Hello! Shalom! Aloha! Mabuhay!

If this is your first visit to Modern Apocrypha, I have only two recommendations for continuing on with minimal confusion:

1) Please begin with the first introductory post (found HERE) and work your way forward. Almost all the posts on this blog flow chronologically and will make more sense with the background and context of previous ones. Jumping in anywhere might be disorienting.

2) Please read along in the texts posted off to the right. I try not to summarize too much in the commentary and discussion, and being at least somewhat familiar with what we're discussing or I'm commenting on will be most beneficial and edifying for all involved. Plus, going along with the theme of this blog, any hidden truths to be brought to light will be found within the text itself and not necessarily within my ramblings.

Okay, fine, three recommendations:

3) Please read with an open heart, mind, and spirit. See what truths you can find in these works--ones which speak to you. Namaste : )

Saturday, November 22, 2014


At long last, we're finally into the actual text of the Akaltan! (It only took 6+ months ; )

Right off the bat, we're introduced to Ruman, the equivalent of a Mormon-Moroni character--the final believer and record keeper as well as compiler, abridger, and narrator of the Aklatan. As with Mormon in the Book of Mormon, whenever we hear things in a narrative, third-person voice, it'll almost always be Ruman speaking. His introduction here is also similar to Moroni's "Title Page", as it explains his method and purpose for compiling this record.

Ruman says that he wrote on copper sheets so that the record would last until it's revealed in future generations. (He'll explain more about how he fashioned these plates in his book at the end of the Aklatan.) He also tells that he wrote them in a language of his own creation--a code of sorts--so that if the sheets are found by the believers' enemies, who have sworn to destroy everything connected to the Gospel of Christ, they would neither comprehend the words nor their value.

This reminded me of the descriptions in the Book of Mormon of their method of recording. Lehi, the first record keeper (the English translation of his record being lost by Martin Harris), could read Egyptian:
For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these [brass] plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children... (Mosiah 1:4)
It doesn't specify, but "the language of the Egyptians" could mean any or all of these written forms: formal hieroglyphic, hieratic of religious texts, and/or early demotic of administrative, legal, and commercial documents.

(This is the same text written in the three systems.)

It's apparent from this that Lehi, and later Nephi, followed the pattern of the Brass Plates--Egyptian engravings on metal plates--to keep their own lasting records. Nephi explains their family code:
I, Nephi,... was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;... therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. (1 Nephi 1:1-2)
Though novel in 1829, this kind of mixed writing system--communicating one language in the symbols of another--now appears to have been prevalent in the ancient Mid-East at the time of Lehi and before, and Moroni explains why they wrote in Egyptian and that it'd been changed over the Nephite millennium to something like this:
And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof. (Mormon 9:32-34)
Which brings us full circle to Ruman. Echoing Moroni, Ruman also has faith that God would provide a means for his coded record to be translated and the Aklatan to be revealed to a chosen people in the future who would then lay the foundation for peace and prosperity.

On the Title Page to the Book of Mormon, Moroni declares that the purpose of that record is 1) to remind remnant Israel of God's dealings and covenants with their ancestors and 2) to convince all that Jesus is the Christ. Ruman also explains that he compiled the stories, histories, and prophecies of the Aklatan 1) so that future generations and inhabitants of the islands would know the truth of their ancestors and God's word concerning them and 2) to bear witness that Jesus is the Son of God and that salvation comes through Him and His word. The similarities are striking.

Ruman then begins his record with the writings of the prophet Suran taken from a great scroll. The remainder of the record comes from many other scrolls, bamboo records, and other sacred writings in his possession that contain the words and preachings of many prophets. Like Mormon, Ruman has written only those things that the Holy Ghost testified were important to be preserved and passed on.

From archaeological, historical, and modern-day evidence from the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, etc., we can visualize these scrolls, bamboo records, and the like as similar to these:

Sunday, November 16, 2014


In the 25th year of Judah's Babylonian captivity (572 BC), a 50-year-old Ezekiel receives one of the most amazing visions of the Bible (Ezekiel 40-48), one of the millennial temple at Jerusalem and the Lord's holy city. His tour guide, an angel ("man") with radiant bronze skin, escorts him throughout the temple compound, carefully noting every possible architectural measurement. Biblical scholars have debated whether this overload of architectural minutiae was merely to demonstrate the reality of Ezekiel's vision--that he couldn't have made it all up--or rather, that the Lord wanted it to serve as an actual blueprint for that same future temple and its surroundings--a prophecy, then, with great potential for self-fulfillment.

You can find hundreds of outlines, diagrams, and models of Ezekiel's temple online, and we could go on forever on all of the details and their possible significance. But I'll just post links to a few fun 3D models (except for the glory of God depicted as flying fiery wheels ; ), and add a few comments of interest. (All videos courtesy of Bible Prints.)

Ezekiel 40
Ezekiel 41
Ezekiel 42-43

First off, the temple is going to be quite a substantial construction. With a cubit equalling about a foot-and-a-half (give or take) and a reed equalling about six cubits (give or take), the outer wall of the temple sanctuary will enclose almost 1 1/2 square miles, or roughly the size of Central Park. The central temple compound itself is about 250 yards on each side, or enough area to fit about eight football fields. The chapters don't specify the height of the temple itself, only that it will have three stories of usable rooms; however, the gates of the compound will be about ten stories tall!

