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 : )

Thursday, July 28, 2016


All who desired to join their church, meaning their tribe, were adopted so they might be one family and unified in all things. I love that truth, that the church (with a lowercase "c", meaning the collective body of Christ's disciples) is a family--Christ's family--and should be unified in all things. That is the essence of Zion -- to live as a family in righteousness and peace, follow the Spirit at all times, and be unified and equal in all things (see Moses 7:18).

The children born into their tribe-church, whether born to Suran's descendants or those previously adopted, didn't need the rite of adoption. In LDS terms, they were "born in the covenant." However, children of parents who were unbelieving or less-than-faithful to the Law were adopted in so they could receive a portion of their inheritance. This process of adoption is the grafting of wild or broken branches into the covenant tree, using the favored analogy of the Lord and prophets throughout the ages.

Adoptions were performed by washing with water, referring to a baptism or other sort of ritual washing, and laying on of hands. After washing, the adoptee would be taken by a priest into the inner walled court where they would meet one of the patriarchs of Suran's tribe: Ahkman, Shurak, Kodal, or Gura's husband. Water taken from the temple basin was put into a "sado" and then sprinkled on the head of the adoptee and patriarch. (I'm not sure what a "sado" is, and it seems Elisha might not have either, since the original term isn't translated. It appears to be some sort of small container.) The priest then grasps the heads of both--the patriarch in his right, the adoptee in his left--with his thumb in the center of their foreheads (an interesting specification), and pronounces their union and binding (i.e., sealing) as father and child. One last thing that I just realized is that, physically speaking, it's much easier to place the thumbs correctly when the two being bound are kneeling or sitting facing each other. It's more awkward to contort the arms, hands, and thumbs into place with them facing the priest.

In the next post, we'll discuss how the early LDS Church performed similar ordinances of adoption by sealing individuals to "patriarchs" like Joseph Smith and others, which differed from the modern practice of sealing individuals to their lineal parents.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The population of the people of Suran continues to expand, so they begin to build cities in all the region round about the temple. Ahkman lists these cities, but they seem to be in an odd order. The first ones are mentioned after the location of the temple, and the last are said to be close to Katagan on the north coast. So it appears these cities are listed in a rough hierarchy or order of distance from the temple, which is in the city of Suran at the far southwest of their land. The north "suburbs" are Set, Abrahama, and Zedek (note the Biblical names), and the east ones are Garal and Bori. The next rung is comprised of Lisayja to the northeast, Yapinyat to the north, and Srindam in the east. The final "outliers" near Katagan are Batas in the north and the city of the Tower in the east, which... has a big tower. Note that there are no cities to the south or west, probably due to geographical or political boundaries, such as mountains, ocean, tribal territories, etc. (My current thoughts are mountains to the west and other tribes to the south.)

Ahkman quickly mentions the seven primary rites they'd been commanded by the Lord in the records to perform at the temple, and all were required to comply so as to be obedient to God. (I wonder how they walked the line of requirement without falling into compulsion -- probably following the same principles laid out at the end of D&C 121.) These ordinances are Washing, Adoption, Sacrifices, the Teaching, Marriage, Ordination, and Healing. We'll delve into these specifically in the next few chapters, but each should be easily recognizable to LDS readers. (Remember. the modern endowment ceremony has been highly condensed down from the original several-hours-long ordinance full of teachings, lectures, and discussions. The ordinance of adoption, as practiced during Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's time, also has been discontinued.)


Ahkman rewinds a bit and recounts the construction of their temple, which followed blueprints found in the Great Scroll (and similar to those found in the Ezekiel selection). His people built it with the best materials they could acquire and decorated it with bamboo, narra ("Philippine mahogany", the national tree), gold, silver, and beautiful stones.

They started with the Most Holy Place and built the Holy Place east of it. On the doors between these two rooms were engraved two trees (similar to Solomon's temple), symbolizing the Edenic Trees of Life and the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was also a gated antechamber east of the Most Holy Place (a liminal space between levels) protected by a sword-wielding guard (representing the cherubim guarding the Garden of Eden and Tree of Life). (From the description, it's not 100% clear if the guarded antechamber is between the two rooms or to the east of them both. It sounds like the guard was for the Most Holy Place, but Solomon's temple had a similar walled porch or court to the east of the Holy Place.) This entire complex, the House, was a single building.

To the east of the House was built two pillars (again similar to Solomon's temple), one of bronze, the other of brick on which were written the most important parts of the law. There's too much discussion by Jewish scholars on the significance and symbolism of Solomon's pillars to post here (you can Google it and explore for yourself ; ), but preserving the law in writing upon the pillars is intriguing. There are Jewish and Masonic traditions about antediluvian descendants of Adam's son, Seth, who, knowing the world would be destroyed by fire or water, recorded principles of their learning and knowledge on two pillars of brick and stone, hoping at least one would survive the catastrophe.

To the east of the House were two walled courts, one containing the bronze basin (or laver in KJV speak) for ritual washing, the other housed the altar of sacrifice made from unhewn stone in the ancient tradition. As with Solomon's temple, it's unclear their position relative to each other. Depictions of Solomon's temple have the altar and basin side by side on a N-S line, aligned E-W between the gate and the temple, or the altar centered along that E-W line and the basin offset.

Round about the House and two walled courts was the upper court, and around that was the lower court, which were finished in an identical manner. Within the walls of these two courts were two "pedestals", one each on the east and west ends. I'm not sure what these pedestals could be. Maybe they were to hold sacred objects, or they could simply be referring to stairways between the courts. There were also chambers along the north and south walls of the courts (we'll see uses of these later), and to the east of the lower court was a gated vestibule (another liminal space).

Using my exceptional Excel skills, here's one possible depiction of the plan of Ahkman's temple complex:
Ahkman approves the construction of their beautiful temple, and they take the sacred writings and artifacts from the Cave of Treasures and store them in the Most Holy Place. (Were there small storage rooms or shelves, or was it just a big stereotypical pile of hoarded treasure? ; ) They also keep the people's own treasures within the rooms along the courtyard walls. (Did this act like a bank or just a safe deposit system?)