Of times and seasons

Abraham 3:4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.

Seasons are things that cycle. They cycle between life and death.

The Lord speaks to Abraham of one star being above another, or of one planet being above another (including our moon as a planet). The Lord says “It is given unto thee to know the times of reckoning, and the set time, yea, the set time of the earth upon which thou standest, and the set time of the greater light which is set to rule the day, and the set time of the lesser light which is set to rule the night.”

The Lord set “Now the set time of the lesser light is a longer time as to its reckoning than the reckoning of the time of the earth upon which thou standest. And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet who reckoning of time shall be longer still; And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time”.

What Abraham describes to us is closely related to Joseph Smith’s visions of the degrees of glory, combined with the vision Joseph Smith called “the olive leaf”. Abraham’s vision of the stars and their progression one above another is another form of Joseph Smith’s vision of the degrees of glory, for those stars are all different kingdoms, as was revealed in the vision Joseph Smith called “the olive leaf”.

Our earth will one day become a terrestrial world, and later a celestial world. It will follow in the path of the worlds and stars that stand above it until it becomes like Kolob itself is now. The number of steps it will need to take is the number of stars or planets that stand in order one above another between Earth and Kolob, for we follow in the track of those that are above us. Each of them moves in order more slow.

But what does this mean? What are these times God speaks of, that are related to stars, planets, and moons, that are so spiritually interesting that God reveals them to Abraham? What is being conveyed about seasons? What does it mean that the higher ones move in order more slow?

Well, Abraham’s vision was meant for Abraham, and the tiny bit of it that he wrote down for the residue of mankind is given to us to glean what we can from. So let me talk about those themes for a bit. I don’t know anything in particular, but all these things seem related to Abraham’s vision.

Children and adults
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I would not be capable of listening to a sermon that was literally a week long. I could not gain important lessons from it that really required it to be a week long.

And my very young children are not capable of listening a sermon that is 30 minutes long. It is almost as if things move along more quickly for them. I can punish one of my little children in one moment, and then comfort them about their sorrow over the very punishment I gave them almost immediately thereafter.

Whereas a single day for God is one thousand of our years.

Joseph Smith’s translation of the Egyptian Alphabet
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One thing that Joseph Smith did that practically everyone tries to ignore is Joseph Smith’s translation of the Egyptian alphabet.

Everyone wants to ignore it because it seems like no earthly language.

But of course it isn’t. What was interesting about Egyptian was that Ham sought diligently to imitate the order of God. But wicked men never let the proper meaning of such things stand, and so the meanings changed very quickly. When God changed the languages, who knows what happened to Egyptian. The language of Egyptian as it existed over thousands of years of apostasy is meaningless to us. It has no relevance to revelation. But the meaning of Egyptian as it was when it still reflected the ancient order of things is very meaningful to us, and is worthy of revelation to restore to us. We see things in the concepts of Joseph Smiths translation of the egyptian alphabet that seem worthy of the language of Adam.

It appears that the translation of the Egyptian alphabet was done as instruction to a group, or as instruction to one individual after another, as there are multiple copies of the same alphabet with translations for the same characters that convey the same ideas across copies, but are not verbatim.

And one of the most prominently unusual parts of Joseph Smith’s translation of the egyptian alphabet is his translation of the character Za Ki oah hiash. I quote it here with reference to figure omitted: “By inserting a straight mark over it thus it increases its significance five degrees, by inserting two straight lines, thus its signification is increased five time s more. By inserting three straight lines thus its signification is again increased five times more than the last. … In translation translating this character, this subject must be continued until there are as many of these connecting parts of speech used as there are connections, or connecting parts found in the character. But whinever the character is found with one horizontal line the subject must be continued until twice five times the number of connecting parts of speech are used,; or the full sense of the writer is not conveyed. When two horizontal lines occur, the number of connecting parts of speech are continued five times further – or five degrees. And when three horizontal lines are found, the number of connections are to be increased five times further… increase by one straight line thus 5×5 is 4, by 2 horizontal lines thus 25 x 5 = 125; and by 3 horizontal lines thus 125 x 5 = 625.”

Now it is rather inconceivable to us that any writer needs to inform his readers to continue by 625 of anything in order to get the writers proper meaning. But we are like infant children in understanding. And we are so used to facebook and twitter. Our eduction has taught us to be snippet thinkers, who have never really learned to ponder.

To my mind there is something in this nugget from Joseph Smith’s translation of hte egyptian alphabet that is akin to what is found in Abraham 3.

As we progress from one world to another, we will follow in the track of those who have proceeded us. This world will become terrestrial. It will become celestial.

And the times will be longer. And the discourses may well require that we need to proceed 625 parts of speech beyond a point to get the full meaning of a writer in a given part of his text. This smacks of concepts lost to us that sound as if they were once part of the language of Adam.

