Posts Tagged 'Restoration'

Genesis Chapter 50

Jacob, also known as Israel, died in the previous chapter of the Bible, just after giving his twelve sons, and the two sons of Joseph, patriarchal blessings. He had had his favored son Joseph make a promise to him that his body would be buried in the land of Canaan, where his family was buried. The book of Genesis continues as follows:

1 And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.
2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.
3 And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.
4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
5 My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.
6 And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.

Joseph showed his love for his father as he cried over his loss. Then, Jacob was embalmed, as was Egyptian tradition I believe, and the people went through their standard time of mourning for him. Then Joseph requested of Pharaoh, that he be allowed to leave and take his father’s body to Canaan for burial. He explained that it was a promise he had made to his father. He also promised to return to Egypt. Pharaoh, honored his request and allowed him leave.

7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
8 And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.
11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
12 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:
13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

Joseph took a great multitude with him, to bury Jacob. The family and friends mourned greatly for him. Jacob had been loved by the Egyptians as well as his family. Considering they went to Egypt being a family of farmers who would have been looked down upon, this seems like a lot. I am sure that the Egyptians had been blessed to have Jacob in their presence, as they were blessed to have Joseph serve them. The family of Jacob buried him in the cave where their ancestors had been buried.

14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Joseph and his family returned to Egypt. Joseph’s brothers worried among themselves, that since Jacob was dead, Joseph would have feelings of hatred or anger towards them for the things that they had done years before. They sent a message to Joseph, asking for forgiveness from him and saying it was at the request of their father. Joseph, who seems so tender-hearted in moments like these, told them not to worry about this because he was where he was that day because of the trials they had brought upon him. He recognized that it may have started as evil intentions, but God had made it good for him and for his family. Joseph told them he would continue to take care of them and their families.

22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.
24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

The Joseph Smith translation of these verses says the following:

24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die, and go unto my fathers; and I go down to my grave with joy. The God of my father Jacob be with you, to deliver you out of affliction in the days of your bondage; for the Lord hath visited me, and I have obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of my loins, the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch out of my loins; and unto thee, whom my father Jacob hath named Israel, a prophet; (not the Messiah who is called Shilo;) and this prophet shall deliver my people out of Egypt in the days of thy bondage.
25 And it shall come to pass that they shall be scattered again; and a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country; nevertheless they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, when the Messiah cometh; for he shall be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the Spirit of power; and shall bring them out of darkness into light; out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.
26 A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.
27 Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me, A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren.
28 And he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers; and he shall do whatsoever work I shall command him.
29 And I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work; and he shall be great like unto him whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt; for a seer will I raise up to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt; and he shall be called Moses. And by this name he shall know that he is of thy house; for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter, and shall be called her son.
30 And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth of my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days;
31 Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
32 And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel, in the last days.
33 And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.
34 And the Lord sware unto Joseph that he would preserve his seed forever, saying, I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand, and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.
35 And he shall have judgment, and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of mine own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him, and his name shall be called Aaron.
36 And it shall be done unto thee in the last days also, even as I have sworn. Therefore, Joseph said unto his brethren, God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware unto Abraham, and unto Isaac, and to Jacob.
37 And Joseph confirmed many other things unto his brethren, and took an oath of the children of Israel, saying unto them, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
38 So Joseph died when he was an hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and they put him in a coffin in Egypt; and he was kept from burial by the children of Israel, that he might be carried up and laid in the sepulchre with his father. And thus they remembered the oath which they sware unto him.

Joseph and his family, the children of Israel, continued to live in Egypt and to have generations of family. It seems that Joseph acted as the patriarch of his family. I think this was because he had been given the birthright, as well as being their source of refuge in Egypt. After 110 years, of which about 80 years was with the Egyptians, he knew he would die soon. He promised his family that they would eventually be brought out of that land by the hand of God, in fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the Joseph Smith Translation, more of the promise to the children of Israel is given. He talks of the prophet who would help to bring them out of bondage, who was Moses. He tells them that after they are delivered from bondage by Moses, they will again be scattered. The broken branch that will be removed is the family of Lehi, who were descendants of Joseph. Then in the latter days, the Savior would be made manifest to Joseph Smith, the seer of the seed of Joseph of Egypt. Joseph would be like Moses and lead the people out of their own bondage, the bondage of sin. He would do this by bringing forth the word of God, which is the restoration of the gospel. The word of God would come through the Bible (the stick of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (the stick of Joseph). Joseph prophesied of Moses parting the red sea and of the ten commandments which would be given to him. He prophesied that he would have Aaron as a spokesman for him. Then, he told them that he wanted his bones to be moved when the children of Israel eventually were moved from Egypt. Then he died and was placed in a coffin in the land of Egypt, leaving his family as servants of Pharaoh in that land.

There is a great example of forgiveness and love through the blessings of God. Joseph, who could have hated his brothers for all they had done, knew that he had been guided by the hand of God. It is an example of how God can use us for good, even in the worst of situations. Joseph had greater gratitude and love for God then any ill feelings towards his brothers, and because of that, he could fully forgive them and take care of them to the end of his days. Forgiveness is not about forgetting how others may have trespassed against us, but rather, it is about turning our hearts to God and allowing Him to help us see the blessings we have been given instead. Joseph loved his family, but more importantly, he loved God.

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How Do We Sustain the Priesthood as the Authority of God on Earth?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.

The next question in this series is how do we sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on Earth? Notice that I did not make this question how do I know that it is the authority of God, or is the priesthood the authority of God. That is because I know that it is and cannot question it. I have had many experiences in my life with the power of the priesthood and the spirit has confirmed to me that it is God’s authority for man to act in his behalf on this earth. I needed with this post, to ask a question that I would be able to apply directly to my life at this time or at least cause me deeper reflection. Of course the first step to sustaining it would be to believe that it is that authority, so if you do not know that for yourself, I suggest that you seek for a confirmation of that truth for yourself. (Some of my previous posts directly related to the priesthood: The Priesthood, Priesthood Organization, The Church of Jesus Christ Today. Other resources related to the priesthood authority can be found here: Gospel Principles, Restoration, Topical Guide-Priesthood, Authority)

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I often raise my hand in church when it is announced that a young man or man will be ordained or advanced in the priesthood. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:65, we read, “No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church;”. This vote is a witness that I sustain them in the priesthood. It is important to understand what it means to sustain them and sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on Earth. In order to approach this question, I looked up the definition of the word sustain. The online search provided the following explanations: “Strengthen or support physically or mentally”, “Cause to continue or be prolonged for an extended period or without interruption”, or to “Uphold, affirm, or confirm the justice or validity of”.

