Rebuttal to LDS Watchman
Quotes taken from:
Contention: “Here we see clearly that the apostasy being referred to [in Section 86] was a future apostasy not a past one. Verse 3 states after they have fallen asleep, not after they had fallen asleep.”
Response: I did not claim that the revelation referred to the initial apostasy after the first watch. I have spoken and written extensively on this subject, that the wheat and tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe. This is clear instruction to Sidney and Joseph, providing them context as they gleaned insights during their translation of the Bible, where it surely became more and more obvious that their church would fall into apostasy. This is why they received Section 86. God implored them to continue their efforts regardless of the truth that an apostasy would occur after the second watch. They are told to, “let the wheat and tares grow together.”
Again, the revelation supports my belief that Sidney is John the Beloved—that the original apostles were the sowers of the seed, and not all of them have fallen asleep. John the Beloved was yet to fall asleep, which is why the word “have” is used and not “had.”
Contention: “In D&C 86 the Lord is speaking to future Israelites with whom the priesthood has continued since the restoration of the gospel in the 1830s. Their life and priesthood must remain until the restoration of all things. In the meantime they are to be a light to the gentiles and a savior to the Lord’s people Israel.”
Response: How can these future readers of D&C 86 be a savior in the meantime when they do not possess the priesthood necessary to save? None of us can provide the saving ordinances.
Contention: “It is these individuals who are referred to. It is not some mystic allusion to some secret hidden identity of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.”
Response: Perhaps it’s not. But with certainty I can refute the revelation is not targeted to us. It’s either directly to Joseph and Sidney or the original members of the Church of Christ. “Blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness […] and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people.” The church did not continue in goodness; they departed from the Lord and lost the fulness of the priesthood, and eventually their baptisms were no longer accepted.
Contention: “Are the only weak ones who will break down the strong ones the weak saints from the 1830s and 1840s who failed to redeem Zion at that time? Do they all have to come back to earth and finish the work that was started back in the 1830s in some mystical return from the dead, which has never before happened in the scriptures?”
Response: Yes, the first labourers of the last kingdom will. They go forth, “for the last time.” (D&C 88:84) They didn’t go forth after the Kirtland Temple, because God is saving them for the marvelous work.
Contention: “The Lord knew exactly what would and would not be achieved in the 1830s and 1840s.”
Response: He did, and that’s why the revelations and prophecies indicate they must return to the earth or the word of the Lord is null and void and should not be trusted.
Contention: “Just because the Lord has promised us something individually, this does not mean that it will come to pass. All promised blessing are contingent upon us doing the Lord’s will. If we do not do what He says, He is not bound, and we have no promise. The same principle applies to the individuals given promises by the Lord in the D&C.”
Response: This paradigm suggests that Joseph Smith did not do the Lord’s will. The prophecy of 2nd Nephi 3 which outlines the role of Joseph Smith was not contingent upon anything. It will either come to pass or the Book of Mormon is a lie. The author has an issue with “unconditional” promises because apparently things can go any which way depending on man. God said of Joseph: “I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.” He didn’t say, “And if he does my will, I will make him great; and if everybody listens to him, he will do my work.”
“That seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise.” (2 Nephi 3:14)
Why can’t we have the same kind of faith that Joseph of Egypt had when God proclaimed truth?Because those seeking to destroy Joseph Smith were not confounded, this either means the Book of Mormon is a fraud or it has not yet come to pass. I believe in the Word and know that this prophecy will come to pass exactly as stated. When God’s work commences (2 Nephi 3:13), Joseph will be made strong and none will destroy him. They will not even hurt him. (3 Nephi 21:10) The Lord has spoken it.
God doesn’t make these promises because of how he thinks things will go…he knows the future; and in this case, knew that Joseph Smith would fulfill his will, which is why he provides unconditional commentary on prophetic events wherein he knows the final result.
Contention: “We must also remember that prior to the millennium, or right at the beginning of it, the righteous saints who have gone before shall descend upon the earth and the righteous saints living on the earth shall be rushed up to meet them. Surely the righteous saints from the early days of the restoration will be there and participate as prophesied. It must also be remembered that there will be a great many angels who will participate in the gathering of the elect to Zion. Surely righteous saints from the church in all ages, including the 1830s and 1840s, will be among these angels.”
