The work of Robert Smith

Robert Smith was an LDS Hebrew scholar who wrote several commentaries about the scriptures and particularly about the last days.

Robert Smith passed away on August 18, 2017.

Having read most of his writings and having spoken to him once on the phone, I can say that he was a very bright man with a great knowledge of the scriptures and the prophesied events of the last days.

As with all men, I believe that Robert Smith had his flaws and that there are flaws and blind spots in his work. He was a man of strong opinion. In his later writings he also became more and more harsh towards the church in our day and over the last several decades. I believe that at times his opinions of what will transpire in the last days and the current state of the church are not completely correct and at the very least incomplete, but I will let the reader be the judge.

Robert Smith’s work, though imperfect,  is nonetheless worth a look in my opinion.

He did his own translation of the 12 prophets, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel from the original Hebrew texts. He provided commentary on nearly every passage in these books of scripture. Additionally he provided a commentaries on Isaiah (from Avraham Gileadi’s translation), JST of Revelation, Daniel, Book of Mormon, Genesis (including Moses and Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price), Exodus, and most of the Doctrine and Covenants. He also wrote three novels about a how things might possibly play out in the very last days, similar to the famous Left Behind series, but from his perspective.

His writings have been a valuable resource for me in my studies and I still refer to them from time to time, when I have questions about what a particular passage of scripture means, and want to know what Robert Smith wrote about it.

His books have all long been out of print. Most of his work, with one exception, was made available for free electronically.

Please feel free to download any of Robert Smith’s writings below. I believe that he would be happy to have his work shared, as he often wrote about his desire that people would read his work and spread it to those who could see the problems in the church and wanted to gain a greater knowledge of what was coming in the near future prior to the Lord’s second coming and how to prepare for it.

Scriptures of the Last Days Part 1: A Complete Commentary on Isaiah

Scriptures of the Last Days Part 2: Commentary on Revelation and Daniel

Jeremiah Translation and Commentary Part 1

Jeremiah Translation and Commentary Part 2

Ezekiel Translation and Commentary

The Twelve Prophets Translation and Commentary Part 1

The Twelve Prophets Translation and Commentary Part 2

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lessons Commentary

Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Lessons Commentary

Doctrine and Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lessons Commentary

D&C Section 104 Commentary

D&C Sections 105-107 Commentary

D&C Section 133 Commentary

Genesis, Moses, and Abraham Commentary

Exodus and Part of Numbers, Ezra, and Nehemiah Commentary

Monographs

All is well in Zion: A Novel

Triumph and Tribulation: A Novel

The Kingdom Restored: A Novel

The following book by Robert Smith, The Last Days Unsealed, is not available in electronic form, but can be purchased used from time to time on Amazon. Sometimes the price is reasonable, but other times it costs hundreds of dollars. It is essentially a summary of the major prophecies of the last days covered in the larger work Scriptures of the Last Days. 

Image result for the last days unsealed robert smith

 

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Redemption of Zion Part 1

In the posts on Apostasy parts 1 and 2 we documented that previous apostasies have taken place in all gospel dispensations.

We also discussed the vision of Daniel in which he saw a last day’s kingdom of God established upon the earth which would never fail, but would roll forth throughout the earth, like a stone cut out of the mountains without hands, breaking in pieces the kingdoms of this world.

Additionally we established that although the church teaches that this last kingdom has already been established during the restoration of Joseph Smith and can therefore never fail, the scriptures do not actually make this guarantee. In fact the scriptures suggests that although the kingdom of God was given to the saints in the 1830s, it was given to them conditionally. If they faithfully kept their covenants the kingdom would be there’s forever, but if they didn’t it would be taken from them.

Joseph Smith made a statement to this effect in a letter to W. W. Phelps and the saints who were attempting to establish Zion in Jackson County Missouri. Joseph stated:

…the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity ; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness .

Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind. I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all), hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord swear in His wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into His rest .” (TPJS, pg 18)

This is yet another witness that the saints could collectively fall. In fact Joseph was calling on them to repent lest God’s judgments came upon them and they were cut off from the presence of the Lord and would not enter into His rest. He stated that if the inhabitants of Zion did not purify themselves sufficiently that God would seek another people to do His work in gathering Israel.

