority, and the Church has it.
- Because I need the Temple Endowment and Ordinances, and the Church has them.
Afterward, upon more deliberate consideration of the hard question, and fearing its weighty implications, I determined to re-examine the situation and give it a more complete treatment.
The powerful thing I forgot to express is that God is not done with this Church as a useful vessel. There will come a time when an outpouring of light and revelation occurs and it will be necessary for people of my sort of mind to be present to receive it.
I have faith and hope in a Reformation occuring within the Church, a return to our Restoration roots. Our doctrines are not so far gone as to be lost -- they are merely being hidden away at this time, out of the gazing eyes of the saints. In fact, they are sitting out in the public eye instead. If the Devil has infiltrated the Church to such a degree that missionary work is more effectively performed by Anti-Mormons and Secular histories, then so be it. At least secular histories have no bias and nothing to prove -- perhaps this type of convert will receive a purer portion of the Gospel than has been had in a good long while.
“Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. ”
(David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)
Joseph had a reputation of seeing and treasure hunting even before he received his prophetic calling. I wonder if we have any natural seers in our midst today? Would the use of a seer stone be a productive way in which to receive personal revelation? Why don't we practice this today?
(Or do some of us?)
Symbolically it makes sense, because a stone would tend to be associated with the energy of the element Earth, which is related to Michael, or the Father.
So, lets head down to our local river bed, find a few candidate stones, grab an old top hat, and give it a whirl. (Note: Translation isn't the only task these stones can help perform.)
I'm also not suggesting this as a replacement for the T.O.O.P. taught in the Temple, but it must be a related practice, as it seems to bring forth similar results?
I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children.
All that I have to say in reply to that charge is this—they worship a Savior that is too pure and holy to fulfil the commands of his Father. I worship one that is just pure and holy enough "to fulfil all righteousness;" not only the righteous law of baptism, but the still more righteous and important law "to multiply and replenish the earth." Startle not at this! for even the Father himself honored that law by coming down to Mary, without a natural body, and begetting a son; and if Jesus begat children, he only "did that which he had seen his Father do."
Orson Hyde, March 18, 1855.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, p.210
The Da Vinci code raises some big questions for the Christian world, but we have had these thoughts floating around Mormonism for 150 years. They pose no threat to any true Latter-day Saint who understands that it is necessary to be wed and have offspring in order to attain Exaltation, and that we are following in the Savior's footsteps.
It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.
I will venture to say that if Jesus Christ were now to pass through the most pious countries in Christendom with a train of women,. such as used to follow him, fondling about him, combing his hair, anointing him with precious ointment, washing his feet with tears, and wiping them with the hair of their heads and unmarried, or even married, he would be mobbed, tarred, and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a rail. What did the old Prophet mean when he said (speaking of Christ), "He shall see his seed, prolong his days, &c." Did Jesus consider it necessary to fulfil every righteous command or requirement of his Father? He most certainly did. This he witnessed by submitting to baptism under the hands of John. "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," said he. Was it God's commandment to man, in the beginning, to multiply and replenish the earth? None can deny this, neither that it was a righteous command; for upon an obedience to this, depended the perpetuity of our race. Did Christ come to destroy the law or the Prophets, or to fulfil them? He came to fulfil. Did he multiply, and did he see his seed? Did he honour his Father's law by complying with it, or did he not? Others may do as they like, but I will not charge our Saviour with neglect or transgression in this or any other duty.
At this doctrine the long-faced hypocrite and the sanctimonious bigot will probably cry, blasphemy! Horrid perversion of God's word! Wicked wretch! He is not fit to live! &c., &c. But the wise and reflecting will consider, read, and pray. If God be not our Father, grandfather, or great grandfather, or some kind of a father in reality, in deed and in truth, why are we taught to say, "Our Father who art in heaven?" How much soever of holy horror of this doctrine may excite in persons not impregnated with the blood of Christ, and whose minds are consequently dark and benighted, it may excite still more when they are told that if none of the natural blood of Christ flows in their veins, they are not the chosen or elect of God. Object not, therefore, too strongly against the marriage of Christ, but remember that in the last days, secret and hidden things must come to light, and that your life also (which is the blood) is hid with Christ in God.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, p.260, Orson Hyde
Not only do we assert that Jesus Christ was married, but that he was a polygamist. Just wait until it falls upon the Christian world to digest that piece of information.
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.Wikipedia has this to say about Gnosticism:
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
Gnosticism is a historical term for various mystical initiatory religions, sects and knowledge schools that were most active in the first few centuries A.D. around the Mediterranean and extending into central Asia.
