Bringing On the Apocalypse

CoronalMassEjectionI was invited to join a panel of fellow authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. I have a copy and have perused it. I intend to read it within the next month or two. The book was published by Cedar Fort in January and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Reviews on Goodreads are favorable.

Promoting Discussion of the Last Days

The idea behind the panel is obviously to promote discussion of the last days, the apocalypse, the end-times or whatever you want to call them. The bottom line of course is Randy and Cedar Fort want to sell copies of the book, as does any author and publishing house. Inasmuch as I also have been working on a novel on the subject, I agreed to participate on the panel. I’m honored but feel a little unqualified because my own book has not even been completed yet, let alone published.

Fiction Based on Prophecy

In any event, I took a few minutes to ponder and answer the first question presented to the panel. Randy proposes to present a new question each week. It’s a good idea. If you’re interested in this subject, you might want to pop over to Randy’s blog and add your two cents. Just remember, it’s a work of fiction, even though he’s asking us to comment on the premise or doctrine behind it.  In my response to Randy when invited to join, I wrote the following rather pessimistic stuff:

“I’ve got to tell you from years of gauging interest of the Saints in end-of-the-world type stuff, it’s woefully disheartening. To be frank, most LDS folks don’t want to think about it, don’t believe it will happen in their lifetime and are terribly uneducated on the signs of the times or especially what will happen when the Savior returns.

“To most, it is all very generic: ‘Oh, there’s going to be some destruction and the wicked will be killed, but then the Savior will come and all will be well.’ They either do not understand or believe what they read in our own scriptures, especially the books of Revelation, Joel, Daniel and other key sources.”

Recent Publications on The Last Days

I admit my assessment may have been a little harsh. There are those, like my High Priest Group Leader, who is extremely interested in the Last Days. He recently taught us on the subject using the book, 65 Signs of Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges. The book is more than a checklist. I highly recommend it. Another LDS author I like who writes about this subject is Hoyt W. Brewster. His book is Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond.

Earlier Publications on The Last Days

Of course we can’t forget some favorites from times past: Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther and The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund. I would be remiss if I did not include the Prophecy Trilogy from my friend Anthony Larson: 1) And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, 2) And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro, 3) And There Shall Be a New Heaven and a New Earth. My novel, Red Sky is based on the opening scenario presented in Anthony’s first book.

The First Question to the Panel

Randy asked, “Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?” And the response I posted over there:

My Definition of the Apocalypse

First, let’s agree on the definition of apocalypse. I’ll offer mine by expressing what it is not. The apocalypse is NOT the end of the world. Yes, it is a period of great destruction and catastrophe with billions of people killed by the natural events prophesied, but the world survives. And so do a lot of people. It is these natural events, including the close approach of another celestial body which Anthony has already described in his comments above that brings on the apocalypse.

We Cannot Bring On the Apocalypse

Second, the apocalypse is not something we can control or avoid. The Lord has warned us and warned us over and over again in so many different scriptures it is already on its way. The arm of the Lord is a phrase that has great significance. It refers to something happening in the heavens that the world will see. The Lord has told us he is returning with the armies of heaven, and with the City of Enoch, a piece of this earth that was physically removed and taken up into heaven.

We Can Observe Signs of the Times

We read terrible things in the news that are significant to LDS theology and say to ourselves, “Ah, hah. Another sign of the times,” and indeed we are usually correct. Wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, man’s loss of natural affection for his brethren demonstrated by deeds of atrocity, nations coming to an end, rampant wickedness, corruption, immorality and the list goes on and on. I have one thing to say about all these: “Man, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet

Obviously, Anthony and I are in agreement as this reflects what he has already stated. Even when we talk about hundreds of thousands killed by earthquakes and tsunamis, the size of these catastrophes are nothing compared to what will happen when a “great mountain burning with fire [is] cast into the sea,” or “there [falls] a great star from heaven,” or the sun moon and stars are smitten so that the sun is darkened and the moon glows red as blood with heat. Catastrophic!

