Who Are the Semites?

The word “Semite” does not appear in the Bible, but most people associate Semites with Jews.  When someone is biased against Jews, we call them “anti-Semitic”.  But is this a gross misappropriation?

“Semite” comes from the Greek work Sem and the Hebrew word Shem and refers to Noah’s son Shem and his descendants.  Any direct descendant of Shem, then, is a Semite.

Notice the change that has taken place in history:

SHEMIT’IC a. Pertaining to Shem, the son of Noah.  The Shemitic languages are the Chaldees, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, Samaritan, Ethiopic and Old Phenician.  ~Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Sem’ite, Shem’ite, a. and n. [LL. Sem: Gr. Sem, Shem]
I. a.  Of or belonging to Shem or his descendants.
II. n. A descendant of Shem: one of the Semitic race.

Sem-it’ic. a. Relating to Shem or his reputed descendants; pertaining to the Hebrew race or any of those kindred to it, as the Arabians, the ancient Phenicians, and the Assyrians; also written Shemitic, Shemittish.

Semitic Languages: an important group or family of languages distinguished by triliteral verbal roots and vowel inflection.

Sem’i-tism, Shem’i-tism. n. A Semitic idiom or word; the adoption of what is peculiarly Semitic.

~Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary (1949)

Sem-it (sem’it, se’mit). n. [Mod. L. Semita <LL. Sem, Shem: Gr. Sem: Heb. Shem]. a member of any of the peoples whose language is Semitic, including the Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, etc., now, specifically, a Jew: also Shemite.

Se-mit-ic (se-mit’ik). adj. 1. of, characteristic of, or like a Semite or the Semites.  2. designating or of a major group of languages of southwestern Asia and norther Africa, related to the Hamitic languages and divided into East Semitic (Akkadian). North West Semitic (Phoenician, Punic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, etc.) and South West Semitic (Arabic, Ethiopic, Amharic): abbreviated Sem.

Se-mit-ics (se-mit’iks). n.pl. [construed as sing.]. the study of Semitic culture, languages, literature, etc.

Sem-i-tism (sem’e-tiz’m, se’me-tiz’m). n. 1. a Semitic word or idiom.  2. characteristics of the Semites; especially, the ideas, cultural qualities, etc. originating with the Jews.

~Webster’s New World Dictionary (1966)

Shem is the father of all of the children of Eber ~ Shem is the father of the Hebrews through Eber {who was the first Hebrew} ~ all Hebrews are Semites.

Shem was the progenitor of the Semitic people:  the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the early Chaldeans, the Babylonians, the Hebrews, the Arabs, and the Israelites.  Saying “Semite” is to say nothing of the Jews at the exclusion of other Semitic peoples.

Do Jews have a blood link to the Semites or Israel?  Or have they hijacked the Judean identity?

Former Jew and Jewish researcher Benjamin Freedman suggests the latter in his book Facts are Facts.  He quotes from historical sources that say Jews came from the Turkish-Mongol people of the Khazar Kingdom of the second to tenth centuries.  While it takes Freedman 12-pages to get to his point, he is nonetheless a beautiful and succinct, hard-hitting, and gutsy writer.

At the bottom of page 18 you will find the inception of the word “Jew”.

In the middle of page 23 you will find the misrepresentation of the word “Jew” and the “secondary meaning” (which has trumped the original meaning) of the word “Jew” is explained on the bottom of page 24.

Freedman explains that the “self-styled Jews” are not of the ten lost tribes starting in the middle of page 50, and traces them to the Khazar Kingdom on page 52.  From these “self-styled Jews” own writing, they acknowledge they are incorrectly being associated with Judeans of the House of Judah.

I can’t help but think of Revelation 2:9.

I didn’t write this stuff… I’m just a messenger!

In The Thirteenth Tribe – the Khazar Empire and its Heritage, Jewish scholar Arthur Koestler shows that in the eighth century the Khazars converted to their national religion of Judaism, which was based on the Babylonian Talmud.  He says, “The Khazar origin of the numerically and socially dominant element in the Jewish population of Hungary during the Middle Ages is thus relatively well documented.”