Ezekiel mentions in passing the "sons of Zadok", but it's not until Ch 5 (or 44) that their importance is discussed. In that chapter, the Lord chastises the priests of Judah for allowing foreigners, unbelievers, and the unrighteous into the temple. Essentially, the Lord's anointed ones, who should've personally kept the temple clean and pure, had passed the buck and delegated that responsibility to security guards and other temple workers. Apparently, the sons of Zadok were the only ones who cared for their charge and magnified their calling while the rest of Israel and Judah fell into apostasy. It's important to note that Zadok served as the first high priest of Solomon's temple and had previously anointed Solomon as king and aided his father, David, during wartime. The Dead Sea Scrolls speak much about "Sons of Zadok" as leaders in the Qumran community, and there was also a group of Zadok's descendants who immigrated to Egypt during Maccabean times to establish a new temple and righteous community. While all the rest of the priests and Levites followed their own paths, this direct lineage of the high priest seemed to have kept the faith down to intertestamental times, when control of the temple fell into disarray due to conquering foreign empires and internal strife. It is during this time that the Sadducees (Zadokites) gain predominance in both the religious and socio-political realms. However, it is historically doubtful that the Sadducean aristocracy grew from the line of the sons of Zadok; rather, it seems this sect either appropriated the title of Zadok or was founded by a later Zadok who lived in the 2nd century BC. In any case, there will be true sons of Zadok who will have the charge of offering sacrifices again in righteousness in God's millennial temple. (Or in a secondary, more metaphorical interpretation, where Zadok literally means "righteous" (e.g., Melchizedek = "my king is righteousness"), these sons of Zadok could also be simply righteous priesthood holders.)

Another unique feature of the temple will be a river flowing from beneath its foundation out into the Judean desert and emptying into the Dead Sea. This living water will bring life wherever it flows and heal both the desert and the Dead Sea to a point where trees (for food and medicine) and other vegetation will thrive along its banks and the Dead Sea will be full of fish to rival the Mediterranean. John the Revelator (Rev 22) and Zechariah (Ch 14) also saw this river--Zechariah noting that it would split and flow westward into the Mediterranean Sea, as well.

Israel is then divvied up among the twelve tribes, from Dan in the north to Gad in the south. Joseph, as the son of the birthright, is given a double portion (divided between Manasseh and Ephraim), and Levi is subsumed under Judah. The land surrounding the temple sanctuary (upwards of 2500 square miles) is also portioned out to the priests (sons of Zadok), Levites, and the city and farms of Jerusalem. (There is some question as to whether the priests' portion, and thus the temple, will be in the center or north of the plot. In either case, it's interesting to note that the temple will not be within the walls of the city, and the city will cover only half of modern-day Jerusalem.) The extra land on either side of Judah's allocation is given to the Prince, whose identity is left to speculation. Finally, while the King James Version translates the final verse describing the holy city, "and the name of the city from that day shall be, the Lord is there," the Aklatan renders it, "and the name of the city from that day shall be called, Holy; for the Lord shall be there." After scouring dozens of English translations, all were similar to the KJV except for one--Joseph Smith's Inspired Version, which translated it exactly the same as the Aklatan.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Hi all -

Modern Apocrypha finally has it's own Facebook page (HERE)! (I've been meaning to do this for months.) It'll be a secondary venue to (more easily) share and discuss the topics presented here on the blog. All of the previous blog entries will remain solely here, but all subsequent ones will be posted both here and there. So, head on over, like it, discuss it, and share it with all your friends.


In Visions 3, the Lord tells Elisha:
Now I give unto you a command. You shall read the words of Ezekiel written in the record of the Jews. And read those chapters forty through forty-eight. And as you read them I will show unto your mind the meaning thereof. And you shall include the words of Ezekiel in your writings, even at the beginning of the record which you shall translate. And this you shall do for a special purpose.
He doesn't elaborate on what that "special purpose" would be, but examining those chapters of Ezekiel, it's pretty clear it has to do with re-establishing the temple as a focal point of God's kingdom and putting forth a pattern for future temple construction and worship.

We'll see a similar pattern throughout the Aklatan, and these chapters of Ezekiel set a proper tone for the entire record.

1) Future Jerusalem -- Ezekiel sees the millennial temple of God in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48)

2) Ancient Maharlika -- Suran and his sons are led to ancient records detailing pre-Israelite temple construction and worship, and build a temple and offer sacrifice after that pattern. (Suran 5, 8; Ahkman 12)

3) Present/Future Maharlika -- The Lord tells Ahkman that his descendants in the last days will build a temple as a precursor to the completion of His temple in Jerusalem. (Ahkman 7)

4) Future Jerusalem --  John the Revelator teaches Ruman that the temple he measured in Revelation 11 is the temple in Jerusalem that will be built in the last days after the pattern given by Ezekiel. (Ruman 5)

And so, the Aklatan itself is a complete historical and thematic arc or circle centered on past, present, and future temple worship and bookended by glorious visions of God's holy house.


There's been a good amount of discussion, online and elsewhere, of the Aklatan's place vis-à-vis the LDS Church. Elisha's answer to the "Mormon" question in his latest update triggered my memory that I wanted to post an experience recorded last year that gives an second perspective on this.

In a nutshell, Elisha claims no affiliation or connection with the LDS Church or the Book of Mormon. Rather, his mission and calling are specific to building Christ's island kingdom and restoring those people to their covenant relationship with Him through the Aklatan. This second witness is reported by someone who posts under the name captmoroni1981, and it gives an account of the LDS Church's take on the Aklatan--unofficially and off the record.

In spite of all the anonymity within the story, in the relating his experience, captmoroni definitely seems much more straightforward and declarative in his testimony and outwardly deferential than I am or probably would be in this situation. But I think it speaks to his sincerity or at least that which he'd like to portray.

Part 1 (HERE): meeting with his bishop
Part 2 (HERE): meeting with a seventy

We can get into the reasons behind this non-relationship between the Aklatan and the LDS Church in the comments, but I think there's an echo of Gamaliel and the Apostles (Acts 5) in all of this. As the great Pharisee defended Peter and the Apostles from execution by the Sanhedrin, he argued:
Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5: 38-39)
Joseph Smith also prophesied:
The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
If the Aklatan is part of God's truth, and Elisha's calling is part of God's work, these previous statements represent good counsel.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Hi all. Just a quick post before we delve into the actual text of the Aklatan. Elisha just posted on the official website to answer a few questions (find it HERE). Without reposting the whole thing here, I'll give some of the highlights and let you check out the details.

Where is Elisha Enoc?
Traveling all over Maharlika helping people and spreading the message of Christ. He says he "[doesn't] have a lot of time left." I don't know if that means he feels he won't live much longer, or if there's another event on the horizon, and he's trying to get as much work done as possible before that.