Watch For Signs in the Sun

In my mind, the event that is currently happening is the sun is not following the normal pattern scientists are used to seeing for many centuries of observation. The eleven-year cycle seems to be a little out of whack. Watch the signs in the sun. Coronal mass ejections from sunspots are the thing we really need to be watching. One massive CME can produce an EMP that could wipe out power grids and communication systems all across the globe. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com.

You can read more about my work of fiction based on the close approach of a large celestial body under the Red Sky tab here on my blog.

m4s0n501

21 comments for “Bringing On the Apocalypse

  1. March 10, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This is an excellent post! It’s refreshing to read someone discuss the topic who actually is well studied on it and who knows what they’re talking about.

    My thought at the end of your post was from the Jungle Book movie: “Don’t stop now Baggy, you’re doing great. There’s more, lots more!”

    What do you think of Roger K. Young’s books?

  2. March 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Hi Tim
    A very informative post, thank you. When ever I read the words apocalypse or end of the world, or any words like these, my mind immediately tends to shut down, my heat palpitates and these are reactions from my childhood and now adulthood. I sought to find the “flip side” of what may or may not be inevitable. I thought the world was going to end at the beginning of 2000, seriously, I didn’t do anything special of drastic, but I figured at the time if there was a loving God, then he would throw out a life line. And he did a few years later when after resisting the “men in black” ( missionary’s) I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that every time I comment on your blog, I seem to bear this testimony. Maybe because I am new, and my heart is not bitter or jaded and I am not a “Mormon” per say. But I have been reading about the return of the Savior, and have overcome my fear and started to search the scripture more. I am comforted. I recently reviewed a book written by Robert Millet. I don’t know much about him, or have any preconceived notions about him. But his book: “Living in the Eleventh Hour” preparing for the glorious return of the Savior”, is a really good book. I would recommend it. Here is an excerpt:

    Chapter 20: Men and Women of Destiny pages 110-114

    “As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have, as it were, one eye riveted on the present and another focused on the future. While knowledge of what lies ahead can assist us immeasurably to see things today in perspective, we cannot live in the future; all we have is now.
    Let us now turn our attention to the personal responsibilities you and I share as we do our part to prepare the world for the second coming of the Son of God. President Thomas S. Monson has reminded us that “the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants. “

    I have to ask myself, if all I can do is what Jesus has said, to have my lamp trimmed and filled with oil, to love my neighbor, to love Him; to serve, even when I feel like more selfish endeavors. Is the end of the world for the righteous? We will and do now endure trials, tribulations, wars, famine, pestilence, all of this is at our back doors,in our neighborhoods, in our families now. Will it be amped up for the apocalypse? What is the difference?

  3. bruce reay
    March 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Tim,

    Great post but I have to disagree with you on your definition of the apocalypse. I’m afraid it is the end of the world.

    D&C 2 1-3

    BEHOLD, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

    The scripture hasn’t been fulfilled. Thus the earth will be utterly wasted.

    Sorry.

    On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 12:29 AM, Latter-day Commentary – Last Days – Signs of the Times wrote:

    > Tim Malone, MCSE posted: “I was invited to join a panel of fellow > authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy > Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The > Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. > I”

    • March 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Don’t the latter-day saints believe that D&C 2 was fulfilled by D&C 110 (Elijah’s visit to the temple)?

      • log
        March 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

        I do not believe “the” Latter-day Saints believe that. I believe “most” Latter-day Saints believe that. It may even be the “official” position of the Church. That position, however, cannot be supported directly from the scripture, but has rather been read into the scripture. D&C 110 does not record that Elijah revealed anything when he visited the Kirtland temple. That, in and of itself, is noteworthy. Such an important event – the revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah – if it occurred, ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Instead, we have none.

        Joseph Smith, without known exception, always referred to Elijah’s mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future. This may be verified by perusing The Words of Joseph Smith.

