This lecture by Denver Snuffer entitled “Marriage and Family” was originally recorded in St. George, Utah on July 26, 2014, in front of a live audience.
Okay, this then is the ninth talk in the series (the ninth installment of a single talk), all of which is designed to remind us of what was once given in the Restoration through Joseph Smith. Much of what went on before is intended to be foundational for what comes today and then what comes next when we finish this in Phoenix.
Today the topic is about marriage and family. And as a consequence of that, I view everything that went on before as foundational to today because of all things that are necessary to understand before we qualify to be like God it is having this subject understood and then this subject incorporated into how we live.
If you go to Genesis chapter 2, verse 18, it says: The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him. If it is not good for man to be alone; you have to necessarily conclude that if you’re going to be “good” (in the sense that God desires for man to be good), you have to be with a woman. There has to be a union of the man and the woman. Otherwise, no matter who you are, no matter what you are, no matter what virtues you may hold, you cannot be—in the eyes of God—“good” (in the sense that God uses the word “good” to describe the condition of man in his separate and in his single state). The work of God, after all, is to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). That is not even a possibility if you do not have the man and the woman together. It’s not “good.”
In the creation (this is the preceding chapter of Genesis chapter 1): So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it (Genesis 1:27-28). You see, when it comes to the image of God, the image of God is both male and female. That is who the Elohim… And a singular verb gets used—the Elohim is (despite the fact that the word “Elohim” is itself plural). Why would you use a single verb with a plural noun? The reason you would do that is because they two are one. It’s because there is no difference between the Father and His Consort, the one about whom so little is said because there is something about Her role that, at this point, has not emerged into our plain view. And that is wisdom in Them.
In the scriptures, very often, the voice of God is heard, and it’s described as the voice that sounds like waters—rushing waters, mighty waters. If I were going to stage the endowment, the voice that you would hear whenever it is Elohim who speaks would be the voice of a man and a woman speaking in unison. It would not be the voice of a man. It would not be the voice of a man in an echo chamber. It would not have sound effects. I would not make some effort to get feedback or make it sound like Charlton Heston’s conversation on the mount in Cecil B. DeMille’s movie; I wouldn’t do that. I would have a man and a woman speaking in unison whenever Elohim were to speak.
If you want to know what the image of God is: In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them(ibid). That is the image of God. That is what God—if you look at His image—looks like. This is the reason why, when you have the Father throughout Scripture on display, it is always a Host. He appears with a heavenly Host. It is because our God, in the end, is not the image of some fellow standing about in a robe. It is this image, male and female. They two are together.
You’ve seen this scripture; it’s been read by Latter-day Saints perhaps more than any other denomination. But it’s in First Corinthians chapter 11, beginning at verse 11: Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God (1 Corinthians 11:11-12, emphasis added). Now, the modifier there, in the King James translation, works marvelously well because think about what is being said here. The woman is of the man, all things are of God, and the man is by the woman. Woman of man, all things of God, man by the woman. That’s how men get into the world—is by the woman. And that is, incidentally, also how the first man got into the world; it is by the woman.
Think of the image of God. And think of what is being said here about it “not being good for man to be alone”—that is, the image of God includes the notion of companionship. Think about multiplying and replenishing. The image of God includes, necessarily, offspring. As a separate and single individual, you are finite; each of us is finite. But when you put together the man and the woman, it is in the image of God because they become—despite the fact that we are in mortality—you become infinite, in that you have no end. Sitting in the room today, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. They are present here today in you because they continue, despite the fact they died. Until they come back from the grave, it doesn’t matter that they are dead; they are yet present through the people who exist that are their offspring. They became in the image of God.
This is at the core of redemption; this is at the core of the work of God; this is at the core of what it means for God to complete His work and to have the continuation of what it is that God does.
(There are two empty seats in the front row; they’re not together, but they are in the front row. And if you wanna come up, you can take those; and there were some seats here, but…)
Take a look back in the Doctrine and Covenants at section 132, because we brush up against this concept of the infinite in section 132, as well. Now, I intend to say a good deal about some of the mischief that was introduced to us through section 132—but not now. We’ll return to this. Right now, I wanna focus upon the language and the promises that are extended because they duplicate what you’re seeing in the account of Genesis. This is in section 132 (about which we’ll say more later today), beginning at verse 19:
And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise… [then they’re promised—about midway through that verse—that they’ll] inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, powers, dominions.
And it goes on to say, they. Notice it’s not “he,” and notice it’s not “she”; it is they because if you’re going to pass by, you’re going to have to be they and not “he” or “she.”
…They shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain unto this glory. (D&C 132:19-20, emphasis added)
The notion that you are going to succeed in acquiring the glory that is like unto God in a separate and single state is nowhere found as a promise in scripture. It’s not a reasonable expectation. It’s a non-scriptural expectation. It is a foolish hope because it does not reckon to the things God created. Understand, those verses that we read in Genesis—those verses were before the Fall. In the condition in which Adam and Eve found themselves at the time that those incidents took place, they were immortal; they had not yet fallen. The marriage and the union of the two of them was intended to last forever because death had not yet entered into the world. And as God put it, it was “good.”
- Marry a wife
- Holy Spirit of Promise
- Pass by the angels
- Enter into exaltation
All of these words are applicable only to the man and the woman together as one. It’s only applicable to the exalted state of a marriage that is worthy of preservation into eternity.
Now, instead of focusing on this as something you may receive in the great hereafter (as some great reward because you qualified for glory in a parade in the afterlife), why not think about whether the conditions that are being described in the verses that we look at are themselves a reward. Think about this as something to be had now, not something to be postponed and hoped for in the afterlife—not in eternity, but today.
Can it be said, concerning your own marriage, that it is not good for the man to be alone? Are the two of you, together, better than what each of you are alone? Is your marriage a source of joy, of happiness, of contentment, of companionship? The Lord told them to multiply and replenish the earth. Do you find within your family relationship that there’s joy and rejoicing and happiness as a consequence of the environment that you and your wife put together?
Is your relationship… As a woman, is your relationship in the image of God? Is there godliness about the way in which you and your husband interact? If you had to reckon whether or not someone, looking at the two of you, would see within you the image of God, would they do so?
These aren’t just happy notions for the afterlife. These ought to be descriptions of what your marriage could and should look like. Can you sense the glory of God in your marriage? Remember, we looked at this in [D&C] 93:36. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth—glory of God being light; the glory of God being truth. Is that something that is present within the marriage that you have? Is your marriage filled with life, with light, with truth, with understanding?
Turn back to D&C section 121. There’s a couple verses there that I wanna suggest, particularly if you view the man and the woman together as one… Read these verses as if it’s descriptive of the “one,” which is you and your wife:
Many are called, but few are chosen. [This is beginning at verse 40 of section 121.] No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile. (D&C 121:40-42)
Within your family/within your marriage are you and your wife learning to use persuasion? Within your marriage are you and your husband learning to use gentleness in dealing with one another? Are the two of you, together, facing one another in all of the difficulties that come as a result of being married? Are you facing that together in meekness? Do you find that in all the relationship troubles, turmoils, and challenges what predominates is kindness? Is there a search for understanding that results in pure knowledge when it comes to a dilemma?
