“In their weakness, after the manner of their language”

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Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Revisions, and Canonization

The latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project is a massive work, and I’m not just talking about its bulky physical dimensions. It is pregnant with possibilities for Mormon scholarship.

Robin Jensen is a member of the Church History Department staff and an editor of the recent JSP volume. While making transcriptions of Joseph Smith’s revelations Jensen has identified “Many additions, revisions, deletions, or other types of redactions were made by multiple people on the manuscript” between the time they were recorded, edited for publication, and updated as the needs of the Church grew.1 Jensen explains that many “simple minor changes” were made in addition to “significant changes made to the text…sometimes entire phrases were added.” For Jensen, this indicates the “non-static” nature of the revelations which were adapted to language and understanding of the recipients and the changing needs of the Church.2

Latter-day Saints shouldn’t be surprised at such changes, given their acceptance of continuing revelation. Still, it raises questions about the malleability of a scripture canon. How do religious communities accept the authority of a canon that undergoes change? Bernard M. Levinson, a professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, has investigated the problems of canonization and innovation. For him, the very idea of canon is one of the distinctive advancements of major religious traditions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Text can be used to found, ground, and even change a religious community. Canon helps keep things together, but it also raises interesting problems—especially after the canon is closed. I think it can be argued that—despite Mormonism’s theoretically “open canon”—the LDS Church faces similar problems as closed-canon groups because of the latent authority the scriptures (or “standard works”) hold.3

Levinson astutely describes the problem:

By locating its font of revelation or contemplative insight in foundational sources, however, a culture confronts an almost inevitable difficulty. The essence of a canon is that it be stable, self-sufficient, and delimited….With such fixidity and textual sufficiency as its hallmarks, how can a canon be made to address the varying needs of later generations of religious communities?4

Levinson argues that scriptural exegesis (interpretation) arises to solve the problem.5 But can actually raise more problems by essentially calling into question the sufficiency or authority of the original. It can also breaks down the coherence of the scripture when we realize scriptures are not “uni-vocal,” but represent different views from different prophets in different time periods.

Levinson goes on to explain how creative changes to old revelations are done when subsequent prophets and scribes adjust text, change translations, reinterpret older verses, and utilize several other strategies to adjust the morphing canon to changing conditions. Analyzing examples from the Old Testament, Levinson shows that such innovations were occurring before the canon was formulated, much like we see on a smaller scale in the Doctrine and Covenants revelations from Joseph Smith. Most studies in this area of biblical research focus on how later Targum and commentary adapt the canon, but Levinson shows how such changes are actually found throughout the formative period of the canon, or “inner-biblical exegesis.”6

Granted, the time span for Joseph Smith’s revelations is admittedly smaller than what we find in the Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless, the process seems to have remarkable similarities in terms of how revelation works, even after quill hits parchment or pen hits paper. We see, as Levinson argues, that human voice isn’t diminished by canon, but actually augmented. Joseph Smith also demonstrated that canon includes the means to challenge, change, adapt, reject, and even substitute meaning. This refutes any easy dichotomies drawn between text and tradition, grammar and Spirit:7

Although chronologically prior, the canonical source is not ontologically prior, since the past is rethought and interpreted from the vantage point of the present. The authoritative source thus reveals hermeneutics. If canonization conventionally represents an anthologizing attempt to gain closure, then the texts of the Hebrew Bible [and Smith's revelations] militate in the opposite direction. They resist any simple notion of…Scripture as one-sidedly divine. They tolerate no such hierarchies or binary oppositions. Properly understood, the canon is radically open. It invites innovation, it demands interpretation, it challenges piety, it questions priority, it sanctifies subversion, it warrants difference, and it embeds critique.8

Or, to put the same idea in the language of revelation, consider the fascinating implications of what the Lord spoke through Joseph Smith (and how he said it!):

Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.9

FOOTNOTES:

[1]
Robin S. Jensen, “Revelation Book 1: Digging in,” bycommonconsent.com, 23 September 2009. For another interesting review of the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers Project see Ardis E. Parshall, “First Impressions of the Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations Volume,” keepapitchinin.org, 23 September 2009. The photo is by Jason Olson, “Original Book of Commandments and Revelations is shown against backdrop of first two published Joseph Smith Papers volumes and a triple combination.” See R. Scott Lloyd, “Word of the Lord: Latest Joseph Smith Papers volume presents facsimiles of early revelation manuscripts,” Church News, 19 September 2009.