        • March 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

          Thanks for the link, log. I did a search on that page for “Elijah” and read everything that talked about. The first instance had the date of “Before 8 August 1839″ and contained this text:

          The hearts of the children will have to be turned to the fathers, & the fathers to the children living or dead to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. If Elijah did not come the whole earth would be smitten.

          Bold emphasis mine.

          That speaks of his coming in the past tense. The rest of the instances speak of his coming as still future. One of the instances, though, which speak of a future appearance of Elijah, says the following:

          What shall I talk about today I know what Br Cahoon wants me to speak about, he wants me to speak about the Comeing of Elijah in the last days I Can see it in his eye, I will speak upon that subject then, The Bible says “I will send you Elijah before the great & dredful day of the Lord Come that he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the Children & the hearts of the Children to their fathers lest I Come & smite the whole earth with a Curse,” Now the word turn here should be translated (bind or seal) But what is the object of this important mission or how is it to be fulfilled, The keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come, The gospel to be esstablished the Saints of God gatherd Zion built up, & the Saints to Come up as Saviors on mount Zion but how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion by building thair temples erecting their Baptismal fonts & going forth & receiving all the ordinances, Baptisms, Confirmations, washings anointings ordinations & sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our Progenitors who are dead & redeem them that they may Come forth in the first resurrection & be exhalted to thrones of glory with us, & here in is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the Children, & the Children to the Fathers which fulfills the mission of Elijah & I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth

          Bold emphasis mine.

          So, although Elijah would make a still future appearance, the seals at the time of this statement were already on the earth, because Elijah had already come to Oliver and Joseph in the temple, per D&C 110. This statement is recorded to have been made on “21 January 1844 (Sunday). Front of Robert D. Fosters Hotel, Near Temple.”

          What is the meaning of all this? It means that the prophesied appearance of Elijah would have a dual fulfillment, once during the dispensation of the last days and last time, which was the dispensation of Joseph (and also us), and again during the final dispensation, which is called the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is still future to us.

          You say that D&C 110 does not fulfill the law of witnesses, but it does do that, since two people received the vision and ministrations. You say that D&C 110 “does not record that Elijah revealed anything when he visited the Kirtland temple”, but it actually does reveal three things (shown in bold type):

          Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

          To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

          Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

          So, the time has fully come, meaning the time has been fulfilled already, but there will come another time, in the future, in which it will fully come again, or be fulfilled yet again. Here are the words of the prophet Elijah again, without the clarifying (but inspired) commentary which was inserted:

          Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse, therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

          • log
            March 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm
            The hearts of the children will have to be turned to the fathers, & the fathers to the children living or dead to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. If Elijah did not come the whole earth would be smitten.

            Bold emphasis mine.That speaks of his coming in the past tense.

            At best, one may claim that single reference is ambiguous – because it could be interpreted as past conditional or future conditional. And, given the rest of the references which are not ambiguous in speaking of Elijah’s mission as yet future, you have no justification for asserting otherwise as you have here. Indeed, an assumption that Joseph was not given to contradicting himself mandates reading it as future conditional rather than past conditional, and that’s assuming Joseph was, in this one instance, by this single witness, quoted correctly.

            I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth

            Bold emphasis mine.
            So, although Elijah would make a still future appearance, the seals at the time of this statement were already on the earth, because Elijah had already come to Oliver and Joseph in the temple, per D&C 110.

            1. Joseph did not say “the seals” were from Elijah. As Joseph had been “sealing” people well before Kirtland, it is manifestly unclear what kind of “seals” he had in mind.
            2. D&C 110 does not say Elijah delivered anything, which is why this conversation can occur.

            You say that D&C 110 does not fulfill the law of witnesses, but it does do that, since two people received the vision and ministrations.

            What I actually said was: “Such an important event – the revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah – if it occurred, ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Instead, we have none.”

            Therefore, you seem to be mischaracterizing what I said, and your response on this point is therefore a non-sequitur.