Response: The gathering of elect occurs before the first trump. And the gathering is to be done by Joseph Smith who is to deliver (2 Nephi 3:9) and restore Israel (2 Nephi 3:13) alongside the first elders. If they have to wait until the first resurrection to do so, the scriptures have contradicted themselves.
Contention: “Seeing how there is no scriptural pattern for such a claim, this does not appear to be a plausible conclusion.”
Response: There is no other plausible conclusion. The marvelous work is regarded as a “strange act” (D&C 101:95) so why would there be a scriptural pattern for it? How else could it be strange?
Contention: “The Lord stated to Joseph Smith, “I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.” […] Sounds like a future servant of the Lord to me.”
Response: Sounds like Joseph Smith to me, for God said of Joseph: “He shall be great like unto Moses […] to deliver my people, O house of Israel.” (2 Nephi 3:11) It is erroneous to suggest that D&C 101 was speaking to Joseph Smith; it was clearly to the Saints, the children of Israel. They were told that the redemption of Zion needed to come by power, a reference to Joseph Smith when he goes forth in the spirit of power to bring Israel out of captivity unto freedom. (2 Nephi 3:5)
I doubt Watchman is ignorant of 2nd Nephi 3; I suspect he believes it not to be prophecy of Joseph Smith but of another Joseph…for either Joseph returns to the earth or the prophecy is speaking of someone else. I implore the reader to decide on this matter.
Contention: “It is clear that there is absolutely no reason to declare that “John the Baptist was Elijah brought back into the flesh” or that he “was not going through a mortal probation to choose good over evil; he had already proven himself to God as Elijah!” This is total speculation and goes against the scriptures and teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith.”
Response: It is speculation on my part—but I’d love to see what scriptures I’m contradicting. Haven’t found them in my many years of intensive study, making it my mission to demolish all false doctrine in and out of the LDS church, constantly readjusting my positions once I’ve been proven wrong. How can we not speculate when the the scriptures have provided so many cryptic and mysterious passages? As we continue searching, we reevaluate and come to a greater understanding. I’m not afraid to speculate because God intentionally gave us a program that requires it.
Contention: “Joseph said that he saw Jesus Christ and God the Father in a vision in 1820. He never said that he was in their presence or that either of them were actually physically present.”
Response: I agree this is more likely.
Contention: “Paul is not in any way referring directly to Joseph and Sidney in 1 Corinthians. He is talking about the saints in his day and the saints and servants of God in all ages.”
Response: When you have a theory and encounter passages such as this, the scriptures can reveal a new meaning. I included 1 Corinthians 1:27 to showcase this. I don’t claim it to be evidence of supporting my theory but just as an indication that the scriptures can have a deeper subtext. Is this one of them? Maybe, maybe not.
Contention: “This is correct only if what is meant by Jews is the House of Israel as a whole, primarily the tribe of Ephraim, and not specifically the tribe of Judah. If the tribe of Judah is specifically being referred to, then this is not correct.”
Response: Why is the tribe of Judah excluded? When the gospel is sent to the Jews it doesn’t include Judah? Why?
Contention: “Descendants of Joseph are not gentiles. The priesthood line and birthright is through the line of the father and not the mother. Not that it matters in this case, as Joseph in Egypt did not marry a gentile woman. He married into the royal Egyptian family, who were ruling Egypt at that particular time. During that time Egypt was briefly ruled by a people called the Hyksos, who had driven out the black Egyptian rulers. The Hyksos were from Chaldea, the same place Abraham and Sarah were from. It is also the place were Isaac’s wife Rebekah was from, as well as Jacob’s wives Leah and Rachel. This is why Joseph could marry Asenath. Had she been a black Canaanite, this would have been forbidden, just as Isaac and Jacob had been forbidden to take wives from among the black Canaanites.”
Response: Firstly, I agree that priesthood is handed down by the father, but this doesn’t change the fact that the bloodline can be intermixed. The fulness of the gospel is given to the Gentiles and yet The Book of Commandments identifies the Gentiles as being of the blood of Ephraim. (D&C 64:36) So the descendants of Joseph must clearly be Gentiles either through Asenath or by mixing among the people. (Hosea 7:8)
Contention: “Joseph Smith as the lamb is a very strange interpretation of Leviticus 16 since a lamb is not mentioned. Rather it is a ram. But Joseph never said that he was going as a “ram” to the slaughter, so I guess it’s easier for G.azelem to change ram to lamb and hope nobody notices. Or perhaps he didn’t notice this himself.”