What can we do to strengthen or support the priesthood? I don’t think that we strengthen the priesthood in a way that gives it more or greater power, because the power of it comes from God and not from man, but there are ways to support it. When we support something, we bear the weight of it. The power of the priesthood is a great responsibility to those who hold it. In the church we often talk of bearing the priesthood of God, so in order to support it, worthy men need to be willing to receive that responsibility. Doctrine and Covenants 84:40 says, “Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.” Receiving and bearing the priesthood, is to make an oath and covenant with the Lord. In addition, they need to be capable of fulfilling their duties as bearers of the priesthood. To give it the support it needs, they need to be able to do this in a way that is adequate to fulfill its purposes. In Isaiah 52:11 we read, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” The priesthood is of the Lord and so it cannot be borne by those who are not prepared and worthy for it. Therefore, men who are willing and able to bear the priesthood, need to make and keep themselves worthy to use it in the way that God has intended. As a woman, I do not directly bear the priesthood of God. Something of which I am actually okay with. However, I still need to be a supporter of the priesthood. I can support in several ways as well. One is, that I can do my part to help men be worthy and able to bear the priesthood. As a wife, I need to keep myself on the right track, so that I do not draw my husband from the things that would keep him worthy of this privilege. When necessary, I need to be willing to stand up for what is right and help the men around me become more worthy. I know that my influence for good in this respect is great. If I was a mother to boys, which I am not (yet), I would have the duty to raise them to be worthy of this opportunity. As a woman, my support can come from showing that I approve of men having the priesthood, and in fact, I should encourage the use of it often. Doctrine and Covenants 107:1 reads, “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.” Both men and women support the priesthood, by learning what its purposes are, and caring that those purposes are fulfilled. In Ephesians 4 we learn of the callings within the priesthood and their purposes.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The purposes of the priesthood are the perfecting of the saints, work of the ministry and edifying the body of Christ for unity of faith and unity in knowing the Son of God. This way we will be firm in the faith, so that when life hits us, we will not falter because of the ways of the world. Therefore, I sustain the priesthood by encouraging men to be worthy to bear it, being a good example of righteous living, learning about the reason for the priesthood, caring for its success on earth, and encouraging the men in my life to use the priesthood.

What is our role in causing the priesthood to continue or be prolonged without interruption? Doctrine and Covenants 13:1 reads, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth. . .” A promise was made to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, that the priesthood would not be removed from the earth again, but that does not mean that we will always be able to access it if we are not living righteously and faithfully. Priesthood power requires both a worthy bearer to use it, and a faithful receiver of its blessings. We sustain it by not only being worthy to use it, but by believing in it. The priesthood is the power from God and we have to have faith in Him for it to work. In the book of Matthew we read the following:

57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Even the Lord, Jesus Christ, did not work the miracles of the priesthood during his ministry, when those who should have received its blessings did not have faith and believe in Him. The faith we have today, also needs to be in Jesus Christ, because the priesthood is His power on earth. If we loose that faith, the priesthood will not work in our lives. We sustain the priesthood of God, by believing in God and His power.

How do we uphold, affirm, or confirm the justice and validity of the priesthood authority of God? One of the things that we need to do today, is recognize and witness that God’s authority and power are on earth today, as they were in times of old. In Exodus 40:15, we learn of the priesthood authority as it was given to Aaron. It says, “And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” Many people are willing to believe that the prophets of old had the priesthood authority, but they are not willing to accept that it can exist in our time as well. In Moses 6:7 we read, “Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.” It has been restored in its fullness and can be used today. There are many who believe that it was never removed from the earth, but it was. Those who feel this way, claim to have priesthood power from God, but they do not. During the apostasy that followed the death of the apostles of Jesus’s time, the priesthood was taken from the earth. The people were not living worthy to act on God’s authority. I believe that the authority was once again restored with the power of the priesthood, when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery asked God about baptism. (See D&C 13:1 found above) In Doctrine and Covenants 27:12 we read, “And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;”. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood power through the laying on of hands, first by John the Baptist for the Aaronic priesthood and then, by Peter, James, and John for the Melchizedek priesthood. In order to uphold, affirm or confirm the justice and validity of the priesthood, we need to have our own testimony that this is the truth. We need to know and share that the priesthood of old was indeed the power of God. We need to believe and share that we do in fact have the priesthood on earth today and that it is also the true power and authority of God. The spirit will testify to those who accept the blessings of the priesthood in their lives, of its truth and power. To sustain it, we need to be willing to share what we know about it and the blessings of it, with those who are willing to listen and learn for themselves.

I am so grateful for the priesthood. This past few months of study about it, has caused my testimony to be strengthened in many ways. I know that priesthood of God was given to man in the beginning of time on Earth. Adam was the first bearer of the priesthood on Earth and it continued on the earth during all times when men were worthy to bear it. After the great apostasy, the priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the hands of those with the authority from God to ordain them. The priesthood is on the earth today and we, both men and women, should be willing to sustain it, so that the work of God will continue to roll forth.

The Tenth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We believe that the Lord promised the Children of Israel that they would be scattered if they failed to keep his commandments and live righteously. In Deuteronomy 28:64 we read, “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” Then we learn of the outcome of this promise in 2 Kings, chapter 17:

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger:
12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.
15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
20 And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

We believe that it is truth that Israel will be gathered again. In 1 Nephi 10:14 we read, “And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.” We believe that this gathering will literally be fulfilled. In Deuteronomy 30:3 we read, “That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.” The tribes of Israel will be gathered together from all the earth, where they were scattered. Moreover, we believe that this gathering has already begun. In Doctrine and Covenants 110:11, we learn when this gathering started. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the keys of the priesthood restored to them, which gave them the authority from God to do this work. “After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.”

We believe that the tribes of Israel will be restored to the knowledge of the truth, which has long since been denied and forgotten. In 3 Nephi 20 we learn what the Savior taught the Nephites of this:

30 And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;
31 And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

We believe that this restoration started with the gospel being taken to the gentiles, or those who were not of the house of Israel. This started with the translation of the Book of Mormon and the missionaries being sent out to the world to preach of the gospel. We believe that as the gentiles have received the gospel, they have made covenants with God, which has allowed us to be adopted into the house of Israel. We believe that it is our responsibility to take the fullness of the gospel to the rest of the world, which will bring the scattered tribes back together.