[2]
Jensen, Ibid., gives several specific examples of interesting changes in the revelations between their receipt and publication.

[3]
The volumes of scripture officially accepted by the LDS Church, include the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. These “Standard Works” are not strictly held as inerrant, but are held as normative for Church doctrine. See “Approaching Mormon Doctrine,” LDS Newsroom, 4 May 2007.

[4]
Bernard M. Levinson, “You Must Not Add Anything to What I Command You: Paradoxes of Canon and Authorship in Ancient Israel,” Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, Vol. 50, No. 1 (2003), pp. 6-7. Levinson is a professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota.

[5]
“If the closed literary canon as the repository of revelation or insight is the source of stability for a religious tradition, exegesis provides vitality,” Levinson, ibid., p. 8.

[6]
Levinson, ibid., p. 10.

[7]
Levinson, ibid., p. 49.

[8]
Levinson, ibid., p. 50.

[9]
D&C 1:24. The author of the epistle to the Romans intriguingly places another break in communication lines between the prophet and the weaker people: “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19). Or as the Weymouth translation puts it: “your human infirmity leads me to employ these familiar figures….” More about communication and revelation will be available at LifeOnGoldPlates.com where this post originated.

15 thoughts on ““In their weakness, after the manner of their language”

  1. onika

    So, next are you going to say the Church is going to allow homosexuals to get married to adapt to the times? And we should definitely rewrite the OT because there are many mistakes in it, like the flood story.

  2. Juliann

    I can’t help but wonder if this shows wisdom has guided the diminished canonization of revelations rather than a lack of revelation. But I hope that the serious scholarship in canonical criticism provokes more thoughtful answers than the vacuous cheap shot above.

  3. BHodges

    By the way, onika, you raised an interesting point regarding rewriting the Old Testament. This is something like what JS was doing in order to get a clearer view of the scriptures themselves. Circumstances do affect revelations. I was reminded of this quote from Brigham Young:

    “When God speaks to the people, he does it in a manner to suit their circumstances and capacities. He spoke to the children of Jacob through Moses, as a blind, stiffnecked people, and when Jesus and his Apostles came they talked with the Jews as a benighted, wicked, selfish people. They would not receive the Gospel, though presented to them by the Son of God in all its righteousness, beauty and glory. Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to rewrite the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be rewritten, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings. If the people are stiffnecked, the Lord can tell them but little.”

    See Brigham Young, “The Kingdom of God,” 13 July 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:311.

    Juliann: I hope to see better responses, too! Oh, well, at least onika tried. ;)

  4. onika

    I think I gave a very good response; there are people in the Church who say what you’re saying, that doctrine changes,so why not the Church’s stand on homosexuals.

    As far as the OT translation, I don’t think God kept things out of it because the people couldn’t handle the content. I think the documents were so old and damaged that many parts were missing. Some parts even appear as if the scribe dropped the documents and got them mixed up (such as the stories of Abraham and Isaac). I rearranged them so they make more sense.

    I don’t think the Israelites were any more stiffnecked than any other people, and their law was more difficult to live than ours, so they would have been more disciplined than we are, and I don’t think their law was stricter because we are more righteous than they. They had lived in Egypt for four generations as Egyptians, worshiping Egyptian gods, and multiple gods. It was perfectly normal for them to think they could keep doing that. Of course the Book of Mormon people would believe Jesus was the Messiah when he appeared out of the sky. It’s unfair to compare them to the Jews. I don’t believe the commandments and knowledge we have today would have been difficult for any previous groups of the Lord’s people to accept (like three degrees of glory instead of lake of fire). If we are too stiffnecked to know the things of previous people in the OT or Book of Mormon, then why aren’t we required to live the law of Moses (school master)?

    The original ten commandments:

    1. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

    2. Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

    3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

    4. All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

    5. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

    6. And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

    7. Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.

