Pamphlets by Ogden Kraut

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America’s Future
Bible and the Taxman
Century of Doctrinal Revisions
Famine
Fundamentalist Mormon
Gethsemane to Calvary
Holy before Pent Formatted
Independent Fundamentalist
Mysteries
New Testament and Plural Marriage
Ogden Kraut Joke Book
Old Ship Zion
One Mighty and Strong
1978 Legrand Richards
Manifesto
Polygamy of David and Solomon
Prayer

                                                                   AMERICA’S FUTURE

LOOK, LISTEN AND LEARN!

compiled by

Ogden Kraut

January 1996

 

INTRODUCTION

God always warns a nation before it is destroyed and America is no exception! If “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” (Prov. 14:34), then this nation is doomed to the chastising judgments of God.

The pages of history are filled with accounts of the rising and falling of empires—which always seem to occur for the same reasons. America has risen to greater heights than any other nation, and thus, in the same proportion, she is destined to fall.

But God is ever mindful of the faithful few, and He gives them warning and a means to save themselves. Now at this critical juncture when we face the coming crisis, many are desperately searching through prophecy and scripture to know how to be protected from these perils.

Many prophecies by both Mormons and non-Mormons have been recorded for our benefit; the following are but a sampling. If we are wise, we will heed their warnings.

 

[1]                            America‘s Future

                            Look, Listen and Learn

The End of the World, as Foretold by Jesus

(Matthew 24:3-8, 21-22, 32-33)

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows. * * *

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. * * *

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

[2] Those Who Will Be Slain

(Revelations 18:4, 6, 24)

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Reward her even as she reward you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.

And in her were found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Gather to Zion

(The Last Days, Robert Smith, p. 148)

Note: The following vision was printed about 1739 in an old book called The Hope of Zion. It was written by a Catholic Priest by the name of Lucious Gration and was found in a library in Bern, Switzerland. This author was acquainted with the son of Enoch Muelstein, who the man who found it. It reads in part:

The old time gospel with the gifts thereof, are lost. False doctrines prevail in every church and in every land. All we can do is to exhort the people to be just, fear God, and shun evil, and pray, pray.

“Prayer and purity may cause an angel to visit a deep and distressed soul. But I tell you God will, in one hundred years, have spoken again. He will restore the old church again. I see a little people led by a prophet and faithful elders. They are persecuted, burned and murdered, but in a little valley that lies on the shores of a great lake, they will grow and make a [3] beautiful land, have a temple of magnificent splendor, and also possess the old priesthood with Apostles, Prophets, Teachers and Deacons. From every nation will true believers be gathered by speedy messengers and then will God, the Almighty, speak to the disobedient nations with thunder, lightnings and destruction, such as never heard of in history.”

The George Washington Vision

(National Tribune, Vol. 4, No. 12, Dec. 1880)

Note: This vision has been printed and reprinted many times—in books, magazines, and in pamphlet form. It was originally published by Wesley Bradshaw. Space does not here permit the complete account of this vision, which is printed in its entirety in Visions of the Latter Days, comp. by this author. General Washington was shown the outcome of the Revolutionary War and split caused during the Civil War. The final war, yet in the future, was also seen, and that part of the vision is included here.

And again I heard the mysterious voice say, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” At this the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia and Africa. Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene: From each of these countries arose thick, black clouds that were soon joined into one. And throughout this mass there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who moved with the cloud, marching by [4] land and sailing by sea to America, which country was enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country and burn the villages, towns and cities that I had beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords and shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” When the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth and blew a long and fearful blast.

Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America. At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shone the word “Union”, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descended from heaven attended by legions of bright spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who, I perceived, were well-nigh overcome, but who, immediately taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again, amid the fearful noise of the conflict, I heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious.

Then once more I beheld villages, towns and cities springing up where they had been before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard he had brought into the midst of them, cried with a loud voice: “While the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Republic [5] last.” And taking from his brow the crown on which was blazoned the word “Union”, he placed it upon the standard while the people, kneeling down, said “Amen.”

The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon my mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before said, “Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, passing which the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land and union. With these words the vision vanished, and I started from my seat and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me the birth, progress and destiny of the United States.

“Such, my friends,” concluded the venerable narrator, “were the words I heard from Washington’s own lips, and America will do well to profit by them.”

Secret Combinations Shall Be Destroyed

(Book of Mormon, Ether 8:18-26)

Note: The Book of Mormon contains many prophecies pertinent to our time, one of the most significant being the one included here. It should be seriously considered by Mormons and non-Mormons alike because of the existing conditions in the world today and the terrible consequences that could result.

And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God;

[6]For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man.

And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.

And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, [7] nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded.

The White Horse Prophecy

Attributed to Joseph Smith, 1843-1844

(See The White Horse Prophecy, Kraut, pp. 19-25)

You will go to the Rocky Mountains, and you will see a great and mighty people established, which I will call the White Horse of Peace and Safety.

Your enemies will continue to follow you with persecutions, and they will make obnoxious laws against you in Congress to destroy the White Horse.

But you will have a friend or two to defend you and throw out the worst part of the laws, so they will not hurt much.

You must continue to petition Congress all the time, but they will treat you like strangers and aliens, and they will not give you your rights but will govern you with strangers and commissioners;

You will see the Constitution of the United States almost destroyed; it will hang by a thread, and that thread as fine as the finest silk fiber.

[8]At this point the Prophet’s countenance became sad, because as he said, “I love the Constitution. It was made by the inspiration of God, and it will be preserved and saved by the efforts of the White Horse and the Red Horse who will combine in its defense.”

The White Horse will raise an ensign on the tops of the mountains of peace and safety where all nations may flee unto for safety.

The time will come when the banks in every nation will fail, and only two places will be safe where the people can deposit their gold and treasure. These places will be with the White Horse and England’s vaults.

A terrible revolution will take place in the land of America, such as has never been seen before, for the land will be literally left without a supreme government, and every species of wickedness will run rampant; it will be so terrible that father will be against son and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against mother. The most terrible scenes of murder and bloodshed and rapine that have ever been looked upon will take place.

Peace will be taken from the earth, and there will be no peace only in the Rocky Mountains. This will cause hundreds and thousands of the honest in heart of the world to gather there, not because they would be saints, but for safety, and because they would not take up the sword against their neighbors.

You will be so numerous that you will be in danger of famine, but not for the want of seed time and harvest, but that so many will have to be fed. Many will come with bundles under their arms to escape the calamities, and there will be no escape, only by fleeing to Zion.

[9]Those that come to you will try and keep the laws and be one with you, for they will see your unity and the greatness of your organizations.

The Lord took of the best blood of the nations, and planted them on the small island now called England, or Great Britain, and gave them great powers in the nations for a thousand years, and this power will continue with them, that they may keep the balance of power, that they may keep Russia from usurping power over all the world.

England and France are now bitter enemies, but they will be allied together in order to keep Russia from conquering the world.

The Black Horse will flee to the invaders and will join with them, for they will have fear of becoming slaves again, knowing England does not believe in slavery, fleeing to them, they believed would make them safe. Armed with British bayonets, the doings of the Black Horse will be terrible.

So the Prophet said he could not bear to look longer upon the scene as shown him in vision, that he asked the Lord to close the scene.

Continuing, he said: “During this time, the great White Horse will have gathered strength, sending out elders to get the honest in heart of the United States to stand by the Constitution of the United States, as it was given by inspiration of the Lord. In these days, God will set up a kingdom, never to be thrown down, for other kingdoms to come unto, and these kingdoms that will not let the gospel be preached will be humbled until they will.

Peace and safety in the Rocky Mountains will be protected by a cord and band of the White Horse and the Red Horse.”

[10]At this point he made a pause, and looking up as though the vision was still in view, he said, “There is a land beyond the Rocky Mountains (the west coast) that will be invaded by the heathen Chinese, unless great care and protection are given. Speaking of the heathen, where there is no law, there is no condemnation; this will apply to them.

Power will be given the White Horse to rebuke nations afar off and they will obey, not that they will be one with the White Horse, but when the law goes forth, they will obey, for the law will go forth from Zion.

The last great struggle Zion will have to contend with will be when the whole of America will be made the Zion of God.

Those opposing will be called Gog and Magog. The nations of the world led by the Russian Czar and their power, will be great, but all opposition will be overcome, and this land will be then the Zion of our God.

Joseph Smith:

Note: Joseph Smith established one of the fastest growing churches in the nation, founded many cities, sent missionaries to many places throughout the world, published several books, etc. As a prophet, he literally made hundreds of prophecies, with perhaps the best known being about the Civil War, published about 30 years before it occurred: “. . . the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, …beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina.” (D & C 87:3, 1) Another of Joseph’s prophecies—this one still yet to be fulfilled—is as follows:

[11]And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. (Doc. History of the Church 1:315)

Brigham Young:

Note: As successor to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young confirmed the prophecies of the Prophet Joseph and gave several of his own, at least two of which concerned the downfall of the United States:

Joseph said that if they succeeded in taking his life, which they did, war and confusion would come upon the nation, and they would destroy each other, and there would be mob upon mob from one end of the country to the other. Have they got through? No, they have only just commenced the work of wasting life and property. (JD 10:255)

* * *

The nation that kills the prophets of God in any age must expect to reap cursings instead of blessings, unless it speedily repent. Judgment must begin at the house of God first, and we are perfectly willing it should. I told General Kane that the government of the United States would be shivered to pieces. (JD 12:119)

[12] John Taylor:

God will lay his hand upon this nation, and they will feel it more terribly than ever they have done before; there will be more bloodshed, more ruin, more devastation than ever they have seen before. (JD 20:318)

* * *

Note: Excerpts from one of John Taylor’s visions as related in the Edward Lunt home, Cedar City, Utah:

He (John Taylor) saw Salt Lake City become a great and beautiful city with cement streets and roads and the people had become wealthy. Great beautiful homes covered the city, and he said that the city was extended almost to the point of the mountain. The people had become indifferent to the counsel and advice of the authorities of the Church, and were more interested in the accumulating of wealth than they were in living their religion, and at this time there began to be war and bloodshed.

He saw blood running down the gutters of Salt Lake City as though it were water. People were fighting among themselves until it became so serious that the entire Church records were all taken across the Colorado River. President Taylor said to her [Mrs. Lunt], “If you are alive at that time, be sure that you are not far behind the records, because after the Church records leave and are secure, the very powers of hell will be turned loose, and there will be such destruction that but very little life will remain.

Not only Salt Lake but other adjoining cities will be destroyed, and in the east, in Missouri, in Jackson County, civilization will become entirely extinct. All [13] means of transportation, such as railroads and highways, will be destroyed; the only means of travel will be on foot, and all manufacturing of all kinds will be entirely destroyed. Be sure when you see these things come, see that you have buttons, needles and things to work with in order to make yourself clothing, thread and cloth as far as possible because all tools and every kind of machinery will be destroyed. (See Visions of the Latter Days, Kraut, pp. 99-102)

* * *

Note: Excerpts from a vision received by John Taylor and related by Wilford Woodruff:

I [John Taylor] then looked over the country; in every direction as far as I could see, a similar condition prevailed. I then passed eastward above the earth and looking down saw many people coming west, mostly women who were carrying small bundles on their backs, and I thought it strange that there were so few men among them. They were on their way to the mountains, and I wondered how they could get there as the railroads were abandoned and the rails were in bad condition.

I continued on my way passing through Omaha, Council Bluffs, and Iowa, and saw many women moving about in an excited manner. Sickness and death prevailed on all sides. The inhabitants of Illinois and Missouri were in dreadful condition, the men and women killing each other in the most brutal manner.

Next I visited the city of Washington, D.C., and found the place deserted and in ruins. From there I went to Baltimore and on the square, where stands the monument of 1812, dead bodies of the inhabitants [14] of the place were piled in heaps. While there I saw mothers cut the throats of their own children and drink the blood in order to quench their thirst. The waters of the Chesapeake Bay were so befouled from the effect of dead bodies that the water could not be used. Sickness and death prevailed throughout the city and the stench was something awful.

I thought surely that this must be the end of suffering, but when I visited the city of Philadelphia, I found the place in ruins and the smell from dead bodies was beyond anything one could imagine. (See Visions of the Latter Days, Kraut, pp. 103-107.)

Wilford Woodruff:

When I contemplate the condition of our nation, and see that wickedness and abominations are increasing, so much so that the whole heavens groan and weep over the abominations of this nation and the nations of the earth, I ask myself the question, can the American nation escape? The answer comes, No; its destruction, as well as the destruction of the world, is sure; just as sure as the Lord cut off and destroyed the two great and prosperous nations that once inhabited this continent of North and South America because of their wickedness, so will he them destroy, and sooner or later they will reap the fruits of their own wicked acts, and be numbered among the past.

I cannot help it; I would to God they would repent, that their eyes might be opened to see their condition; but the devil has power over them; he rules the children of men, he holds Babylon in his own hand, and leads the people whithersoever he will. There are [15] changes awaiting us, they are even nigh at our very doors, and I know it by the revelations of Jesus Christ; I know it by the visions of heaven; I know it by the administrations of angels, and I know it by the inspiration of heaven, that is given to all men who seek the Lord; and the hand of God will not stay these things. We have no time to lose. (JD 21:301)

Jedediah M. Grant:

I look for the Lord to use His whip on the refractory son called “Uncle Sam”; I expect to see him chastised among the first of the nations. I think Uncle Sam is one of the Lord’s boys that He will take the rod to first, and make him dance nimbly to his own tune of, “Oh! Oh!” for his transgressions, for his high mindedness and loftiness, for his evil, for rejecting the Gospel, and causing the earth to drink the blood of the Saints—for this, I say, I expect he will be well switched among the first of the sons. (JD 2:148)

Newman Bulkley:

(Vision published in Springville, Utah, Jan. 8, 1886)

Suddenly I awoke, and sleep departed from me, and the vision of my mind was opened, and I beheld the members of the Senate of the United States. And while in session they were hurled from the hall by an unseen power. They rallied again, and the second time they were thrown from the hall. They rallied the third time and were again thrown from the hall with such violence that a great number of them were killed. All those that remained alive had the name of “EDMUNDS” printed on their foreheads.

[16]Next I saw a whirlwind commence in the center of the House of Representatives which increased until it frightened all the members out of the House, and they then scattered to various parts of the United States; and the inhabitants of the city of Washington, D.C., became frightened and scattered until the city became almost desolate.

Then I saw a great tumult commence all over the United States, which ended in a great deal of blood being shed. And a great many of the people who had heard our Elders preach, and had believed what they heard, but had not had the courage to embrace the Gospel when they heard it, gathered what little effects they could take with them, and came to this people in the Rocky Mountains.

Then I saw many thousands of women and children take refuge in the timber, hazel rough, or any place they could conceal themselves from the turmoil that was going on in the States.

Orson Pratt:

But what about the American nation? That war that destroyed the lives of some fifteen or sixteen hundred thousand people was nothing, compared to that which will eventually devastate that country. The time is not very far distant in the future, when the Lord God will lay his hand heavily upon that nation. . . . That same God who gave the revelation to his servant Joseph Smith in regard to these matters, will fulfill every jot and every tittle that has been spoken, concerning that nation. What then will be the condition of that people, when this great and terrible war shall come? It will be very different from the war between the North and the South.

[17]Do you wish me to describe it? I will do so. It will be a war of neighborhood against neighborhood, city against city, town against town, country against country, state against state, and they will go forth destroying and being destroyed, and manufacturing will, in a great measure, cease, for a time, among the american nation. Why? Because in these terrible wars, they will not be privileged to manufacture, there will be too much bloodshed—too much mobocracy—too much going forth in bands and destroying and pillaging the land to suffer people to pursue any local vocation with any degree of safety.

What will become of millions of the farmers upon the land? They will leave their farms and they will remain uncultivated, and they will flee before the ravaging armies from place to place; and thus will they go forth burning and pillaging the whole country; and that great and powerful nation, now consisting of some forty millions of people, will be wasted away, unless they repent. Now these are predictions you may record. You may let them sink down into your hearts. (JD 20:151)

Millennial Star editorial (Sept. 1880):

This generation shall be visited by an overflowing scourge. Of the precise nature of it we are not informed. It shall pass over the nations night and day. The affects of this visitation will be so direful and calamitous that the reports of its terrible ravages will fill all people with vexation. The operations of this fear-inspiring and destructive agent will continue until the appearance of the Lord in his glory.

[18] Some of the judgments are definite as to locality. As an instance may be cited the approaching disruption of the United States of America. One of the horrors announced by the prophet upon that nation is now a matter of history—the war of the Rebellion. Another and more appalling condition awaits that ill-fated people. It shall fall upon them like the visitation of a whirlwind, sweeping the country like a mighty flood. The populace will be divided into innumerable factions, and blood, carnage and woe will be rampant among them, filling the hearts of the more peacefully disposed with fear and dismay. Many may laugh at such a prediction, but, unless the people repent, it will come as surely as night follows day. Weakened and powerless from internal broils and disturbances, the nation will become a prey to the remnants left of the aboriginal inhabitants, who will be filled with vengeful rage at the wrongs that have been perpetrated upon them and furiously spread destruction in every direction. (Mill. Star, see pp. 584-587.)

Charles D. Evans:

Note: Charles D. Evans was a school teacher in Springville, Utah. His vision was published in 1893, and excerpts are included below:

My vision now became extended in a marvelous manner, and the import of past labors of Elders was made plain to me. I saw multitudes fleeing to our place of safety in our mountain heights, that was established in the wilderness. Simultaneously the nation had reached an unparalleled prosperity. Wealth abounded, new territory was acquired, commerce extended, [19] finance strengthened, confidence was maintained, and people abroad pointed to here as a model nation—the ideal of the past now realized and perfected—the embodiment of the liberty which was sung by poets and sought for by sages.

“But,” continued the messenger, “thou beholdest a change. Confidence is lost, wealth is arrayed against labor, labor against wealth, yet the land abounds in plenty of food and raiment, and silver and gold in abundance. Thou seest also the letters written by a Jew have wrought a great confusion in the finance of the nation; which together with the policy of many wealthy ones, has produced distress and do produce further sorrows.”

Factions now sprang up as if by magic. Capital had entrenched itself against labor, and throughout the land labor was organized in opposition to capital. The voice of the wise sought to tranquilize their powerful factors in vain. Excited multitudes ran wildly about, strikes increased, lawlessness sought a place in the regular government.

At this juncture, I saw floating in air a banner whereupon was written, “Bankruptcy, famine, floods, cyclones, blood, and plagues.” Mad with rage, men and women rushed upon each other. Blood flowed down the streets of cities like water. Thousands of bodies lay unentombed in the streets. Men and women fell dead from terror inspired by fear. This was but the precursor of the bloody work of the morrow. all around lay the mournfulness of a past in ruins. Monuments erected to perpetuate the names of the noble and brave men, were ruthlessly destroyed by combustibles.

A voice now sounded these words: “Yet once again I shake not only the earth, but also heaven, and [20] this word once again signifies the removing of things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things that cannot be shaken, may remain.”

Earthquakes rent the earth in vast chasms which engulfed multitudes. Terrible groanings and wailings filled the air. The shrieks of the suffering were indescribably awful. Waters rushed in from the tumultuous ocean, whose very roaring under the mad rage of fierce cyclones was unendurable to the ear. Cities were carried away in an instant. Missiles were hurled through the atmosphere at a terrible velocity, and people were carried upward only to fall. Islands appeared where ocean waves once tossed the gigantic steamer. In other parts, voluminous flames emanating from vast fires, rolled with fearful velocity, destroying life and property in their destructive course.

The seal of the dread menace of despair was stamped on every human visage. Men fell exhausted, appalled and trembling. Every element of agitated nature seemed a demon of wrathful fury. Dense clouds, blacker than midnight, obscured the sunlight with a thunder that reverberated with intonations which shook the earth. Darkness reigned unrivaled and supreme. * * *

A foreign power had inroaded the nation, and from every human indication, it appeared as if it would seize the government and supplant it with monarchy.

I stood trembling at the aspect, when a power arose in the west which declared itself in favor of the Constitution in its original form. To this suddenly rising power, every lover of constitutional rights gave hearty support. The struggle was fiercely contested, but the Stars and Stripes floated in the breeze, and bidding liberty to all, waved proudly over the land.

[21]Among the many banners, I saw one inscribed thus: “The government based on the Constitution now and forever!” On another there was: “Liberty of Conscience!” And there were several others, both religious and political.

Parley P. Pratt: Excerpts from “Angel of the Prairies”:

Note: The following narrative, written by Parley P. Pratt in the similitude of a dream or vision, was read in a church council in Nauvoo, Illinois, about 1843-44, in the presence of Joseph Smith. It was never published until 1879, when it appeared in the “Northern Light”. In 1880 it was republished as a pamphlet by Abinadi Pratt, and titled “Angel of the Prairies; A Dream of the Future.” Much of this prophetic vision, has already been fulfilled, so there is a very good chance that those parts pertaining to the future will also come to pass.