We believe that along with the gathering and restoration of the ten tribes of Israel, that Zion will be built. We believe that this Zion will also be knows as the New Jerusalem and it will exist as a partner to Jerusalem, which will be built again by the gathering of the tribes. We believe further, that the New Jerusalem will be upon the American continent. In Doctrine and Covenants 45 we read the following:

66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

In another modern revelation, the Lord revealed that Zion, the New Jerusalem, would be built in the state of Missouri (see D&C 84:3). We believe that this will be the center of Zion, but that Zion as a whole will exist throughout the world, in the hearts of the righteous and covenant people of the Lord.

We also believe that Christ, the Lord and Savior of mankind, will come again and will reign as Lord over the earth. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Then in Doctrine and Covenants 76:63 we read, “These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.” He will bring all the nations under his reign, and all people will know that He is the Christ. I think one of the things I look forward to most, is that all laws will be the laws of God, and all governments will be under his rule. This means that all those things that are wicked and unrighteous about governments today, will no longer exist.

Finally we believe that at the second coming of Christ, the earth will be cleansed of all wickedness. In Malachi 4:1 we read, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” We believe that the earth will be renewed to its perfect state and then it will receive its proper glory, which is paradisiacal. In Isaiah 51:3 we read, “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Then later in Isaiah 65:17 we read, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” That paradisiacal condition will be like the Garden of Eden that existed for Adam and Eve. Then it will have the glory and be prepared for the righteous to dwell upon the face of it.

These beliefs bring me such great joy and excitement. I believe that the work of the Lord is going forth and that the tribes of Israel are indeed being gathered, because the gospel is spreading across the earth. I know that wether I am alive or not, I will rejoice at the second coming of the Lord. I know that the earth will be prepared for his reign, and therefore it must be pure of all wickedness. This will be the beginning of the millennium, and I am so excited for the great work and blessings that will come from that time.

Joseph Smith-History (Part 5)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Joseph Smith-History Part 4).

So far in this history, Joseph had the first vision and visits from angels including angel Moroni. Joseph was given the gold plates to translate them into what we know now as The Book of Mormon. Martin Harris, who had been his scribe for the first part of the translation, had lost pages of the translation and had been released from his duty as scribe. This record continues:

66 On the 5th day of April, 1829, Oliver Cowdery came to my house, until which time I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he went to board for a season at his house, and while there the family related to him the circumstances of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make inquiries of me.
67 Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.

Joseph was once again able to translate the Book of Mormon, with the help of Oliver Cowdery. I just love the account of how Oliver came to be there, because in my study I have learned that he was fully led by the inspiration of the spirit and he came right when Joseph was in need of his help. In Doctrine and Covenants 6, we learn that Oliver had received an answer to the desires of his heart, and this answer led him to assist the prophet. I am sure that this experience of working with the prophet, to assist in translating a sacred record by the power of God, was unforgettable and life-changing. All righteous leaders need the support of faithful members in order to do the work of the Lord. This reminds me that we each have a value in the gospel and we all can have the chance to be instruments in the Lord’s hands, if we are doing what is right and follow the inspiration of the spirit.

Baptism

68 We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
70 He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.

While translating the gold plates, Joseph and Oliver had questions about the gospel. There are many teachings in the scriptures of the ordinances that we must partake of in order to partake of Eternal Life. The prophets have taught many times of the basic principles of the gospel and Joseph and Oliver knew that they did not have these things, but should. More importantly, the Savior himself, taught these principles when he visited the people in the Americas. One of the questions they had from reading the teachings of Jesus, was related to baptism for the remission of sins, so they decided to take their question to the Lord. In response, they were visited by an angel who conferred upon them the Aaronic priesthood and the power to baptize in the name of Christ. This was the next step in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The priesthood power, which had not been on the earth since the time of the apostles, was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. This priesthood power and authority to baptize people in the name of Christ, continues to be on the earth today.

71 Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.*
72 The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.

Now that they had the priesthood, Joseph and Oliver were able to baptize and ordain one another. The ordinance of baptism, through this proper priesthood authority, is the gateway for our acceptance into the presence of our Heavenly Father. We cannot enter without it. I am so grateful for my own baptism and for the blessings that have filled my life because of it.

The angel revealed that he was John the Baptist and that Peter, James, and John would bring them the Melchizedek Priesthood in due time. Joseph and Oliver did not act outside of the priesthood authority they had been given, and eventually they had the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon them as well. Before this happened though, they did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the power of God.

73 Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.

Neither of these men had been able to prophesy before this experience. Joseph was able to witness and testify of the things that he had been taught and seen, but it was not until he had been baptized and was worthy to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that he was able to prophesy of things to come. I am sure that this was an amazing experience and gave them a greater strength and courage to go on in the face of the ongoing persecution and adversity.

74 Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood.
75 We had been threatened with being mobbed, from time to time, and this, too, by professors of religion. And their intentions of mobbing us were only counteracted by the influence of my wife’s father’s family (under Divine providence), who had become very friendly to me, and who were opposed to mobs, and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation without interruption; and therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings, as far as in them lay.

Now that they had the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, they were able to receive great understanding of the scriptures as they worked to translate them. I am touched by the softening of the hearts of the Hale family. They had previously been against Emma marrying Joseph, so much so that it seems that Joseph feared for her safety and removed her from them. However, by the hand of God, the work of translation was continued, because her family had been changed. It is another example to me, that hearts can be changed for the better, even when it seems things will never be different.