Probations
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We have somehow lost this teaching, which was taught was plainly taught in the early church. It was plainly taught by the leaders that if we are wicked here, we are eventually thrown back in the potters clay. Our redemption to a kingdom of glory will involve trying again on a different mortal earth. That is, apparently, part of the thousand years of torment the Lord spoke of that the wicked undergo. Though make no mistake that if we are wicked we will have suffer the pains of hell just as Christ said we would.

Some such statements are:

“If death is not destroyed, and him that hath the power of it, and every man and woman who are not prepared to enjoy a kingdom where angels administer, then much of the Bible is exceedingly erroneous. Every kingdom will be blotted out of existence, except the one whose ruling spirit is the Holy Ghost; and whose king is the Lord. The Lord said to Jeremiah the Prophet, “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” The clay that marred in the potter’s hands was thrown back into the unprepared portion, to be prepared over again. So it will be with every wicked man and woman, and every wicked nation, kingdom, and government upon earth, sooner or later; they will be thrown back to the native element from which they originated, to be worked over again, and be prepared to enjoy some sort of a kingdom.” – Brigham Young JD 2:124

Heber C. Kimball | 11/22/1857
Joseph always told us that we would have to pass by sentinels that are placed between us and our Father and God. Then, of course, we are conducted along from this probation to other probations, or from one dispensation to another, by those who conducted those dispensations.

Will any man ever be redeemed upon any other principle than what we are redeemed upon? No. Men must abide the same law, or God Almighty will never redeem them. If they violate that law, they bring damnation upon themselves, and must suffer the consequences of it. Still, I believe the greater part of the inhabitants of the earth will be redeemed; yea, all will be finally redeemed, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost or shed innocent blood; and they never can be redeemed until that debt is paid. And I do not know any way for them to pay it, unless they are brought back again to a mortal existence, and pay the debt where they contracted it. God will make every man pay off the debt he contracts; for a restoration must take place, which has been spoken of by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began. | JD 6:63, 67 |

Orson Pratt | 10/06/1853
And thus, all the different portions of the earth have been and will be disposed of to the lawful heirs; while those who cannot prove their heirship to be legal, of who cannot prove that they have received any portion of the earth by promise, will be cast out into some other kingdom or world, where, if they ever get an inheritance, they will have to earn it by keeping the law of meekness during another probation. | JD 1:332-333 |

Heber C. Kimball | 10/05/1856
We have not as yet any durable location; we are merely probationers in this present state, and we shall always be so until we obtain a permanent exaltation, by following in the footsteps of our God. | JD 4:119 |

An artists drawing
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Many beginning artists have felt the pain of drawing two parts of a body with great care and detail, and then realizing that they don’t fit together properly. They labor on drawing a hand well, and then realize it is placed wrong. All of the refining work must be erased, and started over from scratch.

After experiencing that a few times, they learn to work more diligently at ensuring things are placed properly before they move on.

Frequently they learn to place a quick rough sketch that establishes basic placement quite well. Each attempt at placement in this rough sketch is usually done quickly, in rapid iteration.

This is frequently refined into actual poses of figures and placement of objects. Each of those refinements takes more time.

The placement and look of those figures and objects is then refined. Each refined part takes more time to complete than either any one attempt to place it, or one attempt to give it a basic shape took.

This is sometimes further carried on in a more refined stage where far more detail is added. If this stage is done, it can be rather painstaking, creating a fully finished look to the drawing, and adding in many details.

The point is that the rougher stages that place things are brief, and involve courser rapid changes, getting things roughed out in their place so that the rest can be filled in properly. Once these are in place, there is another stage in which the picture really begins to take shape. Then there is a stage in which the many more refined details are added. Each stage is much longer than the one that preceded it.

And this is, I think, related to what Abraham is describing do us. If our life is not sufficiently good, then we will eventually be placed on another mortal world. Our very short life here is like the placing of a few lines. It is quick and brief, and to be useful for the next stage requires that we get things measured out quite precisely. If we fail to do so, our efforts will be erased, and eventually we may get to try once again on another mortal world. Our families will be lost to us, having not done what was necessary to keep them.

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Why do we not ask for the same things as Wilford Woodruff?

We do not have the same prayer in our hearts that Wilford Woodruff offered.

“Lord, if it be Thy will, give me the privilege of recording in this year’s journal great blessings, pronounced upon my head from mine annointing and from under the hands of the Patriarch Joseph, and an account of great visions, and the opening of the heavens, and the revelation of Jesus Christ unto me, that I may be a special witness of Thee, Lord, and may I also have the administering of Holy Angels, that I may be taught of the eternal things of the Priesthood.”

But it is right that we do not have the same prayer in our hearts, for we have not lived up to our lesser privileges.

We look forward to the great marriage between the Lord and his church. But if a man loves a woman, and truly intends to marry her, will he not send to her tokens of his affection of one kind or another?