Response: The author does not know what a ram is.
Contention: “Just like with his 1st watch interpretation, G.azelem doesn’t provide an interpretation for the other metaphors such as Moses, Aaron, the Holy Place, linen garments, wilderness, etc.”
Response: I could provide an interpretation.
Contention: “I see absolutely zero parallel between Judas and Hyrum Smith. Perhaps between Judas and William Law as they were both traitors, but G.azelem can’t use William Law, because William Law wasn’t slain. Hyrum was not in any way responsible for Joseph’s death, nor was Judas slain beside Jesus as Hyrum was to Joseph.”
Response: William Law wasn’t a traitor; he was attempting to reform the church as needed. Hyrum actually was responsible for Joseph’s death because it was his idea to give themselves up and go to prison even though Joseph informed him that if they did so, they would die. It probably is too far of a stretch to make this comparison, but my actual point was to reinforce that the atonement offering of Joseph Smith was contingent upon 3rd Nephi 20-21 and not Leviticus 16, because it’s still possible to provide an interpretation that fulfills the scapegoat offering before the time of Joseph Smith.
Contention: “On the other hand, if Joseph was offering up such a sacrifice at his death it is strange that the Lord didn’t at least hint at this when he revealed to Brigham Young the reason why Joseph had to die.”
Response: Brigham Young was not a prophet.
Contention: “He [Sidney Rigdon] did not remain with the saints as the Lord commanded, he pridefully took off.”
Response: He refused to bow down to false prophets.
Contention: “Where does it state in the scriptures that people must rend the veil and see God before they are sanctified?”
Response: Of course you can’t see God before sanctification. I didn’t say this. Rending the veil of unbelief is the expression of faith needed for sanctification. And you can’t see God unless you are sanctified.
Contention: “Does being born of God mean that a person no longer sins at all? I’m not aware of this doctrine. All men sin, even the most righteous.”
Response: Not according to 1 John 3:9. All men will sin, but it is possible to stop once you have been born of God.
Contention: “Daniel did prophecy that the daily sacrifice would be taken away, but he did not say that this daily sacrifice was that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. […] I’m curious where G.azelem gets the idea that the daily sacrifice referred to by Daniel has been take away already.”
Response: I’m curious what the Watchman thinks the daily sacrifice refers to, since he hasn’t offered a better interpretation.
Contention: “How [can he] claim that even in a time of apostasy, were the ordinances are not found on the earth, that we are still accountable for not rending the veil, after declaring that one must have the Melchizedek priesthood in order to rend the veil and see God earlier in his article? Furthermore, how does G.azelem expect us to rend the veil if the ability to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit has been taken from us as he claims?”
Response: When we rend the veil of unbelief, then come the great and marvelous things. The great and marvelous things involve us offering a broken heart and contrite spirit within the law of consecration which is necessary in receiving the Melchizedek priesthood for a baptism of fire.
Contention: “He suffered for every sin. He felt every pain. He felt every temptation. He took our sins upon Himself, when He was slain for the sins of the world in the meridian of time. To suggest that that He still needed to experience what it was like to commit iniquity 1800 years later, is to suggest that the atonement was not fully complete when Christ was slain. This is again blasphemy.”
Response: He felt every temptation, but he did not feel the guilt of having committed sin. I understand why this can be deemed as blasphemous, but am only being open and sincere. I’m not gonna win anybody over in stating such a radical concept. I wish only to be transparent with the ramifications of what I’m suggesting.
Contention: “The “deep” in D&C 122:7 refers to the possibility of Joseph being killed by his enemies casting him into the sea, not that Joseph was going to be cast into hell.”
Response: The sea [deep] is used in scripture to be an analogy for hell. (Rev 13:1) Joseph was also informed that he could be cast into the pit, as well as having the very jaws of hell gape after him. (Section 122)
Contention: “This is all speculation and ultimately a false conclusion. We do not know that Sidney raises the ensign and therefore we do not know that he is the Root of Jesse. Sidney failed to live up to his calling in the end.”