Why isn't Elisha more active online?
Answering questions online isn't his greatest priority; ministering to the people is. God's work should be the focus, not him.

Who runs your website?
A couple of close friends, who have their own lives and families. They want to get more people involved in their online operations. You can volunteer to help out HERE.

I don't live in the Philippines, how can I help support the Aklatan?
Read and share it (esp. with Maharlikans: people and descendants of the Philippines, Taiwan, Borneo, Palau, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Micronesia). For Maharlikans, help establish the designated international communities in California (San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara counties), Spain (Galicia/Canary Islands), and Japan (Okinawa). (These were announced and specified HERE).

Why is the Kingdom named the Kingdom of Maharlika? Wasn't that something Marcos developed?
Here's the entire answer:
It is true that Maharlika was (mis)used by Ferdinand Marcos. It is an ancient Tagalog word used to refer to the warrior class. This is a name that we have chosen to refer to the Kingdom. The modern kingdom was never given a specific name however the ancient followers of Christ took on the name "Mahardika" as spoken of by Namwaran. More information about this will be known as more of the Aklatan is published. But it is true that the name "Kingdom of Maharlika" is a modern name not an ancient one.
Does the Aklatan support the Book of Mormon/Mormon Church?
"There have been a lot of questions and comments by Mormons about the Aklatan," (*newby raises his hand*) but the specific purpose of the Aklatan is to reestablish Christ's kingdom in Maharlika. Once that purpose is accomplished, God will do what He wants with the book.

What is this I have read about twelve women?
Liwan prophesied of twelve women living today, who will travel throughout the islands to minister and reestablish the kingdom; however, they don't know about the Aklatan or their callings yet. They are key to the work, but it's up to us to find them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Now that we're done with Elisha's story, I'd like to point out a few of his qualities & characteristics that stood out to me from the Book of Visions. I know it's a first-person narrative and a potentially biased portrayal (consciously or not), but I think we can gain some insight into the "character" of Elisha through a quick retrospective. (This list of qualities is in no particular order, just as they came to me in reading the text. I'm sure you'd be able to find other descriptive terms.) Here's how I see Elisha:

- sees a vision of the copper sheets in the cave
- Christ visits him
- sees a vision of the whole of the island kingdom with Christ
- translates the copper sheets in a dream-state (The dream-vision connection reminded me of Lehi's "Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.")

- checks his vision of the cave with his family to make sure he wasn't hallucinating
- wants to take the plates to a university for testing
- skeptical of Oleeha and how he knew everything
- thinks it was all a hoax or trick being played on him
- thinks it curious that the three men couldn't tell their names
- questions why he has to be baptized a second time and what the priesthood is all about
- but accepts the men's explanation as logical
- doesn't know whether his speaking in tongues was truth or gibberish
- surprised to have to wait 20 years to publish the Aklatan

Susceptible to/follows the Spirit
- led by the Spirit to the cave and leaves when prompted
- Christ says the Spirit had inspired him from time to time
- feels warmth and power upon receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and begins speaking in tongues
- able to translate the copper sheets via the Spirit

- doesn't reveal the location of the cave
- doesn't speak of the cave or Oleeha for 3 months
- given a huge responsibility to bring forth this record and preach Christ
- tried all his life to live God's commandments
- sells his things and gives the money to the poor as commanded
- writes down Christ's words as commanded
- begins preaching right away in the region
- follows the directions of the three men
- studies the scriptures
- spends every night for 8 months translating the copper sheets
- waits 20 years to publish the Aklatan

- tried all his life to live God's commandments
- knows the Bible and believes it to be the word of God
- believes when taught that there's more to God's word than the Bible
- believes that he needs to be baptized again and receive the priesthood
- believes the men when they say he spoke truth through the gift of tongues
- continues to read the scriptures

- recognizes his sins and imperfection before Christ
- doesn't know how he can do all this
- doesn't claim to be wealthy, powerful, or influential
- sells his things and gives the money to the poor
- quickly changes his point of view when taught that there's more to God's word than the Bible, or that he needs to be baptized again and receive the priesthood

- called by Christ as a special apostle to people of the islands
- is to declare the Lord's commands to His people

- sells his things and gives the money to the poor

- asks questions and clarifications of Christ
- thinks it curious that the three men couldn't tell their names
- questions why he has to be baptized a second time and what the priesthood is all about
- ponders for hours about the visit of the three men 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


On Saturday, 21 November 1987, after nearly eight whole months of translating, Elisha completes the record, and is visited again by Oleeha, who, again, knows everything that has taken place. Elisha makes it a point to relate that he was awake this time for Oleeha's visit, but it's still unclear when he first entered his dream-state back on April 6. Did he fall asleep reading his Bible (very plausible ; ) even before Oleeha comes, or during their talk before translation, or after that first instruction in God's method of translation? I don't know.
In any case, Oleeha reiterates what the Lord had already told him about the publication process (Visions 3, Part 5), that only a portion would be included in the first edition, and even that would have to wait twenty years. He instructs Elisha to call the record "The Aklatan", meaning "library" or "collection of books" (we discussed this back in Introduction, Part 1), and tells him which books to include first. Christ had explained that this piecemeal process will be a test of faith for His people in accepting not only these new scriptures, but also Elisha as His prophet.
And If My people shall receive it with glad hearts, and do all the things I shall command them through you; then you shall publish more of the record. Even until all the record shall be published. (Visions 3, Part 5)
Elisha has posted HERE what trigger events need to transpire to allow more to be released, but I'll add the chart here, too. (Those events in bold and underlined occurred during the second half of 2013, and the accompanying books were published in the 2nd edition.)