Wilford Woodruff could go before the Lord and offer such a prayer because Wilford Woodruff had experienced such things by the Holy Ghost as would give him the confidence before the Lord that the Lord might be willing to grant such a prayer.

It had nothing to do with his calling in the church. In fact, Wilford Woodruff records in his journal a number of visions had by members of the church who had no position of authority in the church.

But what of us?

We have two sides among us, mostly. First, we have those who have not lived up to even those privileges, those tokens of affection, that might give a man or woman the confidence before the Lord to ask what Wilford Woodruff asked for. They have not defined their lives by that great command “recieve the Holy Ghost”. They have not been baptized by the spirit, and they are not justified in this.

Second, we have a number of the deceived among us publishing their false visions to the members, and teaching false and destructive doctrine one way or another.They parade a host of false visions before our eyes. These are characters such as John Pontius, “Spencer” from Visions of Glory, Hector Soza Jr, Denver Snuffer, and Julie Rowe. They have published their visions for the world to see in direct contradiction to the Lord’s existing revelations. By that, we know their visions are not from him.

For the Lord detected Hiram Page saying that while Oliver Cowdery was allowed to speak about his own revelations, Oliver Cowdery was not allowed to write them.

The Lord also declared:

D&C 28:11 And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;
12 For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants.
13 For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.

Note that the Lord explains how they can know that Hiram page is deceived. It is because he is writing revelations, but writing revelations has not been appointed unto him in the church covenants, and additionally it has not been done by order and by common consent. The same is true of every one of those people I listed above.

The Lord also commanded:

D&C 43:5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;
6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know that they are not of me.
7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

So we have the group which is just full of false visions they want to publish to the world. And we have the group which has not kept the commandments well enough to be enjoying the Holy Ghost enough to ever live up to the point where it would be sensible for them to pray the same prayer that Wilford Woodruff did.

We have the sense not to ask for the dead to rise, because we know we don’t have the faith to rebuke common sicknesses.

We have the sense not to ask for what Wilford Woodruff asked because we could not ask in any confidence, for we have not received such tokens as would give us confidence to ask. We have not lived up to the lesser privileges God promises his saints and so we cannot have any reasonable expectation that God would grant us the higher ones.

Wilford Woodruff asked for such things because he was acquainted with the things of the spirit, having been already found worthy to receive many of them. By living up to such privileges, he came to realize that it would be possible for him to continue on, and live up to greater privileges yet if he remained faithful in the same course.

And so Wilford Woodruff asked the Lord:

“Lord, if it be Thy will, give me the privilege of recording in this year’s journal great blessings, pronounced upon my head from mine annointing and from under the hands of the Patriarch Joseph, and an account of great visions, and the opening of the heavens, and the revelation of Jesus Christ unto me, that I may be a special witness of Thee, Lord, and may I also have the administering of Holy Angels, that I may be taught of the eternal things of the Priesthood.”

Joseph Smith’s statements regarding black people

Before I begin, let me be plain that I always stand by what Joseph Smith teaches. I have found that if I stand by Joseph Smith, I always turn out right in the end.

Joseph Smith spoke once of a “war of words and tumult of opinions” among the various parties of religionists of his day.

I would use the phrase “war of words and tumult of opinions” to describe the claims made about the church and black people. Honestly, the scriptures that form the basis of our doctrine on this matter are perfectly plain. But they are not politically correct. So we have a hard time understanding them anymore. There are scriptures that speak of the blessings that will go to the posterity of Lehi. I am not one of Lehi’s posterity, but that won’t stop me from describing their blessings as accurately as I can. I know that if I am not a partaker of such blessings that God is just. My job is only to write what the truth is, not to bend the truth be pleasing to myself, or to be pleasing to anybody else, and least of all to be pleasing to the world.

And there is indeed a war of words and tumult of opinions about blacks and Joseph Smith. Members of the church want to make Joseph Smith seem politically correct. They measure him by the measure of the world, and they want him to stand tall under such a measure. There are many among us that want to make Christ himself politically correct. No honest reading of the scriptures could conclude that this describes the Son of God, who is also Jehovah, in the least degree.

Those who wrest the scriptural account to make the Son of God or his prophets politically correct fasten a God in the image of the world. The scriptures warn of such and reproves them.

D&C 1:16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world

It seems that almost all church members these days want to make Joseph Smith, as well as the Savior, seem politically correct despite the plain accounts of both of them. And on the other side you have the world portraying Joseph Smith as a false prophet, partly by “exposing” his lack of political correctness. It is a war of words and tumult of opinions indeed.

I thought I would write a post collecting what I could collect of Joseph Smith’s actual statements on blacks. I want a true and accurate account, so I am going to the man himself. Then I can know what to believe.

