The following remarks were given at the Joseph Smith Restoration Conference 2021 in Meridian, Idaho on June 26th, 2021.
Mahalo. Okay, I promise I’ll end on time.
There are very few prophets who are given an assignment so important to God’s covenants that the prophet is named and his mission foretold in prophecy many generations in advance. You can probably call to mind the name of a number of such persons—for example:
- The Messiah (or Emmanuel).
- A prophet—John—whose mission would include baptizing the Messiah.
- Moses was identified and his mission foretold, both by name and by prophecy beforehand.
- There was a prophet—John—who was destined to write a remainder of the vision that Nephi had received, whose name and whose mission was identified in advance.
- Cyrus—the governor who would allow the Jews to return and to rebuild the temple after the Babylonian captivity—one of the very few who’s identified beforehand and his role clarified who was not a prophet but a king.
(What? He can’t hear? That’s his fault, not mine. I’m just… I’m just doing my job.)
But one of the individuals who’s named beforehand was Joseph Smith.
The title that I gave (when pressed for a title) was “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph” (which at the time I gave the title, I said those were purportedly the dying words of Brigham Young—but this has nothing to do with Brigham Young’s dying words). Joseph of Egypt gave a prophecy about a descendant of his who would be a choice seer, whose father would be named Joseph. And then the choice seer would be named Joseph like his father. And so, those three Joseph’s were what I had reference to.
In the Book of Mormon, as he is giving his final blessing, Father Lehi gives a quote from the brass plates that is an excerpt of what Joseph of Egypt had foretold about his descendant who would be the choice seer. But interestingly, what Lehi does is both paraphrase and quote—and it’s incomplete. If you want to get the complete prophecy that Joseph of Egypt gave about the descendant, you have to go to the Joseph Smith Translation of the book of Genesis, which you won’t find in the LDS or RLDS version. You literally have to go to the Restoration Edition (that just recently got distributed in a leather-bound form). And you can find that in Genesis chapter 12,
verses 36 or paragraphs 36 to 43.
There’s some interesting details that leak through that I never noticed about the history that occurred. Joseph of Egypt died when he was 110. But apparently, all of his older—as well as his younger brother, Benjamin—survived him. It becomes clear from the Joseph Smith Translation of the book of Genesis. But Father Joseph, as he’s getting into his elderly years and is about to die, then gave some (like his father before him) blessings to his posterity. But because of the relationship that he had with his brothers, he also delivered to them—his brothers—some words of reassurance and comfort about their posterity, as well. And so, Joseph of Egypt becomes sort of the “patriarchal blesser” of his brethren and then the posterity of all the tribes of Israel, which tells you that the Holy Order that had originally been established at the time of Adam—that had gone through a period of apostasy and had to be restored by a connection made with Father Abraham—persisted to and included Joseph of Egypt as one who… I mean, we think Ephraim continued that. But we know for certain—particularly because of the passages that we’ve gotten in the Joseph Smith Translation—that the Holy Order that originated at the beginning was in full bloom in the person of Joseph of Egypt.
So, I’m gonna read from and comment on the events that took place there:
And Joseph said unto his brethren…
So, while he’s telling this—his last blessing—his brethren are alive.
I die and go unto my fathers…
So, he knows he’s about to die, and his brethren will survive him. They will be around after his departure.
…and I go down to my grave with joy. (Genesis 12:36, emphasis added)
It’s an interesting observation. But a person who dies with a clean conscience before God—having the promises of God that things will be well with them, both in the hereafter and in eternity—can go down to the grave in joy, which Joseph of Egypt was able to do.
We do not have anything similar to this account for Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Benjamin, Gad, Asher… We don’t have anything like this for the others, which also suggests that upon the death of Joseph—who possessed the Holy Order and the right—none of his brethren succeeded him into that position. (If anyone did, it would have been Ephraim to whom the birthright was given.)
The God of my father Jacob be with you, to deliver you out of affliction in the day of your bondage…
As long as Joseph was there, there was no threat of bondage. But after his departure, after some generations, a new Pharaoh would arise who knew not Joseph (as explained in the book of Exodus). And Joseph is talking about that time and saying, “your bondage,” not meaning the very people to whom he was speaking but all of the posterity that are represented in the person of the people to whom he’s speaking: You are gonna go into bondage, meaning your posterity. So, he’s telling them that there are some bad times coming and that bondage in Egypt was both expected and foretold by Joseph to the other tribes.