* Oliver Cowdery describes these events thus: “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’
“To notice, in even few words, the interesting account given by Mormon and his faithful son, Moroni, of a people once beloved and favored of heaven, would supersede my present design; I shall therefore defer this to a future period, and, as I said in the introduction, pass more directly to some few incidents immediately connected with the rise of this Church, which may be entertaining to some thousands who have stepped forward, amid the frowns of bigots and the calumny of hypocrites, and embraced the Gospel of Christ.
“No men, in their sober senses, could translate and write the directions given to the Nephites from the mouth of the Savior, of the precise manner in which men should build up His Church, and especially when corruption had spread an uncertainty over all forms and systems practiced among men, without desiring a privilege of showing the willingness of the heart by being buried in the liquid grave, to answer a ‘good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’
“After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was easy to be seen, as the prophet said it would be, that darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. On reflecting further it was as easy to be seen that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the Gospel. For the question might be asked, have men authority to administer in the name of Christ, who deny revelations, when His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy, and His religion based, built, and sustained by immediate revelations, in all ages of the world when He has had a people on earth? If these facts were buried, and carefully concealed by men whose craft would have been in danger if once permitted to shine in the faces of men, they were no longer to us; and we only waited for the commandment to be given ‘Arise and be baptized.’

Oliver’s writing is very poetic and can seem a bit difficult to understand, but what I get from this is that Oliver wanted to share his testimony of his experience. He truly sat and wrote as the prophet of the Lord acted as an instrument of God and translated the gold plates with the help of the Urim and Thummim. He testifies that no person could have written the words of the Savior about his gospel and not have the desire to be baptized. He says that mankind had been in darkness, but they did not need to be any longer. He and Joseph were anxiously waiting for the commandment to be baptized.

“This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord, who is rich in mercy, and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon Him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us His will. On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance. What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld, our ears heard, as in the ‘blaze of day’; yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, ‘I am thy fellow-servant,’ dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! ’Twas the voice of an angel from glory, ’twas a message from the Most High! And as we heard we rejoiced, while His love enkindled upon our souls, and we were wrapped in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? Nowhere; uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever!

Oliver and Joseph did not have to wait long to be told to be baptized. He testifies that the Lord answers the prayers of the humble, and that they in fact had their own prayer answered. He testifies of the experience of witnessing the glory of John the Baptist and hearing his soul-piercing voice and knowing, without any doubts, that he was a messenger from God.

“But, dear brother, think, further think for a moment, what joy filled our hearts, and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his hand the Holy Priesthood as he said, ‘Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!’
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.”—Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.

Oliver and Joseph bowed to the glory of John the Baptist who called himself their fellow servant. It must have been amazing to realize that they were in the same service to God, as an angel from heaven. Oliver testifies that John the Baptist conferred the Priesthood of Aaron upon them. Oliver says that no trial, tribulation, deception, or wicked influence could stand in the mind, when one ray of glory from God has been received in the mind. He could not adequately describe the glorious experience that he had at that time.

I am grateful for the testimony of Oliver Cowdery. Again, the Lord has said ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses’ and this is another example of that. We could have just had the testimony of Joseph to believe, but here we have two witnesses of the same experience and now this will stand as a witness against those who say that it could not be true. I believe that the priesthood was truly restored to these great men. I believe that it remains on the earth today and that worthy men of the true gospel and church of Jesus Christ, can hold and use that priesthood. I have been greatly blessed by the priesthood in my life and I do not ever want to be without its influence. I am grateful to be married to a worthy man who honors his priesthood and brings its blessings into my home.

Joseph Smith-History (Part 1)

This portion of The Pearl of Great Price is part of the History of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was the first modern day prophet, and the instrument through which the church and gospel were restored to the earth. I am so glad to have the opportunity to study this history, because it is one of the most important things that has ever occurred in the history of the world. These things can be found also in the History of the Church (Volume 1, Chapters 1 through 5). I believe that these are the words of the prophet, but they may have been partially recorded by some others who were there to assist him in his work. The record starts with the following:

1 Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world—I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.
2 In this history I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now [1838] the eighth year since the organization of the said Church.

The prophet begins this record, by giving an explanation for it. Apparently there were people who were putting out false statements or reports to make the church look bad. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Whenever good things are happening, Satan does his best to persuade people to bring it down. There were so many things pushing against the church and its members. Joseph Smith took on this project to help to get rid of some of the wild stories and rumors that were going around. This record was written and I think reviewed and edited a number of times before it came to be a part of The Pearl of Great Price pamphlet, and eventually part of The Pearl of Great Price we have now. This record stands as a witness and a testimony of how the restoration of the church began.

3 I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont … My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario—
4 His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.

Joseph Smith Jr., and his family (parents, 5 brothers, 3 sisters, and himself) had relocated from Sharon, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York. I’ve learned over the years, that Joseph Smith Jr. was a good young man. He was raised to care for his family and with a good religious background. His parents were God-fearing people, who read the bible with their family. He was raised working on the family farm and helping to provide for those he loved. He had high standards from pretty young. I remember hearing the story of when he was in need of leg surgery and he refused any alcohol to take away or dull the pain. He was not able to have much in the way of schooling because of his circumstances, so he was not an extremely knowledgable young man.

5 Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
6 For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
7 I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

The different churches were experiences what is now called the second great awakening. There were camp meetings and revivals which were full of excitement and emotions. All the churches in the area were trying to persuade those who had not found religion, to join their sect. The young Joseph Smith, noticed that there was a lot of confusion and contention between the different churches and their leaders. Some of his family members had decided to join one of the churches. Joseph went to several different meetings, but he could not decide who he thought had the true gospel. When he says that they were “more pretended than real”, I think that the churches members and leaders were not living as they preached, and so there was a lot of confusion about what they truly believed. This goes to show the character that Joseph had even as a teenage boy. He did not want to join a church unless he could believe the teachings to be true.

9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

The question that was on Joseph’s mind had to do with the fact that all the churches were claiming to be right, while saying that the others were wrong. Joseph wanted to know which was the right church, or which one was teaching the truth. I think that a key to what was to follow for him, was that he had a sincere desire to know. Sometimes, I am a little interested in knowing something, but I don’t think that the desire is quite so great. Answers will not come if we are only mildly interested in understanding them. The Lord knows the intentions of our hearts, and this was a sincere and great desire for Joseph.

11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
12 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

Joseph had been raised with the Bible as scripture, in his life. When he had a question, he turned to what he trusted to be the word of God. In searching the scriptures, he found James 1:5, which after much pondering, taught him that he should ask God. He was touched powerfully by the spirit of God, as he read this verse. This inspiration led him to decide to ask God to get his answer. Joseph was truly an example of how answers to prayers may come to us as well. If we are struggling with understanding, we too can find inspiration in the scriptures. We have plenty of men willing to teach us what the scriptures mean, and it can still be rather confusing. Only the spirit can testify to us of the truth of the gospel. It is important for us to search, ponder and pray about our own questions. If we do these things in faith, our answers will come. Our faith is an important factor in this understanding. If we do not believe the answers will come, there is no promise that the Lord will answer us. Or rather, the answer may come still, but we will not be in the right frame of mind to receive it.

