Posts Tagged 'Translation'

Deuteronomy Chapter 34

Moses was the prophet who delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, through the power and direction of the Lord. He then led the people by the power of the Lord, to Mount Sinai, where he received revelation and taught the people the laws of God. With the priesthood and continued revelation, he led them for the forty years they wandered in the wilderness, before arriving near the promised land. He led their armies into battles, where they were victorious because the Lord was on their side. He taught as the Lord commanded and the people made precious and sacred covenants with the Lord. Moses had not been entirely perfect through his life, and because of a choice he made during his leadership, he was to be taken from the earth before he could enter the promised land. The Lord called Moses to go up into the mountain to die, just as his brother Aaron had previously. This chapter finishes the story of Moses. It begins:

1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,
2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,
3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Moses went into the mount and saw the land as he had been promised by the Lord.

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

Moses was taken by the Lord. In Alma 45 we read the following:

18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.

Here we learn that the description of Moses being buried (by the Lord), means that he was taken up by the spirit, which would explain why no one would know where he was buried. Being taken from this world by the spirit, means that Moses was translated and did not suffer through death as most men do (see 3 Nephi 28:1-9, 36-40 for information on translation). In the Bible Dictionary under “Moses”, it teaches that in order to do part of the mission he had on earth after his life, but before the resurrection began, it was necessary for him to be a translated being with a body and not a spirit awaiting the resurrection.

7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Moses did not die of “old-age”, as many do today. He lived to be 120 years old, but is described in such a way to say that he was not a man who was going blind or becoming unable to perform his duties. It causes me to ponder on the scriptures that teach us that men will live to the fullness of their age during the millennium, and then they will be changed to their next state as translated beings are. I am sure it is a great blessing to experience that mighty change without going through the pains and struggles of physical death.

8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

The Israelites mourned over Moses for thirty days, while they remained in the land across the Jordan River from Jericho. I can only imagine the heartache felt when Moses left them, because he had done so much for his people.

9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Joshua, who had been called and set apart, to be the next prophet and leader of the people, was made full of the spirit of wisdom. I think this is another way of saying that the mantle of his calling, rested upon him now that Moses had gone. The Israelites knew he was to lead them, and because the Lord had commanded them through the words of Moses, they hearkened to Joshua and sustained him as their leader.

10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Moses was a prophet of the higher priesthood, who led with great authority and power from the Lord. When he was taken, this priesthood was also taken from the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:25 we read, “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;”. The experiences that the Israelites had with him as their leader, would stand as examples for the rest of time. He was Israel’s greatest prophet. They would continue to focus on him and his teachings as long as they were a nation. This was necessary in order to establish the word of the Lord among the people. Even if they would not always follow the commandments and would be scattered later as had been promised, they had been established as the people of the Lord, who had the law of Moses, which was the law of the living God. All the earth would continue to be blessed by the Israelites because of the work that Moses did. Moses was one of few men, who ever lived and knew the Lord as personally as he did, even seeing Him face to face. He was more faithful and obedient than most men who have ever lived, which is why he was able to do so many great and marvelous things for the people of his time.

I am grateful for the prophet Moses and for the scriptures which teach me of his life and mission for the Lord. I know that his righteousness and leadership was necessary for us to have the gospel as we do today. His mission did not end with his being taken from the Israelites, but has continued with the need for restoration of keys of the priesthood throughout time. I have enjoyed the study of his life and law, which has strengthened my testimony and helped me gain a greater understanding of the gospel which I live today. I am also grateful for the love of God, to allow us to have living prophets today. I know that these prophets are called for our time and to help us find our way back Home.

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The Eighth Article of Faith

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

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

The Bible is an inspired collection of writings including revelations from God. We believe, however, that some parts of the Bible have been lost in translation throughout time. This is due to the errors of man and also to the persuasions of Satan to remove certain truths from the record. We do believe that the majority of it has been translated correctly and that it is a true testimony of Jesus Christ. It is made understandable and clear through the record found in the Book of Mormon. We believe that the Book of Mormon is another testament of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that it also includes many of the revelations of God to man, but it is from the perspective of those who lived on the American continent. It was translated by the power of God and is therefore true and correct in its current state. Together, these records will teach us all what we now need to know regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our own personal responsibility to study the scriptures and to seek for answers and guidance in our own lives through their teachings. I am grateful for both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I believe there is eternal truth to be found if we take the time to study them and apply their teachings to our lives.

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 4)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Joseph Smith-History part 3).