Many people writing such a post would be trying to defame Joseph Smith, by pointing out that he was not politically correct. Members of the church would then argue against them, but only because they are measuring the prophet by the world’s standards. I am going to include everything I can by Joseph Smith on the topic in this post, but with the difference that I one hundred percent accept Joseph Smith as being so far more insightful than myself on the topic, and that I completely, and without hesitation, accept everything he wrote as 100% absolutely right and proper and good. I judge Joseph Smith, who saw the third heaven, to be far more qualified to know the truth of the matter than I am, and so I simply accept his view as truth.

When Joseph Smith wrote a letter about abolition, he rightly didn’t care two cents whether what he wrote was popular. He stood by what he found in the scriptures without hesitation or apology.

The measure of those who are terrestrial is that they were not valiant in the testimony of Jesus. This is not the valiance of being dramatic for his name, for there are many who are dramatic for his name, but not for his word, or for obedience to his commandments.

As for me, I don’t care what anybody thinks. I just want the truth. There is such a thing as truth, for there is a God. What God speaks is the truth. Whether the truth is for me, or against me, or whether it is for anybody else or against anybody else, is irrelevant, and I don’t think we can have truth if we are going to approach it on any other terms.

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History of the Church vol 1, page 191, July or August 1831
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The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians— representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes— descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the West. At this meeting two were baptized, who had previously believed in the fulness of the Gospel.

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Question and Answer by Joseph Smith found in History of the Church
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Thirteenth— “Are the Mormons abolitionists?”

No, unless delivering the people from priestcraft, and the priests from the power of Satan, should be considered abolition. But we do not believe in setting the negroes free.

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Letter written and published by Joseph Smith stating his views on abolition, taken from History of the Church
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Soon after I wrote an article for the Messenger and Advocate, which
was published in the April number as follows:—

The Prophet’s Views on Abolition. Brother Oliver Cowdery, DEAR SIR:— This place [Kirtland] having recently been visited by a gentleman who advocated the principles or doctrines of those who are called Abolitionists, and his presence having created an interest in that subject, if you deem the following reflections of any service, or think they will have a tendency to correct the opinions of the Southern public, relative to the views and sentiments I entertain, as an individual, and which I am able to say from personal knowledge are the sentiments of others, you are at liberty to give them publicity in the columns of the Advocate. In one respect I am prompted to this course in consequence of many Elders having gone into the Southern States, besides there being now many in that country who have already embraced the fulness of the Gospel, as revealed through the Book of Mormon. I have learned by experience that the enemy of truth does not slumber, nor cease his exertions to bias the minds of communities against the servants of the Lord, by stirring up the indignation of men upon all matters of importance or interest; therefore I fear that the sound might go out, that “an Abolitionist” had held forth several times to this community, and that the public feeling was not aroused to create mobs or disturbances, leaving the impression that all he said was concurred in, and received as Gospel, and the word of salvation.

I am happy to say that no violence, or breach of the public peace, was attempted: so far from this, all, except a very few, attended to their own vocations, and left the gentleman to hold forth his own arguments to nearly naked walls. I am aware that many, who profess to preach the Gospel, complain against their brethren of the same faith, who reside in the South, and are ready to withdraw the hand of fellowship, because they will not renounce the principle of slavery, and raise their voice against every thing of the kind This must be a tender print, and one which should call forth the candid reflections of all men, and more especially before they advance in an opposition calculated to lay waste the fair states of the South, and let loose upon the world a community of people, who might, peradventure, overrun our country, and violate the most sacred principles of human society, chastity and virtue.

No one will pretend to say that the people of the free states are as capable of knowing the evils of slavery, as those who hold slaves. If slavery be an evil, who could we expect would first learn it: Would the people of the free states, or the people of the slave states? All must readily admit, that the latter would first learn this fact. If the fact were learned first by those immediately concerned, who would be more capable than they of prescribing a remedy? And besides, are not those who hold slaves, persons of ability, discernment and candor? Do they not expect to give an account at the bar of God for their conduct in this life? It may no doubt with propriety be said that many who hold slaves live without the fear of God before their eyes; but the same may be said of many in the free states. Then who is to be the judge in this matter? So long, then, as the people of the free states, are not interested in the freedom of the slaves, in any other way than upon the mere abstract principles of equal rights, and of the Gospel; and are ready to admit that there are men of piety, who reside in the South, who are immediately concerned, and until they complain and call for assistance, why not cease this clamor, and no further urge the slave to acts of murder, and the master to vigorous discipline, rendering both miserable, and unprepared to pursue that course which might otherwise lead them both to better their conditions? I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall.

And further, what benefit will it ever be to the slaves for persons to run over the free states, and excite indignation against their masters in the minds of thousands and tens of thousands, who understand nothing relative to their circumstances, or conditions? I mean particularly those who have never traveled in the South, and who in all their lives have scarcely ever seen a negro.

How any community can ever be excited with the chatter of such persons, boys and others, who are too indolent to obtain their living by honest industry, and are incapable of pursuing any occupation of a professional nature, is unaccountable to me; and when I see persons in the free states, signing documents against slavery, it is no less, in my mind, than an army of influence, and a declaration of hostilities against the people of the South. What course can sooner divide our union?