    8. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

    9. The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.

    10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

    (Ex. 34:12-26.)

    http://ggreenberg.tripod.com/101m/101-78-ten%20comm.htm

  5. onika

    “For Jensen, this indicates the “non-static” nature of the revelations which were adapted to language and understanding of the recipients and the changing needs of the Church.2″

    Can you give some examples?

  6. BHodges

    Sure, the link in footnote 2 has several. For example, church office titles change between the time the revelation was originally written and the time they were published. Jensen points to a “clear example” in what is now section 68 of the D&C. This revelation was originally given on 1 November 1831 regarding church discipline. The phrase “conference of high priests” was later changed to “the first presidency of the chirch”. The changes were made for the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants and reflect the changing hierarchy of the Church. As Jensen points out: “To publish a revelation regarding church organization and procedural practices of the church that pre-dated some of the significant organizational updates of the 1830s would have needlessly confused members of the church. The revelations needed to be current for 1835 thinking; the Doctrine and Covenants was not a book with historic texts but was a guide for their religious practices.

  7. onika

    “Analyzing examples from the Old Testament, Levinson shows that such innovations were occurring before the canon was formulated, much like we see on a smaller scale in the Doctrine and Covenants revelations from Joseph Smith. Most studies in this area of biblical research focus on how later Targum and commentary adapt the canon, but Levinson shows how such changes are actually found throughout the formative period of the canon, or “inner-biblical exegesis.”6″

    Doesn’t this show that these changes are made by men using their common sense to adjust to changing needs? The scribes weren’t prophets receiving revelation, but they were making changes according to the way they interpreted the scriptures. These changes are quite harmless for things in your example, but if the scriptures/revelations are considered malleable, more serious changes could be made. That’s all I’m saying.

  8. BHodges

    Onika, not all. Paul made some interesting use of OT scripture, for example. Read the article by Levinson for his examples, which include innovations by people like Ezekiel.

  9. onika

    The site isn’t available right now: “University and College of Liberal Arts services will be unavailable from Saturday, October 24th at 2:00 a.m. through Sunday, October 25th at 5:00 p.m.”

    But I know about Paul’s twisting of the scriptures such as the promise to Abraham being to one seed and not many.

    Could you tell me about the innovations of Ezekiel?

  10. onika

    Apparently in the beginning, the sinners’ posterity were cursed as well as the sinner.

    Ex. 34:
    7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

    Deut. 23:
    2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
    3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:

    Ezekiel changed that, especially since the Israelites were to be gathered soon. They didn’t have to be punished for their ancestors’ sins anymore by being in bondage. He didn’t exactly reinterpret, but reversed, probably to explain things.

    Ezekiel 18:
    2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?
    3 As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
    20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

  11. onika

    Paul taught that the promise God made to Abraham was that the Messiah would come through Isaac, and we can receive our inheritance of eternal life by having faith in this Messiah.

    Galatians 3:
    16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

    What does the promise really say? (Genesis 17: 1-19)

    6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
    7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
    8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
    9 ¶ And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
    10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

    1. The covenant is between God and all of Abraham’s seed (coming from Sarah), through Isaac, not just one seed.
    2 He will give them the Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
    3. They must worship the true God and be circumcised.

    It is obvious God is talking about seed plural, not singular.

  12. Jong Kim

    24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God,
    and he said unto those who were with him:
    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;

    25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

    -Book of Abraham 3:24-25
    (Revealed of Christ unto Joseph in 1835; published to the world in 1842.)

    Book of Abraham 4:1
    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.

    Book of Joseph 3:4-8 (Revealed of Christ unto Joseph in 1835, but not published.)
    4 Behold, wisdom shall increase in the latter time. And men shall make weapons of war; yea, even terrible weapons which shall touch the power of the Most High.

    5 And the seed of Joseph shall believe a lie, wherein the terrible weapons shall be for the protection of their lands. And wo unto them, for the people shall be deceived.

    6 And the Lord showed Jacob a vision, and said: behold, the mighty men of the earth shall lay an awful scheme by the word of their god, that they should destroy the Lord when he shall visit men at the appointed time when he shall reward the sons of men according to their works.

    7 And all nations shall gather together in the heart of the earth to make war with the Lord, even the almighty king of heaven and earth. Wo, wo, wo unto the chief princes of the earth, even unto the seed of Dan, who hath made gold their god and a lie their refuge:

    8 Who have said among themselves: the Lord is no god wherein we should fear him, for by our mighty power have we become gods ourselves and have spread abroad ourselves over all the earth. Yet shall they be judged and cut off from among the sons of Jacob.