…for [Joseph said] the Lord has visited me, and I have obtained a promise of the Lord…
That is covenantal language. That is exactly the kind of thing that one should expect from someone in possession of the Holy Order. So, he’s obtained a visit from the Lord and a promise from the Lord—and he’s about to explain what that is.
There are those who think that a prophet can only speak for God if they quote God directly with a “Thus saith the LORD.” And Joseph will get there! But he begins by explaining what it is he understood as a consequence of what the Lord said and covenanted with him, a promise of the Lord:
…that out of the fruit of my loins the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch, out of my loins…
Meaning that there will be a branch covenantally connected to and part of what is “righteousness” or the family of God.
Joseph of Egypt knows there will come a point at which, out of his posterity, will come some people connected as a branch—that’s a genealogical, familial, and Holy Order kind of term—that’s gonna come from him. And he’s saying this, which is apparently dissimilar to his brethren.
Now he’s about to die, so they don’t have to kill him. But this is kind of the same sort of stuff that got him in trouble when he told them about the “sheaves bowing to his sheaf” and “the stars, the sun, and the moon bowing to him” that got him sold into slavery in Egypt. This can’t be welcomed stuff, but he’s about to die, so why not be candid? He’s gonna “raise up a righteous branch, out of my loins…”
…and unto you whom my father Jacob has named Israel, a prophet — not the Messiah who is called Shiloh. …this prophet shall deliver my people out of Egypt in the days of your bondage. (Ibid., emphasis added)
Meaning: “Despite that (what I’m telling you about my posterity), you are gonna have someone that comes out of the group that’s named ‘Israel’ by Father Jacob—you are gonna have someone that’s going to deliver you out of bondage. So, there’s some good news for you, too.”
A deliverer, but that deliverer prophet is not gonna be the Messiah. That guy is going to deliver the family of Egypt out of slavery in Egypt. This would be Moses.
And it shall come to pass…
This is what the Lord told Joseph in covenant, and all Joseph’s doing is explaining what is going to happen. There is no “Thus saith the LORD,” just, “This is how this stuff is going to take place,” explaining as a matter of fact. It shall come to pass…
…that they shall be scattered again [meaning all of this family of Israel is gonna be broken up and scattered] and a branch shall be broken off and shall be carried into a far country. (Ibid., 37, emphasis added)
Well, “a branch in a far country” echoes from the blessing that Jacob gave to Joseph before Jacob’s death about how the branches of his family would go over the wall over the well (see Genesis 12:29).
Nevertheless, they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord…
Meaning, that branch—scattered as it may be, broken, off, separated—is still gonna be part of what the Lord keeps in His mind:
…when the Messiah comes; for he shall be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the spirit of power, and shall bring them out of darkness unto light, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom. (Ibid., emphasis added)
Meaning that when the Messiah comes, the Messiah is going to visit with that broken branch that’s gonna be scattered.
Then he says,
A very important word because he’s now talking about a very, very specific person: A seer…
…shall the Lord God my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer…
There may be seers a-plenty in the coming generations of Israel, but a seer—distinguished from all others as “choice”— is going to be raised up. But he’s gonna be raised up:
…unto the fruit of my loins [meaning he’s going to come through the line of Joseph, not the rest of his brethren]. Thus said the Lord God of my fathers unto me…
Now we finally get to a “Thus saith the LORD.” So, everything that you’ve heard up to this point is simply Joseph of Egypt explaining what God let him understand in his (Joseph of Egypt’s) words. Now he’s gonna quote God, and it’s a long quote.
Lehi will primarily take the quote, but he also does some paraphrasing. It’s interesting the difference between how Lehi uses this passage from the brass plates and how it appears in the Joseph Smith Translation—and it would be worth the trouble of looking and comparing the two ‘cuz it tells you something about prophets quoting prophets.
So, now it’s the Lord speaking, and Joseph of Egypt reporting.
…A choice seer…
Again, this is God speaking about him. Joseph first called him a “seer,” but when God’s words get used, the very first words are “a choice seer.”