After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South, will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind, and wholly unacquainted with the Gospel of Christ. It is my privilege then to name certain passages from the Bible, and examine the teachings of the ancients upon the matter as the fact is uncontrovertible that the first mention we have of slavery is found in the Holy Bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation, and walked with God. And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude. “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Gen. ix: 25, 26).

Trace the history of the world from this notable event down to this day, and you will find the fulfillment of this singular prophecy. What could have been the design of the Almighty in this singular occurrence is not for me to say; but I can say, the curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.

I must not pass ever a notice of the history of Abraham, of whom so much is spoken in the Scripture. If we can credit the account, God conversed with him from time to time, and directed him in the way he should walk, saying, I am the Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Paul says the Gospel was preached to this man. And it is further said, that he had sheep and oxen, men-servants and maid-servants, etc. From this I conclude, that if the principle had been an evil one, in the midst of the communications made to this holy man, he would have been instructed to that effect, and if he was instructed against holding man- servants and maid-servants, he never ceased to do it; consequently must have incurred the displeasure of the Lord, and thereby lost His blessings; which was not the fact.

Some may urge that the names man servant and maid-servant, only mean hired persons, who were at liberty to leave their masters or employers at any time. But we can easily settle this pint, by turning to the history of Abraham’s descendants, when governed by a law from the mouth of Jehovah Himself. I know that when an Israelite had been brought into servitude, in consequence of debt, or otherwise, at the seventh year he went from the task of his former master, or employer; but to no other people or nation was this granted in the law of Israel. And if after a man had served six years, he did not wish to be free, then the master was to bring him unto the judges— bore his ear with an awl, and that man was “to serve him forever.” The conclusion I draw from this, is, that this people were led and governed by revelation, and if such a law was wrong, God only is to be blamed, and abolitionists are not responsible.

Now, before proceeding any farther, I wish to ask one or two questions: Were the Apostles men of God, and did they preach the Gospel? I have no doubt that those who believe the Bible, will admit that they were; and that they also knew the mind and will of God concerning what they wrote to the churches, which they were instrumental in building up. This being admitted, the matter can be put to rest without much argument, if we look at a few items in the New Testament. Paul says: “Servants be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men’ knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall be received of the Lord, whether he be bound or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven: neither is there respect of persons with him” (Eph. vi: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Here is a lesson which might be profitable for all to learn; and the principle upon which the Church was anciently governed, is so plainly set forth, that an eye of truth might see and understand. Here certainly, are represented the master, and servant; and so far from instructions to the servant to leave his master, he is commanded to be in obedience, as unto the Lord; the master in turn, is required to treat him with kindness before God; understanding, at the same time, that he is to give an account. The hand of fellowship is not withdrawn from him in consequence of his having servants.

The same writer, in his first epistle to Timothy, the sixth chapter, and the first five verses, says,-“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren: but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness’ from such withdraw thyself.” This is so perfectly plain, that I see no need of comment. The Scripture stands for itself; and I believe that these men were better qualified to teach the will of God, than all the abolitionists
in the world.

Before closing this communication, I beg leave to drop a word to the traveling Elders. You know, brethren, that great responsibility rests upon you; and that you are accountable to God, for all you teach the world. In my opinion, you will do well to search the Book of Covenants, in which you will see the belief of the Church, concerning masters and servants. All men are to be taught to repent; but we have no right to interfere with slaves, contrary to the mind and will of their masters. In fact it would be much better, and more prudent, not to preach at all to slaves, until after their masters are converted, and then teach the masters to use them with kindness: remembering that they are accountable to God, and the servants are bound to serve their masters with singleness of heart, without murmuring.

I do most sincerely hope that no one who is authorized from this Church to preach the Gospel, will so far depart from the Scriptures, as to be found stirring up strife and sedition against our brethren of the South. Having spoken frankly and freely, I leave all in the hands of God, who will direct all things for His glory, and the accomplishment of His work. Praying that God may spare you to do much good in this life, I subscribe myself your brother in the Lord, JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.

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History of the Church, November 7, 1841
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What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down;” I referred to the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah, while in his wine, but doing no harm. Noah was a righteous man, and yet he drank wine and became intoxicated; the Lord did not forsake him in consequence thereof, for he retained all the power of his priesthood, and when he was accused by Canaan, he cursed him by the priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the priesthood which he held, notwithstanding he was drunk, and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until the present day.

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History of the Church, January 25, 1842
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Tuesday, 25.— Signed deeds for lots, to Law; transacted a variety of business in the city and office. In the evening debated with John C. Bennett and others to show that the Indians have greater cause to complain of the treatment of the whites, than the negroes, or sons of Cain.