Of further note, the Jewish news-site, Haaretz, published the article, “Study Finds Close Genetic Connection Between Jews, Kurds” in their Breaking News section in 2001 that says, “The people closest to the Jews from a genetic point of view may be the Kurds, according to results of a new study at the Hebrew University.”

What does all this matter?  What are the implications?  Stay tuned.

 

The Sheep and the Goats Parable of Matthew 25

The sheep and the goats parable of Matthew 25 sheds light on the fact that God, indeed, has a Covenant People or Race.  And this Covenant People or Race was established, and their Kingdom prepared for them “from the foundation of the world” {Matthew 25: 34}.

The Parable of the Good Shepherd Separating the Sheep from the Goats

31 When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all NATIONS: and he shall SEPARATE them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set up the SHEEP on his RIGHT HAND, but the GOATS on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his RIGHT HAND, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom PREPARED FOR YOU FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD:

From this we learn that the he is referring to NATIONS when he is referring to RIGHTEOUS SHEEP and WICKED GOATS, not individuals.

We know from D&C 29:27 that “the RIGHTEOUS {the Sheep} shall be gathered on my RIGHT HAND unto Eternal Life,” and “the WICKED {the Goats} on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before my Father.”

We can receive additional light when we read that in Moses 7:56, it says, “and the SAINTS arose, and were crowned at the RIGHT HAND of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory.”

As politically incorrect as it appears, God’s people are the Nation of Israel, by descendancy!  They came through the lineage of Shem, Abraham, and Jacob, as established from the foundation of the world.

Why is Jacob’s lineage God’s Covenant People or Race?

Matthew 25 Sheep and Goats

Matthew 25 continues on to tell us…

35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Well, when did God’s Covenant People or Race do these things for him, you might ask, like I did and like the righteous will, when he comes in his glory…

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the LEFT HAND, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…” {And then proceeds to tell them that they did not feed, give drink to, take him in, clothe him, visit him when he was sick or in prison.}

This fits like a hand in a glove with what we find in the Doctrine and Covenants 19:5:

“Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my LEFT HAND.”

Verses 35 and 36 of Matthew 25 are the reasons WHY  the Kingdom was prepared for us, but WHAT are the implications that they were prepared for us from the Foundations of the World?

Were we foreordained?

Were we predestined?

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified : and whom he justified, them he also glorified. {Romans 8:29-30}

Are we rewarded for some way we behaved prior to being born on Earth as we know it in this lifetime?

If it is not a reward, then is the God we worship arbitrary and unfair towards those not born in the Covenant Race?

What are your thoughts?

Who Are the Israelites?

Who are the Israelites?  Are you an Israelite?  Was Abraham an Israelite?  Israel comes from the Hebrew word Yisrael (#3478) which refers to the “symbolic name of Jacob and his posterity”.  In Genesis 32:28 Jacob’s name is changed by God to Israel (from the root words Sara = a Prince or Princess and El = God), “for as a Prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  This is the first time we see the word ‘Israel’ in the Scriptures.

12 Tribes of Israel

So who can the Israelites be?  The Israelites are Jacob and all of his posterity, that make up the 12 Tribes of Israel by descent.  Sometimes, like in I Kings 12:21, Israel refers to just the 10 Northern Tribes that were given to Jeroboam’s rule.

So who were not Israelites?  Isaac, Jacob’s father, was not an Israelite – nor was his other son Esau or his posterity {who are the Edomites}.  Abraham was not an Israelite, nor were any that came before him.  Israel began with Jacob.

It is the Israelites that are God’s Covenant People, or Race {as much as that is politically incorrect, it doesn’t make the truth without effect!}.

Now in relating this to my last post, “Who Are the Hebrews?“, all Israelites are Hebrew, but not all Hebrews are Israelites!  Eber, the first Hebrew, is not an Israelite, nor are the Hebrews Abraham, Ishmael and his posterity, or Isaac and his posterity through Esau.  Only Jacob and his posterity are Israelites {as well as Hebrews}.

How Did the 12 Tribes of Israel Get Split Up and Scattered?

The House of Israel was split into two Kingdoms as prophesied by the Prophet Ahijah {I Kings 11:29-40}.  Why?

