Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Shouts of Joy

My dear friend Bret Corbridge has passed into the next life, and our world is the poorer for the loss. 

I first met Bret when he and his wife Samantha organized an event called “The Remnant Reunion” as a way to reunite the many listeners who had attended some or all of the 10 talks in Denver Snuffer’s “40 Years in Mormonism” series. In my view, the reunion was a watershed event in the ongoing restoration. It unified and connected many people who had been listening to the talks into something more cohesive and united. In my estimation, this was the point when countless individuals ceased being a ragtag band of disconnected believers, and began to form into a movement.

At Bret’s invitation, I gave the final address at that gathering—concluding my remarks by leading attendees in shouts of praise while the Shofar was blown. I’ll never forget that gathering, or that moment, with its attendant realization of what began that day. I believe there were shouts of joy in heaven as there were on earth, while the beginnings of a future covenant people unified in praise. 

Since that day, Bret has done immense good. He has worked tirelessly to produce a number of books to promote and organize true teachings. He has built bridges of understanding between people who sometimes held radically different ideas. And he has been a true friend to many. 

The last time I spoke to Bret in person was in Nevada at the gathering in March. I was preparing to speak at that conference, and felt that heavy burden keenly. As I sat alone in contemplation, I must have looked pretty serious, because Bret and Samantha walked up and asked how I was. I gave the typical answer that I was just fine. But Bret pressed further, as he often would, and said I didn’t look like everything was OK. He wanted to know what was wrong and if there was anything he could do to help. I explained that I felt the weight of responsibility for my upcoming address and that it was a heavy burden. Bret and Samantha offered words of comfort and told me they would be praying for me. They were the only people who noticed my demeanor that day, or offered the words of encouragement I needed to hear.

Later that day, Bret checked with me again, just to make sure I was OK. And that’s how he always related to others—more concerned about the welfare of those around him than about his own. But above all, Bret was fiercely loyal to our Lord Jesus Christ and the ongoing work of restoration, caring more for serving the Lord than for his own needs.

As I’ve reflected on Bret’s passing, like so many I feel a deep sense of loss. He genuinely cared, and I already miss knowing I could call him if I ever felt the need for a listening ear, an understanding heart, a friendly smile, or a kind word. Our loss is heaven’s gain, and I believe those same shouts of joy that echoed six years ago at the close of the Remnant Reunion resounded again in the heavens as our faithful brother triumphantly returned home. 

Godspeed, my dear brother Bret. I look forward to seeing you again. 

*****

Please remember Bret’s wife Samantha and children Tiegan, Raven, Aliyah and Ronan in your prayers. Should you feel inclined to help financially, a GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses and his family’s immediate needs. You can donate at this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/bret-corbridge-memorial-fund-for-wonderful-family

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Against Wisdom, Part 7: Brass Balls

Does not Wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice? She stands in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She cries at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of man. O you simple, understand Wisdom; and you fools, be of an understanding heart.

—Proverbs 1:34 RE



Note: The prior parts of this series provide vital background necessary to understand this part. If you have not red the prior parts already, I highly recommend you do so before reading this installment.



Now that we’ve traced the development of our scriptures, from Adam through the Book of Mormon, it’s time to take a closer look at the developments since the Book of Mormon was published. There’s a lot to consider, and an endpoint to reach, so I’ll just hit a few highlights.

  • Joseph Smith received a number of revelations concurrent with the ongoing restoration of the gospel. Many of those revelations were edited, changed, expanded, or otherwise tampered with before they were published.
  • The Book of Mormon was largely ignored, resulting in the LDS church being condemned by the Lord.
  • Joseph Smith labored to produce a corrected version of the Bible, with important truths restored. It was never published in its fulness until now.
  • After Joseph’s death, Brigham Young produced a “revelation” that authorized and promoted polygamy. He falsely claimed it came from Joseph.
  • The Book of Mormon underwent a number of iterations, including edits and alterations over the years.
  • The Lectures on Faith, which formed the “Doctrine” backbone of the Doctrine and Covenants were arbitrarily removed from the canon by a committee without authority.

