Evidences for the Prophet Joseph Smith as Found in the Pearl of Great Price
In October 2015, my most ambitious writing project appeared on bookstore shelves. The publication of The Book of Mormon Is True made me happy. About the same day the book was available, I found a lump. On November fifth, I was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer. Two surgeries, four rounds of chemotherapy, and thirty radiation treatments followed. It was rough. My first breast cancer experience had been nineteen years earlier. It was hard then, and being nineteen years older made it even harder the second time around.
The reason for sharing is to tell you that during this year of health challenges, in small bits of time, I was blessed to have a new book idea to work on that occupied by mind and buoyed my spirits. Mostly, I researched and wrote lying on my back with my laptop on my bent knees. This new book was antibiotic to my soul, rooting out the gloom that accompanies serious illness and treatment. I thank Heavenly Father for giving me an exciting idea that produced a tangible positive. I feel truly blessed. However, I must confess that I have no idea how the book got written. I didn’t spend enough time on it, and my brain was frying in chemo juices and swimming in antibiotics. The process and result have been miraculous to me.
I thank my son, Daniel, for the idea. I thank my husband, Richard, who read and critiqued every chapter. He also helped me research by reading to me hour after hour, day after day, month after month when I had not energy to do so on my own. I thank our daughter, Christine, whose expertise improved the manuscript in readability and organization. Both encouraged me during the hardest times to keep going. I thank my daughter-in-law, Shonna, for kindly correcting grammar and checking scripture citations. Then my friend and editor of The Book of Mormon Is True, Stacey Turner, did the final edit. (Obviously, I needed a lot of help.) It has been quite the ride.
The joy of the project has been to discover more and more evidence that Joseph Smith is a prophet by identifying unique vocabularies and finding doctrinal connections in the diverse elements of the Pearl of Great Price. The evidences surprised me because the Pearl of Great Price is such a short book—really more like a long pamphlet—and there are more than just a few evidences. They are conclusive to the point of leaving naysayers scratching their heads in a fruitless effort to explain away the proofs.
It is my privilege to offer these evidences to you, and I do so with my love and testimony.
Table of Contents Chapter 1: Will There Be Unique Words?
Section One: Setting the Stage
Chapter 2: Misunderstanding the Word Translate
Chapter 3: Joseph Smith’s Credibility
Chapter 4: How the Pearl of Great Price Came to Be
Chapter 5: Seven Distinct Features of the Pearl of Great Price
Section Two: The Book of Moses Chapter 6: Words of Moses
Chapter 7: Words of Satan
Chapter 8: Words of God
Chapter 9: Words of Jesus Christ
Chapter 10: Words of Adam and Eve
Chapter 11: Words of Enoch
Chapter 12: People, Places, and More Unique Words
Section Three: The Book of Abraham
Chapter 13: More on How the Book of Abraham Came to Be Chapter 14: Words of Abraham
Chapter 15: Abraham’s and Joseph’s Revelatory Experiences Chapter 16: Astronomy and the Plan of Salvation
Section Four: The Book of Joseph Smith—Matthew Chapter 17: Words of Matthew
Chapter 18: Words of Joseph Smith—Matthew
Section Five: The Book of Joseph Smith—History Chapter 19: The Man Joseph Smith Chapter 20: Joseph Smith’s Vocabulary
Section Six: Articles of Faith
Chapter 21: The Articles of Faith
Section Seven: Unique Doctrines in the Pearl of Great Price Chapter 22: The Creation
Chapter 23: Creation Comparisons—Days One thru Five Chapter 24: Creation Comparisons—Days Six and Seven Chapter 25: Core Doctrines and Teachings
Section One: Setting the Stage
Chapter One: Will There Be Unique Words?
This book is about the Pearl of Great Price, but to get there, I have to start with my relationship with the Book of Mormon. In 2010, I received the idea to type out the text of the Book of Mormon, which I did. It took me eighteen months—565 days to be exact—which is five hundred more days than it took Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to complete the original. I typed every word, cover to cover, except the footnotes. It was an amazing adventure to have the people become real and the doctrines personal. I cannot overstate the power of the experience.
However, the process was long and tedious. I typed early in the morning, late at night, and in between everything I did. When I finished the book of Mosiah at page 207 with 324 pages to go, I experienced what I thought was Book of Mormon–typing fatigue. I wanted to quit, to be done with the project. It had taken me more than seven months to get that far, and as rewarding as it had been, it was taking up all my spare time.
For several days, I lingered in limbo, weighing the practicality and usefulness of continuing. Finally I was motivated by the thought that there might be something more, something of value to experience, so I decided to keep typing, typing, typing to the end.
Never could I have imagined what was awaiting me. All I had to do was continue typing exactly where I left off, bridging the gap between the end of Mosiah at chapter 29 and the first verse of Alma. I wrote about the experience in the first chapter of The Book of Mormon Is True, which I abridge here.
As I began to type, individual words seemed to call attention to themselves. Thoughts came, such as, I don’t remember typing that word before, and This text feels somehow different. After typing more than two hundred pages, I could tell something had changed. I could not identify what it was, but something felt unsettling.
I decided I should pay attention to what I was feeling. Even though I had already typed most of Alma 1, I deleted it and started the chapter over. I suspected I was experiencing the differences in two authors’ styles, which I should have anticipated because King Benjamin’s son Mosiah—who wrote the last chapter of Mosiah—and Alma’s son Alma—who wrote the first chapter of Alma—would have expressed themselves differently. It would be like reading a summary of a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley and another by President Thomas S. Monson. You would feel a change of style and tone, even if the talks were summarized. But then the thought occurred to me that what I was experiencing might be more than just the differences in Mosiah’s and Alma’s styles. Could it be that they expressed their thoughts using different words?
As I started to retype Alma 1, I watched for words that might have triggered my feelings that something had changed. I typed: “Now it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, from this time forward, king Mosiah having gone the way of all the earth, having warred . . .” I paused and looked at the
word warred. I could not think of a scripture that contained the word warred and couldn’t recall typing it. So I typed w-a-r-r-e-d into the scripture search program and saw ten occurrences—nine in the Old Testament and one in the Book of Mormon, of course in Alma 1:1.
Then, just two words after warred, I saw the word warfare and typed it into the scripture program. Warfare is found eight times in all scripture—two times in the Old Testament, three in the New Testament, and three in the Book of Mormon, all three in Alma. I kept trying more and more words, looking specifically for those found for the first or only time in Alma 1.
I think the text (really the Spirit) caught my attention because I was typing words I had not typed before, and there are forty-six unique words in the thirty-three verses of Alma 1! Here are the words alphabetically: acknowledge, acknowledged, admonishing, athirst, babblings, bearing down, belonging, blows, circumstances, costly, endeavored, enforce, enforced, esteeming, exercising, fists, force, hearer, hearers, homely, ignominious, imparted, introduced, learner, leaving, liars, liberal, neat, noted, persecuting, pleaded, preacher, pretended, priestcraft, sharply, silk, sorceries, spreading, steadiness, strife, termed, thieving, warfare, warmly, warred, withdrew.
At this point, I thought Alma 1 was probably an anomaly, but just in case, I decided to go back to the last chapter of Mosiah to see if Mosiah’s vocabulary is different enough that it would have triggered a subconscious awareness that something had changed. I was barely cognizant that a pattern was emerging. Without much effort, using the same criteria, I found thirty unique words in Mosiah 29: all-wise, anxious, appoint, arrange, business, disadvantages, enacteth, enumerated, exacted, expressed, extending, higher, inequality, iniquitous, interposition, lower, lucre, newly, plundering, privileges, relinquished, remains, repugnant, rightly, sincere, teareth, trampleth, troubles, tyrant, willingness.
Curious, but still not realizing what I had stumbled on to, I moved to Alma 2, looking for words that appear for the first or only time in that chapter. In verse two, I saw the word drawn. In verse three, I saw alarming and then persuasions and typed each of them into the scripture search program. All three were found for the first time in the Book of Mormon in Alma 2:1–3.
Soon I found more words and then more words—and more and more. It was astounding! Before long I had more than a hundred words on the list and couldn’t keep track of them anymore. So I alphabetized them. A few days later, I had found so many that I needed to number them. I also modified how I kept track of the words—not by book but rather by the person who was being quoted or written about. These were words used only by one person. My list of distinct words got longer and longer with every chapter I typed.
Every time the plates were passed to a new record keeper or another individual was quoted, I started a new list. When I got to 3 Nephi, I wished I had started looking for unique words when I’d first begun typing. After a few days of indecision, I knew I had to go back. I stopped typing at the last chapter of Helaman and went back to read 1 Nephi (I didn’t think I needed to type it again) through Mosiah 28, watching for possible unique words and adding them to my lists. When I reached Alma, I skipped forward and typed until Moroni’s final words, along the way adding to my now very long list of unique words. In the end, I had more than 1,700 words organized by author or speaker or person quoted on a spreadsheet, not including proper nouns.
Of course, this experience could not have happened without a computer, which I did not immediately appreciate. When I was about halfway through the project, my visiting teacher and dear friend Leslie Goodwin happened to be going through a box of old books. When she opened the box and read the title of the book that was on top, she felt she should give it to me. The book, by J. N. Washburn—The Contents, Structure and Authorship of the Book of Mormon—was published in 1954. I was amazed to read that Brother Washburn had a similar idea that somehow the specific words of the Book of Mormon were evidence of its truthfulness. With no computer to help him, he chose twenty-five religious words and twenty-five nonreligious words to track through the Book of Mormon. He said, “I then read the Book of Mormon entirely through and kept a careful record of the recurrence of those fifty words.” After finishing this experiment, the data was inconclusive. He said, “Just how significant this little experiment was I cannot say, but it seems to suggest something of value” (Washburn, The Contents, Structure and Authorship of the Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc., 1954], 77–78).
When the Book of Mormon was translated in 1829 and when Brother Washburn gathered his data in 1954, few people on earth had an inkling that a device would be invented which could instantly display how many times a word is used and jump to that exact spot in the text.
Sitting at my desk, looking over my extensive list of words and knowing there were many more yet to be found, I felt awe, and I knew more than ever before that the Book of Mormon could not be explained away as the work of one or several nineteenth- century authors. No man or woman—be it Tolstoy, Tolkien, or Twain—could use unique vocabulary for over fifty individuals. I had long before received a spiritual witness that Joseph Smith did not compose the Book of Mormon, but now, based on the evidence of hundreds and hundreds of unique words, I concluded that Joseph did not even use his own words in translating the Book of Mormon (see Linford, The Book of Mormon Is True [American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2015], 7–15.)
It took fifty-four chapters to share these findings. What an incredible journey it had been—the culminating writing experience of my life! The Book of Mormon Is Truewas my twelfth book, and I was happy to let the book-writing part of my life be over.
I enjoyed that thought for about three days after the book’s release. Then my youngest son, Daniel, said, “I know what your next book should be.” I answered, “There isn’t going to be a next book.” He said, “Yes, there is. You need to do the same thing you did with the Book of Mormon to the Pearl of Great Price.”
The intrigue hit me instantly. I had to know. Since Joseph Smith was the source of everything in the Pearl of Great Price—the book of Moses, the book of Abraham, the inspired revision of Matthew 24 from the New Testament, the key events of Joseph Smith’s history, and the Articles of Faith—I wondered, would there be distinct words for each writer as there were in the Book of Mormon or would it all be in Joseph Smith’s vocabulary? Would there even be enough evidence since the Pearl of Great Price is only 61 pages? How many different voices would there be? How many unique words? Would there be any doctrinal “aha” moments?
And so I began on September 21, 2015, nervously hoping for more discoveries and seriously hoping that reading the Pearl of Great Price would yield enough information because I most certainly did not want to have to type it. Even sixty-one pages seemed overwhelming.
My goal was not to secure or shore up my testimony of the Pearl of Great Price. I already believed all the canonized scriptures of the Church were the word of God. However, it seemed a timely project because the Pearl of Great Price, particularly the book of Abraham, continues to receive negative attention in the press, as disaffected members and anti-Mormons question Joseph Smith’s seership.
For me the authenticity of the book boils down to this: when Joseph Smith quotes God, Moses, and Satan in the first chapter of Moses, are the words Joseph’s or are they the actual words of God, Moses, and Satan? When you read the book of Abraham, are you reading Joseph Smith’s words or Abraham’s? Are the additional text and the reorganization of Matthew 24 Joseph’s own genius or the actual restoration of words that Jesus Christ taught His Apostles?
Chapter Two: Misunderstanding the Word Translate
Before embarking on whether or not God’s word has been revealed anew in the Pearl of Great Price, the word translate needs exploring. For almost two hundred years, both member and nonmember have clung to a misleading definition of translate, causing confusion in Joseph’s role in bringing forth latter-day scripture.
A common theory among Church members assumes the words in the Book of Mormon are Joseph’s, not because he authored them but because he translated them. Supporters of this theory suppose that if someone else had translated the Book of Mormon, the stories and doctrine would be similar but in different vocabulary because the translating would have flowed through another translator’s educational level, experience base, culture, and intellect. People outside the Church assume that Joseph authored the Book of Mormon.
To identify in whose vocabulary the Book of Mormon is written and how it was translated starts with understanding that the process of translation is tedious and scholarly. Just to transfer basic thoughts accurately from one language to another takes time and skill, and the Prophet Joseph did far more than transfer basic thoughts. He dictated in elegant prose, complex poetry, and consistent doctrine.
Further, translate must be defined as understood by the Nephites and Joseph Smith. To them, translate did not mean to render or change text from one language to another but rather, translation was a revelatory process. For example, when King Limhi asked Ammon if he knew someone who could translate, Ammon answered: “I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer” (Mosiah 8:13; italics added).
From Ammon’s explanation, it seems clear that King Mosiah did not translate by learning foreign languages but by acting in the office of seer. What do seers do? Theysee, look, and read. Limhi’s response showed this was also his understanding: “Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men” (Mosiah 8:19; italics added). This is further documented in Mosiah 28:13: “He [Mosiah] translated [read] them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow.”
Prophets, seers, and revelators throughout history have received interpreters—a Urim and Thummim or seer stones—to enable them to receive revelation. This is “a gift from God,” as Ammon put it, and “the gift and power of God,” as Moroni wrote on the title page of the Book of Mormon, as Amaleki said in Omni 1:20, and as the Prophet Joseph said repeatedly.
The Lord confirmed this definition when he commanded Joseph to translate the Bible (see D&C 45:60; D&C 93:53). He did not provide Joseph with original documents written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek; rather Joseph used the Bible he had access to, the King James Version. Then, functioning in his office as seer, Joseph emended, revised, clarified, and corrected. This is what “translated correctly” means in the eighth article of faith—either correct as it came from the original writers or as corrected by a seer.
Another aspect showing that Joseph and Oliver were not translating in the traditional definition is the speed of the translation, which took about sixty-five working days. They were completing about eight pages a day—a nearly impossible pace. If you were to hire a translator today, even with sophisticated computer tools, the translator could typically complete between 1,000 and 3,500 words per day, depending on how technical or difficult the document is and from which language it is in. (I wonder the scale of difficulty to translate from an ancient, unknown language.) Assuming such a translation were possible at the 1,000 word/day rate, then 268,163 (the number of words in the Book of Mormon) divided by 1,000 would equal roughly 268 days to translate— with today’s technology and a professional translator from the simplest of languages.
In 1604, when King James commissioned a new translation of the Bible, he appointed forty-seven scholars. They finished seven years later, in 1611. True, the Bible is three times longer than the Book of Mormon, but there were forty-seven professionals working on it. Also, King James’s scholars had the advantage of studying other English translations to help them, specifically William Tyndale’s. Experts today report that 90% of the King James Version came from Tyndale (see christianity.com).
The theory that Joseph translated in the sense that he deciphered or rendered reformed Egyptian, the language of the Book of Mormon, into English does not correlate with eyewitness accounts. There is no evidence Joseph wrote drafts. Emma said, “When [I was] acting as his scribe, [he] would dictate to me for hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him” (Richard Lyman Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling[New York: Alfred A. Knorr, 2005], 105).
Joseph did not speak or understand reformed Egyptian nor any other foreign language. He did not translate by deciphering glyphs. He did not translate from one language into another. What he did was receive revelation in the only language he knew: English. He read the English text on a seer stone or Urim and Thummim much like we read text on a cell phone screen today. Anti-Mormons enjoy making fun of the fact that Joseph translated, in his wife’s words, “sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us” (Last Testimony of Sister Emma [Saints’ Herald 26 (Oct. 1, 1879), 289–90]).But for anyone who has ever tried to read a text on a cell phone in bright sunlight, it makes perfect sense. Joseph put the seer stone into a tall hat to block the light so that he could read the text more easily. (See “Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics, lds.org):
“Joseph Smith and his scribes wrote of two instruments used in translating the Book of Mormon. According to witnesses of the translation, when Joseph looked into the instruments, the words of scripture appeared in English. One instrument, called in the Book of Mormon the ‘interpreters,’ is better known to Latter-day Saints as the Urim and Thummim. The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or ‘seer stone.’ As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture.”
From the book of Moses, a truth emerges about the process of translation: “For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language” (Moses 6:46). Instead of book of remembrance, today we use the word scripture. The Old Testament is a book of remembrance, as are the New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. They were given and received “according to the pattern given by the finger of God . . . in our own language.” This is the process of translation, or more exactly, revelation. Whenever (in any time period or hour of the day), however (by vision, dream, Urim and Thummim, seer stone, directly to the mind), and wherever (on a mountaintop, on bended knee, sitting at a desk, via a burning bush in the wilderness) revelation comes, the will of God is being manifest through an authorized prophet.
When Joseph was asked to explain the translation process, he lumped his revelatory experiences under the general heading of “the gift and power of God.” Whether he was receiving words to emend Genesis, clarify and correct Matthew 23–24, or translate the book of Abraham, they all came under the generic label of “the gift and power of God”—any and all ways God chooses to communicate with His prophets. He commanded His prophets to record revealed words using the tools and resources available to them—metal plates, animal skins, papyri, parchment, clay, stone, paper. He has communicated His words through a Urim and Thummim, seer stone, open vision, dream, or inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
With this correct understanding of translation, it is easy to explain that Joseph’s ability to translate came “through the mercy of God, by the power of God” (D&C 1:29; italics added). He gave Joseph “sight. . . to translate” (D&C 3:12; italics added).
The philosophy of believers, at least of this believer, is that God’s revelatory power is His to give—when, where, how, and through whom He chooses. Simply, His ways are not our ways. The Lord, commenting on the hardness of hearts and unbelief of the children of Israel, said: “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation. . . . They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways” (Hebrews 3:10; italics added). To Isaiah, He said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Oh how we err when we presume to know the mind, will, or ways of God. Nephi said it clearly: “O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not” (2 Nephi 9:28).
Dissidents and apostates have fought against Joseph Smith specifically and members of the Church collectively since Lucy Harris helped lose the first 116 translated pages of the Book of Mormon and since Professor Anthon tore up the certificate he gave attesting to the correctness of the translation.
What antagonists fail to understand is that faithful Latter-day Saints do not go to bed each night wondering if the Church will still be true in the morning. The faithful are filled with faith. Their faith smooths the bumpiness caused by adversity so they are not “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). When this finding or that person disputes this or that about the Church, the faithful suspend reaction, stay a steady course, and watch the process evolve. Time and time and time again, the critics and their criticisms are but a flash in the pan and are soon shown to be of little or no consequence.
A correct understanding of the translation process inoculates members and investigators young and old against the false claims of those who set out to destroy testimonies.
Chapter Three: Joseph Smith’s Credibility
I know spiritually and intellectually that Joseph Smith did not compose the Book of Mormon. The unique words of almost sixty individuals; plus the fact that the Book of Mormon was recorded in sixty-five working days; plus the fact that it contains Hebrew poetic forms and styles; plus the plainness and consistency of the doctrine; plus its inspiring readability; plus external evidences; plus the promise of Moroni to all who read with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ, will know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true—all this adds up to a slam dunk for me. And although the idea to do the same word analysis with the Pearl of Great Price was intriguing, I thought of it more as an addendum to my Book of Mormon research and felt some—well more than some— anxiety. What if there were no unique words? What if the entire Pearl of Great Price was in Joseph Smith’s vocabulary? It would not change the fact that he was the Prophet of the Restoration, but neither would it add to the body of evidences.
Since completing the research, I have come to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon project was the experience and training I needed to prepare me for the Pearl of Great Price project. I realize that my fear about taking on another big project was a lack of faith, and I think you will agree with me when you see what lies ahead. Prepare yourself for a barnburner, a blockbuster, an avalanche of evidence that is more than I could have hoped. I don’t know what beats a slam dunk as a sports image except perhaps a grand slam or a hole in one.
To prepare you for the evidences and so you will be aware of the bar the Book of Mormon project set, here is the list of fifty-eight individuals and the number of unique words each uses. The big numbers for Alma2and Isaiah are impressive but no more so than some of the smaller numbers. Here are two examples: The father of King Lamoni, whose name is not given in the Book of Mormon, is quoted for very few words, yet three of them are unique to him—generosity, insist, and rooted. Even more noteworthy is that generosity and insist are only found this one time in all scripture. The other example involves a single word. At one point in King Benjamin’s sermon, he asked the people how they felt about what he had taught. They answered aloud with one voice: “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 4:2). In these fifty-one words is a word that is only found this one time in the Book of Mormon. The word is apply, which is just one of thousands of illustrations.
Unique Words per Person Quoted in the Book of Mormon:
Abinadi 19, Alma 19, Alma the Younger 271, Amaleki 3, Ammon (descendant of Zarahemla) 3, Ammon (son of Mosiah) 34, Amulek 20, Angel of the Lord 7, Brother of Jared 2, Captain Moroni 38, Enos 7, Ether 62, Gideon 4, Gideon's men 1, Giddonah 1, Giddianhi 3, Gidgiddoni 1, God/Lord 2, Helaman (son of Alma) 167, Helaman (son of Helaman) 36, Isaiah 297, Jacob 76, Jarom 9, Jesus Christ 59, John the Baptist 2, King Benjamin 41, King Benjamin's people 1, King Lamoni 13, King Lamoni's servants 1, King Lamoni's wife 3, King Lamoni's father 3, King Noah 2, King Noah's people 1, Korihor 2, Laman and Lemuel 5, Lamanite guards and Aminadab 2, Limhi 23, Lehi 28, Malachi 17, Mormon 75, Moroni 51, Mosiah 24, Nephi (son of Lehi) 141, Nephi (son of Helaman) 47, Nephi (son of Nephi) 79, Nephi (in 4 Nephi) 10, Nephite soldiers 3, Omni 1, Pahoran 8, Samuel the Lamanite 16, Sariah 2, Sherem 1, Shiblon 2, Unbelievers 3, Zeezrom 1, Zeniff 17, Zenos 19.
I wonder if people who think Joseph Smith composed the Book of Mormon understand how much detail he would have had to keep in his brain to create unique vocabularies for almost sixty people? Even with the aid of a computer, the task would be extremely complex. How could he remember to use insist, generosity, rooted, andapply only one time plus about 1,700 other words just once.
Because of the evidence in the Book of Mormon, logic would suggest that unique voices in the Pearl of Great Price would follow the same pattern, even though the number of pages and number of individual voices is substantially shorter and smaller. Prepare to be amazed as evidences of Joseph Smith’s credibility as prophet, seer, and translator continue to accumulate. But to appreciate the results of these findings, an overview of how the Pearl of Great Price came to be needs to be explored.
Chapter Four: How the Pearl of Great Price Came to Be
In 1851, Franklin D. Richards, a newly ordained Apostle and president of the European Mission, had an idea he shared with his uncle Levi Richards, who was serving a mission in England. Uncle Levi encouraged Franklin. In a follow-up letter written on February 1, 1851, Franklin wrote:
“You will perhaps recollect my . . . thought of issuing a collection of revelations, prophecies etc., in a tract form of a character not designed to pioneer our doctrines to the world, so much as for the use of the Elders and Saints to arm and better qualify them for their service in our great war. The order . . . I have considered is about as follows:
“First the revelation to Moses then the translation of the first chapter of Genesis. Then perhaps the revelation to Enoch after which or perhaps before it, items of revelation informing of God’s second law to Adam, viz faith repentance etc., as given to him by ministration of an Angel. . . . Then perhaps Mr. Chandler’s letter about the mummies containing an account of the sale of them to the Church etc., etc., followed with a facsimile of the plates and the translation of the book of Abraham. I have not particularly determined in my own mind as to the consecutive order of the other items such as translation of 24thMatthew.”
In May of 1851, Levi wrote in his journal: “With Franklin at 15 Wilton, Liverpool, reading proof sheets of the Pearl of Great Price.”
On July 15, 1851, the Millennial Star advertised: “Pearl of Great Price, is the title of a new work which will soon be ready for sale, containing 64 pages on beautiful paper of superior quality. . . . It contains extracts from the prophecy of Enoch. . . . The Words of God, which he spake unto Moses. . . . The book of Abraham. . . . An extract from a translation of the Bible—being the Twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. . . . A Key to the Revelation of St. John. . . . Extracts from the history of Joseph Smith. . . . All this in less than six month from idea to fulfillment! An impressive achievement! (See H. Donl Peterson, The Story of the Book of Abraham: Mummies, Manuscripts, and Mormonism[Springville, UT: CFI, 2008], 178).
The Introductory Note prefacing today’s edition of the Pearl of Great Price explains some of the same detail, using three defining words: selection of choice materials.