…will I raise up out of the fruit of your loins, and he should be esteemed highly among the fruit of your loins. (Ibid., 38, emphasis added)
Meaning that descendants of Joseph are going to hold this particular seer in very high regard; they’re gonna respect him; they’re gonna want to honor what it is that this choice seer represents.
So, now we’ve had him called:
- Choice seer
- Choice seer
Anyone who feels that they can dismiss Joseph Smith as someone who may have “written inspired fiction” or may have been “a successful charlatan” ought to realize that they’re treading on very thin ice. Because if God and Father Joseph of Egypt can’t describe him without using the words “seer, choice seer, choice seer,” it would perhaps serve us well to sit up, take note, and say, “Maybe I ought to search deeply to find out the basis upon which God holds him in such esteem.”
And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of your loins, his brethren. (Ibid., emphasis added)
So, this choice seer is gonna get a commandment from God, and he’s gonna do a work—but it’s not for his benefit. It’s for the benefit of the posterity of Israel, his brethren.
And he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with your father. (Ibid.)
Your father, Joseph of Egypt, is Israel—Jacob of “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” fame. (You know that band; they had several top 40s.) “And he should bring them to knowledge of the covenants which I have made with your father.”
And he shall do whatever work I shall command him; and I will make him great in my eyes…
God’s saying, “I’m going to make this man great in my own—in God’s own—eyes.” That’s the person that gets treated so roughly in anti-Mormon literature.
…for he shall do my work. (Ibid., emphasis added)
(I’m looking at the time, ‘cuz there’s a point I want to make and keep this stuff in mind.)
“He shall do my work.” David Whitmer can complain that Joseph overstepped his commission, but God promised Joseph of Egypt that Joseph Smith would do God’s work.
And he shall be great like unto him whom I have said I would raise up unto you to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt…
So, now God is saying, “This choice seer that is gonna be great in the eyes of God is going to be someone who is comparable to the promised Moses that was to come.” Well, when Moses came, one of the things that he accomplished was to reset the covenant of God, establish a law that would be followed, and create an entirely new root of Scripture.
We have lost our Scriptures on a number of occasions. In the beginning, Adam kept the Book of Remembrance, which Enoch elaborated upon because Enoch was the great scribe. (His prototype in Egyptian hieroglyphs is Thoth, who is shown ibis-headed with the stylus and writing—that was Enoch.) And Abraham says that the records of the Fathers (that came down from the beginning) came into his hands, and therefore, he (Abraham) had a knowledge of the beginning of the Creation and of the stars and the planets and all the rest of that. And he proceeded to tell us something about the Creation in the book of Abraham, based (apparently) upon the content of the records from the beginning that fell into his hands—followed, in due course, with his full initiation into the Holy Order through the surviving Melchizedek, son of
Shem [Noah], who was a pre-diluvian and had a covenant that he could have been translated and taken up to heaven (‘cuz that process continued right up into the flood). Even though the city of Enoch had risen before, people were still going through that process right up into the flood, and Melchizedek could lay claim on that promise as an antediluvian, but he tarried until he could hand off (after generations of apostasy) to Abraham. So, Abraham inherits the covenant, and Abraham has possession of the records.
But generations of slavery later, there aren’t any records left that Moses can make use of. And so, after a second period of multi-generational apostasy, the Scripture and the records and the description of the Creation had to be restored again. And so, Moses—in restoring the Scriptures—begins with the account of Genesis (the first book of Moses), which is an account of the Creation written by Moses, which (based upon the Joseph Smith Translation of the Scriptures) was Moses being tutored by God so that he understood the events of the Creation in a way that permitted him to create a new root of Scripture.
Well, the Mosaic volumes of Scripture would then later get lost. And so, a new root of Scripture had to be created at the time of Ezra when they returned to the temple. And Ezra essentially writes the Old Testament based upon things he may have found during the effort when they’re laboring with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other to rebuild Jerusalem after Cyrus had permitted the return. But it was essentially a re-creation of the Scripture, at the time of Ezra.
So, you’ve got Moses that has a root of Scripture because of what had been lost. You’ve got Ezra who does something fairly similar.