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History of the Church, Thursday Feb 8, 1844
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Thursday, 8.— Held Mayor’s court, and tried two negroes for attempting to marry white women: fined one $25, and the other $5.

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History of the Church, Friday March 8, 1844

What I have said in my views in relation to the annexation of Texas is with some unpopular; the people are opposed to it. Some of the Anti-Mormons are good fellows. I say it, however, in anticipation that they will repent. They object to Texas on account of slavery. Why, it is the very reason she ought to be received, so that we may watch over them; for, of the two evils, we should reject the greatest.

Governor Houston of Texas, says— “if you refuse to receive us into the United States, we must go to the British Government for protection.”

This would certainly be bad policy for this nation; the British are now throughout that whole country, trying to bribe all they can; and the first thing they would do, if they got possession, would be to set the negroes and the Indians to fight, and they would use us up. British officers are now running all over Texas to establish British influence in that country.

It will be more honorable for us to receive Texas and set the negroes free, and use the negroes and Indians against our foes. Don’t let Texas go, lest our mothers and the daughters of the land should laugh us in the teeth; and if these things are not so, God never spoke by any Prophet since the world began.

How much better it is for the nation to bear a little expense than to have the Indians and British upon us and destroy us all. We should grasp all the territory we can. I know much that I do not tell. I have had bribes offered me, but I have rejected them.

The government will not receive any advice or counsel from me: they are self-sufficient. But they must go to hell and work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

The South holds the balance of power. By annexing Texas, I can do away with this evil. As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three States, indemnifying their owners, and send the negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike. And if that was not sufficient, I would call upon Canada, and annex it.

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History of the Church, Jan 2, 1843
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At five went to Mr. Sollars’ with Elders Hyde and Richards. Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slave tally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on.

Elder Hyde remarked, “Put them on the level, and they will rise above me.” I replied, if I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, would you not be indignant and try to rise above me, as did Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and many others, who said I was a fallen Prophet, and they were capable of leading the people, although I never attempted to oppress them, but had always been lifting them up? Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.

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Note: I have often wondered what was meant by Elder Hyde in this exchange, because I couldn’t understand the connection between Orson Hyde’s statement: “Put them on the level, and they will rise above me” and Joseph Smith’s response “If I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, ….”. To our ears, it sounds as if Orson Hyde is saying “If we make them equal with us, they will then do far better than we have done”, which makes Joseph Smith’s reply seem very strange. However the discussion finally makes sense to me, because it appears that Elder Hyde’s statement is a reference to a phrase of the time which is quoted in the Elder’s Journal: “We have often heard it remarked by slave holders, that you should not make a negro equal with you, or he would try to walk over you.” Thus Elder Hyde is quoting a phrase that means “If we make them equal with us, they will turn and oppress us.” With that understanding, Joseph Smith’s response makes perfect sense.

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Connecting the dots

The Lord declared by revelation:

D&C 29:30 But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men;

Joseph Smith taught that man could become as God. Joseph Smith taught that we would have to learn to grow from grace to grace, from a small capacity to a larger one, the same as all gods have had to do before us.

But we don’t realize that the dots do not all connect properly. We like to draw a pattern of circles up on the chalkboard: one circle drawn for “the premortal life”, followed by circles for the earth life, the postmortal spirit world, the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms.

And the great problem is that we determine that this pattern of circles is a complete eternal picture of the plan for exaltation. For that is ludicrous. The dots don’t connect. It is an embarrassment to us when we make such wild extrapolations. It aids the enemies of the church because it is so ridiculous.

Take the best man you know personally, and consider how good he might become by the time of his death. Now compare his character, righteousness, and knowledge at his death to Christ’s character, righteousness and knowledge. Compare his intelligence to the intelligence of Jehovah.

How wide is the gap?

Other religions rightly make fun of us when we think that simply being good in this life will grant us godhood at the next step.

We are to stand by the revelations, and one of the revelations we are to stand by is the revelation that says we don’t have the complete picture.

D&C 29:30 But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men;

But even if we didn’t have a scripture that said as much, we ought to have the sense to know as much, for the dots don’t connect. There is a dot way over on one side of the board that says “exaltation”. And then there is a huge area that we don’t know much about between death here, and exaltation way over there. We know there is a huge gap between them because it is precisely the gap that exists between the intelligence and character of ourselves, and the intelligence and character of God himself.

Yes, we will obtain our earthly reward according to our obedience. Every word of the revelations will be perfectly true.

But the idea that being good in this life will put us on an escalator that leads up to godhood without any further probation beyond that death is ridiculous.

After all, if you find that someone is a good janitor his first day of work at a large international corporation, that doesn’t mean you should take his mop and tell him “well, you did a good job on your first day, so from here on out you are absolutely guaranteed to become the CEO of the company in time, no matter what”.