Look at verse 37:
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
It’s been my observation that so soon as the Spirit of the Lord withdraws, that quickly will another spirit step in to assure you that you’re right, you should be vindicated, that you ought to proceed on in the arrogance of your heart to feel yourself justified and vindicated. There are false spirits that go about, but there are no better an audience to receive the whisperings of those false spirits than it is the abusers who, having grieved the Spirit and caused it to withdraw, accept then counsel from yet another spirit that says, “You’re right, press on! Well done! You’re good! You’re right. You’ll be vindicated. This is all God’s work, and you’re a great man because you’re engaged in God’s work! Do not back down. Do not relent. Forget about persuasion. You should never be long-suffering; you should make those under your rule suffer. They should yield to your rule. There is no place for meekness. We believe in a God of strength, a God of power, a God whose work can be done despite the frailties of man! There is no need for men to be meek. And it’s kind in the end, after all, to punish and to force and to coerce, because we have a good objective in mind.” All of the lies and all of the deceit that led, in turn, to Catholicism falling into the abyss that it fell into are presently in play with spirits that worked this out long ago, taking the Restoration of the Gospel as yet another opportunity in which to whisper in once the Spirit is withdrawn.
So, does your marriage help you avoid covering your sins? Does your marriage… Because you’re never gonna solve this problem in the community until you first begin to solve it within the walls of your own home. You’re never gonna have Zion that exists somewhere among a community until first that community is composed of those who have a marriage that is in the image of God.
Does your marriage help you avoid “gratifying your pride”? Does it help hold down your “vain ambition”? Is your ambition to exalt the two of you rather than the one of you? Does it bring you time and time again to not exercise control but to respect the freedom to choose?
Your kids are going to make mistakes. It’s not your job to force them to not make the mistake. It’s your job to counsel them and to let them have the experience by which your counsel makes sense and is vindicated. You hope the mistakes that they make are not too serious. But even if they’re serious and they involve lifelong struggles, it’s their right to choose—and it’s your obligation to teach and to persuade and then to rejoice when they return after they’re tired of filling their bellies with the husks that the pigs are fed. It’s your job to go and greet them and put a robe on their shoulder and put a ring on their hand and to kill the fatted calf. It’s not your job to beat them and to chain them to the farm, so they can’t go away and behave foolishly. They need to know that your bonds of love towards them are stronger than death itself. They need to know that they will endure in your heart into eternity.
And not only your children but one another—because we all make mistakes. Do not exercise dominion; do not exercise compulsion. Exercise long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and kindness. Some of the biggest disasters come when you do not give people the right to choose freely, and you attempt to coerce them. Be wise, be prudent, be someone that they would respect and they would listen to.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 130, it says, beginning at verse 18 (we’ve looked at these verses in several contexts, but we need to look at them again today in this context):
Whatever principle of intelligence [and understand that means Light and Truth] we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he’ll have so much the advantage in the world to come. There’s a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it [is] by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:18-21)
Think about those verses and that admonition as an invitation to work this out inside your marriage first, to work out—inside the relationship between you and your wife—the principle of intelligence that gives you the opportunity to be diligent, the opportunity to be obedient, the opportunity to gain experience that will make you more like God. Your marriage is a laboratory to prove you up and to let you be intelligent.
After the creation itself, marriage was the first ordinance. I wanna take an opportunity to look at the way in which this unfolds because it’s a very interesting… Adam and Eve were sent down here first. Adam and Eve were introduced into the world, and they were presented these challenges. Initially, they were the first ones to face this stuff. And the way in which their story is told is not chronological. You have to go through Moses’ record and you have to go through Enoch’s record within the book of Moses in order to put together the chronology of these things. But when you do that, a story unfolds and a scene unfolds upon us. It’s really rather fascinating. So I wanna take a few moments and do that.
Marriage was the first ordinance. It was introduced before the Fall. It was introduced before man was instructed on sacrifice. Go back to the book of Moses in chapter 4. And in verse 27, after they had transgressed but before they had been sent out of the Garden, we learn, in verse 27 of Moses chapter 4: Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them. Now, it’s important that, while the account sometimes refers to Adam by meaning both Adam and Eve, in this case, it was necessary for a clarification to be made. The garment that was given unto them to clothe their nakedness is also referred to, in the temple, as the garment of the Holy Priesthood. And God wants the record to be clear: Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them. Therefore, Adam was not clothed and then told, “You go and do this, and clothe your wife.” God clothed them both. God did not expect Adam to intercede when it comes to the clothing of the woman. God treated her as if she too were about to embark upon a journey into mortality that would require her, likewise, to understand the principle of sacrifice. Because think about it for one moment, you learn (we’ll look at this in just a moment), you learn that they practiced sacrifice thereafter, but when were they taught the principle of sacrifice? They were taught at this moment.
There are legends about (and they show up in a variety of ways; they even show up in mythical characters), but there are legends about the animal that was chosen by God to slay and to offer as a sacrifice in order to clothe them with the skins of an animal. And I rather like the theme of many of those. The theme is that when the animals were brought to Adam and Adam named the animals, there were some that he’d really liked more than others. But there was one particular animal that he liked above all the rest. It was that animal, and that animal’s consort, who were slain in order to provide the clothing for Adam and Eve—so that Adam and his wife Eve could understand that the principle of sacrifice came at an enormous price. And so, the animal was no longer able to exist in this sphere, having been used originally while yet in the Garden to provide the coats and to drive home the point about the sacrifice that’s required in order to clothe the nakedness of the man and the woman.
(I’m thinking in a room this warm, some of you might envy the nakedness of Adam and Eve [laughter]. I’m hoping that you refrain [laughter].)
So, if you turn over to Moses chapter 5, beginning at verse 5, this is talking about after they had been expelled from the Garden. It says,
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. 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 5:5-7)
So, that sacrifice that was performed that brought such sadness (in verse 27 of chapter 4) that occurred before they were driven out of the Garden was simply a commandment to do, which Adam and Eve then did. And it was some time later, many days later… And “many days” is not defined. It appears to me from the context, as we go further, that “many days” in this context means “many years.” In fact, it means more than “many years”; it means many generations. There were many generations of men alive on the earth while Adam and Eve were there before the definition or the explanation of why they were offering sacrifice is finally given to them. (And you’re impatient. And you want to know more, and you want to know it now. And you don’t think that God tries the patience of all those to whom He will eventually come.)
So, this occurs before the baptisms of Adam and Eve. Go to Moses chapter 6. We’re gonna look at verse… beginning at verse 51. This is Enoch now, and Enoch is talking about this stuff. Enoch, in his record, is reminiscing about what went on before. We still don’t have the full record of Adam and Eve, but we have enough snippets. If you begin to gather them together, you can reconstruct the picture. And so, beginning at verse 50:
God [had] made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. He [that is, God] called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. 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, 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, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given unto you. (Moses 6:50-52)
So, this was what God said to Adam, preliminary to Adam being baptized, which was still later than when Adam learned about the purpose behind the sacrifice that he was offering.
So, he’s told about it. Then look at when it happened (which again, this is not Enoch; this is going back to what Moses says about when it occurred. This is the voice of the Lord saying that it’s going to happen). Well, when it happened is in verse 64. And this again is the record of Enoch. And this is still Moses chapter 6, verse 64. We’ll go back to the earlier incident in just a moment. We’ll do that next. Verse 64:
And it came to pass, that when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord.
Understand, that word “cried,” after what we talked about yesterday, should mean something to you. Because the pattern is the same, and it doesn’t matter which scripture you look at. Adam cries unto the Lord, and
he was caught away…
(and what he cried unto the Lord is not known, but clearly, when the Lord had told him about baptism, this is exactly what Adam wanted. And therefore, he cried unto the Lord for a purpose. And look what happens):
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)
This is Adam’s baptism/confirmation. This is Adam’s gift of the Holy Ghost; this is his baptism of fire, and this is his ordination by the voice of God out of heaven, ordaining him after the order of Him who is without beginning of days or end of years. This is all in one, at one moment. And this is many years later. There are generations of descendants of Adam and Eve that exist at the time this takes place, okay?