The selection came through the efforts of Elder Franklin D. Richards, who compiled these five diverse works to give British Saints the same opportunity to study and learn newly revealed doctrine as the Saints in the United States. (It is understandable that Elder Richards would feel inclined to make available to the British Saints everything that was available to the Saints in Utah. In 1851 there were 30,000 Saints in Great Britain and only 12,000 in Utah.) Choice indicates the significant, even superior, value of these materials. These five unrelated materials all came through or from Joseph Smith.
A commandment to Joseph in June of 1830 started the process whereby the Pearl of Great Price could be assembled—the translation of the Bible. After dictating the Book of Mormon and arranging for the printing, binding, and distribution, Joseph officially organized the Church on April 6, 1830. He hardly had time for a deep breath—April to June—when he began the translation of the Bible—another major project. Joseph referred to this new assignment as “this branch of my calling” (History of the Church1:238–39). Records show that Joseph worked about ten months on Genesis chapters 1–17 and then continued through Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament, working sporadically but steadily until March 1831, when another revelation instructed him to turn his efforts to the New Testament. (See D&C 45:60–61.)
In total, he changed about 3,400 verses—some changes were minor, others major. “He made extensive corrections and additions to the books of Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, and Revelation. He also made many alterations in the writings of the Old Testament prophets and in Mark, John, Acts, and several of the epistles. He made no changes in Ruth, Ezra, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Obadiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi, Philemon, 2 John, and 3 John. He made some corrections in all other books of the Bible, and rejected the Song of Solomon as not being inspired scripture” (Bible Dictionary). Evidence shows that Joseph continued to edit and refine the Genesis material up to the time of his death (see Robert J. Matthews, “How We Got the Book of Moses,” Ensign, Jan. 1986).
One example to measure the magnitude of Joseph’s Bible translation project comes by counting the number of words in Genesis chapters 1–6 six in the King James Version. The word count is 3,899. With Joseph’s emendations and additions, which become Moses 1–8, the word count is 12,543. Longer is not necessarily better, but the additions did not just take the existing text and make it wordier. Not hardly. The new is truth restored via revelation. For example, the book of Moses gives detailed information found in no other scripture about Adam and Eve’s lives; their knowledge of the first principles of the gospel, including an account of Adam’s baptism; and pivotal knowledge about the prophet Enoch and a blueprint for building a Zion community. Some of the restored information has no counterpart, as in Moses 1, which adds 1,472 words. Two of the five books in the Pearl of Great Price came because of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible.
Below is an overview of the five selections that comprise the Pearl of Great Price:
The Book of Moses came by revelation to Joseph as he was fulfilling the commandment to translate the book of Genesis. Acting in his office of seer, Joseph corrected, amended, rearranged, emended, revised, and received lost truths that had been taken from the Bible, as the prophet Nephi foresaw: “Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God” (1 Nephi 13:28). The book of Moses was first published in installments in the Church periodical the Evening and Morning Star in August of 1832 (Ibid).
The Book of Abraham is a translation of ancient Egyptian writings that some members of the Church purchased in 1835. (Translation again does not mean that Joseph learned Egyptian but rather that the information came to him by revelation.) The headnote to chapter 1 of Abraham states that these writing were from some catacombs in Egypt, that they were written on papyrus, and that Abraham wrote them himself. These writings also restore lost Biblical truths as Nephi prophesied. The translation was first published in segments starting in March of 1842 in a Church publication called the Times and Seasons(see History of the Church4:519–534 for more information). As far as is known, the book of Abraham was the last translation Joseph accomplished.
Joseph Smith—Matthew came to Joseph Smith as part of his translation of the New Testament. In Doctrine and Covenants 45:59–61, Joseph was commanded to stop his work on the Old Testament and begin the New Testament. The Lord’s words must have caused Joseph to greatly anticipate this experience: “Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate [the New Testament], that ye may be prepared for the things to come. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you” (D&C 45:61–62; italics added). The organization of Matthew 24 gives latter-day clarity in a look back at the perilous times of the Jews from AD 33 to the abomination of desolation or the destruction of Herod’s temple when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in AD 70, and a look forward, foretelling of the Restoration of the gospel and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith—History is comprised of extracts from Joseph’s personal history, including his testimony and the testimonies of Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery. He finished this history in 1838, which was published in the Times and Seasons in segments starting on March 15, 1842. (The complete history can be read in History of the Church, 1:1–44.)
The Articles of Faith are thirteen short statements itemizing some of the core doctrines and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph wrote them as part of a letter sent to John Wentworth, editor of a Chicago newspaper. Joseph began: “At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, . . . I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder” (see History of the Church 4:535–541). This was published in the Times and Seasons on March 1, 1842.
A basic question about the Pearl of Great Price is how Elder Richards came up with the title. It seems Elder Richards felt these revelations were like the pearls the Savior described in the New Testament: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45–46).
Elder Richard’s testimony summarizes his purpose in compiling the selections for the Pearl of Great Price: “Nor do we conceive it possible for any unprejudiced person to arise from a careful perusal of this work, without being deeply impressed with a sense of the divine calling, and holy ordination, of the man by whom these revelations, translations, and narrations have been communicated to us. As impervious as the minds of men may be at present to these convictions, the day is not far distant when sinners, as well as Saints, will know that JOSEPH SMITH was one of the greatest men that ever lived upon the earth, and that under God he was the Prophet and founder of the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which will be gathered together in one all things which are in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” (Preface to the 1851 edition).
Because of the doctrine and history in the Pearl of Great Price, it received wide use and subsequently became a standard work of the Church. The First Presidency presented it to the Church for acceptance in general conference in Salt Lake City on October 10, 1880.
One aspect cannot go without re-emphasis: the truths found in the books of Moses, Abraham, and Joseph Smith—Matthew had to be re-revealed because they were lost or distorted. Whether carelessly or purposely, the result and consequence were the same. Nephi explained: “They have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 13:26– 27). S. Michael Wilcox in a 2008 BYU Education Week talk suggested that Moses 1 was originally the preface to all scripture, that if plain and precious truths had not been taken away, Moses 1 would be Genesis 1, the first book in the Bible (see “Education Week 2008 - S. Michael Wilcox - The Great Visions of The Pearl of Great Price,” YouTube, 15 Apr. 2015, “www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpiThYIBhxQ).
In Sunday School classes, the Pearl of Great Price is usually studied in pieces: the books of Moses and Abraham with the Old Testament, Joseph Smith—Matthew with the New Testament, and Joseph Smith—History and the Articles of Faith with Church history. My goal was to study the Pearl of Great Price as a whole, yet pearl by pearl. I wanted to find out how many individual voices there were and discover if these individuals used unique vocabulary. I looked for proper nouns, geographic names, names of deity, consistent doctrines, common themes, and whatever else presented itself along the way. I felt certain that at the end of my study, it would be obvious whether Joseph Smith authored Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith—Matthew, Joseph Smith—History, and the Articles of Faith. However, if there were several, maybe even many unique vocabularies and styles, then the Pearl of Great Price would be another undeniable evidence that Joseph was the conduit through which the gift and power of God flowed to give the world additional scripture.
And scripture it is! In May 1833, the Lord instructed Joseph to “hasten to translate my scriptures” (D&C 93:53; italics added). Also, in a revelation calling Sidney Ridgeon as Joseph’s scribe for the translation, the Lord said: “And a commandment I give unto thee—that thou shalt write for him; and the scripture sshall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect” (D&C 35:20; italics added).
And just so you know, my first attempt to merely read the text with the intent to identify unique words was not successful. I had to type the text of the Pearl of Great Price as I did with the Book of Mormon.
Chapter Five: Seven Distinct Features of the Pearl of Great Price
Every book of scripture has distinctive features, but seven in the Pearl of Great Price deserve mentioning.
Distinct Feature 1: Perhaps the most unique feature can best be illustrated with a negative comparison to the other canonized scriptures of the Church. The Pearl of Great Price is the least read and least quoted of the canonized scriptures of the Church.
In February, my nephew sent a group e-mail inviting family members to read the Book of Mormon before Easter. In May, at a fireside, the youth of our stake were encouraged to read the Book of Mormon before the upcoming trek. Book of Mormon general conference talks, reading charts, challenges, Internet discussion groups, and read- a-thons are common in the Church, and most members can rehearse in impressive detail how the Book of Mormon came to be. Latter-day Saints identify with Book of Mormon heroes like Nephi, Captain Moroni, the Stripling Warriors, and King Benjamin. Negative Book of Mormon examples are also part of our culture—Laman and Lemuel, Nehor, and Korihor. Another factor that raises the Book of Mormon to elite status among scripture is the subtitle, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. All this is good because the power and promise of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated. Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church,4:461). No question. The Book of Mormon is the key to conversion and to staying faithful.
But then there is the Pearl of Great Price, a book that does not get even one one- hundredth of the attention as the Book of Mormon. No one’s nephew ever e-mailed his aunt asking her to join a group to read the Pearl of Great Price before Easter. Neither has there been a challenge to the youth to read the Pearl of Great Price. There are statistics to backup this observation. “Of the 102,037 scriptural citations in General Conference since 1942, the book of Abraham has been cited a mere 731 times, less than one percent of the citations” (fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2009-fair-conference/2009-the- larger-issue). The facts are the facts. The Pearl of Great Price is neglected. I am not suggesting we give less attention to the Book of Mormon, just a little more toward the Pearl of Great Price. It is more than an instructive and edifying read. It is also a testament of Jesus Christ.
Distinct Feature Two: The Pearl of Great Price is distinct from all other scripture in that the heads of all seven dispensations of the gospel speak in first person. (A dispensation is a time period in which at least one worthy man has priesthood keys to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and administer in the ordinances.)
ADAM. Adam testified of God’s mercy, his own baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the priesthood: “Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10). Adam recorded God’s words from heaven, saying: “Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever. And thou art after the order [meaning priesthood] of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:66–68).
ENOCH. Enoch testified of the divinity of Jesus Christ, Adam’s preeminence, the scriptures, repentance, and baptism: “The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God. . . . The heavens he made; the earth is his footstool; and the foundation thereof is his. . . . And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them, and cannot deny, and even the first of all we know, even Adam. For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language” (Moses 6:43–46). “And [the Lord] gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).
NOAH. Noah bore witness of God, Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He also quoted God’s words: “Hearken, and give heed unto my words. Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you” (Moses 8:23–24).
ABRAHAM. Abraham testified that he was ordained to the priesthood and that the Lord appeared to him and taught him. “Finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same. . . . I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers” (Abraham 1:2). “I, Abraham . . . prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me . . . : For I am the Lord thy God; I dwell in heaven; the earth is my footstool; I stretch my hand over the sea, and it obeys my voice; I cause the wind and the fire to be my chariot; I say to the mountains—Depart hence—and behold, they are taken away by a whirlwind, in an instant, suddenly. My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee” (Abraham 2:6–8).
MOSES. Moses testified of seeing God and hearing Him answer his desire: “But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. . . . Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content” (Moses 1:11, 36).
JESUS CHRIST. The Father testified of His Only Begotten: “And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time. And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me” (Moses 6:62–63). Jesus testified of himself: “I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9).
JOSEPH SMITH. Joseph Smith testified of the light and power of God the Father and Jesus Christ: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17). Joseph testified to the oppressing, seizing dark power of the enemy of all: “I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction . . . not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being” (Joseph Smith—History 1:15–16). He testified of being visited by prophets of former dispensations: Moroni—“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do” (1:33). He was also visited by John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John: “The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek” (1:72).
The Pearl of Great Price testifies to the unity within and throughout the dispensations. It shows that the plan of salvation was taught in all dispensations, that the first principles of the gospel are the same now as they were in the beginning and that the first ordinances of the gospel were likewise administered—baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Consistency in doctrine from Adam to Joseph Smith testifies of priesthood authority in each dispensation and proclaims definitively that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Distinct Feature Three: You don’t need to start from scratch on your testimony of the Pearl of Great Price if you already have one of the Book of Mormon. W. W. Phelps understood this fact even before the book of Abraham was translated. Brother Phelps wrote to his wife, Sally: “These records of old times, when we translate and print them in a book, will make a good witness for the Book of Mormon” (Letter to Sally Phelps, Liberty, MO, 20 July 1835, in Journal History of the Church, 20 July 1835,
CHL; Studies in Scriptures, 2:164).
Distinct Feature Four: The Pearl of Great Price is sixty-one pages, which makes it by far the shortest book of scripture. It is only 8.7 percent of the Book of Mormon’s length. It can be read comfortably in a month or even in a week if you push yourself.
Distinct Feature Five: Satan’s tactics and his angry, deceitful, secretive character are revealed in greater detail, such as when Satan attempts to impersonate the Savior by declaring: “I am the Only Begotten, worship me” (Moses 1:19). The name Satan is found thirty-two times in the 27 pages of Moses. In Abraham, Satan is identified as “the second” who “kept not his first estate” (3:27–28). In Joseph Smith—History, a stifling power of darkness preceded the First Vision and later Moroni cautioned Joseph Smith that “Satan would try to tempt [him]” (1:15, 46). (For comparison, Satanis found 19 times in the 1,184 pages of the Old Testament, 35 times in the 404 pages in the New Testament, 27 times in the 531 pages of the Book of Mormon, and 34 times in the 294 pages of the Doctrine and Covenants.)
Also, in the Pearl of Great Price, we learn that secret combinations began early in the history of the world when Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, covenanted with Satan. “And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands. And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret” (Moses 5:29– 30; italics added).
Sixth distinct feature: The Pearl of Great Price has an obvious distinct feature that you can see as you turn the pages in the book of Abraham. There are illustrations.
Seventh distinct feature: There is powerful, countable proof that Joseph Smith did not compose the book of Moses, nor the book of Abraham, nor Joseph Smith—Matthew, nor the Articles of Faith. The only book in the Pearl of Great Price written in his vocabulary is his own history.
Section Two: The Book of Moses
Chapter Six: Words of Moses
Assuming you know the backstory of Moses’ life, only a nutshell version will be given here. He was born to Hebrew slaves, reared as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter—Hebrew by DNA, Egyptian by culture. He killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, fled to Midian, married the priest’s daughter, was ordained to the priesthood by his father-in-law. He experienced a vision he described as a burning bush, where Jehovah called him as the prophet to lead the children of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage. (As a note of interest, compare Exodus 3:2 to 1 Nephi 1:6–9). God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and God called Lehi to lead his family out of Jerusalem; both via grueling experiences in the wilderness.) In (Moses 1:25–26), God foreshadows Moses parting the Red Sea by telling him he will be made stronger than many waters and that the waters will obey him.
Moses returns to Egypt and delivers God’s message to Pharaoh: “Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me” (Exodus 8:20). Pharaoh said no nine times, scoffing at Moses’s brazen impudence, and with each no, God punished the Egyptians with intensifying plagues. After the tenth plague, the death of all firstborn sons, Pharaoh agreed to let the children of Israel leave Egypt but then changed his mind and pursued them to the Red Sea. Moses, acting in his role of God’s prophet, commanded the Red Sea to part, allowing safe passage for the Israelites. When the Egyptians followed, the Red Sea closed in on them, leaving the Israelites safely on the other side. However, the shore of the Red Sea was a long way from the promised land. Entering the land of Canaan was forty years away in a circuitous route that the Lord used as a weeding-out process. Those who had the taint of Egypt in their souls and were of insufficient faith never saw the promised land. A new, more faithful generation followed under the leadership of Moses’s successor, Joshua.
The relationship between God and Moses was not only God to prophet but also Father to son. This familial connection is emphasized three times by God when He said: “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:6; italics added). “This one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:7; italics added). “Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest” (Moses 1:40; italics added). After God outlined the work He assigned to Moses, Moses humbly accepted by referring to himself as “thy servant” (Moses 1:36).
With that brief background, the question arises, who wrote the words in the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, Moses or Joseph Smith. As I shared earlier, my great concern when I began this project was that perhaps all I would find in the Pearl of Great Price was Joseph Smith’s vocabulary. Thankfully, my apprehensions were unwarranted. The Pearl of Great Price is full of unique vocabularies, providing another impossible-to-explain-away evidence that Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet of God.
Now, I share with you the first two lists of unique words, the words of Moses in his own first-person voice and in his voice as redactor of the book of Moses. (A redactor in written material is similar to a narrator in a play who makes personal appearances throughout to guide, explain, and transition.) The words in capital letters mean that specific word or phrase is found nowhere else in all scripture, not in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants. The other words are unique to Moses as compared to the rest of the Pearl of Great Price.
Words of Moses in first person (15 words or phrases are unique to him): altogether, burning, BURNING BUSH, content, denied, DEPART HENCE SATAN, get thee hence Satan, judge, madest, natural eyes, natural man, spiritual eyes, transfigured, withdrawn, withered.
Words of Moses as redactor: (112 unique words or phrases are unique to his narration)
Acceptable, administering, aprons, ascend, atoned, bitterness, black, bloodshed, book of remembrance, carnal sensual devilish, carried, caught, chain, chains, conceived, confirmed, conversed, cool, covenanted, covenants, crowns, damned, declared, depth, despised, discerned, discerning, displeased, doings, enemies, everywhere, failing, feared, firm decree, firstlings, flourish, fought, genealogy, giants, gloried, groaned, guilt, hide, high places, hills, imagination, inner, keeper, laughed, led, lions, loud, mark, marveled, meridian, mixture, mourned, named, natural, numberless, numerous, oath’s, ordinance, ORIGINAL, particle, powerful, prevail, prison, quickened, raged, RANTED, READ AND WRITE, rebelled, rent, reserved, residue, respect, roar, rocks, rose, secret combination, sewed, shook, shut out, smiled, speech, swallowed, sware, swelled, taught, tempting, tent-keepers, testifying, thenceforth, thoughts, tiller, to write by the spirit of inspiration, trembled, tribulations, unalterable, undefiled, VEILED, wailing, walked, wept, wide, wilderness, withhold, wondered, wroth, yearned, yonder.
Chapter Seven: Words of Satan
Moses received an interactive vision, the knowledge of which was withheld from
humankind until it was restored to Joseph Smith, June 1830–February 1831. Why was it withheld? The Lord explained: “because of wickedness it was not had among the children of men” (Moses 1:23). The Lord protected the contents of the vision from centuries of unauthorized additions and deletions to come forth as part of “the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).
Because Joseph Smith obeyed the Lord’s commandment to emend the Bible, critical information about ultimate good and ultimate evil is available today. It is easily accessible—Pearl of Great Price, first book, first chapter. It is a quick read. If you read at the average rate of 200 words per minute, you can read the 1,472 words of Moses’s vision in just 7.36 minutes.
In my opinion, the first chapter of Moses is elite for many reasons but especially because it restores a correct understanding of God. The vivid drama presented in actual conversations between God and Moses and Moses and Satan read like a transcript and contrast divine purpose and intent with Satan’s attempted coup.
The chapter begins boldly with the fact that Moses received this information directly from God: “The words of God, which he spake unto Moses” (Moses 1:1). After identifying Himself, God declares who He is and His relationship to Moses: “I am the Lord God Almighty and . . . thou art my son” (verses 3–4). The where and when of the interactions are then explained: When: “At a time when Moses was caught up,” where: “into an exceedingly high mountain” (verse 1). Next, God explains the technical issues of how a God and human conversation take place. “The glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (verse 2). These first introductory verses end by God stating the reason for direct communication with Moses: “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (verse 6). Moses received his calling to be prophet personally and literally as articulated in the fifth article of faith: “We believe a man must be called of God.”
The vision unfolds: “As the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof” (Moses 1:27–29).
Moses saw the world from creation to the “ends thereof,” and he saw all the people who had or would live on the earth—“all the children of men which are (or) were created,” which means that every one of us was in Moses’s vision. When the vision closed, Moses was left to himself. He fell down. Hours passed. Finally, as he recovered some of his natural strength, the awe of the vision overwhelmed him with a startling realization: “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10). Moses verbalized the difference between his spiritual and his natural eyes and knew that if he had not been “transfigured,” he would have “withered and died in [God’s] presence” (Moses 1:11). Joseph Smith verified this: “For without this [God’s power] no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live” (D&C 84:22). Moses’s awareness was vital and timely because in his compromised condition, he was going to receive another visitor.
Enter Satan. The first words from Lucifer’s mouth are a bold attempt to reverse what Moses’s face-to-face communication with God had accomplished. “Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12). God had just told Moses he was a son of God, then Satan counters by addressing him as “son of man.” But Moses knew the difference between light and darkness and challenged his adversary: “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee. For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?” (Moses 1:13–14). Moses realized he may be nothing compared to God but as a sonof God he had power over Satan.
This thought caused Moses to rejoice and gave him courage to dismiss Satan: “Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. . . . I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan” (Moses 1:15, 18).
Satan ranted, “I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:19–20).
Satan did not depart. Instead, a terrifying scene followed, as Satan trembled, the earth shook. Although Moses feared greatly, he called upon God, which is reminiscent of Joseph Smith’s experience in the grove: “I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction” (Joseph Smith—History 1:15). And like Moses, Joseph called upon God: “I cried unto the Lord for mercyfor there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy” (fairmormon.org/answers/Joseph_Smith%27s_First_Vision/Accounts/1832/Motivation_i s_different).
Moses prayed: “In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan” (Moses 1:21). Finally, with these words sanctioned under divine authority, “Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not” (verse 22). Moses recognized Satan’s vulnerability—his tactics of crying, weeping, wailing, gnashing his teeth, and instilling fear—and acted definitively, commanding, “Get thee hence.” With Satan gone, Moses lifted up his eyes to heaven, was filled with the Holy Ghost, called upon God in prayer, received gifts and promises, and again experienced His glory (verses 24–25).
Moses had survived the test and his courage was rewarded. God promised: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thoushalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen” (verses 25–26).
Words of Satan
Most often in scripture, Satan’s influence transpires in camouflage, behind the scenes. He does not say or do the evil but puts ideas into a person’s mind and the person commits the evil act. There are at least four notable exceptions where Satan does his own work—with Moses, Jesus, Joseph Smith, and Cain, as recorded in Moses 5. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/5.29?lang=eng - 28“And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands” (Moses 5:29). (It is shocking to me that Satan asks Cain to covenant with him “by the living God,” which seems an admission that he knows God is real and has ultimate power and authority.) And “all these things were done in secret” (Moses 5:30).
Another example of Satan’s use of words comes in reading the first 38 words listed below in which Satan refers to himself nine times, using the pronouns I and me. He also blasphemes, as we saw above, by claiming to be the Only Begotten. Here are some of his egotistical phrases (italics added in all of the following):“Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12); “I am the Only Begotten, worship me” (Moses 1:19); “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). This word pattern is the same as in Isaiah 14:13–14: “For thou [Lucifer] hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: Iwill sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Satan does not have a unique or varied vocabulary. In the hundred words that Satan speaks in first person, only one is unique to the Pearl of Great Price—sware.
The Pearl of Great Price reveals Satan for who he is as well as exposing some of his tactics and emotions: In summary:
· He uses the threat of death to control.
· He demands secrecy.
· He commands without authority.
· He causes fear that can be accompanied by a vision into the bitterness of hell.
· He trembles and the earth shakes.
· He cries with a loud voice, weeps, wails, and gnashes his teeth (Moses 1:22).
· He lies, claiming to be the Only Begotten.
· He lies, claiming he can redeem all mankind. According to Jacob (2 Nephi 9:9), Lehi (2
Nephi 2:18), Ether (Ether 8:25), and Moses (Moses 4:4), Satan is the father of lies.
· He covets in audacious pretense, asking God for his honor.
· “Satan . . . sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3).
Moses’s example is important for us today. As we discern the difference between God and Satan, we must defend ourselves and dismiss him: “Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:20).
Chapter Eight: The Words of God
Imagine what changes would come if the world accepted the truth that God, in
His own voice, has explained His purposes, processes, and results? Such knowledge would end the strife of philosophical wranglings that have pitted religion against religion and would settle once and for all the numerous existential theories about the universe. Man-made philosophies would give way to true knowledge that would revolutionize the world. God did explain to Moses when He said: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
For most of my life, I saw these twenty words as the most succinct statement possible of who God is and what His purpose is. I viewed verse 39 as self-contained, ignoring the “For behold” and the idea that there could be a connection with the previous verses. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the Father of Heaven and Earth was answering a question. I ignored the possibility that the dash between glory and to could be there for a reason. Basically I had always assumed that this refers to what God states at the end of verse 39, which is the result of all of His work, not the process through which He achieves it.
Then one day as I was reading Moses 1, three aspects of this beloved verse bolded themselves in my mind:
a. Why does verse 39 begin with “For behold”?
b. To what does the word this refer?
c. What is to be implied by the dash between “glory” and “to”?
With those questions in mind, my eyes went back eight verses to where Moses asked God: “Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them” (verse 30). As I read, I realized what I was about to read was sacred. In response to Moses’s question, God uttered a gracious invitation: “Here is wisdom” (verse 31). God’s wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, grandeur, and judgment were about to be communicated to Moses on a level he could understand. God was going to reveal what constitutes His work and His glory. Verses 31–38 teach these truths:
1. God creates worlds by the “word,” which is His Only Begotten Son (verse 32).
2. His Only Begotten is “full of grace and truth” (verse 32).
3. They together have created “worlds without number” (verse 33).
4. God named the first man Adam, which means many (verse 34).
5. God’s creations are innumerable to man, but God numbers and knows them all “for they are mine” (verse 35).
6. When one heaven and earth pass away, “so shall another come” (verse 38).
7. There is no end to God’s works (verse 38).
8. There is no end to God’s words (verse 38).
These eight points, stated by God himself, answered Moses’s question. After reading verses 31–38, I saw that each of those verses began with and or but, like one long sentence. Then, when I came to the first two words of verse 39, “For behold,” I realized the phrase is a flag boldly waving to alert readers that what follows is truly something to behold and understand. The next word, this, seems like an all-inclusive pronoun for the eight verses above. This, as in “this is my work and my glory,” means that He, God, chose to disclose what his work and glory actually encompass. Here He reveals His reason for creating heavens and peopling earths. That is the reason for the dash. Moses 1:39 could read: “For behold” (now, please, pay close attention), this (everything I listed in verses 31 to 38) is my work and my glory (it is what I do to achieve my crowning achievement which is)—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.