Have we not read that an angel in authority before God rebelled and became Satan. Can we not figure out the following very simple fact:

As long as a man has a will, then there will come a day of judgement either to his condemnation or to his blessing according to whether or not he chose to submit his will to the commandments of God.

Put differently, sure, this is the day of our probation. We are on probation here, in a very real sense. Its not a great place to have ended up, and our situation is rather precarious for broad is the gate that leads to destruction in a place like this.

But in a broader sense, we were on probation before this life, we will be on probation after this life. There will be more judgement after the final judgment for this life is all said and done, for we will continue to act and make choices after this life, and even after that final judgment.

Yes, Abraham has entered into his exaltation and is a God, in the sense that he is truly born back into the family from which he was once cut off. Now it is perfectly reasonable to expect that he will grow up to be like his father. But it is not guaranteed, for Abraham is still perfectly capable of choice. He has a will.

We should believe God’s revelation that all his judgments are not yet known to us. That is, more or less, obvious. But some of us don’t have the common sense to know it for ourselves. The dots don’t connect. The gap between here and godhood is vast, and far more would have to be done to grow up to such a divine gift.

And we will have the capability to choose. And if we choose to rebel, as did Lucifer, then we must fall. But if we endure to the end, and I mean the big long end of the whole thing, we will eventually find that we have the same quality of character, and the same intelligence, that God now has. Though he may be just as far ahead of us at that time as he is now for all I know. The ladder is so long, it is impossible to see from here whether it has a top. I am of the opinion that the scriptures say that it does. Brigham Young believed that it did not.

It is less sensible for a Bishop to send someone to a psychiatrist than to send them to the Catholics or Baptists, for at least the latter groups are founded in scripture.

Sending a man with something wrong in his life to “counseling” with a psychiatrist or psychologist or one of the variants is no more sensible and right in the sight of God then sending him to Baptists, or to the Catholics, or to the Assembly of God, for at least all these latter groups are founded in the scriptures. Sending him to the Baptists is no worse then sending him for “counseling” under someone trained in psychology – for psychology does not believe in God or in his scriptures, whereas the Baptist or Catholic or Methodist has that much to their credit.

One may argue that the Baptist or catholic will try and convert him to their faith. But the same is true of the psychologist who will try and convert their victims to their own godless outlook on true religion.

Nor will it do to send a troubled man to a “Mormon psychologist”. There is no such thing in reality. Psychology and God teach directly opposing principles. Psychology is inspired by the adversary, who is the enemy of God. You know it by its works. It has become the state religion, and it is a state religion of atheism that has no qualms about immorality or abortion or perversion, and frequently embraces them. By contrast, God declares such things to be abominations.

Those who try to adhere both to the gospel and to ideas of psychology or its variants have a beam in their eye, and have no business trying to help any others.

The word sustain – not what we thought

There are those occasions where I suddenly realize that there is something I have completely misunderstood for a long time. I have been thinking the wrong thing altogether.

Today my daughter was reading from History of the Church. She read about an occasion where Orson Hyde was upset because he had given all his substance ($275) to the church, so he had no money to buy a coat. He needed to be out serving missions, and he petitioned for a coat but he wasn’t granted one, and he couldn’t find work among the members in Kirtland, but could only find work away from Kirtland which he felt violated the principle of gathering.

Orson Hyde took the matter to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith corrected some of his feelings on the matter which were errant, but Joseph Smith also declared that those who refused him the coat were wrong. Joseph corrected those who refused Orson Hyde the coat with these words:

“I told Elder Cahoon, of the Temple committee, that we must sustain
the Twelve, and not let them go down; if we do not, they must go down, for the burden is on them and is coming on them heavier and heavier. If the Twelve go down, we must go down, but we must sustain them.”

And when Kate read that to me, I realized that we have completely altered the meaning of the word “sustain” and of the phrase “sustain the twelve”.

I have liked to tell my children that the Lord doesn’t like to just let us declare devotion with our mouths.

What does the word sustain mean? It doesn’t mean any of what we have come to use it to mean in the church. Sustain means exactly what the word sustain usually means. The word sustain means to provide for someone. It means to provide them with the necessities of life.

Orson Hyde didn’t need more people to follow him. He needed a coat. Joseph Smith was correcting Elder Cahoon for not sustaining Orson Hyde, in the sense that Elder Cahoon was not providing necessities of life to Orson Hyde.

I had read this quote before, but had misunderstood it because I read it with our modern, heavily altered meaning of the word sustain. Joseph is saying that if we won’t provide the necessities for the twelve then they must go down, for the burden is on them and is coming on heavier and heavier.

This principle has been lost in the church, but it is still found quite plainly in the revelations.

It is actually a divine principle that has been supplanted by worldly ideas among us. Mostly because we misunderstand Alma’s teachings. Alma taught that priests in the church should not be paid. And we know Alma’s teachings far better than we know the modern revelations. But the Book of Mormon people were living the law of Moses. So even though priests were not paid, they were still given food by the people quite consistently, for that was an integral part of the law of Moses. The sacrifices offered in the law of Moses were not all burnt up. Part of them went to the support of the priests.