It’s clear from all of the above, that despite the flood of light and truth that entered the world through Joseph Smith, people did to scripture what people *always* do to scripture. They tampered with it, altered it, attempted to “improve” it, and otherwise messed it up. The universal truth to discover is this: The word of God is almost NEVER safe in the hands of mortals. God entrusts scripture to those who have been in his presence and gotten their directions and revelations directly from him. All others, regardless of good intentions, produce disaster and destruction.


More than 170 years after Joseph died, the required number of generations had passed, and the Lord began efforts again to complete the unfinished restoration. He inspired a number of individuals to attempt a recovery effort—sifting through the tattered remnants of scripture and attempting to reclaim whatever could reliably be attributed to Joseph Smith, while removing that which could not. Due to the neglect of prior generations, immense effort was required to reclaim what could be reclaimed, restored and corrected. 


And the heavens took notice. 


It is SO incredibly rare that mortals on earth care enough about scripture to undertake a recovery effort, and do so under the direction of a bona-fide member of the Holy Order, that the instances of this ever happening can be counted on one hand. 


Though the effort received the best work and tireless attention of the laborers involved, they were still mortal and could only go so far. And yet, the Lord accepted the effort—not because it was perfect, but because it was undertaken with care and pure intent. At last there were a people on earth again who valued God’s word!


Ultimately the project was presented to the Lord for his approval, along with an admission that the effort was inadequate. The request was made for the Lord to add what was missing, remove what didn’t belong, or correct what was inaccurate. The Lord did these things, and pronounced, “The work that has been done is acceptable and sufficient for the labor now underway.” The Lord also cautioned, “you do not understand the glory to be revealed unto my covenant people.” (T&C 177:1)


The Lord then proceeded to take ownership of the scriptures he had approved:

These scriptures are sent forth to be my warning to the world, my comfort to the faithful, my counsel to the meek, my reproof to the proud, my rebuke to the contentious, and my condemnation of the wicked. They are my invitation to all mankind to flee from corruption, repent and be baptized in my name, and prepare for the coming judgment. (T&C 177:3)

For those keeping score at home, that’s a seven-fold ownership claim as the Lord made clear. These are NOT “our” scriptures. They are his. 


The Lord went further and offered a covenant to those who would agree to “receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant, and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts, and deeds[.]” (T&C 158:3)


This is an astonishing development, and one that should not escape our notice. It was the careful treatment of scripture by mortals that inclined the Lord to offer his covenant, and that covenant is utterly dependent upon, and tied to, the scriptures he approved. Such an event is an immense blessing and mercy on his part, and we ought to be humbled to the dust by his generosity. When we consider that the Lord is, even now, condescending to speak to us and deal with us through a covenant, we should resolve to be far more humble, obedient, and careful than prior generations who tarnished the brightness of scripture and incurred the Lord’s wrath.


After the Lord had provided his changes to the scriptures, accepted them, and claimed them as his own, some good-hearted people with the best of intentions began promoting the idea that we could, and should, improve the Lord’s scriptures by voting to canonize various and sundry items we found appealing. Oddly, much of what was suggested for canonization consisted of items that already existed when the Lord made additions to the canon himself, pronounced the scriptures acceptable, and claimed them as his own. In other words, he had every opportunity to add the suggested items, and he declined to do so. Do we know better than the Lord what ought to be added? I don’t think so.


I honestly don’t blame anyone for seeking to “improve” the scriptures. After all, during the recovery portion of the effort, the body of believers was given opportunity to submit and vote on additions. But that phase of the project has passed. At that time it was “our” project. Now it is his. I don’t believe we have the right to change his scriptures by our vote. If there’s somewhere that Wisdom delegated the responsibility for scriptural changes to the body of believers, I’m not aware of it. Everything I can find in scripture testifies that God takes responsibility for scripture, and mankind suffers overwhelming temptation to tamper with God’s efforts.