These systems typically recommend the pursuit of mysticism or "special knowledge" (gnosis) as the central goal of life. They also commonly depict creation as a mythological struggle between competing forces of light and dark, and posit a marked division between the material realm, typically depicted as under the governance of malevolent forces (such as the demiurge), and the higher spiritual realm from which it is divided, governed by God (the Monad) and the Aeons.
A face-value interpretation of Mormonism's roots would seem to support that its natural state is that of a Gnostic order, where acquiring certain information conveyed by symbols will allow us admittance into the highest order of the Celestial Kingdom. (This is of course, possible because of Jesus Christ) I think most "lofty" Latter-day Saints recognize that the symbols themselves are not the keys to admittance, but that we must puzzle out through diligent faith and prayer the true keys for which they are only a type, in order to gain our eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell, and that any one exercising faith and honestly striving with real intent is guaranteed to arrive at the correct answer before judgment. This makes puzzle-solving, to us, the most important facet of our Gospel, for if we cease to seek the answer, we have gone off of the path, and our exaltation is not sure.
PETER: ... Do you know who that man is? He is Satan!
SECTARIAN MINISTER: What? The Devil?
PETER: That is one of his names.
SECTARIAN MINISTER: He is quite a different person from what he told me the devil is. He said the devil has claws like a bear's on his hands, horns on his head, and a cloven foot, and that when he speaks he has the roar of a lion!PETER: He has said this to deceive you, and I would advise you to get out of his employ.
The lesson here is so important! Being beat into the minds of the Latter-day Saints for over a hundred years, it would be hard to believe that it could be forgotten in sixteen. Satan is subtle in his ways. In fact, he strives to appear completely Good and acceptable, and it is only his deception that allows him to gain any ground at all. Latter-day Saint scriptures are abound with revolutionary ideas of "Free Agency" and it is esteemed as one of God's greatest gifts to man.
In the scriptural accounts of the premortal council in heaven, we learn that Satan desired all to be saved. His idea was to enforce righteousness on all creation so that no piece of it could be lost.
Jesus Christ determined to carry out the plan of his Father, which included the great gift of Free Agency, and the fact that some individuals would not choose to return, and some would be lost and perish from their lack of faith and obedience.
The opposing forces here are: a tyranny of forced goodness - Lucifer's plan, against the allowed existence of both good and evil - God's plan.
If every human being could hold true to this idea, the Dark Ages would stay away. Ironically, it was this very concept, holy as it is, that permitted the Dark Ages to occur, and allowed all of the horror inflicted by the Church of Rome to come to pass. Yet, God values man's freedom to choose above all of those consequences.
In reality, no man gets more righteous by being forced to "Choose The Right", because a forced choice is not a choice at all.
Amongst the Saints themselves, removing temptations can be good, especially for the young and inexperienced, however, even that can have its dangers - Children grow up in a "sheltered" Utah culture, but when they step out into the real world, even if it is the warped sense of a real world that is BYU, suddenly they are faced with so much that they are utterly unprepared to cope with, it is overbearing and they cave in. This is why it is important to be in the world, but not of the world. Isolation is dangerous.
When setting standards and laws that affect people outside of the Church, we must be especially careful. We should not presume they hold the same values that we do. To put forth an extreme example, imagine completely removing drinks containing Alcohol of all forms from Utah. On the surface, this might seem like a good idea. After all, to the Mormon, alcoholic beverages are "sinful". However, putting this into effect as a law would prevent Catholic mass from taking place. It seems that one man's sin can be another man's virtue. We are absolutely and utterly not authorized to impose that decision on other people, and as a group who has Polygamy in our past, and in light of the reaction the rest of the western world had to it, it is the mark of complete hypocrisy for us to try to put an end to other people's practices, unless they are harming another person or hurting the freedom of others:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
--11th Article of Faith
Even then, we need to be careful. If we perceive someone taking away someone else's freedom we need to ask: Is it consentual? Outsiders may well view the Mormon church as taking away our Freedoms: To drink tea, to interpret the Bible for ourselves, or however they see it. But we have chosen this path. It is our will to submit to these restrictions, and therefore our freedom has not been revoked, but has actually been exercised. Making a decision ahead of time and then holding firm to it is a great example of Freedom of Choice.
I think taking away freedom ("unrighteous dominion") or permitting freedom to be taken away is just as bad as any sin it seeks to prevent, because it thwarts God's divine plan.
So, if each person can choose between Good or Evil that means we need to help teach and persuade others to choose Good, to choose Freedom: The course that allows true Good to exist at all (and Evil, as well).
Because "Choose the Right" seems to carry a political message with it and flirts too closely with Satan's plan, I call this "Choose the Light" -- indicating the way of enlightenment. Step out of the Dark Ages and allow man to think for himself.