Solomon, David’s son with Bathsheba, decided to take unto him “strange” women, meaning Canaanites, who turned his heart to other gods {I Kings 11:1-13}.  As punishment, God told Solomon that he would take the Kingdom away from him, sans one Tribe {two, really ~ Judah and Benjamin}, to honor his father, David.

Solomon made his servant Jeroboam bis successor, and soon after, Ahijah the Prophet, told Jeroboam that he would rend the Kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give ten tribes to him {Jeroboam}.  In honor of King David {who was still considered to be a man that kept God’s statutes and commandments}, Solomon would be left with one {really two} tribe ~ Judah {+ Benjamin}.  Solomon got wind of this and tried to kill Jeroboam because of it, so he {Jeroboam} fled to Egypt to preserve his life.

After a 40-year reign in Jerusalem, Solomon finally died, and appointed his son Rehoboam to reign in his stead.  After which Jeroboam came back to Jerusalem and plead with Rehoboam to lighten the yoke Solomon, his father, had place upon him and the people.

Rehoboam decided to make their yoke even heavier {for this was the Lord’s will so that the prophecy of Ahijah could be fulfilled}.  At this time, the ten Northern Tribes rebelled against Rehoboam, who they considered unrighteous saying, “What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel; now see to thine own house, David.”  So Israel departed unto their tents, leaving Rehoboam to reign only over those that dwelt in the cities of Judah.

Israel {the ten Northern Tribes} made Jeroboam their King.  Jeroboam ends up freaking out that the people would one day recognize their folly in rebelling, and go back to Rehoboam, so he made two calves of gold for them to worship and created false priesthoods and counterfeit feasts, thus leading the people astray.

This provokes the Lord to anger to smite Israel {the ten tribes, in this context} “as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves {idol worship}, provoking the Lord to anger.  And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.” {I Kings 14:15, 16}

It’s a tale as old as time.  God exalted Jeroboam and made him a prince over Israel, giving him the kingdom after rending it from David.  Jeroboam doesn’t have his heart right to do right in the sight of God, exercising evil, creating false priesthoods, and making other gods.  Jeroboam was destroyed and died in his sins.  It’s just as rampant in our day.

Noteworthy is the fact that God preserved the House of Judah to Rehoboam {on David’s behalf} and Christ comes through that lineage.  Rehoboam remained faithful until the end, until finally sleeping with his fathers.

Who Are the Hebrews?

Who are the Hebrews?  Are you a Hebrew?  Were Adam, Noah, and Shem Hebrews?  Does it matter?  I think it does.  There is much confusion on the correct meaning of names and terms.  And if God truly has a Covenant People, wouldn’t it serve us to know and understand these names and terms?

Who Are the Hebrews?

The word “Hebrew”, according to the Strong’s Concordance, comes from the word Ibrly (#5680), which refers to “an Eberite or descendant of Eber.”  Eber is mentioned in Genesis 10:21 as a descendant of Shem (who is a descendant of Noah).  From Eber sprang Abraham.  Abram is referred to, in Genesis 14:13, as a Hebrew.  Hence, if you cross reference Genesis 14:13 with Genesis 10:21, we know that Abraham, and all of Eber’s posterity, are Hebrews!

So was Adam a Hebrew?  No.  Was Noah a Hebrew?  No.  Were Ham, Japheth, and Shem Hebrews?  No.  Were the other children of Shem Hebrews?  No.  Just Eber and his posterity.

Genesis 10:32
These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

(Peleg, interestingly, was one of the sons of Eber.  Peleg is often associated with “the days when the earth was divided”.)

And so here God is separating after families, tongues, lands, and nations (Genesis 10:31, 32).

So who else does this exclude from Hebrew status?

Japheth and his descendants, who are known to have occupied West Asia, and the Mediterranean and adjacent isles, are not Hebrews.  In our day these people are likely Russian, Italian, German, Spanish, Celtic, Greek, French, Scandinavian, etc., etc.

Ham and his descendants, who are known to have occupied Egypt and Canaan, are not Hebrews.  They are known as the Canaanites, or the cursed race.  They are referred to as many different names in the Scriptures, such as, Hivites, Jebusites, Arvadites, Girgashites, Amorites, Arkites, Sinites, Hittites, Sidonians, Perizzites, and Zemarites.