How is this not taking his name in vain? How does this not violate the 1st, 2nd and 3rd commandments? Who’s word is scripture? Who is responsible for creating, transmitting and guarding the holy canon? (See part 6). What makes scripture, scripture? Why do we think we have any right to add to or take away from his word for which he has vouched, and which he has claimed as his own? If we alter his scriptures, are they “his” anymore? Since the covenant requires dependence on scripture, if we alter scripture, have we altered the covenant? And by doing so have we changed the ordinance? And does that ever end well? 


The purpose of this series has been to juxtapose God’s marvelous power to provide scripture with Satan’s constant attempts to meddle with scripture. If we are to err, I suggest we err on the side of leaving the scriptures in God’s hands, not our own.


Open Canon


Of course, we expect more light and truth to pour forth from heaven. The canon is most assuredly open. Many have considered that we should therefore develop a “mechanism” by which we can, as a people, “canonize” new scripture. I would offer a couple of questions and suggestions in this regard.


Can we think of a time when the canon was not “open?” In other words has there ever been a point at which the Lord was NOT in Wisdom capable of adding to scripture? 


And if the canon has always been “open” in the Lord’s eyes, is our situation so unique that we need to have a method in place of canonizing what he chooses to add? Is his choice to add it enough, or does he require our permission?


Given mankind’s irresistible urge to tamper with scripture, might such a mechanism, if implemented, be just as likely put to poor use as good? Could such a mechanism be co-opted to appease the demands of the froward, forceful, or discontent? Would it tempt pretenders to present phony revelations for canonization? There is great precedent for all of the above.

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen, and why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson — that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven and that the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness…We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. (T&C 139:5)

Notice a couple of things in the above. First, “Priesthood” has a capital P. This means something significant, having to do with the Holy Order and who stands at the head of the human family. Second, the nature and disposition of all men, who have “a little authority” as they suppose, is to exercise dominion in UNrighteousness. Yet the Powers of Heaven can only be controlled or handled upon the principles of righteousness. The upshot is that if we think we have a little authority over the scriptures, we are sure to mess them up. The rights of the Priesthood (capital P) are best left to the Priesthood (capital P). (Please don't take that prior statement as a sexist endorsement of male priesthood. The Holy Order in this form requires a man and a woman.)


Is it our responsibility to EVER offer up our suggestions or preferences for how the Lord might “improve” his scriptures? In my opinion, the Lord is perfectly capable of adding what is needed, and is FAR better informed about the subject than we can hope to be. We have millennia of history to teach us this lesson, and if we fail to learn it, the error is our own. We may find ourselves kicking against the pricks, persecuting the saints and fighting against God. 


The Gods have shown themselves willing and able to add to scripture—even quite recently. If something needs to be added to the official canon, I believe they will tell us through the Holy Order, just as they have always done, rather than by us telling them what to do. Do we want God to rule over us, or do we expect the religion of the Fathers will be a democracy where we can impose our will on God by taking a vote? 


Wisdom Text


There’s one other item I must mention, and I hope to tread lightly and not give offense. This series is meant to teach, not offend. 


At one point, there was an effort—born of good intent, to be sure—to canonize certain portions of a talk that were attributed to Heavenly Mother. Some took to calling the passages, “The Wisdom Text,” taking her name and appending it to the effort. The desire to “honor” Heavenly Mother was expressed as justification for taking this step. In light of what we’ve discussed in this series, I would ask, can we EVER honor Heavenly Mother by tampering with her scriptures? Is our wisdom greater than hers? Do we honor her by attempting to usurp her as the weaver and giver of scripture? Is it wisdom in God that we do this, or is it supposed wisdom in ourselves?


Perhaps we should consider the warning given elsewhere in that same talk: 

If you welcome this discussion, then take care that you do not, as ancient Israel did, burn incense, pour out drink offerings, and bake cakes to a Being who has never invited you to do so. She has invited you to worship God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. If you would like to honor Her, then accept Her testimony and look to Jesus Christ alone for redemption and salvation. (Denver Snuffer, “Our Divine Parents,” p 36)

If we would make an offering to her, it ought to be a broken heart, a contrite spirit, faith in her son, and strict obedience to his word.