14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

He picked a quiet place to be alone for this prayer. I imagine that he knew he wanted to devote all his attention to this prayer and the answer he would receive, so he did not want to be in a place where he might be interrupted. I think that Joseph was probably also following the example from the scriptures. Throughout the Bible, there are examples of prophets, and even the Savior, going away to the mountains to pray where they could be alone. It would be wise for us to find a quiet place where we can offer up the concerns of our own hearts. This was his first time praying out loud. In my own experience of personal prayers, I find that when I do not pray vocally, my mind wanders and I loose focus. Sometimes, depending on the time of day, I find myself drifting off into sleep. This always results in my apologizing to my Father in Heaven and trying again to pray. However, when I pray vocally, even in a quiet whisper, I am more focused on what I say and I can often feel the spirit stronger.

As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that Joseph was foreordained to bring about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The prophets of old knew about him, and some had prophesied of what he would do, going so far as to know his name. Satan has known the plan, because he was there in that grand council in heaven. He would do anything in his power to stop the work of God from moving forward. Here, Satan tried to stop Joseph from his prayer, with darkness and stopping him from being able to speak. Had his hold been successful, Satan would have been able to keep the light of the gospel from the world for a time, but this was not the case.

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

Joseph actually felt himself physically being destroyed by the powers of Satan. I cannot say that I recall feeling anything quite like that, but I know how it feels to have a dark feeling around you, which to me felt like something I could not get myself out from under it. Just like Joseph, I had to rely on God to release me from that dark feeling. When Joseph felt like all was lost, he saw a glorious vision.

A great light came down upon him and that light took away the darkness. Darkness cannot continue when there is light. Satan’s powers cannot continue in the presence of the light of the Lord. Joseph was freed from the powers of Satan. It makes perfect sense that the light of heaven would be brighter than the sun. In studying Abraham, I have learned that things become greater, more glorious and brighter when they are nearer to God. Therefore, God is in the brightest light that exists.

I believe that at this point, as soon as the light was upon Joseph, he was transfigured to be able to have this vision. Joseph saw God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the air above him. This is a testimony to me that God and Jesus Christ are two separate beings, one in purpose, but not in physical body. God called Joseph by name, which teaches us that God knows us individually and personally. God introduced the Savior to Joseph as His Beloved Son. This is a testimony of the divinity of the Savior, by God himself, and that the Savior has been chosen since the beginning for the greatest purposes. Finally, Joseph was told to listen to Him, the Son of God. I think that this teaches me that God knew His Son would deliver the message just as He had intended it to be. It shows that God is one who delegates His work and allows others to grow from doing things themselves. God would have been able to bring His message to Joseph Himself, but just as all things in the gospel, there is a witness of two or three to establish all things. God and His Son were both there to witness to the young Joseph of the divinity of the Savior, and of the truth of His gospel.

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?

As soon as he was able, Joseph got right to asking the question on his mind. The answer he received was that he should not join any of the existing churches, because they were all wrong. The leaders of those churches preached some of the gospel, but they did not live the gospel. They may have had the word of the gospel, but they did not have the power of the gospel, which I think is the priesthood power and authority of God. The churches of this time had been in an apostasy from the true church of God. This is because they had lost the rights to the priesthood and precious truths had been lost or altered to fit the ways of the world. This is not to say that all people were bad. There were many who were living as righteously as they knew how, and they would and will be blessed for their own choices. We can only be judged according to our own individual knowledge. But there were people who had chosen to corrupt righteous things, and they had done a very good job of leading many people astray with false doctrine.

After receiving this vision, Joseph was left drained of energy, lying on the ground. I know that things of the spirit can drain us emotionally, mentally and physically. I am most tired after attending the temple and going to specially conferences where I can feel the spirit very strong. I think that this is a lesson to me that I need to have my body physically prepared with rest and good food when I want to be spiritually fed. Otherwise, I may wear myself down and be unable to function properly, which does not promote acting on the things we learn. After he got his energy back, Joseph returned home and told his mother that he learned her church was not true. I love that he had the kind of relationship with his mother, where he could openly tell her things that touched him spiritually. We do not all have that kind of relationship. I love coming home from church and being able to share the things I have learned with my own husband and children. It has been such a blessing to me and has strengthened my testimony even more. Joseph also came to the realization that he knew he was going to do work for the Lord, because that would explain why Satan and other things in opposition would fight against him so hard. When we are trying to do what is right, life does not get easier. There will be great opposition and trials when we are standing up for truth and righteousness, but at the same time, the Lord can give us strength to endure all of it.

I am so grateful for Joseph Smith. I believe that he truly did see God and Jesus Christ, and that they told him not to join any church at the time. I believe that Joseph was called to be a prophet of God, and that he restored the gospel of Christ to the earth once more. I am so grateful for his righteous service, and that he had the desire to know what was true, because it led eventually to me having this truth in my own life. I am so grateful that the gospel has been restored to the earth, and that I have the privilege of being a member of the true church of God. I encourage anyone who is not sure if this is true, to sincerely ponder over these scriptures, and to ask God for themselves. I have received my own witness of the spirit and I know that anyone else can as well.

Moses Chapter 7 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Moses Chapter 7 Part 1).

So far in this chapter, God has shown Enoch the righteousness of his own people (the city of Enoch, or Zion), the wickedness of others, and the destruction of all that was wicked at the time of Noah. This section continues:

45 And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?
46 And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.
47 And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.

Enoch, who was overcome with sorrow for the destruction of men at the time of the floods, found joy in the coming of the Savior. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, would be sacrificed and through his suffering, all mankind would be able to become clean and pure again. The Savior lived in a time of wickedness and vengeance. He was pure and perfect, but was slain by the world in which he lived. We all need to come to the point where we can find faith and hope through the Savior, just as Enoch did during this revelation.

48 And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?
49 And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah?
50 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods.
51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;
52 And he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations, while the earth should stand;
53 And the Lord said: Blessed is he through whose seed Messiah shall come; for he saith—I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy.

