Archive | October, 2015

False Prophecies: Temple In Missouri

26 Oct

This is the first in a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies

Doctrine and Covenants 84: 2-3, 31

This is probably the most frequently cited prophecy by those bringing accusations against Joseph Smith. It is the second one listed at CARM, and I don’t know a list that doesn’t contain this reference.

They claim the prophecy is that a temple would be built in Jackson County, Missouri during the generation then alive. As this revelation was given in 1832 and there is still not a temple in Jackson County, Missouri the prophecy is obvious a false prophecy. With only a superficial look at the text their claim seems to be right; but let’s look at the text more closely.

Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased… Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed (Verse 2-3, 31)

In the above quotation the underlined portion is what is used to make the claims against Joseph Smith. But what are these verses really saying. Notice what is being stated in the beginning. The Lord is speaking to the church, and he lists the reasons why the church was established. He gives two reasons; the restoration of his people, and the gathering of the saints at the city of New Jerusalem.

Now, to make sure there is no confusing as to his meaning the Lord also tells us of New Jerusalem. It will be built centered at the temple lot, located in western Missouri and revealed to Joseph Smith and others.

After describing New Jerusalem the Lord then gives the following command.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. (Verse 4)

So, God commanded the saints to build the city of New Jerusalem, starting at the place of the temple. After giving this command God then gives the following prophecy.

For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (Verse 5)

As we see, everything that came before this verse had nothing to do with the prophecy. The prophecy states only that a temple would be built; it does not specify where it would be built. It also states that a cloud should rest upon it and fill the house, which would be the glory of God.

Of course, the revelation doesn’t end with this. You will notice that those who criticize also reference verse 31. In this verse it states that “the house of the Lord…shall be built unto the Lord in this generation.” The claim is that this reinforces the prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri. However, as we saw that the references to Missouri were commands, not prophecies, this verse reinforces those commands, not the prophecy.

 

So, when we separate the command from the prophecy we can deal with each in turn.

Speaking of the command God excuse the saints from it. He said

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings… Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124: 49, 51)

So, because of the persecutions that arose from the enemies of the church, God no longer required that generation to build the temple in Missouri.

 

Speaking of the prophecy, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836, four years after the prophecy was given. On that occasion many witnessed the glory of God as angels filled the temple. It is recorded in the History of the Church, volume 2, near the end of chapter 29, that

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.

It was soon after that that many ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored priesthood keys. So, as the prophecy stated, Joseph Smith’s generation did build a house unto the Lord, and the glory of God filled it. The prophecy was thus fulfilled.

False Prophecies

21 Oct

One of the favorite tactics of those who oppose the church is to try and point out unfulfilled prophecies of Joseph Smith. I have read many such lists, and they generally fall back on the same ten or twelve. This is done in an attempt to prove that Joseph Smith is not a prophet.

The argument is based in Deuteronomy 18: 20-22, which reads “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we a know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

So, the critics want to present false prophecies to claim that Joseph Smith is guilty of giving false prophecies so they can try to convince others that he is not a true prophet and can be rejected. In fact, at the CARM website they say “that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.”

Now, it is true that this is a test of a true prophet. However, for this to be proven you first have to prove that the person was claiming to speak in the name of God, and then you have to prove that the prophecy was false.

Now the first one can be hard to prove, because prophets don’t always begin their prophecies with “Thus saith the Lord.” Actually, sometimes they may seem to indicate they are speaking for God but are actually speaking for themselves, offering their opinion on what God has planned.

The second is even more difficult to prove. Prophecy is notorious for symbolism and generalities, rarely giving time tables for anything. This leaves it to the reader to try and figure out the meaning, or recognize it when it is fulfilled. The key to unlocking the meaning and fulfillment of prophecy is given to us by Peter. In his second epistle he tells us “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private d interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In other words, prophecy comes by through the Holy Ghost, and so it is only through the Holy Ghost that one can understand its meaning.

 

So, while people are continually trying to prove Joseph Smith a false prophet, they seem to lack the power to do so. No one without the gift of the Holy Ghost is qualified to judge anyone to be a false or a true prophet. Those who have never been baptized by proper authority do not have this gift, and those who have left the church have lost it.

All things considered one can see why it is difficult for anyone to know exactly what a prophecy means and if it has been fulfilled, especially for those who are trying to prove them false.

 

However, for the sake of sportsmanship I will do a series on some of the prophecies in question. I take the first five from the CARM website. As I find more in other lists I will add them to this series over the years. I also ask that if any of those reading this know of any such claim that they would like me to research and post on I will gladly do so.

I realize that I am working on several series right now (I think this makes three) but I will be posting on all of them in the next week.

Family Talks – Chryshal

19 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my nine year old daughter. She spoke on Temples.