I hope the things I’ve written here will give us all cause to reconsider whether it is wise that we undertake efforts to add to scripture, or create a mechanism to do so. Perhaps we are better served by getting on with the business of governing our lives by the scriptures our Divine Parents have given us, rather than trying to convince them to give us more, or suggesting what they ought to add.


Brass Balls


It’s truly a miracle that we have the canon we do, and that it resulted in the Lord condescending to offer us a covenant. It is a sign that God yet speaks, is finishing his work, and has a people he is working with and putting on display for the world to see. 


Signs of God’s direct involvement and direction attend every exodus he directs to any promised land. These signs include the miraculous, like a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night, correct records like the Plates of Brass, precious metals like gold, animal skins to make sacred space, and sacred relics, like the Urim and Thummim, the brass serpent, Aaron’s rod and Moses’s staff. 


The exodus from the Garden of Eden, though little spoken of in scripture, contained the same elements. 


Lehi’s exodus likewise enjoyed such signs, including the pillar of fire, Laban’s sword and armor, gold and silver, sacred records and a curious brass ball called the Liahona that took the place of the Urim and Thummim, providing direction, revelation, and evidence of God’s presence.


The fullness of the record will no doubt also demonstrate Nephi’s exodus, Mosiah’s exodus and others all followed this pattern. The pattern always holds, though it is adapted to the time, place and circumstances of each covenant group.


As a covenant people, we can expect to participate in an exodus pattern at some point as well. But there will be something unique and unparalleled in all history concerning this final exodus to a city of holiness. Rather than a single set of sacred relics held by the leader on behalf of the whole group, we can instead each have our own. No, I don’t expect we will each have a Liahona. Rather, each of us can carry our own miraculous sacred relics in our own hands, covered in animal skins, adorned in gold, produced by curious workmanship, capable of giving us each direction and revelation, providing clear evidence of God’s presence with us. Such has never happened before in the history of this creation! We don’t need brass balls. We need the scriptures!


They are a sign.

They are a wonder. 


They are sacred relics.


They are marvelous indeed.


May we ever guard them as such.






The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.
—Proverbs 4:112 RE

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Against Wisdom, Part 6: More Precious than Silver

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold, and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

—Proverbs 2:200 RE

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

When we consider the long and distinguished history of our scripture, it’s almost unavoidable to stand all amazed at the Lord’s masterful planning and execution. Despite the opposition, despite Satan’s best efforts, despite all the combined powers of earth and hell, we yet have an adequate record! And not just an adequate record, but one specifically designed, prepared and protected for our day to play the key role in fulfilling God’s covenants.

We must marvel at God’s power and mercy. We’re left to contemplate what sort of being God is. In doing so, we obtain a more correct idea of God’s character, perfections and attributes, as manifested by this marvelous work. It is indeed a wonder—and perhaps we’re left to wonder, “who did this?” Of course, it’s easy to simply say, “God did it.” And this is true enough. But there may be more to consider. 


Here’s a curiosity:


The Book of Mormon goes to some trouble to record the guiding force behind all the miraculous means and turns of event that contributed to the triumph of this incredible record. Consider the following events, which we listed in Part 5 of this series, with one addition. I’ve added the explanations given by the Book of Mormon regarding each event. I realize there’s a lot here to consider, but it will be worth your time to read through each explanation carefully.



Event

Explanation

Obtaining the Plates of Brass from Laban’s treasury

And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers, and also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets...

Carrying the record into the wilderness

And we had obtained the record which the Lord had commanded us and searched them and found that they were desirable, yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children. Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us as we journeyed in the wilderness toward the land of promise.

Making a second set of plates to replace the future lost manuscript

And after I made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies—the more plain and precious parts of them—should be written upon these plates, and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord...Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

Preserving the records in the promised land through a line of record keepers

And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved. For behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways and brought them to the knowledge of their God, unto the salvation of their souls...Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me, therefore I shall forbear. And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Keeping the sacred records from generation to generation

And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them—for it is for a wise purpose that they are kept—and these plates of brass which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning.

Carefully choosing the successor record keepers

And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations.

Promising the future preservation of the record

for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words. For he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promise which he has made unto our fathers. For he promised unto them that he would preserve these things for a wise purpose in him, that he might shew forth his power unto future generations.