This is a reminder here, that the earth has a spirit just as we have spirits. We learn from the description of the creation found earlier in Moses, that all things were created spiritually before they were created physically, and the earth is one of the things which was created by God. The earth was cleansed when the floods came, and was made to suffer in a way, because of the wickedness of men. The the earth asked when it would no longer be made to have wickedness upon it. I think this is in reference to the eventual sanctification of the earth when it will receive its paradisiacal glory. Enoch was so touched by what he heard from the earth, that he pleaded with the Lord for it. The Lord had compassion for the earth, and so He made a covenant with Enoch that after the floods of Noah, the earth would never again experience the floods that would cover the earth.

54 And it came to pass that Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying: When the Son of Man cometh in the flesh, shall the earth rest? I pray thee, show me these things.
55 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men;
56 And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory;
57 And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.
58 And again Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the earth rest?
59 And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth.

I think it is amazing that Enoch had the type of relationship with God, that he could ask in such a way as to say “I know thee”. Enoch knew that he had been favored of God and that he would be blessed to be exalted through the grace of God, and therefore he knew he would given an answer to his questions. Enoch at this point was transfigured through the power of God and had the spirit of God in Him. I look forward to the day when I will have that kind of relationship with the Lord, when I will be able to ask the burning questions of my heart. Enoch had seen great suffering in this revelation and now he wanted to know when the time of the rest would come. The Lord showed him that rest would not come with the original coming of Christ. He saw that the Savior would be crucified by men, which would cause more suffering to the earth, but also great blessings for righteous spirits. Then he asked if God would again return to the earth.

60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;
61 And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

The Lord promised Enoch that he would return again in the last days. The world would again be full of wickedness and vengeance before the second coming. Darkness would cover the earth again, the the earth will suffer and shake for the wickedness of the people, but the righteous would be preserved just as was promised to Enoch. Then at that time, the restoration of the gospel would begin. This began when the Book of Mormon was brought forth again, through the prophet Joseph Smith. Then the priesthood keys were restored to the earth through angels from heaven, or through righteousness sent down from heaven. At the same time, the church of Christ was being restored upon the earth, through the many revelations that were received by Joseph Smith, from the Lord. These revelations are recorded in what we know as the Doctrine and Covenants. All these parts of the restoration, have come to bear witness of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the last days, the city of Zion, the New Jerusalem, will be built again and a temple will be built there. This will be possible because there will be those who are righteous enough to build it up. Now is a time of trial for the saints, because we are being prepared to be worthy of this great task. The ways of the world are a type of test for us, and they will separate the most devoted of the Saints of God, from the rest of the world. Truth is surely flooding the earth and the elect of the Lord are being gathered. I think it is amazing to be living in this time of restoration and truth, when so many amazing things are happening and will soon happen on the earth.

63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.
65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;
66 But before that day he saw great tribulations among the wicked; and he also saw the sea, that it was troubled, and men’s hearts failing them, looking forth with fear for the judgments of the Almighty God, which should come upon the wicked.
67 And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world; and he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption, and received a fulness of joy;
68 And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years.
69 And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.

The city of Zion, Enoch’s city, will be returned to the modern city of Zion. There will be great rejoicing because of the righteousness. The New Jerusalem will be the dwelling place of the Lord, and the earth will receive it’s rest for the millennium. Enoch saw the wickedness before the Second Coming, and the fear that the wicked will have because of the judgement. We live in a time now where we need to live righteously and learn that fear and faith cannot coexist in us. I know that in that day, only those who are truly wicked will be destroyed. All people who are trying to live good lives, will be saved and will have the opportunity then to hear and accept the gospel. This will be a time of great happiness for all people on the earth and there is nothing that should cause fear in that, unless we are truly wicked. If we fear, than we have things that we need to work on and repent for, so that we can find the faith in the Second Coming and the blessings that will follow. I am not perfect, but I am at a place in my life where the knowledge of the Coming of the Savior again, brings me so much excitement and joy. I know that the righteous will be blessed and I plan on being counted among them in that day.

Enoch was shown these things, and then went back to serve as the prophet and leader of a great and righteous people in the city of Zion. The city was on the earth for 365 years before it was received into the bosom of God. During this time, the people were taught and prepared for living a completely righteous life. It did not happen over night. I don’t think that we can expect anyone to become completely righteous that quickly, let alone an entire city. It can happen for those who follow the prophet and his council, just as those of Zion followed Enoch. Once the city was prepared, Enoch was given the power and authority to be translated along with the entire city of Zion. I am sure that Enoch had the opportunity to preach and teach many people about the things which he had learned about the plan of salvation. I am also sure that this was a time of great happiness for the people there. It gives me hope to know that one day, a new city of Zion will be able to be as righteous as the city of Zion from ancient days.

Moses Chapter 1 (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of the previous post (Moses Chapter 1 Part 1)

At this point, Moses has seen God face-to-face by the power and glory of God. He has witnessed the many creations of God and knows that he is called to do the work of God. He has also seen Satan and after being tempted by him, has commanded him to leave. The chapter continues:

24 And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son;
25 And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.
26 And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.

Moses gives us another good example here in these verses. The Lord has just helped him to have the strength to withstand temptations of the devil, and he immediately returns to prayer. Sometimes we pray for help to accomplish something, then after we are able to do it, we go on with our lives as if we were the ones who did all the work to make it happen. Our hearts should always be grateful to the Lord, especially when our prayers are answered. We show this gratitude by communicating with Him.

God tells Moses part of what his mission was to be. Moses was going to save Israel and he would command the waters by the power and authority of God.

27 And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.
28 And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
29 And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
30 And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
32 And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

Moses was then shown all of the earth, all the people on the earth, and every land on the earth. Then, Moses was again transfigured and spoke directly with the Lord. He learned from God that all these things were created by God, through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who did all these things by the power of God. The answer to the ultimate question of why are we here, is answered by the Lord. We are here for the wise purposes of God. We are here to live His plan and to do His will.

Moses was taught here that all people on the earth came from the first man and father on the earth, who was Adam. He was also taught that this earth is one world of many that God has created. There are so many that we cannot number them or we cannot understand the number with our mortal minds, but God who has created them, knows each and every one. It is hard to even grasp this idea, that there are worlds without number, and that God not only knows each world, but also every soul that has ever lived on all of those worlds. I can hardly even imagine the experience of seeing every soul upon this earth. I am sure that this revelation changed Moses and prepared him for what was to come.