            You say that D&C 110 “does not record that Elijah revealed anything when he visited the Kirtland temple”, but it actually does reveal three things (shown in bold type):

            Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
            To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
            Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

            I am speaking of the absence of D&C 110 “record[ing] Elijah revealing [something],” and you are speaking of what “[D&C 110] reveals.” Therefore, you are not speaking of what I am speaking of – and your response on this point is, again, a non-sequitur.

            So, the time has fully come, meaning the time has been fulfilled already…

            “The time has fully come” does not necessarily mean “the time has been fulfilled already.” You are free to interpret it as you will, however – but atextual conclusions are only as sound as the assumptions they are founded upon.

            … but there will come another time, in the future, in which it will fully come again, or be fulfilled yet again.

            That is an inference which depends on other atextual assumptions.

          • log
            March 14, 2014 at 11:22 pm

            Scriptural examples of future conditionals in the past tense.

            Other, non scriptural examples of future conditionals in the past tense.

            #1
            #2

            And so on.

          • March 15, 2014 at 6:44 am

            Tim, my apologies for the length of this comment…

            log, you stated:

            “Joseph Smith, without known exception, always referred to Elijah’s mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future. This may be verified by perusing The Words of Joseph Smith.”

            I then found an exception, which I interpreted as referring to the past. You then admitted:

            “At best, one may claim that single reference is ambiguous – because it could be interpreted as past conditional or future conditional.”

            And that was my whole point. Because it can be interpreted either way, it is incorrect to assert that “Joseph Smith, without known exception, always referred to Elijah’s mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future.

            If there were only one way to interpret that text, then I’d concede the point. But as it is ambiguous, you can’t make the claim he always spoke of Elijah as yet future. The most you can do is say that you believe that he always spoke of Elijah as yet future.

            Now, you also stated: “And, given the rest of the references which are not ambiguous in speaking of Elijah’s mission as yet future, you have no justification for asserting otherwise as you have here. Indeed, an assumption that Joseph was not given to contradicting himself mandates reading it as future conditional rather than past conditional, and that’s assuming Joseph was, in this one instance, by this single witness, quoted correctly.”

            First of all, I asserted what I did to show the ambiguity of the text. And I was justified to do it to show that your unqualified original statement was erroneous.

            Secondly, the scenario I gave you (of a dual fulfillment) shows that there is no contradiction when reading the text this way, therefore, even if I assume that Joseph was not given to contradicting himself, reading it as future conditional is not mandated, as you assert.

            Thirdly, concerning the quote being correct, brother David (Bednar) recently issued forth a corrective to some of the text of that page, in his Ensign article, Faithful Parents and Wayward Children: Sustaining Hope While Overcoming Misunderstanding, in which he said that the statement,

            “When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.”

            was not as accurately quoted as this text (also found on that page):

            “When a father and mother of a family have [been sealed], their children who have not transgressed are secured by the seal wherewith the Parents have been sealed. And this is the Oath of God unto our Father Abraham and this doctrine shall stand forever.”

            Here is the full quote:

            And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the Seal of the living God and he cried &c. sayin Hurt not the Earth nor sea nor trees till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

            Now I would ask who know the seal of the living God Behold the ignorance of the World.

            A measure of this sealing is to confirm upon their head in common with Elijah the doctrine of election or the covenant with Abraham—which which when a Father & mother of a family have entered into their children who have not transgressed are secured by the seal wherewith the Parents have been sealed. And this is the Oath of God unto our Father Abraham and this doctrine shall stand forever.

            My point being in all of this is that given the reliability, or unreliability, of the source, using it bolster a claim one way or another is not recommended.

            Now, concerning your two points, you stated: Joseph did not say “the seals” were from Elijah. As Joseph had been “sealing” people well before Kirtland, it is manifestly unclear what kind of “seals” he had in mind.”

            Joseph implied that the seals were from Elijah, since that was the context of the conversation. In other words, it is manifestly clear what kind of seals he had in mind, given the context. I will present the quote once more, with bold type showing just how manifestly clear it really was.