The Great Scroll of SuranAfter land has been acquired to build the temple.
The History of the OphirAfter ministry are established in each of the six areas of the Kingdom.
The rest of the Book of AhkmanDuring the large gathering of believers
The rest of the Book ArakimAfter the Filipino communities in America have been established.
The Book of KimeshAfter the Filipino communities have been established in Europe
The Gospel Written by AnguluAfter a great number of men begin to travel around to share the Aklatan.
The Gospel Written by TaletanAt a large gathering with representatives from all six areas of Maharlika.
A Record of the Twelve WomenAfter a great number of women begin to travel around to share the Aklatan.
The Prophecies of TelemekAfter the first pilgrimage has been completed.
The Book of DataraAfter the Warriors of the Darkness are re-established and strong in numbers.
The Book of KilingaAfter Temple construction had begun.
The Preserved Record of AlgapoJust before beginning the friendship ministry to the Muslims in Mindanao.
The rest of the Book of NamwaranAfter cities for believers have begun to be built.
The Record of the AncientsAfter the Kingdom of Maharlika is completed
I started to wonder what it would've been like had the Book of Mormon been published in this same way but then quickly remembered that it had. A large portion was published in 1829, and we consider that the entire record, but time and again in the text itself, we are promised to receive more records (those of lost tribes, more of Christ's words during His Bountiful visit, the sealed portion of the plates, etc.) according to our faith in accepting the first. (We might even get to have the Book of Lehi back ; ) The Aklatan is the first of these purporting to be a record of lost tribes that we're exploring here in this blog, but there are others that we'll get to in due time. Pray and exercise your faith so that we can receive more!

Elisha again notes his surprise that such a long waiting period is necessary, even though Christ told him the same thing over a year ago. I'm assuming this is a continuation of the surprise he must've felt when he first found out. I know I would've been too overwhelmed at that visit to show much emotion other than only mustering blank looks, nods, and "uh-huh's". But Oleeha explains that the people of the islands need a time of preparation to receive the record and take up the work. During the interim, Elisha will "begin other works to bring forth God's purposes"--preaching, gathering, translating, etc. Remember that we discussed in passing "another work of translation" that Christ said Elisha would help with five years from that time (1986) (Visions 3, Part 5). I don't know what that would be but seems to be something other than a record of the people of the islands.

So, what has happened in the 1987-2007 period to prepare the people of the Philippines?

1986 - Marcos ousted, and a new republic established.
1987 - New constitution ratified, but the recovery process from Marcos' rule in uniting various political factions is difficult
1991 - Mt Pinatubo erupts, killing over 800, leaving 200,000 homeless and 650,000 unemployed
1992 - US military presence officially ends
1994-96 - Peace achieved with separatist and militant groups
1998 - Election of a president who favors the poor and economic growth
2000 - War against militant groups
2001 - That president is forced to resign for corruption
2001-07 - Coalition politics, military mutinies, etc.
2007-present - economic growth, political influence in the region, etc.
It definitely hasn't been all puppy dogs, fluffy clouds, and rainbows, and there still remain major poverty issues, but there has been much change, maturation, and growth in these islands since 1986. The Lord feels that the people of the islands are now prepared enough to accept Him fully and move forward in establishing His kingdom.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Ten weeks after the experience with the three men, it's Monday night, 6 April 1987 (a date well-known and significant to LDS readers, and the day after Pres Ezra Taft Benson gave his concluding General Conference talk (found HERE) on the role of the scriptures of the Restoration in the gathering of Israel and instruction of the plan of salvation). Elisha is having a single-person-style FHE, studying his scriptures, when he notices movement outside his house. (He still has a home even after selling all his belongings.) Ignorant, brave, curious, stupid, or whatever, he opens his door to see what was moving in the dark and, luckily, only finds Oleeha standing there. (Again, he refers to him as American.)

I think it's interesting that Oleeha seems to be loitering outside the house and doesn't knock. I don't know if there's anything there to read into (e.g., he needed to be invited in, à la vampire mythology), or maybe it's just that his arms were full with the stack of copper sheets he'd brought to Elisha for translation and didn't want to rudely kick-knock a probably flimsy door ; )

Now here's a rhetorical question, but with all of these ancient records needing translation (e.g., Jaredite, Nephite, Aklatan, etc.), why doesn't the Lord simply provide correct translations for everyone in their own language at once? Why does he go through the all the trouble and complications of human assistants and instrumentation? My best suggestion is that as a loving Father wishing for our progress, He provides experiential opportunities for the righteous exercise of faith and agency. The translation process is one of those situations: faith and an eye single to the God's glory are necessary on both the part of the translator and reader.

So, Oleeha puts the copper sheets on a table, asks Elisha to get paper and pencil (ah, the pre-computer age), and begins instructing him in how to translate. He first shows Elisha "man's way of translating"--deciphering symbols from one known language into another. But God's method is "an easier way to do it." (Although, I think "easier" is relative in this situation; it all depends on how in-tune one is to the Spirit.) This spiritual method consists of looking at a symbol, closing your eyes, focusing on that symbol in your mind, noting the strongest word that comes to mind, and asking God if that is the correct word. The Spirit will then confirm the truth. Elisha does this for all the symbols of a line, and to his surprise, his translation isn't gibberish. Oleeha then validates his translation via man's method. The two then work for hours to translate the first sheet of the record.

If you remember back in Visions 2, Part 2, we discussed the method of translation the Lord taught Oliver as found in D&C 9. It's the same exact method as taught to Elisha--work with the Spirit to find a potential solution to a problem, ask God if it's right, and feel the answer given by the Holy Ghost. This is "the gift and power of God" that Joseph Smith referred to time and again whenever someone inquired concerning the method of translating the Book of Mormon. It is kinda cool to see, though, that the singular method of translation "by the gift and power of God" can still occur through various media: three different individuals (Joseph, Oliver, Elisha) possessing three different gifts of the Spirit (seership, revelation, dreams and visions) and utilizing three different spiritual tools (Urim and Thummim/seerstones, rod, mind).
Elisha wakes up and realizes the whole experience happened in a dream-state. However, he still can remember the translation word-for-word and quickly writes it down. Once it's put to paper, it's gone from his mind. (Christ made this same promise to him in Visions 3, Part 9, that he'd be able to remember everything from these visions, etc. until they're written down.) It takes him eight months of nightly translation to complete the entire record. In comparison, with the translation of the Book of Mormon as we currently have it (minus the Book of Lehi), it took Joseph and Oliver only three months to translate ~250,000 English words. The current edition of the Aklatan contains only ~68,000 words, but we can't do much more of a comparison than that since there are still full and portions of books of the record still to be released. It could've taken longer for a number of reasons: differences between dream- and awake-state translation process, Joseph's natural gift of seership, differences between the coded writing systems, sleeptime shorter than the workday, etc. It's all fun speculation. One interesting advantage of performing all the translation while in a dream-state is that Elisha probably would still be able to go about his daily activities no worse for wear. (Although this experience seems different than lucid dreaming or REM sleep, so I don't know how it would've affected him physiologically.) There were many times that the translation of the Book of Mormon had to be postponed so that Joseph and Oliver could work for money or food, and they were often saved by the generosity of others.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Hi all. We're back. Things got busy for a while with school starting back up, teaching seminary again, work, family, and on and on. (Who am I kidding? Things are always busy.) I also have spent a lot of time during the past two months researching the subject of this post and reading up on the next set of apocrypha that we'll cover once/if we get through the Aklatan ; ) (There's a lot of good stuff out there.) And I will get to those who have posted comments in the interim. Anyway, we're almost done with the Book of Visions...