Shem, and most of his descendants, sans those who sprang from Eber, are not Hebrews.  Shem and the bulk of his descendants are the Semites (Shem… Sem-ite), who occupied Assyria.

Now it is interesting to note that Genesis 10:21 which says, in part, that Shem, “also, the father of all the children of Eber” would make such a highlight, considering the passage continues to list Shem’s immediate sons.  Eber is Shem’s grandson.  The passage doesn’t preface the introduction to Shem’s sons with any other grandsons.  This should tell us that there is something noteworthy about Eber and his posterity in particular.

Eber and his posterity are Hebrews.  We talked about who it excludes.  Who does it include?

It includes Abraham, the Father of the Covenant Race, Isaac, and Jacob.

It includes the whole House of Israel.

It includes King David.

It includes Jesus Christ.

Interestingly, along with Isaac, it also includes Ishmael; as well as Jacob, it includes Esau.

Ishmael and his descendants, Esau and his descendants, are Hebrews.

Now these are just my personal study notes.  If a reader understands something that I don’t, please correct me if I am wrong!

What is the significance of being a Hebrew?  Because, obviously, Japheth’s descendants are certainly eligible to partake in the spiritual rights, privileges, and blessings of Shem and the House of Israel, which is even noted in Genesis 9:27.  “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

Well, I don’t know yet!  But I look forward to further study to find out.  Please add your comments below with any thoughts.

Where Are Our Greater Works Than Christ?

healing the blind

healing the blind

Of all the many times I must have read John 14:12 in my life, and that only now it strikes me is astounding.  This happens often.  A case, I guess, of, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.

“He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Where are our greater works than Christ?  Set that aside even.  Where are our works of Christ?  I’m not talking about the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control).  I’m talking about his works.  Healing the sick, making the blind see, the lame walk, giving life back to the dead, prophesying (among other things that some would consider debatable).

What greater things shall we be doing than raising the dead?

Somehow I think that if my husband were to raise someone from the dead, people would automatically assume that he was some kind of minion for the devil, or drawing upon darker powers.  Somehow, and I don’t know why I think this, I don’t think they would assume he was drawing on the powers of heaven.

Why? I ask myself.  Maybe because we have lost faith in the power of God while evil is all around us.  Maybe it is our lack of faith that keeps us from doing greater works than Christ.

Again, if someone did come along and do greater works than Christ, or at least works equal to his, most would call him a devil.

If anyone were to be doing greater works than Christ, would it not likely be a Prophet of God?  Do our Church leaders (do I dare call them prophets when I have heard no prophecy since I joined the Church in 2006?) do greater works than Christ?  Equal works to Christ?  I have not seen this, other than a blessing on someone who was sick who got better.

Again I have to ask, if someone did come along and do the works (and greater) of Christ, how well would we receive him?

Joseph Smith came along prophesying and having visions and revealing doctrine.  He was not received by the world.  He was considered blasphemous by Protestants and by mainstream Christianity today.  Well, then, what should one doing works equal to or greater than Christ look like?

And why did Christ say we shall do these works because he goeth to his Father?  I gather because he wouldn’t be here to do them.  Mainstream Christianity says we can’t have any Prophets after Christ.  If it be true, who are the people doing works equal to or greater than Christ?  Who should come after him and do these things (if not prophets)?

Since the Church was formed as a result of the Priesthood, the Priesthood exists independent of the Church.  The Lord revealed that if the Church did not do his will, he would accomplish his work through another people (looking for this reference… anyone know?).  I am left wondering and looking for this other people.  Where is the Priesthood?  Where are the people doing the works, and greater, of Christ?

Are We Living the Lesser Priesthood Like the People of Moses?

In the days of Moses, the people rejected the higher law that would allow them to ‘behold the face of God’.  Why didn’t they want it?  I guess because with great blessings come great sacrifices.

“Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of eternal commandments…”  ~D&C 84:25-27

So what is the higher priesthood that they rejected?  It is the Abrahamic Covenant that they rejected (also known as the higher priesthood).  And what is the Abrahamic Covenant?  It is Celestial Marriage, with which, came the assurance that 1) Christ would come through Abraham’s lineage (another topic for another time for how this blessing applies to us as inheritors of Abraham’s blessing…whoa!), and 2) Abraham’s posterity would receive certain lands as their inheritance.