But in this prophecy, what Joseph of Egypt is saying is this choice seer in the last days is gonna be just like Moses. Among other things, he would create a new root of Scripture. He would not only correct and edit and revise the Old and the New Testaments, but in addition to that, he would bring forth the Book of Mormon that is another companion that helps establish the validity and the veracity of what we have that we inherited from the Jews. And he would also receive other commandments that—by revelation—would be preserved. All of that is activity “great in the eyes of God” that God likens to what Moses would do.
So, when you think of the value of Moses to the Jewish people and the esteem with which he is held by the Jews, you should realize that Joseph Smith should be held in similar regard by anyone who accepts the Restoration as a fact that occurred through God working with him.
…for a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of your loins to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt, and he should be called Moses. (Ibid.)
This is explaining how Joseph Smith—the latter seer—will be great like this earlier one (who is Moses). And he’s explaining: Moses is gonna deliver the people out of Egypt.
And by this name he shall [be] know[n] that he is of your house, for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter and shall be called her son. (Ibid.)
So, he’s gonna be nursed by the Pharaoh’s daughter—but he’s gonna be called Moses, and because he’s got that name, you’ll realize he’s not from the house of Pharaoh. He’s from your house. He’s one of your people. So, don’t be confused (even though the leaders were rather confused when he came, and they wanted very little to do with him).
And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of your loins. And unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of your loins — and not to the bringing forth [of] my word only, says the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days. (Ibid., 39, emphasis added)
So, what Joseph, the seer—the choice seer of the last days—is going to do is gonna be a work that will help to convince people that the earlier Scriptures/the earlier record/the earlier religion/the earlier testimony is in fact also true—God’s word convincing the faithful being centered on Joseph Smith.
Wherefore, the fruit of your loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write…
This is God talking to Joseph of Egypt, saying, “Your descendants are gonna write, and the descendants of Judah are going to write.” Now, the Bible is not merely the words of the tribe of Judah. In fact, Moses wasn’t a member of Judah; he was a Levite. But the tribe of Judah was the one who preserved the record. So, when the loins of Judah shall write, they are writing the record that includes prophecies that were delivered by prophets from all of the tribes—but we get them through Judah because Judah was the one who preserved and perpetuated the record, wherever it originated, from whatever tribe.
…and that which shall be written by the fruit of your loins [that is, the descendants of Joseph] and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah [that is, the Bible] shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of your loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, says the Lord. (Ibid.)
The purpose of what the choice seer’s going to accomplish in the last days is, ultimately, to bring an end to the religious contentions that people who believe in the Bible have with one another. Heavens, the conference that we’ve been conducting here (and this is peacemaking ground among people of the remnant) really demonstrates, among other things, that there remain contentions among people who believe in the Book of Mormon. We’ve divided up into various groups. And Tausha has been organizing this conference now (for, I think, the fourth year in a row) in part to try and lay down the contentions that exist religiously between and among one another. It’s really odd that when it comes to the subject of the “truth” and “salvation” and “all eternity”… I mean, for goodness sake—all eternity! We want to squabble and bitch and moan against one another rather than to say, “What light can you shed that I do not yet possess? What insight has come to you that I’ve not noticed that comes from the God of Heaven?” “What truths are there to be discovered and learn from one another?” We don’t do that. We bristle, and we complain, and we squabble. But the purpose of the work of Joseph was to lay down contention and put an end to it.
“Knowledge of their fathers.” “Knowledge of my covenants.”
And then he says,
And out of weakness he shall be made strong in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them who are of the house of Israel in the last days. (Ibid.)
“Out of weakness.” I don’t think that Joseph Smith was at all spiritually weak. I don’t think that Joseph was physically weak. But Joseph Smith was absolutely, continuously, financially weak.
He had a pending petition for bankruptcy at the time of his death. They had just passed a national bankruptcy law, and everyone went flocking to file for bankruptcy because the ebb and flow of commerce and the banking system in that day was riotous. And if you were, as Joseph was, someone trying to found a city and establish a community, he took a lot of risks. He took risks that he could ill-afford to take. And then he conducted business for the benefit of the people that needed it, not for his own profit and gain. The Nauvoo store that he operated let people take things that they needed, whether they could pay for it or not, with the promise of an IOU—and then they defaulted. And Joseph was left, ultimately, holding the bag with a lot of uncollectible accounts. And he’s the very embodiment of weakness financially. It would require the financial support and the charity of his contemporaries in order for him to accomplish any of the work that needed to be accomplished.