In eighteen of the forty-two verses in Moses 1, as in few other scriptures, we hear the words of God the Eternal Father. His vocabulary and style are direct with a beautiful blend of authority and love. You will note that these words are in two blocks. A significant break comes between verses 12 and 22 in which God does not speak. Those verses are the account of Moses’s encounter with Satan. God observed their interaction. He saw that Moses would not succumb to Satan’s lies and heard Moses command Satan in the name of the Only Begotten to depart. “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; And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again” (Moses 1:24–25).
I like to read the words of our Father in Heaven spliced together without interruption:
Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? (verse 3)
And behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. (verse 4)
Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth. (verse 5) And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine
Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all. (verse 6)
And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee. (verse 7)
Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many water; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. (verse 25)
And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen. (verse 26)
For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. (verse 31)
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. (verse 32)
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. (verse 33)
And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. (verse 34)
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. (verse 35)
The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. (verse 37)
And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. (verse 38)
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (verse 39)
And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. (verse 40)
And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe. (verse 41)
(These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.) (verse 42)
As with the Book of Mormon, it is impossible to know whether words spoken by “God” or “the Lord” are the words of our Father in Heaven or His Beloved Son. This dilemma is somewhat resolved as we understand the term “divine investiture of authority,” wherein the Father’s authority is given to the Son to speak and act in His behalf.
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses. The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son” (Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, 1954, 1:27).
There is a point of demarcation in the Pearl of Great Price where it seems as though the Father turns the earth over to the Son. “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence” (Moses 5:4). Using that theory, I have the words of the Father that come before Moses 5:4 in one list and the words that come after Moses 5:4—whether attributed to God, Lord, or Father—in a list of words of Jesus. Jesus Christ said: “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:43). “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16).
“If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me” (John 8:54). “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). “I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one” (3 Nephi 11:27).
Names of God in the Book of Moses
Since the names of God describe Him and His attributes, it is significant to note that four of God’s names found in the book of Moses are not used in any other scripture. The words in all capitals are unique in all scripture. The others are unique in the Pearl of Great Price.
Almighty, Almighty God, BEGINNING AND THE END, Endless, ENDLESS AND ETERNAL, Lord God Almighty, MAN OF COUNSEL, MAN OF HOLINESS.
Unique words God the Eternal Father speaks in the book of Moses:
Bdellium, beguile, belly, bondage, captive, coats of skins, conception, enmity, esteem, finished, flaming sword, for I am God, form and void, I FORBID IT, I GOD SAID, immortality, innumerable, MY SPIRIT MOVED, onyx, partake, sphere, subtle, thistles, thorns, wert, word of my power, worlds.
Chapter Nine: Words of Jesus Christ
In this chapter the names of Jesus Christ and His actual words are listed. The conclusion to be drawn, that will be reaffirmed at the end of this book, is that the Pearl of Great Price is truly another testament of Jesus Christ.
No chapter about Jesus Christ should be as short as this one is because as the gospel of John states: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). But the value of the information found herein is Moses’s testimony that
· Moses and all mankind are in the similitude of Jesus Christ (see Moses 1:6);
· Jesus Christ shall be the Savior (see Moses 1:6);
· He is “full of grace and truth” (Moses 1:6);
· Jesus said: “By the word of my power have I created . . . worlds without number” (Moses
1:32–33) (Jesus is the Word, see John 1:1);
· He was Chosen and with the Father from the beginning (see Moses 4:2);
· He said to the Father, “Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4: 2);
· “As many as believed in the Son, and repented of their sins, should be saved; and as
many as believed not and repented not, should be damned” (Moses 5:15);
· God commanded Adam: “Repent of all thy transgressions and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men” (Moses 6:52);
· “The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54);
· “The name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time” (Moses 6:57);
· Enoch looked “and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men; and he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory” (Moses 7:55–56).
The Names of Jesus Christ
The phrase “mine Only Begotten” is found twenty-three times in all scripture, seventeen times in the book of Moses. He is also called “Son of Man,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Judge” (see Moses 6:57).
The prophet Enoch twice used a name for Jesus Christ that is not found in any other scripture. “When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed” (Moses 7:45)? And, “Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world” (Moses 7:47). The unique name, RIGHTEOUS, is used only here in all scripture. Note the three other names used in these verses—Lord, Son of Man, and the Lamb.
More of His names found in Moses are:
Son is found 11 times,
Lord, most likely referring to Jesus Christ, is found 94 times,
KING OF ZION is found once in all scripture,
ROCK OF HEAVEN is found this once in all scripture.
The word chosen, lowercase, is found 199 times in scripture but only one time with a capital “C,” as CHOSEN, in the book of Moses.
Only Begotten Son 2, Beloved Son 1, Son of God 2, Son of Man 8. Totaling these, remembering that His names describe and define Him, the book of Moses restores four additional names for Jesus Christ: RIGHTEOUS, KING OF ZION, ROCK OF HEAVEN, and CHOSEN.
Words of Jesus Christ (fifty-seven unique words or phrases):
Abominations, accepted, agents, anoint, asking, astray, bear record, broad, clay, cleansed (earth uses it too), climbeth, Comforter, CONCEIVETH, counsels, cursing, decreed, denied, devised, doom, dull, ENDLESS AND ETERNAL, enjoy, fierce, FORESWORN, forgiven, fowls, gate, immortal, inherit, justified, justify, kindled, kiss, maketh, MAN OF COUNSEL, MAN OF HOLINESS, mark, mouths, necks, nowise, oaths, peaceable, Perdition, pierce, prize, quickeneth, redeemed, rejected, sold, strive, taste, tillest, transgressions, unclean, utterance, vengeance, waxed.
Chapter Ten: Words of Adam and Eve
In premortal life, Adam was known as Michael and the phrase “Michael the archangel” (Jude 1:9) defines Adam as the chief angel or angel of highest rank. Michael led the cause of Jehovah in the war in heaven. “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).
God chose Adam to be the first man on this earth and honored him with His presence: “Adam . . . was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed” (Moses 6:22). Have you ever wondered why Adam received the calling to be Adam? There are probably many reasons, but his superior intellect and absolute obedience are two of his premier qualities.
An example of Adam’s intellect is shown by the fact that God assigned him to name the animals: “And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (Moses 3:19–20).
One example of Adam’s obedience is shown as the drama in the garden unfolds. Adam and Eve had received two conflicting commandments and could not obey both. Adam chose to obey God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Moses 2:28 and Abraham 4:28), which meant eating the fruit he had been commanded not to eat. He did this because he knew and understood Eve’s nature and calling: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26). She could not be the mother of all living if he stayed alone in the garden. Adam also comprehended his and Eve’s purpose and oneness: “This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Moses 3:23). Adam made the reasoned choice to initiate the Fall: “Adam fell that men might be” (2 Nephi 2:25).
Another example of his obedience is found in Moses 5:5–6: “And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”
The book of Moses teaches the fact that the name Adam means many and that there have been many earths whereon the first man was named Adam. In Daniel 7:13 and Doctrine and Covenants 116:1, Adam is referenced as the Ancient of Days.
As Adam is the father of the human family, we honor him. His role cannot be minimized, and significantly, his duties and responsibilities for the children of God on this earth are not over. He is much more than an ancient person in the distant past. He will come in the future to oversee a great gathering at a place seventy miles from Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America. He already presided over a great gathering at this same location.
Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever. And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (D&C 107:53–56)
This place has additional historic significance. The Garden of Eden and the place where Adam and Eve lived after being cast out was in Jackson County, Missouri. The beautiful valley is a natural amphitheater called Adam-ondi-Ahman, which signifies “the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken by Daniel the Prophet” (History of the Church3:35; see also D&C 116).
An exceptional opportunity comes in the book of Moses to read Adam’s first- person testimony. Adam’s attitude about the Fall is optimistic because his “eyes [were] opened” (Moses 5:10). His eyes were opened to the fact that he would be redeemed, because a Savior would be provided: “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, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9). His testimony is one of thankfulness—“Blessed be the name of God”—and he expressed his faith in the plan of salvation and joyful reunion with God—“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10).
The search for Adam’s unique words yielded two phrases: “I heard thy voice” (Moses 4:16) and “I know not, save the Lord commanded” (Moses 5:6).
Words of Eve
A truth revealed in Moses’s account of the Creation is that Eve is the name of the first woman on many earths: “Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many” (Moses 4:26). President Joseph F. Smith saw Eve in vision and described her as “our glorious Mother Eve” (D&C 138:39). This could have been written “our glorious mother, Eve,” glorious and mother being adjectives, but it was written “our glorious Mother Eve,” providing a title for her—Mother Eve—and the description that she, the mother of the human family, is glorious. And would not God choose the best to people a new earth? Latter-day Saint doctrine holds Eve in highest esteem. The Guide to the Scriptures clearly states that the Fall of Adam and Eve, enabling them to become the parents of the human race on this earth, allowed the plan of God to unfold as intended. Adam and Eve are honored, and the Fall is considered an essential step to the fulfillment of God’s work and glory. (See Moses 1:30–39.)
No doubt there are many reasons Eve received the calling to be Eve, but as with Adam, her superior intellect and faithfulness would be two of her premier qualities. “The Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him” (Abraham 5:14). God would not prepare an eternal companion for Adam who was not his equal, which implied in the meaning of help meet. Hebrew scholar David Freedman explained that help meetis from the Hebrew words ezer and 'k’enegdo. Ezer means to rescue, to save, and to be strong (see Beverly Campbell, Eve Made Her Choice in Eden, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010).
God would likely unite a man and a woman who would work well together, who would compensate for each other’s shortcomings, and who would enjoy working side by side. Adam and Eve would have brought individual talents and diverse spiritual gifts into the marriage. Adam would have come with his maleness and Eve with her femaleness to give perspective and depth to their interactions and decision-making.
Eve experienced many adversities—being cast out of the Garden of Eden; losing direct contact with God and Jesus Christ; the trial and error of surviving in a “sweat of thy brow” world; experiencing the first birthing with no mortal coaching but from Adam, who was equally inexperienced; learning that one son had killed another of her sons; realizing the finality of death and the parental frustration of children who squander their agency. Yet she faithfully and valiantly continued her mission: “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).
Several additional details from the book of Moses help us see Eve as an educated woman who, alongside Adam, taught their children. “And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled” (Moses 6:6; italics added). They also kept a book of remembrance and wrote by inspiration (see Moses 6:5). Eve also understood and no doubt helped teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to her posterity as Adam was commanded: “Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58). Specifically, they were to teach the Creation, the Fall, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Atonement, the plan of salvation, and broadly, to “enjoy the words of eternal life” (Moses 6:59; see also Moses 6:59–63).
We can assume that after Adam was baptized, received the Holy Ghost, and was ordained to the priesthood, he would have invited Eve to be baptized along with their children. He would have confirmed them and ordained his sons to the priesthood. Adam would have taught them how he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. (Moses 6:64–67)
As to words that are unique to Eve in the book of Moses, she uses three: beguiled, beholdest, reject, and one phrase: “I did eat.”
While most of the world denigrates or disregards the preeminence and righteousness of Adam and Eve, the Pearl of Great Price memorializes them as our first parents. A rarely sung hymn, “Sons of Michael, He Approaches” celebrates the lives of Adam and Eve and makes them current to our generation.
Sons of Michael, he approaches! Rise, the ancient father greet. Bow, ye thousands, low before him; Minister before his feet. Hail the patriarch's glad reign, Spreading over sea and main.
Sons of Michael, 'tis his chariot rolls its burning wheels along! Raise aloft your voices million in a torrent pow'r of song.
Hail our head with music soft! Raise sweet melodies aloft!
Mother of our generations, Glorious by great Michael's side, Take thy children's adoration; endless with thy seed abide.
Lo! to greet thee now advance thousands in the glorious dance!
Raise a chorus, sons of Michael, like old ocean's roaring swell,
Till the mighty acclamation thru rebounding space doth tell
That the ancient one doth reign in his Father's house again! (Hymns, no. 51)
In addition to celebrating the life of Adam, Michael the Archangel, lyricist Elias L. T. Harrison uses the word glorious to describe Eve, the same word President Joseph F. Smith used. Since Harrison died in 1900 and the vision was received in 1918, Harrison and President Smith independently chose or had revealed to them the same descriptor.
Chapter Eleven: Words of Enoch
To learn about the prophet Enoch, one of the greatest prophets, the Old Testament is not your best source because it has only four cryptic verses about him. “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:21–24). In the Old Testament, Enoch the son of Jared’s name is found six times. (The clarification is because there is also “Enoch son of Cain.”)
Neither will the New Testament add much to your knowledge about Enoch because it has only three verses about him—a genealogy in Luke and two short statements: In Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God”; and Jude 1:14, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” His name is found three times in the New Testament. Although the references are few, they validate that Enoch’s life and teachings were known about and considered valuable in New Testament times.
It is Latter-day scripture fills major gaps about Enoch’s life and ministry. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Enoch’s name is found eleven times, in which we learn that “Enoch was twenty-five years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam; and he was sixty-five and Adam blessed him” (D&C 107:48). We read Jesus Christ, himself, took “the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom” (D&C 38:4). We also learn that “these things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time” (D&C 107:57). (According to the headnote, this revelation came April 1835.)
“In due time,” a scriptural- and for that matter a patriarchal blessing phrase, means “according to the Lord’s timing.” His timing is His call—next week or in many, many generations, in this life or the next. In this situation, the prophecy of the book of Enoch coming forth was already in the process of being fulfilled. What follows here is a brief account. If you want a more detailed account, I suggest Dr. Hugh Nibley’s article, “A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 1,”
Ensign, October 1975).
In 1773, Scottish explorer James Bruce, traveling in what is now Ethiopia, discovered ancient texts in a monastery. In the collection were copies of the book of Enoch written in Ge'ez, the language of northern Ethiopia. In 1821, a professor at Oxford University, Dr. Richard Laurence, began the first English translation, which was published in segments until he died in 1838. His completed work was published in 1883. Another edition by R. H. Charles came in 1912. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, more copies surfaced in several languages. The fact that there are many copies indicates that the people of Qumran valued Enoch’s words. “Many copies of 1 Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. 1 Enoch was probably one of the most authoritative and popular scripture of the Qumran Community” (inspiredbooks.com/1Enoch.htm).
As was the case with other Old Testament prophets, the information on Enoch was considered by many to be folklore for lack of corroborating archeological evidence. Until James Bruce’s discovery, there were rumors and a few fragments of a purported book of Enoch but nothing substantive. Commenting on this situation, Dr. Hugh Nibley wrote,
It was only when one major text, the Ethiopian book of Enoch, known as 1 Enoch, was brought to light early in the nineteenth century that scholars started looking seriously and putting together evidence that brought forth one version after another—Old Slavonic, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc.—of that same lost book of Enochwhich had so long been viewed as a figment of Gnostic imagination. After all that, it turned out, the book ofEnochwas real. (Abraham in Egypt)
Not only does the book exist, but when text from 1 Enoch is put side-by-side with corresponding verses from the book of Moses, the storyline and vocabularies are remarkably similar. A few examples illustrate the point:
Enoch Sees Noah Protected by the Hand of God
(Moses 7:43)—Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came.
1 Enoch 67:2—At this time the angels are working with wood (making an ark) and when it is completed, I shall place my hands upon it and protect it.
Enoch Sees All Things
Moses 7:67—And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world.
2 Enoch 40:1—Now therefore, my children, I know everything; . . . my eyes have seen from the beginning even to the end, and from the end to the recommencement. Enoch clothed with glory.
Moses 7:3—As I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory.
2 Enoch 22:8–10—The Lord said to Michael, Take Enoch, and extract (him) from the earthly clothing. And anoint him with the delightful oil, and put (him) into the clothes of glory. . . . And I gazed at myself, and I had become like one of the glorious ones, and there was no observable difference (strongreasons.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/the-book- of-enoch-and-the-book-of-moses).
By far the best scriptural source on Enoch is the Pearl of Great Price where his name is found sixty times in 111 verses from Moses 6:21 to Moses 8:19. In those verses are enough details to fill many books. Much of the text is in Enoch’s own voice, giving information that only the person who lived the experiences could know.
The cursory summary that follows touches on only a fraction of the richness of those 111 verses.
Enoch was blessed to be born in a “land of righteousness” (Moses 6:41), and his father Jared taught him in “all the ways of God” (verse 21). When he was sixty-five, Enoch began to receive remarkable visions. He recounted his first vision experience: “As I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment” (verse 42). Enoch’s response to what he saw and heard demonstrates his character. “When Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (verse 31).
The Lord expressed confidence in Enoch, who did not feel qualified because he was young, hated, and slow of speech:
Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands. . . . Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me. (verses 32–34)
Along with these promises, the Lord instructed Enoch to prepare himself for more. “And the Lord spake unto Enoch: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so” (verse 35). “Thou shalt see,” suggests that Enoch was being called as a seer and would see both past and future, which is exactly what happened. Enoch “beheld the spirits that God had created; and he beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye” (verse 36). The people who heard Enoch recognized this truth “and from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people” (verse 36).
Enoch did as he was commanded and bore testimony throughout the land: “The Lord which spake with me, the same is the God of heaven, and he is my God, and your God, and ye are my brethren, and why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?” (verse 43). He testified of the creation and that “by [Adam’s] fall came death” (verse 48) which we “cannot deny” (verse 45). Enoch, as great missionaries do, bore witness of their sacred writings. “A book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language” (verse 46). Enoch taught the plan of salvation and warned the people about Satan. He testified of Jesus Christ, “the only name which shall be given under heaven whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men” (verse 52). He called the people to repent and be baptized and promised: “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (verse 52). He also taught the power of prayer, admonishing the people to ask “all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you” (verse 52).
Although some of the people realized that Enoch was a seer, his preaching received mixed responses. “And it came to pass that Enoch went forth in the land, among the people, standing upon the hills and the high places, and cried with a loud voice, testifying against their works; and all men were offended because of him” (verse 37; italics added). The power of God with which Enoch spoke caused the people to tremble, and they “could not stand in his presence” (verse 47).
Enoch received another vision of which he said, “I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory. . . . I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations” (Moses 7:3–4).
Enoch continued his ministry, and his great faith produced results higher than ever achieved before or since, of which we are aware. Not only was he the prophet and seer, but also he “led the people of God, [when] their enemies came to battle against them” (verse 13). (Enoch as prophet and military leader is reminiscent of men in Book of Mormon—Mormon, Helaman2, Lachoneus, Moroni.) Mighty miracles contributed to Enoch’s success in these armed conflicts. “So great was the power of the language which God had given him” that at Enoch’s command, the earth trembled, mountains fled, rivers changed course, lions roared, land came up out of the sea, enemies fled, giants “stood afar off,” and a curse came upon “all people that fought against God” (verse 13–15). “The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people” (verse 17).
This era of individual righteousness and political, religious, and economic stability is similar to the Nephite period of two hundred years after the Savior’s visit where there were no contention, envyings, strifes, tumults, whoredoms, lyings, robbers, murders, lasciviousness, and where the love of God dwelt in every heart (see 4 Nephi 1:16–17). “Surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (4 Nephi 1:16).
Enoch received a third vision that encompassed the history of the earth. He saw “all the inhabitants of the earth” (Moses 7:21). He saw how Satan with “a great chain in his hand” had veiled the “earth with darkness” (verse 26). He saw Satan laughing at the misery he caused. He saw “angels descending out of heaven and bearing testimony of the Father and Son” (verse 27). He saw the Holy Ghost fall on many. Enoch experienced God weeping and asked: “How is it that thou canst weep?” (verse 29). God explained his tears were tears of sorrow for the wickedness of humankind, His creations, who had rejected Him and who were “without affection” (verse 33). Then Enoch saw both comings of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. “And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion” (Moses 7:19).
The Lord blessed the land, and the people flourished. “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (verse 18).
The City of Holiness, or Zion, was the result of Enoch’s labors in teaching, leading, protecting, and bearing testimony for the longest recorded mission—365 years. At this point, Enoch and his people were translated. “And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled” (verse 69).
The scriptures give us no more information about Enoch’s Zion, except that one man who seemed worthy to be translated, Methuselah, was left behind. “And it came to pass that Methuselah, the son of Enoch, was not taken, that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch; for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of his loins” (Moses 8:2).
One additional fact of great interest is that according to the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, after Zion was taken up, other individuals were also translated. In the time of Melchizedek, those people who “wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of which God had before taken” were privileged to escape this earth and join the City of Enoch (JST Genesis 14:34).
Enoch’s unique vocabulary includes thirty-one words and a couple phrases: array, barren, barrenness, blackness, comforted, curtains, despised, EARTHS, favor, heat, lad, Lamb, land of my fathers, land of righteousness, misery, north, PARTICLES, pattern, perished, poured, refuse, RIGHTEOUS, shut, speech, tears, tempteth, torment, transgressions, unfruitful, valley, woe. (Words not found in any other scripture are in solid capital letters. The rest are Enoch’s unique words in the Pearl of Great Price.)
Chapter Twelve: People, Places, and More Unique Words
The book of Moses came as Joseph Smith rendered a more correct translation of the Bible, restoring lost doctrine and relevant detail. I believe the Joseph Smith Translation restores plain and precious parts that Nephi prophesied would be taken from the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:29).
From my study of the Book of Mormon, I believe Joseph read the exact text by the aid of the Urim and Thummim or seer stone, which is the reason there are unique vocabularies for over fifty-eight individuals, chiasmus, and many other Hebraic and stylistic features. Likewise with the Joseph Smith Translation, evidence from historical accounts indicates these revelations came to Joseph directly—concept-by-concept, addition-by-addition, truth-by-truth, correction-by-correction—restoring lost truths.
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and David J. Larsen make an interesting point by stating that as careful as Joseph “was in his efforts to render a faithful translation of the Bible . . . his criterion for the acceptability of a given translation was pragmatic rather than absolute. For example, after quoting a verse from Malachi in a letter to the Saints, he admitted that he ‘might have rendered a plainer translation.’ However, he said that it was satisfactory in this case because the words were ‘sufficiently plain to suit [the] purpose as it stands,’ (D&C 128:18)” (mormoninterpreter.com/ancient-affinities-within-the-lds- book-of-enoch-part-one). Bradshaw and Larsen state their opinion that the Joseph Smith Translation may not restore the “original” text but one that is close enough.
However, with the new revelation in Moses and Abraham—not where Joseph emended existing scripture but restored lost scripture—unique vocabularies exist. As you have already seen, Moses, God, Jesus Christ, Adam, Eve, Satan, and Enoch speak with unique vocabularies. This is strong evidence that even though the book of Moses may not be restored to its exact text, the unique vocabularies were preserved, demonstrating that Joseph was directed by the gift and power of God to use particular words. This fact adds strength to Joseph’s trustworthiness as a revelator. If he were composing the text, how could he be clever enough to attend to the minutia of creating unique vocabularies for multiple speakers? He would have had no way of anticipating that computers would allow easy scrutiny of any text to identify authorship by examining word usage, style, and vocabulary.
Listed below are the rest of the persons named in the book of Moses in two categories—those who are named only in genealogies with perhaps a phrase or two about his or her faithfulness or lack thereof, and those who have “speaking parts” with unique vocabulary or at least unique vocabulary in the surrounding text:
The non-speaking part persons are Adah, Cainan, Enoch son of Cain, Enos, Ham, Irad, Jabal, Japheth, Jared, Mahalaleel, Methusael, Methuselah, Muhujael, Naamah, Seth, Shem, Tubal Cain, Zillah.
Those who are quoted or speak in first-person with unique vocabulary are Cain and Abel, an angel, Earth, Lamech, Mahijah, Noah, and three groups of random people.
Cain and Abel
I was surprised to learn that Adam and Eve were grandparents by the time Cain and Abel were born. Here is the timeline. “Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth” (Moses 5:2). Time passed and these oldest children “began to divide two and two in the land . . . and they also begat sons and daughters” (Moses 5:3). Adam and Eve taught the gospel to their children and grandchildren, but Satan came among these children, and “they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish” (Moses 5:13). “And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man's hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power” (Moses 6:15). Adam and Eve experienced great disappointment when their oldest children rejected the gospel.
Chronologically, the births of Cain and Able are mentioned in Moses 5:16–17. Cain’s birth brought joy and hope to Eve that this son would not follow his older siblings’ sinful ways. Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words” (Moses 5:16).
Adam and Eve were valiant and “ceased not to call upon God” (Moses 5:16), but their prayers for Cain were in vain. His anger, greed, and jealousy dominated any inclinations he might have had to hearken to the voice of the Lord. The Lord knew Cain’s weaknesses and warned him of both immediate and eternal consequences. First, the Lord offered Cain hope and promises: “If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted” (verse 23). But the Lord issued a dire warning if Cain “rejected the greater counsel” (verse 25): “And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee” (verse 23). The Lord then explained to Cain that he would become the father of lies and rule over Satan. Lastly, Cain is given insight into the premortal realm. “Thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world” (verse 24).