Elisha's unique experience with glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, shouldn't be all that odd or unique. For those that are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, this is a gift from that Spirit and one that will follow those who believe. The speaking in tongues is clearly attested during the Apostolic Church and was prevalent during the first generation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The issue then becomes, why has this gift, in particular, diminished? Or, at least, why do we not see it manifested regularly in our worship? There might be practical reasons for this. Joseph Smith taught that speaking in tongues "was particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages, but it was not given for the government of the Church," and that it must be accompanied by the interpretation of tongues. So, perhaps, because it is now easier to communicate between languages with today's technology, the need for this spiritual means of communication is lessened or is manifested in other ways (e.g., missionaries learning foreign languages easier, translating Church materials more efficiently, etc.).

However, the LDS Church History Blog has documented dozens of first-hand accounts of early Latter-day Saints showing just how integral speaking in tongues was to 19th century Mormon spirituality. The blog's introduction to the topic continues:
Brigham Young would sometimes hold conversations with others in tongues. Perhaps because women could not exercise spirituality tied to priesthood, they readily engaged in the practice of speaking and singing in tongues, as well as interpreting. Patriarchal blessings often promised the gift, sometimes in conjunction with preaching to American Indians (Lamanites). One interpretation of a song in tongues was included in a collection of revelations, and some blessings were given in tongues. After some time, caution was urged. Interpretation was to accompany the gift, and that which was said was not to be taken as doctrine.
The frequency of the gift slowed and eventually those who commonly spoke in tongues died off. Sometimes, manifestations of the gift in the 20th century were regarded with suspicion. Eventually church materials would define the gift of tongues primarily as the ability for missionaries or others to learn languages to preach the gospel.
I was going to post excerpts of many of these stories, and though it would be fun, it would be too long. So I'll just refer you to the LDS Church History Blog, and here's a graph representing the prevalence of speaking in tongues in the Church based on its documentation. (This is not representative of a robust scientific or statistical analysis on the data, and I understand the accompanying sorting issues, selection biases, etc of the dataset. It's just something I threw together to visualize the temporal trend of glossalia, and biases aside, there's something to it.)
(Click to enlarge)
We have never seen an outpouring of the Spirit manifested via the gift of tongues since the Saints were first establishing themselves in Utah, and even then, that paled in comparison to the time of Kirtland and the surrounding period. In our day, this is a good reminder to check ourselves that we're not suppressing but, rather, expressing, exercising, and seeking/coveting earnestly gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31; D&C 46:8). We need to be sure we're not falling into the trap of unbelief Mormon saw over 1600 years ago:
It is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. (Moroni 7:37-38)
Miracles and gifts of the Spirit happen because of faith and follow those who believe. If we're not seeing these in our own lives, where is our faith? If we're not seeing these in the world around us, things are looking pretty bleak. "Israel, Israel, God is calling..."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


On Sunday, 25 Jan 1987, four months after Jesus' visit (seemingly another testing period), Elisha is preaching the Bible to the people of Bangued (~30,000 people at the time) 130 miles north of where his story began in Dagupan. He stops to take a rest by the Abra River, which flows next to the city and is approached by three men. One thing that is interesting here is that Elisha takes time to describe them as taller than him but doesn't label them as American, as he had with Oleeha. I don't know if this is mere oversight on his part or if it means, in the absence of this label, they did not seem to be foreigners (e.g., dress, speech, physical characteristics, etc.) and could've even appeared Filipino.

In any case, they ask his name but cannot reveal their own, which Elisha finds curious. (We'll talk more on Elisha's reactions to the events recorded in the Book of Visions in a later post.) This is similar to and has parallels with other stories of threesomes of heavenly messengers sent by God to someone for a specific purpose yet remaining unnamed or unable to reveal their true character (e.g., Abraham's visitors in Gen 18, those presented in the LDS Endowment ceremony, etc.). The mission of these particular three this time is to find Elisha and aid him in his mission by administering the ordinances of baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and priesthood conferral.

Now Elisha, being a believing, life-long Catholic doesn't understand why he needs these ordinances since he was already baptized as an infant and is unfamiliar with priesthood distinct from that held by ordained clergy. The men give a clear, concise answer to his concerns. First, the priesthood is the authority and power used in preaching the word of God. Second, the baptism of infants is a Catholic tradition that didn't originate from Christ's teachings in the Bible. (The first traditions and writings of the practice date to the 2nd-3rd centuries AD.) Such a baptism is not sufficient to manifest faith in Christ, and the ordinance and the covenants associated with it must be entered into of one's own free will and choice as the fruit of faith and repentance. It seems this is all that is necessary to convince Elisha, and he accepts their explanation. They also could've expounded further on infant baptism like Mormon does in his letter to his son, Moroni (Moroni 8) (e.g., little children are incapable of committing sin; the curse of Adam is removed from them through the Atonement; they need neither repentance nor baptism; etc.), but don't.