Response: I may be wrong that Sidney is the Root of Jesse, but I believe the author is definitely wrong in judging Sidney to have not lived up to his calling.
Contention: “Here we go again with the “previous mortal probation” false doctrine. The scriptures do not anywhere state that Sidney Rigdon already held the keys of the gathering of Israel prior to joining the church, or that he held any keys prior to joining the church for that matter. G.azelem is pulling this out of thin air. The keys to the gathering of Israel were given in the Kirtland temple in 1836 (D&C 110) and not before. Those keys were given to Joseph and Oliver and not Sidney.”
Response: And yet previous to 1836 the church had authority to all nations; the keys to save Israel had already been given. (D&C 35:25)
Contention: “Actually D&C 110 says that Moses, Elias, and Elijah visited Joseph and Oliver and bestowed keys upon them. John the Baptist is not mentioned and Elias and Elijah are shown to be separate individuals.”
Response: Author ignores all evidence given by me to suggest otherwise.
Contention: “G.azelem is correct that the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham is not a downgrade. He clearly doesn’t understand what the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham really means, but by acknowledging that it is not a downgrade he is one step ahead of the other third watch bloggers in this regard.”
Response: Then let’s hear what the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham is! I’d love to hear another perspective. I don’t imagine it’s any different than what I think, but I’m all ears.
Contention: “Sidney held the keys by virtue of being one of Joseph’s councilors in the first presidency, who collectively held the keys of the kingdom with the president of the church, Joseph Smith. Clearly Joseph bestowed those keys upon Sidney and Frederick G. Williams when they were set apart as his councilors. There is zero indication that Sidney held these keys previously.”
Response: So Joseph Smith held the keys of the kingdom without the keys given in 1836? Either the keys of 1836 represent a downgrade or the church held them previously because of someone in the first presidency was already given them. Rather than providing a decent argument as to why the keys of 1836 don’t constitute the keys of the kingdom, I’m attacked for providing a theory that actually makes sense of the author’s suppositions. The “kingdom” was only given to the Saints once Sidney aligned with the church. Was this a mere coincidence? I feel like Watchman should do a post on priesthood keys so I can understand where he’s coming from.
Contention: “G.azelem is forgetting two men. Robert B. Thompson and John C. Bennett were also called to help with this proclamation.
He’s also forgetting that the Lord told Joseph to make this proclamation to the kings of the earth immediately, not four generations later.
Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Sidney Rigdon, who left Nauvoo against the Lord’s command; John C. Bennett ,who was an adulterer who preyed on naïve women and wanted to murder the Lord’s prophet; and William Law who betrayed Joseph, started his own church, and later denounced the restored gospel as a fraud, will all come back and make this proclamation together with Robert Thompson acting as scribe.
If these guys will all be given a free pass for their sins, then I guess we’ll all be saved in the kingdom of heaven in the end, after perhaps being beaten by a few stripes. We might as well eat, drink, and be merry.”
Response: I wasn’t forgetting anything. The only person forgetting anything was apparently Joseph for not bothering to make the proclamation immediately. I’ve provided the author—in an email—an explanation as to why John C. Bennett will not be making the proclamation, that his assignment was conditional and not unconditional, but this makes no difference because LDS Watchman doesn’t believe there is a distinction between a conditional or unconditonal statement.
Contention: “As for the Morley farm conference. The Melchizedek priesthood was restored before that. It was restored in 1829. There were already Elders before the church was organized. Elder is an office of the Melchizedek priesthood. The Joseph Smith quote about Morley farm doesn’t say what G.azelem thinks it does.”
Response: I’ve explained this apparent discrepancy before. The office of elder is unto the high priesthood, not an office of the high priesthood.
Contention: “This is the timeline put together by Watcher, but the problem is that the Melchizedek priesthood was on earth and with the church in 1829, so the three and a half years would have ended in 1832 not 1834 as Watcher claims, and G.azelem echoes here.”
Response: The author still believes the Melchizedek priesthood was restored previous to the establishment of the church, a deluded narrative that falls to pieces and leads Mormons to reject the truth claims of the restoration movement because it is not supported and is evidence of historical revisionism.