Cain’s quoted words include six that are unique: accept, iniquities, Mahan, Master Mahan, murder (used one time by Cain and one time by God), punishment. He is also infamous for four phrases: “I am free,” “Surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands,” “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Unlike Cain, “Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord” (verse 17). “The Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering” which was “the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof” (verses 20–21). Abel “who walked in holiness before the Lord” (verse 26) tried to convince Cain of the error of his ways, but “Cain was wroth, and listened not any more to the voice of the Lord, neither to Abel, his brother” (verse 26). “And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him” (verse 32). Cain introduced murder into the world and his victim, Abel, was the first martyr.
No first-person words of Abel are found in the book of Moses, but there are two unique phrases and one word used in reference to him: fat, keeper of sheep, walked in holiness.
The angel who appeared to Adam and Eve used a word that is unique in all scripture. To fully appreciate this one word, the backstory is necessary. The Lord gave Adam and Eve commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore. (Moses 5:5–8)
The unique word, spoken this one time in all scripture, is forevermore.
As the account of Enoch proceeds, Earth, which is a female name, is revealed as a living entity with gender. In Moses 7:48–49, we learn she is “the mother of men” and feels emotion, “I am pained, I am weary.” She speaks with an audible voice: “Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof. Wo, wo is me . . . because of the wickedness of my children,” evidencing her maternal love. She has a voice, bowels, a face. She has wisdom and understanding and feels remorse. “When shall I rest and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth.”
Earth has unique vocabulary: Filthiness, Mother of men; weary; wo, wo.
The information on Lamech, the father of Noah, is brief—little more than a genealogy—but there is a direct quote relating to his hope for his son Noah: “This son shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed” (Moses 8:9). In those twenty-two words, two are unique—comfort, toil.
As I typed, “And there came a man unto him [Enoch], whose name was Mahijah, and said unto him: Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest” (Moses 6:40), I looked in my scripture search program to see how many times Mahijah is found in scripture. It is only found this one time. So I wondered, “If Joseph Smith were making this up, why would he go out on a figurative limb and use a name no one would ever miss if it were not there?” As I thought of this, I wondered if others had asked the same question. (Interestingly, in the text there is a geographic location called Mahujah just a few verses away from Mahijah.)
In a 1977 Ensign article, Dr. Hugh Nibley relates how he wondered about the name Mahijah. He said he considered it to be “the oddest detail of the Joseph Smith account of Enoch.” With his exceptional intellect, memory, and ability to synthesize dissimilar relationships, Nibley was one day reading fragments of the Aramaic book of Enoch(found with the Dead Sea Scrolls) when he experienced “a distinct shock of recognition.” Many times throughout the ancient document was the name Mahijah or
Mahujah. (Because ancient Hebrew had only consonants, the one letter vowel difference in Mahujah and Mahijah could mean the same name or two different names.)
In his book Abraham in Egypt, Dr. Nibley added more detail. “But now the name of Mahujah turns up in the oldest version of the book of Enoch, that found in Qumran Cave 1 and first published in 1976, in which Mahujah is the central figure of a strange little story that is found nowhere else in the now large and growing ancient Enoch literature except in the Joseph Smith Enoch history contained in the book of Moses, where the man Mahijah goes to the place Mahujah as the hero of the same little story” (43). No one creating a fictional document could be that lucky. The fact that the unusual names Mahijah and Mahujah are found in an ancient document about the prophet Enoch is evidence of the gift and power of God with which He endowed His Prophet.
In his eleven-word question, Mahijah used unique words: comest, plainly.
The name Noah appears twenty-five times in the book of Moses from Moses 7:42 to Moses 8:30. Readers are introduced to Noah as part of Enoch’s comprehensive vision of the history of the world. In this vision Enoch “saw Noah and his family, that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation” (Moses 7:42). Enoch saw the ark and the results of the flood. He felt bitterness and wept saying, “I will refuse to be comforted” (Moses 7:44). A few verses later, Enoch asked the Lord, “Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah?” (Moses 7:49).? Enoch had intense interest in Noah because Enoch he is the father of Methuselah, who is the father of Lamech, who is the father of Noah—, making Noah Enoch’s great-grandson.
Noah and his three sons— Japheth, Shem, and Ham— were a righteous family. “Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God” (Moses 8:13). The Apostle Peter references Noah’s family: “wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:20).
Until I typed the text of the book of Moses, I could not have told you who ordained Noah to the priesthood. It was not Methuselah, who was left behind when Enoch and his people were translated because he sinned when “he took glory unto himself” (Moses 8:3). His pride brought him under Godly condemnation, and as a consequence, “There came forth a great famine into the land, and the Lord cursed the earth with a sore curse, and many of the inhabitants thereof died” (Moses 8:4). Nor was Methuselah’s son Lamech worthy to ordain Noah to the priesthood. So who ordained Noah? “The Lord ordained Noah after his own order” and “commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch” (Moses 8:19). The Lord ordained Noah to the priesthood and set him apart as a missionary.
For 120 years Noah preached and warned: “Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not” (Moses 8:24). Despite the raging wickedness surrounding him and his little family, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Moses 8:27).
The last verses of the book of Moses state the reasons for the flood: “The earth . . . was filled with violence. . . . For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth” (Moses 8:28–29). Consequently, the decree from God came: “I will destroy all flesh from off the earth” (Moses 8:30).
Noah is not quoted with any unique words, but in the descriptions of him, two unique words are used: corrupted, grieved.
Three Groups of People
Group One: A group who went “forth to hear” Enoch preach described him with unique vocabulary, using the words seer, wild, yonder. “And from thenceforth came the saying abroad in the land: A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people. . . . And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us” (Moses 6:36, 38). The word seer is only found two times in the Pearl of Great Price, both usages are by this group of people.
Group Two: Moses 6:54 quotes a group of people who identifies doctrines that Enoch was teaching. They used four unique words: atoned, guilt, parents, ORIGINAL. (Originalis only found this one timein all scripture.) “Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.”
Group Three: After listening to Noah, they said: We are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah. (Moses 8:21)
In their comments are three unique words: mighty, ourselves, renown.
The geographic places mentioned in the book of Moses are worth mentioning: Cainan (land of promise), Canaan, City of Holiness, east sea (an “east sea” is mentioned three times in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon.) Enoch (Cain’s City), Garden of Eden, land of Assyria, land of Enoch, land of Ethiopia, land of Hanannihah, land of Haner, land of Havilah, land of Heni, land of Omner, land of Sharon, land of Shem, Mt. Simeon, Muhujah, Nod, river Euphrates, river Gihon, river Hiddekel, river Pison, Shulon, valley of Shum, Zion.
Section Three: The Book of Abraham
Chapter Thirteen: More on How the Book of Abraham Came to Be
In an 1829 revelation, Oliver Cowdery and Joseph received knowledge that more records would come forth: “Behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you [Oliver Cowdery] power that you may assist to translate” (D&C 9:2). When the Egyptian papyri came into Joseph’s possession, he acknowledged: “Some ancient Records . . . have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt” (headnote to the book of Abraham). Joseph knew the record had “fallen into [his] hands” without his planning, and no doubt, he realized they were a partial fulfillment that “other records would come forth.”
The headnote also quotes Joseph as saying, “The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” Abraham, himself, kept the record. He knew the importance of recordkeeping, as did prophets before and after him: “I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me” (Abraham 1:31). For about four thousand years, these records lay dormant under the Lord’s preserving eye. Where were they, and who safeguarded them?
Professor John Gee’s research helps with some detail. The men who were caretakers of the papyri were Egyptian priests who lived in Thebes in Egypt. . . . The ancient owners of the papyri were among the most literate and educated people of the country. They were wealthy individuals who came from important political families. For example, the father of Hor (the owner of [Joseph Smith papyrus 1]) was the great governor of Thebes. . . . They had access to the great Theban temple libraries, containing narratives, reference works, and manuals, as well as scrolls on religion, ritual, and history. The papyri owners also lived at a time when stories about Abraham are known to have circulated in Egypt. If any ancient Egyptians were in a position to know about Abraham, it was the class of people to whom the owners of the Joseph Smith Papyri belonged. (publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1125&index=4)
Tracing the trail from Abraham to a published English version requires some conjecture (lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham), yet at the appointed time, three essential players took their places on history’s stage—an antiquities collector, a motivated salesman, and a prophet.
Antonio Lebolo, a successful antiquities collector, went to Egypt and discovered ancient coffins containing mummies and papyrus scrolls and fragments. He procured them for museums. It was said of him that “Mr. Lebolo works successfully in his new career; he found beautiful pieces for the Drovetti Museum; and since Lebolo was allowed to do some excavations of his own, he gathered for himself a collection, which will bring him a moderate fortune” (bhporter.com/lebolo.htm). As it happened, Lebolo became seriously ill; willed the artifacts to a nephew, Michael Chandler; and passed away. After taking delivery of the stone coffins in New York City, Chandler went on tour, displaying
them and selling portions throughout the eastern United States. He often asked if anyone could read hieroglyphs, and it is assumed he found experts who did translate a few characters for him. At some point, he heard of Joseph Smith and traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, where Joseph interpreted some of the characters. Chandler gave Joseph the following certificate:
Kirtland, July 6, 1835: This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., to correspond in the most minute matter. Signed, Michael H. Chandler Traveling with and proprietor of Egyptian Mummies. (edited by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson Studies in Scripture, Randall Book Company, , vol.
Understanding their value (and I believe under the influence of the Spirit), Simeon Andrews, Joseph Coe, and some other Church members purchased the coffins for $2,400, which in today’s money would be about $61,456.00. (www.in2013dollars.com/1835-dollars-in-2013?amount=2400).
An interesting appendage to the story of how Joseph acquired the antiquities shows a little-known side of his personality. When he learned of the purchase, Joseph’s response showed initial suspicion and an unwillingness to accept whatever came his way without scrutiny. “Certain gentlemen of Kirtland . . . purchase[d] these antiquities [and] pretend they have the bodies of Abraham, Abimelech, and Joseph who was sold into Egypt, etc., etc., for the purpose of attracting the attention of the multitude, and gulling the unwary; which is utterly false. . . . Who these ancient inhabitants of Egypt were, I do not at present say.” He then reasoned through what he knew about the burials of Abraham, Abimelech, and Joseph and concluded: “Consequently, these could not have been found in Egypt, in the nineteenth century.” Joseph explained about the catacomb where hundreds of mummies were found and spoke a cautious statement, “If I understand correctly” (History of the Church 2:348–351).
Although he questioned the identity of the mummies and the details of their discovery, Joseph’s interest in “the record of Abraham . . . found with the mummies” was undeniable. He explained that when the coffins were opened, there “was something rolled up . . . that proved to be two rolls of papyrus and two or three other small pieces of papyrus with astronomical calculations.” He described what he initially saw— hieroglyphics “written beautifully on papyrus, with black, and a small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation.” In summary, Joseph wrote: “Thus I have given a brief history of the manner in which the writings of the fathers, Abraham and Joseph, have been preserved, and how I came in possession of the same—a correct translation of which I shall give in its proper place” (Ibid).
According to dates in the History of the Church, Joseph began translating within three days. He said: “I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham. . . . Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth” (2:236). Joseph’s statement, “one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham,” should resolve much of the doubt over how the book of Abraham came to be. Anti–book of Abraham voices dwell on the fact that none of the Lebolo papyri fragments contain the writings of Abraham, which is true; however only fragments, not scrolls, have been rediscovered.
Eyewitnesses describe rolls (scrolls) not just fragments. Joseph said, “One of the rolls,” not one of the fragments. Oliver Cowdery remembered that there were "two rolls . . .[with] two or three other small pieces” (fragments). (http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Papyri,_Joseph_Smith). A visitor in February 1843 saw “a long roll of manuscript, [being told] it was the ‘writing of Abraham’” and was shown “another roll” (Jay M. Todd, p. 245). Fairmormon.org wrote: “Joseph Smith had in his possession three or four long scrolls. . . . Of these original materials, only a handful of fragments were recovered at the Metropolitan Museum. The majority of the papyri remains lost, and has likely been destroyed” (en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Abraham/Joseph_Smith_Papyri).
In 1966, Dr. Aziz S. Atiya, a University of Utah professor and expert in the Coptic language, found ten fragments of the Joseph Smith papyri while in the Metropolitan Museum, which are now in the Church collection. . Scholars affirm they are part of the Lebolo collection because the recovered papyri are pasted onto paper with “drawings of a temple and maps of the Kirtland, Ohio area on the back.” There was also an affidavit signed by Emma Smith (The Deseret News, November 27, 1967).
Professor John Gee, who wrote the introduction to the second edition of Hugh Nibley’s The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri An Egyptian Endowment, confirms that recovered fragments are not the source of the book of Abraham. The text does not match. This is not a problem to faithful members of the Church. We anticipate that perhaps in time the scroll or scrolls of Abraham’s history may be found. Meanwhile, members treasure the contents of the book of Abraham and find joy in studying the expansive doctrines of premortal life, intelligences, and God’s purpose, to name a few pearls found therein.
Other writings have been discovered that show remarkable similarities to the writings of Abraham as found in the Pearl of Great Price. Dr. Hugh Nibley has documented abundant similarities between the book of Abraham and the apocryphal writings about Abraham, wherein the words and storyline have many parallels. Dr. Nibley asks:
How can all this be mere coincidence? Again and again the setting, the characters, and the plot in this strange series of dramas are the same. We ask the candid reader, if you were given a free hand to write your own Book of Abraham, without merely paraphrasing the Bible, how would you, living in backwoods America in the mid-1830s, have made out? . . . . The evidence that has led the experts in the past ten years to recognize the closest ties between the old Abraham Apocrypha and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, especially with references to the pictures in the latter, effectively eliminates the one argument against serious reading of the Book of Abraham. (Abraham in Egypt [Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1981], 40)
Thanks to scholars such as Hugh Nibley and John Gee, others continue to research, and more evidences will come. Contrary voices will also continue. No matter how much evidence comes to light, antagonists with still challenge apologists. The intellectual debate will continue, but faithful members of the Church give little more than passing notice. This is because their testimony of the Prophet is secure and because the truths found in the book of Abraham outweigh any other concerns.
Realistically, evidence is sparse because Abraham was in Egypt a long time ago, he did not stay there long, and he was not Egyptian. According to fairmormon.org, “The time period when Abraham lived is almost unknown to Egyptology even today” (www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2009-fair-conference/2009-the- larger-issue). However, as more discoveries trickle in, similarities between the ancient world and the book of Abraham will substantiate Joseph’s translation. For example, “The plain of Olishem” (Abraham 1:10) is not found in the Bible, but there is a town in northwestern Syria named “Ulisum.” The Near Eastern poetic style called chiasmus in found in Abraham 3:22–23. The name of the god Elkenah is not found in the Bible but has been identified “among the gods worshipped by ancient Mesopotamians.” Archeological evidence shows that the Egyptians practiced human sacrifice as the book of Abraham documents. The most noteworthy evidence is that “regardless of how the Book of Abraham was translated, it is a remarkable document that tells us more about Abraham’s day than Joseph Smith could have known” (fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair- conferences/2009-fair-conference/2009-the-larger-issue). Professor Daniel C. Peterson also wrote about evidences for the book of Abraham in the Ensign, “News From Antiquity,” 1984.
Although many details about the papyrus are not known, the fact that members of the Church purchased them is certain. The fact that there was no effort to conceal them is certain. The fact that Joseph showed them to many people from the time he took possession of them until the time of his death is verifiable. An October 1835 entry in Joseph’s journal reads: “This afternoon I waited on the twelve most of them at my house and exhibited to them the ancient records in my possession and gave explanation of the same” (History of the Church2:287). Another entry in January 1836 reads: “Attended school, as usual, and waited upon several visitors and showed them the record of Abraham. Mr. Seixas, our Hebrew teacher, examined them with deep interest, and pronounced it to be original beyond all doubt.” In February 1836, Joseph recorded: “Received many visitors, and showed them the Records of Abraham.” A week later he recorded: “Spent the afternoon in reading and in exhibiting the Egyptian records to those who called to see me” (Ibid).
Joseph’s scribes for the book of Abraham were Oliver Cowdery, Warren Parrish, and W. W. Phelps. These men add an additional layer of testimony similar to the testimony of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Because of the scribes’ close involvement in the translation, if there were collusion or conspiracy, they were not only in the best position to expose Joseph but also had cause. All were excommunicated later in their lives. In their states of apostasy, none of them tried to discredit or undermine the validity of Joseph’s translations.
After Joseph’s death, his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, kept the papyri in her possession. After her death, they were in the possession of Emma Hale Smith, Joseph’s widow. In 1856, Emma sold them. Then abruptly, the trail of the papyri goes cold. One hundred years pass. Then ten fragments are found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and one shows up in the Church archives.
Some day in some pretty normal but miraculous way, the scrolls will be found, and another seer will be prepared to translate and finish Joseph’s work. And that is something to look forward to because the finished length of the book of Abraham will be “more lengthy than the Bible.” (Studies in Scripture, vol. 2, 174).
Chapter Fourteen: Words of Abraham
When you finish the book of Moses and turn the page to begin the book of Abraham, you see something distinct in all scripture. On the left-hand page is an Egyptian drawing entitled “A Facsimile from the Book of Abraham No. 1,” followed by three more facsimiles. The text begins on the right-hand page with the words: “In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham . . .” The book of Abraham is an autobiography, reminiscent of “I, Nephi,” “I, Jacob,” “I, Helaman,” “I, Mormon,” “I, Moroni.” The book of Abraham is another testimony to the validity of the book of Genesis, verifying that Abraham is an historical person.
Pre–World War I, many scholars considered Abraham to be a mythical person despite his name being found 162 times in the Old Testament and 69 times in the New Testament. After World War I, this perception changed with the discovery of archeological evidences attesting to the historical reality of Abraham. Dr. Gee has found Abraham’s name in more than twenty-four times in ancient texts.
An introductory paragraph on the topic of Abraham in The Encyclopedia Britannia (Britannia.com) reads: "After World War I, archaeological research made enormous strides with the discovery of monuments and documents, many of which date back to the period assigned to the patriarchs [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] in the traditional [scriptural] account. The excavation of a royal palace at Mari, an ancient city on the Euphrates, for example, brought to light thousands of cuneiform tablets (official archives and correspondence and religious and juridical texts) and thereby offered exegesis a new basis, which specialists utilized to show that, in the biblical book of Genesis, narratives fit perfectly with what, from other sources, is known today of the early 2nd millennium BC. . . . A biblical scholar in the 1940s aptly termed this result “the rediscovery of the Old Testament.”
And thanks to the additional information in the Pearl of Great Price, we know more about Abraham’s character and personality. (The name Abraham is also in Latter- day scripture—29 times in the Book of Mormon, 38 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, and 30 times in the Pearl of Great Price.)
The book of Abraham begins with a statement of Abraham’s faith—his desire to learn of God and His ways and to receive priesthood authority. After explaining that he lived “at the residence of [his] fathers” (Abraham 1:1), he states that he was “a follower of righteousness” (verse 2), that he kept the commandments, and that he desired greater knowledge from God. He explains that as “a rightful heir” (verse 2), he had received the priesthood and that he was a high priest. Then he recorded that all was not well at his home in Ur, in the land of the Chaldeans. His fathers had turned “from their righteousness . . . worshiping . . . the gods of the heathen, utterly refus[ing] to hearken to my voice for their hearts were set to do evil” (verse 5).
At this time, the practice of human sacrifice was sanctioned by the law and religion of the pharaoh, which must have sorely tried the faith of the few followers of Jehovah. Speaking of his family, Abraham said: “They turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto their dumb idols” (verse 7). Abraham explained that a small child had recently been sacrificed, as had three princesses who “would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone” (verse 11) or participate in sensuous rituals with the priests. When Abraham discovered the plot that he was to be sacrificed, his fate appeared sealed. “The priests laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins” (verse 12).
It seems from facsimile number one, at the very moment the priest of Elkenah, “who was also the priest of Pharaoh” (verse 7) raised his knife to slay Abraham, “behold, I lifted up my voice unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands” (verse 15).
Abraham heard the voice of Jehovah and witnessed his displeasure. “The Lord broke down the altar of Elkenah, and of the gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest that he died” (verse 20). Abraham does not explain how he escaped but states that the devastation accompanying his recue caused aftershocks locally and in the court of Pharaoh in Egypt: “There was great mourning in Chaldea, and also in the court of Pharaoh” (verse 20).
(Obviously, continuing to live with his corrupt family and just make the best of it was not an option. Now we better understand his opening statement: “I, Abraham, saw that it was needful. . . to obtain another place of residence” [verse 1; italics added], so needful that it was a matter of life or death. Abraham’s motives reveal his character— to obtain “greater happiness and peace and rest” [verse 2] where he could live the gospel of Jesus Christ, share it with others, and “administer the same” ordinances he had received [verse 2]).
This miraculous rescue continued as the angel identified himself, called Abraham by name, and alerted him to his future: “Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee away from thy father's house, and from all thy kinsfolk, into a strange land which thou knowest not of” (verse 16). In the vision Abraham received additional instructions: “I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee. . . . Through thy ministry my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God” (verses 18–19). God had a work for Abraham, which he obediently, faithfully, and wholeheartedly did throughout his life.
· He desired and accepted the responsibilities of the priesthood (Abraham 1:2), which he received “from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers” (D&C 84:14).
· He kept the commandments of God (Abraham 1:2).
· He chose not to follow his father into apostasy (Abraham 1:5–6).
· As he was about to be sacrificed, he prayed out loud (Abraham 1:15).
· He treasured the records his fathers had handed down to him (Abraham 1:29).
· He knew his genealogy (Abraham 1:29).
· It seems that he prophesied of a famine in Chaldea (Abraham 1:29).
· He wrote his autobiography for the benefit of his posterity (Abraham 1:31).
· He married within the faith (Abraham 2:2).
· He moved from Chaldea to Haran at the Lord’s command (Abraham 2:3).
· He colonized Haran (Abraham 2:5–6).
· He taught the gospel wherever he lived (Abraham 2:15). (When he moved from Haran to
Egypt, he took with him “the souls that we had won in Haran” Abraham 2:15; see
· He spoke with Jehovah “face to face” (Abraham 3:11).
· He experienced the trauma of having Sarah (Sarai) taken from him by Pharaoh and later by Abimelech, king of the Philistines. The Lord instructed Sarah through Abraham to say she was his sister, withholding the truth that she was also his husband. Abraham explained that Sarah was “the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother” (Genesis 20:12). (In actual blood lineage, Sarah was the daughter of Haran, Abraham’s brother. After Haran died, Abraham’s father, Terah, took Sarah as his daughter, making Sarah Abraham’s niece, sister, and wife.) As Abraham and Sarah obeyed the Lord, they were both saved (Abraham 2:21–25).
· He had access to a Urim and Thummim and received revelation through it (Abraham 3:1).
· He received scientific, mathematical, and astronomical knowledge in advance of his times (Abraham 3:1–28), which he received for the benefit of the Egyptians.
· He received, recorded, and taught sacred doctrines concerning intelligences, the Creation, premortal life, the war in heaven, and the plan of salvation.
· He received the commandment to sacrifice Isaac and was willing to obey. Those who study Abraham’s life have to be amazed that after his experience of almost being a victim of human sacrifice and of seeing Jehovah’s displeasure that he would raise a knife to slay Isaac, for whom he had waited more than half a century. He must have been certain, beyond any doubt, as to the source of the commandment and trust it. Perhaps he was anticipating another angelic visit.
· In faith he sought the Lord: “Thy servant has sought thee earnestly, now I have found thee” (Abraham 2:12).
· In a very real sense, Abraham is our father in that the covenant God made with Adam was renewed in Abraham: “And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee” (D&C 107:55).
· Abraham “sought for the blessings of the fathers” (Abraham 1:2)—Adam, Enoch, and Noah—and the blessings of the fathers were restated and confirmed to Abraham when he spoke with God face to face as recorded in Abraham 2:9–11):
“I will make of thee of great nation”
“I will bless thee above measure”
“Thou shalt be a blessing unto they seed after thee”
Thy posterity “shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations”
“They shall rise up and bless thee, as their father”
“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee”
Through his priesthood, “shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.” With the restoration of the priesthood in 1829, these blessings are available and can be activated for individuals and families who seek for the blessings of the fathers, as Abraham did. Worthy members of the Church gain knowledge of their patriarchal lineage through their patriarchal blessings. In temples, as individuals are endowed and families are sealed together for eternity, the promises to Abraham are promised anew. The significance of this covenant for Abraham’s seed is magnificent and all-encompassing in that “all the families of the earth [shall] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11). All is all—all nations, all races and ethnicities, all families.
In the Epistle of James in the New Testament, a half-brother of Jesus, James, teaches the doctrine of faith and works and uses Abraham as an example: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? . . . Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness” (James 2:21, 23). James then characterizes Abraham’s relationship with God with these significant words: “Friend of God” (James 2:23). And modern revelation provides an update on what his faithful servant has been doing since leaving mortality: “Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne” (D&C 132:29).
Abraham used seventy-four unique words and a couple of phrases throughout the book of Abraham. (Words in solid capitals are unique in all scripture. Others are unique in the Pearl of Great Price.)
Altar, appointment, bedstead, belonging, benefit, CHROLOLOGY, concluded, continuation, court, custom, decisions, DELINEATE, DEMOMINATED, descendant, descent, determined, DEVOUTLY, dumb, earnestly, endeavor, established, fain, figure, first father, FOLLOWER, fulfillment, governing, happiness, heathen, heir, HIEROGYPHICS, holding, howbeit, IDOLATROUS, idolatry, idols, IMITATE, instructions, judged, justly, kindred, king, lineage, manner of the Egyptians, mourning, multiplied, NEAREST, noble, partaker, patriarchal, patriarchs, planets, possess, preserved, prince, records, refused, representation, residence, RIGHTFUL, SIGNIFIES, smitten, smote, sojourn, sorely, substance, THANK-OFFERING, tormented, UNLOOSED, Urim and Thummim, whereunto, wisely, wood, worshiping.