With these thoughts still deeply working in my mind, I pursued my journey, and at the close of day arrived at an humble cottage where, with an appetite sharpened by fatigue, I partook of such simple refreshments as the place afforded, and retired to rest, my mind still filled with thoughts more sublimely great, grand and solemn than had ever before occupied my bosom. A deep and unquiet slumber soon came over me, and my mind was carried away in a most extraordinary vision. A messenger of a mild and intelligent countenance, suddenly stood before me, arrayed in robes of dazzling splendor, “Fear not,” said he, “thou son of mortal! for I am the Angel of the Prairies. I hold the keys of the mysteries of this [22] wonderful country, and to me is committed the fate of empires and the destiny of nations. Come then, with me, and I will show thee the secret purposes of fate in relation to this, the most extraordinary of all countries!” * * *

I turned toward the east and inquired after the great family of States which had once constituted the united Republic of E Pluribus Unum. These, I believed, were vastly more populous and wealthy than formerly. But they seemed no longer identified as States, with their former geographical boundaries and political forms of government. At this I was greatly astonished, as I had been early impressed with the idea of the future greatness and permanency of our national institutions. Turning to the guide, I inquired by what strange connection of events, or by what mighty revolutions the American system had been dissolved, and its elements blended with this great central and universal government, which, notwithstanding my former prepossessions, I was constrained to acknowledge as far superior in excellence, glory and perfection to the former. To this inquiry the Angel of the Prairies replied as follows:

“The American system was indeed glorious in its beginning, and was founded by wise and good men, in opposition to long established abuses and oppressive systems of the Old World. But it had its weaknesses and imperfections. These were taken advantage of by wicked and conspiring men, who were unwisely placed at the head of government, and who, by a loose and corrupt administration, gradually undermined that beautiful structure. In their polluted hands justice faltered, truth fell to the ground, equity could not enter, and virtue fled into the wilderness. A blind, sectarianized and corrupt populace formed them-[23]selves into numerous mobs, overturned the laws, and put at defiance the administration thereof. These were either joined by the officers of government or secretly winked at and encouraged by them, until the injured and persecuted friends of law and order, finding no protection or redress, were forced to abandon their country and its institutions, now no longer in force, and to retreat into the wilderness, with the loss of a vast amount of property and many valuable lives. these carried with them the spirit of liberty which seemed as a cement to form them into union, and thus was formed a nucleus around which rallied by degrees all the virtue and patriotism of the nation. Thus rallied and re-organized, the bold and daring sons of liberty were able to stand in their own defense, and to hurl defiance upon their former enemies. Thus the spirit of freedom had withdrawn from the mass and they were abandoned, like King Saul of old, to destruction. Divisions and contentions arose, and multiplied to that degree that they soon destroyed each other, deluged the country in blood, and thus ended the confederation under the title of E Pluribus Unum.

“The remnant who fled into the wilderness and rallied to the standard of liberty on the plains of the West, combining the wisdom of former experience with the light of truth which shone into their hearts from above, laid the foundation of their perfect form of government—this mighty empire of liberty which you now see, and the institutions of which you shall be more fully informed in due time. The wisdom, intelligence and peace which flowed from this centre soon served as an ensign to the nations abroad. This filled some with envy, others with admiration and delight. The good, the great, the noble, the generous and [24] patriotic lovers of truth rallied from all nations, and joining the standard of freedom, were a constantly increasing strength to their new and perfect organization. While by the same means the old and corrupt institutions were proportionately weakened and abandoned.

This soon stirred the envy and jealousy of old and corrupt powers to that degree that they united in a general declaration of war against their young and more prosperous neighbors. These allied powers sent out an armament of five hundred ships of the line, and half a million of men. their object was not only to gratify their vengeance and envy, but their avarice and ambition. They aimed at nothing less than the subjugation and plunder of the whole country. These powers were a portion of them landed, with implements and effects, and the remainder reserved on board their ships. They were met by the sons of liberty, both by sea and land, who were at length victorious, and this whole army were overcome, and their riches and armor, which was immense were taken for spoil.

This brilliant victory greatly enriched and strengthened the new empire of freedom, and at the same time nearly ruined the nations who commenced the war. They sued for peace, and finally obtained it on condition of perfect submission to the will of the conquerors. This gave them new and liberal laws and institutions, broke off the fetters of their old masters, and utterly forbade the use of arms or the art of war. These brilliant and highly commendable measures soon opened the eyes of millions more, and won them to the cause of liberty and truth. Other and distant nations, who had watched all these movements at length, saw the beauties of liberty and felt the force of truth, till [25] finally, with one consent, they joined the same standard. Thus, in one short century, the world is revolutionized; tyranny is dethroned; war has ceased forever; peace is triumphant, and truth and knowledge cover the earth.”

Thus spake the Angel of the Prairies; and when he had ceased to speak, I still continued to listen; for such a blaze of glory and intelligence burst at once upon my view, and events so passing strange, so complicated, so unlooked for, had taken place in a single century, and had been related to me in so masterly a manner, that I stood overwhelmed with astonishment and wonder, and could hardly believe my senses. “Is it possible,” thought I, “that a republic founded upon the most liberal principles, and established by the sweat and blood and tears of our renowned ancestors, and so cherished and respected by their children, has faded like the dazzling splendor of the morning’s dawn? has withered like an untimely flower? and that, too, by the corruption of its own degenerate sons, the very persons who should have cherished it forever? Where was the spirit of patriotism, of freedom, of love of country which had once characterized the sons of liberty, and warmed the bosoms of Americans?”

With reflections like these I had commenced a lamentation over my fallen, lost and ruined country. But suddenly recollecting myself, and calling to mind the other events which had been related, my sorrow was turned into joy. I saw, although there had been great corruption and a general overthrow of our government and its institutions, yet many of the sons of noble sires had stood firm and unshaken in the cause of freedom; even amid the wreck of states and the crash of thrones, they had maintained their [26] integrity, and when they had no longer a country or government to fight for, they retired to the plains of the West, carrying with them the pure spirit of freedom. There, in the midst of a more extensive, a richer and a better country, they had established a government more permanent, strong and lasting, and vastly more extensive and glorious, combining strength and solidity, with the most perfect liberty and freedom. Nor had their labors been confined to the narrow limits of their own immediate country and nation, but had burst the chains of tyranny and broken the yoke of bondage from the growing millions of all nations and colors; and where darkness, ignorance, superstition, cruelty and bloodshed had held dominion for ages, light had sprung up, truth had triumphed, and peace had commenced its universal reign. And where, a century ago, an extensive and fertile country lay desolate and lone, or partially occupied by ignorant and cruel savages, hundreds of millions of intelligent and happy beings were now enjoying all the sweets of domestic felicity.

Why then, thought I, shall I mourn? The labors of our fathers were not in vain. On the contrary, the results have been a thousand times more glorious than their most sanguine expectations. The spirit of their institutions has been cherished and maintained. Their temple of liberty enlarged and perfected; while the dross has been separated and destroyed, and the chaff blown to the four winds.

[27] Parley P. Pratt: Excerpts from “The Coming Crisis”

(Mill. Star 15:273-276, 289-292, Apr. 30, 1853)

Note: These excerpts are taken from a little publication foretelling the future of America, published in 1853 under the title of “The Coming Crisis.” Although no author’s name was given at the time, it is attributed to Parley P. Pratt. This message should be studied more now than ever before.

A great and awful crisis is at hand—such a crisis was never known before since the foundation of the world. All nations are looking through the misty future, in order to decry, if possible, what is about to happen. Many sermons have been preached, many speeches have been made, and some pamphlets have been published, with the hope of lifting up the veil of the future. * * *

I say again, that God the Highest of all will make bare His arm in the eyes of all nations. And the heavens even will be rent, and the lighting down of His power will be felt by all nations. * * *

Whatever exalts and opposes itself to God, that is anti-Christ, whether it is a civil or religious power. But the most formidable power that will be arrayed against Christ and his Saints in the last days, will consist in the Revelations of Satan. These revelations of Satan will come through every medium and channel by which the cunning and power of Satan can be brought to bear against the Saints and their Lord. It is a great mistake to suppose that Satan is altogether a religious personage. No, far from this. He is a politician, a philosopher, an erudite scholar, a linguist, a metaphysician, a military commander, a prince, a god, a necromancer, an enchant-[28]er, a diviner, a magician, a sorcerer, a prophet, and (if it were not railing) a clergyman and liar from the beginning. With these universal endowments, he has never hitherto made a full and grand exhibition of himself, as it remains for him to do. But the Lord, who gave him an opportunity to try his battery upon good old Job, is fully designing to give him sufficient apparatus to deceive all the nations that love not the truth, and have pleasure in unrighteousness. His signs and tokens are as ancient as the Apostacy of Cain, and as varied as will suit the secret designs of all ages. * * *

Now don’t doubt what I say concerning this matter, but rather read the history of his skillful exploits and his mighty power, as they are recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Take a Bible and Concordance, and read attentively for yourselves, and you will there learn that I am telling you the truth. ***

Now there is a greater destruction coming upon the wicked nations of the earth, than was even experienced by Pharaoh at the Red Sea. But before that destruction can be made manifest, men’s hearts will be hardened, and wickedness will rise to a more overtowering height than many bygone generations have been allowed to witness. * * *

And great shall be that scene. The Devil in the last stage of desperation, will take such a pre-eminent lead in literature, politics, philosophy, and religion; in wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, thunderings and lightnings, setting cities in conflagration, etc., that mighty kings and powerful nations will be constrained to fall down and worship him. * * *

The great capabilities of the elements of fire, air, earth, and water, will be brought into requisition by [29] cunning men under the superior cunning of the Prince and God of this world. And, inflated with the knowledge of these wonderful arts and powers, men will become boasters, heady, high-minded, proud, and despisers of that which is good. But the God who is above all, and over all, and who ruleth in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth, will not be a silent observer of such spiritual wickedness in high places, and among the rulers of the darkness of this world. For the master spirits of wickedness of all ages, and of worlds visible and invisible, will be arrayed in the rebellious ranks before the closing scene shall transpire. Now just at this time, God will come out of His hiding place and vex the nations in his hot displeasure. * * *

For it cannot be denied that facts and truths will constitute such a measure of the ingredients of these mysterious and wonderful arts as to give them an irresistible strength of conviction to those who are unenlightened by the spirit of God. And so far as facts and truths are mingled, it must also be acknowledged that God, the true and living Sovereign of heaven and earth, will contribute to produce the delusion. He has said that “He will send them strong delusions that they might believe a lie.” He gives His reason and apology for acting after this strange manner—because, knowing the truth, they do not love it unadulterated. And knowing God, they do not choose to glorify Him as God. Therefore their foolish hearts become darkened, and God suffers Satan to compound and mix up truth and error in such proportions as to be captivating and strongly delusive. As a snare, this composition will be ingeniously mixed and administered to all nations, by skillful and practiced hands.* * *

[30]And who shall be able to withstand? Do you think that your great sagacity and the compass of your profound, philosophical turn of mind will enable you to detect the error and delusion of these arts? Oh, man, this is a vain hope. Your mind will not be competent to detect the delusion. God Himself will allow Satan to ply your scrutinizing eye with powers and sophistications far beyond your capacity to detect. Do you say then, I will stand aloof from investigation, I will shun all acquaintance with these mysterious workings, in order that I may not be carried away with their delusive influence? Vain hope. Oh man, you cannot be neutral. You must choose your side and put on your armor. Those that come not up to the help of the Lord in the day of battle, will be sorely cursed. * * *

Reader, if you live long, you will be compelled to take a side for God or for Satan. Satan was allowed to try a compulsory process upon as good a man as Job. The whirlwind and tempestuous elements, with disease and death, were put into Satan’s hand that he might compel Job to abandon his integrity. Had not Job possessed the key of revelation from God, he would have been compelled to have made peace with Satan and forsake the Lord. * * *

Your being a minister of some church, will not serve as the least screen for you against the hot indignation of God, unless you have the law and the testimony of the true and living god made known to you personally. For the time has come that God will write His law upon every man’s heart, that will receive it, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. And against him that hath this law, the gates of hell never have prevailed and never will prevail. Heaven and earth shall pass away before a jot of this law shall be made to succumb to wicked men or devils. The [31] heavens have been shaken once when angels rebelled, and they are destined to another shaking even with the earth. * * *

When you yourself have the promised gift of discerning of spirits, then you will not have to ask your neighbor, who is an imposter and who is not—you will know from the Fountain Head all about it just as well as the next person. He that is spiritual judgeth all things. Many things are hard to be understood and reconciled, which the unstable and unlearned stumble at, even as formerly—he that is spiritual can easily judge all things, but he that is not spiritual can judge nothing correctly, for he is blind, and he cannot see afar off. * * *

Reader, be resolute! This is a critical and trying moment with you. And this is God’s call unto you. Don’t refuse when He calls you! And if you are honestly, without prejudice, meditating upon what you now read, then God’s Spirit is sweetly persuading you to believe what I say. The faint dawn of the Spirit is even now upon your mind. Now, reader, cherish this little dawn of light until the daylight of more truth shines more clearly upon your mind. Pray mightily for the Spirit of Revelation to rest upon you, that you may know the things that are freely given to you of God.


 

[1]                        The Bible and the Taxman

by

Ogden Kraut

Taxes have existed since the establishment of the first government among men. But taxes can, like anything else, be just or unjust, beneficial or abusive—and the line between them is difficult to recognize. The Bible, as usual, is a textbook even for this interesting and sometimes controversial subject.

From the first book of the Bible, and almost its first chapter, we discover the words, “And thou shalt rule over him” as part of the issue of government between Cain and Abel. This was only a government between two young men; however, Cain was warned that if he did well, it would be acceptable; but if not, sin would come knocking at his door. This was to become a precedent for individuals and governments forever after. And in every succeeding generation, when men sought to develop a system of government, a revenue agent was usually there—either as a Dr. Jekyl or a Mr. Hyde.

 

[2]                        Joseph—the Revenue Man

 

Throughout history there never was a more beloved taxman than Joseph in Egypt. Although he was a foreigner in a strange land, and a welfare case of the lowest form, he arose to gain the respect of every nation of the world.

A “grievous” depression was about to befall the world, but Joseph’s wisdom and inspirational foresight would prove equal to the problem. Joseph’s plan “was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants”, for which he was raised to the highest position of public trust. He not only became President of the Egyptian Federal Reserve Bank and the head of the Department of Agriculture, but he was the National Director of the Internal Revenue Service! And the Pharaoh added, “according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled.” Quite a position for a lad only 30 years old! Without a diploma from Harvard University, nor any degree in law, this young man was going to attempt to rule the world!

Joseph’s first step in solving the nation’s problem was to impose a 20% tax. This has a very familiar and dull ring in our own ears, but his program was entirely different — both in principle and purpose. His 1040 form consisted of a “one-fifth” taxation. (See Gen. 41:34) to be equally shared by everyone. The rich could find no tax-exempt foundations, nor corporative trusts, neither were there any technical loopholes to leave the middle-class worker to bear the burden on April 15th.

Joseph’s Federal Reserve Bank, dissimilar to those of today, was filled with corn, rather than gold, and furthermore it would be returned to the taxpayers in a time of depression. His bank was established for the purpose of rehabilitating the destitute, rather than foreclosure, repossession, confiscation and eviction. This taxation, though seemingly heavy, was imposed during the “plenteous years” as a trust against the forthcoming “lean years”. This was a tax for the preservation of the people and a reconstruction of the nation during “grievous” times. Joseph didn’t allow any tax money for a multitude of governmental departments, agencies or commissions. It was peculiarly simple. Joseph’s tax system was imposed upon all [3] the people, “except the land of the priests only.” (See Gen. 47:26) Hence, the only tax-exempt status enjoyed by anyone were those involved with the rites of religion. This was a wise and important regulation, for a multitude of reasons too numerous to mention here; but it was to be observed throughout Biblical history by good governments and even some that were bad.

Finally the “years of plenteousness were ended” and the “dearth was in all lands.” We read that “all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” (See Gen. 41:57) Foreign nations were crying for Foreign Aid! Did Joseph believe in huge giveaway programs? Was the taxpayers money to be used to fatten the treasuries of aliens? The famine continued even after they had spent all their money for food; but Joseph refused to give them the taxpayers’ food. It reads in the Bible that Joseph said, “Give your cattle; and I will give you [bread].”

And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. (Gen. 4:17)

But the famine continued. The next year the ambassadors of many nations came to plead again, but their money was gone, their cattle were gone, and “there is ought left but our bodies and our lands,” they cried. It was a very pitiful plea — enough to touch the heart of anyone. Would Joseph give away his people’s tax money now? NO!

Joseph made them an offer and they “sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s,” and the people became his servants. “Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh,” but the people did not complain; rather they were grateful and replied, “Thou hast saved our lives… and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.”

Joseph became a conqueror of nations, yet he never declared war nor did even fire a shot. Indeed, he gained the highest admiration and respect from everyone. This young man, who was sold as a slave by his brothers, and put into prison by the Egyptians, said they “thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good …. to save much people alive.”

[4]We should inquire of our heads of state with the same question asked by Pharaoh — “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” (See Gen. 41:38). For surely in our day we need one!

 

Israel‘s Taxmen—Good Guys and Bad

 

Many succeeding generations, of both nations and individuals, rose and fell — but only a few preserved their respectability. Usually governments, like our television cowboys, would exchange their white hats for the black ones. Too often men who acquired great power and riches were still faced with the problem of temptation! Regardless of how numerous their flocks and herds, or the degree of their royalty and riches, they were always tempted to take property and freedom from others. This vicious business of graft and greed was noted by wise old Solomon, who declared that “he that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase…”. (Ecc. 5:10)

The twelve tribes of Israel were often overtaxed by their own leaders; but after their separation, they became the victims of terrible and oppressive foreign taxes. The misery they suffered, however, was the result of their own frailties.

Samuel the Prophet religiously led the Israelites in freedom and prosperity until they cried to have a ruler “like the other nations.” The Lord told Samuel that if they did, they would be rejecting Him; nevertheless, they could have a ruler according to their desire. Samuel warned the Israelites that their new president would levy a 10% tax on their lands and sheep, their sons would become soldiers, their daughters would be servants, and even their asses would be in the king’s service. But, in spite of the warning, “the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations…”. (1 Sam. 8:19-20) But bitter water can be known only by its taste, and the Israelites soon tasted a tax system that would pucker their purse for many generations to come.

The Israelites got their worldly leader and the graduated income tax that came with him. His revenues, like the coils of a snake, squeezed out their freedom and their property. [5] Finally, in an appeal to the son of one of their leaders, they asked for lower taxes, but Rehoboam, their leader, responded, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke!” Rehoboam sent Adoram, his tax collector, out to grab all their greenbacks, but the Israelites responded by having a “Boston Tea Party” in his honor. Since there was no tea, nor any harbor, they did the next best thing — all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died.” (1 Kings 12:18 and 2 Chron. 10:18) Rehoboam got the message and quickly saddled up and rode off into the sunset.

Another rascal soon appeared in the presidential chair named Menahem. He reigned ten years over Israel, but “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord” and he “made Israel to sin.” His length of public service is confined to two verses in the Bible. They describe his bribe with the king of Assyria for “a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel….” (2 Kings 15:19-20) For collecting money from his people and buying favors from foreigners, we read that “Menahem slept with his fathers” in the local graveyard.

Similarly another scamp named Jehoiakim “exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land… to give it unto Pharaoh”; so “… he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.” (2 Kings 23:37) The result of giving Israel’s tax money to foreigners was that the Lord sent “the Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites against Judah,” and Jehoiakim was buried with his fathers.

It was because of these many financial miscarriages that the Israelites incorporated a solemn truth into their sacred writings which read: “In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.” (Pro. 15:6) It was a sorrowful lesson that Israelites would learn over and over again.

After the unity among the tribes of Israel became dissolved, the Israelites were subject to many foreign taxes. The Assyrians were quick to tax Judah and Israel (Kings 16:8), and later Judah made the foolish mistake of displaying their wealth to an envoy from Babylon. The Lord’s warning had [6] been that they would see it “carried into Babylon and nothing shall be left.” (2 Kings 20:14-17) Sure enough they did.

Judah’s taxes evolved to become an excruciating purse pain, and they wailed, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute from our lands and vineyards.” But an evil tax collector knows neither mercy nor repentance. Their philosophy is that a little tax is good, so a lot of tax should be better. The poor Judeans suffered not only debt from taxation, but they mourned “we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants . . . neither is it in our power to redeem them.” (Neh. 5:5) How amazing that our tax system today could be patterned after an antiquated system nearly 3,000 years old!