            What shall I talk about today I know what Br Cahoon wants me to speak about, he wants me to speak about the Comeing of Elijah in the last days I Can see it in his eye, I will speak upon that subject then, The Bible says “I will send you Elijah before the great & dredful day of the Lord Come that he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the Children & the hearts of the Children to their fathers lest I Come & smite the whole earth with a Curse,” Now the word turn here should be translated (bind or seal) But what is the object of this important mission or how is it to be fulfilled, The keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come, The gospel to be esstablished the Saints of God gatherd Zion built up, & the Saints to Come up as Saviors on mount Zion but how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion by building thair temples erecting their Baptismal fonts & going forth & receiving all the ordinances, Baptisms, Confirmations, washings anointings ordinations & sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our Progenitors who are dead & redeem them that they may Come forth in the first resurrection & be exhalted to thrones of glory with us, & here in is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the Children, & the Children to the Fathers which fulfills the mission of Elijah & I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world & I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might & gather together all their living relatives to this place that they may be sealed & saved that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth & if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead seal their posterity & gather their living friends & spend none of their time in behalf of the world they would hardly get through before night would Come when no man Could work

            Is not it manifestly clear by this text what kind of seals Joseph had in mind? He most obviously had in mind the sealing power of Elijah.

            But enough of this use of The Words of Joseph Smith. Let’s turn to something canonized and a little more reliable. From D&C 128 (and also 127) it is manifestly clear that Joseph was appealing to Elijah’s prophesied appearance and authority and power, (which authority and power was contingent upon him appearing), for his doctrine of baptism for the dead. Also, his “angelic list” assumes that Elijah was another one of the angels that came to declare “their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood”. Notice, in particular verses 17-21, which I will not quote, due to length, but you can click this link to read them.

            Finally, I won’t answer your second point, as it seems to just be nitpicking on your part. Actually, maybe I will answer it a little bit with a question. You stated:

            What I actually said was: “Such an important event – the revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah – if it occurred, ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Instead, we have none.”

            Ought not such an important event – the revelation of the Melchizedek priesthood by the hand of Peter, James and John – if it occurred, have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses? Instead, we have only one witness (Joseph’s word, as recorded in D&C 128:20). Yet Joseph “does not [write in D&C 128 that these three apostles] delivered anything.” In fact, (to again use your words), there is an “absence of D&C [128] recording [Peter, James and John] revealing something.”

          • March 15, 2014 at 6:48 am

            I really wish there was a way to fix bad tags after the Post Comment button was pressed…

  4. March 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Consider me corrected about the apocalypse being the end of the world. Although, one could argue that it is the end of the world as we know it – to steal lyrics from a popular song. I have a series in mind that I plan to write that will involve the literal end of the world. What would be the correct term for that sort of story?

    Great post by the way. I look forward to many more from you.

    • March 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Randy,

      To me, the apocalypse is the destruction that occurs before and as the Savior comes to usher in the millennium. I’m not sure what specific name the scriptures use to identify the end of the world (end of time) when the earth is burned by fire and then celestialized.

      The earth is currently in a telestial state. After the Savior comes and during the millennium, it will be in a terrestrial state. There are two great battles on both ends of the millennium – the battle of Armageddon first, then the battle of Gog and Magog. Michael fights the battle at the end of the world after the thousand years are up and Satan is loosed.

      Joseph Fielding Smith clarifies the difference between the battle of Armageddon and the battle of Gog and Magog: “Before the coming of Christ, the great war, sometimes called Armageddon, will take place as spoken of by Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. Another war of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium.” ( Doctrines of Salvation, 3:45.)

  5. March 12, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I agree with you: We ain’t seen nothing yet. :) Good article to get us thinking!