I was asked to speak to you today about temples. Temples are where you get sealed to your family. Also if you die before you hear the gospel then you can have someone be baptized for you. I went one time to be sealed to my family in the temple and while I was there I got to watch a video on temples. The video said that temples are sacred places and we should care for them like Jesus cared for the people. There are 144 temples in the world that we must care for; the closest temple to us here is in St. Louis. When you go to the temple you can feel the Holy Ghost better than when you are at home, and I can read my scriptures better there. When you are at the temple you need to dress in white to be sealed as a family. When I was sealed to my family I felt like I was being joined as a part of each of my family members. I can’t wait to go to the temple again to be married to my future husband. When I do I will be making the circle of my eternal family even bigger. Temples are really beautiful places to be with your family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Family Talks – Shem

17 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my eight year old son, Shem. He was just baptized this last summer, and he gave the following talk on the Aaronic Priesthood.

While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry had questions about baptism. So they went into the woods and prayed to God for understanding. In answer to their prayer John the Baptist appeared to them and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.

The Aaronic priesthood is responsible for the outward ordinances, and the temporal care of the church. It is through this priesthood that people are baptized into the church, and that the sacrament is blessed and passed each week. It is also the duty of this priesthood to ensure that the church building is kept clean, and that the members of the church are taken care of.

The Bishop is the president of this priesthood. In this calling he is responsible for the care of each member of the ward. But he is to be assisted by all those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.

When I turn 12, if I am worthy, I will be ordained a deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. As a deacon it will by my job to help keep the building clean, but I will also be able to pass the sacrament.

When I am 14 I will be ordained a teacher and will assist the Bishop in caring for the members of our ward.

When I am 16 I will be ordained a priest. Then I will be able to bless the sacrament and baptize others.

I look forward to the time when I will be able to hold this priesthood and be counted worthy to assist the Bishop in doing God’s work.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Family Talks – Gwendolyn

14 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

The first to speak was Gwendolyn, our seven year old daughter. She gave the following talk on families. Note that she actually sang the song that is given as the opening of the talk.

 

Families can be together forever

Through Heavenly Father’s plan

I always want to be with my own family

And the Lord has shown me how I can.

Our first family was in heaven. We were all spirit children of our Heavenly Father. As spirit children of God we lived and grew as a family.

Now in this life we have smaller families, but we still live and grow together. With the support of our families this life is made easier. Our parents teach us right from wrong. They teach us about Jesus Christ and God’s plan for His children. Brothers and sisters help and support each other.

There was once a young boy who got in trouble. For his punishment his parents took a picture of the world and tore it into pieces. They told him that he had to sit at the table until he had put it back together. It was only a few minutes later that the parents came back and found the boy was finished. They asked him how he had finished so fast. He told them that on the other side was a picture of a family. He had put the family together and the world fell into place.

When our families are strong our lives and the lives of those around us will be strengthened.

The family existed before this life, and it will continue after it. The greatest goal of this life is to have our families continue and live together in heaven again. We must help each other in this life so that we can be together in the next life.

In the name of Jesus Christ; Amen.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 15 – The Righteous

14 Oct

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests

Revelation 15

This chapter is probably the shortest chapter, but it has many important concepts presented in it. Remember that in chapter 14 we saw a great deal of what will happen just prior to the second coming. In the second half we read of two harvests, one of the righteous the other of the wicked. The main theme of chapter 15 is what the righteous will experience in the harvesting. This theme runs throughout the chapter and should be remembered when reading it.

 

Verse 1

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

This verse is a preview of chapter 16. The seven plagues mentioned are described in that chapter, and are what the wicked will experience when they are harvested. The two chapters go together and should be understood together.

 

Verse 2

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

This verse tells us two different things.

First, the righteous will be victorious over all the cunning plans and seductions of Satan, as seen in their victory over every aspect of the Beast. This is an important message, and is the primary message of the entire book of Revelation. There will be an eventual victory of God over Satan and good over evil. In the past several posts I have delved into the details of this revelation, but none of it is as important as this. God will win and the righteous will be justified. If we don’t understand this message than the rest of it is basically meaningless.

The second aspect of this verse is the sea of glass mingled with fire. This was mentioned in chapter four as well. In my commentary on that chapter I mentioned that D&C 77:1 we read that it “is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” That it is seen as a sea of glass because “This earth…will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim…” (D&C 130: 9). However, in this we also see it mingled with fire. This is because, as Joseph Smith says, those who inherit the Celestial Glory will dwell in everlasting burnings; a description of the glory and light of God.

 

Verses 3-4

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

The song of Moses in recorded in Exodus 15: 1-19. It was song by Israel after the Lord had destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea. Its main theme is praise to God for deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The saints in the Celestial Glory will again sing this song in praise of Christ delivering them from the bondage of sin.