How did Nehemiah, the ancient prophet of God, handle this aggravating situation? When he heard the howls of these agonized victims of financial oppression, he said, “I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, `ye exact usury’ … and I set a great assembly against them.” (Neh. 5:3-7) The old prophet was a tax fighter!

Sometimes the tables were turned. When the wise old Solomon became king, he conquered other nations, and appointed a “tribute” from his captives for the construction of the temple and a wall around Jerusalem. The contributors were the “Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hibites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel.” (1 Kings 9:20-21; 2 Chron. 17:11) This was a system of taxation that should have been preserved. When any nation made war on another nation and lost, they would have to pay taxes. That would make every warlike people think twice about formulating any wars, because if they lost they would become slaves or servants. If such a tax program would have been implemented after World War I, there would have been no World War II, and certainly everyone would have been pleased for that peaceful condition.

This tax practice also existed in the days of Joshua, for it was written that “Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.” (Josh. 17:25) It was known to exist even in the days of Christ for when Jesus asked Peter, “of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute, of their own children, or of strangers”, Peter answered and “saith unto him, Of strangers”. (17:25-26)

[7]The Lord once warned the revenue agents that “your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat . . . ;” so He promised them that their houses built “of hewn stone” would be desolate and “ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.” (Amos 5:11) Then again, reminding them that taxes were not to be imposed upon the poor, He said, “O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail… I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation… and the end thereof as a bitter day.” (Amos 8:4 & 10) These shrewd rulers had accomplished this affliction upon the poor by creating inflation — they made “the ephah small, and the shekel great!” (Amos 8:5) Great Scott! They also had international bankers! We have watched in our own country the International devaluation of the American dollar and rise of the Russian ruble.

Daniel, another ancient prophet, warned the people of a king in Persia who would be “a raiser of taxes”; but God was provoked by this nefarious deed and explained to Daniel that within a few days “he shall be destroyed” (Dan. 11:20), and accordingly the raiser of taxes met his eternal destination!

 

Church and State Segregation

 

Throughout Biblical history, priests or ministers of God have usually been tax exempt. Artaxerxes, king of Persia, once wrote to Ezra the priest and verified this civil law by saying, “Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethlinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toil, tribute, or custom, upon them.” (Ezra 7:24) This restriction was honored by most nations, and when it wasn’t, they were overthrown or obliterated. When the number of ministers diminishes, the nation is weakened. Taxmen may think there are too many ministers, but Moses didn’t. He wished “that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them.” (Num. 11:29) However, the state has often ruled over churches, and on occasion, church has governed the government.

[8]The healthiest atmosphere has always been where there is a separation of Church and State. But too often the State has demanded revenue from the Church, creating a very perilous risk to the instigators of such usurpation, and to the religious atmosphere of the nation. On the other hand we have witnessed the barbarity that has often fallen to a people who lived under a government that was totalitarian towards theology. Oftentimes wholesale slaughter has occurred by a Church-State. It was Jesus who warned that “the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service”. (John 16:2) The Bible’s weather prophet, Malachi, also forecast a day of burning which was going to burn up the wicked and “leave them neither root nor branch”. Why would they become ashes under the feet of the righteous? Because they had robbed God! And the Lord explained this by saying: “But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Mal. 3:8) If money given to a church is taken by the State, under any pretense, then the government is robbing the churches of their tithes and offerings. This was the awesome warning and conclusion of the Old Testament.

But the ancient prophet Isaiah gives us some hope for the future. More than any other prophet of the Old Testament, he looked to the end of the world and saw that after the destructions came upon it, that a beautiful city in Zion would be built and then would come a millennial reign of peace and prosperity to the world. When marvelling at this beautiful and magnificent condition on earth, he inquired, “Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver?” (Isa. 33:18). He was inferring that in that day there will be no taxman or revenue agents!

 

Christ and the Roman Revenues

 

Caesar Augustus of the Roman Empire and some of our Washington bureaucrats have one thing in common — the foundation of their political pyramid was created by a conglomerate maze of taxes. Caesar became so enthusiastic over taxation that he believed “all the world should be taxed!” (Luke 2:1) In this allusion, he imposed a property tax, an animal tax, a grain tax, a wine tax, a vehicle tax, a road tax, an import and export tax, a salt tax, an income tax and even an [9] emergency tax! Sound familiar! Furthermore, most of the tax collections went to Rome (their Washington, D.C.) where it was doled out by a Federal Welfare System to the Roman citizens who were too lazy to work!

Into this labyrinth of confusion, Christ was born; but He experienced the misery of taxation even before His birth. His pregnant mother was being transported across Judeah to Bethlehem for a poll tax, which was really a registration program to make people eligible for taxation. Part of this peculiar regulation required everyone to return to the place of their birth which created a massive population shuffle. Each person was required to pay a specific amount of money, and a special coin was minted called “tribute” money. (Matt. 22:17 & Mark 12:14)

Another strange tax imposed by the Romans was the temple tax. This was to be paid by all Jewish males over 20 years of age and was used by both the Romans and the Jews to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. However, when these two nations went to war with each other in 70 A.D., the temple was destroyed — but not the temple tax! The money was merely re-routed to Rome, where it was used to build a Roman temple.

Roman tax collectors operated on a rather unusual system which provided for an open-ended commission. Everything collected over the amount of the tax due, was pocketed. It was a lucrative business with a five-year contract, and was always sold to the highest bidder. The local tax man was normally a villain whose object was to overcharge the citizens and underpay the government. Those who became tax collectors were usually despised by everyone and were called “Publicans”.

The Publican system of taxation was a vicious one and it often resulted in extortion as hush-money (Luke 19:8) and overcharging whenever possible (Luke 13:13). These Publicans, or tax collectors, often ransacked homes and businesses, demanding personal or company business files. It was considered the basest of all occupations and “the strong feeling of many Jews as to the absolute unlawfulness of paying tribute at all made matters worse and “accordingly, the publicans of the New Testament were regarded as traitors and apostates, defiled by their frequent intercourse with the heathen, and willing tools of the oppressor.” (Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, p. 543)

[10]Neither did Jesus speak well of these Publicans, or revenue agents, for He classed them with harlots (Matt. 18:17) and with sinners (Matt. 11:19) and with heathen men (Matt. 18:17). When the Publicans came to Jesus to be baptized, they asked, “What shall we do?” Jesus was quick to reply, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” (Luke 3:13) Then when Jesus composed a parable about the Publican and the Pharisee, He described the prayer of the Pharisee as saying: “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, Extortioners, Unjust, Adulterers, or even as this Publican.” (Luke 18:13)

Later, as Jesus walked with a multitude of people along the seaside, He “saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and He said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.” (Mark 2:14) This was not only an unusual situation but also a critical one, because the scribes and Pharisees could not fathom that a man like Christ would ever be seen “eating and drinking with Publicans and Sinners.” Jesus replied that they that are sick need a physician.

Then one day a taxman “of little stature” named Zacchaeus came to see Jesus, even though he had to climb a tree to do it. He was a very peculiar revenue man because of his honesty. He even boasted, that “if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” (Luke 19:1-10) What a taxman! Even Jesus responded by saying, “This day is salvation come to this house!”

Jesus and His apostles were exempt from taxes, and they often carried a purse and handled sums of money. Judas was their acting treasurer. Even though they were usually poor, with only a few pennies among them, they too, soon learned that a cent can, and often does, carry a scent to some tax collectors. Eventually Christ’s apostles were called to a Roman audit, and one of the first questions was, “Doth not your Master pay tribute?” (Matt. 17:24) This was part of a scare tactic; and Peter, being unsure, tried to cooperate by saying “yea.” Satisfied, the publicans left; but when Jesus heard the report, He was aggravated. However, the obligation had been made, so there was no backing out. They would have to pay “lest we should offend them,” Jesus replied. Peter got them into that mess, so he was obligated to bail them out. “Go down to the sea, and cast an hook,” Peter was told, and a fish would pro-[11]vide the money for the tax. Money was found in the mouth of the fish — a very peculiar place for tax money — but sometimes it requires money from many strange places to cough up enough to pay the taxes.

The subject of taxes was always an issue with Christ as it is with most other mortals; and it became one of the principle reasons for His final prosecution. The over-righteous Pharisees were jealous of Jesus “and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk,” and to do so they brought some “Herodians.” Now the Herodians were socially, if not religiously, akin to the Judeans but their political allegiance was to Rome. They confronted Jesus by asking, “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not?” (Matt. 22:17) If He answered negatively, the Herodians could take Him to jail for tax rebellion.

From the nature of the question, it is evident that Jesus had previously spoken against the Roman taxation. Neither would they have bothered to bring the Herodians as arresting officers unless they anticipated using them in their plot to trap Jesus. The scriptures inform us that “Jesus perceived their wickedness” so He gave them an answer they could not refute: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21)

This answer provided for and acknowledged the clean separation between Church and State. But God and politicians never have had much in common. Caesar’s tribute money belonged to the Government; and God’s tithes and offerings belonged to the Church. A Church has no right to take tax money, and a Government has no right to take tithing money. A Church needs no Federal support money, and certainly Church money is not intended to finance Government bureaucracy. If such a condition of mixing religion and politics should ever exist, then the people would have both a moral and legal right to refuse paying taxes and tithes. It is just as wrong for a Church to collect money from the Government as it is for the Government to collect money from a Church.

The Pharisees were not content with Christ’s irrefutable answer — nor were they happy with their failure to convict Him. But, they persisted in trying to acquire some kind of evidence against Him — either religious or political. It was a little more difficult in those days because those ancient tax [12] collectors didn’t have the sophisticated machinery of computerized read-outs, telephone wire-tapping, or microfilming private bank accounts. But their devious dedication towards conviction in the courts was just the same.

Finally they were able to conspire with Judas, the dishonest banker, whose sticky fingers had already made too many withdrawals from the Church accounts. (John 12:6) So for 30 pieces of silver, Judas sold out his best friend! My, how the lust for money can canker men in the highest religious and political offices! So, they somehow managed, as many taxmen do, to find an error, or supposed error, even with Jesus Christ.

A multitude of officers came to arrest the Prince of Peace, and He responded: “Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me!” And for many centuries ever afar, many other good men would also experience similar arrests and threats by officers brandishing weapons and arms — all for an audit of taxes!

To Judge Pontius Pilate they barked, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar….” (Luke 23:2) They were accusing Christ of being a Tax Rebel! When Pilate heard their case, he realized he was caught between a rock and a cross. Fortunately, he found a loophole in their legal jurisprudence; so he sent the case to the Supreme Court of Herod, who “questioned him in many words; but Jesus answered him nothing.” Jesus was taking the 5th Amendment! The evidence was weak, so Herod sent him back to Pilate’s court.

Pontius was dismayed, so he questioned Jesus again: “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?” But Jesus “answered him never a word.” (Matt. 27:14) However, He did remark to His followers, “If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” The prospects for things getting better were discouragingly dimmed.

The prosecuting attorneys were the best that money could buy, so of course conviction was almost a certainty; thus they managed to get a conviction against Christ. So, in the name of justice, and by the due process of the law, they legally nailed him to the cross. Two professional thieves were hanging on crosses nearby, and one of them retorted, “We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done nothing amiss.” [13] (Luke 23:41) It appeared that the thief was the only honest man in the crowd.

The conspiracy was culminated in the death of Christ. Those who had a part in `throwing the book’ at Christ did it knowing that it was morally wrong even if they thought they had some legal rights. Paul the Apostle rebuked them later for that crime — wishing they had done it “through ignorance” (Acts 3:17), but they did it with their eyes wide open.

The last living Apostle of Christ was John the beloved, who beheld in vision a great beast who would arise having control over all the earth. Now this beast would represent something that would have total control over the people of the earth “small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” and everyone would receive a “number of the beast” and no one could “buy or sell” without that number! John didn’t give a name to that numbering system, nor did he speak favorably of it, but he certainly described the Social Security number and all that follows. In those days will the bulk of all the major prophecies of the Bible be fulfilled.

 

Conclusion

 

Thirty-five centuries ago Moses wrote, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The Founding Fathers of our nation also inscribed it on our Liberty Bell; but shortly afterwards the bell suffered a fracture, but it was appropriate because liberty did, too. What freedoms were these ancient and modern men fighting for? What liberty was more precious than life? Think for a moment — it has always been freedom from oppressive governments, foreign or domestic!

Free people are happy people, but a people in bondage — physical or financial — are miserable. Taxation can result in both kinds of bondage. No honest soul who loves his liberty will denounce a just or fair tax from which everyone shares in its benefits. Neither would anyone reject a tax that protects their freedom. But conversely, they would totally despise a tax that is wasted or given to aliens, enemies, or used to destroy their freedom.

[14]What would be worse than to use taxes to create a “Big Brother Beast” that would bind a man’s family in the chains of financial bondage and debt for many generations? What disgrace and sorrow an honest man suffers when he realizes he pays tribute to the ruination, bondage or destruction of his own nation and his own liberty!

For these reasons the good old Bible has clearly said “Amen” to righteous and just taxes, but to “hell” with the bad ones!


 

A CENTURY OF

                             DOCTRINAL REVISIONS

                                 1890 – 1990

Presented at the

Mormon History Association Annual Meeting

Brigham Young University, Hawaii Campus

Laie, Hawaii

June 13, 1990

by

Ogden Kraut

 

[1]                    A CENTURY OF DOCTRINAL REVISIONS

                                  1890-1990

Introduction

What would have happened to the Mormon people if the 1890 Manifesto had not been issued? Would the Church have been destroyed, members killed, and the Priesthood of God obliterated? It is difficult to postulate on the probabilities, but it is not difficult to recognize the reality of what has actually happened in the past century.

The year 1890 was a turning point for Mormonism. It was even noted in prophecy. For example, Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal:

Thus ends the year 1889, and the word of the Prophet Joseph Smith is beginning to be fulfilled that the whole nation would turn against Zion and make war upon the Saints. * * * 1890 will be an important year with the Latter-day Saints and the American nation. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec. 31, 1889)

The Prophet Joseph referred to the year 1890 in a revelation he received April 1, 1843:

I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; . . . (D. & C. 130:14-15)

[2]Joseph was born in 1805 and by adding 85 years to this date, you arrive at 1890. If Joseph had lived that long, he probably would never have considered a Manifesto—thus opening the way for the Savior to come and rescue the Saints.

In February 1835 the Prophet said that “great things shall be accomplished” by the Elders ordained to the ministry, and they were to “go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (DHC 2:182) What scene was he referring to that was to be wound up about 1890-91?

Going back much further into history, this particular year was mentioned in another type of prophecy. It comes from the great pyramid of Giza in Egypt. President Anthony W. Ivins explained the accuracy of this prophetic pyramid:

More than ninety percent of the events chronicled, according to measurements <in this pyramid>, have already been fulfilled. (Conference Report, Oct. 3, 1926)

Apostle Orson Pratt provided a valuable scientific analysis of this “Bible in Stone”:

Allowing one year to a cubic inch, it gives the sixth of April, 1830, as the exact time, corresponding to the upper edge of the “Grand Steps”. This points out the very period of the time when the Church was organized…. (Conference Report, April 7, 1880, p. 87)

Pratt went on with another interesting observation:

[3]Sixty-one cubit inches are measured off, from that point in a horizontal direction, until you come to the great impending wall, the end of the gallery. What that means, I do not pretend to know. * * * Sixty-one years from the organization of the Church brings us, according to pyramidal testimony, to the end of something. (Ibid., p. 87)

What “impending wall” came in 1891—and what ended? Perhaps it was the end of the original social, political and economic policies of Mormonism. Keith Norman noted this when he wrote:

It marks the beginning of an about-face which drastically altered the character of the church. * * * Within a few years of 1890, not only polygamy, but theocracy and communitarianism, the three most distinct practices of nineteenth-century Mormonism were relegated to the heroic past…. (“How Long, O Lord? The Delay of the Parousia in Mormonism,” paper by Keith E. Norman, July 1982)

It was at this time that a most interesting observation was made by the great Count Leo Tolstoi, the Russian author, statesman, and philosopher:

If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known. (Imp. Era, Feb. 1939, p. 94)

However, instead of remaining unmodified and unchanged, the Church gradually compromised and gave up many of its principles and doctrines, a few of which will be discussed in this paper.

[4]The U.S. Government enacted many laws against plural marriage in their efforts to stop that practice, but why did the Church also give up its political and economic practices? Why did they give the enemy even more than it asked for? Historian Leonard Arrington perhaps gave the best clue to this mystery:

National leaders and church leaders are said to have entered into a “compact”. We do not know whether such a “compact” was actually made, but at least the agreement and actions which it is said to have involved did take place. In the supposed “compact”, national leaders are said to have promised statehood for Utah provided three things were done: (1) plural marriage was abandoned; (2) the church political party was dissolved; and (3) the church dissolve its relations with the economy. (“Religion and Economics in Mormon History”, BYU Studies 3:31-32)

History has shown that these three conditions were soon complied with, resulting in Utah statehood in 1896. Let’s take a closer look at the abandonment of these three major principles and practices:

  1. The Kingdom of God (political)
  2. The United Order (economic)
  3. Plural Marriage (social)

[5] The Kingdom of God

Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God….” (Matt. 6:33) If this kingdom is so important, then certainly we should know exactly what it is. Unfortunately, there are many varying definitions, and it seems to be the last thing people are seeking for. Even within the LDS Church, there are differing conceptions of the Kingdom of God.

Dr. Hyrum Andrus, in describing three important phases of the Kingdom of God in Mormon history, states that “all this has escaped the student of Mormonism” and these facts “are of such importance that every student of the Church should become acquainted with them.” (Flyleaf to Joseph Smith and World Government) Andrus clearly defines these three phases:

1.The Prophet <Joseph Smith> included within his concept of the Kingdom of God, the development of a political government that would be administered under the direction of the Priesthood of Zion. The Kingdom of God, then, was considered as something more than the Church. * * *

2.Joseph Smith laid the foundation of the Kingdom of God in its political, as well as in its religious, sphere. * * * and organized it in its embryonic form upon the earth.

3.* * * It was this body, not the Church, that carried out the Exodus <to the Salt Lake Valley>. After locating the Saints in the Great Basin, this political body then organized and incorporated itself into the State of Deseret. (Ibid., flyleaf)

[6]The political strength and influence of the Mormons have always been resented by the rest of the nation. As the Prophet Joseph Smith began his campaign for the presidency of the United States, he said, “When I get hold of the eastern papers and see how popular I am, I am afraid myself that I shall be elected.” (DHC 6:243)

He was not alone in these concerns. Helen Mar Whitney wrote:

It was the popularity of Joseph as candidate for the Presidency, and the power and influence that the Mormon people were gaining, that created a feeling of fear among the apostates and corrupt politicians, and . . . they were determined to put an end to his earthly career. (“Scenes and Incidents in Nauvoo,” Women’s Exponent 11:114)

And so they did. However, Joseph—knowing he would be rejected along with his political ideals—established a foundation to the Kingdom of God in 1843. But after the death of the Prophet, the politicians continued to harass the Saints. President Buchanan sent an army out to the Salt Lake Valley to crush the Mormon powers, but to no avail. Abraham Lincoln also feared the political power of the Mormons, and in a letter to a Protestant minister, he wrote:

Two cankers are biting the very entrails of the United States today: the Romish and the Mormon priests. Both are equally at work to form a people of the most abject, ignorant and fanatical slaves, who will recognize no other but their supreme pontiffs. The Mormon and Jesuit priests are equally and uncompromising enemies of our constitution and our laws…. (Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Pastor Chinequy, p. 488)

[7]Lincoln also called polygamy one of the “twin relics of barbarism” and issued the anti-polygamy territorial law against the Mormons. Interestingly, he was “tipped” from his seat in government to “die an untimely death”, according to a prophecy and a cursing from Heber C. Kimball upon those who try to “destroy the Kingdom of God”. (JD 5:133)

Lincoln began the first of many laws against the Mormons, but in reality it was just the means of destroying the Mormon political and economic systems. Polygamy was merely the handle to create public sentiment against them, justifying the creation of these laws.

Over 20 anti-polygamy bills were introduced into the 47th Congress. The Edmunds Bill passed and denied any Mormon voting privileges. It also denied them jury duty. And they could not hold any public office. This is what the gentiles really desired.

The 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Bill was ostensibly directed toward eliminating polygamy, but it also dissolved the Perpetual Emigration Fund; it broke up the United Order; it destroyed the Church People’s Party; it disfranchised the Church; it confiscated Church property; and it ultimately killed the Kingdom of God. Now the Saints were left to join up with the Democrats or the Republicans.

Then, for the next 100 years, the concept and organization of the Kingdom of God changed, as noted by comparing the following comments:

Brigham Young said this kingdom “will yet give laws to every nation that exists upon the earth.” (JD 11:275) While many years later James E. Talmage said, “The Kingdom of God asserts no claim to temporal rule over nations….” (Jesus the Christ, p. 788)

[8]George Q. Cannon stated, “The Kingdom of God is a separate organization from the Church of God.” (DHC 7:382) Then in recent years Bruce R. McConkie said, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it is now constituted is the Kingdom of God on earth. * * * The Church and Kingdom are one and the same.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 415)

Thus, the definition of the Kingdom of God has evolved from being a powerful political government among men to being limited to just the spiritual church.