  6. McKay
    March 12, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Tim, ‘apocalypse’ literally means ‘unveiling’ and is the title of many ascent documents such as the The Apocalypse of Abraham, a description of his astral journey. The term was used anciently differently than we use it today. The term has come to mean end-times destructions because the Apocalypse of John (Revelation of John in English) unveils the end-times events including the destructions. A view or vision of the world from the foundation to the end times is part of that vision. We certainly use the term today in everyday speech as you do on your blog but next time you speak to an ancient Greek remember to him it’ll mean ‘unveiling’.
    Mckay

    • March 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you McKay. I appreciate the individualized instruction. It’s funny how the meanings of words have changed and lost their original intent, especially when translated into modern English. These scriptures now take on even more meaning for me:

      …that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth; (D&C 109:74)

      “Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.” (D&C 88:68)

      “And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;” (D&C 88:95)

      “And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them.” (D&C 124:8)

  7. log
    March 15, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This is a reply to LDSA’s contentions above. The nested reply feature is unwieldy after 2 levels.

    Lest the main point of dispute be lost, LDSA’s main contention is that D&C 2 was fulfilled by the events recorded in D&C 110. I simply observed that D&C 110 does not record the fulfillment of D&C 2. We look in vain for a revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah therein, or sealing keys delivered by Elijah – they’re simply not there. Whatever the majority of the Church believes, whatever the “official” position of the Church, it is without foundation in scripture. D&C 110 does not support the weight placed upon it.

    My statement, “Joseph Smith, without known exception, always referred to Elijah’s mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future” is correct as it stands.

    The proposed counterexample LDSA supplies is ambiguous, being possibly read as referring to the past, but most plausibly as a future conditional, therefore his proposed counterexample is not known to be a referral to Elijah having fulfilled his mission in the past. LDSA ought to concede that Joseph, without known exception, always referred to Elijah’s mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future.

    LDSA states “Joseph implied that the seals were from Elijah…. I will present the quote once more, with bold type showing just how manifestly clear it really was.”

    I’m actually more interested in part of the quote LDSA doesn’t bold: “The keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come….”

    Here’s the problem. We have no record of “seals” being delivered to Joseph, despite D&C 110 being asserted to be such a record; D&C 110 seems to deliberately omit mentioning any revelation of the priesthood by Elijah, and don’t mention “sealing keys,” or “seals.” It appears they would have been delivered at the Nauvoo temple, which was never completed.

    What shall I talk about today I know what Br Cahoon wants me to speak about, he wants me to speak about the Comeing of Elijah in the last days I Can see it in his eye, I will speak upon that subject then, The Bible says “I will send you Elijah before the great & dredful day of the Lord Come that he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the Children & the hearts of the Children to their fathers lest I Come & smite the whole earth with a Curse,” Now the word turn here should be translated (bind or seal) But what is the object of this important mission or how is it to be fulfilled, The keys are to be deliverd the spirit of Elijah is to Come, The gospel to be esstablished the Saints of God gatherd Zion built up, & the Saints to Come up as Saviors on mount Zion but how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion by building thair temples erecting their Baptismal fonts & going forth & receiving all the ordinances, Baptisms, Confirmations, washings anointings ordinations & sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our Progenitors who are dead & redeem them that they may Come forth in the first resurrection & be exhalted to thrones of glory with us, & here in is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the Children, & the Children to the Fathers which fulfills the mission of Elijah & I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world & I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might & gather together all their living relatives to this place that they may be sealed & saved that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth & if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead seal their posterity & gather their living friends & spend none of their time in behalf of the world they would hardly get through before night would Come when no man Could work & my ownly trouble at the present time is concerning ourselves that the Saints will be divided & broken up & scattered before we get our Salvation Secure for thei[r] is so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon it gives him the advantage often times

    Joseph doesn’t say he was in possession of the seals he was referring to. He may well not have been. It appears that if the Navoo temple had been completed, then the Saints would be able to have used the seals, perhaps since they would have been delivered at that place and time. After all, as D&C 124 states, speaking of the Nauvoo temple, “For there is not a place found on earth that [the Most High] may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

    This becomes rather interesting in the context of the following records of a sermon from Joseph Smith.