So where are we as a church and as a people? Has Zion been established? Has the promised gathering of the 12 tribes of Israel home to Zion, the New Jerusalem, happened or is it currently happening? Are we in as a church currently fulfilling a preparatory work for the promised gathering of Israel to Zion? Or have we fallen or are in the process of falling? These are hard questions, but important ones.

It is impossible to claim that Zion has been established in the fullest sense, let alone redeemed by the Lord. In fact the Lord tells us in the D&C that the redemption of Zion would have to wait because of the transgressions of the saints.

D&C 101

Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—

I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;

Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.

Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.

For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.

Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.

They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.

In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.

Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.

10 I have sworn, and the decree hath gone forth by a former commandment which I have given unto you, that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.

11 Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.

12 And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.

13 And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.

14 And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.

15 And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.

16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

17 Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—

19 And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.

20 And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints

21 Until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion.

22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;

23 And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.

The Lord says some very important things here. He stated that the reason that the saints in Missouri (Zion) were driven and scattered and abused, was because of their sins. The Lord said that not everyone had sinned, but collectively they had sinned and polluted their inheritances in Zion.

The Lord stated that His people were now in a scattered condition. He also makes a promise that they will not be utterly cut off and will be shown mercy. He also promises that Zion will not be moved out of its place, but that it will one day be established and built up in the place He had revealed (Missouri).

The Lord stated that all of this had happened that the “prophets might be fulfilled.”

This gives us a clue as to why Zion was not to be redeemed in Joseph’s Smith’s day. The scriptures from the ancient prophets regarding the establishment of Zion, the gathering of Israel, and the millennium needed to be fulfilled. There were things that needed to happen with Israel and the world before the final gathering could take place. These things were prophesied in the scriptures and need to be fulfilled. We will address some of these things in future posts.

A little bit later in D&C 101 the Lord states,

39 When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

40 They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.

41 Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion, even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened

The Lord is saying that the saints who had entered into a covenant to keep all of the Lord’s commandments, including the law of consecration, were found transgressors and were now as the salt of the earth, and henceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.

This theme is continued in D&C 102-105.

D&C 105 was given to Joseph Smith at Fishing River as Zion’s Camp was about to arrive in Jackson County in the hopes of aiding the suffering saints and bringing about the redemption of Zion. The Lord tells them that the redemption of Zion would have to wait for a “little season” even “many days.”

D&C 105

Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people—

Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.

But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;

And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.

I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;

But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.

Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion

10 That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.

11 And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.

12 For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.

13 Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.

14 For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.

15 Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.

16 Behold, I have commanded my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to say unto the strength of my house, even my warriors, my young men, and middle-aged, to gather together for the redemption of my people, and throw down the towers of mine enemies, and scatter their watchmen;

17 But the strength of mine house have not hearkened unto my words.

From the Lord’s words in this revelation it is clear that the saints had collectively failed to bring about the redemption of Zion, because of their sins. Even those whom the Lord had called to go with Joseph Smith from Kirtland to redeem Zion (the strength of the Lord’s house) did not hearken unto the words of the Lord. In fact Joseph was only able to raise a much smaller group of volunteers to join Zion’s camp than the one the Lord had called for. Then among those brethren who did go on the trek, there was a great deal of disunity.

Not all of the brethren in Zion’s camp, the inhabitants of Zion in Missouri, or those saints who made up the strength of the Lord’s house in Kirtland had sinned, as the Lord makes clear in verse 7 quoted above and in the next few verses.

18 But inasmuch as there are those who have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them, if they continue faithful.

19 I have heard their prayers, and will accept their offering; and it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith.

The blessing and endowment which the Lord had prepared for the faithful was to be poured out upon the completion and dedication of the Lord’s house (temple) in Kirtland.

The Lord continues in the next few verses by given the saints instructions to regroup as best as they could, make peace with their enemies, and purchase more land in Jackson County and surrounding areas, that they might yet live the principles of the celestial kingdom including the law of consecration.

The Lord then states:

29 For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given.

30 And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

31 But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;

32 That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws.

The Lord promises that the armies of Israel will possess this land, but they are commanded to wait until the army of Israel has “become very great, and sanctified, before [the Lord], that it may become fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible until all nation; that the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ, let us become subject to her laws.”