 

The United Order

When the LDS Church was less than a year old, the Lord directed the Saints to “let every man esteem his brother as himself” because “if ye are not one, ye are not mine.” (D & C 38:24, 27)

In 1832 the Lord revealed additional information on the “permanent and everlasting” nature of the United Order:

That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things. (D & C 78:5-6)

This doctrine and practice of the United Order is eternal. Contrary to popular opinion, it has never been done away. It is the only law which abolishes the social evils that accompany inequality.

Three years before Brigham Young died, the Lord was still commanding the Saints to organize themselves into the United Order:

[9]Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Brigham, Call ye, call ye, upon the inhabitants of Zion, to organize themselves in the Order of Enoch, in the New and Everlasting Covenant, according to the Order of Heaven, for the furtherance of my kingdom upon the earth, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the salvation of the living and the dead.

You can accommodate yourselves by calling this a new revelation, if you choose; it is no new revelation, but it is the express word and will of God to this people. (JD 17:154, Aug. 1874)

During Brigham Young’s administration, over 100 different United Orders were established, but only a few survived and prospered for any length of time. The weaknesses and traditions of men were too much to overcome! The tendency is to eagerly seek individual riches.

  1. Golden Kimball once said, “If I had a million dollars, I’d be the most popular man in the Church; but I haven’t got it! Damn it!” He experienced the error of such a philosophy when he invested everything he owned into a Canadian land scheme, thinking it would make him extremely rich. When it failed, he explained:

And thus we were prevented from chasing the golden calf. Moral: Don’t set your heart upon riches, don’t speculate, and don’t go into debt. (Book of Mormons, Wagoner and Walker, p. 142)

There is nothing evil in the gaining of riches because the United Order was intended to make the people rich and insure that there were “no poor among them”. The distinction is in how the riches are obtained and the purpose for which they are used. Brigham observed:

If we are the people of God, we are to be the richest people on the earth, and these riches [10] are to be held in God, not in the devil. * * * I am ashamed to see the poverty that exists among the Latterly Saints. They ought to be worth millions and millions, and millions on millions, where they are not worth a dollar. (JD 17:44)

Today most Mormons are struggling for minimum wages—and feel grateful for that. But that’s not what was intended in the early days of the Church. Brigham Young explained that the Prophet “Joseph said to the Elders, `Never put forth your hands again to build up a gentile city.'” (Teachings of Brigham Young, 3:276) But we continue to labor economically for gentile federal notes, in a gentile social order, under the gentile political system. We are further away from the United Order than ever before.

But from our youth, we are programmed this way. Our high schools and colleges teach us financial “success” methods of how to get rich. Countless books are available on financial schemes for getting wealthy. But these methods seem to be driving the Saints further and further away from the United Order.

Under our present system we are subject to all the inflations, depressions, high income taxes, real estate taxes and horrible interest rates! It is a system devised to keep people poor. This may be the fulfillment of a prophecy of Brigham Young:

If we are not disposed to enter the Order, the curse of God will come upon this people. I cannot help it. (Annals of the Southern Utah Mission, Book B, p. 218)

One of the greatest threats and fears of the future is the prophetic collapse of the gentile money system. So especially now we should have serious concern for the re-establishment of the United Order.

[11] Plural Marriage

In 1843 the Prophet Joseph called the High Council of Nauvoo together to see if they would accept the revelation on plural marriage. Thomas Grover, a bodyguard of the Prophet, wrote the following:

Brother Hyrum was called upon to read the revelation. He did so, and after the reading said, “Now you that believe this revelation and go forth and obey the same shall be saved, and you that reject it shall be damned.” We saw this prediction verified in less than one week. * * * From that time forward there was a very strong division in the High Council. (Historical Record 6:227)

This doctrinal schizophrenia persisted. Church leaders were publically denying plural marriage while at the same time they were living it. Ten years later the Church accepted it but 80% to 90% never entered into the principle during the next 40 years. When the Manifesto was issued, this division between the rank and file began again, but now it grew to visible proportions. Some authorities were endorsing and practicing it, while others were discouraging and denying it. Nearly a dozen manifestos and public denials were issued up to 1933.

Some authorities really meant it this time, and they took every effort to cleanse the Church of polygamy. Test oaths and other tactics were used to flush out the polygamists. And today there continues to be a vibrant warfare between Mormons who won’t give up plural marriage and the Mormons who are trying to destroy it.

It is interesting to note that the practice of polygamy is legal in California—a state that contains more Mormons than the state of Utah. Regarding personal relationships, they have a law stating that anything between [12] consenting adults is legal. And yet the main reason given for discontinuing plural marriage was because it was against the law of the land. Samuel W. Taylor poses this categorical question:

I wonder what today’s Mormons would do if the repeal of sex laws swept away the only reason for not obeying Section 132? While my crystal ball license has expired, I expect that regardless of Section 132, the Saints would put up a ferocious fight against legislation that would result in the right to practice polygamy. (Rocky Mountain Empire, p. 104)

The intent of the Mormon practice of plural marriage was to raise up large families—as the Bible says, “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” (Psalm 127:3, 5) But today the prevention of children through birth control and abortion seem to be the rule rather than the exception. We live in a very strange society when “the penalty for taking or destroying an eagle’s egg is $5,000 and a year in jail, but the penalty for taking an unborn child’s life is nothing.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 14, 1990) Eagles are protected by law, but our Government subsidizes the killing of unborn children.

Commonplace immorality does not seem to bother very many people. For instance, one of the most famous singers of all time confessed that he “had made love to not less than 3,000 ladies.” (Julio Iglesias, Ladies Home Journal, Aug. 1985, p. 69) The Government has not sought to prosecute him. There have been no warrants out for him nor the thousands like him. The general public seems to envy rather than condemn those promiscuous lifestyles.

We have had a United States president that practically had a revolving door on his bedroom for the benefit of his mistresses, but they have named airports, streets, and memorials in his honor.

[13]However, let a man take two or more women as wives, honor them and their children, and provide for them in the State of Utah, and that man is considered a felon!

But the LDS Church is now facing the grim temporal consequences of abolishing plural marriage among its members. One example is found in the statistics revealed from a 1989 BYU survey:

The old statistics were grim enough. But the more recent statement given at this year’s BYU Education Week seems even more dismal: For those older than the regular marrying age in the Church, there are 14 Melchizedek Priesthood holders for every 100 women! (Utah County Journal, Church News, Oct. 14, 1989, p. 13, by Cheryl Higginson)

In retrospect, then, the point should be made that when Joseph Smith first revealed the law of plural marriage, it was a law of the Priesthood and was practiced separate and apart from the organized LDS Church. After the Church gave up this principle in 1890, this law continued as an eternal Priesthood law. This is an explanation of why so many of the Church leaders continued advocating and living it after the Manifesto.

Conclusion

Entire books could be, and have been, written on each of these three important subjects, but hopefully sufficient information has been presented here to show that our political, economic and social views have changed radically in the past 100 years.

* Instead of opposition from the U.S. Government, we have incorporated with them.

[14] * Instead of a Mormon united economic order, we are competing for federal dollars.

* Instead of the lifestyle of the prophets, we enforce the marriage laws of the Roman Caesars.

Are we any closer to the Kingdom of God now than 100 years ago? Are we any closer to living the United Order? Could we ever encourage our children to obey the law of plural marriage? If the Prophet Joseph Smith should visit us today, would he be proud of what we have done with his restoration of the eternal Gospel?

We have wanted to convert the world—but actually they seem to be converting us! In order to have peace with the world, during the past century we have abandoned many of the principles and doctrines restored by Joseph Smith. In addition to the three mentioned in this paper, there are many others, such as:

* the literal gathering of Israel

* missionary work without purse or scrip

* blood atonement

* doctrines of the Godhead

* “Thus saith the Lord” revelations

It might be appropriate to compare our situation to the old fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. Remember when Beauty embraced the Beast and it suddenly turned into a handsome prince? Well, Mormonism is embracing the Beast, but instead of its turning into something wonderful and handsome, Mormonism is in danger of being transformed into the image of the beast!

But all is not lost! There are at least 13 different prophecies foretelling about a portion of this people to be called to redeem Zion. A prophecy by Brigham Young stated:

[15]God will preserve a portion of this people, of the meek and the humble, to bear off the kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time. (Contributor 10:362)

At that time the eternal laws of the United Order, Kingdom of God, and plural marriage will be accepted and practiced as God intended.

It is an honor to have been a participant in this conference. I’m grateful to the M.H.A. board members for this opportunity. Thank you very much.

* * * * *


FAMINE

                                      by

Ogden Kraut

Joseph warned the people of a famine that was coming on the land, and laid up corn; so Brigham and Heber have taught you that we are going to see a day similar to that, but more terrible—more awful! (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 5:174)

Table of Contents

KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS USED IN REFERENCES:

J.D.-Journal of Discourses

C.H.C.-Comprehensive History of the Church

Mill. Star-Millennial Star

D.H.C.-Documentary History of the Church

T.P.J.S.-Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

 

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…….  1

REASONS FOR FAMINES …..  7

POWER OF THE PROPHETS…. 11

HOW MUCH STORAGE…… 14

PROPHECY OF FAMINE….. 18

 

[1] INTRODUCTION

“Feast or Famine” has been the lot of every person, in greater or lesser degrees, and even though it is a hard lesson learned, it is often and hastily forgotten. To “be prepared” is the motto from boy scouts to the defense of nations, but how little attention to this wise creed is adhered to by members of the Church and other individuals. Because we have such an abundant basket and store, a meal without butter is of greater consequence to us than all the famines of China and India.

Just as sure as the Lord lives we are going to see times when our neighbors around us will be in want. But some may say, here have ten years, twenty years, thirty years gone, and the sayings of Joseph and the Apostles have not all come to pass. If they have not all been fulfilled, they all will be fulfilled. When we saw the flaming sword unsheathed in the terrible war between the north and the south, we could see in it the fulfillment in part of the prophecies of Joseph. But when peace comes for a short time, we forget all about it, like a person who comes into the Church because of seeing a miracle. If he has professed an obedience to the gospel and a belief in its principles because he saw a miracle performed, he would need another in a day or two to continue him in his belief; and he wants a repetition of miracles to keep him in the Church. Let peace continue for a few years, and the prediction of Joseph spoken of would be forgotten by all but a few. So it is with us, comparatively. Let crickets, or grasshoppers, or [2] frosts, or anything else come and destroy our crops, and we feel it then; but just as soon as prosperity comes we forget what has happened. (Brigham Young, J.D. 12:242)

A review of the history and the reasons of famine will prove interesting and beneficial to the ecclesiastical student—even though it deals with a temporal condition.

The causes for famine are numerous; some of the most prominent are drought, flood, inclement weather, insects, disease, and wars which destroy crops, transportation, and imports. Cities are the first and most devastated by the effects of food shortages.

We have records of approximately 450 famines occurring in the period 1000 A.D. to 1885 A.D. (Encyclopedia Americana 11:8)

The devastating power of famine has surpassed the spectre of death caused by war. To review some of the ravages of famine over a 120-year period, some of the famines are recorded below:

1769 -Bengal; 10 million people suffered death by famine, reducing the  total population by one-third.

1770 -China; 3 million people died by famine.

1790 -India; the worst famine known there; no number known.

1866 -Bengal; 1 million died.

1869 -Rajputana; l« million dead.

1870 -Persia; 2 million dead.

1876 -India; 5 million dead.

1877 -China; 10 million died, with another [3] 6 million shortly   afterwards.

1891 -Russia; 30 million dead.

In World War I during the years 1914-1918, famine spread throughout the European countries, and millions died in Russia alone. During World War II, many “millions died,” according to some sources, by the conditions brought about by this war.

. . . this condition is brought about in wartime because of lack of labor and the consequent drop in agricultural production, of destruction of crops and herds by warfare, and disrupted transportation systems, and to some extent because of large scale looting of stocks of foods. (Encyclopedia Britannica 9:64)

Perhaps the earliest record of famine in history is that which is mentioned in the time of Abraham:

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. Gen. 12:10)

And from that day to the present there have been re-occurrences of this type of pestilence. The Mormon people suffered two major famines, the worst of which was in 1855:

This famine of 55-56, revealed the precariousness of these Great Basin settlements, which eight years after the advent of the pioneers into Salt Lake Valley could still be subject to such reverses as had now come to them in the matter of food supplies. (C.H.C. 4:111)

[4]In addition to the loss of other crops by drought and grasshoppers, great numbers of cattle died on the ranges from the severity of the winter of 1855-56, which also materially lessened the quantity of food. And while the quantity of food was lessened from these three causes combined, the immigration of the saints was unusually large, and during the same period “great numbers of gold hunters enroute for California,” says George A. Smith, church historian, “came into the valley destitute of food, who were fed and aided on their way from our scant supplies.” (C.H.C. 4:109)

In a letter to his son in England, Heber C. Kimball wrote:

Money will not buy flour or meal, only at a few places, and but very little at that. I can assure you that I am harassed constantly; I sell none for money, but let it go where people are truly destitute. Dollars and cents do not count now, in these times, for they are in the tightest that I have ever seen in the territory of Utah. (Mill. Star 18:395)

Because Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young had saved and stored up grain, they were the temporal saviors of many people. Heber continues:

I have been under the necessity of rationing my family, and also yours, to two-thirds of a pound of breadstuff per day each; as the last week is up today, we commence on half-a-pound each. This I am under the necessity of doing. Brother [5] Brigham told me today that he had put his family on a half-a-pound each, for there is scarcely any grain in the country, and there are thousands that have none at all scarcely. We do this for the purpose of feeding hundreds that have none. (Heber C. Kimball, Mill. Star 18:395)

The historian B. H. Roberts gives a correct view of this storage program as being a “wise policy,” but mentions that it has generally been “abandoned by individuals.”

. . . —it was during these years, I say, that the wise policy was inaugurated of storing up grain each year “against a day of famine”—a policy which though now sometime since abandoned by individuals, . . . (C.H.C. 4:112)

The idea that famine is a thing of the past is one of the most dangerous to our present society. Many voices, from many sources, have proclaimed the dangers that threaten the world today. The world faces more increased perils from famine in our generation than in any era of the past:

Mass starvation will be the most painful fact of life on this planet within 10 years. (Sen. George McGovern, U.S. Food for Peace Director, before his election to Senate)

* * *

It is hard for us sitting in rich, comfortable, overfed America to realize that the greatest disaster in the history of the world is just around the corner. We are [6] fast approaching the greatest catastrophe in world history; great areas of the earth are on the threshold of famine. (Dr. Raymond Ewell, State University of New York) * * *

Very few grasp the magnitude of the danger that confronts us …. The catastrophe is not something that may happen; on the contrary, it is a mathematical certainty that it will happen. (Thomas M. Ware, Head of Freedom from Hunger Foundation)

Today in some parts of the world, wheat is blackmarketed for as much as $21 a pound. And the great wheat surpluses which have existed in this country have been depleted, causing a shortage of wheat instead of a surplus. The Government-sponsored program called “Food for Peace” has drained the surplus wheat bins by over 90% of their storages. America today has a shortage of several commodities which will invoke rationing, strict governmental controls, and eventually a famine. The prospects for alleviation of food shortages are dim. We may never again see food surpluses in this country or in any other nation.

The monthly rate of population increase in India is one million a month, and America is facing a similar type of population explosion which is a force to drain reserved stocks. The mathematical equation for population increase is astounding.

The world didn’t reach its first billion people until comparatively modern times—1850. But then it took only 80 years to [7] reach the second billion. Then came another billion people; this time in only 30 years. This brings us to 1960. But now look at the figures skyrocket! Halve the 30 years for the next billion people, bringing us to 1975. (Plain Truth, Feb. 1966, p. 13)

Because of these world-wide conditions which are fast settling upon us, food storage becomes an essential factor in the plan for self-preservation. Our government, our church, and our common sense tells us we should store and save during the times of plenty for the times of scarcity. This program has been an essential factor in our religion.

I look upon the subject of storing grain and other kinds of food as a very religious matter. How could a man who was half starved enjoy his religion? How face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when, instead of doing so, he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family. I wish our brethren to lay this matter to heart, and not to rest until they have obeyed this particular item of counsel. (Apostle George A. Smith, J.D. 12:142)

 

REASONS FOR FAMINES

The reasons for famines are strictly spiritual. It is the Lord that brings them to pass or prevents them. Some of the prophets have written:

[8]And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. (Helaman 12:3)

Speaking of the journeys of Lehi and his family for the eight-year trek in the wilderness, King Benjamin relates some of the famines that came upon them, but most important he explained the reason why they suffered these afflictions:

Therefore, as they were unfaithful they did not prosper nor progress in their journey, but were driven back, and incurred the displeasure of God upon them; and therefore, they were smitten with famine and sore afflictions, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty. (Mosiah 1:17)

Zeniff also related the same reason for famine:

And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey into the wilderness to go up to the land; but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God. (Mosiah 9:3)

As to the effectiveness of this reason they witnessed their deliverance:

And it came to pass that when they had humbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord, he did send rain upon the face of [9] the earth; and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine. (Ether 9:35)

* * *

Yea, O Lord, and thou seest that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come upon them. (Helaman 11:15)

However, in some instances the people were beyond repentance and unwilling to yield to the Lord. This was the case with the Nephite nation, who were completely destroyed.

And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence. (Helaman 13:9)

This was also true in the time of the Jaredite people:

And there came prophets in the land again, crying repentance unto them—that they must prepare the way of the Lord or there should be a great famine, in which they should be destroyed if they did not repent. But the people believed not the words of the prophets, but they cast them out; and some of them they cast into pits and left them to perish. And it came to pass that they did all these things according to the commandment of the king, Heth. And it came [10] to pass that there began to be a great dearth upon the land, and the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceeding fast because of the dearth, for there was no rain upon the face of the earth. (Ether 9:28-30)

* * *

And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such as one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom. (Ether 11:7)

Even to the Lamanites, who were sole survivors of this land, Lehi pronounced a prophecy of famine upon them which has been fulfilled.

Lehi sorrowed because of wickedness of his two rebellious sons, Laman and Lemuel, and as a grievous warning he spoke to them in this prophetic manner:

. . . that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil. (2 Nephi 1:18)

Upon the other continent similar things occurred. One of the most consequential was the apostasy by God’s own people, which was a cause for the famines.

[11]Ezekiel was warned of the impending tribulations that would come upon the people because they had committed so many abominations:

When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you; and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread. So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. (Ezekiel 5:16-17)

Jeremiah also spoke against those who claimed to be prophets, but really were not prophets of the Lord. He warned them by saying:

Therefore, thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; by sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. (Jer. 14:15)

 

POWER OF THE PROPHETS

When wicked people did not heed the true prophets, those prophets were given power to bring about destruction and famine. Jeremiah spoke out against the false prophets and wicked people in this manner:

Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? For they have digged a pit for my soul.

[12]Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away the wrath from them. Therefore, deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their young men be slain by the sword in battle. (Jer. 18:19-21)

And also Elijah:

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word. (I Kings 17:1)

Book of Mormon prophets also had this same power:

Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. (Helaman 10:6)

* * *

O Lord, thou didst hearken unto my words when I said, Let there be a famine, that the pestilence of the sword might cease; and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words for thou saidst that: If this people repent I will spare them.

[13]O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit, and her grain in the season of grain. (Helaman 11:13-14)

Hence, the advice and counsel of the prophets is a source of blessing or cursing. One of the important instructions regarding the Saints of the latter days is the counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith, that all Saints must be gathered together.

Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none; for without Zion, and a place of deliverance, we must fall; because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from heaven, the earth reel to and fro. Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out His Saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered. (Joseph Smith, D.H.C. 2:52)

It stands to reason that Israel in the last days must be gathered together, sustaining each other temporally and spiritually as famine and destruction pass over the world. We live in a day when there must be a separation between the “wheat from the chaff,” the “sheep from the goats,” the “Saints from the sinners.”

 

[14] HOW MUCH STORAGE

Problems have arisen as to the amount of food that should be stored. Many famines of the past had a set number of years.