Defending the records against destruction by those who vowed to destroy them

Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me, therefore I shall forbear. And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Amplifying the record by adding specifics needed by future generations

These scriptures which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you, for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations.

Preventing translation and inclusion of certain information

Therefore, touch them not in order that ye may translate, for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God. And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may shew the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work.

Intentionally exposing the errors of past generations in hopes we would avoid their mistakes

Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you

Adding the small plates to the large plates abridgment

But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren. And I do this for a wise purpose, for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now I do not know all things, but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

Setting up a free Gentile nation where these things could come forth and spread to all the world

for it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel

Foreseeing and controlling the eventual audience of the book

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things,




As I’m sure you’re aware, the image of God is a male and a female, joined together as one.
Knowledge personifies the divine masculine and Wisdom personifies the divine feminine. Given the above, we should now have a much clearer picture of who gathered, protected and nurtured the collection of sacred writings, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. 


It was her. Heavenly Mother. The divine feminine. She has done this. One of the greatest miracles of this creation, and she seeks no credit, desires no acclaim, and works quietly, unheralded and unnoticed behind the scenes of this creation, ensuring her children have the words of eternal life. It is a miracle.


It’s frankly astonishing we have not noticed this before. You see, every time the Book of Mormon uses the phrase, “It is wisdom in God that…” the resulting action has to do with preparing and preserving scripture. 


Every. 

Single. 

Time. 


And the same goes for all the title variations, like “It is wisdom in the Father” or “It is wisdom in the Lord.” If the Wisdom of God is mentioned, it always, invariably has to do with scripture.


The same occurs with “for a wise purpose.” Invariably, if something is done “for a wise purpose” in the Book of Mormon, the thing being done has to do with preparing and preserving scripture for the future. 


Every. 

Single.

Time.


Therefore, it should be clear to those with eyes to see that the Divine Feminine is far more intimately involved in the revelation, creation, transmission, planning, preservation, and presentation of scripture than we ever realize. In fact, this turns one criticism of scripture on its head: Why don’t we have more female voices represented in scripture? 


Given that scripture is the product of her mind, her planning, her wisdom, her direction, and her production, we’re left to conclude the scriptures are largely a feminine testimony, testifying most abundantly and clearly of her Son. True, the Holy Order laborers whose names we have are males, but it’s important to realize their boss was a woman, and they were all working for her, at her direction. The factory workers may be men, but the CEO is a woman.


Consider the following quotes:

Our scriptures speak carefully about the existence and importance of a Heavenly Mother, a Divine Female whose greatest attribute is to bestow wisdom upon the whole of this creation. It is possible to miss Her presence. That cultural and theological blindness is not because of Her absence from the scriptures. It's not hard to detect Her if you look. We just don’t look. (Denver Snuffer, “Our Divine Parents,” p 2-3)

A great deal can be learned about Heavenly Mother by searching for the word wisdom in scripture. Very often, the reference to wisdom is to Her distinctly and not merely an abstract attribute. If we are blind to Her existence, we cannot see the reference to Her in those passages. Although many scriptures have the Divine Mother’s words, Her presence is veiled by our ignorance and refusal to acknowledge Her.  (“Our Divine Parents,” p 6)

The Father is the source of glory and likened to the sun. The Mother reflects and shares this glory and is likened to the moon. She reflects God’s glory, endures within it, and is empowered by it. She can participate with Him in all that is done wielding that glory. Knowledge is the initiator or force, and wisdom is the regulator, guide, apportioner, and weaver of that power. If not tempered and guided by wisdom, knowledge can be destructive. Wisdom makes the prudent adaptation required for order. The Father and Mother are one. But the Mother bridges the gulf between the Throne of the Father and fallen man. (“Our Divine Parents,” p 14)

There are seven stages of development through which God’s children must pass. It is not all to be done in this life. Christ is the prototype of the saved man, and He qualified by passing through these stages of development. We should not be surprised that the Heavenly Mother was responsible for planning and creating these developmental opportunities for Her children.  (“Our Divine Parents,” p 23)

Hopefully, this understanding, combined with the numerous, direct references to Divine Wisdom from the Book of Mormon, above, will help us re-calibrate our understanding of, expectations for, and knowledge about scripture. We’re dealing with something far more sacred, powerful and carefully, lovingly prepared than we might realize. We are dealing with Wisdom indeed! We should be humbled to the dust upon realizing we’re the beneficiaries of such an effort by a loving Mother, who seeks to nurture and teach her children. It is difficult to stand all amazed when you have fallen to your knees. 


Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding; for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you can desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is everyone that retains her. The Lord, by wisdom, has founded the earth; by understanding has he established the heavens; by his knowledge, the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, do not let them depart from your eyes.
—Proverbs 1:11 RE

Against Wisdom, Part 5: Iron Will

Then shall the Lord God say unto him, The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore, thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee. Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time, for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work...For behold, I am God, and I am a God of miracles, and I will shew unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

—2 Nephi 11:20 RE


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

As we’ve traced the path of scripture through the ages, we’ve seen inspiration, revelation, education, destruction, recovery, prophecy, protection, planning, prescience and care manifest to a great degree. We’ve also watched the epic battle between good and evil—between truth and error—play out on the stage constructed of the bones of mortals and the eternal suffering of souls. In short, the battle over scripture is the battle over this creation. Everything hangs in the balance, and it's more serious than we can imagine.

Considered from this perspective, we can readily identify the Lord’s intervention—often through small and simple means—to preserve and protect a record of truth on earth. Even as the ruin of scripture played out among apostates and idolators, the Lord worked behind the scenes, through a single prophetic family to yet preserve a record equal to the evil it would confront in our day. This is the final act. The stage is set, the characters are in place, the script is written and the lights are dimming. We have front row seats to watch the denouement play out.


The preparation for this moment began, literally, before the foundation of the world, and has continued through millennia. Rather than attempting to explain all the incredible works of God concerning all scripture, my goal here is to simply consider the Book of Mormon portion of that record, and the lengths to which God went to ensure the record made it into our hands. 


From the first moments of Lehi’s history, we encounter tantalizing questions to which we don’t have answers. 

Wherefore, it came to pass that my father Lehi, as he went forth, prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart in behalf of his people. And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him, and he saw and heard much. And because of the things which he saw and heard, he did quake and tremble exceedingly. And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem. And he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the spirit and the things which he had seen. And being thus overcome with the spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the Heavens open and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. And it came to pass that he saw one descending out of the midst of Heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noonday. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth. And the first came and stood before my father and gave unto him a book and bade him that he should read. (1 Nephi 1:1)


Who was this Lehi anyway? From whence did he “go forth?” Why was he attempting to make intercession on behalf of his people? And who were “his people?” All Jerusalem? His family? His lineage? What was the pillar of fire? Why was there a rock before Lehi as he made intercession? Who was the one brighter than the sun at noonday? What is the significance of the Messiah handing him a book? Why was the initial revelation to Lehi given in the form of a book? What did this prefigure? Why are the 12 others characterized in comparison to stars, while the Messiah is characterized by the sun? 


Well, that’s only part of the first paragraph of the book. Clearly, there’s much more to this Lehi character than we might first assume. When God instructed him to flee, then had him send back his sons for the record, the shift that took place at that moment was cosmic in nature. The kingship of Israel, the custodianship of THE holy record, and the future of the world took an astonishing turn (a left turn at the Red Sea, to be precise.) God acted through one who had been in his presence to remarkably alter the destiny of scripture and therefore of the world.


Who could have foreseen that the most important record in human history would end up spirited off in the dark of night by a fleeing family, accompanied by signs of kingship and headed for a new promised land in a new continent, led by God and pursued by an army? 


Oh wait, was I talking about the Exodus? Or was I talking about Lehi’s family? Or was I referring to Nephi leaving the land of their first inheritance? Or perhaps referring to Mosiah’s exodus to Zarahemla? Or maybe something in the future…The pattern does seem to repeat itself, doesn’t it? Every exodus in history has included preservation of sacred records.