So the redemption of Zion would have to wait until the time was right and the host of Israel was sufficiently strong to bring it about. The Lord’s statement that at the time that the host of Israel was sufficiently strong the kingdoms of the world would acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is the very kingdom of God and Christ. This is obviously a direct reference to the kingdom of God which Daniel saw.

The kingdom of Zion as described by the Lord here has not yet been established. There is also no indication that the saints as a whole would bring about this kingdom.

The Lord states:

33 Verily I say unto you, it is expedient in me that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in my house, which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland.

34 And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.

35 There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy.

36 And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;

37 And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.

The Lord declared that the redemption of Zion would have to wait until at least after the faithful elders of the church would be endowed with power in the Lord’s house in Kirtland (which was not yet complete).

There was to be a time of choosing among those who had been called, based on their worthiness. Those who were called were to be sanctified.

Then the Lord makes the conditional promise that those who were chosen would after many days have power to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion, inasmuch as they follow council.

It is clear that the redemption of Zion and promised gathering of Israel would have to wait for “many days” and then only those who are chosen and have been sanctified will be given power to bring it about.

So who are those who will be called, sanctified, and given power to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion?

Does this pertain to the saints currently?

If so is it referring to all those who are active at church and hold a temple recommend and follow the prophet (current church president) and the rest of the brethren (councilors in the first presidency and quorum of the 12) without question in all that they do?

Or is it referring to those who can see that there are problems in the church and are trying to repent by grasping onto the iron rod (word of God in the scriptures) and taking the Holy Ghost for their guide rather than trusting in the arm of flesh?

Could it be a combination of the two?

Who will be chosen, sanctified, and given power to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion?

Who will make up the army of Israel which will become fair as the sun, clear as the moon, that her banners may be terrible until all nations?

This is a very important question, one that is not easily answered. It is easy to assume that we will be part of this army so long as we stay in the old ship Zion (the church) and follow along no matter which course the church takes.

But is this true? Is this what is expected of us, to blindly follow the church and our leaders even if many of the things that are going on contradict the scriptures and past teachings of the church? Can the church change and become more like the world in nearly every respect and we are simply to follow along and we’ll reach our desired destination in the celestial kingdom? Will blindly following the brethren in all things guarantee that we will be among the saints who build up the New Jerusalem or who return in the clouds to meet those who are?

What work has the church and the saints collectively performed in bringing about all things pertaining to Zion since these revelations were given in 1833 and 1844? What is yet to be done?

These are questions that each of us must ask ourselves?

Who will build up Zion or be part of the New Jerusalem? If we desire to be a part of this, what does the Lord expect of us to qualify for this great blessing?

Where can we find these answers? I believe we can find these answers in two places. First in the scriptures and secondly by the power of the Holy Ghost.

In upcoming posts we will explore these questions and hopefully find the answers.

Apostasy Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we discussed the concept of apostasy and documented that in addition to personal apostasies, collective apostasies have repeatedly occurred throughout the world’s history.

Additionally, we discussed that the church’s official position has long been that we are currently in the final gospel dispensation, in which the kingdom of God has been established for the last time, per the vision interpreted by the prophet Daniel of the stone cut of the mountain without hands which will roll forth and shatter the kingdoms of the earth. In that vision Daniel was shown that the kingdom of God would never be destroyed or left to another people.

The church interprets this to mean that there would never be another collective apostasy after the kingdom of God was established in the last days, and since the official position of the church is that the church is the kingdom of God established on earth for the last time in the latter days, it is claimed that the church will never fall into apostasy and become corrupted. It is held that only individuals can apostatize not the entire body of the saints collectively.

As shown in the previous post, the link establishing the LDS church as the kingdom of God Daniel saw is not definitively established in those passages of scripture which refer to the vision of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands.

Therefore it is unwise to assume that the only possible interpretation of the vision shown to Daniel is that it is currently being fulfilled by the LDS church and that the LDS church cannot become corrupted. It is just as foolish, if not more so, to put one’s blind trust in the church and its leaders on the assumption that it is impossible for them to be led astray. We must prove all things against the word of God in the scriptures.

While the church claims that it is impossible for the church to become corrupted and for the saints to collectively apostatize, the scriptures tell a very different story. In fact the scriptures are full of warnings that any people chosen by the Lord, including the LDS, can apostatize if they do not remain faithful. In fact there are quite a few warnings from the Lord of this very thing directed specifically at the Latter-day saints in the Doctrine and Covenants.