And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. (Gen. 41:25-28)

Later on also was this number of years also referred to:

So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. (2 Sam. 24:13)

And again:

Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. (2 Kings 8:1)

[15]The failure of the Nile to overflow for seven successive years in the mid-11th century led to successively shrinking harvests throughout Egypt. (Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 11:8)

In our own dispensation of time, our prophets have also stressed this same number:

Brethren, go and build your storehouses before your grain is harvested, and lay it up, and let us never cease until we have got a seven years’ supply. You may think that we shall not see times in which we shall need it. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 4:337)

* * *

Now, brethren, let us not treat this subject lightly. If we have been neglectful in times past, let us remember that we live in a high altitude, in a country subject to frost and to extreme drouth, that we have several times lost our crops, and that we have twice been reduced to famine or half rations through the crickets or grasshoppers. Let us heed the counsel given about storing up provisions, and, instead of freighting our food away to feed strangers, let us go to work and build good substantial granaries, and fill them with bread-stuff until every man and woman has enough on hand to last for seven years. (George A. Smith, J.D. 12:142)

* * *

We have said much to the people with regard to laying up provisions to last them [16] a few years. This is our duty now; it has been our duty for years. How many of our bishops have provisions laid up for one year, two years, or seven years? There may be a few bishops who have got their grain laid away to last their families a year, but the great majority of them have not. The people do, or should look to their bishops for example. Each bishop should be an example to his ward. If the bishop of a ward lays up wheat to last his family a year, two years, or seven years, as the case may be, his neighbors on the right and on the left will be very apt to do the same; they will very likely build good bins and try to fill them. (Brigham Young, J.D. 12:106)

* * *

Suppose it is not coming, will it hurt you to lay up the products of the earth for seven years? Will it hurt you, if you have your guns, swords, and spears in good condition, according to the law of the United States? (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 5:163-164)

* * *

I had my seven years’ breadstuffs on hand last year; but I have to deal it out, and I will deal it out to the last bushel, and try my faith with my brethren. (Brigham Young. J.D. 12:243)

* * *

Years ago, Brother Kimball counseled the people to lay up two years’ provisions, and [17] then enough for four, for six and for seven years. I have it now, and I am dealing it out. (Brigham Young, J.D. 12:219)

It is a difficult thing to obtain such an enormous amount. We suppose we are too poor to go out and purchase this amount of wheat all at once. However, this was also considered in those early days. Wise counsel was given for a method of laying up a full seven-year supply.

I wish to call the attention of the conference to the test of President Young in relation to storing our wheat. This is a question of vast importance. A few years ago President Young gave counsel to the people of the Territory—most of whom agreed to it—to lay by seven years’ provisions. We were to have commenced three years age, and were to have laid up one year’s bread over and above the year’s supply. The following year we were to add another year’s supply, and so have continued until we had our seven years’ supply laid up. How faithful the people have been in keeping this counsel I am not prepared to say, but I am afraid that few men in Israel, even among those who have raised breadstuffs and have had the power to control considerable quantities of it, had three years’ bread laid aside when the grasshoppers made their descent this season and swept off half the grains, vegetables, and fruit raised in the Territory, and were prepared if the whole had been swept off, to live for the next three years without laying in more bread. (George A. Smith, J.D. 12:141)

 

[18] PROPHECY OF FAMINE

Many people assume, with a sense of false security, that the days of famines are past. However, we must turn to prophecy—especially those concerning our own nation. Jesus foresaw our day and began the prophecy of a famine upon this time.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt. 24:7-8)

Then the Apostle John the Revelator added his prophetic testimony. Note that he speaks of pestilences upon every nation. He also preaches the doctrine of the Saints gathering out of Babylon:

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached into heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double [19] according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow given her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore, shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Rev. 18:1-8)

The Lord also gave warning in our dispensation to all people of every nation:

And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations. (D. & C. 87:6)

To manifest these conditions more clearly, he gave vision of these things to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

I saw blood, desolation, fires. The Son of Man has said that the mother shall be against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; but with a view of them, [20] shall I cry peace? No; I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know; when the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand. (T.P.J.S., p. 161)

As with the ancient prophets, the Lord gave to Joseph a prophecy concerning the wicked of all nations in our time:

And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away, before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return, of the lost tribes of Israel from the North country. (T.P.J.S., p. 17)

These things will occur upon this nation because of their wickedness and because they martyred the prophets which were sent to them. Said the Apostle Orson Hyde:

Famine shall sorely oppress them—confusion and war shall make their hearts to faint, and their knees to tremble. Would to God that our nation had never given cause for the distress which they now only begin to suffer! Would to God that they, chiefly for their sakes, had never provoked the anger of the Almighty by killing our prophets, and casting out our people. ***They burned our hay and our houses; and left our sick, our women and children in [21] the scorching sun and beating rain, without food or shelter. We told them when they did it, that we would have wheat when they had none. When these poor starving thousands flock here for food, will it not be glory enough for you to begin with, to feed them, to give them shelter, and administer to their sick? Will not such coals of fire heaped upon their heads be hot enough to satisfy your righteous indignation? If you will do as you are told, your eyes shall witness just such scenes! You may ask, “When shall these things be?” Answer: Just so soon as you can possibly lay up the wheat. If the United States will not make Brigham Young governor, wheat will. Joseph’s brethren never voted to make him governor over them; but he was elected to that office by a joint ballot of wheat and corn. (Orson Hyde, J.D. 2:206)

And finally as to conclude and verify what He and His prophets had said, the Lord further revealed the indignation He would pour out upon all the world. In 1880 He gave a lengthy revelation to Wilford Woodruff which is quoted in part:

I have already revealed my will concerning this nation through the mouth of my servant Joseph, who sealed his testimony with his own blood, which testimony has been in force upon all the world from the hour of his death. What I the Lord have revealed in that testament and decreed upon this nation and upon all nations of the earth, shall be fulfilled, saith the Lord of hosts. I, the Lord, have spoken and will [22] be obeyed. My purposes shall be fulfilled upon this nation and no power shall stay My hand. The hour is at the door when My wrath and indignation will be poured out upon the wicked of this nation. Their murders, blasphemies, lying, whoredoms, and abominations have come up before my face and before the heavens, and the wrath of my indignation is full. * * * And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed, and with famine and plagues and earthquakes and the thunder of heaven and the vivid lightnings shall this nation and the nations of the earth be made to feel the chastening hand of an Almighty God until they are broken up and destroyed and wasted away from under heaven, and no power can stay my hand. (Wilford Woodruff, by Cowley, p. 530)

Some perhaps feel that they have faith and the Lord will take care of them when calamity comes. However, when the Lord forewarns of a danger and gives instruction to avoid those perils, it becomes obligatory upon the people to follow His counsel and directions. As Apostle George A. Smith says:

If the King of Egypt had not observed the counsels of Joseph, almost the whole people would have been destroyed. As it was, those who did not obey Joseph’s counsel were under the necessity of selling all their property, and ultimately themselves, for slaves to the king, in order to obtain that bread which they could have laid up during the seven years of plenty, if they had obeyed Joseph’s counsel. Now brethren, let us not treat this subject lightly. (George A. Smith, J.D. 12:142)

[23]Although the Lord gave manna to Israel in the wilderness, fed Elijah by ravens and provided for Lehi in the wilderness, it was because they were forced to leave everything behind them. When God counsels men to depart without provisions, we must; and when He counsels to store food, we’d better!

Some say “the Lord will provide” even though He has told us to prepare. But this is foolishness when we have such obvious reasons to store our food.

But some may say, “I have faith the Lord will turn them away! What ground have we to hope this? Have I any good reason to say to my Father in heaven, `fight my battles,’ when He has given me the sword to wield, the arm and the brain that I can fight for myself? Can I ask Him to fight my battles and sit quietly down waiting for Him to do so? I cannot! I can pray the people to hearken to wisdom, to listen to counsel; but to ask God to do for me that which I can do for myself is preposterous to my mind. . . .

Just as sure as the Lord lives we are going to see times when our neighbors around us will be in want. . . .

It is just as consistent to expect that the Lord will supply us with fruit when we do not plant the trees: or that, when we do not plow and sow and are saved the labor of harvesting, we should cry to the Lord to save us from want, as to ask Him to save us from the consequences of our own folly, disobedience and waste. . . .(Brigham Young, J.D. 12:240,241,242,244)

[24]When someone says that “the Lord will provide,” it may be considered as much a doctrine of the devil just as much as the voice of the Tempter when he told Jesus to leap from the temple because “the angels of God shall bear thee up.”

There is great value and power in grain that is stored. Brigham Young prophesied that “a barrel of gold would not buy a barrel of flour.” Heber C. Kimball also foresaw the value grain would have:

Let us go to work, every man and woman of us and lay up our stores, and build good store-houses, and increase. If we will do this, brethren, we will have some of the finest seasons you ever saw. Our grain will increase, and we will lay a foundation for the world and the ungodly, and we will buy them for our servants. They will be glad to come and work for us for bread, and each one of us will be like Joseph in Egypt was to his father’s house. They will come to us and buy grain and the good things of the world; for I know that we are the people who have got to do that thing. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 4:338)

* * *

This is part of our religion—to lay up stores and provide for ourselves and for the surrounding country; for the day is near when they will come by thousands and by million, with their fineries, to get a little bread. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 5:163)

* * *

[25]There is more salvation and security in wheat, than in all the political schemes of the world, and also more power in it than in all the contending armies of the nations. Raise wheat and lay it up in store till it will bring a good price; not dollars and cents, but kingdoms, countries, peoples, tribes, and tongues. “They have sold themselves for naught, and must be redeemed without money:” It will take wheat to redeem them! Raise wheat and lay it up securely, and it will preach the “gathering” more eloquently, successfully, and extensively than all the missionaries that we can send out to sweep through the nations, with the proclamation of the judgments of God abroad in the land! (Orson Hyde, J.D. 2:207)

Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins and said that only half were wise and saved oil for the coming of the Bridegroom. That precious oil may be interpreted to be food as well as any other item. We have been warned by wise men and prophets; there is no excuse now if we fail to follow this advice.

As though it was one of the last functions of Brigham Young’s life, he seemed to want this storage duty taken care of. Since so many men in the priesthood were negligent in these matters, he turned to the women.

President Young has for years repeatedly impressed upon the brethren the necessity of preparing for a period of famine by storing their wheat, and, before his death, was impressed to speak to the sisters and urge them to look after that matter. (Wilford Woodruff, J.D. 19:136)

[26]We may conclude by seriously considering the words of the Prophet Heber C. Kimball who warned the Saints:

Will you be slack, brethren, and let the evil come upon us, when we forewarn you of the future events that are coming? (J.D. 4:338)

Today politicians in government agencies and shrewd businessmen are pouring out billions of dollars of food into foreign and Communist countries. This has and will continue to create devastating shortages of food in this country. This fact alone is an evidence that men in high places are not primarily concerned about the welfare of American citizens. Such conditions are certainly reasons why each person must make his own preparations for the coming crisis. The wise will become sufficiently informed to know that there will never be a better time than NOW to prepare.


THE

FUNDAMENTALIST

MORMON

 

                                 presented at

                            The Sunstone Symposium

                                 August 1989

by

Ogden Kraut

 

[1]                       THE FUNDAMENTALIST MORMON

In order to briefly cover the broad spectrum of Mormon Fundamentalism, this paper is divided into three main areas: (1) The Early History, (2) The Doctrinal Differences, and (3) The Fundamentalist People.

The Early History

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith was the first Fundamentalist Mormon in this dispensation, simply because he was the first to teach, advocate and practice the fundamental principles of the Gospel. However, those who advocate these original doctrines today are called Fundamentalists and are considered as outsiders from the main body of the LDS Church.

The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet; so do the Fundamentalists. The Church believes the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price to be inspired of God; so do the Fundamentalists. The members believe the LDS Church is the only true church established by God; so do the Fundamentalists. Why, then is there such a difference between today’s LDS Church and the Fundamentalists?

Their real origin sounds like a fairytale, and we could begin their story almost by saying, “Once upon a time, in a land not far away…. ” In looking back, we might say Fundamentalism (as a separate entity) was born in Centerville, Utah, in 1886, and President John Taylor can be considered its father. The announcement of this birth, however, wasn’t made until about 25 years later. Most current LDS Church leaders consider it an illegitimate birth, and have divorced themselves from any association with the offspring. Certainly no other divorce has ever taken so many years to settle, gone through so [2] many civil and church courts, and stacked up so many papers, pamphlets and books as evidence for the defense on both sides. All of these evidences would fill a library, but still the issue remains unresolved.

In 1912 the first written announcement was made by Lorin C. Woolley, a former bodyguard to President John Taylor. Then 17 years later, in 1929. a more complete version was published. In this latter account it states that one night in 1886, John Taylor was asking the Lord about giving up the principle of plural or celestial marriage. At the time, Lorin was on guard duty at his father’s home in Centerville, where President Taylor was hiding in the underground. He described that occasion:

Some time after the brethren retired and while I was reading the Doctrine and Covenants, I was suddenly attracted to a light appearing under the door leading to President Taylor’s room, and was at once startled to hear the voices of men talking there. There were three distinct voices. I was bewildered because it was my duty to keep people out of that room and evidently someone had entered without my knowing it. I made a hasty examination and found the door leading to the room bolted as usual. I then examined the outside of the house and found all the window screens intact. While examining the last window, and feeling greatly agitated, a voice spoke to me saying, “Can’t you feel the Spirit? Why should you worry?”

. . . The three voices continued until about midnight, when one of them left, and the other two continued. One of them I recognized as President John Taylor’s voice….

When President Taylor came out of his room about eight o’clock of the morning of September 27, 1886, we could scarcely look at him on account of the brightness of his personage.

He stated, “Brethren, I have had a very pleasant conversation with Brother Joseph <Joseph [3] Smith>.” I said, “Boss, who is the man that was there until midnight?” He asked, “What do you know about it, Lorin?” I told him all about my experience. He said, “Brother Lorin, that was your Lord.” (pamphlet entitled “1886 Revelation, A Revelation of the Lord to John Taylor“)

The account proceeds with an eight-hour meeting with several of the brethren, and though there may be some question as to the actual date of this occurrence, it was at this time John Taylor received the 1886 revelation, an excerpt of which follows:

My son John: You have asked me concerning the New and Everlasting Covenant and how far it is binding upon my people;

Thus saith the Lord: All commandments that I give must be obeyed by those calling themselves by my name, unless they are revoked by me or by my authority, and how can I revoke an everlasting covenant; for I the Lord am everlasting and my everlasting covenants cannot be abrogated, nor done away with, but they stand forever. Have I not given my word in great plainness on this subject?

Yet have not great numbers of my people been negligent in the observance of my laws and the keeping of my commandments, and yet have I borne with them these many years; and this because of their weakness, because of the perilous times, and furthermore, it is more pleasing to me that men should use their free agency in regards to these matters….

I have not revoked this law. NOR WILL I, for it is everlasting, and those who will enter into my glory must obey the conditions thereof; even so, Amen. (1880-1890 Revelations; original copy in John Taylor’s own handwriting)

[4]The reason for this visitation was due to the Federal Government’s persecution of the Church. Church property was being confiscated; leaders and lay members were being sent to prison, prevented from holding public office, prohibited from voting, and had no hope of a fair trial in packed courts.

In the face of such opposition, there were statements, propositions, and manifestos proposed and considered by Church leaders. One document providing for the discontinuance of plural marriage, was brought to President Taylor for his approval. It was in answer to his prayer about whether or not to sign such a document, that he received the visitation from Joseph Smith and the Savior. He then emphatically responded, “Sign that documentNever! I would suffer my right hand to be severed from my body first.” (See Truth magazine 14:149-152)

From this spiritual visit, a Priesthood commission was given to certain men to perpetuate plural marriage, even outside of the Church organization. John Taylor had foretold the time when LDS Church members would vote for its discontinuance.

President Taylor had earlier testified in court that “there are hundreds of people who have authority” to perform plural marriages, and that “there is no place set apart specifically for it.” (Des. News, Oct. 18, 1884) His revelation was supportive of these conditions.

Other statements and elaborations on this story began to be published, the first was a pamphlet entitled “Celestial Marriage?”, as though it were a mystery. But the mystery was not “Who done it?” but rather, “Why did they do it?” Some Church leaders were asking, “Why are so many good people continuing to perform and practice plural marriage?” They were not the lustful, wicked or reckless members, but stake presidents, patriarchs, and other leading brethren. Heber J. Grant said in 1921:

[5]We have excommunicated several patriarchs because they arrogated unto themselves the right or pretended right, to perform these ceremonies. And after having excommunicated several patriarchs, another one, so I am informed, has committed the same offense. (Conf. Rept, April 1921:202; also Gospel Standards, p. 159)

But these patriarchs were not the only ones who lived and performed plural marriage after the Manifesto. Heber J. Grant himself pled “guilty to unlawful cohabitation” (see Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 9, 1899), and paid a fine of $100 in 1899 for living plural marriage, the same offense for which he later excommunicated others. Ironically, Joseph Smith struggled to get plural marriage in the Church and Wilford Woodruff struggled to get it out of the Church.

In 1904 Joseph F. Smith issued a “second manifesto”, causing some to wonder what was wrong with the first one. Actually, many such “manifestos” have been issued, but none of them seemed to work.

In 1911 Joseph F. Smith was referring to plural marriages when he said, “We have been doing all in our power to prevent it, or to stop it,” (Conf. Rept. April 1911:8) but without much success, even among the apostles. At least seven apostles continued to live plural marriage or take new wives after the Manifesto, namely John W. Taylor, Abraham Cannon, Abraham O. Woodruff, Mathias Cowley, Marriner Merrill, Brigham Young, Jr., and Joseph F. Smith. Others among the presiding Seventies, stake presidents, patriarchs, and bishops were also guilty.

Thus, it is evident that the Manifesto did not stop plural marriage, but it tried. During the 15 years following 1890, the Salt Lake Tribune claimed “about 2 000” new plural marriages had occurredand during that time the Church still made nearly two dozen denials.

[6]In the days of Joseph Smith, there were public denials of plural marriages, yet in secret he was teaching and practicing it. About 50 years later, Wilford Woodruff was denying it while he and others were practicing it. The Prophet Joseph learned that the majority of the members would not accept the doctrine; Wilford Woodruff learned the same.

The only thing certain about the 1890 Manifesto is that it created uncertainty. The gentiles were uncertain if the Mormons were really sincere about stopping plural marriage. Most members weren’t certain if it was just a political statement directed to the Government or if it was a revelation to the church. Those who were living that principle were uncertain if it meant an end to their marriages; and those who were about to enter into polygamy didn’t know if they should go ahead with it. Many who were going to Mexico and Canada to be married wondered if the Manifesto reached that far. Some General Authorities were eager to stop plural marriage, while others persistently continued on with it. Thus, the Manifesto created confusion and uncertainty among both Mormons and non-Mormons.

To this day the Fundamentalists and the LDS mainstream do not agree as to the importance of this doctrine in relation to the ultimate exaltation of man. President Brigham Young said you must live that law or be damned; Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said if you do, you will be damned.

According to Elder Mark E. Petersen, the reason for the Manifesto was because “the Church was committed to honor, uphold and sustain the law.” (Way of the Master, p. 41) But Joseph Smith apparently didn’t agree with that standnor did Brigham Young and John Taylor. Even Wilford Woodruff continued polygamy for three years after the death of Taylor. Each of these Church presidents was fully aware that plural marriage was against the laws of the states and territories in which they resided.

[7]And, contrary to general opinion, plural marriage was also against the law in Mexico when the Church leaders established colonies there to continue plural marriages. It was also against the law in Canada when they sent members there for the same purpose.

Another irony of the Manifesto is that the very man who issued itWilford Woodruffapparently took another wife seven years after he declared to the world that it was his “intention to submit to those laws . . . enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages.” (Doc. & Cov., “Official Declaration” or “Manifesto”, pp. 256-257) The account is recorded of a famous Jewish scholar and lecturer by the name of Lydia von F. Mountford, who came to Salt Lake City, became converted to Mormonism, and was baptized in 1897. She became a very close friend of Wilford Woodruff and had many personal visits with him in his office and home.

To celebrate President Woodruff’s birthday, a special meeting was held in the Tabernacle February 28 and March 1, 1897. It was perhaps the “largest number of people that ever assembled in the large Tabernacle.” The concluding speaker was Madame Mountford, whose speech was mostly occupied with complimenting the “noble” and “honorable” President Wilford Woodruff. She said, “Long life and good wishes to our noble President. I want to call him MY OWN PRESIDENT.” (Wilford Woodruff, by Matthias F. Cowley, pp. 604-605) Evidently she had a reason for saying this.

Michael Quinn added the following information about Madame Mountford:

Circumstantial evidence indicates that Wilford Woodruff married Madame Mountford as a plural wife in 1897. President Woodruff recorded attending her lecture on 7 February 1897, the first of ninety references to her in his dairy during the next 18 months. (Dialogue 18:62-63)

[8]According to Church history, the Lord didn’t seem to be too concerned about the laws of the land against plural marriage either. The first revelation concerning this principle was revealed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 while they were translating the Book of Mormon in a state that already had a law against plural wives. The next revelation on this principle came in 1831 in another state with a law against it. In fact, all five states in which the Prophet Joseph Smith lived had laws that severe opposed to that spiritual “law” that an angel with a drawn sword commanded him to live.

