Monday, June 28, 2010

What does it all really mean?

There are some great comments on the previous posts. I've not wanted to interrupt what I was doing to address them. Before moving on to another set of scriptures relating to those questions and comments, here are a few responses:

To whom has the Book of Mormon been written?

What possible good would it be for a message to be written for an audience who would never read the Book of Mormon?

If the term "Gentiles" is sometimes quite broad (and it is in some contexts), does the message get addressed to all of them? Is the message tailored to those who would read the book?

If the warnings are read to apply only to non-LDS occupants of the land, then what do the warnings accomplish? Do they make us proud? Do they make us feel better than "them," since only "they" are condemned and not us? What kind of a warning is it if the only ones being warned are those who will never read the book?

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at least retain the power and authority to preach the Gospel and administer the rites of baptism, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? When I prayed, as the missionaries were instructing me, I got an answer that led me to baptism. I believe that baptism to be authoritative and approved by the Lord. Does anyone think the church lacks the authority to baptize for the remission of sins? I do not. If, therefore, the church has that authority, does it not continue to occupy an important, even central role in the Lord's work?

If you teach someone, and they want to "convert" and be baptized, would you not baptize them into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

What is the mission field for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Who is not included?

If all the world is the mission field for the church, what, then, becomes the mission field for the Church of the Firstborn?  [I do not hold that the Church of the Firstborn is a formal organization, existing here as a formal order.  I believe its members associate with others who are not of this world, and consequently the Church of the Firstborn is never in competition with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.]

Would members of the Church of the Firstborn not pay tithes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Would they not attend its meetings?  Would they not support its programs? Would they not use The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to assist them in raising their children? Would they not have their families baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Even if they held authority given them directly from the Lord, would they not continue to be faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? To uphold and respect the authorities who are given the duty to preside?

Until the Lord brings again Zion, where should we all join in fellowship?

Would members of the Church of the Firstborn ever envy those presiding in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Ever challenge their right to preside? Did Christ ever try and displace Caiaphus? Did He not admonish us to follow His example?

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints limit the amount of light you can acquire by your own heed and diligence? (D&C 130: 18-19.) Can any man prevent God from pouring out knowledge upon you if you will receive it in the proper way?  (D&C 121: 32-33.) Can any soul approach the Lord, see His face, and know that He is? (D&C 93: 1.)

Of what relevance is it if other Saints give no heed or are not willing to receive knowledge from the Lord? Should we belittle them? If not, what then is our responsibility toward them? (3 Ne. 12: 16.)

What does it mean to let a "light shine?"

Why, upon seeing that light, would someone "glorify your Father who is in heaven" rather than heap praise and attention upon you? What is it about the nature of the light which you are to shine that produces notice of the Father rather than notice of you?

David Christensen's definition of "whoredoms" was interesting. Whether you take the meaning in 1830, or you take our modern sexual meaning, would it change the result of any analysis? One fellow who worked at the Church Office Building told me that approximately 60% of active adult male members of the church regularly view pornography.

Kisi also raised a question regarding Ishmael's Ephriamite lineage. Orson Pratt, Franklin D. Richards and Erastus Snow all said Joseph Smith mentioned in passing that the lost 116 pages included a reference to Ishmael's lineage and he was from Ephriam. Does this change anything? If so, how? What other outcome might then be possible? Would this potentially even further limit the Gentile involvement?

On the subject of Joseph's statements contained in the Nauvoo era transcripts:  These were the very materials from which Joseph's talks were reproduced. The Documentary History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Jr., was compiled from these original materials. When The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith was prepared, it was done using these materials.  The paper I wrote included the original source materials, not the derivative compilations.

As to the importance and reliability of these materials, first, those involved were the leading church fathers at the time. Thomas Bullock was the official scribe for Joseph Smith during the Nauvoo talks. His versions were kept at Joseph's request and were official accounts.  Second, the Joseph Smith Papers project now underway through the Church Historian's Office is attempting to make more of these original source materials available to the Saints. If they are not important, then the Church would not be investing millions of man-hours and dollars to bring the sources into the hands of the Saints.