Chapter Fifteen: Joseph and Abraham’s Revelatory Experiences
Both Joseph Smith and Abraham used a Urim and Thummim, a divine instrument
God gives chosen seers enabling them to receive revelation and translate text. The Hebrew words Urim and Thummim mean “lights” and “perfections.” The phrase “Urim and Thummim” sounds like one object, thus the pronoun it and the singular an instrument. In Exodus and Leviticus, however, the phrase to describe this tool is “the Urim and the Thummim” and in Deuteronomy “thy Thummim and thy Urim,” which connotes two objects. Urim is even used without Thummim in 1 Samuel. Urim also means “revelation” and Thummim can mean “perfection” in the singular. Joseph described the Urim and Thummim as “two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constitute what is called the Urim and Thummim” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35). Joseph found the Urim and Thummim with the golden plates. It was the same Urim and Thummim that the brother of Jared used (see D&C 17).
According to fairmormon.org, Joseph used the Urim and Thummim, also called Nephite interpreters, to translate the plates, when Martin Harris was his scribe.
"The Nephite interpreters were intended to assist Joseph in the initial translation process, yet the manner in which they were employed was never explained in detail. The fact that the Nephite interpreters were set in rims resembling a pair of spectacles has led some to believe that they may have been worn like a pair of glasses, with Joseph viewing the characters on the plates through them. This, however, is merely speculation that doesn't take into account that Joseph soon disassembled the fixture, the spacing between seer stones being too wide for his eyes. The accompanying breastplate also appeared to have been used by a larger man. Like its biblical counterpart (the High Priest's breastplate contained 12 gems that symbolized him acting as a mediator between God and Israel)."
Joseph’s experiences with translating the Book of Mormon and the Bible prepared him for his role in bringing forth the book of Abraham. Those who describe the translation process in general are no more specific than simply to state that it came “by the gift and power of God” as Nephi prophesied it would be (see Book of Mormon title page, testimony of three witnesses, and 1 Nephi 13:35).
Eyewitnesses provide more specific detail on what was involved in the translation process. Orson Pratt painted a vivid picture of Joseph receiving revelation as printed in the Deseret Newsin 1859: “I saw his [Joseph Smith] countenance lighted up, as the inspiration of the Holy Ghost rested upon him, dictating the great and most precious revelations now printed for our guide. I saw his translating, by inspiration, the Old and New Testaments and the Inspired Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyrus” (Studies in Scripture, vol. 2, 175).
Perhaps we could interpret Elder Pratt’s statement to support the position that Joseph received the book of Abraham word-for-word by direct revelation not via the Urim and Thummim. Dr. Henry Eyring, the scientist, wrote in support of this: "An example of what I am talking about is the recent discovery of the papyrus scrolls from which Joseph Smith was presumed to have translated the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. Modern scholars, looking at the scrolls, found nothing they considered to be similar to that book. I remarked at the time that such a finding didn't bother me in the least. God doesn't need a crib sheet in the form of a papyrus scroll to reveal Abraham's thoughts and words to Joseph Smith, with any degree of precision He considers necessary for His purposes. If the only function of the scrolls was to awaken the Prophet to the idea of receiving such inspiration, they would have fulfilled their purpose"(Reflections of a Scientist [Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1983], 46).
Another reliable witness, Wilford Woodruff, left his testimony of how the translation of the Pearl of Great Price was accomplished. On 19 February 1842, he wrote: “The Lord is Blessing Joseph with Power to reveal the mysteries of God; to translate through the Urim and Thummim Ancient records & hieroglyphics as old as Abraham or Adam, which causes our hearts to burn within us while we behold their glorious truths opened unto us” (Ibid, 169).
History shows that Joseph used the Urim and Thummim at the beginning of the translation of the Book of Mormon. After he completed the translation in June 1829, he returned the plates to Moroni. I always assumed he returned the Urim and Thummim too, but it may be an incorrect assumption. Perhaps the Lord allowed him to keep it and use it throughout his life. The other possibility is that the Lord returned the Urim and Thummim to Joseph on a case-by-case basis, such as when it was time to translate the book of Abraham. (An interesting article on the Urim and Thummim and seer stones can be found at www.ldsliving.com/Joseph-Smith-Had-a-Second-Seer-Stone-What-We- Know-About-It/s/83084.)
Abraham explained how and when he received the Urim and Thummim: “I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees” (Abraham 3:1).Since Abraham lived in Ur as a young man, this means he probably had the Urim and Thummim in his possession for many years—unless of course, the Lord took it back when it was not in use, as perhaps with Joseph.
Abraham shared two additional components of his revelatory experience. As the spiritual bond intensified, the words that were coming into his mind became audible. Abraham heard the voice of the Lord: “The Lord said unto me by the Urim and Thummim” (Abraham 3:4). Abraham used this phrase, “the Lord said unto me,” in the context of using the Urim and Thummim, seven times. (The picture I see in my mind is Abraham receiving doctrine as though he were in a classroom of one where the instructor was Jesus Christ. Imagine being taught astronomy by the Creator himself!)
The second component shows another increase in the level of communication. As with Joseph, Abraham did not continue to depend on the Urim and Thummim. After hearing the voice of the Lord, it seems a physical instrument became unnecessary as the Lord addressed His prophet face-to-face. “Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made”(Abraham 3:11). As they were speaking together, Abraham noticed that the Lord gestures when he speaks: “And his hand was stretched out” (Abraham 3:12). Then the familiarity between the Lord and Abraham is again increased when the Lord touches Abraham’s eyes: “He put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof” (Abraham 3:12).
Chapter Sixteen: Astronomy and the Plan of Salvation
The Lord gave lessons to Abraham and sent him to Egypt to teach the Egyptians. “And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words” (Abraham 3:15). At first, I read “all these words,” thinking the Lord was referring to mathematics and astronomy, but then it occurred to me that “all these words” would include the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Abraham had also received.
In Dr. Hugh Nibley’s book Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, we learn that Abraham’s experience in Egypt had great influence on him much like mission experiences today are pivotal in the missionary’s life. This fact becomes obvious throughout the book of Abraham, as Egyptian references dot its pages, including the three facsimiles and many Egyptian names and words.
The third chapter of Abraham is filled with astronomical information. Abraham learned about great stars and that the name of the closest star to the “throne of God” is Kolob (verse 2). He learned there are different orders of stars. “I have set [Kolob] to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (verse 3). The Lord taught him about stars that govern “times and seasons in the revolutions thereof,” explaining “that one revolution [on Kolob] was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning,...; it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest” (verse 3:4).
The Lord’s word “reckoning” is found twelve times in verses four 4–9through nine, explaining “greater” and “lesser” lights and that the lengths of days, months, and years are calculated and ordered as precise “set time” (verses 6-7). The Lord summarized: “And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (verse 9). (Abraham learned from records he had in his possession that patriarchs and prophets who had preceded him also had “a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers” [Abraham 1:31].)
Abraham is the only prophet who taught with illustrations in the scriptures. In Abraham 1:12, he described the altar on which humans were sacrificed: “That you may have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation [drawing] at the commencement of this record.” Like an ancient PowerPoint presentation, he included many details. “That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics” (verse 14). He also used geographic explanations of how Egypt came to be and of his travels. He put words together artfully—“fain claim,” “sorely tormented,” “eternity was our covering”—and did so with purpose: “I shall endeavor to write [and draw] some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me” (verse 31).
Abraham learned about God’s abilities and what it is like to be God: “There is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it” (Abraham 3:17). The Lord had said to him: “I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence” (Abraham 3:21), “My wisdom excelleth them all” (verse 21), and “I am more intelligent than they all” (verse 19).
Abraham’s instruction at this point turned from mapping the universe to the history of the earth. Here the Lord taught the doctrine of intelligences—the thinking, reasoning, decision-making, and personality of each person. “Intelligences,” the Lord taught, were “organized before the world was” (verse 22). They “have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are . . . eternal” (verse 18). Abraham was privileged to see this integral part of premortal life. “Now the Lord [showed] unto me, Abraham, the intelligences . . . and there were many of the noble and great ones” (verse 22). The Lord said, “These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good” (verse 23). The Lord informed Abraham that he is one of the noble and great.
Next the revelation progresses to a dramatic scene from the First Estate wherein intelligences have received their spirit bodies. Abraham is privileged to see God and hear Him give two directives:
“We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell” (verse 24). (Later, in the chapter on the Creation, the difference between the earth being created or organized will be pointed out, and here is a good illustration. God saw existing space where a new earth would fit and existing materials to form it.)
“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (verses 25–26). (Here the word estate is used as Jude used it in the New Testament: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” [Jude 1:6].) From this verse, new phrases entered Church members’ vocabulary—first estate, second estate, added upon, and glory added upon their heads.
Then God asked the critical question: “Whom shall I send?” Two came forward and volunteered to fulfill this calling: One “like unto the Son of Man” answered: “Here am I, send me.” The other said: “Here am I, send me.” God said “[He would] send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him” (Abraham 3:27–28).
What glorious doctrine in merely a few verses! God identifies available space and necessary materials to organize earths. He does this to provide a place whereon intelligences clothed with spirits are given their second estate physical bodies. The divine purpose of this process is to test humankind’s obedience “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (verse 25). “First estate” defines premortal life. “Second estate” is the term for earth life. Simply, those who prove themselves in premortal life receive a mortal opportunity on earth, and those who prove themselves in their earth life will receive “glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (verse 26). Both the first and second estates are preparatory for something more and better.
Armed with this advanced scientific information and doctrine of the plan of salvation, Abraham caravanned to Egypt and taught the Egyptians. As mentioned, if Joseph Smith were a fraud, he would have been foolish to add so much seeming trivial detail—detail that no one would miss if it weren’t there. With every specific element, he raised the risk of exposure if he were perpetrating a hoax. As with the names Mahijah and Mahujah in the book of Moses, recent discoveries add to the body of evidence that Joseph Smith was either the luckiest man to ever walk the earth or truly a seer and revelator.
John Tvedtnes, who did much of the course work for his PhD in Egyptian and Semitic languages at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, began a 2005 presentation on ancient names and words in the book of Abraham with this statement: "Over the last century a number of scholars have looked at names and other transliterated words in the book of Abraham and the Kirtland Papers in an attempt to determine their authenticity. In some cases it can be demonstrated that the name is actually attested in Ancient Near Eastern documents. For unattested names it is sometimes possible to postulate an etymology based on known words in Egyptian and other ancient languages in use in the time of Abraham" (“Authentic Ancient Names and Words in the Book of Abraham”).
Of the many examples he gave, most are complex and require knowledge of Egyptian and Hebrew to understand, but here are two that are relatively simple:
Rahleenos. Dr. Tvedtnes showed that the meaning of Rahleenosis hieroglyphics, “a writing system used in ancient Egypt. The word hierogluphikos is Greek and means sacred or priestly writing. Perhaps it equates to Egyptian Ra-nes, which would mean the ‘tongue/language or speech of Ra’—Ra being the Egyptian sun god and head of the pantheon in the city of On or Heliopolis” (ibid.). If I interpret Dr. Tvedtnes correctly, Abraham used Rahleenos, meaning “tongue or language of God,” correctly in context: “That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos, which signifies hieroglyphics” (Abraham 1:14).
Egyptus. Another example comes from Abraham 1:23, 25, where Abraham explains that Egyptus was the daughter of Ham who discovered the land of Egypt. In ancient writings the name Aigyptosis found relating to the discovery of and naming of Egypt. (For many more correlations, you can watch Dr. Tvedtnes’s presentation at youtube.com/watch?v=HUbp04NFCl0. It comes in six parts.)
Scholarly studies provide if not confirming evidences at least reasonable similarities connecting the book of Abraham and other ancient writings and artifacts, none of which would have been available to Joseph Smith in 1836. The book of Abraham was first published in 1842. Skeptics suggest that Joseph could have found detail for the book of Abraham in a work called Apocalypse of Abraham, but it did not become available until 1863. Another source they mistakenly suggest gave Joseph his background information was the Greek Testament, but it was not available until 1895.
Dr. Hugh Nibley wrote an entire book on this subject. His careful scholarship and documentation prove his thesis: “To date, not one critic has laid a finger on the Book of Abraham. Instead, they have all sought to discredit it by indirection, dwelling exclusively on the method and person by which they assume it was produced” meaning, of course, Joseph Smith (Abraham in Egypt). Dr. Nibley tells readers they “will find that the Book of Abraham is a miraculous performance.”
At the end of the book, Dr. Nibley summarizes Abraham’s life as “one long series of separations and departures.” He contrasts Abraham’s life in Egypt to how life was in his own country. In Egypt, Abraham was considered a celebrity as he taught Pharaoh and his court on principles of advanced astronomy. He also taught the gospel wherever he lived. At home in his own country, his father was complicit in allowing Abraham to be sacrificed. After miraculously escaping, he lived as a figurative nomad in a wicked world. “From childhood to the grave, he was a stranger in his society because he insisted on living by the principles of the gospel and preaching them to others wherever he went, even if it meant getting into trouble. . . . Abraham’s whole life . . . was a series of trials or tests, and by example and precept he tells us how to come through victorious” (Abraham in Egypt).
You may be able to identify with Abraham in Egypt if you have had opportunity to live in another country where you were immersed in a foreign culture with traditions alien to your own. You know how your perspectives change as you recover from culture shock, and you learn to appreciate the differences. You may remember how you picked what to enjoy, what to adopt about the new culture, and what to merely tolerate. Abraham included some of these differences and noted they were “after the manner of the Egyptians” (Abraham 1:9, 11). One particular aspect of Egyptian culture was in complete opposition to Abraham’s belief system. Abraham believed in one God. The Egyptians had many—Elkenah; Mahmackrah; Libnah; Korash; and Shagreel, God of the sun. It is reasonable to think that Abraham would have learned unique vocabulary either from God in preparing him to teach the Egyptians in their own language or by being immersed in the culture. In facsimiles 2 and 3 are more unique Egyptian words: Enish-go-on-dosh, Floeese, Hah-ko-kau-beam, Jah-oh-eh, Kae-e-vanrash, Kil-flos-is-es, Kolob, Oliblish, Olimlah, Raukeeyang, Shaumahyeem, Shaumau, Shulem.
The facsimile explanations contain 671 words, including those listed above. There are also twenty-six unique English words and a couple of phrases: Answering, answers, astronomy, BUT IN THIS CASE, CELESTIAL, characters, cubit, EMBLIMATICAL, equal, FASTENED UPON AN ALTAR, grand, HOLY TEMPLE OF GOD, idolatrous god, KEY-WORDS, MEASUREMENT, meant, measuring, pillars, POLITENESS, principal, presidency, REVEALING, scepter, signify, signifying, WAITERS. (Words in solid capitals are unique in all scripture. The lowercase words are unique to the Pearl of Great Price.)
“The truths of the Book of Abraham are truly edifying great and glorious which are among the rich treasures that are revealed unto us, in the last days” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 2:159, 1842).
As I made the list of Abraham’s unique words, I noticed how often the Lord God Jehovah, Jesus Christ, spoke to Abraham. There are fifty-five unique words and a couple of phrases.
Abominations, Abraham, Abraham, accounted, anoint, astray, broad, chariot, clay, climbeth, comforter, CONCEIVETH, counseled, counsels, course, decree, decreed, denied, devised, dull of hearing, estate, fierce, FORESWORN, forgiven, fowls, gate, govern, GOVERNING, immortal, inherit, INTELLIGENCES, INTELLIGENT, justice, kindled, kinsfolk, kiss, maketh, measure, necks, oaths, peaceable, Pharaoh, pierce, planet, prudence, purposed, quickeneth, reckoning, revolution, rivers, sands, sold, strive, vengeance, waxed, whirlwind.
Section Four: The Book of Joseph Smith—Matthew
Chapter Seventeen: Words of Matthew
Matthew, according to the Bible Dictionary, was also known as Levi, the son of Alphaeus. His profession was tax collector, or a publican, in the town of Capernaum. The Romans forced the Jews to pay taxes and hired other Jews to collect these taxes. The Jews despised their fellow countrymen who worked for the Romans, but Matthew’s employment did not preclude him from being chosen by the Lord as an Apostle. “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matthew 9:9).
The account of Matthew’s calling is also recorded in Mark 2:13–14 and Luke 5:27–28. Each of those Gospel writers tell of a great feast Matthew gave for his fellow tax collectors (see Matthew 9:10–13, Mark 2:15–17, and Luke 5:29–32). Jesus attended this party and the Pharisees criticized Him for dining with “publicans and sinners” (Matthew 9:11). Unfortunately, not much more is known of Matthew’s life, except that, according to tradition, he died a martyr (see, for example, about-jesus.org/martyrs.htm.)
Matthew’s knowledge of the Old Testament is obvious as he references it more than sixty times. His purpose seems to be to help Jews recognize that the life of Jesus Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Matthew connects Old Testament prophecy to New Testament fulfillment. Here are a few examples:
· The Son of God would come up out of Egypt (see Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 4:12–23).
· Someone would come to prepare the way before the Messiah (see Isaiah 40:3, Malachi
3:1, Matthew 3:1–3).
· The Messiah would perform great miracles (see Isaiah 35:5–6 and Matthew 11:4–5).
· He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12 and Matthew 27:3).
The name Matthew means “gift of God,” and his writings have been a gift to the world since they were penned. His words are the first in the New Testament and are unique among the Gospels in giving specifics we would not otherwise have. Because of Matthew
· We know what the angel said to Joseph: “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20).
· We have information about the Wise Men’s visit and the dream that warned them “that they should not return to Herod, [and consequently] they departed into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:12).
· We learn of Herod’s horrendous crime in killing “all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16).
· We learn of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’s flight into Egypt (see Matthew 2:15) and return from Egypt to make their home in Nazareth (see Matthew 2:19–23).
· We have the Beatitudes and a longer recitation of the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount, including the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 5:13–39, 6:1–34, 7:6–15, 7:21–24).
· We get eleven parables that are only found in Matthew (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parables_of_Jesus).
· We learn that following the Resurrection: “The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:52–53).
Of particular interest is Matthew chapter 24, including verse 39 of chapter 23, which Hugh Nibley called the Little Apocalypse (see Hugh Nibley, BYU Studies25 (Winter 1985): 7–27). Matthew’s words speak of his devotion to and testimony of Jesus Christ and of His Second Coming.
Matthew placed emphasis on signs and wonders that will indicate the Second Coming is nigh at hand, such as the coming of false christs; wars and rumors of wars; the gathering that will bring the elect from around the globe; famines; pestilences; earthquakes in many places; great iniquity; “the love of men [waxing] cold” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:30); the gospel being preached in all the world; and signs in the heavens such as a darkened sun, no moonlight, and falling stars.
It would be anticipated that Matthew 24 would have unique vocabulary because of its path to its inclusion in the Pearl of Great Price. It was written in Greek and went through partial translations into English. John Wycliffe handwrote an English translation from Latin. William Tyndale translated from the Greek into English in about 1525 and is credited with the first English translation to be printed. About eighty years later, King James ordered a new Bible translation, although about 85 percent is directly from Tyndale’s version. King James funded this translation in order to resolve conflicts among different denominations in hopes of unifying his people with one Bible.
The following words are unique to Joseph Smith—Matthew and are also found in Matthew in the New Testament. It may seem credit is being given to Matthew for these unique words, but most of them are words Jesus Christ spoke.
Abomination, abound, afflicted, appoint, asunder, betray, broken, buildings, chambers, clothes, clouds, cold, Daniel, delayeth, desert, desolation, disciples, doors, eagles, earthquakes, elect’s, evil, false, flight, goods, grinding, household, housetop, iniquity, leaves, mill, parable, pestilences, portion, privately, ruler, rumors, servant, shaken, shortened, suck, summer, thrown, tribulation, verily, wheresoever, winds, winter, wise servant, wonders, wrath.
There are an additional nine words and two phrases that are unique to Joseph Smith—Matthew: Befallen, BEGINS, branches, by and by, carcass, destruction, good man, Judea, overcome, steadfast, TREASURETH.
Chapter Eighteen: Words of Joseph Smith—Matthew
The Joseph Smith—Matthew came about because of Joseph’s obedience. He had been working on translating the Old Testament for perhaps ten months when the Lord instructed him in March of 1831 to stop working on the Old Testament and turn his energies to the New Testament. This instruction came in Doctrine and Covenants 45: “Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate [the New Testament]” (verse 61). The Lord then promised Joseph an outpouring of knowledge as he translated: “All these things [about end times] shall be made known . . . that ye may be prepared for the things to come. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you” (D&C 45:60–-62).
These “great things” can be read in Joseph Smith—Matthew, which is a translation of Matthew 24 to which Joseph added about 575 additional words. The importance of this chapter is testified to by the fact that Joseph made more changes to Matthew 24 than any other chapter in the New Testament (see lds.org/manual/the-pearl- of-great-price-student-manual/joseph-smith-matthew?lang=eng).
These 575 additional words came by the gift and power of God to make the text more organized and understandable. One way Joseph was guided to make Matthew 24 clearer was to rearrange the verses. He took forty-five verses, Matthew 23:39 to 24:44, and put them in this order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 8, 22, 23, 24, 6, 25, 26, 27, 28, 7, 14, 29, 34, 35, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43. The comparison ends at verse 43 because verses 44–51 contain the parable of the faithful and evil servants and has no equivalent in Joseph Smith—Matthew.
This reordering of verses makes clear which signs and wonders precede which events. It also shows that some signs are the same for several events. The Lord used the word again to make this point. This is interesting because again is not found in Matthew 24 but is found six times in Joseph Smith—Matthew. For example: “And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved. And again, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked; And againshall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled” (verses 30–32).
Some of the additional 575 words contribute to the flow of the storyline. Here is one of several examples: Matthew 24:1 reads, “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” Compare those twenty-six words to the forty-three in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:2–3: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou has said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.” To me it seems unlikely that the disciples could show Jesus anything about the buildings of the temple that He didn’t already know about. Perhaps the phrase that the disciples “came to hear him” opens the ask-and-receive pattern where Jesus taught them and prophesied about the fate of the temple.
Some of the additional 575 words add organization. Matthew 24:3 reads: “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?” Compare those thirty-nine words to the seventy-five words in Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4 that reads: “And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world.” The text is so clear that it is almost as though the points are numbered: 1. When will the temple be destroyed? 2. When will the Jews be destroyed? 3. What is the sign of the Second Coming? 4. When is the end of the world? Here the Lord also gives a synonym for “the end of the world,” as “the destruction of the wicked.”
Not only is verse four more complete and better organized, but the whole chapter can be easily outlined. The first four verses are the introduction. Verses 5–21 contain prophecy regarding the destruction of the Jerusalem. Verses 22–55 foretell signs and wonders that will occur before the Second Coming. The chapter ends at verse 55 and has no equivalent in Matthew 24. It reads: “And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:55).
Some of the additional 575 words add clarity, as can be noted in the following pairing of verses: Matthew 24:15 reads: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” Compare to Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12, which reads: “When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.” The inserted phrase, “concerning the destruction of Jerusalem,” clarifies when standing in holy places is a wise reaction to what is happening. In other scenarios, the Savior advised His followers: “Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains; Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house; Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:13–15). The Lord provided specific instructions for specific circumstances.
Some of the additional 575 words provide doctrinal clarity. One such example is established by comparing Matthew 23:39, which is twenty-six words long with Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1, which is seventy-eight words long. “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). The Joseph Smith—Matthew reads: “For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God.” You will note that the Matthew verse vaguely hints at a second appearance by the Savior, but there is nothing vague about the corresponding verse in Joseph Smith— Matthew. In these fifty-two additional words Jesus testifies: 1) “I am he of whom it is written by the prophets”; 2) “that he should come again on the earth”; 3) that He will come “after he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God”; and 4) that he will come “in the clouds of heaven and all the holy angels with him.”
These examples illustrate the improved organization, storyline, and doctrine of the chapter. The entire chapter progresses logically and can be outlined. Joseph Smith— Matthew is four verses longer—but only the very last verse, fifty-five, has no equivalent—than Matthew 24 in the King James Bible.
The more I become familiar with the changes Joseph made, the more I acknowledge the hand of God in qualifying him, directing him, and empowering him to restore this critical revelation to its original form.
Section Five: The Book of Joseph Smith—History
Chapter Nineteen: The Man Joseph Smith
A summary in bullet points of Joseph Smith’s life is a highlight reel of contrasts—heights and depths few other mortals experienced. Joseph himself said, “No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself” (History of the Church,6:317). No one, not even his closest family and friends, could imagine his burden of organizational leadership; the joy and responsibility of communing with Deity; the obligation of spiritual and in many cases economic leadership over many thousands; the divine direction to restore ancient scripture and doctrine; and in between, around, and through all of that, relentless and continuous persecution. Joseph used what may be described as a near drowning image to describe the persecution—“And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life. . . . Deep water is what I am wont to swim in” (D&C 127:2).
From the time he was born—December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Windsor Country, Vermont—until age fourteen, no one cared about his history. He was just one of many children born to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. But a few words from the Bible and a beautiful, clear spring morning changed everything. From there, his story becomes singular.
At age fourteen he requested wisdom from God in a grove of trees not far distant from his Palmyra, New York, home. His desire was to know which church was right.
He received the glorious blessing of seeing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. In this vision, Joseph was privileged to hear our Father in Heaven call him by name and to converse with Jesus Christ face-to-face.