In 1852, the revelation on plural marriage, recorded in 1843 and later appearing as Section 132 in the Doctrine and Covenants, was read and favorably voted upon by the Saints. Ten years later, the United States passed the Morrill law against it, but the Mormons continued to practice the law of God in preference to the law of man. Another revelation in 1880 continued to sustain that principle in spite of the law of Congress. Then in 1882, the Edmunds law was passed to further harass the Mormons. But three months later the Lord gave another revelation to counter it. Then in 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker law to stop plural marriage was given to Congress, but the Lord gave the 1889 revelation to continue it. This see-saw between man’s law and God’s lair continued from the organization of the Church until the Manifesto.

However, plural marriage was not the only doctrine that was abandoned or changed in the 1890’s. Former Church Historian, Leonard Arrington, noted a possible reason for the beginning of these doctrinal changes in the Church:

National leaders and church leaders are said to have entered into a “compact” …. National leaders are said to have promised statehood for Utah provided three things were done: (1) plural marriage was abandoned; (2) the church political party was dissolved; and (3) the church dissolved [9] its relations with the economy <United Order>. (Religion and Economics in Mormon History, Leonard J. Arrington, “BYU Studies”, 3:31-32)

These three stipulations were met in 1890, 1891, and 1892. Doctrinal changes in the Church soon affected its social, economic, and political character. A non-Mormon once noted the changes in the Church by saying, “. . . it marks the beginning of an about-face which drastically altered the character of the church. He then continued with a quotation which reads:

Mormonism, . . . has experienced a social and intellectual transformation of such magnitude that a resurrected Joseph Smith, returning to earth today, might well wonder if this was indeed the same church he had founded. (“How Long, O Lord? The Delay of the Parousia in Mormonism“, a paper by Keith E. Norman, July 1982)

About 30,000 Fundamentalist Mormons are saying the same thing.

The Doctrinal Differences

 

The basis of the controversy between the LDS Church and the Fundamentalists is that of abandonment or changes in doctrine. The Fundamentalists claim if an eternal principle is true at one time, it should always be true. However, since the 1890’s many such changes have occurred, 12 of which will be briefly discussed in this section. They are

  1. Plural marriage
  2. Missionary work
  3. Office and Calling of the Seventy
  4. Priesthood Conferral and Ordinations
  5. Gathering of Israel
  6. United Order [10]
  7. Adam/God
  8. Persecution and world friendship 9. One Mighty and Strong
  9. Zion
  10. Blacks and the Priesthood
  11. Kingdom of God
  12. Plural Marriage

 

This has already been discussed; but in addition, it is interesting and ironic to note that Latter-day Saints once valiantly defended plural marriage, but now excommunicate anyone living it. On the other hand, the reverse is true in the Reorganized LDS Church, who once condemned and forbid it, but in 1972 they received a revelation allowing polygamists into their church. (RLDS D & C 150:10-12)

Martha Bradley noted another interesting change in her excellent forthcoming Sunstone article entitled, “Changed Faces: The Official LDS Position on Polygamy 1890-1980”. Her opening statement is

LeGrand Richards epitomized the Church’s attitude toward polygamy in answer to the question, “What was the most significant development in the Church during your lifetime?” when he responded, “We have finally overcome the stigma of polygamy.”

  1. Missionary Work

 

Four months after the organization of the Church, the Lord said, “Let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.” (D. & C. 84:86)

But as early as 1860 members began to pay for their transportation to the missionfields. (JD 8:172-173) By 1878 another step was added to transport the missionaries home [11] from their missions. (JD 20:4, 6-7) Then finally, by 1890 missionaries began to receive money from home while on their missions, but Apostle George Q. Cannon said this originated from the members, not from the President. (Des. News, Aug. 18, 1890)

Today missionaries cannot go into the missionfield unless they have a certain amount of money “saved” and the means “to sustain” them during their mission.

  1. Office and Calling of the Seventy

 

Originally the Seventies were “to constitute traveling quorums, to go into all the earth” as the missionaries for the Church. They were always to “hold themselves in readiness to . . . travel in the ministry.” (TPJS, p. 75) Gradually, however, the Elders replaced the Seventies in this missionary work until now there are no Seventies to do missionary work for the Church.

Early Church history records that an error was being made in the ordinations of Seventies. Some of the “presidents of the Seventies were High Priests” which Joseph Smith “declared to be wrong, and not according to the order of heaven.” (TPJS, p. 111) To rectify the situation, those who were High Priests in the quorums of Seventies were sent back to “unite with the High Priests’ quorum.” (Ibid.; also DHC 2:475-76)

In 1986 all the Seventies were abolished except for the Presidents of the First Quorum of Seventies (announcement made in S. L. Tribune, Oct. 5, 1986), and the Seventies were returned “to membership in the Elders Quorums of their wards.” The First Council were all ordained high priests, which according to the Prophet Joseph, was “not according to the order of heaven.”

Then in April 1989 the Church announced the formation of a Second Quorum of Presidents of Seventies. Fundamentalists wonder why there is a presiding quorum of Seventies when there are no Seventies to preside over. [12] And, if there are no Seventies for the First Quorum of Presidents of Seventies to preside over, why does there need to be a Second Quorum of Presidents to preside over no Seventies?

  1. Priesthood Conferral and Ordinations

 

The Priesthood is a vital issue with the Fundamentalists. They claim it must be conferred properly and that the LDS Church has made some mistakes in this process. They firmly believe that “all other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood.” (D. & C. 107:4-5)

Brigham Young explained the difference between ordination and conferral:

. . . Brother Joseph Smith has come to us many times, saying, “Brethren, you are going to ordain Seventies. Do not forget to confer the high priesthood upon them. Ordain each of them to the high priesthood, and to be one of the Seventy Apostles.” That was my language in the ordination of the Seventies, and that is the way I ordain them now. (Des. News, June 6, 1877)

Joseph F. Smith also explained, “. . . the conferring of the Priesthood should precede and accompany ordination to office.” (Imp. Era 4:394)

Prior to 1921 the Priesthood was conferred and then an office in the Church was given. However, Heber J. Grant sent a letter to all stake presidents and other Church leaders making the change to just the ordination to an office in the Church. Subsequently, these instructions were given in the missionary handbooks published during this time.

It is interesting to note, however, that 36 years later, in April of 1957, President David O. McKay had the conferring of Priesthood reinstated in the ordination [13] ceremony. So one may ask, is it Priesthood or an office in the Church held by those who were ordained between the years 1921 and 1957?

  1. Gathering of Israel

 

A statement of belief in “the literal gathering of Israel” was incorporated into the Articles of Faith (No. 10). It was an injunction given again in this last dispensation by Moses who restored those keys in the Kirtland Temple for that particular purpose. (Doc. & Cov. 110) In obedience to this, the early Saints gathered at Kirtland, then in Jackson County, Far West, Nauvoo, and then in Utah.

The importance was stated by the Prophet Joseph when he said, “If we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fail; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved….” (DHC 2:52)

The Saints established a Perpetual Immigration Fund for that purpose. However, ever since 1850 there has been a continuous decline in gathering. (See House of Israel, E. L. Whitehead, pp. 510-511.)

In 1901 the first stake outside of the Rocky Mountains was established in Oregon. By 1907 the First Presidency began to recommend that the Saints stay in their native countries. (Mess. of the First Pres. 4:165) Later, in 1972 Bruce McConkie proclaimed, “The place of gathering for the Mexican saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan saints is in Guatemala; etc., etc.” (Church News, Sept. 2, 1972)

  1. United Order

 

Within the first year of the organization of the Church, the Lord gave a revelation that one man should not “possess that which is above another,” (D. & C. 49:20) [14] and later said, “If ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.” (D. & C. 78:6) One of the most important revelations on this subject stated, “I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come.” (D. & C. 104:1)

This principle was a “commandment”, an “everlasting orders”; it was for “the salvation of men”, and the Lord said it should last “until I come.” But by the turn of the century, the last remnant of this holy system was dissolved, and no attempt has been made by the LDS Church to re-establish it.

There are two cardinal sins relating to wealth: Paul said the love of money (I Tim. 6:10), and Joseph said the inequality of riches (D. & C. 49:20). It seems the Latter-day Saints as a whole are delving into both.

The Lord has said, “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” (D. & C. 38:27) Since we are not one, whom do we belong to? It is obvious that if we are not in a United Order, then we are “out of order”.

  1. Adam/God

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “There are but a very few beings

in the world who understand rightly the character of God.” (TPJS, p. 343) Then later President Brigham Young said that, “When our Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body,” and that he “was our Father and God”. (JD 1:50) This was a great surprise to the Saints, but President Young continued to say that this doctrine “will prove their salvation or damnation.”

In less than 50 years Wilford Woodruff suggested that the saints should “cease troubling yourselves about who [15] God is; who Adam is . . . let these things alone. Why trouble yourselves about these things?” (Mill. Star 57:355)

In 1903 C. W. Penrose said those remarks concerning Adam “by President Brigham Young . . . have been commented upon, added to, and sometimes misinterpreted in a manner that has led to considerable confusion and misunderstanding.” (Imp. Era 5:873)

In 1912 Joseph F. Smith said, “Speculations as to the career of Adam before he came to the earth are of no real value….” (Imp. Era 15:415)

By 1922 Heber J. Grant said the doctrine was “not scriptural or according to truth.” (Mess. of First Pres. 5:289)

In 1939 Joseph Fielding Smith said, “In all probability the sermon <of Brigham Young> was erroneously transcribed.” (Des. News, April 15, 1939)

In 1958 Bruce McConkie said, “Cultists and other enemies of the restored truth for their own nefarious purposes, sometimes try to make it appear that Latter-day Saints worship Adam as their Father in Heaven.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 17-18)

And in 1980 Mark E. Petersen said, “Then was Adam our God, or did God become Adam? Ridiculous!” (Conf. Rept., Oct. 1980, pp. 22-23)

  1. Persecution and Friendship with the World

 

These two conditions are certainly opposites. Persecution followed the early disciples of Jesus, and He told them, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, . . . Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:11-12) It was an inevitable heritage that they knew would be their lot, and James the apostle said, “Friendship of the world is enmity with God.” (James 4:4)

[16]Mormonism drew persecution and opposition from the time of Joseph Smith’s first vision. The Prophet said, “If a man stands and opposes the world of sin, he may expect to have all wicked and corrupt spirits arrayed against him,” (TPJS, p. 259) and “. . . for no other reason than that we have been endeavoring to teach the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (TPJS, p. 124)

Persecution followed the Saints in every state and into the territory until the turn of the century. Then Heber J. Grant said in 1938:

My greatest happiness I find in the good will and friendship that has developed among all classes of people at home and abroad toward the Latter-day Saints Church, during my lifetime; in place of everyday persecutions and bitterness, we now enjoy the high regard and happy association with all denominations.” (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 22, 1938)

  1. The One Mighty and Strong

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote a letter to W. W. Phelps in Missouri when he was struggling with the Saints to establish Zion. A portion of that letter became Section 85 of the Doctrine and Covenants. No other revelation has caused so much speculation. It read in part:

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God.

[17]While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, …” (D. & C. 85:7-8)

The LDS Church endorsed an article written by B. H. Roberts in which he assumed that the time of the setting in order of the house of God had already transpired with Bishop Partridge. (Imp. Era 10:929) However, Fundamentalists point to a future time for a “setting in order” and insist that the Church has gradually become “out of order” because they have made changes in Gospel laws, principles and ordinances.

Incidentally, many men have claimed to be the one mighty and strong, but none of them has yet set anything in order that he claimed was out of order.

When Orson Pratt divided the Doctrine and Covenants into chapters and verses (1879), his footnote for 85:7 referred to “A future messenger promised.” This was deleted after the 1921 edition.

Most Fundamentalists believe the future messenger to be Joseph Smith (See D. & C. 103:21-22.), and they agree with Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund of the First Presidency when in the early 1900’s, they wrote an epistle indicating the future work of the one mighty and strong:

They <men of exceptional talents and abilities . . . called of God> will be accepted by the Saints in the regular order, appointed by the law of the Church, just as Edward Partridge was called and accepted, and just as the “one mighty and strong” will be called and accepted when the time comes for his services.” (Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith, p. 382)

[18]Elder Mark E. Petersen, commenting on this, said, “Various of our apostates . . . assume that this scripture refers to our day and to our leaders whom they declare have fallen. But how mistaken they are!” (See Way of the Master, Chapter 15.)

  1. Zion

 

Zion is a word used nowadays to describe banks, book stores, investment companies, and car lotsrather than what it was originally intended to mean. According to Enoch, “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.” (Moses 7:18) It is easy to discern the fact that where Babylon is, Zion is not.

Orson Pratt said that God allowed the Mormon people

. . . to be uprooted, to be driven from their houses and inheritances, and to be afflicted, tormented, and oppressed. Why did the Lord suffer this? Because the people felt a disposition to be at ease in the land of Zion, and to neglect the important duties required at their hands. This has been more or less the case from the day we settled in the western part of Missouri until the present time. (JD 9:175)

And Zion has not improved. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Zion shall yet live, though she seems to be dead.” (TPJS, p. 129) Today as one looks down the streets of Salt Lake City, Zion not only appears to be dead, but there doesn’t appear to be a skeleton left. The Prophet Joseph warned the Saints that “if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things in his sight, he will seek another people.” (DHC 1:316)

But in his last General Conference address, President Spencer W. Kimball consolingly said, “. . . the Lord is at the helm, the Church is true, and all is well.” (Conf. Rept., April 1982, p. 108) [19]

  1. Blacks and the Priesthood

On Friday, June 9, 1978, the First Presidency of the Church released a statement to the press that the Lord had made known His will by revelation that the Priesthood could be given to all people without regard for race or color. This was contradictory to statements made by previous Church presidents. And where was the revelation? No one has seen it. Revelations of a personal nature ought to be kept secret, but revelations for Church membership should be made available to them, published, and added to the canon of scripture.

It is interesting to note that the First Presidency in 1933 gave no credence to the 1886 revelation because, “from the absence in the Church archives of any evidence whatsoever justifying any belief that such a revelation was given, we are justified in affirming that no such revelation exists.” (Way of the Master, Petersen, p. 58) After calling the Church Archives in 1978, I was told they had a copy of the announcement but no revelation. The same criteria should apply in determining the validity of both revelations.

The new editions of the Doctrine and Covenants contain Official Declaration #1 of 1890 and Official Declaration #2 of 1978, but no revelation accompanies these announcements. Are we then “justified in affirming that no such revelations exists?

  1. Kingdom of God

 

The Old Testament Kingdom of God was a political power that governed the House of Israel. This concept was restored to Joseph Smith with the Gospel and established in 1843, separate from the organization of the Church in 1830.

George Q. Cannon said:

[20]We are asked, Is the Church of God and the Kingdom of God the same organization? and we are informed that some of the brethren hold that they are separate. This is the correct view to take. The Kingdom of God is a separate organization from the Church of God. (DHC 7:382)

And B. H. Roberts said:

It is proper for the reader to know that Joseph Smith, when speaking strictly, recognized a distinction between “the Church of Jesus Christ” and the “Kingdom of Cod” and not only a distinction but a separation of one from the other. The Kingdom of God according to his teaching is to be a political institution that shall hold sway over all the earth to which all other governments will be subordinate and by which they will be dominated. (The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, p. 180)

In more recent time, the Church and the Kingdom have been interpreted as being identical organizations. James E. Talmage said, “The Kingdom of God is the Church established by divine authority upon the earth; this institution asserts no claim to temporal rule over nations. . . .” (Jesus the Christ, p. 788)

Klaus J. Hansen noted that “Polygamy died with a bang, the political kingdom of God with a whimper.” (Quest for Empire, p. ii)

* * *

The excuse is often given that these changes have been made in the name of progress and to increase in Church membership. And, true, certain policy and procedure adjustments are definitely necessary when an organization grows from six to over six million members. Fundamentalists ask, do progress and growth justify the altering and discontinuing of eternal and everlasting principles?

[21] The Fundamentalist People

In 1935, Shortcreek, Arizona, was a very small community resting on the Utah-Arizona border. Before this time, few people had ever heard of it, but soon it was to receive international fame. Members of this little branch of the LDS Church were given a “test oath” to sign, requiring them to “denounce the practice and advocacy of plural marriage” and “without any mental reservation whatsoever, support the Presidency of the Church.” (Truth 1:121; 9:38) This mental coercion didn’t set well with 21 members who decided not to sign it, and this resulted in a mass excommunication. Shortly after that, the law took up where the Church left off and several people were sent to jail. This was the beginning of the imprisonment for many polygamists in the 20th century, and others soon followed in their wake.

In 1944 a raid was made on Shortcreek with 46 arrests. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor Pyle inaugurated the largest raid ever against polygamists, including over 200 state and federal officers trying to administer “justice” to this little town. At this time, they tried to separate 86 mothers from their 263 children who were put in foster homes.

The Church News editorialized the event, saying that “Utah and Arizona owe a debt of gratitude to Arizona’s Governor Howard Pyle”, and “we hope the unfortunate activities at Shortcreek will be cleaned up once and for all.” (Des. News, July 27, 1953)

Several Fundamentalists in the Salt Lake area had already been arrested and served time in prison for living plural marriage. Fifteen Fundamentalist leaders were arrested in 1945 with a sentence of an “indeterminate period not to exceed five years.”

Friction for the Fundamentalists occurred in 1951, when Joseph Musser ordained Rulon Allred as a new member of the Priesthood Council. Other members of the [22] existing Council, however, refused to recognize this ordination, and this was the beginning of a division into two main groups of Fundamentalists. Later, Owen Allred and others were called to a new council. And as time went on, other groups have been formed, fulfilling a prophecy by John Woolley many years before that “a generation yet unborn, along with some of the men who are living here now, are going to establish groups…. That they would contend among each other, that they would divide, that they would subdivide and they would be in great contention.” (Reminiscences of John and Lorin Woolley, by Rhea Kunz, Vol. 1, pg. 5)

Dissension also occurred when Joseph Musser, after his release from prison, tried unsuccessfully to again manage the publication of the Truth magazine, which had been taken over by his son, Guy Musser, during his absence. So the elder Musser started the publication of another monthly magazine called the Star of Truth and editorialized that his son “refused to turn it (Truth) to me, . . . and I couldn’t think of enduring such a situation.” (Star of Truth, Vol. 1, p. 1) Four years later, in 1954, Joseph Musser died and so did the Star of Truth. The Truth magazine continued until 1956, when it, too, passed away.

Louis Kelsch, the last man ordained to the Priesthood Council under Lorin Woolley, had the distinction of spending more time in Crowbar colleges (as he termed it) than any other man in this dispensation. He gave seven years of his life in prison for his five wives and 31 children. Louis later told a friend that he would rather “rot in prison” than sign a statement renouncing plural marriage.

Probably the last man sent to prison for practicing plural marriage was Robert Foster, who spent several weeks behind Utah bars in 1974. He had been an LDS seminary teacher for many years, and had married a couple of his former students.

[23]More recently, another interesting case made national news in November 1982. Royston Potter was fired from the Murray Police Department in Salt Lake County because he was accused of having two wives. He had been an outstanding officer, being awarded numerous commendations. Like the George Reynolds test case in 1879, Royston took it all the way to the Supreme Court, but they refused to hear the case, thus upholding the decision of the lower courts that polygamy is still considered to be against the Utah State law. In the official Memorandum Decision it states:

The prohibition of polygamy as provided by its <Utah’s> Constitution and laws, continues to be its settled public policy as does its commitment to monogamy as the cornerstone of its regulation of marriage, . . . (An Offender for a Word, Royston Potter, pp. B23-B24)

Royston was never formally charged or sentenced for violation of Utah’s law, but since then he has never been rehired as a police officer or in any other public office.

Coping with plural marriage today by arresting the polygamists would require putting a fence around most of Utah. There are probably at least 30,000 people who consider themselves as Fundamentalist Mormons, espousing at least the belief in the doctrine of plural marriage. There have been over 150 break-offs from the LDS Church, most of them being considered as Fundamentalist in nature. Many Fundamentalist Mormons join one of the many groups; others decide the groups are out of order as well as the Church, so they remain “Independent”; while still others keep their membership in the LDS Church, but privately they support the fundamental doctrines.

Generally speaking, the Fundamentalist Mormons are peace-loving, honest, hardworking, and very strong in their beliefs of the fundamental principles and doctrines of the Gospel as preached and practiced until the latter part of the 19th century. It is unfair to label them in the [24] same category as Dan and Ron Lafferty and Ervil LeBaron, just as it would be incorrect to label all Mormons in the same category as Arthur Gary Bishop, Gary Gilmore, and Mark Hofmann, who were members of the LDS Church.

Conclusion

 

Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the Manifesto. Fundamentalists consider it to be the first compromising act for the temporal salvation of the Churchbut a sacrifice in its spiritual salvation. They accept the 1886 revelation but doubt that the Manifesto was a revelation, whereas the Church has denounced the 1886 revelation but accepted the Manifesto as one.