36 And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.
37 And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Moses had the desire to know more about the things which he had witnesses. God told him that His purpose is to allow man the blessings of immortality and eternal life. His work does not end with the passing of the earth that we know, but continues on for eternity. In the book of Genesis, we are given a finite “beginning”, which was when the earth was created. Genisis 1:1 reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The truth is that this is only an explanation that works for the understanding of man, because in truth there is no beginning to all things. I think that many read this and feel that nothing existed before this “beginning”. Moses was taught here that there have been many worlds before ours and many will come after it. This gives me a greater sense of humility. I am one in an vast number of people on this earth, among a vast number of worlds, across the span of time that I cannot understand because it is eternal. And even with all that, the work of God Himself, is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life for me.

Our immortality has already been prepared for us, through the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He has made it possible for us to have power over death and be resurrected. All mankind will have this opportunity, no matter how we lived our lives. Our eternal life is based upon the things we do in this life. John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” We will have eternal life, which is a life like that of God, if we choose to do those things that will bring us closer to Christ.

40 And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak.
41 And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe.
42 (These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.)

These words were truly left out of the common scriptures known to man. Moses went on to teach what he learned, which make up the rest of this book of scripture. In fulfillment of these words, the Lord raised up another prophet, Joseph Smith. Through his work, the translation of these things was done and now we have the teachings of Moses again, which we are here for those who are willing to believe them.

Official Declaration 2

1978 was a very special year for the modern saints in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most members I talk to, who were old enough to remember this time, often share the memories of exactly where they were and how they felt when this was announced to the church. The declaration reads:

To Whom It May Concern:

On 30 September 1978, at the 148th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the following was presented by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church:

In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple, he presented it to his counselors, who accepted it and approved it. It was then presented to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who unanimously approved it, and was subsequently presented to all other General Authorities, who likewise approved it unanimously.

President Kimball has asked that I now read this letter:

June 8, 1978

To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:

Dear Brethren:

As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.

Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God’s eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.

We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.

Sincerely yours,

Spencer W. Kimball
N. Eldon Tanner
Marion G. Romney
The First Presidency

Recognizing Spencer W. Kimball as the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is proposed that we as a constituent assembly accept this revelation as the word and will of the Lord. All in favor please signify by raising your right hand. Any opposed by the same sign.

The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous in the affirmative.

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 30, 1978.

I was interested in a greater understanding as to why the priesthood was to be withheld from those who came from this lineage. Here are the scriptures which lead me to my understanding of this topic. In Genisis 4 we read about Cain and Able.

1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, was cursed for his wickedness and was marked so that others would know him and would not kill him. This mark was passed through the lineage. In Moses 7:22 we read, “And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.” Adam was also the father of Seth, who son was Enos, who was the father of Cainan, who was the father of Mahalaleel, who was the father of Jared, who was the father of Enoch. Then, Enoch had a son named Methuselah, who was the father of Lamech, who had a son named Noah (see Genesis 5). Noah then had a son named Ham (Genesis 5:32).

In Genesis 7:7 we read, “And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” Ham and his wife, went into the ark and were saved from the floods. Ham’s wife was a woman named Egyptus. In Abraham 1:21-27 we read the following:

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.
22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.
23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;
24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.
27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry; (emphasis added)

Egyptus, the wife of Ham, was of the lineage of Cain. (See Early Family of the Earth, Ensign March 1973.) Therefore her descendants and those of Ham, were marked with that same curse which was given to Cain. They had a daughter named Egyptus who went to the land of Egypt, which had been cursed and forbidden before the flood. She settled there in Egypt and her descendants remained marked. From Ham down to the generations of the 1970’s, all those who followed this lineage were marked and were not able to hold the priesthood because of the curse on Cain.

June 1, 1978, was the day when the Lord revealed that this would no longer be the case, and that all worthy men in the church, would be able to receive the priesthood and all the blessings that come with it. I think that only the Lord knows why we had to wait so many thousands of years after cain, for this to happen, but the important thing is that it did. It was a huge milestone in the full restoration of the gospel to the earth. An interesting thing that I learned from additional study, is that the revelation came first to the prophet and then consequently each of the brethren who was present to vote on it, meaning the counselors and members of the twelve apostles who were there, received the revelation as well. I am sure that this was an incredible experience and made it undeniable to those who were there. I am so happy that all the children of God can experience all the blessings of the gospel, because of the priesthood and this revelation which extended its power and authority.

D&C Section 133 (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of the previous post on this section (D&C Section 133 Part 1).

The previous post of the section included information about the second coming of the Savior, preparing ourselves for that day, and teaching the gospel to the world. This section represents the main points of the entire Doctrine and Covenants, and serves as a kind of appendix for this book of scripture. The section continues:

36 And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth.
37 And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
38 And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come;
39 And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters—
40 Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.

The gospel has been restored and the saints have been called to bring the gospel to the world. The restoration came through the prophet, Joseph Smith, and by the authority of God, which is the priesthood. There have been many scriptures and prophets who have said that the gospel would go to all the world. It is the duty of the church to help others to prepare for the coming of the Lord, and for the judgement of all.

41 And it shall be answered upon their heads; for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil.
42 O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—
43 When thou doest terrible things, things they look not for;
44 Yea, when thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at thy presence, thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth thee in thy ways.
45 For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.
46 And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
49 And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
50 And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;
51 And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.

For the wicked, the coming of the Lord will be destruction and fire. Those who are not prepared, will be found fearful in that day, because they will realize the truth. Those who are prepared will not be among those who question who He is, because they will know Him. The glory of the Lord will be greater than any light we have ever known. He will be dressed in a red garment, because he alone suffered the atonement and I think that his clothing will be a reminder of the suffering he went through for us, especially for those who will be destroyed for their wickedness. The judgement He will bring with Him, will crush those who have lived a wicked life, like the grapes are crushed in a wine-press. It will not be good for anyone who is among the wicked.

52 And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.
53 In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old;
54 Yea, and Enoch also, and they who were with him; the prophets who were before him; and Noah also, and they who were before him; and Moses also, and they who were before him;
55 And from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to John, who were with Christ in his resurrection, and the holy apostles, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall be in the presence of the Lamb.
56 And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.