Aspects of Latter-day Saint practice seem to be theurgic both in the sense of invoking action of God (Priesthood ordinances, especially blessings), and in our idea of Exaltation:
[T]heosis, meaning divinization (or deification or, to become god), is the call to man to become holy and seek union with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the resurrection. Theosis comprehends salvation from sin, is premised upon apostolic and early Christian understanding of the life of faith, and is conceptually foundational in both the East and the West.
From Wikipedia entry for "Theosis"
The True Order of Prayer taught in the Temple seems to be a theurgic and highly "magical" method where Latter-day Saints use keys to call upon God and invoke His action.
It goes beyond common prayer, beyond the use of mudras (hand positions) in connection with meditation, and sets out to achieve specific goals. I speculate that this is done by at least in part by tapping into powerful egregores ("the spirit of the thing", energy pools associated with a group of people performing a common action).
Verbal prayer is powerful because you are letting part of your soul "out" into the physical world. The implications? Apparently, you'd better set apart your sacred place properly before skipping ahead and embarking on the prayer, or else you should expect Satan to answer. This is evidenced by Joseph Smith's so-called "first prayer" which he made verbally in the sacred grove, and by Adam's prayer demonstrated in the Temple.
How old are the egregores associated with the True Order of Prayer? I proclaim they are at least as old as the Tabernacle of Moses, and probably originated on this earth from Adam himself. I can demonstrate accurate descriptions of all of these Signs in connection with the Mosaic Tabernacle by using the Torah and the Talmud, however I have not yet determined how to relate that information fully to others in an open way that would retain strict fidelity to the covenants and obligations I have made, so I cannot at this time and place explain the connections. If you believe me on this point, however, these egregores are probably older than the formation of this Earth, which means that tapping into their energy is probably more powerful than any other existent, except perhaps that of procreation. However, both of these energies (TOOP and procreative powers) have been shrouded in obscurity, lack of understanding, and/or misuse, and I wonder if that dilutes their effectiveness in any way?
D&C 27:11 reads:
And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days;
This establishes the first part of the doctrine, that Michael and Adam are the same being. The rest of the Christian world typically holds to one of two other interpretations: Michael is Jesus Christ, or Michael is just an Angel. Through revelation recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants we know that Michael is Adam.
The next and final point is in Daniel 7:9,13-14:
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Two things to notice here. First is that the Ancient of Days sits upon a throne, and second and more importantly is that Jesus Christ receives his dominion, glory, and kingdom from Him. If you have any question as to the direction the authority is being passed, you can even take a look at the footnotes in the current LDS edition of the scriptures for verse 9 you find that footnote c refers to TG Adam and for verse 14 you will find TG Jesus Christ, Authority Of and TG Jesus Christ, Millennial Reign. (TG = Topical Guide)
So, if you're one who is considering throwing out notion of Adam-God, be sure to throw out Adam-Michael too, for they both lead to the same conclusion.
The part a comprehensive study of Brigham's teachings chiefly clarifies is that Adam Himself also had a God, which He and His immediate children worshipped and served. This "Grandfather" that brigham Referred to may be the being properly referred to as Jehovah. Elohim seems to have been viewed as a Great-Grandfather, and a whole hierarchy of Gods was implied in the sense that we should not expect that any Man is created without a Father.
To the early Saints, the being called Jehovah was identified mainly with God the Father and did not become a pseudonym for Jesus Christ until relatively recent times (around the 1920's). A small vestige of this is left in the Endowment ceremony where Jehovah refers to "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" (third person), and I have heard rumor that a much earlier script for the ceremony had a Jesus character cast under a separate actor.
This was indeed Joseph's doctrine. It was and should be an important doctrine of the Restoration, and was deemed the first principle of the Gospel by Joseph Smith and among the first principles of the gospel by Brigham Young. Joseph said we needed to obtain a correct understanding of the characters, attributes and perfections of God in order to be able to exercise faith unto salvation, and Brigham said that these things will determine our salvation or damnation. They preached the same message.
What is the objection, folks? God was once a sinner, and mortal. This is no surprise, we still learn in the Church today that we may gain exaltation, and if we expect to attain Godhood even though we are sinners presently, why would Father (or Christ) have done it in any different manner?
Joseph also taught that Christ did nothing that the Father didn't do already. It has been implied (if not outright taught) that the Father once lived mortal life and died as a sacrifice for the salvation of the beings on a previous world, and that Christ is following this pattern.
Lucifer also bears testimony of this arrangement, as he claims that he is only doing what has been done on other worlds.
We should be willing and prepared to do many great things in the Spirit World, and to undertake and perform the same things that the Son has done for us for another people, and to proceed upward from there as He is about to do, and serve as Adam's and Eve's of our own World, where our own Spirit Children will experience mortality.
However simple and natural Exaltation may seem, it has become clouded with the notions of the Dark Ages that have persisted to this day.