Elisha is asked to go down into the river, where one of the men baptizes him by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Coming out of the water, he kneels down on the bank, and feels the light, warmth, and power of the Spirit as he receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands from the second of the three. This rush of the Spirit and power of God compels him to speak in a language he doesn't understand, but his visitors comprehend and confirm the truth of what he'd said. (I was going to discuss the manifestation of the spiritual gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues here, but I'll save it for the next post.) In the same manner (by the laying on of hands), the last of the three confers upon him the holy priesthood of God. The men conclude their visit by instructing Elisha in many important things pertaining to the Gospel and leave him to ponder the immensity of these events into the night.

Addendum 1: One last thing to think on. According to the current LDS understanding of priesthood authority, any ordinance performed must be done under the direction of one holding priesthood keys. Priesthood holders can't just go around willy-nilly baptizing, confirming, etc.; they must be assigned and delegated to perform that ordinance by those in authority to do so. From the LDS Guide to the Scriptures:
Keys are the rights of presidency, or the power given to man by God to direct, control, and govern God's priesthood on earth. Priesthood holders called to positions of presidency receive keys from those in authority over them. Priesthood holders use the priesthood only within the limits outlined by those who hold the keys.
Latter-day Saints believe that the President of the Church, then, holds all necessary priesthood keys on earth, the same as Peter when Christ gave him the "keys of the kingdom" (Matt 16:19). So, for this to all fit within an LDS (or possibly even traditional Christian) paradigm, these three men normally would've been sent by one holding the keys to preside over Elisha's baptism, confirmation, and ordination to the priesthood, namely, at least the local bishop, stake president, and/or mission president (h/t Bruce). However, you'll notice that these men simply state they are sent by God, and Elisha neither names the specific priesthood or office received nor mentions being confirmed a member of any church. In this case, it seems more likely that Christ himself, under the direction of the Father from whom all priesthood power, authority, and keys are derived, sent and authorized these special messengers to perform ordinances for Elisha outside of any Church authority or even knowledge. This is in keeping with Christ's calling of Elisha as a special apostle to the isles of the sea separate and apart from the Twelve overseeing His established Church.

Addendum 2: Joseph Smith had this to say about ministering angels and ordinances:
[Jesus] set the ordinances to be the same for Ever and ever and set Adam to watch over them to reveal them from heaven to man or to send Angels to reveal them. Are they not all ministring spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of Salvation. These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam who acts under the direction of Christ.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Jesus concludes His visit with Elisha reiterating His role as redeemer and gatherer of Israel under the direction of His Father. He preached the word in Jerusalem during His mortal ministry but was commanded to bring the Gospel to wherever Israel was scattered. He teaches Elisha what He told the descendants of Lehi (3 Nephi 15:12-16:7), that when He spoke of other sheep that needed to hear the Shepherd's voice and be gathered into His fold (John 10:16), He meant other tribes the Father had led away. The people of the islands are among those other sheep, as well as people of many more lands and even many more worlds! (While the author of Hebrews writes of Christ creating worlds under the direction of the Father (1:2; 11:3), it's often understood to mean simply the universe, however one imagines it. It isn't until Joseph Smith's translation of Moses (1:33, 35) that we learn of the literalness of that statement--that there are indeed innumerable worlds inhabited by God's children and other creations with Jesus as Savior of them all. This doctrine was also reiterated a few years later in D&C 76:24, 39 and 93:10.)
Christ reminds Elisha that He has set all these events in motion in order to remind the people of the islands that:
1) He is Lord of all nations and King in all lands and of all people
2) they are His children and one of His chosen people
3) He visited them in ancient times
4) He made covenants with them that He intends to keep
5) they will be gathered back into the House of Israel and receive their blessings
6) the island kingdom is given to them for their inheritance
7) the Aklatan is the catalyst for this chain of events

He tells Elisha that at the appointed time Oleeha will return to aid in translating the record, which speaks concerning the time when He came unto the island people. By His power, Christ caused it to be preserved in the cave and Elisha to discover it that it might come forth among the people and be a guide for them. The Aklatan will also be proof (He uses the word "proof" and not just "evidence") of two things: Elisha's calling and the Holy Spirit's power to witness of truth.

This promise from Jesus is key for anyone with hangups over Elisha. It's also analogous to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon was not read or studied as thoroughly as it is today; at first, it was mainly just a physical manifestation and witness of Joseph's prophetic calling. Even today, LDS missionaries ask everyone to read the Book of Mormon and receive a witness from the Spirit of it's truth. Then, the logical progression follows that if the Book of Mormon contains the word of God, then Joseph was a prophet of God who restored Gospel knowledge, priesthood keys, Christ's church, etc. in the latter days. The promise is the same, then, for Elisha: seeking and receiving a witness from the Holy Spirit of the truths found in the Aklatan logically leads to a witness of his divinely issued calling to the people of the islands.

Elisha is commanded to write all of Jesus' words down and promised they will stay in his memory until he has done so. At the end of the chapter, after Christ departs, Elisha relates that this happened just as Christ said it would; he remembered the whole visitation with perfect clarity until he wrote it down, and only then the memory began to fade. This reminded me of the story behind D&C 132. Historically, we can deduce that Joseph had received the revelation on celestial marriage as early as 1831, but it wasn't written down until 1842 at the insistence of his brother, Hyrum. Joseph declined using the Urim and Thummim, saying that he knew the revelation perfectly from beginning to end, even though he'd kept it in his mind for some 11 years. After recording it and making a copy, Joseph said that much more could've been written, but what was recorded was sufficient at that time. He even allowed his wife, Emma, to destroy the original, claiming he could recite it word for word at any time if necessary.