Well, the effect of that, when it happened, is picked up by Moses. This is in Moses chapter 5, verse 9: And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I’m 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.
So, these are the events that took place in that first generation of Adam and Eve among their descendants. If you want to have peace and harmony for a community, it has to begin inside strong marriages. Zion necessarily requires holy matrimony. Adam and Eve had sons and daughters at the time this took place.
Chapter 5 of Moses, verse 2: Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth. This is an event that occurs because they were married, and they were commanded to, at that point, offer sacrifice, multiply and replenish the earth. So they offered sacrifice, and they multiplied, and they began to have children. And their children began to multiply (in verse 3): From that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters (emphasis added).
Notice that the image that is created of the man and the woman—that is, Adam and Eve—is now replicated in the children of Adam and Eve to imitate the same pattern: two and two. They’re necessarily male and female if they are going to produce offspring. If they’re going to beget sons and daughters, they have to be male and female. And it’s not one on three; it’s two by two. It is the man and the woman. That is the image of God, and no other image is offered to us in scripture; there simply isn’t. There’s no such thing as same-sex marriage in the scriptural model. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage; else how do they produce offspring? How can you obey the first commandment to multiply and replenish the earth? Because if the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth arises within the context of marriage, necessarily it requires that there be the man and the woman.
Adam and Eve had sons and daughters; their children likewise were married, and they had sons and daughters. They were visited, and they were instructed by the angel (we looked at that). They were baptized, then they received the Holy Ghost. And look what is contained in the Holy Ghost, in verse 66 that we read a few moments ago of chapter 6. They are baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father and the Son from henceforth …forever. It’s also referred to and defined more in verse 61:
It is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; 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.
So, that is what is within them. Look what happens once they are so endowed, and they’re equipped? This is Moses chapter 5, verses 10 and 11. I am so glad that these verses were restored to us because contained in this is a much, much greater lesson if you have the eyes to see it:
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.
That’s Adam prophesying what is going to befall the future generations. That’s what Adam is doing. Now, look at what Eve does:
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things [the prophecy comes through Adam; Eve hears them—Eve hears 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.
There is a profound difference between the response of the power of the Spirit unfolding upon these two, with respect to its effect upon Adam, on the one hand, and its effect upon Eve, on the other. These are remarkably different reactions. To the man it is that he prophesies; that is, he declares the truth—the ‘truth’ being a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. That definition is given to us in the Doctrine and Covenants. This is the role of the man, and this is the role that he fulfills.
But to Eve, on the other hand, she obtains wisdom. The role of the man is knowledge; the role of the woman is wisdom. And you see that on display right here in these verses. It is the role of the woman to have the understanding, to take the prophecy that has been delivered now by Adam, to process it, and to say: “Here is what it means.” This is the role of the woman. This is the gift of the woman. This is eternally the role of the woman.
This is why there is a male and why there is a female. Because in many respects, the gift of wisdom eludes the male, and in many respects, the gift of knowledge eludes the female. And together the two of them… And I’m not talking about ‘knowledge’ in the sense that a woman can’t have a Ph.D. Two of the brightest people I know are daughters of mine. It’s not that that I’m talking about. I’m talking about knowledge in the godly sense—knowledge in “the gift of God” sense—and I’m talking about wisdom in “the gift of God” sense and in the scriptural sense. This is an example.
Now, together (look at verse 12): And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God. And how did they do that? They did that by a ritual. They did that by offering sacrifice. They did that by observing what they understood, but they did it together. And they [it is “they”—they] made all things known unto their sons and daughters (Moses 5:12, emphasis added). This isn’t Adam preaching repentance; this isn’t Eve preaching repentance. This is they; this is the two of them. They are equally yoked. This is the two of them joined together to make the declaration—they together. The two of them, however (beginning in verse 12), begin to make all things known unto their sons and daughters, after they had been adequately prepared to understand and to make the declaration.
(I envy you sitting below this level ‘cuz if you think it’s warm there, you should be standing up here.)
They were first prepared before they began to preach.
There’s some eagerness that Father Hyrum had to get busy—before the Book of Mormon was even done—preaching repentance, because he believed it. And the Lord held Hyrum back. If you go to Doctrine and Covenants section 11, beginning at verse 13, there’s a revelation given to Hyrum that says,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I’ll impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know, or by this you shall know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive. But I command you that you need not suppose that you’re called to preach until you are called. Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine. (D&C 11:13-16, emphasis added)
See, Hyrum was being told, “It’s good to be eager, but don’t go out and try to preach something, because you’re not yet qualified. You don’t have enough knowledge in order to do so.” Likewise, Adam and Eve—not because the Lord held back and told ‘em: “Don’t do it; don’t do it.” But because the circumstances of their lives did not prepare them to do it until there were generations already alive on the earth. Then they were given the gifts that were necessary in order to begin their preaching.
Hyrum was told in verse 21:
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. But now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all that, which I grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto. (Ibid, vs. 21-22)
- Hyrum Smith, who would eventually become co-president with Joseph…
- Hyrum Smith, to whom the Lord would command that he be ordained not only to priesthood but to become the one possessing the sealing power over the Church…
- Hyrum Smith, who would be the successor to Joseph, though he was killed before Joseph…
- Hyrum Smith, who was the prophet of the Church (and Joseph rebuked the Church because they weren’t giving heed to Hyrum’s words)…
- Hyrum Smith, whose letter to the Church ought to be in the Doctrine and Covenants because he was a president, and he issued a general epistle admonishing people…
- Hyrum Smith, whose name is omitted from the list of Church presidents, even though it should be there…
Hyrum Smith is told by the Lord: “Don’t go out and start preaching yet. You need to learn something first. You need to be qualified first.” In the revelation to Hyrum given in 1829— and in the lives of Adam and Eve—God is in no great hurry to get people running around preaching before they’re qualified.
There’s this comment that Joseph Smith made. He said, “I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him.” That’s in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 350. This is what qualified Adam and Eve to go declare repentance to their children. This is what qualified them to know the truth of all things and have the wisdom with which to impart it so that they could persuade their children to believe in Christ. This is the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
You, to be competent in teaching your children, must first have the Holy Ghost as your guide. Then, once you have that, you ought to have command of the Scriptures (just as Hyrum was told to learn what’s in them). Then you’re qualified to go and to teach your children, and you have an obligation to do that. Children are the means to preserve Zion. Without the conversion of children, Zion has no chance of surviving.
Take a look at Doctrine and Covenants section 68, beginning at verse 25:
And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of…hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the head of the parents. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized. And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord. And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (D&C 68:25-29, emphasis added)
Isn’t it interesting that coupled with the obligation of the parents to do this for their children, this is immediately followed by observing the Sabbath day to keep it holy. This is not a delegable responsibility. You cannot take your children and drop them off to someone in an organization somewhere and say, “There you are; I’ll see you in three hours. And I hope that what comes out of your mouth at the end of that bears some remote resemblance to the content of scripture and not merely some warmed-over reiteration or regurgitation of a talk that we all slept through when it was broadcast on TV every six months” [laughter]. It is the same talk, recycled over and over. I can cut-and-paste and give you all the talks that are coming up in the next one [laughter]. That’s what you’re going to use? That’s the basis upon which you discharge your responsibility to your children, to teach them to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost? That’s what you’re going to do to discharge your non-delegable responsibility? You think that enduring to the end is all that needs to be done? If you got the checklist and you’ve got your little pamphlet and you fulfill that, that’s how you discharge your obligation to God? That’s how you mirror what Adam and Eve did when they preached repentance? That’s what you’re going to do to take care of this?