At this point in the history of Joseph Smith, he has witnessed the first vision, experienced a lot of persecution, had several visits from the Angel Moroni regarding the plates of Gold, had the location of the plates revealed and been prepared to be a prophet, seer and revelator in the latter-days. This record continues:

55 As my father’s worldly circumstances were very limited, we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring out by day’s work and otherwise, as we could get opportunity. Sometimes we were at home, and sometimes abroad, and by continuous labor were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance.
56 In the year 1823 my father’s family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother, Alvin. In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal, who lived in Chenango county, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna county, State of Pennsylvania; and had, previous to my hiring to him, been digging, in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him, he took me, with the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month, without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money-digger.
57 During the time that I was thus employed, I was put to board with a Mr. Isaac Hale, of that place; it was there I first saw my wife (his daughter), Emma Hale. On the 18th of January, 1827, we were married, while I was yet employed in the service of Mr. Stoal.
58 Owing to my continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and my wife’s father’s family were very much opposed to our being married. I was, therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere; so we went and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill, in South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. Immediately after my marriage, I left Mr. Stoal’s, and went to my father’s, and farmed with him that season.

During the four years in which he was being prepared to receive the gold plates, he continued to work for his family. Joseph seems to have been a good worker, and a good example of dedication and great work ethic to those who would later join the church. It is my understanding that Alvin, who died just months after the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph for the first time, was very close and beloved to Joseph and that loosing him was very difficult. This love and sadness at his death, would prove to be a great testimony builder when eventually the revelation that work could be done for those who had already died without the opportunity to have the blessings of priesthood ordinances. Alvin was a great example to Joseph, and he helped to keep Joseph committed to his calling. It would be good for all of us to try to be that kind of example in the lives of our family members, both by the things we teach others and the things we do.

Joseph met Emma and about 2 years later, they were married. This was in the same year that he would receive the plates. I look up to Emma for her courage in the face of difficulty. Even before they were married, I am sure that the persecution placed on Joseph became something that she had to deal with as well. I imagine that it was really difficult at times and she must have been a strong woman to be able to stick with him through it all. She lost the approval of her family when she chose to be married to Joseph and that is something that can be extremely difficult to deal with. She is a great example to me of one who is supportive of the priesthood and callings even when it meant extreme trials and heartache at times.

59 At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
60 I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.

Joseph was allowed to have the plates for translation, just as he had been promised. With his calling to translate the plates, he was also given the duty to keep them safe no matter what. Joseph must have been a very trustworthy man, with only the best of intentions in his heart. This was such an enormous responsibility that was given to the prophet. Because of this, Satan worked extremely hard to get men to try every way possible to get the plates from him. His persecution turned into physical violence against him, raids against his family home and more. Joseph recognized the hand of God in keeping them safe until he was able to return them to Moroni. I am sure there was a heavy weight until that day, when he no longer had to protect the plates from the hands of wicked men.

61 The excitement, however, still continued, and rumor with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating falsehoods about my father’s family, and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them, it would fill up volumes. The persecution, however, became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester, and going with my wife to Susquehanna county, in the State of Pennsylvania. While preparing to start—being very poor, and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise—in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us on our journey. Mr. Harris was a resident of Palmyra township, Wayne county, in the State of New York, and a farmer of respectability.
62 By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania; and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father, in the month of December, and the February following.

Because of the help of others, Joseph was able to remove himself from the intense persecution at his family home. He and his wife moved to Pennsylvania, where her family lived, because Martin Harris gave them the money to do so. Once in Pennsylvania, Joseph was able to work on the translation of the Book of Mormon by the power of God with the use of the Urim and Thummim. He had translated several characters in the first few months of working on this. It was at this time, that Martin, who had become a close friend to Joseph and acted as his scribe, asked the prophet to let him show some of the translated pages to others. After asking the Lord twice with the response that he was not to do this, the prophet asked again and was told that he could let Martin take the pages.

63 Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:
64 “I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
65 “He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”

Martin had hoped to receive the proof from wise men, so that others would believe the translation was true. The problem with this, is that it assumes that men can gain a full understanding of a spiritual thing from men. Martin Harris did not understand at this point, that the only way for people to believe the translations were true, would be by the power of the spirit, not by the word of man. This event of talking with a learned man who could not read a sealed book, was fulfillment of scripture. In Isaiah 29:11 it says, “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed”.