Well, rather than consider them all, let’s confine ourselves to the Book of Mormon for a bit. Here’s a quick outline of some pivotal and miraculous events in the development and preservation of that holy record:

  • Obtaining the Plates of Brass from Laban’s treasury
  • Carrying the record into the wilderness
  • Making a second set of plates to replace the future lost manuscript
  • Preserving the records in the promised land through a line of record keepers
  • Keeping the sacred records from generation to generation
  • Carefully choosing the successor record keepers
  • Promising the future preservation of the record
  • Defending the records against destruction by those who vowed to destroy them
  • Amplifying the record by adding specifics needed by future generations
  • Preventing translation and inclusion of certain information
  • Intentionally exposing the errors of past generations in hopes we would avoid their mistakes
  • Adding the small plates to the large plates abridgment
  • Setting up a free Gentile nation where these things could come forth and spread to all the world
  • Foreseeing and controlling the eventual audience of the book

What was the significance of God’s continued efforts to defend the record? Why did those who knew God personally desire most that a record be preserved? Nobody demonstrates that more poignantly than Enos:

And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him: that if it should so be that my people the Nephites should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people the Nephites, even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth some future day unto the Lamanites, that perhaps they might be brought unto salvation. For at the present, our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that if it were possible, they would destroy our records, and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.


Wherefore I, knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me, Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive, in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records. And he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time. And I, Enos, knew that it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore, my soul did rest. And the Lord said unto me, Thy fathers have also required of me this thing, and it shall be done unto them according to their faith, for their faith was like unto thine. (Enos 1:3-4)

Enos’s soul could not rest until he had obtained a promise from God that the record would be preserved. This promise did nothing to benefit him, but like the future sons of Mosiah, he was “desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for [he] could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure Endless torment did cause [him] to quake and tremble. And thus did the spirit of the Lord work upon [him].” (See Mosiah 12:1)


Consider this: If the hallmark of godly mortals is the desire that a record be preserved so salvation can be declared, how much more intense must be God’s commitment to preserving scripture? What sort of resolve does it take to continually guide, teach, guard, and protect the word that has gone forth? 


Consider how scripture has historically been handled. 


The Book of Remembrance from the first Fathers was kept in a box that could only be opened by the faithful. Joseph’s Brass Plates were carried with his remains in his coffin-ark. (I suspect that they, too, could only be opened by the faithful.) The tablets of Moses were born by Levites and protected by power so fearsome that even unauthorized touching of the box that contained the record resulted in death (2 Samuel 2:8 RE). Laban’s refusal to surrender the record according to God’s will resulted in his death (1 Nephi 1:17 RE). Joseph Smith’s initial attempts to remove the plates from the ground before their time resulted in him being thrown back by a shock three times. 


The Ark of the Covenant protected stone tablets in a gold box. The ark of Cumorah protected gold tablets in a stone box. All demonstrated the power of God to protect and preserve the record. When Joseph finally received the plates, he was charged very strictly regarding their safety (JSH 6:1). Family legend has it that Joseph was instructed to bring a box with him to the hill when he obtained the plates so he would have a way to keep them hidden from view as he carried them home and stored them. The legend further states that Joseph procrastinated this preparation until the day he was due at the hill, and having not yet obtained a box, he hastily borrowed a lap desk from his brother Alvin who used it to store tools. Joseph literally dumped out the tools, took the box, and hurried to the hill.


When the translation began, Joseph arranged a sheet to separate the translation space from the rest of the room. He literally went behind the veil, into the Holy of Holies to translate the record from within the veil. The first sacred space Joseph established in his dispensation wasnt a temple. It was a treasury to house scripture and bring it forth to us. The symbolism ought not be lost on us. 