Well, good luck with that! Because I’m telling you, that is not the way in which Zion is going to be assembled. It’s not going to work. You’re gonna have children who are inadequately educated about the events of this dispensation so that when they become an adult, they’re gonna begin to see all of the holes that exist in the traditional narrative about what happened when God began to work through Joseph Smith. You’re gonna have children that are gonna leave in droves. You’re gonna have children who are gonna say, “I reject you. I reject your Gospel. I reject your Book of Mormon. I reject your Church. And I reject all of the notions that you present to me, because I have found enough material on the Internet to raise serious doubts about all of this stuff.” And so, you—as parents—think you have discharged your responsibility when you’ve let your children grow up in ignorance, hearing a story that is put together to make the Church look good, without any regard for the salvation of the souls of your children? That’s what you’re going to do? And then you’re gonna come to God and say, “Look, they were regular Primary attenders when they were in my house! I mean, look, we did the For the Strength of Youth. We went up, and we did the Trek thing, you know; we drug a bunch of carts around and mirrored carrying the girls across the creek—and we did all that stuff and praised our ancestry and [singing] ‘Blessed, Noble Pioneers.’ We did all that stuff! [Singing] ‘Praise to the Man…’ We stood… We stood when your ‘anointed’ entered the room…”
My God, people! What are you thinking!? What on earth are you thinking? Do you read these scriptures? Do you recognize that the salvation and eternal life of your children hangs in the balance by the ignorance that you visit upon them? Do you understand that their salvation may be lost entirely because the responsibility devolving upon you to teach, preach, exhort, and expound (both the man and the woman, both mother and father) has been imposed upon you by God?
You have to take time on Sunday (if that’s the way you’re going to spend your Sabbath) educating your children about the foolishness that they just heard and about the vanity and the pride that has just been visited upon them. You need to inoculate them against the errors of our day, and you need to ensure that they understand the truth. Because if you simply turn them loose to hear what they hear there—I don’t care if you go to a Lutheran Church or a Catholic Church or a Baptist Church—you’re not gonna get anything more redemptive out of what now is taught in the Primary programs of the Church than what you can get in these others. And, in fact, some of them may even do a better job because they preach and focus upon Jesus; they don’t have a hierarchy to point to to say, “Look at that man, and he’ll get you somewhere! He’s got a key, and all you have to be is some keyhole” [laughter].
Children need to be taught. Children need to be challenged. Children are the most inquisitive creatures on the planet. Children are eager to learn. They not only don’t know a lot, they know they don’t know a lot. They’re sponges. They want to learn. Boring a child about the gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to the child and an offense to God! Preach the gospel to them. Tell them the truth. Take the material and challenge them to see that this gospel is infinite in scope, that Joseph Smith did not (indeed, could not) have written the Book of Mormon, that there are at least two voices that appear in the dialogue that we looked at yesterday in the book of Ether, that one of them never uses the word “prayer,” and the other one never uses the word “cry.”
Show them from the scriptures what it means to be saved. You will be astonished at how much children are capable of understanding! But I have to warn you, when you begin to teach your children, if you decide to discharge your obligation to them, you’re gonna make them strangers and foreigners and sojourners—and you’re gonna have to find other people who are like-minded and willing to teach their children and discharge their responsibility, so that your kids know that there’s more than just your family that’s interested in comprehending the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Look, go to D&C section 88. I wanna read this and take a slightly different view of it. Beginning at verse 119 of Doctrine and Covenants section 88:
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High. Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings. Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, that every man may have an equal privilege. See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires. Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to your bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. And above all things, clothe yourselves with a bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace. Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself. Amen. (D&C 88:119-126)
Think of this as a description of you (as husband), you (as wife), and your children. And make your house this house. Make this your family: a family of prayer, a family of fasting, a family of faith, a family of learning; therefore, a family of glory—which will bring about a family of order; and therefore, a house of God.
This is seven things. Seven is a symbolic number that gets used to signify the completion or the perfection of something. Finish your house. It has yet to be built if you haven’t built upon that foundation. Let this description not be of some multi-million-dollar building that’s built somewhere using the finances you donate to the organization. Make this you. Make this your people. You should be the temple of God.
That building involves a ritual designed to depict the coming back into the presence of God. Make that ritual a reality in the lives of you and your children. “Where two or three are gathered in my name;” make it possible for Him to come and be with you. Make it possible for Him and the angels themselves to take note and to say, “Look! It’s beginning again! There is faith again on the earth, and the children are being taught. We must act! Let us go down and gather them.” Make yourselves worthy of preservation. Get your own houses in order.
Now, I want to change subjects and talk about something for a moment.
(How are we on time? Are we good? Oh good, okay.)
I’ve been asked over and over and over why I don’t talk about some subjects. And therefore, I’m going to talk about this subject only because it fits within the context of what I’m challenging you to do.
I’ve been asked why I don’t speak of the “One Mighty and Strong” and why I don’t talk about a Davidic servant. And there’s plenty of nonsense going on about that. And I don’t wanna take good, honest, earnest people and to criticize them one whit for their best efforts in trying to parse through this stuff. And I don’t blame them for resorting to all kinds of tools and making an effort, and I don’t want anything I’m about to say to be viewed as criticism of anyone. I don’t care to do that. I think there’s some very good people making an effort at least to raise the level of consciousness. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to figure this stuff out and—preliminarily, in good faith—reaching what you think is an honest conclusion, and it’s wrong. As long as you’re willing to hold onto that tentatively, as long as you’re willing ultimately to be taught by the Spirit, I say all those folks that make this their primary thrust, good for them! I’ve avoided it, but in this context on this day, I wanna talk about those verses because they fit.
This is talking about the one who is “mighty and strong” in Doctrine and Covenants 85, beginning at verse 7. First of all, I wanna say, if this is a role to be occupied by a single individual, then no one can claim the role until after he’s done the work. Only fools and knaves and imposters and pseudo-strongmen (who have accomplished nothing) run about proclaiming themselves as possessing the “button.” You know, “Button, button, who’s got the button?”
“Oh—well, I do!”
“Yeah? Well, I do—and I’m mightier and I’m stronger than you!”
What a load of crap! Beginning at verse 7:
And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed to them among the unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. (D&C 85:7-9)
Okay, so, this is work yet to be done, according to some. According to others, this was fulfilled by Joseph Smith. The narrative the Church would offer to you is that Joseph Smith fulfilled this prophecy. As a result of the Church urging that as the interpretation, I’m very suspect that that is, of course, wrong. Because if he did not, then what is coming will upset the apple cart. And so, the possibility that this is yet to be fulfilled, I think, is the greater probability.
But if this person wants to step forth, then they need to hold the scepter of power in their hand. They need to have light for their covering. Their mouth needs to utter eternal words, and their bowels need to be a fountain of truth. These are the works to be done. So, if someone wants to say, “I, I… Me, me,” then go ahead, and do it. If you wanna do that, once you have, then maybe this was a description of you.
But in our context, in this day, on this subject, I want to invite all of you to set in order your own house. I wanna invite all of you (after putting it in order and making that house of order worthy to be God’s house) for you, all of you, to be this One—to have every one of you have the scepter of power (or in other words, priesthood) in your hand. I want all of you to be clothed with light for a covering; that is, to have the knowledge of Truth and Light, the knowledge of God. I want all of you to be that. I want your mouths to utter eternal words within your families. And I want your bowels to be a fountain of truth. And that as a consequence of that, you are able to set in order your house to make it the house of God.