D&C 20

32 But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God;

33 Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;

34 Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.

The warning here is pretty clear. The saints needed to take head, lest they fall into temptation, because it is possible for man to fall from grace and depart from God. While this scripture is no doubt a strong warning about the possibility of individual apostasy, the fact that the “church” is told to take heed certainly seems to imply that the entire church needed to take heed against temptation to avoid falling, and not just a few individuals within the church.

D&C 38

39 And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.

This verse is also quite clear. The saints were promised riches if they sought them. They were promised both eternal and temporal riches if they were faithful, but the Lord warns them to beware of pride lest they “become as the Nephites of old.” And what happened to the Nephites of old? About 200 years after Christ visited them they rejected Him and were ultimately destroyed once their iniquity was fully ripe. In 4 Nephi we see that the first step to their ultimate demise was pride and setting their hearts upon their riches. Interestingly enough pride and the love of riches caused them to stop living the law of consecration or having all things common among them. After that they quickly fell into deeper and deeper sin, until they were destroyed. (4 Nephi 1:23-26) The warning that the saints of this dispensation could end up apostatizing and being destroyed as a people is quite clear here.

D&C 82

Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.

Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.

For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.

Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;

And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.

And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.

And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;

Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.

10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

24 For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness. Even so. Amen.

Here we have yet another quite clear declaration from the Lord that the saints could fall if they were not steadfast in keeping their covenants and the Lord’s commandments. The Lord said that “all of you (the saints) have sinned” and that the saints were to “beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.”

We’re not talking about a slap on the wrist here, but very serious judgement.

The Lord also adds the famous declaration that He is bound when we do what He says, but if we do not do what He says we have no promise. Therefore any and all promises the Lord made about the saints preparing the way for His second coming, and building up His kingdom on earth for the last time, were conditional on the saints following what He commanded them to do.

To make this point clear the Lord also adds the declaration that at the time of this revelation, “even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness.” This could not be any clearer. The kingdom was there for the taking in the 1830s and would remain that way forever, if the saints did not fall and remained steadfast. On the other hand if they fell, the implication is that the kingdom would no longer be theirs.

D&C 90

And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.

Here we have yet another warning from the Lord. This time He warns the saints to take the oracles which they had received seriously and not take them lightly. Failure to do this would bring condemnation upon them and they would stumble and fall. The storm mentioned is likely the destruction which will come upon the earth prior to the Lord’s return, thus very strongly implying that if the saints took the oracles of God lightly, and fell under condemnation, they would not be spared the destruction and desolation that will precede the Lord’s second coming.

D&C 104

Verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come—

With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;

But inasmuch as they were not faithful they were nigh unto cursing.

Therefore, inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant through covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse.

For I, the Lord, have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or, in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will;

For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in these things—

And all this that the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust; and that the guilty among you may not escape; because I, the Lord, have promised unto you a crown of glory at my right hand.

Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath in your lives.

Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.

In these verses the Lord is particularly referring to the significance of living the law of consecration, or the united order, that the saints had received. The saints had entered into a solemn covenant with God to live this law, which the Lord had established “to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come.” Failure to live this law would bring severe cursings upon them, for the Lord will not be mocked.

At the risk of putting the cart before the horse the question needs to be asked if the saints have kept their covenant to live the law of consecration. It is common knowledge that the saints failed to live the law of consecration in Kirtland and in Missouri. By the Nauvoo period the practice had been completely abandoned. We certainly are not living this law today.

D&C 124

28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

29 For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead—

30 For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.

31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.

32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.

43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.

44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.

45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.

46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.

47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.

48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.

This revelation was received in 1841 in Nauvoo, after the saints had failed to live the law of consecration and had been driven from Missouri by their enemies. In this revelation the Lord commands the saints to build the Nauvoo Temple.

The Lord states that the Temple was to be built so that, “he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

Since the Lord is speaking in the first person in this revelation, the “he” He is referring to must be a servant of His who would need to come and restore that which was lost unto the church, which this servant had taken away, even the fullness of the priesthood. This is likely referring to Elijah or Elias.