There seems to be confusion in our day regarding the term “Celestial Marriage”.  In our day, a Celestial Marriage is simply one man and one woman being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise for time and all eternity.  But the works of Abraham include multiple wives, which equated to multiple increase, and this increase is the context in which this covenant and blessing are offered.  In the days of Joseph Smith, particularly referenced in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 132, Celestial Marriage included multiple wives.

So can we deduce that it was Celestial Marriage that the people in the days of Moses rejected?  And if so, why did they?  Why would they if it was merely the marriage of one man and one woman?  How is that hard to accept?  Or have we changed the definition of Celestial Marriage to fit our times?  And are we as the Church today, accepting and living only the lesser law as the people in the days of Moses?

“…give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. 44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”  ~D&C 84: 43-44

Follow up with:

“Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.”  ~D&C 132: 32

The verse is immediately followed by defining Abraham’s works…

“God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife.  And why did she do it?  Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people.  This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promise.”  verse 34

“Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded ; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”  verse 37

It goes on to talk about David’s, Solomon’s, and Moses’ wives and concubines, and many of his other servants from the beginning of creation.  And then, he follows that up with…

“I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.”  verse 40

Then the Lord follows up with instruction about when and when it isn’t adultery, and then finally in verse 45 reiterates that he has conferred upon Joseph “the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.”

Now if the Celestial Marriage that was being restored were only the sealing of one man and one woman, why would the Lord go into the big oration about the multiple wives and concubines (marriages for time only?) of the ancient prophets, and into the rules surrounding taking multiple wives?

D&C 132: 61 also brings us back to the idea that the [higher] priesthood has to do with plural marriage: “as pertaining to the law of the priesthood – if a man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another…”  More rules surrounding taking multiple wives being part of the higher priesthood and the Lord’s law (“for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.”)

The question begs… are we to be living the law of Plural Marriage?  If not, how can we justify it?  Since when does the Lord revoke everlasting covenants?  Surely he commands and revokes, we have examples of that… but of everlasting covenants?  I don’t know.  And was the Manifesto signed by Wilford Woodruff to stop plural marriage a revelation or was it an act of buckling under extreme pressure from, and to satisfy, the State (I don’t ever see a “thus saith the Lord”)?  If not the latter, how to explain the many plural marriage sealings after the Manifesto for years to come?  Not to mention the 1886 revelation to John Taylor about the continuation of plural marriages…

Lot’s of studying to do.

If anyone is reading this, I am open for some dialogue.  My only agenda is to learn… not to be right.  I don’t want to be right, in fact.  Please leave your comments/thoughts below.

The Doctrine of Plural Marriage Part I

I just read an article entitled “Why Did the Church Abandon Polygamy?” and feel a reaction to the justifications given.  The author’s, W. John Walsh, main argument was that the Lord will revoke a law or commandment if it isn’t essential to our salvation.  And thus the practice of polygamy was abandoned by the Church, to get along with the State.

I have to take issue with this.  Firstly, let me say, this might be a fair argument in and of itself – that we be subject to the Law of the Land so long as the conflicting commandment is not pertinent to our salvation – I’ll have to think on that.  He does bring to light a very good reference to this in D&C 124:49-50:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.”

While the Doctrine of Plural Marriage may not be pertinent to our Salvation, is it not pertinent to our Exaltation?  Or is it like Brigham Young taught, that, even if we don’t/can’t practice it, if we have faith in the practice, we can still be exalted?

“If you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained.”

or

“A man may embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart and not take the second wife and be justified before the Lord.”

I liken this idea to those who cannot have children.  Are they unacceptable to the Lord because they did not have any children in their mortal probation after he commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth?  Or does he have compassion on them, knowing they tried to have children and knowing it was a desire of their heart?  Undoubtedly he would not withhold his blessings in eternity from them for that.

I will have to study, think, and pray on the subject more to draw any conclusions.

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part IV

early Mormon Church baptisms
early Mormon Church baptisms
Photo Used From RichardNelson.org

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part I

In 1874 when the United Order was restored in the Salt Lake Valley (after having been practiced in Kirtland), one of the evidences of committing to live the Order was re-baptism.