While away from Joseph, Martin lost the translated pages to the hands of wicked men. Martin was removed from his calling as the scribe for Joseph. This time became a trial of faith and obedience for Joseph, who had to sincerely repent for what he had done before he could begin translating again. We should never trust in the word of men over the promises that are given to us by God. This lesson teaches us that the Lord will allow us to have the things we truly desire, and if those desires are not the best He will give us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. This learning is meant to refine us into more obedient and faithful followers of Christ. I am grateful for the lessons that I have been able to learn from my own mistakes. I recognize that the pain that goes along with those lessons is necessary for our growth and that I will probably go through a lot more of these lessons throughout the rest of my life.

Joseph Smith-Matthew (Part 1)

I learned in my study of the Doctrine and Covenants, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, was given the commandment to translate parts of the bible. This is because, there are parts of the modern-day Bible which were lost through the work of men. The King James version of the Bible is only partially translated correctly. If we are to learn the true gospel of Christ from these scriptures, than it was necessary for a translation to be done by the power of God, not the hands of men. In Doctrine and Covenants 45, the Lord revealed things about the second coming, but then Joseph Smith received the revelation to translate in order to learn more. Doctrine and Covenants 45:60-62 says the following:

60 And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;
61 Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
62 For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;

Joseph Smith knew that he would be given the opportunity to translate more of the scriptures by the power of God, and this revelation told him he was now able to translate the New Testament. This portion of the Pearl of Great Price, is specifically the translation of Matthew 23:39 through 24:51. I have not started my study of the New Testament yet, but I look forward to it in the future.

At this point in Matthew, the Lord, Jesus Christ has been speaking to the multitude and his disciples, and chastising the scribes and pharisees for their hypocrisy. Then he goes into explaining what the future of Jerusalem will be. Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:1 reads:

1 For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God. (emphasis on changes from the KJV – King James Version)

The Savior told the people that he was the Messiah, who the prophets had written about. He said that he would come again as a resurrected and glorified being, or in other words, he taught that there would be a second coming. When the Savior comes again, their will be angels with Him. I hope that if I am not on the earth when this amazing event occurs, that I will be among those righteous saints who have died and have the privilege of returning with the Lord. I believe that this is true and I look forward to this great time with so much hope and anticipation.

2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.
3 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. (emphasis on changes from the KJV)

The Savior had previously told his disciples that the temple would be thrown down. He questions why they can not understand what he has said. I think that he says this because they have witnessed his great miracles, but they weren’t still weren’t believing all of his words. The Savior, as the master teacher, begins to teach them again. He told them that the temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed completely. I can understand why this may have seemed a difficult thing for them to understand, because the temple was built so strong that the Jews believed it would never fall. It is my understanding that when it did eventually fall, it took a long time and a great deal of effort for the Romans to destroy it. I am blessed to have the ability to believe on the testimony of others when I am living worthy of the spirit, so when the prophets and church leaders tell us something that will happen, I do not have a need to question it. I imagine, however, that there are a lot of other righteous people, who want to live the gospel fully, but may have a difficult time believing the things that we have been told will happen before the second coming. This is not an easy thing for everyone and I know that we will be tested with how prepared we are when the time comes. I think that those who are obedient even when they do not understand, will have great blessings for their faithfulness.

4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?
5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
6 For many shall come in my name, saying—I am Christ—and shall deceive many;
7 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake;
8 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another;
9 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;
10 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold;
11 But he that remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.

Now his disciples want to know when the destruction of Jerusalem will occur. They also wanted to know what the signs of the second coming would be. The Lord taught them that there would be many people who would try to lead the righteous astray. There would be false prophets and those pretending to be Christ. He taught them that they would not have it easy, because of their choice to follow Christ. I believe that there were several false prophets and such, who helped to bring sorrow and death to the disciples of Christ.

Part of the signs of His coming, which is seems were the same signs of the destruction of Jerusalem, will be the continual growth of wickedness in the world. More people will take offenses easily, more of the righteous will be afflicted for their choices and beliefs, more people will betray, hate, and deceive others, and so on. Those who take offense are more likely those who know the truth, but use something as an excuse to fall away from the gospel and the church. The promise the Lord gives is that those who are faithful and strong in the gospel, will be saved.

12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.
13 Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains;
14 Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house;
15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;
16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days;
17 Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;
18 For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of their kingdom until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel.
19 All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them.
20 And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.
21 Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;
22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
23 Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet.