And when it came to the construction of the Nauvoo temple, one of the final tasks that the Lord permitted the saints to undertake (on condition that if they pursued it faithfully, they would be defended and protected and kept in their place; but if they didn’t measure up, then they would, instead of blessings, bring about cursings upon them, and they would be driven out and suffer a whole series of maladies)—the warning being given in January of 1841, and the subsequent events proving very clearly that they didn’t measure up, and they didn’t do what was expected of them.
…that seer will I bless. (Ibid., 40)
His financial condition didn’t matter. He didn’t lay up treasures on Earth, but he certainly laid up treasures in Heaven—because the Lord said he intended to bless him.
And they that seek to destroy him should be confounded, for this promise I give unto you, for I will remember you from generation to generation. And his name should be called Joseph, and it should be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto you [meaning Joseph of Egypt; Joseph Smith is not only like Moses, Joseph Smith is like Joseph of Egypt, as well], for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation. (Ibid.)
Okay. I’ve now gotten to the point that if you are keeping score, the Lord in this prophecy has mentioned Joseph Smith—either directly by name or by description or by a personal pronoun—Joseph Smith, 22 times. It’s kind of a remarkable bit of scorekeeping, if you’re looking at it.
There are prophecies about unnamed future prophets that are gonna accomplish some work, referred to as candlesticks or olive trees—no names given. And yet, they’ve got remarkable responsibilities that they’re going to fulfill. And their mention is paltry by comparison. Joseph Smith’s mission and description as a choice seer rather dwarfs statements that are made about others.
I think people ought to be circumspect about evaluating, judging, and criticizing Joseph Smith. As Joseph was in Liberty Jail, the Lord, comforting Joseph because, well, jail was a highly unsatisfactory place to reside for half a year, and his tenure there was now coming to an end; and Joseph’s time of reflection and prayer and meditation drawing to an end, he wrote up an account. And in the account, it drifts from ‘what he was thinking’ to ‘what he was praying’ to ‘what God was telling him’ to ‘quoting God’ in the letter. It’s an interesting amalgamation. But this is a quote from the Lord talking to Joseph:
The ends of the earth shall inquire after your name, and fools shall have you in derision…
Well, that oughta make some folks be a little more circumspect.
…and hell shall rage against you, while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under your hand. (T&C 139:7)
Why would the virtuous seek blessings and counsel from under the hand of a pedophile, polygamist, liar, deceiver who publicly preached against the practice of adulterous plural marriages and in secret went about practicing it? It makes no sense to me.
And if (in the review of the historical record) you can’t figure out that there’s an enormous gap between the available information about the virtue of Joseph Smith and the solidity of his marriage and commitment to his wife, Emma Smith, right up until June 27 of 1844, and then a flood of nonsense that creeps in from polygamists who—20/30/40 years after the fact—begin to reconstruct their recollection (and even quoting Joseph Smith to say exactly the contrary of what he said and taught publicly), then you’re not particularly wise.
It makes no sense to do that. I mean, that statement about “Never bet against a Sicilian when life is on the line…” Well, never bet against a Mormon hierarchy when money and property is on the line. Because I’m telling you, as the affidavits were being gathered to support the practice of plural marriage, property was on the line. And they went about writing the affidavits (because they’re in the handwriting of Joseph F. Smith) and collecting signatures from women who were in a vulnerable position economically and who desperately did not want to forfeit their position within the structure that had been created in Utah, and so, they have fixed their signatures to the affidavits. And from that, we have folk like Brian Hales that say, “Oh, there’s this flood of evidence to support the notion!” And I’m telling you, choose your historians carefully.
And your people, [your people] shall never be turned against you by the testimony of traitors. (Ibid.)