    I have a proclamation to make to the Elders you know the Lord has led the Church untill the present time I have now a great proclamation for the Elders to teach the Church hereafter which is in relation to Zion, The whole of North and South America is Zion, the mountain of the Lords House is in the Centre of North & South America, when the House is done [Nauvoo], Baptism font erectd and finished & the worthy are washed, anointed, endowed & ordained Kings & priests, which must be done in this life, when the place is prepared you must go through all the ordinances of the house of the Lord so that you who have any dead friends must go through all the ordinances for them the same as for yourselves; then the Elders are to go through all America & build up Churches untill all Zion is built up, but not to commence to do this untill the Temple is built up here [Nauvoo] and the Elders endowed then go forth & accomplish the work & build up stakes in all North and South America, Their will be some place ordained for the redeeming of the dead I think this place will be the one, so their will be gathering fast enough here. President Smith lungs failed him and he appointed Elder G. J. Adams to occupy the time during the foornoon He however remarked that his proclamation just made was the greatest ever made as all could not come here; but it was necessary that enough should come to build up the temple & get an endowment so that the work could spread abroad.

    There were multiple witnesses, and records, of this sermon. Something was supposed to happen at Nauvoo – and didn’t.

    I’ve tried to clear up this particular record; insertions in brackets are mine.

    Make a [proclamation] to the [Elders]—Wanted you to stay in order I might make this [proclamation] you know the [Lord] has lead the Church from [revelation] Has another [revelation] in [relation] to economy in the Church Shall not be able as largely as some other. time will give 1st [principles]—has [been] great discourse in [relation] to Zion—prophets—make a [proclamation] that will cover a broad [ground]. the whole America is the Zion itself—from North to South—that is the Zion where the Mountain of the [Lord should] be —when [Elders] take up br[?] will see it —dec.[?] this morning are calculating soon as Temple finished washing & anointing &c when those last & most [important] ordinance can be done —must be in a house—[provisions] made during time of laying found: where men may [receive] endowment to make [Kings and Priests] unto the Most [High God] having [nothing] to do with temporal things but [the Kingdom of God]. [God] has provided for a house to be built where we can get a House this the central place & where we can be baptized for dead—it is [necessary] when we want to save our dead we go through all the ordinances same as for [ourselves] from [baptism] to ordination & [endowment]. From henceforth I have [received instructions] from [the Lord] that [Elders] shall build churches where ever they raise branches through the States then build stakes—in the [great] cities Boston &c there shall be stakes—reserved the pro. to the last. all this to be [undertaken] that this work shall commence after the washing anointing & endowment here [at Nauvoo]

    has led this Church by revn. I have anr. revn. a great grand & glorious revn. & this is what I am going to declare—you kno there has been great discusn. where Zion is & when the gathg. of the D is & which I am to—the whole America is the Land itself N. & S itself & is descd. by the Prophets that it shod. be in the centre of the land. the declan. is that as soon as the temple & B font is prepd. & so as we can wash & anoint the El of Israel there must be a place prepd for that purpose—there are provins made until the work is compd. to be as K & P of the mos H. God but as all to do with the hs of God—but there must be an express place built for that purpose & for men to be B for their dd for every man who wishes to save the F & M. B. S & F. must go thro the same—B—A. W. & all the protectn. of the powers of the Priesthood same as for themselves—the Elders of Israel shall build Churches unto the Ld. & there shall they build Churches unto the Ld: there shall be a Stake of Zion—it is a glorious pro—& I reserved it to the last & desn. it to be understd. that it shall be after the washg. & anointg. here—the place that the Ld. has estd. for the Sn. of the dead—there must be a parlar place. I verily belive this to be the place—& men who wish to save their dead must come here to be B for their dead—& then may go back agn.

    Prest. J. Smith said he must give up the subject of yesterday.

    Made a proclamation.—I have another great and grand Revelation—great discussion where Zion is.—The whole America is Zion that is the Zion where the Mountain of the Lords house shall be. about the central part of N. & South America.—

    soon as the Temple is finished.—Lord hath ordained where these last & most important ordinances must be in a house.—provided for the purpose.—when we can get a house built first there is the place.—Bap. washed. anointed, sealed &c for the dead the same as for themselves.—

    from henceforth the elders shall build churches where ever the people receive the gospel sufficient. then build stakes to this place. I verily believe that God will establish this place for the salvation of the dead.—those who want to save their dead can come hither. those who do not wish to come hither to live can bring their families and attend the ordinances and return.