One has to wonder why the church had lost the fullness of the priesthood at this time. We know that by this time the saints had collectively failed to live the law of consecration and had thus broken a very serious covenant with the Lord, which he promised would bring cursings if broken. The loss of the fullness of the priesthood and the failure to live the law of consecration appear to be connected. Of course the saints were guilty of other sins, too.

An alternative explanation might possibly be that the Lord was declaring that the fullness of the priesthood was not yet restored from when it was taken away during the Great Apostasy. We know that during the Nauvoo period the endowment and sealings were introduced for the first time in this dispensation.

Regardless of which interpretation we want to accept, the Lord is very clear in this revelation that failure to build the Nauvoo temple would lead to the church being rejected and moved out of its place.

Additionally the Lord warns them that even if they build this house unto Him, if the saints do not do the things the Lord commanded them to do they will not receive the promised blessing, which the Lord had covenanted with them. Instead they would receive cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon their own heads, by their follies, and by all their abominations, which they practiced before the Lord. This warning by the Lord is very serious and cannot be misunderstood. Either the saints did what He commanded them or they would be cursed and even rejected instead of blessed.

All of these scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants tell a similar story. The saints in the 1830s and 1840s were the Lord’s covenant people who were promised wonderful blessings, even the kingdom of God forever, if they remained faithful and kept the Lord’s commandments. On the other hand if they did not remain faithful they would fall and be cursed. It’s impossible to interpret these scriptures any other way.

What the Lord decreed in these passages is a far cry from the doctrine taught in the church today, that since the church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and was commanded to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming and establish His kingdom on earth, that the church cannot and will not collectively apostatize or become corrupted.

For those of us who are active believing members of the church, this is very hard to accept. It goes against everything we’ve been taught, but it is what the Lord said repeatedly in the scriptures, which means it has to be true.

Now that it has been thoroughly established that it was possible for the church to fall into apostasy and fail to receive the promised blessings of the Lord, the question is what happened to the church? Have the saints collectively lived up to their covenants and remained completely faithful to the Lord? Or have we fallen short and are either on the path to apostasy or are already there? Is the church receiving the promised blessings of the Lord or have we received cursings and are on the path to destruction? Or are we somewhere in between?

I will discuss these questions in part three of this series.

Apostasy Part 1

The word apostasy has several meanings for LDS members. Today the term apostasy or apostate is generally directed at individuals who were once active members of the church who have either turned their back on the church or have been cast out for one reason or another.

We are also all familiar with the concept of what we refer to as the Great Apostasy, which occurred sometime after the deaths of Christ’s ancient apostles.

While we don’t know every detail about exactly how the apostasy happened, or when it was complete, we do know with certainty that it happened within, at the most, a couple hundred years after the deaths of Christ’s apostles.

We also know that over time the original ordinances and doctrines of Christ’s church were changed, corrupted, or altogether abandoned. The church also lost the authority of the priesthood. Through the centuries the Catholic Church has claimed to retain the authority from God and to offer salvation to their faithful, but the evidence is overwhelming that this is not the case. The scriptures also document that this Great Apostasy would happen and did happen.

We also know that the Lord called the Prophet Joseph Smith as in instrument to restore the truth and His true church in the 1830s and 1840s, thus ending the long years of darkness and paving the way for believers to once again have access to the saving ordinances of the gospel and correct doctrine.

We also know that other apostasies have also occurred throughout the world’s history. In the first lesson the full-time missionaries teach investigators, they teach them about the pattern of apostasy and restoration in the various dispensations, recounting the stories and contributions of ancient prophets such as Enoch, Noah, Moses, and John the Baptist.

The fact that people have repeatedly collectively apostatized from the true doctrines and ordinances of God throughout history is well documented, as is the Lord’s pattern of sending prophets to warn the people to repent before they are destroyed. Those who repented were spared and those who did not were chastened and brought down.

We see this pattern throughout the scriptures, especially in the Book of Mormon. In the Book of Mormon we see what many refer to as the “pride cycle”, were the people of the Lord, the Nephites, are righteous and blessed by the Lord, but then become prideful forget God and become wicked. Then they repent, either because of the preaching of servants of the Lord or because of the scourges which the Lord sent forth to chasten them. The people then become righteous and are blessed, but eventually become prideful and wicked once again. The cycle of repeated apostasy is finally culminated with the destruction of the entire Nephite nation at the hands of the Lamanites, because of their great wickedness in sinning against the greater light.