The Lord taught them that in the day of destruction, those who were righteous and believed His words, should flee to safety without looking back. If they waited too long, such as into the winter or on the Sabbath, which is the day of rest, they would suffer for their choice. According to my study, the faithful saints did flee and were saved from the destruction. It is true that this was only an early portion of the suffering of the Jews. Since then, many Jews have been persecuted, afflicted, and killed by others.

The Lord teaches that after the destruction of Jerusalem, more wicked people would come claiming to be Christ and the saints are not to believe them. There are people today who claim to be the Savior, and we must be worthy of the spirit and listen to the prophets, to have help in discerning that they are not true. The closer we get to the second coming, the harder it will be for the righteous to not be deceived if their guard is down. This teaching is for our sake. Those of us who have made sacred covenants with God, must be constantly on guard. The wickedness of Satan and his followers can be very tempting and alluring to even the best of us. I am grateful to have the teachings of the Savior in His gospel, which can help to keep us safe.

What is the Book of Abraham?

In short, the Book of Abraham is a group of translations done by the prophet Joseph Smith, during the early days of the church. He had come in possession of ancient Egyptian papyrus in 1835 through a purchase by the members of the church. One of the records was about father Abraham during his time in Egypt. Abraham is a patriarch of the Bible. We read about him starting in Genisis. He is the source of really great scripture stories such as the sacrifice of his son Isaac, and from where the Abrahamic Covenant came. Through his seed came the tribes of Israel as well.

I believe that these things are true. I have not seen any physical proof of this, but I feel in my heart that the Book of Abraham was an inspired translation of an ancient record. I believe that they were translated by a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, and that they have been included in our standard works (scriptures) for our learning and benefit. I look forward to a deeper study of these things and to applying the teachings to my own life.

Moses Chapter 7

At this point in the scriptures, the Lord has revealed himself to Enoch and has taught him about the plan of salvation and all things that will happen for men on the earth. Enoch has been called to be a prophet and a seer, and to call the people to repentance. He has gone to the people and reminded them of the things which Adam had taught about the gospel.

1 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his speech, saying: Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.
2 And from that time forth Enoch began to prophesy, saying unto the people, that: As I was journeying, and stood upon the place Mahujah, and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying—Turn ye, and get ye upon the mount Simeon.
3 And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory;
4 And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.
5 And it came to pass that I beheld in the valley of Shum, and lo, a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum.
6 And again the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents.
7 And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying: Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;
8 For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.
9 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked, and I beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof;
10 And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.
11 And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son.
12 And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;
13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.
14 There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea.
15 And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God;
16 And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.

Enoch bears testimony of the experience he had of talking with the Lord face-to-face. He had gone to pray to God, when he was instructed to go Mount Simeon. When he did this, he was blessed to be transfigured through the glory of God. Because he was transfigured, he was able to witness things that cannot be seen by mortals. At this point, he saw the Lord and was shown many marvelous things.

It seems to me that whenever there is a manifestation of this type, where one is transfigured and shown the generations of the world, they are asked to tell what they see. We find this pattern throughout the scriptures. I think that it is important to notice this because it is how we learn and grow more. When we have a spiritual experience, it is better for us to share what we learn from it, then to be told what we should learn. If someone else tells us what we should be getting out of it, we do not grow as much as we can. I have noticed in my own life, that I am touched more by the spirit when I share what I learn and believe, rather than hearing the words of another.

Enoch was commanded to preach to the people he saw. He was to tell them to repent and then give them the opportunity to be baptized. Enoch did as he was commanded, and called the people to repentance. He baptized the people and began to lead the children of God. Enoch was blessed with great power. I believe that this was the greatness of the power of the priesthood which he held, and the faith which he had. With his priesthood, he changed rivers, shook the earth, and caused mountains to move. Enoch and the people of God were faithful and righteous, and they were greatly blessed for it.

17 The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.
18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
19 And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.

Zion was established with the righteous people of God, because they were unified in heart and mind. I have experienced small times of unity in my life and these times have been the most peaceful and loving times I have known. If we could live in a way that was truly unified in the ways that God would have us live, we would be able to be have the same blessings as the city of Zion did in the time of Enoch.

20 And it came to pass that Enoch talked with the Lord; and he said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch: Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.
21 And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever.