    Book of Joseph 5:1-6
    1 And it came to pass, Joseph was in the desert seeking his brethren and they seized upon him, and mocked him, saying: behold, our prince is come unto us. Mayest thou live long, and may thy kingdom be forever!

    2 And they worshipped him in mocking fashion, saying, have mercy on us O king! Save us, O mighty one!

    3 And they seized upon Joseph to kill him. And Dan drew his sword and thrust it into the side of Joseph, howbeit it pierced not his flesh.

    4 And all who stood by were astonished. And Reuben said, Verily, the Lord hath surely chosen him, and the power of the Most High dwelleth with him.

    5 Suffer not our hands to shed his blood, for his blood should surely cry up to the Lord against us, and great would be the curse against our children unto seven generations.

    6 Yea, rather, let us cast him into a pit wherein he may perish for lack of meat or may be eaten by wild beasts, and thus shall our hands be free of his blood. And so they seized the tunic which Jacob had made for Joseph and cast Joseph into a pit naked for to die.

    B.H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 2, Chap. 47, pg. 127
    (…) March, 1842, when the publication began in the Times and Seasons with facsimiles of certain portions of the papyrus. Only the writings of Abraham were published, and these under the title of the Book of Abraham.

    I obtained a powerful testimony of the Holy Ghost during a prayer, in 2000, concerning the Book of Abraham. I learned of the Book of Joseph several years later, and on several occasions, the Spirit also witnessed hereof unto me. The late Hugh Nibley concluded that the purported Joseph Smith papyri, even the ones brought from a museum archive in the state of New York during the 1960s, are not the source of the Book of Abraham. I do not know how much truth is contained in Nibley’s scholarly conclusion. I am not learned in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, nor has an angel of the Lord come down and revealed to me, in a face-to-face conversation, *all* of the Lord’s modus operandi of revealing more of his word unto his anointed on earth, when the Prophet Joseph gazed upon one of the Egyptian papyrus rolls purchased from Michael H. Chandler. Wherefore, neither do I know to what extent Klaus Baer and his scholarly fellows lied in their claims against the truth received from the Lord by the Apostle Joseph Smith. Because the Spirit of God has been given to me by measure, I have not a perfect knowledge concerning the Book of Abraham and the Book of Joseph; but enough has been revealed to me that I witness to you that these two volumes of scripture are of Israel’s God, just as are the Book of Mormon and the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants.

    Let me relate to you how I know that Joseph Smith actually obtained a greater understanding of man’s past than what is found in the published Book of Abraham:

    History of the Church, Vol. 2, Chap. 16, pg. 236
    Soon after this, some of the Saints at Kirtland purchased the mummies and papyrus, a description of which will appear hereafter, and with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, 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, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc.,–a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth.

    -Joseph Smith, Jun.

    This W.W. Phelps, who had served as a Book-of-Abraham scribe, wrote to Joseph’s brother, William Smith, as follows (which letter was published to the world):

    Nauvoo, Ill., Dec. 25, 1844.

    Remembered Brother William Smith:
    (…)
    Well, now, Brother William, when the house of Israel begin to come into the glorious mysteries of the kingdom, and find that Jesus Christ, whose goings forth, as the prophets said, have been from of old, from eternity; and that eternity, agreeably to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system, (not this world) almost two thousand five hundred and fifty five millions of years: and to know at the same time, that deists, geologists and others are trying to prove that matter must have existed hundreds of thousands of years; — it almost tempts the flesh to fly to God, or muster faith like Enoch to be translated and see and know as we are seen and known!

    -Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pgs. 757-8

    What did Brigham Young and his fellow apostles in the quorum of twelve have to say about William Phelps’s published letter, dated Dec. 25, 1844, to William Smith?

    Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pg. 762
    A WORD TO THE CHURCHES ABROAD.