Okay. I want to put that statement into a very specific context because I have to assume that whatever extensions may flow from that statement to Joseph, at the moment this was being told to him in Liberty Jail, if you were to ask him the identity of the traitors, he would be able to give you—exactly—the names of the folks:
- Oliver Cowdery
- David Whitmer
- John Whitmer—the LDS Church… Well, the church historian. John Whitmer took all of the historical records with him when he was excommunicated in the preceding year. And Joseph Smith commenced re-writing the history in 1838 because the histories had been taken by John Whitmer. (Two of the Book of Mormon witnesses and the church’s historian.)
- Hiram Page
- W.W. Phelps
- Sampson Avard
- Thomas Marsh (of the Quorum of the Twelve)
These people were not only traitors to him…
They did not have the ability to hold Joseph Smith on the charge of treason without a sufficient body of testimony against him to prove that he ought to be kept in jail to stand trial on the charge. You didn’t have to prove the charge, you have to have a preliminary hearing in which someone said something that justified the belief that you might be able to convict this person for treason. And the people who testified (the Missourians) couldn’t come up with enough facts to bind him over in Judge King’s courtroom. It took Sampson Avard to come in and testify.
Now Samson Avard was… He was in a command position with the Mormon protective group, and he… I think he may have coined the term “Danites.” But whatever it was, they came to be known by the vernacular of Danites—and he was spoiling for a fight. (He was like Louis Naegle in his youth.) He was just looking for a face to punch. So, Joseph decommissioned Sampson Avard because of his hostile attitude, and he made him, essentially, the cook/the mess Sergeant/the guy in charge of keeping them fed. The demotion of Sampson Avard was intended by Joseph Smith to de-escalate the tensions. He did not want Mormons provoking anything. And Sampson Avard wanted to go out on night raids, burning property that belonged to the Gentiles.
It was Sampson Avard who came into the courtroom and who swore that all of the depredations that he had committed—and he described them—were done under the direction/with the permission/with the presiding authority and consent of Joseph Smith. And therefore, “All that crap I did that was so evil? Well, he told me to do it!” So, you’ve got the guy who did it saying, “Joseph was the author of it,” and that was a sufficient basis to hold him over, and he was languishing…
This occurred in the first town they were held in; they’d been transported to and held in Liberty after (I think it was) Richmond, where the preliminary hearing had been held. But now they were in the Liberty Jail, and they were simply awaiting trial. And this statement about the traitors, “Your people shall never be turned against you by the testimony of traitors”…
The second person on that list was one of the Three Witnesses named David Whitmer, who (in what—1886?—in his “Address to All Believers in Christ,” now an old guy and somewhat reflective on things) wrote his “Address to All Believers in Christ” that is an oft-cited, early Mormon historical document for the concept/for the proposition that “Joseph Smith was a fallen Prophet and that Joseph Smith’s original commission was to take care of the Book of Mormon but that after he finished with the Book of Mormon, that everything that he did thereafter to have himself as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator was overreaching and ego-maniacal and that Joseph fell into some sort of a personal ego trip that led to destruction and that Joseph was off the mark.” And that concept gets picked up and echoed by a lot of people. But it is fundamentally based upon the testimony of a traitor identified in a revelation given to Joseph in Liberty Jail that promised Joseph that the pure in heart will never be turned aside by the testimony of traitors. So, if you give great countenance to the testimony of David Whitmer in “An Address to all Believers in Christ,” you are literally falling into the very thing that was described by the Lord as something that the pure and the wise and the noble and the virtuous will not do. So, well, take heed.
And the Lord swore unto Joseph that he would preserve his seed for ever, saying…
So, that now is simply a summary, an interjection that is not a quote from the Lord, once again. It’s covering something off-script. Now we’re going back to a direct quote of the Lord again:
I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand; and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod. And he shall have judgment, and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of [mine] own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him, and his name should be called Aaron. And it shall be done unto you in the last days also, even as I have sworn. (Genesis 12:41)
So, the question that ought to occur to us when we get this kind of language is: Joseph Smith had to restore this stuff back into the text of the book of Genesis—it was once there; it got dropped out. Why would it get dropped out?