As I read this, I was thinking about how it is that we have this account of what happened to the prophet Enoch. We have this account, because Moses, like Enoch, was shown and taught by the Lord. Even further, this account is available to us now, because Joseph Smith was given the power to translate the records of Moses. It is because of great, righteous leaders, that we have records of so many amazing things that have happened throughout the history of the world. I believe that these things are true. I am glad that the Lord has commanded that records should be kept, because it would be so much harder without the teachings found in the scriptures.

Enoch was blessed to see that his people would be brought up to heaven. The people of Zion were eventually going to be translated because of their righteousness. In the study guide, it teaches that this did not mean they would be immediately with God. The people of Enoch lived before Christ, so at this point, no one had been resurrected. Instead, the people of Enoch would be able to live out their lives as translated beings. When it became their time to die, they would experience an immediate change and would be spirits ready for their mission after this life. These spirits would still have to wait for the resurrection and admittance back into Heavenly Father’s presence.

22 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.
23 And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him;
24 And there came generation upon generation; and Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man; and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.
25 And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying: Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth.
26 And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.

Enoch saw the time of the world after the city of Enoch was taken. He witnessed Satan’s works. This imagery of Satan is so dark and awful. Satan uses the chains of sin to bind us to his own will. Light and darkness do not take up the same space. When the darkness of sin is in our lives, it covers us and blocks out the light of Christ. I can imagine Satan and his angels rejoicing over their power over us. It takes very little effort for us to allow darkness to take over, but all our energies must be used in order to overcome the darkness of sin. Thankfully, their are angels of God in our midst, with more power than Satan and his angels could ever hope to have.

27 And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

On the opposite side of the spectrum from the darkness of Satan and his wicked angels, we have God and the angels of heaven. The imagery in these verses is full of compassion and love. God, who is the creator of all that we know and is eternally holy, would rejoice over each of us receiving the Holy Ghost. God, the greatest of us all, weeps for each of us who remains in darkness because of wickedness. Enoch, seeing this, questions why God weeps for us. The footnote for the word weep in verse 29, brings up the amount of compassion the Lord has for us because he has a complete understanding of our experiences. When we allow ourselves to suffer in sin, the Lord understands and weeps for what we put ourselves through. I think that part of what is meant when the Lord says that if we repent, He will remember our sins no more, is that when we allow Him to take those sins from us, he will no longer feel the need to weep for the sadness of our wickedness and mistakes. Instead, he will rejoice with us because of our righteousness. I think if we think more personally about how our actions affect God, we will live in a way that would keep Him from weeping for us.

32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
34 And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.

Agency is a gift that we all have been given by God. God has also given his commandments to mankind and we are expected to follow them. With our agency, we choose if we will be obedient or not. The greatest consequence of wicked disobedience is that the wrath of God will come upon us. Those who were being so wicked in this time that Enoch experienced these things, were going to experience the floods from the righteous anger of God. (These floods came in the time of Noah and the ark.)

35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?
38 But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.
39 And that which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment;
40 Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.
41 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.
42 And Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation;
43 Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up.
44 And as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens: I will refuse to be comforted; but the Lord said unto Enoch: Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look.

God knows us all, and he explained to Enoch that they people of his day were the most wicked so far on the earth. However, he says their sins would be upon their fathers’ heads. I think this means that those who were extremely wicked at this time, had been taught in the ways of wickedness by their fathers or their ancestors. The blame of their wickedness would therefore fall upon those who had been taught what was right and made the choice to do wickedness. All of them who are wicked would suffer greatly and give the heavens a reason weep or pity them for their sufferings. God would place all those who would be destroyed by the floods, into spirit prison, where they would await the sufferings of the Savior. If at the time of His resurrection, they would hear the gospel as preached my messengers of Christ, and then repent and choose to worship God instead of Satan, they would be forgiven. If not, they would continue to suffer in torment in spirit prison, where they would be the servants of Satan.

Enoch was shown the great wickedness of the people and he felt great compassion for them. In a very tiny way, I understand this feeling. When I had a stewardship with the women of my old ward, or congregation at church, I knew of choices that they were making that would surely lead them away from the gospel of Christ. I found myself pleading with the Lord for these women and feeling overwhelming feelings of compassion and concern, which always caused me to weep for them. This is a great lesson in finding the love of Christ within myself and I hope that I will not forget it.

Enoch was also shown how Noah and his family were physically saved from the floods because of their righteousness. The rest of the world was destroyed by the floods, which made Enoch extremely sad. I cannot even imagine witnessing that event and the sorrow which would accompany that experience. I think any caring person would feel like there must have been something else they could have done to prevent all those people from being destroyed. When Enoch had seen so much that he felt he could never get over the experience, the Lord told him to be glad and see what else would happen.