At this point of time, it will be the “year of my redeemed”. Like we consider time as before Christ and after his death, I think that we will start to record time in this sense. Meaning that fifty years later, people will say that it is 50 years of the redeemed Lord. The Savior will be our ruler and all will have the opportunity to recognize his perfect goodness. All those who have served faithfully as his prophets and apostles, since the beginning of the Earth, will bear witness again of Him. At this point, the resurrection of the saints will also occur, and those righteous saints will stand with the Savior and live again to do His work. It is my understanding that some of the most faithful have already been resurrected, such as John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, who passed on the priesthood authorities to Joseph Smith. I can imagine, in only a small part, the glorious time that this will be for all there.

57 And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity—
58 To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord’s errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight.
59 And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit.
60 And for this cause these commandments were given; they were commanded to be kept from the world in the day that they were given, but now are to go forth unto all flesh—
61 And this according to the mind and will of the Lord, who ruleth over all flesh.
62 And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord shall be given eternal life.
63 And upon them that hearken not to the voice of the Lord shall be fulfilled that which was written by the prophet Moses, that they should be cut off from among the people.
64 And also that which was written by the prophet Malachi: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
65 Wherefore, this shall be the answer of the Lord unto them:
66 In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out.
67 When I called again there was none of you to answer; yet my arm was not shortened at all that I could not redeem, neither my power to deliver.
68 Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink, and die for thirst.
69 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.
70 And this shall ye have of my hand—ye shall lie down in sorrow.
71 Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you; for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not.
72 Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness.
73 These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
74 Behold the Lord your God hath spoken it. Amen.

The gospel will continue to go to the righteous. I love the words here, that the weak will confound the wise. God will use those who are simple and weak in the eyes of the world, to teach those who are seen as great. The Saints will be saved, but those who have not and will not accept it, will be cast into outer darkness. Those gospel and how we live it, can either save us or destroy us.

My understanding is that ultimately all things will be done in fairness. Not the kind of fairness that the world sees today. Everyone will not receive the same reward, but they will receive the same judgement for their works. Because God is just, we all will receive exactly what we deserve. Those who wanted to ignore the spirit and the testimony of the prophets, choosing to live wicked lives, will be cast into outer darkness. Their reward of glory will be something other then that of the celestial kingdom, because they refused to recognize and obey the laws of God and His witnesses.

This section, really does review the whole of the Doctrine and Covenants. The reason for all of the sections that cover bits of the restoration and callings to serve, is to further prepare the saints for the coming of the Savior. I am so grateful for the scriptures. I am filled with happiness to know that we have modern revelation from God and that He still calls holy prophets to lead and guide us today.

D&C Section 110

In April of 1836, the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery received this vision after the saints had partaken of the sacrament and heard preaching from the brethren of the church. They were in the temple, where church meetings were held at the time, and I think that the rest of the saints had left for the day at this time. Joseph and Oliver knelt in prayer and afterwards this was what they both witnessed.

1 The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.
2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
3 His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
4 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
6 Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.
7 For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.
8 Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.
9 Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.
10 And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. Even so. Amen.

The Lord appeared to the prophet and Oliver Cowdery in the temple. This description of the Savior, is much like the previous descriptions that were given by the prophets, such as the description found in the first vision (See Joseph Smith-History), and the description found in Revelations (See Revelation 1). I think that this is the closest description that we as mortals could understand, but it probably comes no where near the actual brilliance of the Lord. I find that when I read these things, I become greatly excited within me for the day when I will be able to be a witness of Him in the flesh.

The prophet and Oliver were blessed with forgiveness for their sins. The Lord accepted the temple that the saints had built and dedicated to Him. I know that the reason the temple was accepted, was because it was done just as the Lord has required. Not only was it built to His design and for his purposes, but the saints had proven that they would sacrifice all that they had for it and would put it as their first priority over all other things. I wonder if I would be that strong and truly sacrifice the things that I have come to believe I need, even when I probably don’t need them.

Oliver and Joseph, were told that He, the Lord, would show himself to those who served in the temple, if they kept the temple holy with their righteousness and their works. The Kirtland temple, was just the beginning of the many temples that have now been built all over the world. With the building of the temple, many people have received the blessings of endowments from the Lord and have made sacred covenants as well. Because of the building of the Kirtland temple, the ordinances of God were revealed to men, and we are able to be blessed by them today.

11 After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.

Moses and Elias came to them, and restored the keys of the gathering of Israel, and the gospel of Abraham. This is the day, when the gathering officially began, because the proper authority of God had been restored to the earth once more. I believe that the day will come, when all of the tribes of Israel, will be gathered once more. It really is such an exciting era of man to live, in which all things are being restored to their proper place and eventually the second coming of the Savior will happen. Elias is what one is called who is sent by God to restore or prepare (see Elias in the Bible Dictionary). According to the manual I am studying, this Elias is Gabriel, also known as Noah. This is not told in the Bible Dictionary, but from a quote by President Joseph Feilding Smith. The gospel of Abraham that was restored, was the blessings and promises that were given to Abraham, that his seed should continue. The footnote references the Abrahamic Covenant, which also talks about an eternal increase, promised lands, and eternal inheritances. If we are faithful, the blessings that were promised to Abraham, can be ours. This is through the power of the priesthood and the keys that were restored on that day in the Kirtland temple.

13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 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—
15 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—
16 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.

Elijah appeared to them and restored keys to the prophet and Oliver. In the footnotes, it says that the keys were those of the sealing power. From this point on, saints could be sealed to their loved ones for eternity. With these keys, all people who have ever lived have the opportunity to receive all the ordinances and covenants, including being sealed to their loved ones. This happens through the proxy work that is done for the dead, within the temples. It is the responsibility of worthy saints, who are able to do service in the temple, to do this work. It is a great work, and will continue through the time of the Millennium. The restoration of these keys was prophesied to happen close to happen before the second coming (see Malchi 4:5). In this vision in 1836, Elijah said that the second coming, which is the great and dreadful day of the Lord, is “at the doors”. This should teach us the urgency of the work and the importance of our own preparation.

This vision was such an important part of the restoration of the gospel. The blessings that we can have because of the priesthood keys which were restored, are absolutely amazing. I know that we cannot even begin to understand the value of these things because we are not currently in the eternities, but I believe that they are great. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith. I am so glad that he was worthy enough to receive these things for us. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven, who wants all of His children to have the opportunity to live with Him again some day. I have hope in this gospel truth and I am so excited to be a part of this gospel and this great work.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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