Let this begin with you, whoever you are—male or female—sitting today. Let it begin with you! Then, let it extend to your spouse, then to your children. And when your house is in order, look at your extended family, then others who are likewise inclined to believe.
These are the kinds of preparations that need to precede Zion. We are not going to get there in one step. We’re only gonna get there incrementally. And there’s a great deal of increments yet to be accomplished. It’s not gonna happen by fairy dust. There’s not gonna be someone who comes along and says to you, “Spiritu Sancto, Ave Maria.” You know, get the holy water; get the incense, voodoo—voila, now you’re Zion! It’s not gonna happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Dominican in a brown robe or a Mormon Elder with a name tag. You… You must become holy. You must receive the guidance, blessing, benefit, and baptism of the Spirit. You must become the house of God. You’re going to have to be the one that God visits with in order to have the preparations that are necessary take place. This is not something to be accomplished in a single step. Indeed, all of it must precede the gathering.
We looked (a while back, in one of the preceding talks) at how dangerous it would be for an unworthy person to attempt to be in Zion. Because when it finally is acceptable to the Lord—and when His presence does come, finally, to dwell there—it is unsafe for anyone unprepared to face that glory to be in that condition. Therefore, when the gathering takes place and you would like to join in, you do so at your peril if you’ve not accomplished the things that are expected to be accomplished beforehand.
We read those verses in Alma (yesterday) about Melchizedek’s people. Melchizedek’s people—Alma chapter 13—about how the people that Melchizedek gathered had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination and had all gone astray. It doesn’t matter that you look about and see a tattered ruin of the Restoration. And it doesn’t matter that we’re filled with all kinds of false notions, inadequate and incomplete teachings. And it doesn’t matter that we’re a vain and a proud people. It’s even worse when, recognizing that we are a vain and a proud people, we tend to gather together and to think of ourselves as even better than they are. Because we immediately import that same culture of arrogance. We immediately take what is offered, and instead of becoming (as we talked about yesterday) humbled by the greatness of the steps left in front of us, we tend to think that we ought to view this stuff comparatively (“and we are slightly better than them, after all”) when the standard is absolute! And it doesn’t matter if you’re kinda, sorta, a little better. It’s absolute! It’s an on-and-off switch. And if it’s on, it’s on; and if it’s off, it’s off. There is no dimmer. It doesn’t happen that way. And we aren’t better than them. In some respects, we have greater reason to fall into the folly of our own pride. We have greater reason to think ourselves better than the people that think they’re better than the rest of the people. And so, we move along incrementally to become yet further away from God. If we think we’re better than them and they think they’re better than the world, then we oughta become a fool for Christ’s sake and go and serve among them. We oughta do like the missionary who went out and did everything that the king bid him do and did it with such exactness and such fidelity, because he wasn’t trying to serve the king; he was trying to serve the King of Heaven. He was trying to show—in the integrity of his heart and in the integrity of his soul—what was true. Maybe the way to fix some of the problems that exist with your own children is for you to go and ask the Bishop to let you be a Primary teacher. And then you’re not only teaching and ministering to your own children, but you’re teaching and you’re ministering to others as well.
Hearts of people get hard the older they get (although, there is at least one exception, ‘cuz I ran into a guy at my office who was like 85 years old, and he’s still as young and as nimble and as open and as flexible as a child). That’s why we have to become childlike—because we have to be willing to consider these things.
Well, in that Alma chapter 13 material, beginning at 14, it says:
Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever. And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one–tenth part of all he possessed. Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for the remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord. (Alma 13:14-16, emphasis added)
And what is these ordinances that are being talked about? That’s what we looked at in the Orem talk in chapter 13, and we’re not gonna repeat it here. That’s the material that includes: Everything that God does, He does by an ordinance. Everything that He does and every blessing He confers, He confers by a covenant. One of the good news about the absence of a binding covenant is that you can’t damn yourself by taking upon yourself an obligation that you will never honor.
One of the good things about the Restoration is that there are covenantal examples that are given that give you an idea of the kind of behavior that God would want. I wish everyone would go to the temple. I wish everyone would go to the temple and take on them covenants, learn what they are, and then try to live them. But if you fail (unlike the stuff that comes into play with this Melchizedek character), there is no severe penalty, because it’s for your good and for your practice and for your instruction. And if you honor that, there’s no reason why God and the angels cannot ratify whatever it is you do if you qualify for it. The Holy Spirit of Promise is embedded within the architecture of the Church’s teachings. And it was as recent as—what? General Conference before last?—when President Eyring got up, and he talked about how they had the sealing power, and then he threw in that caveat that everything has to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. I put that up on my blog; I quoted it, and I said, “That’s good doctrine.” And that is good doctrine.
Go to the temple, get your ordinances, and then work to have this Holy Spirit of Promise. Because the Keeper of that Gate is the Holy One of Israel, and there’s no employee there. It is the Holy One of Israel, and you qualify to receive that directly with heaven. There’s no other gatekeeper opening and closing doors—there is the Holy One of Israel; He employeth no servant there.
Therefore, this stuff is talking about the very things I’ve been talking about since we began in Boise, and now we’ve reached this point. And we need to respond—when repentance is preached—by repenting. Righteousness only comes after that. And this is the only way out of our similarly bleak current condition. This! It’s by remembering. It’s by returning. It’s by finding yourselves (no matter who you live among) being someone that God has accepted, that God has spoken to from heaven, that has taken the Holy Spirit as your guide and has not been taken off task. You set in order the house of God, beginning with your own marriage. You do that.
(Now, we’re gonna change subjects and go back to Doctrine and Covenants section 132. But first, we’re gonna take a break. And hopefully, some of you people will cool down and bring that back in here with you when you return.)
The next part of this needs to focus on what goes on in section 132. By way of background, section 132 has an uncertain beginning. There are lots of debates about how, when, and where. I have taken the position that during the translation of the Book of Mormon— because Joseph and Oliver prayed to know concerning baptism when they got to those passages in the Book of Mormon—that they would have likewise prayed to know about this subject of plural wives when they got to the translation of Jacob chapter 2.
The way in which the translation took place was that the Jacob chapter 2 materials was part of the Small Plates of Nephi translated at the very last. And so, it would’ve been very late in the translation process of the Book Mormon when they got to Jacob chapter 2—almost the end of the translation process. And I think they would’ve made an inquiry as a result of that.
Other people believe that it was as a result of the translation of the Bible and that it was during the time that Joseph and Sidney were going through what is now called the Inspired Version of the Bible that provoked the question/that provoked the inquiry.
However, even though it’s not well-known history, those first four missionaries that were sent out… Oliver Cowdery expected to be able to take a plural wife among the Indians. There’s reason to believe that Oliver was involved and had knowledge about it, and he would’ve gained that at the time that the revelation came.
And then I show or quote a comment from Brigham Young, in which Brigham Young says that knowledge of this came about during the translation of the Book of Mormon. And therefore, it would’ve been in the 1829 time frame, when the beginning of section 132 rolled off.
The fact of the matter is that because of the content of section 132, the document was suppressed. We know when it got reduced to writing. The headnote on section 132 says when it got reduced to writing in that July 1843 time frame. ([cough] Excuse me.) And the William Clayton diary also confirms that that was the dating in which it was reduced to writing. And then the subsequent events in the diary about what happened as the section 132 transcript was taken around and Emma’s reaction and Joseph then deeding to Emma the unsold lots in Nauvoo in order to make sure that Joseph’s affairs were not intertwined with other women and all of that…
There seems to be a pretty good historical basis for saying that section 132 was a document created by Joseph Smith, dictating it to his scribe in July of 1843, just as the headnote says here. And if you look at William Clayton’s journal, you’ll see there’s other contemporary evidence on that date for this happening. But it did not get made public.