Contention: “The third watch bloggers like to take shots at the endowment, but I have yet to find a convincing argument from them as to why they believe the endowment is from Satan and a secret combination.”
Response: I guess Moses 5:29 doesn’t ring any bells for Watchman.
Although the main point of Watchman was to disprove my theory that individuals can die and be born again at a later time, the real issue at hand was the author’s reluctance to believe that the prophecies of Joseph Smith will fully come to pass as stated in scripture.
He has surmised: “Apparently in the eyes of the third watch bloggers God is a respecter of persons and certain individuals will receive a free pass for their sins and transgressions and be allowed to return to earth to fulfil whatever mission they were called to, which they may not have lived worthy of during their lives.”
Of course, we do not believe this, and the author is seemingly comfortable in this misalignment of our beliefs and convictions. He doesn’t think very highly of us if he thinks we’ve strayed that far from the most basic of truths. Certain individuals aren’t given a free pass. God knows who will overcome and who won’t, and this knowledge is the knowledge we go off of.
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon will return to the earth along with the first elders. I verily know this to be true. The only thing Watchman can do is present me as having a false religious worldview where people get a free pass.
My religious worldview is a belief in God who knows the end from the beginning; and everything God says will come to pass because God has already seen it transpire. God knew that his anointed servants would accomplish his will, and that is why he prophesied of them doing things they haven’t yet done. He would not have declared them to fulfill more than they had if he knew they would fail during the first commission. He declared them to go forth for the last time (a second commission) and they will! This is very clear to me. While I sway on other issues, I do not doubt the reality of the return of the first labourers of the last kingdom.
Notice in all five posts that there was no scriptures provided to prove that spirits can never re-enter their mortality through being born again in the womb…and thus he has unwittingly given my theory even more support. It can’t be proven false with a simple swoop.
It is commonly accepted within Mormondom that God was once a mortal man who had a god above him. This can be proven false instantly. (Isaiah 43:10-11) The scriptures can destroy false doctrine with a single scripture. That’s the power they have.
I no longer intend to explore on this blog—or elsewhere—on the subject of spirits returning to the earth and entering the womb once again to continue their ministry. I’ve compiled a vast collection of scriptures that may prove its legitimacy, but this has become irrelevant to me in respect to the current state of things. This is the time in which the watchmen do not yet see eye-to-eye. This only occurs once the Lord brings again Zion. (Isa 52:8)
I’m reminded of Alma who mused on the timeline of resurrections and yet determined: “It mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things.” (Alma 40:5)
The elders of the church who would learn the mysteries of God—most notably in Sections 76, 88, and 93—were told, “preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.” (D&C 19:21)
Although this verse is not subject to me—for no one on earth (as far as I am aware) has been called to the ministry to preach—I feel inspired to try and follow the mandate of this verse for the time being.
The last month I have been delving into the deepest of mysteries. My findings have been incredible and have deepened my understanding of the plan of salvation on an entirely new level. I have been blessed with many insights and revelations of pure intelligence (light and truth) which is the glory of God. (D&C 93:36) This has improved my sense of discernment.
I am now embarking on compiling a list of every commandment that has proceeded forth from the mouth of God.
If we by the grace of God are called to preach repentance unto the world; or by the grace of God are ministered unto by true priesthood messengers with the call to repent—I sense we should get a head-start and know what things we need to repent of, and begin to do so immediately with deeper sorrow and humility. I suspect that I will come across commandments and prophetic words to heed that are not yet fully apparent to me.
I thank LDS Watchman for taking my post seriously and measuring it up against his understanding of the scriptures
As I have quoted numerously before, I repeat once more:
“They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Ne 28:14)
Until we are sanctified, we are all subject to err. I wouldn’t doubt that both Watchman and I are counted among this group Nephi speaks of. We are slowly un-learning the traditions of our fathers, and this process takes time. Yet each of us have the pure intent of seeking God, and for this we are told:
“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” (Deut 4:29-31)
Seek, and ye shall find.
The seekers and watchers have the same goal—to please God. For now I hope to rest from debating the word and focus on how we can instead begin to live the word more fully.
Let us allow our knowledge of the scriptures to empower us in ways we haven’t yet experienced. The best is yet to come for the humble followers of Christ.