    The Twelve, feeling a great anxiety for the unity and prosperity of the whole church, and, more especially, for the benefit of the branches of the church abroad in the world, would, after mature deliberation, and as a matter of counsel, (approving of the course, management and matter of the “Times and Seasons and Neighbor,”) recommend that suitable pains and exertions be taken by both elders and members, to obtain these papers from Nauvoo. A unity of effort, to circulate these papers, not only among the saints, but among the people at large, will greatly facilitate the labors of the traveling elders, while it disseminates correct principles, sanctioned by the highest authorities in the church, and at the same time, opens a channel of communication, best calculated to win the good feelings of the community, while the affections, and zeal of the brethren, are harmonized, by the same doctrines, the same rules; and the same laudable purposes.
    (…)
    Done in council, this first day of January, 1845,
    BRIGHAM YOUNG, Pres’t.

    Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses 2:79 (Oct. 6, 1854)
    The earth, you remember, was void and empty, until our first parents began at the garden of Eden. What does the term replenish mean? This word is derived from the Latin; “re” and “plenus;” “re” denotes repetition, iteration; and “plenus” signifies full, complete; then the meaning of the word replenish is, to refill, recomplete. If I were to go into a merchant’s store, and find he had got a new stock of goods, I should say–”You have replenished your stock, that is, filled up your establishment, for it looks as it did before.” “Now go forth,” says the Lord, “and replenish the earth;” for it was covered with gloomy clouds of darkness, excluded from the light of heaven, and darkness brooded upon the face of the deep. The world was peopled before the days of Adam, as much so as it was before the days of Noah. It was said that Noah became the father of a new world, but it was the same old world still, and
    will continue to be, though it may pass through many changes.

    Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:88 (Oct. 6, 1854)
    I do not wish to eradicate any items from the lecture Elder Hyde has given us this evening, but simply to give you my views, in a few words, on the portion touching Bishops and Deacons.

    Wilford Woodruff Journal
    January 31, 1861:
    Part of remarks of Brigham Young:
    The question has often been asked, how is it with little children?
    Will they grow or not after death? Joseph once said they would
    and then he said they would not. He never had any revelation upon
    the subject. And I have no doctrine to give upon the subject.
    I believe in the great variety in the vast creations of God.
    I do not believe that the Lord ever made two worlds alike
    or think alike in any world. I do not believe that the human family
    have been alike in stature in the various ages of this world.
    The Lord has power to give a soul or spirit as much intelligence in
    a tabernacle 2 or 3 feet high as in a giant 8 or 10 feet high,
    as we find evidence that in some ages of this world, men have lived
    to that height. My doctrine or belief is that we shall find all
    children and people of the resurrection as they lie down with
    the same stature. That is the way I want to receive my children.
    If I bury a child that is two years old, I don’t want him or her
    to come to me in a tabernacle 80 or 100 years old or at
    any other age–only the age it left me, and that is the way
    I believe it will be.

    Wherefore, it has been for a long time speculated in the restored church of Jesus Christ that there was a pre-Adamite world before this world. The Holy Ghost on Dec. 2, 2007 confirmed to me, and again very recently on Oct. 23, 2009, that indeed a former creation had been made “desolate” by the Almighty, and the remains thereof were used by God to *form* this planet Earth, so that we are NOT descended from the former creation. Even after the revelation received on Oct. 23, 2009, a question in my mind was not settled, namely, The Spirit has testified to me that this is true, but why would Adam’s God inflict such a desolation on his creation that was before Adam and Adam’s seed?

    A revelation of Jesus Christ received on Nov. 1, 2009, concerning
    the origin of the prehistorical fossil remains of hominids,
    after having studied out in my mind the foregoing records.
    The notion of pre-Adamites on this planet Earth, held by many longtimers in the
    (now apostate) church of Ephraim based in Utah, is but a corruption of the history of this planet
    that was revealed in this last dispensation of the pure gospel of Christ through his anointed,
    even the Apostle Joseph Smith, Junior, because:

    The prehistoric hominid fossils are “of other planets”, and that
    they are bones of them that were judged of God “to be unfit” for
    resurrection from the dead.

    Written on Nov. 2, 2009 — Wherefore, if not all of those prehistorical hominid fossils, then at least most of them will “never” be resurrected. Whether those sundry hominids had once inhabited only one planet, like this Earth, or more than one, the Most High in heaven know, and it is not expedient for me to know more than necessary for testifying unto this unbelieving, perverse generation.