It is not wise to dismiss as "mud" the very kinds of materials that give the best source for Joseph's teachings. Indeed, D&C 130 is an amalgam of comments Joseph made in a talk given April 2, 1843 recorded by some of the very same scribes used in the paper I wrote.  I'm just using original materials, rather than derivative, second hand interpretations made years later by others who were not present (or living) when the statements were made by Joseph.


Well, enough of the aside - onward still....

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for the socratic questions helping to summarize some loose issues. Appreciate the time you must devote to assisting those who have ears to hear.

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  2. Just incase you want to answer one more question on the side....
    What is the difference between: elect, great and noble, called and chosen, forordained...in the scriptures they seem the same. When Emma was called elect in D&C does that mean she was part of the gods? Or are they all different?

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  3. Michael BrockbankJune 28, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    What possible good would it be for a message to be written for an audience who would never read the Book of Mormon?


    Good point. Nonetheless we see the term Gentile being used in the non-lds context often. But your point is well taken. In terms of the rejection of the fullness of the Gospel (Book of Mormon) and the rejection of fullness of the Priesthood (2 N 28:26, Moroni 10:24-25) "the denial of the power of God and the gifts of God", the term is quite specific to those who have entered the covenant.


    If the warnings are read to apply only to non-LDS occupants of the land, then what do the warnings accomplish? Do they make us proud? Do they make us feel better than "them," since only "they" are condemned and not us? What kind of a warning is it if the only ones being warned are those who will never read the book?

    That is precisely the salvation or condemnation of the Book of Mormon. It is a rejection of another testament of Christ for those who refuse to read it. And it is a rejection by members of the Church who refuse to be "identified" with the Gentiles "during the last days or times of the Gentiles".

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  4. No, there is no man on this earth that can limit the revelations that we can be given. Many recieve things never yet revealed by even Prophets.

    It matters not who is called to lead us in the Church for we are never obligated to, nor should we, follow any leader who does not lead us correctly & treat us right & protect us, except maybe the Prophet.

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  5. Feeling ambiguous about something one does not understand fully, or feeling like one is trying to sift through "mud" as it were, does not equate to dismissal or rejection. In today's world, skepticism is often a healthy and wise component for truth seekers. Did not Nephi harbor some skepticism toward his father's prophecies of doom and gloom concerning the eminent destruction Jerusalem, prior to receiving a softening of heart?

    Yesterday, our ward Relief Society had a lesson on priesthood blessings. It equated to "Denying the Power Thereof." As far as my wife could tell, the lesson was universally accepted among all who participated accepting herself. She was saddened and we latter discussed false traditions which do sometimes cause even the very elect to err.

    We experienced a revelation of sorts, that is we began to understand your boldness and bluntness, which is a bit unsettling to the uninitiated. As we read Moroni 8 this morning in family scripture study, we paused on verse 16 and asked our children how they would feel if a prophet sent forth from God spoke to us boldly and bluntly today warning us that we must repent of our false traditions as church members and accept the fullness of the gospel or that we would be cast off and trodden over by a remnant of Israel. Would we reject such a prophet as Christ was rejected by the priestly class in his day; would we see that All is Not Well within the church, or would we reject the messenger as being false? Heavy questions.

    This was a sobering discussion for our family, but we had the discussion. Is it not as "mud" for all who are encumbered by false traditions and who rejoice in All Being Well in Zion, and who work diligently to serve one another. Should we therefore not increase our charity sufficient to lovingly reach as many such Latter-day Saints as possible?

    How, therefore, can those who are already earnestly seeking to build Zion, be brought along and woken up further, without unnecessarily bashing them on the head as it were? In my initial skepticism, these have been some of the thoughts I have had as I've read some highly judgmental comments from those who would "set themselves up" at times as being better than their brethren.

    It is my opinion only, that such words do not attract, but repel those who might otherwise earnestly seek these things. If indeed our desire is to braid the rope and cast the largest net possible to gather as many in as possible, is a part of that net "setting ourselves up" by tearing our own brothers and sisters down, or is there a Code of Conduct that might enable a broader net to be cast? Just a few thoughts as I have had as I've prayed in behalf of my family and fellow brethren concerning this message, and as I have overcome my skepticism toward the messenger.