Nor does the content of section 132 appear to be a single revelation. It appears to be, at least in my view, at least five different revelations that go all the way back (in the beginning verses) to 1829, and when you get to the end, it’s actually talking about events that were occurring in July of 1843. Okay? So, it’s a series of revelations which were all dictated at one time by Joseph in one document. And therefore, when you look at it, it’s really not clear where the divisions take place. I try to parse through it and give you what I think is a reasonable way to break the chronology off and see what happened in Passing the Heavenly Gift. But you don’t have to have read that. And I’m gonna talk about this revelation just generally:
The brother of Jared, like we saw yesterday, went to the Lord to inquire about a practical matter. And the Lord, in response to the inquiry about the lighting, first of all asks him if he’s going to believe Him—asks the brother of Jared if he’s going to accept the words (in other words, the covenant) which He’s about to put into the hands of this man. And then once he agrees to the conditions, there is this revelation that unfolds to the brother of Jared in which God makes known to him all of His revelations. Okay?
What happens with the brother of Jared once the revelation begins to roll forth has nothing to do with the problem that brought him in prayer to the Lord. He wanted to solve a lighting problem inside a barge. The revelation has nothing to do with a lighting problem inside the barge. It has to do with all of God’s revelations.
Joseph Smith went into the Sacred Grove trying to find out which church to join. In answer to the revelation about which church to join, he was told to join none of them and that they were all corrupt and that he would be the means of bringing something else about.
When Joseph prayed to find out what his state and standing was before the Lord and the angel Moroni came, perfunctorily, the inquiry that he made was answered: “Your sins are forgiven.” Then he goes on to tell him about everything, including the existence of the plates of the Book of Mormon. Okay? So, the subject about which someone inquires in going to the Lord does not necessarily control the content of what the Lord is going to reveal.
Likewise, Joseph made an inquiry to find out about the plurality of wives. What the Lord wanted to talk about was eternal marriage. The Lord’s priority is what you see first in section 132. He’s talking about the eternal duration of the marriage covenant. He answers the question (beginning very late in the original revelation) as an afterthought concerning the issue of the plurality of wives. But it is first and foremost a revelation about the eternity of the marriage covenant. You do not get to an answer about the subject of plural marriage until verse 34. Beginning at verse 1 and going through verse 33, all of that is about the eternity of the marriage covenant. All of that is about marriage of a man and a woman, like the marriage of Adam to Eve and like the children of Adam and Eve who went off two by two to create their families.
All of the blessings concerning what you hope to inherit in eternity are tied to the first 33 verses of section 132, dealing with the marriage of a man and a woman. Therefore, when you read section 132, don’t leap to verse 34 and then read retrospectively back into the earlier text that what it’s talking about in the earlier text is something other than the marriage of a man and a woman. The subject matter changes, and the question that was asked begins in verse 34.
So, what was on the Lord’s mind and what the Lord inspired an inquiry to produce is in the beginning of section 132. Look at verse 7:
The conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment…
(and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
So, everything that you hope to receive into the next life, even your expectations, all of that has to be obtained from God by covenant.
I mentioned in an answer to a question in Ephraim that the role of the woman was significant, even in the life of Christ. I mentioned that she anointed Him preliminary to His death and burial. One of the things that gave Him the expectation of coming forth out of the grave was the anointing that promised Him. Why do you think (in the temple) the rites include preserving some of the functions of the body? It’s not to make you healthy here and now. It’s so that you can lay claim upon this as an “expectation” in the eternities—because if you do not have the expectation conferred upon you by the Holy Spirit of Promise, you’ll have to get that in some other cycle because the only thing you will be able to take with you into eternity you obtain in this manner. Everything has to be obtained by a covenant.
Look at verse 13:
Everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities…
It doesn’t matter if it’s ordained by men. And it doesn’t even matter if someone sitting in eternity on a throne who has authority in the presence of God ordains it. Does not matter.
That is talking about angels. That is talking about people from the other side. Even if they are in a position of authority in the presence of God, it doesn’t matter.
Everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. (Emphasis added)
The Keeper of the Gate is the Holy One of Israel indeed! These words should mean something to you if you’ve listened to or read the text that we reviewed in Orem on priesthood. You should understand what God is saying here. You should understand that when it comes to some things that you hope to have continue into eternity, it is not enough to have even one of the “noble and great,” even one of those who we regard as an Archangel; it doesn’t matter. God and God alone holds the keys of death and hell. Christ paid that price. Christ has to be the One because He is the only one qualified to do this. He has to be the One. This is a non-delegable responsibility by He who—by virtue of bringing you back and promising you—becomes your Father in heaven. If Christ is going to become your Father in heaven, He’s got that same responsibility to you that He imposed upon you as a parent in Zion (that we looked at before the break). He doesn’t spare Himself.
For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed [that’s Christ’s word—that’s what He says is going to happen]. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. (Ibid, vs. 14-15)
Although God is talking about the eternity of the marriage covenant, He extends this into everything. Everything—even your associations—all of them are obtained by a covenant from Him. Because His word, and His word alone, will endure.
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. (Ibid, vs. 16)
Partners in such marriages become angels that are ministering servants. Angels look to receive the things that God has offered to men, but unless they come down and participate here, they cannot obtain them, for they’re only to be had here. Verse 19:
And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise [skipping down]…
they shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths [skipping down]…
they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as has been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (Emphasis added)
You cannot receive these things unless you enter in by the Gate, the Keeper of whom is the Holy One of Israel who employs no servant. If you do that however,
Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (Ibid, vs. 20)
These are people who have qualified for the kind of trust from God that makes sure that eternity will not be infected by the kinds of abuse, by the kinds of neglect, by the kinds of unworthiness that typifies those things which God wants to throw down, those things that God wants to have come to an end—not because He’s mean, but for the protection of yourself, for the protection of eternity, for the protection of the potential offspring that may arise as a result of the continuation of the seed. This is so that, in the beginning, when life comes into existence as an organized spirit, that spirit is introduced into an environment which is perfect, pure, holy, and like God.
Therefore, when we come—finally—to this topic, we are talking about something which, even if it exists only with you and your spouse, it is Zion. It is eternal. It bears the hallmarks of God’s hand and covenant. It is what this topic is all about. These people have no end; they are everlasting; they have all power. And all of this is a discussion about a marriage between a man and a woman. Plural wives do not get mentioned until verse 34 for the first time.
Lay aside all the issues that are thundering into your minds right now and ask yourself this: If you’re a man, do you have a wife/If you’re a woman, do you have a husband with whom you are one? Ask yourself, do you and your spouse reflect the image of God? Ask yourself that soberly.
Now, just to rule out what I think needs to be ruled out..
And it was in this place that this needed to be declared, because we are now in close proximity to those who have taken what starts at verse 34, and they’ve gone on, believing that it is appropriate to take a plural wife. I wanna ask you, since there is never but one on…earth at a time on whom this power and keys of this priesthood are conferred (D&C 132:7) and since in verse 64: …verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power—this “power” being the power to seal, k?—do you hold those “keys”? Are you that one individual?
Before you answer that question, I hope you’re aware that every single one of the polygamist sects claims that their particular leader is the one described in verse 7: There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred. Every one of ‘em.