    See http://apostle091409usbh.wordpress.com/about for the underlying spiritual reasons for the carnal or natural man’s rejection of God’s eternal truths.

    Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses 19:327 (Jan. 20, 1878)
    We may jocosely ask ourselves the question, Which was first the goose or the egg? And again, Does the pumpkin produce the seed, or does the seed produce the pumpkin? You can answer the question just as you please, either in the affirmative or negative, and either or both would be, in one sense, correct. But say you, “That is not enough for us, we want to know where and how the first pumpkin was produced.” That is something we cannot tell, nor any other mortal being; you might just as well ask, when the last pumpkin will be produced. It is something that is absolutely incomprehensible, because their is neither beginning nor end, it is beyond the reach of human ken. But we accept the effect; we are here; the creation is a reality. We see a variety of solid rocks, and ask, How are they formed? Geologists undertake to tell us, and they refer us to the Book of Nature. But they are like other school-children; they make a great many mistakes in reading. What they read correctly is correct; what they read incorrectly is incorrect. “It is as it is, and it can’t be any tisser.” And it is folly for geologists, or any other class of scientists, to assume that they know it all, or that they have read the Book of Nature from beginning to end, and comprehend it through and through.

    Prehistoric Hominid Fossils – not resurrected; Shem is Melchizedek
    http://apostle091409usbh.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/shem-is-melchizedek

    Andrew Jenson, Collected Discourses, Vol. 2 (Jan. 16, 1891)
    ASTRONOMY OF ABRAHAM.

    July 3, 1835, a man by the name of Michael H. Chandler came to Kirtland, Ohio, to exhibit four Egyptian mummies, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus, covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices. They had been obtained from one of the catacombs of Egypt, (near a place where once stood the renowned city of Thebes) by the celebrated Antonio Sebolo, in the year 1831. Joseph Smith, upon examining the rolls of papyrus, discovered that one of them contained the writings of Abraham and another the writings of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. The whole collection was bought by the Saints, and Joseph subsequently translated the writings of Abraham which, together with a number of illustrations, were published in the Times and Seasons, at Nauvoo, Ill., in 1843, and which we now have in the little excellent work called the Pearl of Great Price, under the caption of the Book of Abraham. This book, besides giving a history of the creation of the earth and man, also introduces a new doctrine in regard to astronomy. It tells of a planet called Kolob, near which is the throne of God, and around which everything in the great universe revolves in regular order. At that time the generally accepted theory among astronomers was that, with the exception of the few planets (among which is our own earth) which sweeps regularly around the sun, all the heavenly bodies called stars, were fixed or stationary, and that the sun, furnishing light and warmth for our earth, besides being the centre of gravitation for our solar system, was the nearest fixed or stationary star. Hence, when Joseph Smith, in the astronomy of Abraham, introduced the doctrine that there was a grand centre set far beyond the limits of our own solar system, he was derided by not only a few, who ascribed the idea to his ignorance, in not having even a superficial knowledge of the principles of astronomy. But the theories of men change as the Lord gives them more light and intelligence, and today the doctrine advanced in the Book of Abraham is a generally accepted one among astronomers. In proof of this I will introduce the following extract of a letter from Lieutenant M.F. Maury, of the United States Navy, a man acknowledged on all sides as one of the most eminent scientific men living, dated, Washington D.C., Jan. 22, 1855.

    It is a curious fact that the revelations of science have led astronomers of our day to the discovery that the sun is not the dead centre of motion around which comets sweep and planets whirl; but that it, with its splendid retinue of worlds and satellites, is revolving through the realms of space, at the rate of millions of miles in a year, and in obedience to some influence situated precisely in the direction of the star Alcyon, one of the Pleiades. We do not know how far off in the immensities of space that centre of revolving cycles and epicycles may be; nor have our oldest observers or nicest instruments been able to tell us how far off in the skies that beautiful cluster of stars is hung, whose influences man can never bind. In this question alone, and the answer to it, are involved both the recognition and exposition of the whole theory of gravitation. (Family Bible, published by Henry S. Goodspeed & Co., New York, page 18).

    Here is another proof that Joseph was a prophet and an inspired man, and that the Book of Abraham is true.

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