Studying the Doctrine & Covenants

I finished the Book of Mormon yesterday. I used to keep track of how many times I have read it. I have a set of scriptures that has dates of each time I completed it on the last page. I haven’t kept up with that though. I would say it might be approaching the teens.

Before reading the Book for Mormon, I read the Bible. Now I am moving on to the Doctrine & Covenants. Embarrassingly, I have never really studied the Doctrine & Covenants by myself.

One of the most exciting parts about it is that each section heading gives the background and where the revelation was given. So in reading section 1 this morning, I looked up Hiram Ohio on rent a car bulgariaGoogle Earth. I found a photo of the John Johnson farm and learned a bit more about it on Hiram’s Wiki page. I love having all this information so readily available. I love the power of the internet. In reading the Bible and Book of Mormon, It’s pretty much been all online at scriptures.lds.org. I like to increase my font size really big – not that I have bad eyes (yet), but it just makes it easier to read.

Technorati Tags: doctrine & covenants, church history, hiram ohio

Prophesies of Mormons

I recently was looking at comments in a forum of sorts and the question was asked:

“The coming of Jesus was prophesied. Were there any prophecies about Josephs Smith or any of the other Mormon people?”

So off the top of my head I thought of a few that I could write about.

First, one of my favorites is found in Isaiah 29:11-12:

11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:

12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Then we read the story from Joseph Smith’s history:

63 Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:

64 “I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

65 “He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”

The above references verse 11 of Isaiah 29. To understand verse 12 we should know that Joseph Smith was a farm boy who possessed little formal education. He felt inadequate when God asked him to translate the Book of Mormon. When asked to do so “he saith, I am not learned.”

The second prophecy that comes to mind is also found in Isaiah. Isaiah 2:2-3 reads:

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

I don’t know of a better fulfillment of this prophesy than the reference to the Salt Lake Temple. Temples are the Lord’s House, where members are taught of his ways. The name Utah comes from the Ute Indian tribe and means “people of the mountains” or “top of the mountains“. Every year people from all over the world come to see and some come to worship in the Salt Lake Temple. Truly all nations flow unto it. Speaking of Salt Lake City, how many nations came to participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics. I wonder how many stopped to see the Temple.

The third prophesy is found in Ezekiel 37:16-20:

16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:

17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

18 ¶ And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

20 ¶ And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

To better understand this scripture, think of how scriptures might have been written and read in Old Testament times. Picture scrolls. Scriptures were written on papyrus and rolled up in “sticks.” The Bible is a record of the Jews. Who are the Jews? Members of the tribe of Judah. The learn in the Book of Mormon that they were descendants of Joseph, through the tribe of Manasseh. The prophesy states that the scriptures written by descendants of these two tribes would be combined into “one stick” or one book. Another prophesy fulfilled.

The last one I want to write about is found in the Book of Mormon. It was a prophesy written by Joseph, the son of Jacob or Israel, who was sold into Egypt. The whole of it can be read in 2 Nephi 3, but I want to point out verse 15 which makes it quite obvious of whom he is speaking.

15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

Joseph Smith Jr. was obviously named after his father. They shared a name with Joseph in Egypt, who saw the great events that would take place in the last days. Yes, many prophets in the old world new that a great and mighty prophet would come forth in the last days to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times. Ancient prophets knew that in the last days people would speak good or evil of Joseph Smith. I can see this everywhere.

Joseph Smith Jr. brought forth many great truths concerning our Lord, Jesus Christ that had been lost through the ages. For that we love him. Yet we do not worship him. We worship Jesus Christ, the Son of the Everlasting Father.

Faith to Heal

Stories of the Prophet Joseph Smith never cease to amaze me. The following was taken from pp 26-27 of How To Pray and Stay Awake:

One of the best known incidents in church history is when the Prophet Joseph Smith healed the impoverished and dying Saints in the swamps of Nauvoo. Have you ever wondered why the elders had not begun administering to the sick before conditions had become so acute? The truth of the matter is that the elders had not waited. In fact, elders, seventies, and high priests had been administering to the ill for days, time and time again, but all in vain. Parley P. Pratt tells us that after the prophet had healed those on both sides of the river, he was surrounded by many of the brethren, most of whom had just been made well by the power of Christ. To this group, which included some of the Quorum of Twelve, the youthful prophet made this statement: It is time that such things ended. Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal or let them cease to minister the forms without the power!

(Life and travels of Parley P. Pratt p. 294)

It makes me wonder how many times I’ve “ministered the forms without the power”.

[tags]Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, LDS, healing, sick, priesthood[/tags]

Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (movie review)

Last week my wife and I went to see the new Joseph Smith movie which has replaced “Testaments” at the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. First off, you should know that I am not a big movie goer. I think my wife and I only saw one movie in the theater in all of 2005. We haven’t seen the latest Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Wars movies. Call us weird, but it’s just not our thing. We do still enjoy a good classic now and then, or a musical. So my review should not be taken very seriously. :)

Anyway, I enjoyed the Joseph Smith movie. It was more or less snippets and scenes from the life of Joseph Smith – a very broad biography. In only 68 minutes you can’t go into a lot of detail, so they didn’t. But you get a glimpse of Joseph Smith’s personality, the trials and persecution he went through, and what others thought about him, good and bad.

There seemed to be a very large focus on his trials. I came away thinking, “Wow, he sure suffered a lot!” It showed lots of angelic visitations, and had some good one-liners to answer some questions that might be in the minds of non-Mormons as they watch it. For those who are wondering, the First Vision scene did show the satanic attack (although it didn’t explain why it happened), and there was no mention of polygamy.

One of my favorite scenes was when Joseph was out whacking a rug in the yard, and an Irish saint came to him and said something like, “Joseph, pardon me, but I don’t think a man of your great status should be engaged in such menial chores.”
Joseph replied with a smile, “How long have you been married?”
“Three years.”
“That long? May I offer you some advice?”
“Aye.”
“The Lord intends a marriage to last a lot longer than three years. In fact, he intends it to last forever. Now, if a wife doesn’t want her husband in this life, why would she want him in the next? You give that some thought.”

That was paraphrasing, of course, but it was a pretty humerous scene.
Anyway, for those who have seen the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. And for those who haven’t…umm…go see it, I guess!