John Bushman was, in fact, “baptized into the United Order”. (John Bushman diary p. 31)

“Mary, Fanney and myself were baptized for the remission of sin and renewal of our covenants and for the observance of the rules of the United Order…” (Diary of J. H. Standifird)

As part of Marriage Preparation, couples were re-baptized.

“To show their willingness to serve the Lord and to rededicate their lives for His service, they were re-baptized in the ‘Tabernacle Font.’ “(Journal of Edward Wood, Aug. 30 1892)

“September 17th 1886 – As it was customary to get baptized to prepare for my temple ordinances, before going to the temple so as to be free from all evil and wrong… I arranged with Brother Leatham, who has charge of baptisms on the Temple Block, to be be baptized…
I had already made arrangements to get Ida’s recommend to be baptized and at 2 p.m…. I took Ida to the Old Endowment House and after a word of prayer and a few remarks by Brother Leatham, be baptized us and confirmed us for the renewal of our covenants.” (Diary of John M. Whitaker, Book 3, p. 16) 

“It was customary in those days to be re-baptized before being married.  This young couple adhered to that practice, though one foot of ice in big creek had to be broken in order to do so.”  (Life of George F. Richards, p. 8)

I can imagine how beautiful it would be to renew your covenants with the Lord before such a sacred and holy union, to start new and fresh, with a rededicated focus on serving the Lord together.

Re-baptism for the sick was also practiced, though it was never an established order.

When Emma Smith was very sick, Joseph relates this account:

“Wed. 5. My dear Emma was worse.  Many fears were entertained that she would not recover.  She was baptized twice in the river, which evidently did her much good…” (History of Church, J. Smith, Vol. 5; p. 167-168)

In the Life of L. Snow, it is related that one of the Elders “baptized me in the name of the Lord, for my recovery.” (1846, Romney, p. 80-81)

“F. D. Richards, who had been sick for several months, was baptized, anointed, and confirmed; immediately after which he was restored to health.  Mrs. Richards was taken by her brother form a sick bed to a lake from the surface of which ice more than a foot thick had been removed, and there baptized, whereupon she immediately recovered.” (Bancroft’s History of Utah, p. 337)

I think it is important to note what Ogden Krout had to say about the matter:

“Baptism for the sick was never an established order for healing the sick, because the Lord had already established administration by the laying on of hands and the use of olive oil for such healings.  Baptism was a means of remitting sins; and if the devil was afflicting someone with sickness, it may have been through their weakness or sins that he could accomplish it.  Nevertheless, these baptisms were a means of controlling or abating the afflictions of the Saints, even though it had its limitations.”

* The research for these references comes from Ogden Kraut. For more information on the topic, I suggest reading his book, Re-Baptism.

The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part III

The Savior's Baptism

 

The Savior's BaptismThe Doctrine of Re-baptism Part I
The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part II 

The four day conference that stared on September 13, 1856 with the theme of “Live Your Religion” had an emphasis on reformation – including re-baptism to bring the Saints back into focus in the work of the Lord.  According to the counsel of President Young, the Twelve were baptized, and,

This,” wrote Apostle Woodruff, “we considered a privilege and a duty…. We felt like renewing our covenants before the Lord and each other. We soon repaired to the water, and President Young went down into the water and baptized all his brethren of the Twelve present.  Brother Heber C. Kimball baptized and confirmed President Young…The whole camp of Israel renewed their covenants before the Lord by baptism.  There were 224 baptized this morning, making 284 re-baptized during the last three days.” (Jedediah M. Grant, p. 130, 138)

Deseret News reporting on September 1856, p. 228 remarks, “nearly 500 Saints were immersed under the direction of President Grant… The Spirit of God was poured out to a great degree, and peace and happiness characterized the whole assembly.”

and page 266…

“The congregation seemed to be lighted up with the Holy Ghost: they prophesied, spoke in tongues, had the interpretation thereof, and the blessings of the Almighty God rested upon them.”

Wow!  Can you imagine that kind of reporting today from Deseret News?  Can you imagine an assembly like that today in our Church?  Sadly, I cannot.  Where are our re-baptisms?  Where are our prophesies?  What does it really mean to speak in tongues, and why, in our Church, is it associated with other languages and missions, but in the Scriptures it is associated with a manifestation of the Spirit after conferring the Holy Ghost?