Wilford Woodruff also spoke of this unique spiritual gift (h/t Bruce):
Whenever I hear Joseph Smith preach, teach, or prophesy, I always felt it my duty to write it; I felt uneasy and could not eat, drink, or sleep until I did write; and my mind has been so exercised upon this subject that when I hear Joseph Smith teach and had no pencil or paper, I would go home and sit down and write the whole sermon, almost word for word and sentence by sentence as it was delivered, and when I had written it, it was taken from me, and I remembered it no more. This was the gift of God to me.
Christ's final command is to spread these words among the people, and whoever obeys these commands will be saved in the last day.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Yesterday I taught a Sunday School class on examples of good and bad leadership in the scriptures. (I know I've mentioned this before, but the best description of a Christlike leader is found in D&C 121:24-46.) We didn't get to discuss much the interplay between leaders and followers and the importance of that dynamic for the success of the system. So here are two quotes that present food for thought when it comes to our role as free followers and seekers of truth:

In a 2012 Worldwide Training Broadcast, Dieter Uchtdorf asked:
How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know but couldn't get past the massive iron gate of what we thought we already knew?
Brigham Young promised in an 1853 General Conference address:
Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God and the influences of the Holy Spirit than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another's sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold sceptres of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom
Remember, in all things of importance, seek the Spirit's guidance and confirmation of truth and then act on that confirming revelation. And it's probably a good idea to never accept something out of hand, no matter the source--a Nobel laureate, a government official, a Church leader, a blog (heaven forbid)--and falling in line while ignoring your own conscience, morality, ethics, etc.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)


Continuing on the theme of God giving according to need, Jesus quotes Paul's letter to the Ephesians (Ch 4), saying there is one Lord, faith, baptism, and God, who is the Father of all. Yet each of His children is unique, and because of this, we are each given grace (divine help) according to the degree of our need and circumstance. One of the Lord's primary aims in this life is for us to come unto Him; however, because of the uniqueness of our situations, understanding, and spiritual intelligence (see Abraham 3:18-19), there's no one-size-fits-all solution.

As Paul says, and the Lord reiterates to Elisha, He has prepared various means by which all of His children may increase in knowledge and wisdom, come to Him, understand His word, and eventually become perfect with the whole (the body of Christ analogy). Some of us progress the most in following the counsel and direction of apostles or the words of prophets; others thrive under the watchful care of pastors; and still others catch the vision through the preaching of evangelists or instruction of teachers. Christ explains that the purpose of this Swiss-army-knife approach is to optimize comprehension and inspiration among all of His children scattered throughout the earth that they might be uplifted according to their degree, do good works, and spread His word. He says the better teacher will uplift the many rather than the few.
This pattern, then, will remain in effect until a millennial condition is achieved, when all believers in Christ become unified in the faith, grow closer to and come to a more perfect knowledge of Him, are safe from deceitful schemes and false doctrines, and speak only truth and love. In that condition, the body of Christ is whole, with Christ at the head and every unique part fulfilling its role and working together for the perfection of all. That is unity of heart, mind, and purpose. That is God's Kingdom. That is Zion.

Jesus then recites the Parable of the Talents known from Matthew 25 and Luke 19, and maybe it's me, but I've never made or seen made the connection between Ephesians 4 and this specific parable. As with any other gift or talent, the capacity for faith and knowledge and the circumstances we find ourselves in differs from person to person. Some are born into blessed situations (e.g., freedom of religion; strong, believing families; etc.), others are not, to varying degrees. It doesn't matter to the Lord what or how much we've been given; all that is asked is that we show an increase in faith and good works.
This short mortal life is essentially a school (see Abraham 3:25-26) in which lessons are individually designed and meted out according to the differing knowledge, abilities, weaknesses, etc. of each student. Again, as the Lord explained above, each of us possess a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, of spiritual power and character flaws, and thus, will have to pass through a unique set of strengthening and purifying tests and trials. Outwardly, some of these tests might seem relatively easy compared to the soul-crushing difficulty of others, but they are all designed to allow us the greatest opportunity to grow and progress in that moment. And despite all of our differences, the end goal is the same for each student--that we make it to the next grade.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Elisha asks the simple, yet critical, question for seekers of truth: How will we know? And the Lord gives a simple, yet critical, answer: The Spirit will show you. This is supremely important to understand. The search for truth is a personal matter, so the Lord leaves quite a lot of that process up to us--the desire to learn more, degree of investment in the search, openness to new truth, humility to accept it, sincerity of heart and purity of motive, relationship with the Spirit, familiarity with its promptings, faith to act on them, and so on. The key to remember is that the Spirit is constant, true, and always willing to impart revelation; it's our responsibility to get to where it is and tune in to it, not the other way around. As we strive to become its constant companion, it will be ours (see D&C 121:45-46).

"Ask and ye shall receive" is the most common promise given by the Lord (and in all of scripture). Yet how often do we--does anyone--actually take Him up on this promise in the pursuit of truth? Oftentimes, we can get complacent about our state of knowledge--that we know enough or have achieved the minimal requirements for salvation--or, on the other hand, that we aren't personally capable or even allowed to know more. Each of these perspectives betrays a flawed comprehension of God, self, and the relationship of the two. We aren't much compared to God, as Moses discovered (Moses 1:10); however, the great paradox is that we are everything to Him--we are His children and He is our loving Father. And as such, Christ taught that God will give us spiritual truth as we ask for it (Matt 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13). The mysteries of God are not untouchable, and it's no punishable offense to seek for them. Rather they are spiritual truths only understood in the process of asking and receiving through the Spirit (Matt 13:11; D&C 42:61, 65; 63:23; 84:19; 107:18-19). However, the search for truth is, and should be, an endless pursuit, not just a once-in-a-lifetime event. Joseph Smith taught:
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19)
And so the Lord doesn't give Elisha a long discourse on how to come to know truth. His answer is short and sweet: Follow the Spirit. But He makes an interesting and key distinction between physical and spiritual truth and teaches that physical truth can only be determined through physical means and spiritual truth can only be determined through spiritual means. This epistemological dichotomy is central in the so-called faith and religion v. science and reason debates. While I'm optimistic in the efforts to bridge this divide, it's really a collision of two distinct paradigms or worldviews with some slight overlap. However, Christ teaches that--at least at this point--there's something to this division: logic, reason, and the scientific method will only be able to deduce physical or natural laws and truth, whereas spiritual laws and truth will only be able to be ascertained through spiritual means--faith, obedience, revelation, etc. Yet even still the Lord is patient and merciful toward those who can't quite grasp things spiritually; He will eventually provide them physical means to accept His spiritual truths. This is exemplified in His encounter with the apostle Thomas who'd said:
Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:25)
Then after Jesus allowed him a physical witness to help his faithlessness and unbelief, He taught:
Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (29)
Despite Thomas' difficulty believing the witness of the Spirit and others, Jesus still provided a physical means for him to accept the spiritual truth of His glorious resurrection. Yet He notes that we are better off gaining spiritual knowledge through spiritual means than physical ones.
The Lord continues on this theme of giving us what we need in order to believe in the subsequent segment, but breaks from it for a moment to give Elisha another command concerning the record he will translate. Elisha is to read Ezekiel 40-48 and include it at the beginning of the Aklatan. The Lord says this is "for a special purpose" but doesn't say what that would be. That phrase should remind LDS readers of the experiences and teachings of Nephi (1 Nephi 9:3-6; 19:3), Mormon (Words of Mormon 1:7) and Alma (Alma 37:2-18) concerning the wise and special purposes of the Lord regarding His records. We'll explore these Ezekiel chapters later, but they comprise a vision that Ezekiel had of the temple of the Lord in the last days where he gives a description of its construction and the goings-on within. The "special purpose" more than likely will have something to do with preserving and teaching about the temple and temple worship.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Wait, hold on, Jesus. The Bible doesn't contain all of God's word?
This segment on the Bible and God's word will be interestingly familiar to LDS readers. Jesus begins by saying that the Bible contains the pure word of God... except for the mixed-up parts caused by transmission errors, etc. (He conveniently leaves out which are the good parts and which are the bad ; ) We apparently have to figure that out for ourselves.) This echoes the teachings of Joseph Smith:
- We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. (Article of Faith 8)
- I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.
- From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.  
In other words, the message of the Bible is held to be true, while details of accuracy and completeness are accepted within certain limits.