    Would appreciate other's thoughts on how we can best and most lovingly cast this important net to gather in all those whom we should earnestly love. Moses could have left Israel to arrive at the Promised Land in about two weeks. Rather, he stayed with Israel and succored and taught them for 40 years. Are we to make the two week journey, or are we to work with, love, lift, and awaken others, no matter how long it takes.

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  6. Light....We use lights in the darkness to point the way. Although a lighthouse stands as a beacon to say, "Come this way!" It is not the destination. Those who have light also point the way, but they, in and of themselves, are not the destination. They glorify the Father and give credit to Him for his grace and mercy in bestowing this light because of their diligence and obedience. They do not seek to be glorified themselves.

    A line from my own patriarchal blessing..."the Lord will reveal unto you precept upon precept of the gospel until your being will radiate with the light of Heaven that shall come over your soul; and you shall be a beacon to your friends, and to your family in the way of life that you choose to live."

    This will be the blessing of anyone who is willing to learn line upon line and precept upon precept of the gospel...it is just a natural result that the light of Heaven fills your soul.

    I have not been as diligent as I need to be. How much time I have wasted!!! I need to get going and pay more attention to the things that matter most. Intersting that I felt to pull out my blessing and read it early this morning...and then I read today's post. This has been a personal message to me today. Kathy

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  7. I have always held the Church of the Son (CJCoLDS) leads to the Church of the Father (Firstborn); and the 1st endowment is a prepartory ordinance wherein certain "gifts" are given. Once endowed, it is the responsibility of each individual thereafter to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure" by using the "gifts" and following the revelations and inspirations given until you receive the 2nd Anointing and the blessing--as the Lord says in D&C 132:5, "by my hand" (He being the administrator).

    All men (and women) who would become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ will exercise due diligence to "receive the fullness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fullness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole of it" [DHC 5:424]. Even the ancients taught: "Blessed of earthbound men is he who has seen these things, but he who dies without fulfilling the holy things, and he who is without share of them, has no claim ever on such blessings, even when departed down to the moldy darkness."

    Having had this experience, who in their right mind would not turn around and wish to serve others that their loved ones, extended family and friends might share in such an experience? Who would not use the greatest tool available--the Church of the Son--as none cometh to the Father, but by the Son?

    As the Church views the "world" white, ready for harvest, do you not suppose, guided by the spirit, members of the Church of the Father do not view the Church of the Son in a like fashion--"white, ready for harvest"? If this be so, how does one harvest a field they are not in?

    There are, in my humble opinion, members of the Church of the Father within the Church of the Son, teaching quietly "real" doctrines of exaltation. Pay heed to these messengers.

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  8. We've all heard it said that you can attract more files with honey than vinegar... and it's true.

    At the same time, I sometimes think about the process of threshing and sifting wheat. When I was a boy, visiting my grandpa in his little Idaho mountain valley home, he and I would hike through a wheat field and grab a handful of wheat. He'd show me how to quickly rub my hands together (with the wheat in our palms) then blow on our hands to separate the chaff. We'd put the kernels of wheat in our pockets and hike on with an occasional snack of wheat.

    I remember how warm my hands would get from the friction of vigorously rubbing them together with the wheat in our palms....then the sifting wind to finally get the edible kernels.

    There are times when I read the Book of Mormon (or sometimes this blog) when I really squirm and feel uncomfortable... I think it must be working on me... even when it seems to get a little warm.

    I hope and pray that I can bear the heat of the day... I don't want to be like that chaff in the wind... I don't mind the heat so much. :)

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  9. Found this:

    Alma 10:3 Lehi…who was a descendant of Manasseh

    Lehi and Nephi never mentioned which tribe they were from other than to say that they were of Joseph (1 Ne 5:14). It is only through Amulek that we learn that they were through Manasseh.

    Not all the Nephite blood was through Manasseh. Joseph Smith taught that in the 116 lost pages, the genealogy of Ishmael was given to be through Ephraim. Also, we know that Mulek was of Judah. Therefore, among the Nephites and Lamanites, there were descendants of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Judah.

    Erastus Snow
    “The Prophet Joseph Smith informed us that the record of Lehi was contained on the one hundred sixteen pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgment is given us in the First Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters, thus fulfilling the words of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh in the 48th chapter of Genesis [verse 16] which says: 'And let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.'