Here’s the bad news for you. They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong. And if no one has told you this before, I’ll declare it to you today: No man holds that authority among the various polygamists sects, period. I don’t care what priesthood line of authority they choose to claim. They don’t have it.
If you are wrong and you engage in this behavior, D&C section 132, verses 42 and 43 address the woman and says if she does this without this authority, she has committed adultery. And verse 43 addresses the man and says if he does it without this authority, he commits adultery. It’s interesting in this context (just like when the Lord clothed both Adam and then clothed Eve), He doesn’t leave it with one. This is an important enough subject that He talks to them each and warns them both.
Adultery is one of the things so foundational to society that it is forbidden in the Ten Commandments—Exodus chapter 20, verse 14. In Moses’ day, those who committed adultery were put to death in Leviticus [chapter 20, verse] 10. In our day, we’re told if you do this (I’m gonna read it)—D&C section
16 63 rather, beginning at verse 14:
There were among you adulterers and adulteresses…
Again, don’t think God has one standard for men and another for women—it doesn’t work that way. He’s always, on this subject, treating the man and the woman the same.
…some of whom have turned away from you, and others [that] remain with you that hereafter shall be revealed. Let such beware and repent speedily, lest judgment shall come upon them as a snare, and their folly shall be made manifest, and their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people. And verily I say unto you, as [I’ve] said before, he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear. (D&C 63:14-16)
And you oughta fear. Because you should ask yourself: Is this who you are? Is this what you are? Joseph Smith said, “If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom” (DHC 6:81).
We’re supposed to hearken to the commandments. Look at Jacob chapter 2, verses 27 and 28:
Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and [concubine] he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; …saith the Lord of Hosts.
One wife! Jacob chapter 3 (this is a remarkable, remarkable passage)—3, beginning at verse 5:
Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing[s] which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them. Now, this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people. (Jacob 3:5-6)
It was the fidelity of the Lamanites to one wife. They rejected the prophets. They rejected Nephi. They rejected the Gospel. They turned to their loathsomeness. They were a wild and a ferocious people. But this preserved them in the eyes of God. This was important enough that they deserved to continue on—unlike the Nephites who had the Gospel, unlike the Nephites who had the prophets.
Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator? (Ibid, vs. 7)
God doesn’t judge righteousness the way we do. If you’ve read the Tenth Parable, what was it that attracted the attention of the angels? They looked at the marriage, and they said, “This! This looks like what we come from! This! This relationship, this marriage, the man and the woman—this is what heaven itself consists of. And look, look! It’s on the earth!” And the angels go, and they bring the Lord, and they say, “Behold the man and the woman!” And the Lord sets in motion everything that was needed.
What more do you need to see from the theme of the Book of Mormon than this passage in order to realize that when it comes to the relationship of marriage, this is the image of God. This is what God would like to preserve into eternity. It is so much easier to take people who have this kind of a marriage and to preserve them into eternity than it is to take someone who may know all mysteries but whose marriage is a tattered ruin and attempt to preserve them.
Look at the example of your first parents. Moses 3, the last two verses, 23 and 24 (excuse me, the next—there’s one other verse after that): 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.
You may have a spouse who is Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Mormon. You may have a spouse who is “Community of Christ” Mormon. You may have a spouse who believes in dancing naked at Wiccan ceremonies while high on peyote. You and your spouse need to love one another. You and your spouse have something far, far greater (potentially) between you and your children than all of the distractions of this world. You and your spouse face the challenge of becoming one. And if you are one…
The Lamanites were condemned consistently in the Book of Mormon; it came to blows. But they were praised because of their marriages, because of the love of the spouses.
Now, if you claim that you have enough love for two or more women, then I’d ask you: Can you not love your one wife enough to give her your full attention?
Every day, my wife and I get up; we have a four-mile hike that we do every morning before we come back and get ready for work and the day. We spend about an hour doing that that is filled with conversation—every day—about what’s going on in my life, what’s going on in her life, what’s going on in this big problem, what’s going on with our children—every day.
I come home for lunch very frequently, and we spend the noon-hour talking. We probably call each other—I don’t know—four or five times during the day. I drive down to Utah County a couple of times. Driving down, I’m on the phone talking to my wife; driving back, I’m on the phone talking with my wife. We have a lot to talk about.
I do think that marriage can be something that is godlike. And two people can, in fact, become one.
Although Moses permitted a man to take another wife, the law that was propounded through Moses protected the first wife’s rights. Exodus 21:10, If he take him another wife; her food [the first wife], her raiment [the first wife], and her duty of marriage [that is, all of the rights of association, consortium, so on], shall he not diminish. The first wife is referred to in scripture, throughout, as the wife of thy youth.
I wanna go back. Malachi gets quoted by the Lord; he gets quoted by the angel Moroni. Go to Malachi chapter 2, beginning at verse 14. This is talking about “the wife of the youth.” Malachi 2:14,
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away. (Malachi 2:14-16)
Take heed to your spirit that you deal not treacherously.
Only a fool will practice plural marriage. There’s only one, if that, on the earth who can have the required keys. If you err, it is an offense and adultery and an abomination. Your first wife, the wife of your youth, must be unaffected in all her rights.
That having been said, it is possible that some of you are already in such a marriage. If that is the case, do not tear your family apart. That would be worse still. Do not take another wife. But do not abandon any wife you presently have. But teach your children to come out of this system. Teach your children. And if you have a friend or if you have a neighbor or if you have someone in your own extended family who is in this predicament, don’t judge ‘em. Help ‘em. Help them teach their children to come out of the system. Don’t destroy the lives of children that are already in such a community, but let it come to an end in this generation. It would be wrong to destroy families, even if they are peculiarly situated.
Zion is going to require strong, happy, and noble marriages worthy of enduring beyond the grave. I suspect that if someone repents (even if they keep their marriages intact) but teach their children that Zion is going to include among them some who’ve awakened and decided that the practice and the continuation of taking yet more wives needs to end. It would not surprise me to find out that there are those who have plural wives within Zion. But it will not include those who still believe in continuing the practice, perpetuating the practice, or adding additional wives. It will be those who have awakened.
Look, the practice of plural wives is an abomination. Everyone that says they have the keys to do that, they reckon that authority somewhere downriver from Brigham Young. Okay? I want you to think about all that has been said and all the scriptures that have been read today while I read to you a General Conference talk given by Brigham Young in the October General Conference on October 8th of 1861. And I want you to consider these words, and measure it against the standard of a marriage worthy of perpetuation into eternity.
The second way in which a wife can be separated from her husband, while he continues to be faithful to his God and his priesthood, I have not revealed except to a few persons in this Church, and a few have received it from Joseph the Prophet as well as myself. [This other…] This other path a woman may take, if she can get a chance, and do it in accordance with the order of heaven, if a woman can find a man holding the keys of the priesthood with higher power and authority than her husband, and he’s disposed to take her, he can do so, otherwise she has got to remain where she is. This is the second way in which a woman can leave her husband to whom she has been sealed for time and eternity.
He goes on to say: “without a bill of divorcement.”
Are you kidding me!? Are you kidding me!? This is doctrine!? I mean, I’m inclined to now engage in a string of obscenities. [Laughter.] You believe this crap!? You think Brigham Young knew what the hell he was talking about!? Oh, he just happened to be the guy who had the most keys. Really!? So, he can fetch the most women? Any woman, to any man, anywhere, at any time, if he could get her to come aboard, he can take her? This is the tenuous thread upon which eternal marriage is to be based!? My God, people!
Here’s a section of the Doctrine and Covenants that existed in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants while Joseph was still alive. It’s an article on marriage: One man should have one wife, and one woman one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.