The fullness of the Gospel has been restored a number of times, the reason being that man has repeatedly changed it. Paul, the apostle, said, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8) But in less than 100 years, they did. Joseph Smith repeated this same advise in our dispensation: “If any man preach any other gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it…” (DHC 6:365)

The present LDS Church leaders say we will make no mistake if we follow them, regardless of these contradictions. The Fundamentalists say that if the present leaders would have followed THEIR former leaders, we wouldn’t have these problems today.

From a study of the history of this confusing issue, it is evident that the “bad guys” have not always told lies, nor did the “good guys” always tell the truth. Aren’t those who want an unchangeable Gospel, really Fundamentalist Mormons, at least in their hearts?


GETHSEMANE

TO

CALVARY

                                      by

Ogden Kraut

 

 

DEDICATION

to

Arzie and Wanda Mitchell,

who have trod the path of sorrow,

knowing that suffering is a purification

that leads to Christ.

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

From the Garden of Gethsemane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

. . . To the Cross at Calvary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

* * *

*

 

[1]                                PREFACE

Thousands of books have been written about the life of Christ and the ultimate price He paid at Calvary; yet it may be truly said, “the half has never been told.” His was a life so monumental that the customs, laws, rituals, and sacrifices of many generations were influenced by it. It was the central theme of all the ancient prophets, and nearly 30 prophecies were fulfilled by His offering on the cross. His words and works were so abundant that the Apostle John said, “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:25)

Yet we have only His brief biography, written by four men. These brief records, important as they are, contain many contradictions, variations, missing gaps, and unclear phrases. Not that these are the fault of those original writers, but rather the mistranslations, interpolations, and prejudices of many translators.

One of these questionable phenomena was penned by Luke in his story of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. He described the intense pressure and apprehension of Christ before He partook of the “bitter cup”—His crucifixion. Luke was the only writer in the Bible to mention that Jesus “sweat” on that occasion, and said it “was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Everyone would agree that facing a death by crucifixion would cause almost any man to sweat. But did the act of praying for that bitter cup “to pass”, cause Him to actually sweat blood, or did He experience this intense suffering while on the cross at Calvary?

The following pages may help to clarify the imposing and awesome events of Gethsemane and Calvary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[3] From the Garden of Gethsemane. . .

The garden of Gethsemane was a very small area that became more famous for what happened there than for what grew there. Actually it was not a garden but an orchard. It was one of the olive groves on the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:11), and was located across the valley from the temple at Jerusalem. The word Gethsemane means “oil press”, and being located in an olive grove, it probably contained an olive-oil press.

 

 

 

 

The garden is nearly square, measuring about 140 x 150 feet. In 1848, the Franciscans enclosed it within a wall. (LDS Reference Enc., Brooks, p. 151)

[4]Luke and John describe it as being a particularly choice place where Jesus often went for rest, prayer and visiting with His disciples. All four of the Gospels mention Jesus going to this garden on the night of His betrayal by Judas. It was also the night of the last supper, and conversation was directed to His death. Jesus foretold of His rejection by the Jews, His captivity by the Romans, and His death by crucifixion.

The garden of Gethsemane became famous for the prayer that Jesus offered that fateful night. But in John’s account, which is the shortest of the four, it appears that His prayer was offered before Jesus actually came to the garden. The previous chapter (John 17) was a prayer which began with the words, “Father, the hour is come. . . ,” which is indicative of that famous prayer attributed to a place in the garden. Then John said in 18:1, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedran, where was a garden, into which he entered, and his disciples.”

At this point it is important to realize that there are many contradictions in the four Gospels concerning events, times and places surrounding the garden of Gethsemane. These accounts are included here for the purpose of information and comparison. Beginning with John’s account—

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. (John 18:1-5)

[5]Mark wrote in a little more detail about the Garden episode— And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;

And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?

Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.

And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

And immediately, while he yet spoke, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. (Mark 14:32-43)

Here Mark makes an interesting notation—that the second time Jesus returned to pray, he “spoke the same words” as He did in the first prayer.

[6]Matthew gives a similar, but even longer account of the Gethsemane events, as well as a conversation between Jesus and the disciples before they went into the garden—

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

Then saith he unto them, sly soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

[7]And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

And while he yet spoke, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. (Matthew 26:30-47)

Luke also gives a brief account of this event, but adds a few more interesting parts to the story, such as, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” and “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood”. Consider Luke’s report—

And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. (Luke 22:39-47)

[8]An interesting and important part of Matthew’s account is that Jesus “prayed the third time, saying the same words“. It was a repetitive prayer, offered three times—not one long agonizing prayer as so many have contended.

The purpose of His going “about a stone’s cast” from the disciples was to pray: “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36) The intent of His prayer was to postpone the “cup”, which was crucifixion. He was only 33 years old and wanted to live a little longer. He had family, friends, a valuable gospel to share. He also had the power of healing which He could use to benefit so many of his friends and followers. Why not unselfishly ask for an extension of time on earth?

He knew that Judas was about to betray him, and how the devil wanted him to suffer and die. It was simply a prayer for an extension of time. No other objective or reason was recorded by the disciples. The prayer in Gethsemane was simply asking for a chance to live a little longer. He asked for this same thing three times in those three prayers.

Luke is the only disciple who made any mention of blood at this time. But he said, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was AS IT WERE great drops of blood.” But Luke did not say He actually sweat blood. By comparing His sweat to “great drops of blood” is certainly not a positive statement that blood literally came from every pore. And, none of the other disciples even mentioned it!

The question now arises, did Jesus sweat blood at all, and if so, when did it occur?

According to all four gospels, Jesus prayed three times; and after each time He returned to awaken and talk to His disciples. In each of these [9] occurrences there was no mention of blood on Him or His clothes. The Roman soldiers did not say anything about blood on Him. And, Matthew, Mark and John did not even mention blood.

It would be difficult to bleed from every pore and not be noticed. However, there were no stained clothes, nor did it show on the rest of His body. There is no mention of His cleaning up with water or at a well. Later, the Roman soldiers cast lots for His robe, which would not have been that appealing if it had been covered with blood.

One of the most noted scholars on the life of Christ was Frederic Farrar, and his explanation of this phenomenon in Gethsemane follows:

The place <Gethsemane> seems haunted by presences of good and evil, struggling in mighty but silent contest for the eternal victory. They see Him, before whom the demons had fled in howling terror, lying on His face upon the ground. They hear that voice wailing in murmurs of broken agony, which had commanded the wind and the sea, and they obeyed Him. The great drops of anguish which drop from Him in the deathful struggle, look to them LIKE heavy gouts of blood. * * * which forced from Him the sweat that streamed LIKE drops of blood…. (The Life of Christ, Frederic Farrar, p. 625)

The approach to death is an awesome thing; and knowing that it would come by way of crucifixion, certainly brought additional terror with it. Before Jesus prayed in the Garden, He said, “My soul is full of anguish, even unto death.” The fore-knowledge of that form of death would bring agony to anyone, but it does not appear that He actually sweat blood over that.

However, we know that He did actually sweat blood at some time before He died. From the Book of Mormon we read:

[10]And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. (Mosiah 3:7)

This account did not say exactly when He would sweat blood—whether in Gethsemane, Calvary, or at some other time during His life. However, several writers have concluded that Jesus actually sweat blood in Gethsemane. Conclusions from three LDS notables are included here—from James E. Talmage, Bruce R. McConkie, and Hyrum L. Andrus:

  1. James E. Talmage said that it was this prayer in the garden that produced “an extrusion of blood from every pore”. (Jesus the Christ, p. 613)
  2. Bruce R. McConkie said, “in reality the pain and suffering, the triumph and grandeur, of the atonement took place primarily in Gethsemane. It was there Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world on conditions of repentance. It was there he suffered beyond human power to endure. It was there he sweat great drops of blood from every pore.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, p. 774)
  3. Hyrum L. Andrus commented in a recent seminar in Arizona, “It was in Gethsemane that He died for our sins. It was on Calvary that He died for the sins of Adam. * * * Technically speaking, Christ died spiritually in Gethsemane for our personal sins. . . . He died on the cross for the sin of Adam. * * * Can you imagine a person going through an ordeal so that out of every pore of his body there is oozing drops of blood? This is the Gethsemane scene!” (The Meaning of Gethsemane”, Book of Mormon Seminar, Tape 3, Snowflake, Arizona)

[11]The idea that blood came from every pore at Gethsemane has become so popular, it is now taught that the atonement occurred in Gethsemane instead of on the cross! It appears that Christ’s crucifixion at Calvary has become secondary to His prayer in Gethsemane!

If Jesus sweat blood while praying in Gethsemane, what did He sweat while being crucified on the cross? Can the prayer for the avoidance of an event be worse than its actual occurrence? At Gethsemane he asked that the bitter cup might pass; at Calvary he had to partake of it!

The prayers in Gethsemane were directed at the passing of the bitter cup. They were a plea for life instead of death. At this point, He doesn’t seem to be agonizing over the sins of mankind. If we are to believe that He sweat blood during these garden prayers, then we must believe that He was experiencing some sort of cowardice or fear of death or a failing weakness which was nearly more than He could bear! Yet how many great martyrs sang on their way to the pyre to be burned? How many men have been tortured in pain until death with an unspoken secret on their lips? History records thousands of valiant souls stepping into the valley of death—knowing they would never return!

Men have suffered death from numerous ingenious systems of torture. Besides the usual starving, beating, cutting and whipping, they have practiced and studied ways to make men suffer excruciating and prolonged pain. The Chinese developed the water drip on the head, which eventually felt like a hammer driving them insane. They also devised the bamboo slits in the fingernails which were then burned. The Inquisitors of the Catholic Church used the rack, which gradually tore men apart. The savages of Africa discovered how to roll other savages in clay and slowly roast them to death. Some [12] tribes of the American Indians would scalp a victim and then pour hot coals on their skull. But it was the Nazis and the Communists that perfected torture. They devised scientific methods of using drugs and chemicals to gradually destroy both mind and body in excruciating pain.

Many valiant souls have wilfully gone into torture chambers and to sure death without complaint or fear. Jesus may very well have sweat knowing that He was about to die by crucifixion, which is one of the worst forms of death. He had witnessed many such crucifixions, as they were a common form of execution during those days. And so that realization would be enough to make anyone sweat—but water, not blood!

Is it possible that the “Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world” would shun a suffering death and refuse to fulfill His sacred mission with His blood? Impossible! He went into the garden to receive an answer from the Father. Undoubtedly, it was the Father who appeared as an angel and came to answer the prayer of His Son.

From the moment Jesus left the Garden, nothing would stop Him from going to the cross! He had received the will of the Father, rather than His own, and now the will of the Father was His own. It had been Jesus’s will to have an extension of time in life; but the Father’s will was for Him to proceed to the cross. So, when Jesus learned the Father’s will, He became fully committed to obey it and to proceed to the cross. It was a total dedication to the ultimate!

For example, when Judas came with the Roman soldiers, Peter stood in defense of Jesus, even with a sword. Did Jesus appreciate this? To the contrary! Peter was trying to prevent Him from going to the cross, and thus making this great and necessary atonement. The story according to Matthew and John—

[13]Then came they and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matt. 26:50-54)

Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath! The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:10-11)

The prayers of Jesus in Gethsemane were offered to plead for a chance to live a little longer—not because of His fear of death. Jesus was willing to die—even by crucifixion—any time the Father required it, and nothing would prevent Him from accomplishing that mission. But even the knowledge of His impending death was not so terrible that it would cause Him to sweat blood. Yes, He sweat because of the realization that this type of death was imminent, as anyone would if he knew he was to be crucified!

Since Luke is the only one who gave any testimony of the sweat and blood, it may be possible that he has blended the agony stories of Gethsemane and Calvary. He may have combined or confused the prayer concerning the cup with the actual partaking of that cup. As we noted previously, John records the prayer as occurring even before they arrived at Gethsemane, while the other three writers blended it in the Gethsemane story. Such scriptural inconsistencies and alterations are not uncommon, and this may well be one of them.

[14]Paul, the learned Apostle, who wrote so extensively on the Gospel, never mentioned any ordeal of sweating blood in Gethsemane. John, the Beloved Disciple, who continued to live so long and depict so much about “blood”, never mentioned blood in Gethsemane. It seems very strange that if there were such a blood-letting and atonement in the garden, why did it not receive greater mention in the scriptures than just one short passing sentence by one Apostle? And he described the sweat “AS IT WERE” blood!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[16] . . . To the Cross at Calvary

Whatever Christ suffered at Gethsemane, it was minimal compared to the crucifixion! Death can come in a thousand different and terrible ways, but nothing compares to the horrors that attend death by crucifixion!

Evil men and evil demons combined their powers to destroy Christ from the time of His birth. The devil worked through both government officials and religious leaders trying to kill Him after He was born. It was Lucifer’s principle objective from the time of the revolt in heaven.

The devil and Christ were opponents in a war of greater proportions than any other battle among men. The Savior had gone through His short life enduring “opposition in all things” from the hand of that wicked one. Now, at His death, the devil would use his trump card through the crucifixion. It was a torture so inhuman that it could break the will of any man. Only the devil and hell could cause such misery to come upon such innocence. The devil wanted to make Christ say or do something wrong, so it would give him victory over the Savior.

As many scholars and historians have concluded, crucifixion was the worst form of death ever devised by men or devils. There was a progressive loss of strength, while pain increased. The head soon became too heavy to hold up, and the body became parched with the sun from without and by fever from within; then it was chilled at night. Insects continually irritated the victim. Further details are provided by Farrar in his Life of Christ:

He was laid down upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the cross-beams; and at the centre of the open palms, the point of a huge iron nail was placed, which, by the blow of a [17] mallet, was driven home into the wood. Then through either foot separately, or possibly through both together as they were placed one over the other, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh. Whether the sufferer was also bound to the cross we do not know; but, to prevent the hands and feet being torn away by the weight of the body, which could “rest upon nothing but four great wounds,” there was, about the centre of the cross, a wooden projection strong enough to support, at least in part, a human body which soon became a weight of agony. * * *

And then the accursed tree—with its living human burden . . . was slowly heaved up by strong arms, and the end of it fixed firmly in a hole dug deep in the ground for that purpose. The feet were but a little raised above the earth. The victim was in full reach of every hand that might choose to strike. (pp. 695, 697)

This form of death was the bitter “cup” that Jesus wanted to have the Father “pass” from Him. But Farrar continues:

For indeed a death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of horrible and ghastly—dizziness, cramps, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds—all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened; the arteries—especially of the head—became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood; and while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst; . . .

Such was the death to which Christ was doomed! (Ibid., pp. 697-698)

[18]No totally mortal man could have made such a painful sacrifice as did Christ at this time; this was the suffering of the Son in behalf of His Father. Adding to that, He shed the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God for all the sins of man. A heavy burden indeed! The real pain certainly was at Calvary—not Gethsemane!

Have you ever reacted to the dentist’s drill when he touched a nerve in your tooth? And yet that is a very small nerve. The piercing of the great median nerve in the wrists causes such pain that the muscles of the arms, neck, head and chest all contract and convulse from such a terrible agony.

Death by crucifixion was only a part of the suffering that Christ experienced on the cross. That form of death was horrible enough, but Christ was obligated to assume more than that. President John Taylor explained:

The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that He did in making an atonement for the sins of the world, He bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible. (Mediation and Atonement, p. 150)

His atonement for others was a spiritual one; thus, He would suffer spiritually, as well, in that death. Dr. James Talmage wrote:

He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. (Jesus the Christ, p. 613)

[19]No man on earth could have endured what Jesus did on the cross. Crucifixion was the ultimate torture in physical pain, but Jesus had the added misery of spiritual pain. We all know a little about physical pain in cuts, bumped shins, childbirth, surgeries, etc., but we know very little about real spiritual pain that has been described as “a lake of fire and brimstone.”

But the question arises—why did Christ have to endure so much pain? Why do young men die in war, good people endure so many calamities, and the aged go through so much suffering? Part of the answer may be found in the following statement by Brigham Young:

If He deals out to us afflictions, persecutions, pain, distress, famine, perplexity, bloodshed, driving and privations of every kind, it is the way that leads to the same exaltation He enjoys. (Teachings Of Brigham Young 3:330)

It is apparent that all men are afflicted by the great tormentor in one degree or another. Each must endure some of the miserable indignities that seem to fill so much of this mortal life. Righteous men, prophets and the Savior Himself have been apportioned more than others because many of our trials are given in proportion to the knowledge and mission we have. Brigham Young explains this—

God never bestows upon His people, or upon an individual, superior blessings without a severe trial to prove them, to prove that individual, or that people, to see whether they will keep their covenants with Him, and keep in remembrance what He has shown them. Then the greater the vision, the greater the display of the power of the enemy. And when such individuals are off their guard they are left to themselves, as Jesus was. For this express purpose the Father withdrew His spirit from His Son at the time he was to be crucified. * * * The light, knowledge, power, and glory with which he was clothed [20] were far above, or exceeded that of all others who had been upon the earth after the fall; consequently at the very moment, at the hour when the crisis came for him to offer up his life, the Father withdrew Himself, withdrew His Spirit, and cast a veil over him. That is what made him sweat blood. If he had had the power of God upon him, he would not have sweat blood; but all was withdrawn from him, and a veil was cast over him, and he then plead with the Father not to forsake him. “No, says the Father, “you must have your trials, as well as others.” (JD 3:205-206)

Here Brigham Young definitely identifies the time and place when Jesus experienced this sweating of blood. It was on the cross that the sins of mankind were heaped upon His soul. It was only upon His death that His blood would make an atonement. As the “Lamb slain from the foundations of the world”, it was on the cross—that became an immortal altar of sacrifice—that the sins of mankind were atoned for. The actual experiencing of pain of those sins was so intense that He sweat blood. John Taylor said:

When He found the accumulated weight of the sins of the world rolling upon His head, his feelings were so intense that He sweat great drops of blood. (JD 24:34)

It may be that it was at this time, while enduring the burden of the sins of the world, and under the pressure of those intense agonies, that Christ asked that the “bitterness” of this cup pass from Him. In Gethsemane He asked that the cup pass; on the cross, He undoubtedly asked that the bitterness of the cup pass from Him. But it was not possible, for He had to endure the pain and the weight of those sins.

[21]But going back to the information presented by Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, Volume 3, several points should be emphasized: (1) The greater our spirituality, the more affliction may be given by the devil; (2) The Father withdrew His spirit from Jesus at the time of the crucifixion; (3) This withdrawal is what made Him sweat blood. In Gethsemane the Father did not withdraw His spirit; rather He sent an angel to comfort and strengthen Him!

When Christ cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, it was evident that He was suddenly given a new kind of affliction and torment. He was surprised at the withdrawal of His Father’s spirit and didn’t understand why.

Dr. James E. Talmage describes this particular scene:

What mind of man can fathom the significance of that awful cry? It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, INTENSIFIED beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of his immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death. (Jesus the Christ, p. 661)

Talmage admits that Calvary was an agony “intensified” from that which He suffered in Gethsemane. It was the bitterest hour because the Father had withdrawn His support and left Him alone to face the “forces of sin and deaths”. Here at Calvary was a spiritual agony that we cannot, begin to comprehend!

[22]It is recorded that in Gethsemane when Jesus went back to pray for the third time, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43) The Father gave relief to him in His suffering in Gethsemane, even “strengthening” Him. However, He did not have this at Calvary, as He cried out, “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” Instead of strengthening Him again at Calvary, God abandoned Him. This is the spiritual pain which is so grievous to the soul.

An example of a type of this spiritual gloom occurred when Martin Harris was entrusted with 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, he gave them to his wife, and they were subsequently lost. Martin had to come back and tell the tragic story to Joseph. When he sat down at the table, Hyrum noticed something was wrong and asked him if he was sick. “Mr. Harris pressed his hands upon his temples, and cried out in a tone of deep anguish, `Oh, I have lost my soul! I have lost my soul!'”

Then when he told Joseph that the record was gone, Joseph exclaimed, “Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned—it is I who tempted the wrath of God. * * * He wept and groaned, and walked the floor continually.” (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, p. 128) Joseph was left to “pacing back and forth, weeping and grieving until sunset.” This was the torment of mind, which can be worse than the torment of the body. Joseph’s mother continued to describe the situation in this manner:

I well remember that day of darkness, both within and without. To us, at least, the heavens seemed clothed with blackness, and the earth shrouded with gloom. I have often said within myself, that if a continual punishment, as severe as that which we experienced on that occasion, were to be inflicted upon the most wicked characters who ever stood upon the footstool of the Almighty—if even their punishment were no greater than that, I should feel to pity their condition. (Ibid., p. 132)

[23]Joseph experienced only a small part of this terrible mental and spiritual suffering. In a revelation from the Lord to Joseph, He said:

Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least decree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my spirit. (D. & C. 19:20)

Joseph wept, groaned within himself, paced the floor, couldn’t eat, talk or go anywhere—and God said this was “in the least degree” of losing His spirit!