In addition to the repeated cycle of apostasy in the Book of Mormon, we also see the collective apostasy of God’s people very clearly in the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

Now how does all of this apply to us today? After all we live in the dispensation of the fullness of times and have been repeatedly told that this dispensation will not and cannot collectively apostatize.

The article on Apostasy on the Church’s official website states the following (emphasis added):

When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy. One example is the Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.

Latter-day Saints believe that, through the priesthood conferred to Joseph Smith by the ministering of angels, the authority to act in God’s name was brought back to the earth…

… We now live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. But unlike the Church in times past, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be overcome by general apostasy. The scriptures teach that the Church will never again be destroyed (see D&C 138:44; see also Daniel 2:44).

Although there will not be another general apostasy from the truth, we must each guard against personal apostasy by keeping covenants, obeying the commandments, following Church leaders, partaking of the sacrament, and constantly strengthening our testimonies through daily scripture study, prayer, and service.

https://www.lds.org/topics/apostasy?lang=eng

According to this article, the official church position on apostasy is that the scriptures teach that it is impossible for the church to collectively apostatize, only individuals can and do apostatize.

If this is true then all each of us has to worry about is staying in harmony with the current teachings of the church, because the church and its leaders will always stay pure and holy.

While it would be no small task to stay in complete harmony with the teachings of the church and to keep one’s covenants and the commandments, it would certainly be comforting to know that as long as one stays with the church and devotes one’s life to following the teachings of the church and its leaders, especially the living prophet, one will be assured salvation.

This is what the church teaches, but is this claim that the church and its leaders cannot and will not apostatize, as all previous dispensations inevitably have, actually true? Do the scriptures actually verify that we can put our trust completely and fully in the teachings of the church and merely stay in the ‘Old Ship Zion’, as Elder M. Russel Ballard is fond of saying, and be assured that we will arrive at our desired destination, eternal life? Is there really no possible way for the Lord’s true church, restored in 1830, to become defiled and depart from the true and pure doctrines and ordinances of the gospel?

To answer this question let’s start by looking at the two scriptures referenced in the article from lds.org:

44 Daniel, who foresaw and foretold the establishment of the kingdom of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people; (D&C 138:44)

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)

Clearly Daniel saw a vision in which in the last days God would set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed or left to other people. The question is whether the kingdom Daniel saw refers to the LDS church or not. Neither of these two verses make any link between the kingdom Daniel saw and the LDS church.

We’ll have to look a little deeper.

Let’s start with the looking at the context of those two verses. The verse from D&C 138 is part of a list of people Joseph F. Smith saw in a dream of the spirit world and does not provide any information beyond what is contained in that single verse.

Daniel 2 on the other hand provides us with a great deal of context.

In this chapter Daniel is providing the interpretation of a strange dream that the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had concerning future events, including the last days. Let’s look at the entire interpretation of the dream provided by the Lord through Daniel.

31 ¶ Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

36 ¶ This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

We could spend some time analyzing these verses, but for the purpose of this article I’ll just say that there is no direct link in these verses connecting the kingdom that Daniel saw to the LDS church. The kingdom Daniel saw is going to be established at the time of these great kingdoms mentioned in the vision and is going to break them into pieces. The LDS church is not currently, nor has it ever, broken any earthly kingdoms or nations to pieces. I suppose the church could do this someday, but this is not taught in church.

D&C 65 is often quoted in conjunction with the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. It is a prayer given to Joseph Smith by revelation in October 1830:

Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.

Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people.

Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.

Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.

While this prayer does not definitively connect the LDS church with the kingdom Daniel saw, it does state that, “The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth. Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.”

This makes it clear that the keys of the kingdom of God were on earth at the time of this revelation, and that the gospel was to roll forth as the stone cut out of the mountain that Daniel saw. Interestingly enough this prayer does not state that the gospel is in fact the kingdom of God set up on earth for the last time, and it certainly doesn’t state that the church is this kingdom either.

In fact this is a prayer that the gospel would roll forth as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, now that the keys of the kingdom of God had been committed to man on earth. There is no declaration that this last kingdom had been officially established, only that they keys of the kingdom of God had been committed to man and that the gospel was to roll forth preparing the way for the second coming of the Lord.