I mentioned Hyrum Smith’s General Epistle to the Church. Do you know what Hyrum Smith said in the General Epistle to the Church, the President we don’t recognize (no one does)? President Hyrum Smith said: “We don’t break up marriages. You stay true to your wife, and if your wife is not a believer, you stay true to her; and if your husband is not a believer, you stay true to him. We don’t do that.”
Well, I guess “we don’t do that” until the “mighty prophet,” Brigham Young, comes along in October 8th of 1861 and says, “Hey, there’s another way you can get a woman without a bill of divorcement from her husband: you can take her if you’ve got the keys. And damn, I’m just loaded with keys!” [Laughter.]
So that this topic becomes clear, I’m not gonna take the time today to address the many foolish things that have been said by the LDS Church and by break-off groups in an attempt to win a lawsuit; that was what happened. I have prepared a paper that I’m going to present at the Sunstone Conference in Salt Lake City on August the 2nd. On the evening of August the 2nd, I’m gonna put that paper up on the blog, and you can download it, and you can read it. And you’ll see in there a discussion that fits right in with this series of talks, right here, at this moment in the content. It deals with the subject, and it’s going to be put up, and you can read it.
When it comes to the subject of marriage (as if all I have said and all that is in scripture isn’t clear enough), Revelation chapter 19 has a description of the culmination of all the Lord’s great work in this cycle of creation. And this is talking about when it all wraps up. In the prophecy, God can’t think of anything better to put into the mouth of John His Beloved (who wrote this stuff) than the analogy that gets used here.
John—excuse me—Revelation chapter 19, beginning at verse 6:
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude [that multitude being male and female], and as the voice of [mighty] waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:6-9)
Not only does He liken the final triumph of the Lord’s atonement to a wedding feast, but it is, in fact, a wedding feast. For all those who come through the tribulation—male and female, in the image of God—He’s going to put on for them a wedding banquet because they are like Him. And they will see as they are seen because they are like Him. “Male and female created he them, in the image of God created he them” (see Genesis 1:27)
When our Lord’s ministry began, John’s Gospel has (in chapter 1) Christ’s baptism. John’s Gospel has (in chapter 2) the wedding at Canaan. When Christ prepared for His death and burial, it was with a woman. And when Christ was resurrected, the first and (at the moment) only witness was a woman. And when Christ finally got around to seeing His disciples, He upbraided them for not believing the testimony of the woman.
Well, Zion is a distant accomplishment yet to be achieved—but it is before us.
The next talk is going to be in Phoenix on September the 9th in the morning. I hope before you come (or those who do come and who are hearing this) that they review the first nine talks. This is all one talk. This is all one subject. We’ve been reconstructing the Restoration.
I don’t care who copies this stuff. It would please me if General Conference began to quote this stuff and began to use it. I think that is a fool’s bargain. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. But if you believe the scriptures and if you believe in Joseph and if you believe in the Restoration, then you believe the work is still incomplete. You believe that the challenges lie in front of us. And one of the most remarkable challenges that we face consists in the topic that we addressed today. All of that other stuff is foundational to bring us to this point to talk about this subject—so that in this subject, you can see.
Now, I know that there are a lot of broken homes. I know there’s a lot of broken families. I know there’s a lot of broken hearts. We’re not given any trouble in this world that we’re not equal to. We don’t get tempted above our ability to withstand. God has something in mind for every single one of us. God has something in mind for each one of you whose marriages may presently be troubled, each one of you who may now find yourself in a broken home. Trust in Him. Trust in His desire for you. Take your problems to Him, and weary Him.
Remember yesterday when we talked about “crying unto the Lord”? When I consider all of the people about whom I care and the problems that they face, I want to cry to the Lord. If your circumstances trouble you, cry to Him. Maybe all of that is one of those weaknesses that has been given unto you that you may be humble so that you might come and cry unto Him.
By the time Adam and Eve knew enough to declare repentance unto their children, their children were suffering from the ravages of the Fall. As soon as they began to declare repentance unto their children and teach them some things about covenant-making, one of their sons took that and turned it into a combination by which inordinate wickedness could be brought to pass.
And you wonder why God withholds some things from the view of the public? It’s because some things, if abused, can bring to pass such wretched wickedness in the lives of men that you’re better off not talking about ‘em. You’re better off not disclosing ‘em.
Adam and Eve declared and cried repentance together; they labored side-by-side; they received the garment at the same moment; they were instructed on sacrifice at the same time; they were taught and received the Holy Ghost at the same moment; they experienced the baptism of fire, and Adam prophesied at the same moment that Eve (overcome by the Spirit and the Spirit of Wisdom) was able to interpret and define what was going on and how all of this was suitable and appropriate. They two were one.
Don’t think that the heartache that you feel is any less poignant than the heartache of our first parents. This is a place to be proven, and it’s rough stuff down here. You came here full of enthusiasm and confident in your ability to withstand the day. And now the day’s upon us. And it really doesn’t look the same down here as it did up there.
If you be noble and if you be faithful and if you be true and if you leave witnesses here among us, it just may be that in some other day, when some other rough challenge like this is put to the test, and we are all asked, “Whom should the Lord send?” that some of us will look at one of you and say, “I trust him! I trust her! I know that she will remain true and faithful. I know that he will do so likewise.” Because it will be a great while after we have departed this life before we will have attained to everything that is necessary in order to rise up. It’s what we talked about in Ephraim.
You need to hear all of these, and you need to hear all of them in one continuous discussion because it’s all one. This isn’t my material; it’s the Lord’s. All we’ve been doing is looking at this stuff… It’s actually color-coded; these are the scriptures… Let’s see, scriptures are color-coded with orange in Boise, and yellow in Idaho Falls, and pink in Logan, and light green in Centerville, and dark green yesterday, and purple today. And you can see the scriptures have become rather littered with markers.
This is the Gospel of Christ. This is the power of God unto redemption. And this is the stuff that Joseph Smith was attempting to layout when he was taken. There’s a lot left to be done. There’s more left to be done than has been started. There’s more that has not been revealed than what Joseph was able to get on the ground here.
As we’ve gone forward, we’ve taken less and less. And now with the engines of Correlation, we’re managing to trim yet further. The Gospel of Christ is not about “Have a nice day.” The Gospel of Christ is not about being a keyhole [laughter]. The Gospel of Christ is about awakening and arising. It’s about you becoming redeemed. Thank God that before Joseph died, he was able to layout something in the red brick store (through ritual and through ceremony) that described walking back into the presence of God, conversing with Him through the veil, and then entering into His presence. Thank God that in addition to the Scriptures, Joseph left us a ritual testimony.
But do you know why ancient Israel had their temple? It was to have ceremonies to point them to the coming of Christ to the flesh. The Latter-day Saints have been given a ritual ceremony to point them to receiving Christ in the flesh. There needs yet to be another temple built, but it will be in Zion. And those who go there will meet with their Lord because that will be His house indeed. You can build that only if you qualify to do so.
There’s so much left to be done! Right now the only thing that can be done is to remind you of the Restoration, and that is available to all. Everyone’s invited. Everyone. But don’t expect the Lord to give us anything further or permit us to move one inch further until we first remember what we’ve been given. And even if you are in a fallen world among a fallen people who are proud and who are arrogant and who think themselves more than they really are, if you will love your wife and if your wife will love you, you are in the image of God, and that will be preserved unto all eternity. No matter what else you may have to go through between now and then, that’s what He’s trying to preserve. That is the image of God.
I bear testimony of that and hope these words will be allowed to sink into your heart. They come from Scripture, and they come from the Lord. They don’t come from me.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.