“Professors of religion” persecuted him from the time he told the first minister about his vision. Of this situation his brother William said, “We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision. We were considered respectable till then, but at once people began to circulate falsehoods and stories in a wonderful way” (Deseret Evening News,20 January 1894, 11; see also Church History in the Fulness of Times,35).
On 21–22 September 1823, he met the ancient prophet and historian Moroni in a set of glorious visions. He received tutoring from Moroni throughout a four-year period, from 21 September 1823 to 22 September 1827.
Joseph married Emma Hale on 18 January 1827.
He received by revelation the Book of Mormon. After he and Oliver Cowdery
completed the transcription of the Book of Mormon, Joseph secured copyright and arranged for printing and binding.
He and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist on 15 May 1829. They received the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of Peter, James, and John a short time later.
He organized The Church of Jesus Christ as directed by and under the authority of Jesus Christ on 6 April 1830.
By revelation, he emended the Bible that became the Joseph Smith Translation.
He received revelations, many of which are in the Doctrine and Covenants.
He received additional information about Moses, Abraham, and the Second
Coming. He wrote his own history and thirteen statements of our faith that have
been compiled into the Pearl of Great Price.
He began the tradition of holding regular conferences of the Church.
He was forced to move often. He moved from Palmyra, New York, to Harmony,
Pennsylvania, to Fayette, New York, back to Harmony, to Kirtland, Ohio, then to
Hyrum, Ohio, to various places in Missouri, and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois.
He walked and traveled by horseback, stagecoach, or boat to missions on the
frontier of the United States to preach to the Indians and visit the Saints. He led Zion’s Camp. He preached in various cities in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Canada.
He went to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Van Buren seeking remuneration for the losses in Missouri, stopping along the way to share the gospel.
He wrote or supervised the writing of Lectures on Faith.
He and Emma had eleven children, including two they adopted. Of the eleven,
they buried five infants and one toddler—Alvin, Thaddeus, Louisa, Joseph Smith Murdock, Don Carlos, and a stillborn son. One son, David, was born after Joseph’s death. Son Frederick died at age twenty-five.
Joseph oversaw construction of the Kirtland Temple from cornerstone to dedication.
He received visions in which he saw Moses, Elias, Elijah, and others.
Through continuous revelation, he step-by-step filled in the organization of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the Quorum of Twelve Apostles,
the Seventy, Patriarchs, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons.
He restored the practice of patriarchal blessings.
He sent missionaries to England to begin taking the gospel to all the world.
He was harassed, tarred and feathered, and held in a number of jails, including
Richmond, Liberty, and Carthage.
He laid cornerstones and began building the temple in Nauvoo.
He restored the doctrine of the temple and salvation for the dead with baptisms,
endowments, and the sealing of families together for eternity.
He was a managing editor of a newspaper.
He organized the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, now the world’s largest women’s organization.
He was mayor of Nauvoo.
He became a candidate for president of the United States and prepared a platform
in which he advocated
A strong federal banking system,
A change to make prisons more like schools to raise the education level of
An improved system of navigation for the Mississippi River,
Westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean,
A plan to help return slaves to Africa.
Though he had only about a third-grade education, under the tutelage of the Spirit of God, he became an educated man. He studied Hebrew, Egyptian, German, and Greek. He organized and taught the School of the Prophets.
In 1840, he petitioned the state of Illinois for permission to establish a university, In 1841 the University of the City of Nauvoo, or the University of Nauvoo, was created.
He sent scouts to search for a permanent home for the Saints.
He bestowed the priesthood keys and authority on the Twelve.
“The winter and spring of 1843–44 was a time of great tension in Nauvoo, as Joseph his mortal ministry would soon come to a close, the Prophet met frequently with members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to instruct them and to give them the priesthood keys necessary to govern the Church. These preparations culminated in a meeting with the Apostles and a few other close associates in March 1844. In this extraordinary council, the Prophet charged the Twelve to govern the Church after his death, explaining that he had conferred upon them all the ordinances, authority, and keys necessary to do so. ‘I roll the burden and responsibility of leading this church off from my shoulders on to yours,’ he declared. ‘Now, round up your shoulders and stand under it like men; for the Lord is going to let me rest awhile’” (Quoted in declaration of the Twelve Apostles (undated draft), reporting Mar. 1844 meeting; in Brigham Young, Office Files 1832–78, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah).
• He was martyred at Carthage Jail, 1844.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short Smith’s enemies increased their efforts to destroy him and the Church. Knowing space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood. (D&C 135:3)
Chapter Twenty: Joseph Smith’s Vocabulary
Joseph Smith—History is a seventy-five-verse excerpt from what ultimately
became the first five chapters of the seven-volume History of the Church. Joseph’s words describe his feelings about his experiences. His simple elegance engages readers intellectually and draws out sympathetic emotions. He wrote this history in 1838, eight years after the publication of the Book of Mormon, eight years after the organization of the Church, eight years after he and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, three years after the calling of the Twelve Apostles, and about the same time he moved from Ohio to Missouri.
My purpose here, and I have been waiting nineteen chapters to share this information, is to list unique words spoken by all persons quoted in the Joseph Smith— History, including the first-person words of Jesus Christ; Moroni, who quoted Malachi’s unique words; John the Baptist; Martin Harris; and Oliver Cowdery, all of whom Joseph included in his autobiographical account or, in Oliver’s case, attached to it.
The Lord is quoted with four unique words during Joseph’s First Vision: creeds, doctrines, draw, godliness.
When Moroni instructed Joseph, he quoted scripture. One excerpt was from Malachi, who used nine unique words: branch, burn, dreadful, oven, promises, proud, root, stubble, wickedly.
John the Baptist’s four unique words are confer, fellow, Levi, Priesthood of Aaron.
Martin Harris helped Joseph and Emma financially, bears partial responsibility for losing the 116 manuscript pages, took some of the Egyptian characters to New York and showed them to two professors for authentication, mortgaged part of his farm to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon, and was one of the Three Witnesses. Having a sample of Martin’s writing style and vocabulary adds to this word study. His unique words from verses Joseph Smith—History 1:64–65 are ARABIC, ASSYRIAC, ATTAINMENTS, CELEBRATED, certificate, certifying, CHALDAIC, correct, DR. MITCHELL, literary, pieces, POCKET, presented, PROFESSOR ANTHON, respecting, sanctioned, sealed, TORE.
Oliver Cowdery was Joseph’s scribe for almost all of the Book of Mormon. Oliver also copied the original manuscript a second time as a backup known as the printer’s copy. Most of the time, this printer’s copy went back and forth to and from the E. B. Grandin shop as the Book of Mormon was typeset. Oliver was one of the Three Witnesses. He was also one of the scribes for the book of Abraham.
He and Joseph were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist and to the Melchizedek Priesthood by Peter, James, and John. He was the Second Elder of the Church, second only to Joseph. A sample of Oliver’s flowery, effusive style and vocabulary contrasts sharply with Joseph’s simple and elegant style, adding veracity to this word study. Oliver’s unique words are
ABODES, admired, amazement, AMID, anxiously, aside, assurance, awakened, BASED, beauty, bestow, BIGOTS, blaze, BLOTS, BRILLIANCY, buried, CALUMNY, canter, carefully, CARRIES, certainty, clothe, comprehend, concealed, CONDESCENDED, corruption, craft, current, danger, deception, defer, design, dictated, dispelled, distracted, doubt, easy, ELOQUENCE, embraced, ENKINDLED, ENTERTAINING, especially, EXPRESSION, faces, falsehood, favored, fellow-men, fervent, FICTION, flowed, forgotten, forward, FROWNS, future, GAZED, GIDDY, glitter, goodness, GRATITUDE, grave, GROPING, gross, humble, immediate, INCIDENTS, INSIGNIFICANCE, INTERESTING, interpreters, INTRODUCTION, Jacob, LIQUID, MAJESTIC, mansions, mass, message, Nephites, noise, ON A SUDDEN, PAINT, perfection, permitted, pierced, PRACTICED, precise, racked, RAY, REALIZED, reflecting, resting, seduce, senses, sentence, shine, sober, stepped, STRIKES, SUBLIME, SUNBEAM, supersede, sustained, swells, SYSTEMS, thanksgiving, UNCERTAINTY, UNINTERRUPED, UNSULLIED, UNTAUGHT, utmost, waited, wall, willingness, wonder, wrapped.
We have reached the pinnacle of the unique-word study. To have all the facts current in your mind, refer to pages 12–14, review the graph of the number of unique words for each of the fifty-eight Book of Mormon persons, and then review the graph below of the twenty-seven persons in the Pearl of Great Price with unique vocabulary. The only individual for whom there has not been a unique word list to this point is Joseph Smith. You will note his name and his number of unique words at the bottom of the graph below.
Person Quoted or Speaking in First- person
Number of Unique Words or phrases
Moses (as redactor)
God (in Moses) 33
Jesus Christ (in Moses)
Lord (to Abraham)
Matthew and Jesus Christ
John the Baptist
Moroni quoting Malachi
Oliver Cowdery 115
Joseph’s 477 unique words come from the 75 verses in Joseph Smith—History. He authored no other scripture. Of the 58 persons with unique vocabularies in the Book of Mormon and the 27 persons with unique vocabularies in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph has by far the most unique words by word count and by percentage. Here is the list of his unique words. Of the 477 words, 152 are unique in all scripture and are shown below in solid capital letters.
(Scribes and editors can have influence on dictated documents and original drafts. There is evidence that Sidney Rigdon and George Robinson helped Joseph write the autobiographical account we know as Joseph Smith-History. We also know that in 1839, James Mulholland copied the words into Joseph’s manuscript history and that Willard Richard edited the account. How much these men influenced the published account is unknown. (See The Heavens Are Opened Exhibit at the Church History Museum, page 38.)
Abandon, ABOVE-MENTIONED, acquainted, ACTIVE, ACTUAL, ACTUALLY, ADDRESSED, ADMIDST, adversary, affected, AFFECTIONATE, AFFIRM, afflictions, AFOREMENTIONED, ALERT, allowed, aloof, ancient, ankles, ANNOYER, ANXIETIES, appeal, appearing, approaching, around, ARRANGEMENTS, arrival, arrived, ascended, ASSERT, ASSOCIATED, astonishment, attain, attended, attention, ATTRACT, AUTHORS, bed, BEDSIDE, BEHAVIOR, BETOOK, BIBLES, board, bottom, bound, bows, breastplate, brightness, BRILLIANT, building, carelessly, CAUTION, cement, certain, chapter, character, charge, charges, CHEERY, CIRCULATING, CIRCULATION, circumstances, classes, CLERGY, clothing, cock, combine, comfortable, commenced, commit, common, communication, company, CONCLUDING, conclusion, condemnation, condemned, conducted, conduit, confession, confidence, confusion, consequence, considerable, CONSTITUTED, contempt, contending, CONTESTS, continuing, CONTINUOUS, convenient, conversing, conversion, convert, converted, converts, COUNTERACTED, county, CROSSWAYS, CROWED, daily, DARED, day’s, deal, decided, defense, defy, DELUDED, DENOMINATIONS, deposited, DESIGNED, desires, desolations, despair, DESTINED, determination, different, DIFFERENTLY, digging, directed, directs, DISABUSE, DISAPPEARED, discover, dishonest, displayed, DISPOSED, disposition, DISPROVE, distinctly, DISTINCTNESS, DISTRICT, DISTURBER, Divine, divine, division, doctrines, dollars, doomed, during, duty, earthly, edge, edges, ELEVATED, elsewhere, employed, enabled, endeavoring, ENDEAVORS, enemy, enlightened, enough, ENSUING, entirely, equally, errors, establish, EVERYBODY, EVIL-DISPOSED, exactly, EXCITE, EXCITED, EXCITEMENT, EXERTING, EXERTION, EXERTIONS,
EXHAUSTED, experienced, EXPLANATIONS, expressed, exquisite, EXTRAORDINARY, extreme, failed, FAITHS, FALSEHOODS, FARMED, feeling, feelings, feet, fence, file, finally, FIREPLACE, floor, FOIBLES, forbade, force, forced, former, FREQUENTLY, friend, friendly, friends, GENTLEMAN, glorify, glorious, GRADUALLY, guilty, happened, heavenly, heavy, helpless, HIGH STANDING, HIRING, human, IMAGINARY, imperfections, importance, impossible, IMPRESSIONS, INCESSANT, increase, INDUCED, infancy, influence, INFLUENCED, informed, INQUIRERS, INQUIRIES, instantly, instruction, intelligence, intention, intentions, INTERRUPTION, INTERVENED, INTERVIEWS, INTOLERABLE, invented, IRRELIGIOUS, join, joined, JOVIAL, kindly, kindreds, kinds, kneeled, laboring, labors, lack, lacked, latest, Latter-day, lay, leaned, least, legs, length, LEVER, LEVITY, liberally, lighted, lighter, lightly, lightning, limited, lips, loose, mad, maintained, maintenance, MALIGNANT, manifestation, manifested, married, marveling, marvelous, meaning, MEANTIME, meditation, meetings, mentioned, messenger, middle, MILITATE, MINGLING,MOBBED, MOBBING, MOBS, MONEY- DIGGER, MOTIVE, multitudes, musing, mysterious, native, nearly, necessary, necessity, neck, neglect, neighborhood, noonday, object, obscure, obtained, obtaining, occupied, offend, OFFENSIVE, opinions, opportunity, opposed, opposition, organization, otherwise, overwhelmed, OWING, part, parties, PARTY, passages, period, permit, persecute, persecuted, persecution, person, Personage, personage, PERSONAGES, persons, pestilence, pillar, plates, POIGNANT, pointing, ponder, popular, precisely, PREJUDICE, preparing, PREVALENT, previous, previously, PROBABILITY, proceedings, PROFESSORS, progress, promised, PROMOTING, proper, prophecies, PROSELYTED, protected, protection, providence, public, quite, QUOTED, QUOTING, reading, READS, reality, reclaimed, RECOLLECT,RECOLLECTS, recovering, REFLECTED, REFLECTION, region, rehearse, rehearsed, relate, related, relation, RELATIVE, RELIGIONISTS, religious, REMOVAL, render, REPEAT, REPLIED, REPORTS, required, resided, RESIDENT, resorted, RESPECTABILITY, respecting, RESPECTIVE, RESPONSIBLE, retired, returned, reviled, reviling, RIDICULED, robe, ROUNDING, RUIN, RUMOR, safe, satisfied, SCANTY, scarcely, scene, school, scripture, scriptures, SECTARIAN, SECTS, SEEMINGLY, seized, serious, service, SETTLING, several, severe, shortly, silver, SINGULARITY, sink, society, somewhat, sooner, source, start, started, state, stir, STRANGENESS, stratagem, STRENUOUS, strict, success, suffering, sufficient, supplication, suppose, surprised, teaching, telling, TEMPERAMENT, tempt, temptations, tenets, thick, THINNER, THOUSANDTH, threatened, TOWNSHIP, translating, transpired, treated, tumult, UNABLE, UNACQUAINTED, UNCONSCIOUS, UNDERTAKING, UNEASINESS, united, unlawful, UNSEEN, UNUSUAL, upbraid, upbraided, upbraideth, USUAL,VARIATION, venture, verse, village, visited, VOCALLY, VOCATIONS, VOLUMES, wasted, weakness, whiteness, withstand, woods, worldly, WRIST, wrong, zeal, zealous.
As mentioned, the 152 words in capital letters listed above are not found in the Old or New Testament, the Book of Mormon, or the Doctrine and Covenants, which is astounding enough. But what about the other 345 words? So many of them are normal, everyday words. I wondered if the majority of Joseph’s unique words would also be in the Book of Mormon. So I looked up every word again to check. Of them, 238 are not found in the Book of Mormon but are in either the Old or New Testament or the Doctrine and Covenants!
The math looks like this: 152 words in Joseph Smith—History are not found in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, of Doctrine and Covenants, and 238 more are not found in the Book of Mormon. Adding 152 and 238 together means that 390 of Joseph’s unique words are not found in the Book of Mormon. Simply stated: Joseph’s own vocabulary is not the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon. Also, as already shown, Joseph’s own vocabulary is not in the book of Moses or in the book of Abraham either. The evidence is phenomenal. These three books of scripture which came through Joseph Smith are not in his vocabulary.
Just in case anyone is interested, here is the list of the additional 238 used in Joseph Smith—History that are not found in the Book of Mormon:
Above-mentioned, active, actual, actually, addressed, admidst, affected, affectionate, affirm, aforementioned, alert, allowed, aloof, annoyer, anxieties, arrangements, arrival, assert, associated, attract, authors, bedside, behavior, betook, bibles, board, brilliant, carelessly, caution, chapter, character, cheery, circulating, circulation, clergy, cock, comfortable, concluding, conclusion, confession, consequence, constituted, contests, continuous, convenient, converts, counteracted, county, crossways, crowed, dared, decided, defense, deluded, denominations, designed, desolations, destined, differently, directs, disabuse, disappeared, disapprove, dishonest, displayed, disposed, distinctly, distinctness, district, disturber, divine, Divine, dollars, doomed, earthly, edges, elevated, elsewhere, enabled, endeavors, ensuing, equally, everybody, evil-disposed, exactly, excite, excited, excitement, exertion, exertions, exhausted, experienced, explanations, extraordinary, failed, faiths, falsehoods, farmed, fence, file, fireplace, foibles, forced, frequently, gentleman, gradually, high-standing, hiring, imaginary, impressions, incessant, induced, influence, influenced, inquirers, inquiries, instantly, intelligence, interruption, intervened, interviews, intolerable, invented, irreligious, jovial, kindly, lack, lacked, latest, Latter-day, leaned, lever, levity, lighter, limited, malignant, meantime, meditation, mentioned, militate, mingling, mobbed, mobbing, mobs, money-digger, motive, musing, native, necessity, neighborhood, noonday, obscure, occupied, offensive, opinions, organization, overwhelmed, owing, party, passages, permit, personage, Personage, Personages, poignant, precisely, prejudice, prevalent, previously, probability, professors, promoting, proselyted, public, quite, quoted, quoting, reads, recollect, recollects, recovering, reflected, reflection, relation,
relative, religionists, religious, removal, repeat, replied, reports, resided, resident, respectability, respecting, respective, responsible, ridiculed, rounding, ruin, rumor, scanty, scarcely, school, sectarian, sects, seemingly, settling, singularity, strangeness, strenuous, surprised, temperament, tenets, thickened, thinner, township, tumult, unable, unacquainted, unconscious, undertaking, uneasiness, unlawful, unseen, unusual, upbraid, upbraided, upbraideth, usual, variation, verse, vocally, vocations, volumes, woods, worldly, wrist.
Another interesting word study in Joseph Smith—History, although they are not all unique, is the list of proper nouns. These 77 words are in addition to the 477 unique words:
Aaron, Aaronic, Acts, Almighty, Alvin, Agrippa, Bainbridge, Baptist, Bible, Book of Mormon, Carlos, Catherine, Chenango, Christ, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day, Saints, Cowdery, December, Divine, Don, Elijah, Emma, Epistle of James, Gentiles, Gospel, Hale, Harmony, Harris, Holy Ghost, Harrison, Hyrum, Isaac, Isaiah, Joel, John the Baptist, Joseph, Josiah, Lord, Lord of Hosts, Lucy, Mack, Malachi, Manchester, Martin, Messiah, Methodist, Methodists, Moroni, Oliver, Ontario, Palmyra, Paul, Pennsylvania, Personage, Personages, Presbyterian, Presbyterianism, Samuel, Satan, Savior, Sen., September, Sharon, Smith, Solomon, Sophronia, Spaniards, Squire, Stoal, Susquehanna, Tarbill, Testament, Thummim, Urim, Vermont, Wayne, William, Windsor, Y ork.
I find it impossible to explain where the Book of Mormon, the book of Moses, the book of Abraham, and even the changes to Matthew 23–24 came from except by the gift and power of God through Joseph—prophet, seer, and revelator. The unique vocabularies in the Book of Mormon testify that the Book of Mormon is not written in Joseph Smith’s vocabulary. The unique vocabularies in the Pearl of Great Price prove that the Pearl of Great Price is not written in Joseph Smith’s vocabulary. Moses’s words are Moses’s, Abraham’s words are Abraham’s, Nephi’s are Nephi’s, Mormon’s are Mormon’s etc., etc., etc., and the only words in Joseph Smith’s own vocabulary are those he wrote himself about his life in the twelve pages now found in the book titled Joseph Smith— History.
Section Six: The Articles of Faith
Chapter Twenty-One: The Articles of Faith
To complete the study of unique words in the Pearl of Great Price, I looked at the
vocabulary in the Articles of Faith.
In 1842, the editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper, John Wentworth, asked
Joseph to prepare a history of the Church and of his religious experiences for publication in the paper. Joseph wrote a detailed letter, but as far as is known, it was never published
in the Chicago Democrat. But the name “Wentworth Letter” is permanently attached to Joseph’s reply. At the end of the letter, Joseph listed thirteen brief statements describing some of the unique doctrines and teachings of the Church. Joseph titled his list “Faith of the Latter-day Saints,” which is known today as the Articles of Faith. “The Articles of Faith do not constitute a summation of all LDS beliefs, and they are not a creed in the traditional Christian sense, but they do provide a useful authoritative summary of fundamental LDS scriptures and beliefs” (eom.byu.edu/index.php/Articles_of_Faithbasic). The letter was dated March 1, 1842, and signed, “Respectfully, etc., Joseph Smith.”
Elder B. H. Roberts, commenting on The Wentworth Letter, said, “The letter is one of the choicest documents in our church literature. . . . It has few equals among historical documents, and certainly none that excel it in our church literature” (History of the Church, 4:535–541). The Wentworth Letter showcases Joseph’s powerful, poetic language and his expansive vision of the future.
After a brief history of Joseph’s personal life and of the Church, the Wentworth Letter concludes, “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2011), 435–47).
As with everything connected to Joseph Smith, the Articles of Faith have come under attack from anti-Mormons. One misleading charge purports that originally there were fourteen statements and that today’s rendition is “watered down and politically correct” (ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=27232version). According to fairmormon.org: “This claim has no truth to it and is another example of critics of the Church of Jesus Christ playing fast and loose with the facts.” J. Cooper Johnson, writing for Fairmormon, refutes these claims, but for me, it really does not matter if there were fourteen. I would expect revisions. From my own writing experiences, I know that inspiration and revision are not mutually exclusive processes. But as John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence” (quotationspage.com/quote/3235.html). The facts are that Joseph wrote thirteen and five have been changed. You can judge for yourself how “watered down and politically correct” the changes are.
In the fourth Article of Faith, “ordinances,” has been changed to “the first principles and ordinances.” Abbreviated numbering was also changed. Here is a comparison of Joseph’s first writing of the fourth Article of Faith and today’s version. Original: We believe that these ordinances are 1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ; 2d, Repentance; 3d, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In the sixth Article of Faith, the word “viz,” which is an abbreviation for “videlicet” (a middle-English word from Latin that means “that is to say,” or “namely,”) is changed to “namely.” Also, the term “etc.,” (an abbreviation for the Latin term et cetera, which means “and so forth”) was changed to “and so forth.” Original: We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, viz: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. Now: We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
In the seventh Article of Faith, the term “etc.” was also replaced with “and so forth.”
In the tenth Article of Faith, two clarifying terms were added. “The New Jerusalem” was added to clarify the meaning of “Zion,” and instead of “this” continent, the term “the American’ continent” was used. Lastly, the word “paradasaic” was changed to “paradasaical.” Original: We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes. That Zion will be built upon this continent. That Christ will reign personally upon the earth and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradasaic glory. Now: We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
In the eleventh Article of Faith, the word “own” was inserted. Original: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they
may. Now: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (As quoted at fairmormon.org/perspectives/publications/ask- the-apologist-how-many-articles-of-faith-were-there).
Much ado about nothing.
I find it incredible that the Articles of Faith are so comprehensive that Elder James E. Talmage could write 458 pages and Bruce R. McConkie 719 pages, elaborating on thirteen brief statements that in total are only 398 words in length. I will leave the doctrine found in the Articles of Faith to those two Apostles and enjoy the simplicity of Joseph’s statements as they stand.
Thirty-two of the words in the Articles of Faith are unique to the Pearl of Great Price, and six are unique in all scripture. (Unique words in all scripture are in SOLID CAPs; those in lowercase are unique to the Pearl of Great Price.)
Admonition, AMERICAN, BENEVOLENT, chaste, correctly, dictates, endured, evangelists, good report, healing, honest, HONORING, interpretation, kings, lovely, magistrates, obeying, PARADISIACAL, pastors, Paul, personally, PRAISEWORTHY, preach, presidents, Primitive, punished, renewed, restoration, seek, SUSTAINING, Ten Tribes, virtuous.
Section Seven: Unique Doctrines in the Pearl of Great Price
Chapter Twenty-Two: The Creation
The Pearl of Great Price expands on biblical information about the creation of the
world. Moses 2–3 and Abraham 4–5 augment the account found in Genesis 1–2. The Moses account came from Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the book of Genesis, while Abraham’s account came by revelation via ancient Egyptian papyri. In the pages that follow, the texts of these three accounts are shown in side-by-side comparisons, making it easy to identify distinctive features. I have also put unique words and phrases in bold. Keep in mind that the Abraham account is the oldest of the three.
Moses is credited with writing the first five books of Genesis, but obviously, Moses was not alive “in the beginning” when the events of the Creation took place. He could have been a premortal observer or participant, but since his premortal experiences would have been veiled at birth, it is safe to say that Moses did not write from personal experience. Rather, he received the information from preserved documents—“A book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam” (Moses 6:5)—or by revelation—“For it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5).