The saints were to “Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people” and to “Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.”

While this prayer certainly leaves open the possibility that the LDS church is the kingdom of God on earth that Daniel saw rolling forth in the last days never to be left to another people, there is no guarantee here that the kingdom that Daniel saw was even established let alone that this kingdom is the LDS church.

In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836, Joseph Smith again mentions the vision of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands in his plea for the Lord to bless the saints. His prayer is contained in D&C 109:

72 Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;

73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;

74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;

75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;

76 That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.

77 O Lord God Almighty, hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven, thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned, with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting.

78 O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! And answer these petitions, and accept the dedication of this house unto thee, the work of our hands, which we have built unto thy name;

79 And also this church, to put upon it thy name. And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb!

80 And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen.

Joseph Smith’s prayer is beautiful and worth an in depth study. He asks the Lord to remember the church and that the meek of the earth, “that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.”

Joseph does appear to be connecting the church with the kingdom of God from the vision of Daniel in this prayer, even stating that the kingdom had already been set up without hands. If we look at the rest of the verses it becomes clear that this was a plea by Joseph Smith for the Lord to be merciful to the saints and save them in his kingdom when he comes again. He asks the Lord to bring the church out of the “wilderness of darkness” and for the Lord to put his name upon the church. He also asks the Lord to catch the saints up to meet him at the time that the trump shall call for the dead. Joseph Smith is pleading to the Lord on behalf of the saints and praying that they will be able to establish and roll forth the kingdom of God and be saved in the kingdom of heaven.

It is obvious from these two prayers that it was the desire of Joseph Smith and the early saints of this dispensation that they would be part of the kingdom of God, set up in the last days which would never be destroyed. It also seems that the Lord was giving the saints a chance to fulfill this prophecy or at least to strive towards that goal, but there was no guarantee. If the saints were to fulfill this prophecy they would have to do what it took and would have to remain completely faithful to the Lord, keeping all of His commandments in all holiness before Him. If they failed to do this then they would not fulfill the prophecy and be part of the kingdom of God which rolls forth in the last days and fills the earth.

If you think about it this makes perfect sense. People always have their agency. The Lord will not force the saints to establish His kingdom and spread it throughout the earth. That is up to the people themselves. The kingdom of God that Daniel saw will come and when it does it will never be overcome, but we ought to be very careful in assuming that the LDS church is this kingdom and therefore can never fail.

We should be very careful in assuming that because the church has become a world-wide mainstream church, with congregations all over the world, that we are fulfilling this prophecy of the stone cut out of the mountains and that it is impossible for the church to become defiled.

The very idea that it is possible that the church will not always remain pure goes against everything we are repeatedly taught at church, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

In my next post I will provide evidence that the church restored through the prophet Joseph Smith could in fact fall into apostasy.

The Purpose of this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to discuss the standard works, LDS church history, and the current state of the church.

I  firmly believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, one of the greatest who ever lived, and that he was an instrument in the hands of the almighty to restore the Lord’s true church upon the earth in the latter days.

It is my opinion  that the Lord’s second coming is near, and that the world currently lies in sin, exactly as was prophesied in the scriptures.

I also believe that all is not well within the LDS church.

A lot has changed in the church since it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith nearly 200 years ago.

Many of the original doctrines of the early LDS church have been changed or altogether abandoned.

The LDS church has sought for some time now to become popular in the eyes of the world and to become a mainstream church. This desire is contrary to the will of God and has resulted in major changes to church doctrine and practices.

I believe that the LDS church is still the Lord’s church and that the latter day saints are still His covenant people, even with the many problems in the church today.

In this blog I will share things I have discovered as I have studied the scriptures, church history, and the current practices of the church.

I will also share things I have observed about the various LDS splinter groups and the false prophets and teachers who lead them.

Satan has cast a great net to catch those who have awakened to the knowledge that all is not well in Zion. He seeks to ensnare those who are awake and lead them down forbidden paths to destruction. This is a very real danger. Sadly many have already been lost down these paths.

It is my hope that this blog will help some struggling soul from being lost down one of Satan’s forbidden paths, and that those believers who are awake may come to a unity in the faith and be among the elect who will be gathered to Zion in the due time of the Lord, to joyfully await His second coming.