The loss of the spirit of the Lord is one of the gates through which the devil can inflict his greatest force. When the Father withdrew His spirit from Christ, the devil entered in and inflicted his greatest powers. Now Christ was truly in total agony from three major forces: (1) He hung upon a cross in the worst possible form of death; (2) the Father withdrew His spirit; and (3) the devil and his hosts inflicted their worst thrusts upon him. John Taylor powerfully described this event:

Thus rejected by His own, attacked by the powers of darkness, and seemingly forsaken by His God, on the cross He bowed beneath the accumulated load, and cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” * * * As the Son of Man, he endured all that it was possible for flesh and blood to endure …. And again, not only did His agony affect the mind and body of Jesus, causing Him to sweat great drops of blood, but by reason of some principle, to us unfathomable, His suffering affected universal nature. When he gave up the ghost, the solid rocks were riven, the foundations of the earth trembles, earthquakes shook the continents and rent the isles of the sea, a deep dryness overspread the sky, the mighty waters overflowed their accustomed [24] bounds, huge mountains sank and valleys rose, the handiwork of feeble men was overthrown, their cities were engulfed or consumed by the vivid shafts of lightning, and all material things were convulsed with the throes of seeming dissolution. (Mediation and Atonement, pp. 151-152)

Thus, the forces of the devil were so intense upon Christ that they certainly must have caused Him to sweat blood from every pore. President Taylor said those evil forces upon His body dispersed when Jesus died, and then affected the elements all over the earth. He said:

Thus, such was the torturing pressure of this intense, this indescribable agony, that it burst forth abroad beyond the confines of his body, convulsed all nature, and spread throughout all space. (Mediation and Atonement, pp. 151)

These powers of evil were not apparent at Gethsemane, but they were at Calvary. The Savior was grieving over His death while in the garden, but the exhibition of evil power was demonstrated intensely at the cross. So tremendous were the powers of evil on Christ at the cross, that when He died, they “burst asunder”, causing the earth to shake, the temple to be “rent in twain”, and darkness to prevail over the earth for several days.

No one inflicted physical pain on Christ in Gethsemane, but he certainly experienced an unfathomable amount at Calvary!

When, finally, Christ knew the end was near and that He was about to leave mortality, he uttered his last words, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) John Taylor explained the meaning of these final words:

[25]The Savior did not finish his work when he expired on the cross, when he cried out “It is finished.” He, in using those words, had no reference to his great mission to the earth, but merely to the agonies which he suffered. The Christian world I know say he alluded to the great work of redemption. This, however, is a great mistake, and is indicative of the extent of their knowledge of the plan of life and salvation. I say he referred merely to the agonies of death, and the sufferings He felt for the wickedness of men who would go so far as to crucify their Redeemer. It was this feeling, and this alone, that prompted him to cry out in the agony of His soul, “It is finished,” and then He expired.

But his work was not completed; it was in fact only begun. (J.D. 21:11)

[26] Conclusion

The complete concept of Christ’s atonement cannot be fully comprehended by mortals. His sacrifice was infinite and eternal, which is impossible for finite and temporal minds to understand. We will probably not fully realize the importance and all the reasons for Christ’s atonement until we reach the judgment bar of God.

It appears that the atonement of Christ had to have occurred on the cross. Jesus could make no atonement in Gethsemane because His blood was not shed until He was at Calvary. To substantiate this, Paul said that “without the SHEDDING of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22) As Jesus hung on the cross, his body was subjected to bleeding from wounds caused by nails and a sword.

Furthermore, this shedding of blood must be severe enough to cause death. For thousands of years bulls, goats, doves and other animals were killed as a sacrifice by the shedding of their blood. These were to be symbolic of the death through shedding blood of the Great Sacrifice at Calvary. A little bleeding that soon heals, does not make an atonement.

In 1890 the First President of the Church issued a statement concerning blood and death as it pertains to atonement:

That we regard the killing of a human being, except in conformity with the civil law, as a capital crime which should be punished by shedding the blood of the criminal, after a public trial before a legally constituted court of the land. (Messages of the First Presidency 3:184)

Also from the recognized authority for Protestantism, the Zondervan Publishers stated:

[27]The shedding of blood in sacrifice was prescribed as an acceptable substitute for the life of the sinner, and an act of atonement by which he could be restored to fellowship with God. (Zondervan Pic. Enc. of the Bible 1:627)

In every act of blood atonement—of animals or humans—it requires death to make it complete. Only with His death on the cross could Christ’s atonement be complete.

When Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” He was undergoing an experience which He had not expected. Something new had been added. The Father put him through a different kind of suffering and misery—one which afflicts the mind and torments the soul. It was for SIN!

Now throughout His life, Jesus had never committed sin; neither had He experienced the guilt and remorse that follow it. This was a new burden, but one which he had previously accepted; for “he was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sin of many…. ” (Isa. 53:11) So “he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities”. (Isa. 53:5) He took upon Him the sins of mankind, and so He bore the pain.

In order to save a man who is suffering from sin, Jesus had to understand his pain. When a child cries because of bumping his leg or arm, you know how to comfort him because you have had a similar experience. If you are to be of any help to someone who has made a mistake and is grieving for it, you can only understand such a thing by going through a similar experience. In order to save the sinner, Christ had to know what the suffering for sin was, so upon Him was placed the iniquity of us all.

[28]No mortal man has ever gone through pain, for any reason, that Christ did not endure as much or more. No one has ever had the agony or anguish for sin or crime that was as intense as that which Jesus suffered. The Lord has revealed to us that when we experience trouble, perils, or tribulations of any kind, even being cast into pits or the heavens gathering blackness and all the elements combining against us, or the very jaws of hell gaping open for us, we should remember and be comforted by the fact that “The Son of Man bath descended below them all.” (D. & C. 122:8)

Having experienced such pain and sorrow, Christ knows how to heal, to comfort, and to save. When He sees others in torment, He can empathize, for He had that experience at Calvary!

No one ever looked upon Jesus with more love, compassion, and kindness than He does upon them. Only He could perceive and understand that infinite atonement, and only He was capable of making such an offering. Even His disciples who walked, talked and lived with Him for years, never really comprehended His atonement.

No matter what the differing views are regarding Gethsemane and Calvary and how the scriptural mysteries are explained, we should recognize the one central theme that applies to each of us. This is beautifully explained by Brigham Young:

The greatest mystery a man ever learned, is to know how to control the human mind, and bring every faculty and power of the same in subjective to Jesus Christ; this is the greatest mystery we have to learn while in these tabernacles of clay. (Teachings of Brigham Young 3:90)

Christ’s holy sacrifice was made as a ransom for the souls of all men, and was the means of obtaining forgiveness for their sins. As His life’s blood ebbed [29] out of His body, Jesus “finished the work” in mortality that His Father sent Him to do (John 17:4). Then began a new work, and at His resurrection He came with a new appearance. The disciples would no longer dwell upon His death and crucifixion, but would talk about His ascension and resurrection which brought salvation for them and triumph for a deserving King!

Every man who achieves the Celestial Kingdom will have gone through his own Gethsemane—a time when he changes from doing his own will to the will of the Father. Even though a man has strong desires for something he wants in this life, still he must be willing to comply with God’s plan for him rather than his own. In our Gethsemane we choose whether or not to be obedient or rebellious to God. In our Gethsemane we may experience heartache and trials, but it is during those times that God is the nearest, and usually, in some way, providing the strength we need the most.

An angel came to Nephi and asked him if he knew the meaning of the tree that his father saw. Nephi responded, “Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.” Then the angel said, “Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” (1 Nephi 11:21-23)

This love for God is what we can achieve in our Gethsemane. And it may be necessary that we, too, should go to our Calvary!

Because the Savior endured that suffering at Calvary, He could rightfully proclaim, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). We have that assurance and comfort, so that at the time of our own death, we can trust in His promise that “I will come again and receive you unto Myself”.

Only then will we comprehend the full meaning of His sacrifice for us!


THE HOLY GHOST
BEFORE PENTECOST

DEFINITION1

POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTLESHIP7

THE DAY OF PENTECOST 10

JOHN THE BAPTIST 15

THE HOLY GHOST BEFORE PENTECOST 19

 

[1] DEFINITION

There exists considerable confusion as to when the Holy Ghost was given—as well as to what it is. Some ecclesiastics are of the opinion that the Holy Ghost was

not given until the day of Pentecost. The basis for this assumption is found in one passage of scripture. It is found in John 7:39:

“. . the Holy Ghost was not yet given” King James Version

However, the same passage of scriptures was trans­lated by Joseph Smith to read:

“. . .the Holy Ghost was promised unto them who believe.”

—Holy Scriptures

This verse also begins and ends with parenthesis ( ), indicating that this passage may have been added by some translator years after the scriptures were written. The original author of the book of John probably never wrote it at all.

First, let’s look to the teachings of the Prophet

[2]  Joseph Smith for an analysis and the effect of the Holy Ghost:

“This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence.”

  1. P. J. S., p. 149

“A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon.”

From this we may conclude the Holy Ghost to be a revelator which bestows pure intelligence.  Who are entitled to the Holy Ghost?  We find in the Book of Mormon that the power of the Holy Ghost can be enjoyed by anyone:

“If ye shall ask with sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

[3]   There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Only the members of Christ’s church are entitled to the “fift.”

“There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convin­cing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized.”

T.P.J.S., p. 199

The Holy Ghost will not remain with a man always. The gift also will be lost through unrighteousness.

“Had he (Cornelius) not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him.”

T.P.J.S., p. 199

“The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands, cannot be received through the medium of any other prin­ciple than the principle of right­eousness, for if the proposals are not complied with, it is of no use, but withdraws.”

T.P.J.S., p. 148

[4]   PRIESTHOOD MINISTRY MUST HAVE THE HOLY GHOST!

Salvation cannot core without reve­lation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it.”

T.P.J.S., p. 160

“No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.

T.P.J.S., p. 328

“The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priest­hoods.”

T.P.J.S., p. 323

“The rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.”

D & C 121:36

“If we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God.”

T.P.J.S., p. 272

From this we may be convinced that the ministry of Jesus and his disciples was accompanied by the Holy Ghost Jesus sent the twelve apostles and seventies into the ministry before the Day of Pentecost, therefore, it was [5] necessary for them to have the Holy Ghost to officiate in the ordinances or in preaching the Gospel.

“All are to preach the Gospel, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost; and no man can preach the Gospel without the Holy Ghost.”

  1. P. J. S., p. 112

Consider the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The disciples of Christ had this gift manifest through them in their ministry.  With the “gift” of the Holy Ghost comes power and special blessings such as casting out evil spirits.

Until he (Cornelius) obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy  Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him.”

T.P.J.S., p. 199

Long before the death of Jesus, or the day of Pentecost:

“. . . the Seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”

 

[6]  The Seventies were given priesthood powers which con­sisted of the gift of healing, casting out devils, and treading on poisonous serpents, etc. Jesus charged them to:

“. . .heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”

Luke 10:9

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,

and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Luke 10:19

With this office of the ministry, also came power “over all the enemy,” and the gifts of healing and mir­acles, which had to be accompanied by the Holy Ghost :

“We believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost being enjoyed now, as much as it was in the Apostle’s days; we be­lieve that it is necessary to make and to organize the Priesthood that no man can be called to fill any of­fice in the ministry without it.”

T.P.J.S., p. 243

It is not only improbable but impossible for persons [7] to receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost before they receive the Holy Ghost.  The disciples of Jesus could not preach, heal, baptize, and cast out devils without the Holy Ghost or the gift of the Holy Ghost.

POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTLESHIP

Since the gift of the Holy Ghost must accompany those in the ministry we must conclude that the Twelve Apostles had this gift from the following scriptures:

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

Matthew 10:1

“And as ye go, preach, saying The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely ye have received, freely give.”

Matthew 10:7-8

“But when they deliver you up take no thought how or what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

[8] “And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Barjorna; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 16:17

“No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy ghost,” should be translated, “No man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

T.P.J.S., p. 223

“And I say also unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock (reve­lation) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:18

Before the Day of Pentecost, Jesus told his Apostles that they would receive another or Second Comforter:

“And I will pray the Father, and

he shall give you Another Comforter.”

John 14:16

If they were to receive another Comforter it sig­nified they had already received a Comforter previously. Therefore, the Apostles had obtained the First Comforter— which is the Holy Ghost. This second Comforter was [9] Himself. The disciples had received one Comforter, the Holy Ghost, and were promised to also have the Second.

“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure; then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses. Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time.”

T.P.J.S., p. 150

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed, them. And when they saw him (resurrected) they worshipped him; but some doubted.”

Matthew 28: 16-17

This latter manifestation was before the Day of Pentecost and yet after the resurrection.  No one can manifest the powers and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the priesthood.  The Apostles had received more than the First Comforter (the Holy Ghost) on this occasion—they were received the Second Comforter!  Before they can receive the Second, they must have the First.  Thus, the Apostles had received both Comforters before the Day of Pentecost!

THE DAY OF PENTECOST

It was fifty days after the resurrection of Christ that Pentecost was celebrated as the ‘Harvest Feast.” It was a one-day celebration of the law which was given from Sinai on the 50th day of deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Many Jews had gathered to Jerusalem from Meso­potamia, Asia, Egypt, Libya, Rome, Arabia, and other nations. The Twelve Apostles stood before the people and spoke by the Gift of the Holy Ghost in the various [11] languages of the people.  Thus came the Gift of the Holy Ghost in the speaking of tongues.  The people who heard them experienced the power of the Holy Ghost—the convincing power of God to thetruth of the Gospel.

“The ultimate deisgn of tongues is to speak to foreigners.”

T.P.J.S., p. 195

“But the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Chruch, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the Day of Pentecost.”

T.P.J.S., p. 195

Some few consider the speaking of tongues a mani­festation that they must then conclude that there are over two million Mormons, as well as millions who claim to be Christians, who haven’t received the Holy Ghost, because they have never spoken with tongues. This idea is of course absurd. The gift of tongues is perhaps the least of all the gifts.

A similar occurrence was experienced by the Saints in this dispensation in the Kirtland Temple:

[12] “Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophecy, 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 prophecy; others saw glorious visions; and I behend 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.”

History of Church, 2:428

Though this was a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Ghost—there still had been many similar experiences by a few individuals in the Church previous to this occasion People are too often prone to believe that it takes a manifestation, as related above, as an evidence of the Holy Ghost, but this is a false notion.

“Hence, it not infrequently occurs, that when the Elders of this Church preach to the inhabitants of the world, that if they obey the Gospel they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that people expect to see some wonderful manifestation. Some [13] great display of power, or some extra­ordinary miracle performed; and is is often the case that young members of This Church for want of better information, carry along with them their old notions of things, and sometimes fall into egregious errors.”

T.P.J.S., p. 242

“The Lord cannot always be known by the thunder of his voice, by the display of His glory or by: the manifestation of His power, and those that are the most anxious to see these things, are the least pre­pared to meet them.”

T.P.J.S., p. 247

Thus, the gifts of the spirit are not always mani­fest. And even if some of them are, it does not mean that they had not received the Holy Ghost or the gift of

the Holy Ghost before that time. Indeed there are many gifts; and tongues is only one of them. Most of the gifts of the Spirit are not discernable to the eye.

“For all the gifts of the Spirit are not visible to the natural vis­ion, or understanding of man; indeed very few of them are.”

T.P.J.S., p. 243

[14]  “The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet is one that is the most sought after.”

“According to the testimony of scripture and the manifestations of the Spirit in the ancient days, very little could be known about it by the surrounding multitude, except on some extraordinary occasion as on the day of Pentecost.  The greatest, the best, and the most useful gifts would be known nothing about by the observer.”

T.P.J.S., p. 246

“The same is the case with us also in our administrations, while more frequently there is no manifestation at all, that is visible to the surrounding multitude.”

“But then to say that men always prophesied and spoke in tongues when they had the imposition of hands, would be to state that which is untrue, contrary to the practice of the Apostles, and at variance with holy writ.”

T.P.J.S., p. 243

The Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost could have been received by the disciples before Pentecost without any noticeable manifestation of that power.  The whole purpose of the gift of tongues on Pentecost was to [15] speak to the people of other nations—it was not a mani­festation to prove they had the Holy Ghost. If such a manifestation was necessary for evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost, we, too, would be obliged to have a simi­lar manifestation for proof. The endowment promised at that time was the same endowment given in our time, which has no relationship to the speaking in tongues. Endow­ments are given to prepare people to preach to the nations.

“The kingdom of God was with them be­fore the day of Pentecost, as well as afterwards; and it was also with John, and he preached the same Gospel and baptism that Jesus and the apostles preached after him. The endowment was to prepare the disciples for their mis­sions unto the world.”

T.P.J.S., p. 274

JOHN THE BAPTIST

Jesus said “among those born of women there is not c greater prophet than John.” The prophet Joseph said, “The keys of the Aaronic Priesthood were commited unto him, (John) and he was as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Now then, to believe that the Holy Ghost [16] was not given before Pentecost is to assume that John, this great forerunner, the greatest prophet, and the one holding thekeys of the Aaronic Priesthood who baptized the Messiah, was not acquainted with the Holy Ghost.

At the baptism of Jesus, John bore witness of seeing the “sign of the Holy Ghost.”  John was a witness of seeing the “sign of the Holy Ghost.”  John was a witness of this manifestation before the day of the Pentecost.  And it was Jesus who was to follow up John’s baptisms to give the disciples of John the baptism of “fire and the Holy Ghost.”

“John’s mission was limited to preaching and baptizing; but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of John’s dis­ciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost.”

T.P.J.S., p. 336

This is proof that Jesus conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost while he lived.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, while pregnant with John, “was filled with the Holy Ghost,” (Luke 1:41) and John’s [17] father Zacharias “was filled with the Holy Ghost,” (Luke 1:67) Must we believe that John’s father and mother were worthy to receive the holy Ghost while their son, the greatest prophet, the promised Elias, holding the keys of the Priesthood of Aaron, had to live and die without ever having the privilege of having the Holy Ghost?

John the Baptist went about Judea performing the sacred ordinance of baptism, telling the people that he did “baptize them with water, but there cometh one might­ier than I who shall baptize you with fire and the Holy Ghost.” That was to be Jesus, as mentioned, and He must have performed the rest of that ordinance upon the people by granting them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Or is it reasonable that those people would have to wait for nearly three years—until Pentecost to receive the rest of that baptism? It is very essential that they be both per­formed together.

“The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily and inseparably con­nected. An individual must be born of water and the Spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God.

T.P.J.S., p. 360

“You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-­that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

T.P.J.S., p. 314

John and Jesus were both dead by the day of Pentecost. There must have been a lot of people that would have been without the other half of their baptism—the receiving the “gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands.”

It is very unlikely that John would promise them baptism of water by himself, and baptism of fire and Holy Ghost by Jesus—then tell them they must wait for several years to receive the gift from under the hands of one of the apostles. Who laid hands on their heads for [19] the gift if not Jesus?  And when?  If no one received the golf Ghost before Pentecost,

THE HOLY GHOST BEFORE PENTECOST

There were many who received the Holy Ghost before the Day of Pentecost. Consider the following:

Adam:  “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying; I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever.”

Moses 5:9

Moses:  “And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son.”

Lehi & Nephi:  “And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of [20] these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost . . .And the Holy ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.”

1 Nephi 10:17, 22

David: “This scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judah.”

Mark 12:36 & Acts 1:16

Alma & Amulek”And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among Amulek: the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.”

Alma 8:30

“Having been visited by the Spirit of God, having conversed with angels, and having been spoken un­to by the voice of the Lord, and having the spirit of prophecy, and also the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation.”

Alma 9:21

“Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Alma 36:24 (73 B.C.)

[21]

Sameul & Nephi:  “But the Spirit of the Lord was with him (Samuel) insomuch that they could not hit him with their arrows.”

“For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesy­ing, and preaching crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working mir­acles among the people, that they might know that the Christ must shortly come.”

Helamen 16:2, 4 (6 B.C.)

John The Baptist:  “John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.” Baptist:

D & C, 84:27

Elizabeth: “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”

Luke 1:41

Mary: “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 1:18

Simeon: “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

Luke 2:25. 26

Judas Iscariot:”It sorroweth me because of the fourth genera­tion, for they are led away captive by him even as were the sons of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold.”

“All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him.”

T.P.J.S., p. 358

T give scriptural evidence that the Holy Ghost al­ways has and always will be given to the faithful, we conclude with the words of Nephi:

“The power of the Holy Ghost, which is the Gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men. For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him. For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; where­fore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.”

1 Nephi 10:17-19