In vision, Nephi is instructed by an angel of the Lord:
Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God. (1 Nephi 13:24)
Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. (25)
And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. (26)
And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. (27)
Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. (28)
And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles,... thou seest--because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God--because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. (29)
Nephi learns that the writings within the Bible once contained the fulness of the Gospel in its purity but that many truths and covenants were lost or corrupted. These would be restored in God's own time.

Jesus reiterates that God speaks to many nations and peoples and that anything spoken by God is, obviously, His word. And since God Himself is limitless, infinite, and eternal, so too is His word. Jesus reminds Elisha of the last verse of John's gospel:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25)
Hyperbole? Exaggeration? Or reality. John claims here that not all of Jesus' doings and sayings are, or even could be, contained in his account or any other combination of records.

Again, Jesus tells Elisha that the Bible has preserved a record of some of His words and works, but many teachings, writings, and truths were lost or not preserved because of the weakness of men (see above). He gives the Book of Enoch as an example; it is not found in the Bible (considered apocryphal or pseudepigraphal by most Christian denominations), yet He says He taught from it and had His disciples learn from it. (As an aside, there are at least three different Books of Enoch. You can find some translations HERE; they're fun reads. More than likely Jesus would be talking about 1 Enoch, which was well known at His time and even quoted by Jude in verses 14-16 of his epistle.) But Jesus wants to remind Elisha that we shouldn't degrade the Bible or think it weak or inferior because of these issues. It has brought millions to Christ and will stand forever as the foundation and measuring rule (Greek: kanon) for His word.

However, to preach that the Bible alone contains all of God's word is a different gospel than the one Jesus taught. As He said before, God's works are manifest in all the world and made known through the books and records of the nations of the world. Logically, neither Jesus nor His apostles taught from the Bible as we now have it; it didn't exist at that time and wouldn't for centuries. Jesus says they taught from the scriptures, meaning inspired writings of the various ancient prophets, many of which aren't contained in today's Bible. Jesus warns those who say, "I only accept the Bible," that they're following Satan and, thus, committing a grave sin. Satan lies to men to lead them away from Christ, whereas Jesus' words are pure and holy and come from the Father. Jesus finishes this segment with the counsel to read the words of the Bible, for they are good, but to not be afraid to read other books that contain His word. (This segues nicely into our next section...)

Monday, July 7, 2014


The Lord told Oliver Cowdery that
There are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people. (D&C 6:26)
Almost all of the time, we gloss over this verse, quickly pointing the finger at "the world" and blaming them for the lack of further light and knowledge from our Father. However, Joseph Smith once remarked:
If the Church knew all the commandments, one half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance.
Could it be that we are those people, and it's our own wickedness keeping back these important records? This puts 2 Nephi 28-29 in a whole new light. Let's "liken the scriptures unto [ourselves]... for our profit and learning" (1 Nephi 19:23).
And they shall contend one with another... and teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. (2 Nephi 28:4)
And they deny the power of God. (5)
They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (14)
Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! (16)
For behold, at that day shall [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. (20)
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. (21)
Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! (24)
Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! (25)
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! (26)
Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! (27)
And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. (28)
Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! (29)
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (30)
Cursed is he that... shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. (31)
But behold, there shall be many--at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember the covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel; (29:1) 
And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the [Saints] shall say: [Scripture]! [Scripture]! We have got [scripture], and there cannot be any more [scripture]. (3)
But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have [scripture]; and it shall proceed forth from... mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they [them] for the [scripture] which they receive from them? Yea, what do the [Saints] mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of [my people], and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the [Saints]? (4)
O ye [Saints], have ye remembered... mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people. (5)
Thou fool, that shall say: [Scripture], we have got [scripture], and we need no more [scripture]. Have ye obtained [scripture] save it were by [my people]? (6)
Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea;... and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? (7)
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. (8)
And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. (9)
Wherefore, because that ye have [scripture] ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. (10)
For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. (11)
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it. (12)
And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. (13)
 And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever. (14)
Just to clarify, where are the records mentioned in D&C 6 that contain the Lord's Gospel? Among ALL the nations of the earth. (That's a lot ; ) Have we received all of them yet? No? (Or maybe they've been here, but we haven't been able to discern them.) Then let us remove our pride, prejudice, and ignorance and replace them with humility, openness and acceptance, and the sincere search for truth. As we act in faith, we will have the Lord's will and words revealed to us.