    That’s four records of the same sermon, and they seem to corroborate each other on important things – such as the Mountain of the Lord’s House being in Central America, and the necessity and importance of the completion of the Nauvoo temple, which was not finished.

    D&C 124
    44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.

    45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.

    46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.

    47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.

    48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.

    Again, history records the people were most definitely moved out of their place with cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments, and the Lord ceased speaking to the Church in his own voice after what amounts to a farewell statement to Brigham Young (D&C 136).

    Repeating Joseph –

    my ownly trouble at the present time is concerning ourselves that the Saints will be divided & broken up & scattered before we get our Salvation Secure for thei[r] is so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon it gives him the advantage often times

    It seems Joseph’s troubled statement was prophetic, since, on the strength of the history books, it sure looks like we were divided and broken up and scattered before we got our salvation secure, since it could not be obtained in a completed Nauvoo temple where the Most High God was to come and restore the fulness of the priesthood – perhaps by the hand of Elijah.

    I think reality is more complicated than what we teach by our traditions, which, despite the silence of the scriptures on the subject, assert that Elijah revealed the priesthood, and sealing keys, to Joseph and Oliver at Kirtland. I think the significance of Nauvoo in this context is not fully understood. And, lest anyone think otherwise, I don’t pretend to have the answers – only questions which, since the records we have are incomplete on these topics, can only be answered by the Lord.

  8. log
    March 15, 2014 at 9:53 am

    This, however, deserves comment.

    Ought not such an important event – the revelation of the Melchizedek priesthood by the hand of Peter, James and John – if it occurred, have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses? Instead, we have only one witness (Joseph’s word, as recorded in D&C 128:20). Yet Joseph “does not [write in D&C 128 that these three apostles] delivered anything.” In fact, (to again use your words), there is an “absence of D&C [128] recording [Peter, James and John] revealing something.”

    I agree, such an important event ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouth of two or three witnesses – and I agree that D&C 128:20 does not record such an event.

    Here’s what it says.

    The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!

    It doesn’t say that Peter, James, and John revealed the Melchizedek priesthood, by their hand or otherwise. It simply says they declared themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times. There is indeed an absence of evidence in D&C 128:20 that Peter, James, and John delivered anything. Therefore D&C 128:20 is not evidence in support of the proposition that they did.

    And I’m not altogether sure that one can date the bestowal of the Melchizedek priesthood as simply as dating Joseph and Oliver’s calling as apostles.

    The Melchizedek priesthood is quite a complicated subject, as one may gather from Quinn’s The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. I’m not sure D&C 128:20 is, or even can be, relevant to the discussion.

    Since “all priesthood is Melchizedek,” one might plausibly wonder if the Melchizedek priesthood is not “the fulness of the priesthood” which the Most High had taken away and was to restore at the Nauvoo temple.

    After all, “the power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church [as opposed to mere outward ordinances] — to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.”

    The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are, of course, not outward ordinances, but inward manifestations of the Spirit of God (D&C 63:23). When was the last known time in this Church someone had the heavens open unto them, and was able to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and enjoyed the communion and presence of God and Jesus?

    Have I? Have you? Does anything else matter?

    • lemuel
      March 17, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      So where does the tradition come from that PJ&J restored the Melchizedek priesthood?

  9. March 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Hi Tim,

    I miss hearing your voice. Let’s get with it!

    What are your thoughts these days? I hope you and your family are well. I pray for you.

    Jared

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Jared. Funny you should leave an encouraging comment to add a new post. I’ve been enjoying Denver’s blog and the dialog on LDSFF over the past few weeks. I met with my bishop yesterday to discuss a few topics. The subject of my blog came up. I have a few thoughts to share and hope to have a new entry posted by this evening after work.

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