Well, yeah… People did not want to have… You can’t just eliminate the reference to this latter-day Messiah ben Joseph that would still echo in the record of the Jews. Something this blatant, something this obvious, something this in your face has got to go! But there’s this analogy that I use:
Probably any one of you here in the room, if you listen to a lot of popular music over the course of your lifetime, you probably have an inventory of lyrics in your head that numbers in the hundreds of thousands of songs. And when a song begins, even if you haven’t heard it for many, many years, as soon as the song begins, you hear the first couple of words to the tune, and you probably start singing along with the lyrics. (And if you’re alone in your car, you probably do that. But if there’s anyone there with you, you’re probably a little more inhibited about that kind of rock and roll.)
The other morning, I was thinking about a song that I had not heard in three decades or more. But I’ll bet if I started singing it that a significant number of you could finish the tune. (Oh, you’re shaking your head! You don’t… I’m gonna sing it! Yeah.)
Oh, where, oh, where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me.
She’s gone to heaven, so I’ve got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.
[They] were out on a date in [her] daddy’s car. [Okay]
We hadn’t driven very far.
[When] there in the road [lying] straight ahead
[The car was stalled,] the engine was dead.
I couldn’t stop, so I swerved to the right…
(“Last Kiss” by J. Frank Williams and The Cavaliers)
Wait a minute. Hold on. Dude! Her daddy’s car. You couldn’t stop. This is a chauvinist song. This is sexist crap. Dude shouldn’t be driving her daddy’s car; she should be driving. This is why we don’t hear this song anymore. I gotta… Yeah.
You can eliminate part of a song. You can drop a verse a whole lot more easily than you can mangle a verse. And a lot of the Scriptures were perpetuated by repetition, by word of mouth, and literally, by being sung. That’s why a great deal of the Scriptures in the original language is more poetry than—or prose—that’s intended to have signals and cues to recall the passages. It’s clearly what the Lord was doing with the Beatitudes: making something that can be easily recalled and recited.
So, if you’ve got passages like the one we’re dealing with here (and it’s filled with an amalgamation that mixes in both the character of Moses with, overwhelmingly, a description of the last-days’ Joseph) and you just don’t want to keep that stuff up, you’ve got to drop the whole thing (which is one of the reasons why Zenos appears in the brass plates in the Book of Mormon, and he did not appear in the record of the Jews—because it was so directly Messianic; whereas the poetry of Isaiah with Messianic “passages” could be used by analogy to describe not just the “singular, individual Messiah” but could be likened to the “people of the Jews”—so that the Jews themselves became the suffering servant, so that the Jews themselves became the ones that were marred for the testimony of the truth and the religion of the fathers).
Therefore, Joseph said unto his brethren…
So, now he’s talking to his brothers, as the prophecy is wrapping up.
God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he swore unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph confirmed many other things unto his brethren, and took an oath of the children of Israel, saying unto them, God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.
So Joseph died when he was a hundred [and] ten years old. (Ibid., 42-43)
That passage (Joseph of Egypt speaking about Joseph who would in the last days help restore people to an understanding of the covenants with the Fathers—including Father Jacob with whom God established the people Israel by giving unto him a new name that the people would thereafter be known by) that prophecy is one of the things that we ought to take into account when we try to calibrate how we view Joseph Smith. Anyone that God testifies will be “great in my eyes” is not someone that we ought to be disregarding and dismissing, as if all of the nonsense that we see said about Joseph should enjoy credibility.
We live at a time when the world is enslaved: It’s chained; it’s bound by lies. In the vision of Enoch, when Lucifer had wrapped the Earth in a great chain and he looked up at Heaven and he laughed, the great chain with which he had wrapped the Earth was lies. People believed lies. If I believe the nonsense that people say about Joseph Smith, I would not respect such a person at all. If I believe the nonsense that people say about the “absence of evidence in support of the Book of Mormon” were true, I wouldn’t believe the Book of Mormon. And yet, here today, in multiple talks that have been given, there is overwhelmingly convincing evidence to support the authenticity and ancient source for the Book of Mormon.
Why are those proofs not predominating on the Internet, in the discussion groups, on Facebook, in the Reddit ex-Mormon section? Why are they not heard there? Because people believe and love a lie—and they shall be thrust down to hell, because that’s what they prefer.
I hope you don’t. And I hope that you have regard for Joseph of Egypt’s description and the Lord’s prophecy and promise of Joseph, the son of Joseph, of whom I have the absolute highest regard.