Joseph Smith taught “It is a very prevalent opinion that the sacrifices which were offered were entirely consumed. This was not the case; if you read Leviticus, second chap., second and third verses, you will observe that the priests took a part as a memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while the remainder was kept for the maintenance of the priests”

Thus, even in the Book of Mormon the priests were sustained by the people, for they lived the law of Moses. This wasn’t our modern heavily altered use of the word sustain. This was the literal standard meaning of the word sustain. They weren’t paid, but they were provided for in precisely the way the Lord laid out in the law of Moses. They weren’t paid, but they were still sustained.

Here are two places where God states the correct principle by revelation.

D&C 43:12 And if ye desire the glories of the kingdom, appoint ye my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and uphold him before me by the prayer of faith.
13 And again, I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him;
14 And if ye do it not he shall remain unto them that have received him, that I may reserve unto myself a pure people before me.

and also

D&C 42:71 And the elders or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned;
72 Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop.
73 And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church.

So it is one thing to raise our hand and say “I will sustain this Bishop and his counselors” and to mean by that action that we will consider him our Bishop. And it is another thing altogether to put a man in front of the congregation and ask “if this man quits his job so that he can do the full duties of a Bishop are you willing to provide, as a congregation, enough of your own money and goods to him so as to sustain him”.

Those are really different things.

These days we have further confused the issue, because we now “sustain” every position in the church. But that is because in truth we are not actually sustaining any local position in the church, even though the Lord told us to. And thus we have become confused about the issue. Part of the reason for this difficulty is that we have also abandoned the doctrine of gathering. When the saints gather then you can have hopes of finding a Bishop worthy of being sustained by his congregation, in the sense the Lord commanded. When we instead remain scattered, and build stakes everywhere instead of setting gathering points and calling them stakes, then we may be hard pressed to find leaders who are literally worth sustaining within a distance that is reasonable to worshiping together.

Now I am plain about the fact that the twelve lead the church today precisely the way that he wants it led. But one day we will feel sorrow that we paid so little heed to the revelations, will search them as a people from the least to the greatest, and will return to the revelations and other scriptures as we ought. But that day can never come until we actually take them up and ask ourselves what they say, instead of blithely reading an absolutely worthless handbook and manual which have altogether supplanted the revelations and scriptures in the minds of the members and which are here today and will be replaced with different ones tomorrow, whereas the revelations and scriptures will remain.

The principle of sustaining is supposed to be that we will provide for the prophet so that he may lead us up to where he is. We provide for the man who knows far more, and by that act of faith prove to God that we value such knowledge more than we value our mammon. Then those men we provide for are supposed to be able to lead us up to where they are at.

The principle of sustaining is that the Laborer is worthy of his hire. And that by providing that hire, we may please the Lord, and by that act of faith on our part, the teachings of that Laborer will have greater power to affect our souls and save us. All this assuming we wisely choose local leaders who are literally worth sustaining.

Official stances have no place in the church of Jesus Christ. Only revelation has a place – for his word is our law.

Today we want an official stance on everything.

We used to have an official stance on vaccines telling people to get vaccinated. It was a tragic stance, since some of the vaccines were, and still are, derived from tissue grown many years ago from an aborted baby. My wife told our pediatrician that truth about vaccines. He was shocked and didn’t believe her. He looked into it, and during the next visit had confirmed that he discovered the same thing himself when he investigated the matter. It is the sort of barbaric crime against nature we should know to keep a million miles away from. It is so barbaric, God could not possibly endorse it. That aborted child must, of necessity become a destroying angel to those who partake.

Needing an official stance on everything cannot be good. The Lord said it was not needful that we be commanded in all things.

Also, official stances are stupid.

Revelation is good.

But official stances are more or less “this isn’t revelation, so it might be wrong, but we are going to declare this to be right in a way that all good members will feel obligated to obey”.

Official stances have no place in the church. They are, more or less, a concession that we either do not need, do not have, or could not expect to receive an actual revelation concerning the matter. Perhaps because the matter is too trivial to expect the voice of the Lord on the matter. If the matter is too trivial to expect a revelation on it, then there is no need for an official position.

An official position is a concession that the matter is either too trivial inquire of God for an actual revelation on, or an acknowledgement that we have not obtained his voice on it. That should be the place where we immediately stop and say “so there is no official position, because the only official position in the church of Jesus Christ is the word of Jesus Christ, and if we have not obtained that word by revelation then his followers ought to discern the matter for themselves independently”.

The very moment we say we have not the voice of the Lord on the matter, nor can we find it in the scriptures, nor do we see that he is willing to speak his word on the matter is the moment we should say “so there is no official position because in the church of Jesus Christ because it is the word of Jesus Christ which is the law to his followers”.