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the preserved documents and revelations in the Old and New Testaments. The only caveat to our faith is stated in the eighth article of faith: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8; italics added). Joseph Smith explained: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 327). He also said: “From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Ibid, 9–10). Chapter one of Moses is new revelation. Chapters two through eight contain the corrections and additions revealed to Joseph Smith that restore a more complete Genesis account.
Although the three Creation accounts became scripture through different processes, I believe they came from one original source—Adam. The scriptures confirm that he kept a record: “Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam” (Moses 6:8). I believe Adam was one of “the Gods” who helped create the earth (see Abraham 4). I believe he wrote what he observed and personally experienced or that God re-revealed to him so it would be available to his posterity.
Adam’s account tells of his singular opportunity to participate with God our Eternal Father and Jesus Christ in the creation of planet Earth, on which he would live as the father of the human race. “The Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man” (Moses 3:7). (It would add clarity if Genesis began with the introduction: “The experiences of Adam as he participated in the creation of the earth.”)
As you will note from the side-by-side comparisons, the Moses and Abraham accounts have introductions; Genesis does not. The Moses introduction reads: “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak” (Moses 2:1). The Abraham account begins: “The Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down” (Abraham 4:1). These few words provide three essential bits of information:
· God reveals things to His prophets and commands them to write what He speaks.
· The direction of Earth from God’s home is down.
· More than one God created the earth as evidence by the use of the pronouns us and they.
The Genesis account has been miraculously preserved from generation to generation, and it is apparent from the side-by-side comparisons how much precious information and doctrine has been preserved. Today, these famous biblical words are revered by Christians the world over.
On Christmas Eve in 1968, Apollo 8 circled the moon. On television people around the world watched and listened as the three astronauts—Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman—spoke in staticky voices.
Bill Anders began: We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Jim Lovell continued: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And
God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Frank Borman concluded: “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas—and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth (The Apollo 8 Flight Journal, NASA History Division, Retrieved 4 May 2015, [Flight time 086:06:40 to 086:08:39]).
With these testimonials as backdrop, here are the three accounts of days one through five of the creation of the earth.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Creation Comparisons—Days One thru Five
The Genesis 1 account is the baseline and appears in the left-hand column. The
Moses and Abraham accounts are in columns two and three, respectively. Words not in Genesis are in bold type. Following each day’s scriptural accounts is a brief bulleted commentary on a few of the differences.
1 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.
· Moses received this revelation from God who identified himself by two of His names— the Beginning and the End and Almighty God.
· Moses states that God’s “Only Begotten” facilitated the Creation.
DAY ONE OF CREATION
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come
up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.
3 And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.
5 And I, God, called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake; and the evening and the morning were the first day.
2 And the earth, after it was formed, was
3 And they (the
4 And they (the
· The Genesis account is written in third-person singular—“God.”
· The Moses account is written in first-person singular—“I God.”
· The Abraham account in written in third-person plural—“They (the Gods).”
· Moses explains that the process happens by the spoken word. This is corroborated and further explained in the Doctrine and Covenants: “I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit” (29:30).
DAY TWO OF CREATION
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
6 And again, I, God, said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and it was so, even as I spake; and I said: Let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was done;
7 And I, God, made the firmament and divided the
8 And I, God, called the firmament Heaven; and the evening and the morning were the second day.
6 And the
7 And the
· The power of the Creator’s spoken words is illustrated in the second day of Creation with the phrase “even as I spake,” which is used four times in Moses.
· The comparative phrase in Abraham, “Even as they [the Gods] ordered,” adds authority and is found twice.
· The use of the word firmament in Genesis and Moses is expanse in Abraham where it is used eleven times. The only other time expanse is found in all scripture is about the Creation and the Lord’s role. “Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ . . . , the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity . . . before the world was made. . . . I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me” (D&C 38:1–3).
· You probably noticed in Abraham that “second day” adds the phrase “second time,” which may mean that a day is not twenty-four hours but an undisclosed length of time.
DAY THREE OF CREATION
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose
9 And I, God, said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and it was so; and I, God, said: Let there be dry land; and it was so. 10 And I, God, called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, called I the Sea; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good.
11 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, and the tree yielding
9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the
11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the
seed in itself yieldeth its
seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
fruit, whose seed should be in itself upon the earth, and it was so even as I spake.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself, after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
12 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the
tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose
seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the
evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it
was the third time.
· The phrase, “Let the earth bring forth grass” in Genesis and Moses is less explanatory than the Abraham account, in which four verbs describe creation—the
Gods prepare andorganize; they orderandare obeyed: “And the Gods said: Let
us preparethe earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.And the Gods organizedthe earth to bring forth grass from
its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed” (Abraham 4:11–12; italics added).
· The fact that inanimate creations obey means that they have consciousness. They know the sound of the Creator’s voice. They listen and obey. “The winds and the waves shall obey thy will” (“Master, the Tempest Is Raging,” Hymns, no.105).
DAY FOUR OF CREATION
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
14 And I, God, said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years;
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser
14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven,
15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
light was the moon; and the stars also were made even according to my word.
17 And I, God, set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the
night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.
18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.
19 And it came to pass that it was
from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until
evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.
· In the Abraham account, creation unfolds not instantaneously in a whiz, bang, boom but as a process: “And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed” (verse 18).
· The aspect of “made” in Genesis and Moses compared to “organized” in Abraham points to orderliness and timeliness.
· The Gods give oversight as the process progresses. The Gods watch to make sure there is follow through. “And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed” (Abraham 4:21).
DAY FIVE OF CREATION
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
20 And I, God, said: Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl which may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And I, God, created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had created were good.
22 And I, God, blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the sea; and let fowl multiply in the earth;
20 And the Gods
21 And the
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind, and it was so;
25 And I, God, made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything which creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and I, God, saw
that all these things were good.
23 And it came to pass that it was
from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was
from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the
24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.
25 And the
Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.
· Day, or time period, five ends with the Creator’s assessment of His work. In Genesis He says: “It was good.” In Moses He says: “I, God, saw that all these things were good.” In Abraham, “The Gods saw that their planwas good.”
· Both Genesis and Moses command, “Be fruitful,” as though it were intrinsically within the creature to do that. Abraham makes it the Gods who cause them to be fruitful. He blessed them in marriage.
· The importance of obedience is again emphasized. “And the Gods saw [the living creatures] would obey” (Abraham 4:25).
Chapter Twenty-Four: Creation Comparisons—Days Six and Seven
The creation of the earth proceeded in a logical step-by-step process, becoming
more and more complex from the creation of an environment conducive to life to one- celled creatures to the creation of Eve, God’s final creation. God’s crowning achievement, however, is the “multiply and replenish” aspect that makes both man and woman equally critical to God’s glorious, self-perpetuating plan: “Whose seed should be in itself, after his kind” (Moses 2:12).
Mark Twain, in The Diaries of Adam and Eve, demonstrates, in his comic and insightful way, how their love grew midst adversity and hardship through hundreds of years of marriage. (Adam died when he was 930 years old.) Twain’s sketch concludes as Adam stands alone at Eve’s gravesite and utters the words, “Wherever she was, there was Eden.” Adam’s abiding love for Eve is the love God grants to His children who keep His commandments and choose to participate in marriage and procreation. Although the Creation accounts do not say God married Adam and Eve, I believe He did marry them: “And God blessed [or married] them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
DAY SIX OF CREATION
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
26 And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over
26 And the Gods took counsel among them selves and said: Let
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the
every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.
28 And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And I, God,
said unto man: Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which shall be the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
27 So the Gods went down to organize
man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
28 And the Gods said: W e will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed
that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
29 And I, God, said unto man: Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which shall be the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for
meat. Moses 2:29 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein I grant life, there shall be given every clean herb for meat; and it was so, even as I spake.
31 And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and,
behold, all things which I had made were very good; and the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them
every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.
31 And the Gods
said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very
obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.
· For twenty-five verses, the Genesis account speaks of one God creating the earth, then suddenly the pronoun changes. Verse 26 reads: “And God said, Let usmake man
in our image, after ourlikeness” (emphasis added). This is the first time usis found in the Old Testament.
· Perhaps God our Eternal Father was speaking not only to His Only Begotten or to other Gods, but also to HisEve, and that together they organized man and woman in their images, in their likenesses.
· The word usis used again after Adam and Eve have partaken of the forbidden fruit. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22), which speaks in evidence of the plan of salvation.
· The Creation accounts that follow are continued in Genesis 2, Moses 3, and Abraham 5.
· There is one verse of summary before proceeding to day seven. Verse 1 is very similar in all three accounts. The heavens and earth are finished or will be finished “and all the host
of them.” “Hosts” is an interesting concept, meaning multitudes, masses, hordes. God has many, many children—hostsof them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
2 And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my
work, all these things shall be thus organized, and I, God, saw that they were good;
3 And I, God, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it I had rested from all my work which I God, had created and made.
2 And the Gods said among themselves: On the seventh time we will end our work, which we have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work which we have counseled.
3 And the Gods concluded upon the seventh time, because that on the seventh time they would rest from all their works which they (the Gods) counseled among themselves to form;
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
4 And now, behold, I say unto you,
that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the
and sanctified it. And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth.
4 And the Gods came down and formed these the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were formed in the day that the Gods formed the earth and the heavens,
5 According to all that which they had said concerning every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Gods had not caused it to rain upon the earth when they counseled to do them, and had not formed a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:6-7
water, neither in the air;
6 But I, the Lord God, spake, and there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living
soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man's spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
· The Moses account provides the best information delineating both a spiritual and a physical creation. God organizes and plans; He does not just throw worlds together helter-skelter. He creates spiritually and then physically. “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5). He initiates planning and development stages. The architect does his work before the builder begins. The farmer prepares before he plows.
· One aspect of the Creation ties in with one of God’s names—Man of Counsel. “And the Gods took counsel among themselves” (Abraham 4:26; italics added). “And the Gods said among themselves: On the seventh time we will end our work, which we
have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work which we
have counseled” (Abraham 5:2; italics added).
· They make decisions in these councils: “And the Gods concluded upon the seventh time,
because that on the seventh time they would rest from all their works which they (the Gods) counseled among themselves. . . . And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 5:3; italics added).They declare the work finished, acknowledge their work was good, and
adjourn to rest on the seventh day. All this was accomplished “according to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was” (D&C 121:32).
· Elder M. Russell Ballard taught the principle and pattern of councils and counseling in two general conference talks: “Counseling with Our Councils” (April general conference 1994) and “Family Councils” (April general conference 2016). The prophet Jeremiah taught: “Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord” (Jeremiah 50:45). And as Alma taught his son Helaman: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37). Human beings counsel with the Lord in prayer and receive his wisdom. The Lord “doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight” (Alma 37:12; see also Alma 29:8).
· The word good is predominant in the Genesis and Moses accounts—seven and eight times respectively. One time God even uses “very good.” “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31; italics added). Good is in Abraham’s account as a summary: “And the Gods saw that . . . their plan was good” (Abraham 4:21; italics added). For me, this validates the idea that it is appropriate to feel good about your accomplishments. However, the Savior’s words in Matthew caution not to attribute goodness to oneself. When a man addressed him as “Good Master,” Jesus rebutted him with a question and a statement: “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
Chapter Twenty-Five: Core Doctrines and Teachings
In assembling the jewels from the magnificent Pearl of Great Price, this
concluding chapter offers a treasure chest of core doctrines and teachings. As I gathered information from the five books of the Pearl of Great Price on each topic, I tried to let the words of God and His prophets flow together without commentary or explanation. However, with a few subjects, I could not resist weighing in.
The word agency is found only six times in all scripture—four times in the
Doctrine and Covenants and twice in the Pearl of Great Price. “The Lord said unto Enoch: I . . . gave . . . man his agency” (Moses 7:32). Agency is the power to discern and is made possible by opposition—light and dark, good and evil for the most basic examples. Obedience is the righteous use of agency. Obedience enhances, circumscribes, and augments agency. Disobedience is the abuse of agency. Disobedience encompasses all contrary, undisciplined, wayward, delinquent, disobedient, defiant, sinful, and obstinate thoughts and actions. Disobedience restricts and diminishes agency. Satan is the enemy of agency. “Satan . . . sought to destroy the agencyof man” (Moses 4:3).
Agents is found one time in the Pearl of Great Price. “And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agent unto themselves” (Moses 6:56). God
teaches agency to His children by allowing them to be agents. He allows them to experience opposition. “They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55).
“Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God
hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54). The Atonement of Christ saves all little children who die before the age of accountability.
The Atonement of Christ saves all men and women who repent. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
“And Eve . . . heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11). Eve understood that redemption comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of
the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth” (Moses 5:6–7). Adam and Eve accepted the gift of the Atonement and understood the sacrifice of the Only Begotten.
“I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9). The verse ends with will but in context we can add, “as many as will repent and come unto Him.”
The word atoned is found only two times in all scripture: once in D&C 29 and once in Moses 6.
The Pearl of Great Price provides four accounts of baptism in the dispensations of
Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Joseph Smith.
Adam: “And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men
must repent and be baptized in water” (Moses 6:53)? The Lord answered: “As ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit” (Moses 6:59). “Adam . . . was caught away by the Spirit of the
Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized” (Moses 6:64–65).
Enoch: “And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).
Noah: “And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words; Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers” (Moses 8:23–24).
Joseph Smith: After Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist, John “commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptizeme. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptizedme” (Joseph Smith—History 1:70–71).
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).
In the Pearl of Great Price, baptism is found 3 times, baptize3 times, baptized is found 15 times.
BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE/RECORD KEEPING/GENEALOGY
“And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the
language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5).
“A genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam” (Moses 6:8).
“And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God” (Moses 6:22).
Enoch said: “For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language” (Moses 6:46).
“But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time” (Abraham 1:28).
“The records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me” (Abraham 1:31).
“Inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit,
which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born againinto the kingdom of heaven” (Moses 6:59).
CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF GOD
“The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents
cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54).
“And I, God, said . . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them” (Moses 2:26–27).
“Moses . . . thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:6).
“I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men” (Moses 3:5).
Moses said: “I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten” (Moses 1:13).
“And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God” (Moses 6:22).
God refers to Abraham, Enoch, or Moses eight times as “My son.” An especially tender use of the phrase comes when God speaks to Abraham and says: “My son, my son.” Abraham added a verbal picture of this moment by adding that as God said those words, “his hand was stretched out” (Abraham 3:12).
“Moses . . . I, the Almighty, have chosen thee” (Moses 1:25).
“Thou shalt deliver . . . even Israel my chosen” (Moses 1:26).
Chosen, when capitalized, is a name for Jesus Christ (Moses 4:2, 7:39). “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were
organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22-23).
“The Lord . . .... covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that
he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah” (Moses 7:51). To keep this covenant, Enoch’s son Methuselah “was not taken [with the rest of the City of Enoch], that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch; for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of his loins” (Moses 8:2).
“I give unto thee [Abraham] a promise that this right [priesthood] shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
“And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:20).
The “very elect” are defined as those “who are the elect according to the covenant” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22)
CREATED, CREATOR, CREATION
In Earth’s lament, she testifies of the Creator: “When will my Creator sanctify
me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face” (Moses 7:48). Abraham had in his possession a history of the world from his time to “the
beginning of the creation.” “But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time” (Abraham 1:28).
Abraham had “a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers” (Abraham 1:31). “And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of
men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered” (Moses 1:8). “And I, God, said . . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only
Begotten created I him; male and female created I them” (Moses 2:26–27).
After creating the animal kingdom, God said: “Let them [Adam and Eve]
have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Moses 2:26). When dominion is used in scripture for good purposes, it is a synonym
“And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him” (Moses 5:1).Here dominion describes joint responsibility, as Adam and Eve labored together. Dominion over plants and animals is God’s transfer of responsibility from His care to Adam and Eve’s care. Righteous dominion is not about abuse, control, power, or domination.
Then God instructs Eve on Adam’s responsibility towards her. “Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said . . . Thy desire shall be to thy husband” (Moses 4:22). The same verse in the Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible reads: “To the woman also he said . . . Thou shalt be under thy husband's power,” which could be reinterpreted, “Under thy husband’s priesthood power.” In the next phrase, God explained Adam’s role to Eve: “And he shall rule over thee.” In the Douay-Rheims, the phrase reads: “And he shall
have dominion over thee” (Genesis 3:16). In these two translations, rule and dominion are juxtaposed as synonyms, but Adam was not to dominate Eve. God did not set up a master/slave or lord/servant hierarchy, but rather Adam was given responsibility to watch over and care for Eve.
Knowing what we know now in the language of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Eve understood: “You will be blessed by Adam’s priesthood. He has responsibility to protect you and your children and to provide for your temporal, emotional, and spiritual needs. By divine design, he is to preside as the head of your family in love and righteousness.” God gives His children righteous dominion to create and maintain family. Adam received priesthood; Eve received motherhood—separate but complimentary roles, creating mutual dependency for unity of purpose.
Satan, or mortals under his influence, controls others with unrighteous dominion. “And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power” (Moses 6:15). As a disrupter from the beginning, Satan attempts to destroy God’s order of priesthood and motherhood by counterfeiting God’s laws and by redefining words.
God gave Adam and Eve instructions as to their duty as citizens of earth. In their
dominion, they were commanded to “dress it and keep it” (Moses 3:15; Abraham 5:11). “And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from
the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?” (Moses 7:48).
Eternity is beyond measurement—“without beginning of days or end of years” (Moses 6:67). Eternity continues beyond time “henceforth and forever” (Moses 5:9, 6:66).
“Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?”(Moses 7:29).
“Thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom . . . from all eternity to all eternity” (Moses 7:31). “His heart swelled wide as eternity” (Moses 7:41).
“I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity”(Moses 7:53).
“On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us” (Joseph Smith—History note).
Scriptural synonyms for eternal are forever, everlasting, infinite, without end.
Everlasting joy: “I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is
broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy” (Moses 7:53).
Everlasting possession: “But I, Abraham, and Lot, my brother's son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me: Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for
an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice” (Abraham 2:6).
Everlasting Gospel: “He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith—History 1:34).
FACE TO FACE
God talked to Moses face-to-face (see Moses 1:2); He talked to Enoch face-to-
face (see Moses 7:4); He talked to Abraham face-to-face (see Abraham 3:11); He and His Beloved Son talked to Joseph Smith face-to-face (see Joseph Smith—History 1:17).
The first principles of faith and repentance and the first ordinances of baptism and
the gift of the Holy Ghost are found in clarity throughout the Pearl of Great Price: Faith: Moses 6:23, Moses 7:13, Moses 7:47, Joseph Smith—History 1:5, Joseph
Smith—History 1:7, Articles of Faith 1:4.
Repentance: Moses 5:8, 5:14, 5:25, 6:1, 6:23, 6:27, 6:29, 6:50, 6:52, 6:53, 6:57,
7:10, 7:12, 7:39, 8:17, 8:20, 8:24, Joseph Smith—History 1:69, Articles of Faith 1:4. Baptism: Moses 1:70, 6:52, 6:53, 6:65, 6:66, 7:11, 8:24, Joseph Smith—History
1:68–74, Articles of Faith 1:4.
Gift of the Holy Ghost: Moses 5:58, 6:52, 8:17, Joseph Smith—History 1:70.
“And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe” (Moses 6:48).
“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death” (Moses 6:59).
“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression [fall] my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10).
“Father . . . the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
“Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto
Enoch: Behold mine abode forever” (Moses 7:21).
“Enoch . . . said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. . . . Thou
art just; thou art merciful and kind forever” (Moses 7:20, 30).
FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH
The phrase “full of grace and truth” describes Jesus Christ and is found eleven
times in the scriptures: once in the New Testament—John 1:14; three times in the Book of Mormon—2 Nephi 2:6, Alma 5:48, Alma 13:9; two times in the Doctrine and Covenants 93:11, 66:12, and five times in the book of Moses—1:6, 1:32, 5:7, 6:52, 7:11.
God is Endless. “God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God
Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless” (Moses 1:3).
God’s works and words never cease. “My works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease” (Moses 1:4).
God knows His creations. “I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made” (Moses 7:35–36).
God numbers His creations. “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them” (Moses 1:35, 37).
God works. “On the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work” (Moses 3:2). “This is my work and my glory” (Moses 1:39).
God is glorious. “The glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (Moses 1:2). “No man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth” (Moses 1:5). “Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?” (Moses 1:13–14). “The glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God” (Moses 1:31). When God’s glory left Moses, Moses knew that compared to God, man is nothing, “which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10).
God rules in all wisdom and prudence. “I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen” (Abraham 3:21).
Joseph’s sacred grove experience makes him the Latter-day expert on who our
Father in Heaven is and what He looks like. I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JS-History 1:16-18). Joseph often taught how important it is “to know for a certainty the character of God.” He said that this knowledge “is the first principle of the Gospel” (Teachings,345). He shared his unique understanding of the nature and personage of God at the funeral of King Follett, who was not a king but King was his first name, on April of 1844.
God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible,—I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another. (History of the Church,6:303–305, 308)
When was the gospel first taught? “Thus the Gospel began to be preached, from
the beginning” (Moses 5:58).
To whom was the gospel first taught? “And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam . . . and the Gospel preached” (Moses 5:59).
When will the gospel stop being preached? “A decree [was] sent forth, that it should be [preached] in the world, until the end thereof” (Moses 5:59).
Who is responsible to teach the gospel and by what means? “And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order [the priesthood], and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch” (Moses 8:19).
Whom does the gospel bless? “In thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood) . . . shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
Where will the gospel be preached? “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31).
How is the gospel declared? “Thus the Gospel began to be . . . declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 5:58).
The Book of Mormon contains the gospel: “He [the angel] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith—History 1:34).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance: “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance” (Joseph Smith—History 1:69).
Three Articles of Faith teach about the Gospel:
Articles of Faith 1:3—“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
Articles of Faith 1:4: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of
the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Articles of Faith 1:5: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”
“In that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam” (Moses 5:9).
“And thus he [Adam] was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65).
“And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:66).
“Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:8).
“Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
“The Lord God called upon men by the Holy Ghost everywhere and commanded them that they should repent” (Moses 5:14).
“Thus the Gospel began to be preached . . . by the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 5:58).
“He gave unto me [Enoch] a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).
“The Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion” (Moses 7:27).
God said to Noah: “And ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest” (Moses 8:24).
“No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation” (Joseph Smith—History 1:73).
“Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 1:24).
“Therefore it is given to abide in you . . . the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment” (Moses 6:61).
Honor as a noun is the sum of one’s character. It is impossible for one person
to give his/her honor to another person. Honor, when used as a verb, is the respect a person receives from others for acting in an honorable way. Both as a noun and a verb, honor has to be earned. When Satan said to the Father: “Give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1), it revealed Satan’s character. He was trying to steal something he had not worked to
acquire and something he did not understand. Jesus Christ honored His father by saying: “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22–23).
INVITATIONS FROM THE LORD
“Walk with me” (Moses 6:34).
"Be baptized” (Moses 6:52).
“Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52). “Ask” (Moses 6:52).
“Repent” (Moses 6:27).
“Bear record of me” (Moses 6:63).
“Choose me” (Moses 7:33).
“Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you” (Moses 6:33). “Go forth and do as I have commanded thee” (Moses 6:32).
“Open thy mouth and it shall be filled” (Moses 6:32).
“Teach it freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58).
“Take heed that no man deceive you” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5). “Remain. . . steadfast” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:11).
“Pray ye the Lord” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:17).
“Treasure. . . up my word” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
“Gather together” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
“Learn a parable” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38).
“Know that he is near” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:39).
“Watch. . . for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come (Joseph Smith—
“Know this” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1: 47).
“Be ye . . . ready” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:48).
The word Kolob is found eight times in all scripture, all in Abraham.
Kolob is a great governing star (see Abraham 3:3). It governs “all those [planets]
which belong to the same order as that upon which thou [Abraham] standest [Earth]” (Abraham 3:3).
Where is Kolob? “Nigh unto the throne of God” (Abraham 3:9)
Time on Kolob is after “the reckoning of the Lord’s time... according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob” (Abraham 3:4–5).
“And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the
man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him. . . . And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof; and the rib which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said: This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Moses 3:18–25).
Marriage between a man and a woman was ordained of God from the very beginning.
“Worlds without number have I created” (Moses 1:33).
“And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea,
millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number” (Moses 7:30). “I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst
count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds” (Abraham 3:14). One God: “For this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory”
One Earth: “And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so
shall another come” (Moses 1:38).
One rib: “I took one of his ribs” (Moses 3:21; see also Abraham 5:15).
One stone: “Jesus said: . . . Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here,
upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:3).
One flesh: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Moses 3:24; Abraham 5:18).
One in Me: “Thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:68).
One heart, one mind: “The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).
Governing ones: “And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (Abraham 3:3).
One revolution: “One revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning” (Abraham 3:4).
One end of heaven: “They shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
One day: “I was one day reading the Epistle of James” (Joseph Smith—History 1:11).
Two great lights: “I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Moses 2:16; see also Abraham 4:16).
Two and two: “From that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two . . . and they also begat sons and daughters” (Moses 5:3).
Two facts: “The Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist” (Abraham 3:6).
Two in the field: “In the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:44).
Two Personages: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air” (Joseph Smith— History 1:17).
Two stones: “There were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim” (Joseph Smith— History 1:35).
Three sons: “Noah . . . walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Moses 8:27).
Three virgins: “This priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time” (Abraham 1:11).