Obviously these gatherings and re-baptisms were pleasing to the Lord, otherwise His Spirit would not have rested so heavily upon them.

In a letter from Brigham Young to Orson Pratt, he instructed, “when they have sufficiently cleansed the inside of the platter, let them cleanse the outside, and renew their covenants in the waters of baptism.” (Church Chronology p. 58)

These group re-baptisms are replete in the accounts of many early leaders journals and reportings:  Huntington Diary, Hosea Stout Diary, Life of W. Woodruff, Deseret News, John Bushman Diary, Journal of Discourses, Life of John Taylor, Autobiography of P. P. Pratt, History of Utah, C.H.C, D.H.C, Millennial Star, and Church Chronology.

*Continue to The Doctrine of Re-baptism Part IV

* The research for these references comes from Ogden Kraut. For more information on the topic, I suggest reading his book, Re-Baptism.

Brigham Young vs. Modern Church | Adam God

Adam and Eve Ancient Sculpture
Adam and Eve Ancient Sculpture
photo credits | AncientSculptureGallery.com

In my youth, I had learned that Mormons believed that Adam was God.  Weird.

When I joined the Church at the age of 30, I tried to get the scoop on this doctrine.  I came away from this quest without clarity, but figured it wasn’t all that important and I’d ‘put it on the shelf’ – you know, that shelf that our community likes to put doctrines on that there is confusion about.  Meaning, put it on the shelf and walk away.  Pay no mind, your salvation doesn’t count on it, you don’t need all the answers.  I did that for a couple of years, despite my natural inclinations, for the sake of getting along.

And maybe it doesn’t make a difference to our salvation, but wouldn’t we like to know who our Heavenly Father is?  I would.

Brigham Young became this weird Prophet (how it even made sense to call a guy full of false doctrine a Prophet is beyond me).  The awkward uncle that no one wishes existed. The one person you’d hoped wouldn’t be mentioned by those anti-Mormon people you were tying to have a discussion with.  The guy who, without fail, would be brought up.  Ugh.  What to do with this skeleton in the closet?

While I use to think Brigham Young was the quack, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’m now wondering… what if he was the right one?  What if he’s right and the Church is wrong (which clearly teaches that doctrine as false)?  That has to be a possibility, no?  How likely is it that he, being Joseph Smith’s friend and successor, the closest thing to the Prophet who restored our Church, is right?  Now more than ever, I have to give this serious consideration.

Going through my Scriptures today my eyes were caught by a notation I wrote alongside the column.  Growing up as a mainstream Christian, I had associated the name “Ancient of Days” with Jesus Christ – not recognizing any real separation between Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.  Some point throughout my conversion while reading Daniel 7:9-14, I had that light bulb moment and realized that Jesus is not the Ancient of Days, but our Father is, which is the notation that I made.

But wait… I recollect that Adam is called the Ancient of Days by the Church.  So I looked up Adam in the Bible Dictionary, and there it is; “Adam is the Ancient of Days” (not to mention DC 27:11 calls Adam the Ancient of Days and Father and Prince of all).  Now compare that with Daniel 7:9 and tell me these are not the attributes of Heavenly Father.

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days
did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool : his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.”

And who more likely to be the great Patriarch of the human family than that of the Father of our Spirits?  If we are to create worlds and bear spirit children, who more likely to be the ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ of their world, but us?  For Moses 1:34 tells us that ‘Adam’ is not just a name, but a title and an office… “And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.”  Jesus said he does nothing but what he ‘seeth the Father do’.  

So, if gods and goddesses, it only makes sense to go through all of the experiences and offices of Father and Mother (which Father and Mother?  our Father and Mother).  And no one can convince me that Adam, being the Patriarch of all the inhabitants of the earth, did not achieve godhood (prior to coming to this earth, which explains why he was immortal).  For he was only doing that which he had seen his Father do.

With the understanding that I have right now, I do believe Adam is God.

Further reading:

*  A good source of possible explanations for the discrepancy:  http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_doctrine/Repudiated_concepts/Adam-God_theory

UNDERSTANDING ADAM-GOD TEACHINGS – A Comprehensive Resource of Adam – God Materials