    Thus these descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim grew together upon this American continent, with a sprinkling from the house of Judah, from Mulek descended, who left Jerusalem eleven years after Lehi, and founded the colony afterwards known as Zarahemla found by Mosiah -- thus making a combination, an intermixture of Ephraim and Manasseh with the remnants of Judah, and for aught we know, the remnants of some other tribes that might have accompanied Mulek. And such have grown up upon the American continent.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 23, pp. 184, 185)

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  10. I too believe that those who have received greater knowledge, understanding could do much good in sticking around and trying to share furhter light with those members of the church who haven't even thought there is a need to seek for more! The problem is, many of those who do know or understand scripture or doctrine in a way that isn't what is commonly accepted, become outcasts - are considered odd or on the road to apostacy. I know quite a few people who have been excommunicated simply for believing "too much", or searching too deep, or having the kinds of spiritual experiences that most don't have so they are considered a bit crazy. I'm not sure how much we can do to help when the minute one opens his/her mouth or even tries to discuss the gospel in any kind of deep or meaningful way, we are in the least discounted and at most, kicked out. The majority of saints just don't want to go any further than what is taught over the pulpit or in a church magazine. Of coarse we shouldn't turn around and condemn or harshly judge them. I'm sure we were all at that same place, spiritually, at one time. But then again, sometimes it is just SO difficult to sit thru talk after talk, lesson after lesson of misinformation or hearing nothing more than the current trendy doctrine that has no scriptural basis. It came to a point with me that I have to check out mentally thru most lessons/talks and when its my turn to teach I have to really edit the given material to conform with what I can believe in. We also have to kind of de-program our kids after church each Sunday to help them understand what the scriptures/Prophet Joseph said about things! Sticking around is important to me right now, but it is sometimes so difficult. Luckily we live in a really sweet, humble ward full of loving members. Being a part of their lives is very worthwhile.

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  11. I have found pointing out paradoxical conditions and asking leading questions (thus throwing responsibility for their thoughts upon themselves) to be quite effective.

    Although sometimes I admit, I do find myself thinking in terms of a "social club" with 10% dues.

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  12. DS: But the Lord did openly tell the jewish priesthood of the day who oversaw the temple and laywers and doctors at times that they were of below (hell). He came to proclaim the truth, no matter what the religious institutions were doing. They crucified Him so He would not undermine their power and control. Priest craft was working all to well.

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  13. If, therefore, a person is keeping, perfectly, the first two ordinances of the endowment, should they not be receiving angelic visitations? Wouldn't this be a rather accurate way to assess our level of obedience? Also, if we are not receiving angelic visitations, couldn't we correctly presume we are not being obedient enough in these areas?

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  14. Although I have read Brother Snuffers books repeatedly, and followed his Blog since it’s inception, I too have had a similar “mud-like” experience regarding the “boldness and bluntness, which is a bit unsettling to the uninitiated” referred to by JDS regarding my “skepticism toward the messenger.” (Side bar: If you are reading this comment my unknown friend JDS, you are a breath of fresh air to me. I do love to read your perspectives on Brother Snuffer’s line of questioning. Thank you for taking time to comment.) I am thankful for my stubborn nature, which continually provokes me to “prove all things”, and has allowed me to think outside of the box allowing me to be taught from “unlikely sources”. However, like many, I have also been taught a number of “vain and foolish traditions of men” from some “authorized reliable” sources which have caused my mind to be “called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness” but are still hard to break free from. Gratefully, the Lord is patient with me as I endeavor to “put off the natural man” and listen more intently with my “mind and with my heart.”

    It is because of the process of opening my mind and heart that I see the pattern of things more clearly throughout all the standard works. The responsibility of helping others to open their minds and hearts without being stoned in the process is daunting at times.

    Thank you Brother Snuffer, for being patient with those of us who must figure things out for themselves, and not being afraid of the stoning.

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  15. LOL, afraid of me ??? Hehe

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  16. Dear Stone...you have officially cracked me up! Believe me when I say I did not have you in mind when I referenced the stoning! lol lol

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  17. What is one to do if they desire to follow the Lord and are fearful that the Church, through sinfulness and changes to doctrines, has lost the authority of heaven to offer required ordinances?

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