 

Verses 5-8

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

We again see a preview of what is to come. These verses show the preparation for the harvest and destruction of the wicked. As we read we see the process.

The seven angels come out of the temple, or from the presence of God. They are clean of all sin, as seen in the whiteness of their garments. Also, they have glory and authority, as seen in the golden girdles.

Then, one of the four beasts (which one is not specified) gives the angels the vials that actually contain the plagues. It was said in verse one that the angels had the plagues, but here we see them being given the vials. So, the first statement meant that they had the authority to pour out the plagues, and now the time has come to do so.

Lastly the temple is filled with smoke from the God’s glory, preventing anyone from entering it until the angels have poured out the plagues. Heaven and the world are not ready for the destructions and plagues to happen just before the second coming.

 

On a final note the plagues are full of the wrath of God. Also, there are seven plagues. This number is important. Seven is a number of completion, or finishing. So, these plagues represent the completion or finishing of the Lord’s judgments against the wicked.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 14 – Two Harvests

6 Oct

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels

Revelation 14: 14-20

In this last half of the fourteen chapter we read of a very interesting event. I say this because it parallels other passages in the scriptures that also speak of the last day. But, before we look at these other passages, let us look at Revelation.

Verse 14

At this time John saw upon a white cloud “one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” This is Christ, sitting on his throne in heaven. The sickle was tool for harvesting grain, and thus we see Christ ready to harvest the world.

Verses 15-16

An “angel came out of the temple, crying…Thrust in thy sickle, and reap…for…earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle…and the earth was reaped.”

This angel comes from out of the Temple; or, in other words, is sent by God the Father. Also, without hesitation, Christ reaps, or harvests the earth. At this time we are not told what, or who is being reaped, only that Christ is the one reaping.

Verse 17

An “angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.”

Again, this angel is sent from God, but he comes with his own sickle prepared to reap.

Verse 18

An “angel came out from the altar…and cried…Thrust in thy sharp sickle…for her grapes are fully ripe.”

Note here that the angel comes from the altar. This is significant. He is still sent from God, but comes from an area that is open to the general members. In the modern day it would be like the first two coming from the temple while the third comes from the chapel (or church headquarters).

Verses 19-20

“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth…and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

This is the wicked, as they suffer the wrath of God. Notice that this happens outside the city of God, not just outside the temple. Also, the blood represents the suffering of these people. A horse’s bridle is usually about six feet up, and a furlong is 660 feet. So, the blood will be six feet deep for 200 miles. This is some suffering.

Now, if this second harvest is the wicked, than can we not conclude that the first harvest is the righteous?

 

These harvests occur at the end of the world, for that is the period of time that John is now seeing. So, let us look at a few other passages that seem to parallel John’s vision.

 

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

In the parable of the Wheat and Tares we read how the world was sown with good seed by God, than the devil came and sowed tares. At the end of the world there would be a harvest. In explaining the meaning of this parable Jesus said

“For in that day, before the Son of man shall come, he shall send forth his angels…And they shall gather out of his kingdom all…them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out…For the world shall be burned with fire.” (verses 41-43)

Remember that the wheat is gathered first (verse 30, JST footnote a). Again we see two harvests; the first is the righteous which is done by Christ, and the second the wicked who are destroyed by angels.

 

D&C 86: 1-7

This also speaks to the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, but gives a more definite explanation. It also speaks of two harvests, but it states that the field, or the earth, will be burnt, not just the tares. Thus we see that this second harvest is a time of cleansing for the earth.

 

D&C 88: 95-102

This is the passage that I was reminded of first while reading in revelation. I have quoted portions of it in my analysis of the first half of chapter fourteen, and here again we see parallel passages. We see in this passage a literal rendering of the two harvests, heralded by four angels.

The first angel heralds Christ’s return, at which time all those who have inherited a Celestial glory are caught up to him (verses 95-98). The second angel heralds the rising of those who inherit Terrestrial glory (verse 99). And thus we see the end of the first harvest.

The third angel declares the judgments against the wicked, who inherit the telestial, who do not live again until the end of the world, but are cast out, as it says in Matthew 13: 42 (verses 100-101). The fourth declares that among the wicked are the Sons of Perdition (verse 102). And thus we have the end of the second harvest.

 

As all these passages testify, there shall be a time of gathering, when the righteous will be gathered out of the wicked and preserved by God. There will then be a time of cleansing, when the wicked are destroyed and the earth is cleansed with fire, which will burn away all the filth of the wicked.

The first gathering has already begun (see Doctrine and Covenants 33), but it will be completed in an awesome and dramatic way when Christ returns. The second awaits the completion of the first, but will be no less awesome of dramatic.

 

I love it when scriptures come together so beautifully in a unified message. To me this is confirmation that all these scriptures were inspired by God.