Four heads: “I, the Lord God, caused a river to go out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Moses 3:10; see also Abraham 5:10).
Four quarters: “I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth” (Moses 7:62). “So likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:27).
Four winds: “They shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
Ten Tribes: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes” (Articles of Faith 1:10).
Fifty dollars: “In the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us on our journey” (Joseph Smith—History 1:61).
One thousand years: “One revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest” (Abraham 3:4).“For the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest” (Moses 7:64).
“Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God” (Moses 1:25).
“And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord” (Moses 5:5).
“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all
the obedient” (Moses 5:11).
“And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered.... The Gods saw that they were obeyed.... The Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed. The Gods saw they [the elements of creation] would obey” (Abraham 4:9–10, 18, 25).
“And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so”(Moses 6:35). Obedience requires action. Enoch did not just listen or think about it. He did it.
Enoch said: “Wherefore, for this cause, to keep [obey] the commandment, I speak forth these words” (Moses 6:42).
Joseph Smith said: “I obeyed” (Joseph Smith—History 1:50).
“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith 1:12).
Order is used in scripture as a descriptor of how God performs His work, of
which the Creation is an example. God’s orderliness is not tidiness but precision, and His methodology is evident in the three creation accounts—Genesis, Moses, and Abraham— that show preparation and planning. God’s phrase “We will go down” is like coordinating
schedules to accomplish a job. His phrase “for there is space there” is like scoping out the right place on which to build, and the phrase “We will take of these materials” is like locating and gathering building materials. God performs His work in and with order. Every step in the process is purposeful with the result to “make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:24). God’s orderliness takes the unorganized and organizes it.
This orderliness utilizes another type of order, which is a synonym for priesthood. God said to Adam: “And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity” (Moses 6:67). Abraham said he “sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment [order] of God” (Abraham 1:4). “The Lord ordained Noah after his own order... even as it was given unto Enoch” (Moses 8:19).
“Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order [the priesthood] established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:26).
Order can also be a synonym for command. “And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered” (Abraham 4:7). “And it was so, even as I spake [ordered]” (Moses 2:30).
Order is also used as a scientific classification. From most broad to the most specific: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. “For I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (Abraham 3:4). This kind of order has arrangement, sequence, and pattern. The Creator instructed Abraham that there are other earths that are the same order as this earth, meaning there are other worlds designed differently for other purposes. There are greater lights and lesser lights. There
are governing stars, implying non-governing or subordinate stars. Some planets are peopled; some are not. Order defines God.
“Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the
Sabbath day” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:17).
“In accordance with . . . my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to
make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally” (Joseph Smith—History 1:14).
“I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him” (Joseph Smith—History 1:29).
“While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light” (Joseph Smith—History 1:68).
Four of seventeen scriptural citations about premortal life referenced in “Guide to the Scriptures” come from the Pearl of Great Price. Premortal life is the expanse of time before life on Earth begins. All men and women lived with God in what is termed the first estate as the spirit children of Heavenly Parents before coming to earth (see Abraham 3:26). One of the biggest differences between premortal and mortal life is at birth, each spirit is clothed in a physical body.
“I made . . . men before they were in the flesh” (Moses 6:51).
“For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5).
There is a pre-premortal life. Each individual’s intelligence existed before receiving a spirit body. Abraham saw these intelligences and heard God say: “I came down in the beginning in the midst of . . . all the intelligences thine eyes have seen” that were organized [created] “before the world was” (Abraham 3:21–22).
Without the Pearl of Great Price, we may not have hymns and Primary songs about premortal life: “I Lived In Heaven,” “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” “The Lord Gave Me a Temple,” “O My Father,” “How Dear to God are Little Children,” “Faith,” “Again We Meet around the Board,” “I Am a Child of God,” “Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done,” “O Thou, before the World Began.”
Priesthood is the power by which God creates worlds without number. Priesthood
is the authority to preside over families and govern the Church. All male members of the Church who meet age requirements and worthiness standards have the privilege of priesthood to serve in the governance of the Church and to preside in their families. At different time periods in history, certain groups, for reasons known only to God, have been denied priesthood office. In both Abraham’s and Moses’s administrations, Cain’s descendants could not receive the priesthood. When Jesus was on Earth, only Jews could receive the priesthood. The priesthood is God’s, and only He decides who receives the priesthood.
“The Lord ordained Noah [to the priesthood] after his own order” (Moses 8:19).
“Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and
judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that orderestablished by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry” (Abraham 1:25–27).
“I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father” (Abraham 1:18).
“The right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands” (Abraham 1:31).
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations” (Abraham 2:9)
“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
Moroni “quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you
the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joseph Smith—History 1:38).
Moroni “said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded. Joseph Smith—History 1:70–71).
“The messenger who . . . conferred this Priesthood upon us [Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery], said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us. . . . It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829” (Joseph Smith— History 1:72).
Joseph and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist who after laying his hands upon their heads said: “Upon you my fellow servants,
in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness” (Joseph Smith—History 1:69).
“In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood” (Joseph Smith—History 1:74).
The priesthood, “which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).
PROPHECY/SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
Adam prophesied: “Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall
be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).
“And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses”
(Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:55).
“After telling me these things, [Moroni] commenced quoting the prophecies of
the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy” (Joseph Smith—History 1:36).
“No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church” (Joseph Smith—History 1:73).
“His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy” (Joseph Smith—History note).
“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy”(Articles of Faith 1:5).
“We believe in the gift of . . . prophecy” (Articles of Faith 1:7).
Two examples of prophecy fulfilled: When the Lord called Enoch to be the prophet, He said, “The mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course” (Moses 6:34). Later in Enoch’s life, it is recorded: “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course” (Moses 7:13).
The second example is the promise given to Moses when he received his
call: Moses “heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God” (Moses 1:25). The parting of the Red Sea fulfills this
prophecy. “The Lord said unto Moses . . . lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15–16).
One’s closeness to God may be described in terms of physical distance. In chapter
3, Abraham reports on looking at the immensity of space in vision as God named some heavenly bodies. You can imagine God with a pointer saying: “These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob” (Abraham 3:3). The distance between Earth and Kolob may be many light-years away, but Kolob is as much a reality as is Earth. Abraham also learned Kolob’s proximity to God’s throne: “The name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me” (Abraham 3:3). “Because it is near unto
me” could be the definition of Kolob.
W. W. Phelps wrote: “If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye”
(Hymns, 284). How long would a trip to Kolob take? Are visitors allowed? Is hieing to Kolob really the desired destination since it is just close to God’s home? What is the name of the governing star or planet where God actually resides? What would it be like to approach His throne? Could the unworthy make such a journey? Are there security checks? Is a type of passport or recommend needed? Is there a shuttle from Kolob to God’s residence?
This we know. “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds and also conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified” (D&C 88:38–39). Yes, there are requirements—laws, bounds, conditions, and prescribed ways to move nearer to God.
Joseph Smith’s First Vision brought him into close proximity with God and His Beloved Son. While praying, the throne of God came near unto him, and Jesus Christ instructed youthful Joseph about near and far. He told Joseph not to join any church because of corrupt ministers who teach a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. As only He could know, the Savior said: “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Joseph Smith 1:19; italics added). The couplet is memorable: near to me/far from me. “Near to me” comes with a promise: as you make your proximity to Him a priority, He will draw near unto you as you draw near unto Him (see D&C 88:63). Those who keep God’s commandments draw near to Him through their obedience.
Adam learned his proximity to God would continue forever. Adam “heard a voice out of heaven, saying: This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; and thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:66–68).
Enoch felt his proximity to God when a voice from heaven spoke of an endless relationship. “Enoch, my son, . . . this is a decree, which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from my own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the ends thereof” (Moses 6:27, 30).
Moses learned about his proximity to God in that their Father/son relationship is endless. “And [Moses] saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? And, behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:2–4).
Abraham learned his proximity to God is personal in their Father/son relationship. “Abraham, my son... Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee” (Abraham 1:17–18).
Joseph Smith learned about his proximity to God and His Beloved Son in their face-to-face conversation. Joseph said: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17). God identified His relationship to Joseph in the words: “Joseph, my son” (D&C 130:15).
God described astronomical timing to Abraham (see Abraham 3), using the
word reckoning twelve times. The order and precision of God’s creations shows meticulous mathematics as the length of days increases the farther away from earth you travel. In his visions, Abraham learned the length of a year on Earth is an exact calculation. One day on Earth is one one-thousandth of a day on Kolob. The moons, planets, and stars move in their orbits as a fine-tuned clock.
God’s macro-timing, His reckoning, is easily acceptable to the human mind in terms of planets, stars, orbits, and the times (days) of creation. His knowledge and power of the highest form of math and science fit the paradigm of His omniscience, omnimeaning every, the whole and science meaning knowledge and understanding of the principles governing how things work. “All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times” (D&C 121:31) are awe inspiring to contemplate.
SALVATION, PLAN OF
“The name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men. . . . This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time” (Moses 6:52,
“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to
blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4).
“And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent . . . to beguile Eve” (Moses 4:6). “Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses
1:12). Moses said: “Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not” (Moses 1:16). When Satan did not depart, Moses said: “I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:18–20).
“The power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth” (Moses 7:24). “And he [Enoch] beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced” (Moses 7:26).
“I [Joseph Smith] had scarcely [begun to pray], when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me” (Joseph Smith—History 1:15–16).
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of [seek] God” (Joseph Smith—History
Abraham “sought for the blessings of the fathers.” He “sought for [his] appointment unto the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:2, 4).
“After the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee” (Abraham 2:12).
“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seekafter these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
SOULS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS
“Out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is
pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul” (Moses 3:9).
“Out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air . . . and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life” (Moses 3:19).
“Adam and Eve . . . made all things known unto their sons and their daughters”
“By [the books] their children were taught to read and write, having a language
which was pure and undefiled” (Moses 6:6).
“Seth . . . begat Enos, and prophesied . . . and taught his son Enos in the ways of
God; wherefore Enos prophesied also” (Moses 6:13).
“Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God” (Moses 6:21).
“They were preachers of righteousness . . . and faith was taught unto the children
of men” (Moses 6:23).
“Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or
they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Moses 6:57).
“Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your
children” (Moses 6:58).
“Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for
our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).
“And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized . . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression” (Articles of Faith 1:2).
TRANSLA TING/TRANSLA TION
“God had prepared them [seer stones] for the purpose of translating the book” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
“We still continued the work of translation of the plates” (Joseph Smith— History 1:68).
When Enoch saw God weep, he was puzzled and asked two questions: “How is it
that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains? And How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?” (Moses 7:28–29).
The God of heaven answered: “Among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren. But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer” (Moses 7:36– 37).
Words are God’s tools. By the use of words, worlds without number are
continuing to be created. “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power” (Moses 1:35). “My words. . . never cease” (Moses 1:4) “Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:35).
Particles of dust and great whales obey His words for His “words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled" (Moses 4:30). “This . . . I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake” (Moses 2:5).“All things were . . . created and made according to my word” (Moses 3:7). “There is no end to my works, neither to my words” (Moses 1:38).
Under God’s authority and approval and with great personal faith, prophets likewise use words. “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him” (Moses 7:13).
God gives this power of language to His prophets to teach. “And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words” (Abraham 3:15).
Oliver Cowdery’s effusive use of words portrays the power of God’s spoken words: “I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Joseph Smith— History note).
The word word also means scripture. “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37). “Enjoy the words of eternal life in this world” (Moses 6:59). “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Articles of Faith 1:8).
“My works are without end . . . for they never cease” (Moses 1:4).
“There is no end to my works, neither to my words. . . . This is my work and my
glory” (Moses 1:38–39).
“I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested . . . from all my work” (Moses 3:2).
“Thus I Abraham, talked with the Lord . . . and he told me of the works which his hands had made” (Abraham 3:11).
“The Gods concluded . . . they would rest from all their works which they counseled among themselves to form . . . the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 5:3).
“I have a work for thee, Moses” (Moses 1:6).
Moroni “called me by name, and said . . . he was a messenger sent from the presence of God . . . that God had a work for me to do” (Joseph Smith—History 1:33).
WORKMANSHIP OF MINE HANDS
“I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands” (Moses 1:4).
“Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands” Moses
URIM AND THUMMIM
“And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had
given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees” (Abraham 3:1).
“There were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
“Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time . . . because
of their virtue” (Abraham 1:11).
“We believe in being . . . virtuous” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
The word Zion appears 97 times in the Old Testament, once in the New
Testament, 24 times in the Book of Mormon, 62 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, 18 times in the Pearl of Great Price. In the Pearl of Great Price, Saints led by Enoch— their latter-day prophet—received visits, instructions, and ordinances from Jesus Christ. Under His tutelage, Enoch’s people grew in righteousness as a community and lived worthily enough to be translated.
This did not happen overnight. The scripture says: “Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven” (Moses 7:21). “In process of time” is quite an understatement. For Zion to merit translation took “generation upon generation” (Moses 7:24). The processbegan when Enoch received the priesthood at age twenty-five. (Adam ordained him.) The next step happened at age sixty-five, when Enoch received his calling to be the prophet. The City of Zion was translated 365 year later, which is more than 133,225 days of preaching, teaching, learning, preparing, yielding to the Lord’s will, and being tutored by Him. “And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled” (Moses 7:68–69). No, it did not happen quickly.
“Zion is fled,” probably describes exactly what happened. I believe all the people, plants, animals, buildings, furnishings—the entire city—defied all known laws of physics and were lift up from earth, not person by person or brick by brick, but all as a unit in one grand evidence of God’s wondrous power. Importantly, this City of Holiness still exists and continues in righteousness today. And, equally important, another City of Zion will be built—maybe not today or tomorrow—but the prophecy is sure: “Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent” (Article of Faith 1:10).
The book of Moses provides a definition and a list of qualifications to become a Zion city: “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). Enoch and his people achieved and sustained this level of righteousness because the three necessary components: a prophet; a unified, obedient, willing, and hardworking people;
and the Lord’s personal involvement. “Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion” (Moses 7:69).
Another society, found in the Book of Mormon, provides a glimpse into the workings of a city of Zion. After the visit of Jesus Christ to the Nephites, the people lived in a Zion-type society for more than two hundred years. The specifics listed in 4 Nephi parallel that of Enoch and his people: “all converted,” “continued peace,” “all things common,” “great and marvelous works,” “prosper[ed] . . . exceedingly,” “fair and delightsome people,” “the love of God . . . in the hearts of the people,” “no contention, no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness, no robbers,” continued “in fasting and prayer,” met “together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:2–18). Like Enoch’s Zion, the Nephites enjoyed “naught but peace, justice, and truth” (Moses 7:31).
Yet as good as these Nephites became, they did not achieve translation. How close they came is speculation. If it takes 365 years to prepare to be translated, the Nephites got only halfway. At about the two-hundred-year mark, contention and pride reentered the hearts of some of the people, and the downward spiral began. The Nephites were vulnerable and yielded to the promptings of the devil, while the people of Enoch were humble and yielded to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Enoch saw: “The power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth . . . and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced” (Moses 7:24, 26).
Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, also spoke of Satan’s chains: “I say unto you . . . this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity” (Alma 12:6). Moses summed up the decline of the posterity of Adam and Eve “And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power” (Moses 6:15). Those days are the same as these days. Satan has great dominion among men
and rages in their hearts with the same result: wars, bloodshed, murder, secret works, lust for power.
The elevating principles of Zion bless individuals, families, and communities with power over “the enemy of all righteousness” (Moroni 9:6), as Moroni labeled Satan. This power has a name. It is called obedience, and it is the pathway to purity. Obedience is the power not only to live without succumbing to temptation but also to increase in learning, wisdom, and virtue. The Lord helps and provides a way. He said:
As I live, even so will I come in the last days [of] great tribulations . . . [when] the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men,
but my people will I preserve. . . . And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. (Moses 7:60–62; italics added)
Enoch’s obedient city is not merely an example from ancient history. This translated city has a role in the future. The Lord prophesied of a reunion between the people in Enoch’s city and the inhabitants of New Jerusalem, the coming Zion city. Enoch and his people are planning and preparing for it, and every prophet since Enoch has been performing his labors to prepare a people for it.
Enoch described the emotions the inhabitance of former-day Zion and latter-day Zion will experience at their reunion: “And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other” (Moses 7:63).
The Lord said: “The days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:35). The establishment of Zion as a concept was first taught to Joseph Smith in 1829, even before the Church was organized: “Seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion” (D&C 6:6). More specifics were forthcoming about how-to establish Zion: “For I have consecrated the land of Kirtland . . . for a stake to Zion. For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments” (D&C 82:13– 14). The proliferation of stakes throughout the world extends the boundaries of Zion and conforms to the “tent” image described in Isaiah 54: “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” (2). The stakes of Zion support the Church as a tent held up by stakes. Zion grows stake by stake: “Appoint unto Zion other stakes besides this one” (D&C 109:59.). The creation of every new stake is a step closer to Zion, the city of our God. Statistically, in 2015 stake growth was a net of plus sixty, and 2016 showed the highest number of stakes created in the history of the Church.
There is another evidence that Zion has not been forgotten or discarded. In 2002, the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah. To celebrate, the Church prepared a musical extravaganza, “The Light of the World: A Celebration of Life,” and presented it in the newly dedicated Conference Center. (The Conference Center seats about 21,000.) The show played fourteen times to more than 290,000 people. The domed stage gave the audience a theatrical view of the earth. Through story and song, the plan of salvation was unfolded, beginning with the Creation and ending with a look forward. The evening concluded as the Tabernacle Choir, all 350 of them, walked from the back of the stage up over the crest of the earth toward the audience, singing: “Let Zion in Her Beauty
Rise” (Hymns, no. 41) This hymn is about the reunion of the two Zions. Odds of this hymn being randomly chosen would be 1 in 341, the number of hymns in the hymnal. But I don’t believe the choice was accidental. Rather the choice shows that the long- hoped-for establishment of Zion is yet prominent in the minds of today’s apostles and prophets, and that the momentum toward Zion is moving forward and on course.
Let Zion in her beauty rise;
Her light begins to shine.
Ere long her King will rend the skies,
Majestic and divine,
The gospel spreading thru the land,
A people to prepare
To meet the Lord and Enoch's band
Triumphant in the air.
(Other hymns about Zion dot our hymnal such as: Israel, Israel, God is Calling,
[no. 7]—“Come to Zion, come to Zion. Zion’s walls shall ring with praise”; “Beautiful Zion, Built Above” [no. 44]—“Beautiful Zion, City of our God”; “Come All Ye Saints of Zion” [no. 38]—“Then gather up for Zion, ye Saints thru out the land, and clear the way before you, as God shall give command”; “As Sisters in Zion” [no. 309]—“As Sisters in Zion we’ll all work together. . . . We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor”; “O Saints of Zion” [no. 39]—“Behold, the glory of the Lord sets Zion's mount aglow, for Zion is an ensign pure; all nations to her flow”; and a summarizing definition is stated in “We Will Sing of Zion” [no. 47], “Zion is the pure in heart.”)
With the hope of establishing Zion, I bring this word-study of the Pearl of Great Price to a close. I submit that one of the key purposes—if not the purpose of the Pearl of Great Price—is to prepare a people to bring again Zion. This conclusion comes from the timing of the coming forth of Enoch’s record which coincided with the restoration of the priesthood and priesthood keys, the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church, and the organizational revelations establishing stakes of Zion as the pattern for the whole earth.
Becoming an Enoch-like people to help “Zion in her beauty rise” defines the latter-day work to which members of the Church have covenanted. Enoch’s leadership set the example. Citizens of Enoch’s City of Holiness set the standard. When the Lord’s time is right, a people will be ready—one in heart, one in mind, dwelling in righteousness, sharing with and elevating each other to create a city where there are no poor (see Moses 7:18). The Lord said He is looking forward to making this place His home. “And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion” (Moses 7:64).
Appendix: The Gospel Restored in Seven Dispensations
While typing the Pearl of Great Price, looking for unique vocabularies, I discovered the seven major dispensations represented and realized the restoration led by the Prophet Joseph Smith was not the first restoration. I wondered why I had not understood that periodic restorations were, of course, necessary. Throughout the history of the world, when decadence became the norm, when the world was ripe in iniquity, God called a prophet to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to that generation. Like the heads of the dispensations before him, Joseph Smith as the final restorer did a reset on truth, restoring pure doctrine, priesthood, covenants, ordinances, and Church organization.
I made a list of questions for which I hoped to find answers: What constitutes a restoration?
What is a dispensation?
Who are the heads of the major dispensations?
Why is our dispensation called “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”? What has God held in reserve to be restored in our dispensation?
Will this final dispensation end in apostasy as the other six did?
How do the words restoration and dispensation relate to me personally?
What constitutes a restoration?
According to Guide to the Scriptures, a restoration is “God’s reestablishment of the truths and ordinances of His gospel among men on earth."
What is a dispensation?
From the Bible Dictionary: “A dispensation of the gospel is a period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the holy priesthood and the keys, and who has a divine commission to dispense the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. When this occurs, the gospel is revealed anew so that people of that dispensation do not have to depend... on past dispensations for knowledge of the plan of salvation.... The Bible suggests at least one dispensation identified with Adam, another with Enoch, another with Noah, and so on with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus with His Apostles in the meridian of time. Paul writes of ‘the dispensation of the fulness of times’ in which the Lord will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth’ (Eph. 1:10).
Who are the heads of the major dispensations?
• “Adam... was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed” (Moses 6:22).
Adam was baptized and received the priesthood. He and Eve were commanded “to teach these things freely unto [their] children.” Adam lived to be 930 years old.
Despite Adam and Eve’s example and efforts, their posterity became very wicked,
and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was
The Lord said to Enoch: “Prophesy unto this people, and say unto them, Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people” (Moses 6:27).
Enoch preached for 365 years. God walked with and taught Enoch and his people. The people became so righteous that they (the City of Enoch) were translated.
In time, the people who were not translated became very wicked. The true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
“Noah prophesied, and taught the things of God, even as it was in the beginning”
He preached for 120 years. Only eight people accepted the gospel and were saved
from the flood—Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives.
The people became very wicked again, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no
longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary. Abraham:
God said: “I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:18).
God said: I will make of thee a great nation, and... thou shalt... bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations.”
Despite Abraham’s example and efforts, the people became very wicked, and the true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
The Lord said: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee.... for
thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen” (Moses 1:25-26).
God said: “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son.” Moses conversed with God,
parted the Red Sea, lead the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years, and received the
Despite many, many miracles, the people became very wicked again, and the true
Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary. Jesus Christ
• “Mine Only Begotten Son... is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men” (Moses 6:52).
Jesus went about doing good. He healed, taught, performed miracles, instituted the sacrament, atoned for sins, was resurrected, enabling the plan of salvation.
After Jesus and the Apostles were killed, the authority and keys were taken away. The true Church of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. A restoration was necessary.
“I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description... One of
them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My
Beloved Son. Hear Him” (Joseph Smith-History 1:17)!
“I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a
translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet” (D&C 124:125).
The Church will not be taken from the earth again. Prophets will continue to receive
revelation to prepare a people for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come”
Why is our dispensation called “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”?
Joseph Smith stated: “Truly this is a day long to be remembered... a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancient order of His kingdom... a day in which all things are concurring to bring about the completion of the fullness of the Gospel, a fullness of the dispensation of dispensations, even the fullness of times; a day in which God has begun to make manifest and set in order in His Church those things which have been, and those things which the ancient prophets and wise men desired to see but died without beholding them; a day in which those things begin to be made manifest, which have been hid from before the foundation of the world, and which Jehovah has promised should be made known in His own due time unto His servants, to prepare the earth for the return of His glory" (History of the Church, 4:492–93; from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Jan. 6, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois).
The Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision for the future: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing.... Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and
ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life, kingdoms, principalities, and powers! Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand” (D&C 128:22- 24).
What has God held in reserve to be restored in our dispensation?
The Bible Dictionary cites Doctrine and Covenants 121:26-32, confirming that additional knowledge will come in the fullness of times that has not yet been revealed since the world was. These same verses tell how this will happen: "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost" (D&C 121:26). It is interesting to me that angels pointed our forefathers minds to this time: “Our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation... which their minds were pointed to by the angels” (D&C 121:27).
These verses also give a broad-brush list of what will be revealed (121:31).
Question: To whom will this knowledge be revealed?
Answer: “All who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Question: When will this knowledge be reveled?
Answer: In the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times, now or soon.
Question: What are some of the truths to come? Answer: See Doctrine and Covenants 121:27-32.
Will this final dispensation end in apostasy as the other six did?
The answer is a definitive "No." Brigham Young stated: "This kingdom they [the wicked] cannot destroy, because it is the last dispensation—because it is the fulness of times. It is the dispensation of all dispensations, and will excel in magnificence and glory every dispensation that has ever been committed to the children of men upon the earth. The Lord will bring again Zion, redeem his Israel, plant his standard upon the earth, and establish the laws of his Kingdom" (lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter- 14?lang=eng&_r=1).
In what ways do the words restoration and dispensation relate to me personally?
Each life is a dispensation, an allotment of time. Since my allotted time is in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, as is yours, and since I was baptized by proper authority, received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and was endowed with power in the
temple, I have added responsibility to further the Lord's work however, whenever, and wherever He calls. Each day’s challenge is to live according to the principles I know to be true.
There are times, of course, when I stumble and fall into a little apostasy, not in renunciation of my beliefs but in sloppiness, laziness, or loss of focus on things that matter most. This is where restoration becomes part of my life. As I repent, I can be renewed, refreshed, and restored in my desires to walk the covenant path.