No matter what sadness we have in this life, over the decisions of others and how they choose to live in this life, we need to turn to God and find the happiness. He has prepared the way for all of us to find comfort and to have a glad heart, if we are willing to follow Him. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am glad that I know that if I am trying my best to live according to God’s commandments, even though I make mistakes and have to repent often, I will be able to have eternal happiness and joy.

This section will be continued.

What is the Book of Moses?

As background to the Book of Moses, I know that this book was translated by the prophet, Joseph Smith, as he was translating the bible. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have the King James version of the Bible as part of my scriptures. I believe that the Bible is true, but its translations over the years have not been kept entirely in its purity, or rather some things were left out or removed. This was revealed to Joseph Smith and he was instructed to re-translate the Bible so that, through the direct and divine revelation, we would have the true translations. This translation did not require re-writing the Bible completely, because much of what was there was true, but it did revise certain parts. The Book of Moses only covers the revisions or additions for Genesis 1 through 6:13. This portion has been given to us to add upon our understanding of those things that occurred at the beginning of time as we know it.

I believe that this is inspired translation of the Bible, revealed through a true prophet of God. I hope to be able to gain an even deeper understanding of my purpose and where I came from, through the study of this book.

The Pearl of Great Price – Introduction

I am so glad to be back at this. The past few weeks have been a bit hectic with our move out of state. I really enjoyed reading some great things about specific topics of the Doctrine and Covenants, but I really missed posting. I think I am officially back now.

I have decided to go ahead and move on to The Pearl of Great Price. In the introduction we learn that the things found in this book of scripture, were originally printed material (revelations and writings) that were made available for distributing throughout the church. They were so widely used and referenced that they eventually became part of the Latter-day Saint standard works (scriptures). The things that are currently included are the books of Moses and Abraham, pictures from Abraham and their explanations known as facsimiles, the Joseph Smith Translations of parts of the book of Matthew, Joseph Smith History, and the Articles of Faith.

The title page says that this book is “A Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Furthermore, the introduction gives more detail on what each of the books of the Pearl of Great Price are. As a preface, we learn from the study of the Doctrine and Covenants, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, had been translating a portion of the Bible. In the book of Moses, found in the Pearl of Great Price, some of the translations from the book of Genesis are included. Then there is the translation of the book of Matthew, which is also included. The book of Abraham is translation from an Egyptian papyri, or a ancient record from the patriarch Abraham. Joseph Smith History is a record of the marvelous experiences of the prophet, including the first vision, where he saw God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Finally, the Articles of Faith, are included, which are writings of our faith which were written by Joseph Smith.

The great thing about this book of scripture, is that it is modern revelations which clarify scriptures that may otherwise be confusing and misinterpreted. It further unifies the understandings of the saints of God. It tells of the beginning of the restoration of the gospel to the earth, and it shows us how we can gain more personal revelations. Matthew 13:45-46 tells a parable, which gives greater meaning as to why this title is fitting.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (emphasis added)

These revelations are of an eternal value. We should treasure them up, just as the merchant man did. I am really looking forward to studying this small, but truly great book.

D&C Section 91

The prophet, Joseph Smith, was translating the Old Testament early in 1833, when he came to the part called the Apocrypha. The prophet wondered if he should make any revisions to this part of the bible. He prayed regarding this, and received this revelation in answer to his prayer.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;
2 There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.
3 Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.

Before reading this section, I did not really know anything about this section of the Bible. Apparently, it has been controversial over time and has often been excluded from the scriptures. It is fifteen parts of books which are not doctrinal scripture, but it seems that they are more examples of how to live. The Lord told the prophet that most of the Apocrypha was translated correctly and many things were true, but many things were not true as well, because of men. The prophet was told that it did not need to be translated.

4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;
5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.

The Lord told the prophet, that for those who read it, the spirit would teach them what was truth. There is benefit in reading them, if we already have an understanding of gospel principles. On the other hand, anyone who does not have the spirit’s discerning power as they read it, will not have any benefit.

I think that from this we learn that there are many good books that have been written. When it comes to books designed to guide a righteous life, we need to read them with the spirit of discernment. If there are things for us to be edified within the pages, the spirit will teach us of the truth and we will be benefited. It is good to always remember that only the prophets have the power and authority to speak in behalf of God on this earth. The writings of anyone else will not be scripture, but may be good companions for how to live a good and happy life.


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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