Even in a modern Latter-day Saint Sunday School class I have observed Exaltation nearly being forgotten in the comments made by members, and improper characteristics applied to Deity that limit God's work by degrading His creation.
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
In response to this scripture being read, I observed an entire class seeming to interpret this as an appearance of Jesus Christ to Joshua.
This should be obvious to any student of the Bible as a description of Michael, the Archangel. "sword drawn", "captain of the Lord's host." To presume that this is Jesus Christ (whom the class would also identify as "The Lord") is to miss some key information in this scripture. The next question and answer I heard was "Do we worship an angel?" the answer given was "No." That is ridiculous. If we believe that we can attain exaltation, and that God has done so, then we believe that God is an Angel. Yes, we worship an Angel. We don't worship just any Angel, however.
No apologies here, but this event seems to be the appearance of God the Father (Michael the Archangel) to Joshua, to confirm Joshua in his leadership of the people as he takes up leadership after Moses.
What a magnificent event! "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy." This is reminiscent of the manifestation of God to Moses in Exodus 3:4-6
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
This event is recounted again in Acts 7:30-33. In analyzing other times that shoes are removed as a symbol, I find the removal of a single shoe in relation to "redeeming" and "changing", or, what seems to be borrowing something of value from someone else. Isaiah 20 also references the removal of shoes... and all other clothing, for three years. That's not it either.
That's it. In all the scriptures in the canon, only two times does this act of removing shoes occur. It seems to be a sign of respect in the presence of Deity. (Ever notice that the people walking around in the pillar and curtains room in the Endowment video are all barefoot???)
The Church has worked hard to present itself as a mainstream flavor of popular Christianity, perhaps as a way to gather converts (or maybe as a way of appeasing the populace of Utah who are born into the system unwittingly), and in so doing, it has cast aside (if not altogether out) many of the doctrines that mark our distinctive theology and enlightened understanding of the after-life.
Steps have been gradually taken to modify the Temple Ceremony in order to minimize the impact, but they are in a tough bind: The Temple contains eternal, unchangeable ordinances. Straying too far off the mark would invalidate them. So only miniscule and gradual changes are made here, where the rest of the Church can be recast to fit any Public Relations need by publishing a few new Sunday School manuals, and merely omitting the interesting (offending) parts.
I do not believe this is a deliberate attempt to throw off the Restoration, but that cultural differences and generations of born-in-the-covenant members have failed to receive the further light and knowledge which was had by their grandfathers. They are making a sincere effort to do what they believe is right, to retain members, to gain converts. But anyone who studies Church History soon learns that the official histories of our day are like Fairy Tales compared to what has actually transpired.
The funny thing, I think, is that if the modern Converts, with the aid of the Internet, could start deciding what would help them, instead of those born into the Church, we would have far less cover-ups. I, for example, am a convert. In the process of investigating the Church, any thinking young person would naturally study it the same as any school subject - that means turning to Google.com for many, and we become painfully aware of the Cover-Ups involved in history. But, those who do, and yet join anyway are not ashamed of the things being covered up. The cover-ups themselves are what we see as shameful, and cause more harm than the doctrines, history, and practices supposed by the "Molly Mormons" to not be faith-promoting.
Give us the meat. Everyone knows that the meat must be eaten before the milk (dairy) or a meal isn't Kosher. Don't give us the pearls before swine line. We aren't swine, and take offense at being considered unclean animals. Meat is presently not given at all, it must be sought after on the Internet and in old books.
If the Church would embrace its "strangeness", and encourage study of things like the Temple, in a respectful manner, many valuable preparations could be made by studying the Old Testament, or extra-biblical Jewish histories and commentaries, for example, which would make the Temple a comfortable and spiritual experience for the first time patron.
The focus should be on converting people instead of getting converts. Getting a convert is nothing, if they are only going to fall away or feel uncomfortable upon future study and research, and feel betrayed by misleading statements received in their "youth" in the study of the Gospel.
I was reading several people's anonymous comments on the Internet about their reaction to their first Temple experience. It is extremely plain to me that numerous people go through the Temple, tolerate it, and due to peer pressure are prodded to lie and say that they enjoyed it. It gnaws at their minds and they either deal with it until they become numb to it, or some time, maybe years later, they fall away.
It just shouldn't be that scary. The answer isn't to make it less scary by altering the ceremony, it is to make it less scary by teaching and preparing people for the experience, by gaining true converts to begin with. If they feel more comfortable being a Protestant, let them BE a Protestant. We don't need them occupying space in our chapel if they are not interested or open to the Fullness of the Restored Gospel and if they are preventing those of us who are truly there to Fellowship, Worship, and Learn, they are stumbling blocks to the Saints.
That may sound harsh - But rather than throw them out, lets try to really convert them.