Further miracles attended the publication of the Book of Mormon. E.B. Grandin didn’t have nearly enough type to typeset the book, nor was there a ready source. But somehow he immediately had enough brand new type to do the job. The source of the paper remains a mystery (the type and amount of paper needed simply didn’t exist.) And the typesetting and press work, running a single press 60 hours per week, as fast as it could go, the actual printing could not have been accomplished in less than 15-1/2 months. Add binding to that, and a minimum of 17 months would be required for the first books to become available. Yet the job was completed by a tiny newspaper print shop in just over 6 months. There is no explanation. The power of his holy arm, indeed (for details see, “Miracle on Palmyra’s Main Street: An Old-time Printer’s Perspective on Printing the Original Copies of the Book of Mormon” by Gordon L. Weight).


Overwhelming evidence leads me to believe there is little on earth more important to God than accurate scripture. And though he allows foolish men to tamper, alter and destroy in times of apostasy, God has also shown he will make bare his mighty arm and wield his unspeakable power in defense of scripture for those who will value the record. And it may not be accomplished at all in the way we expect. Let’s consider one example.


When Lehi obtained and read the Brass Plates record, Nephi reported the following: 

And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the spirit and began to prophesy concerning his seed — that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, and tongues, and people, who were of his seed. Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed anymore by time. (1 Nephi 1:22RE)

Likewise, Alma prophesied as follows:

…these plates of brass which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning. And behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon. And now behold, if they are kept, they must retain their brightness, yea, and they will retain their brightness, yea, and also shall all the plates which do contain that which is holy writ. (Alma 17:7 RE)

From these passages, we may easily conclude the Lord intends to bring forth the Brass Plates themselves at some future date so they can be published to the world. And that may, indeed be what happens. But let’s consider another perspective. 


Nephi, the first writer in the Book of Mormon presented much of his prophecy by quoting the prior prophet Isaiah. He adapted Isaiah’s words to his own purposes, using them to encode what he was not allowed to directly reveal. In doing so, he set a precedent of teaching truth by quoting from the Plates of Brass. Because he quoted a prophet whose writings we yet have today in the Old Covenants, we can verify his method.


The next record keeper, Nephi’s brother Jacob, did exactly the same thing, but he quoted from Zenos, even going so far as to offer his own “prophecy” that the words of Zenos were true and would come to pass. We don’t have the full record of Zenos available to us to verify Jacob’s method, but it is nevertheless obvious that Jacob simply taught truths that already appeared in the Brass Plates record. 


It’s therefore extremely likely that the other authors quoted extensively from the Plates of Brass as well, and the only reason we can’t identify more of their sources is our lack of extant records from the era. But even given the limited Old Covenants writings still available, we can identify numerous instances of Book of Mormon authors relying on prior prophets. 


Jesus Christ himself, in teaching at Bountiful quoted extensively from Isaiah, Micah and Malachi, thus following the same pattern and quoting from the Plates of Brass and other prophets. 


Therefore, even if the actual Plates of Brass don’t come forth, or no longer exist, the prophecy nevertheless is fulfilled by the Book of Mormon. Is it not filled with light and “brightness” from the Plates of Brass? Has it been dimmed by time? Has it not gone forth to every nation, kindred, tongue and people? Has it not been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord in every particular? Therefore, whether we recognize it or not, whether it conforms to our expectations or doesn’t, nevertheless God has acted to vindicate the prophecies, and none can say otherwise. 


Therefore, one lesson we can and should take from all this is that God has an iron will when it comes to scripture. His words will be fulfilled, his promises will be vindicated, and earth and Hell cannot stop him or hinder him in the least. We have thousands of years of history and too long a list of miracles attesting to this fact. Who can gainsay it?


What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from Heaven upon the heads of the Latter Day Saints…Hell may pour forth its rage like the burning lava of Mount Vesuvius, or of Etna, or of the most terrible of the burning mountains, and yet shall Mormonism stand. Water, fire, truth, and God are all the same. Truth is Mormonism. God is the author of it. He is our shield. It is by him we received our birth. It was by his voice that we were called to a dispensation of his gospel in the beginning of the fullness of times. It was by him we received the Book of Mormon, and it is by him that we remain unto this day, and by him we shall remain if it shall be for our glory, and in his Almighty name we are determined to endure tribulation, as good soldiers unto the end. 

—T&C 138:22-24

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Against Wisdom, Part 4: Gold Standard

O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how strict are the commandments of God. And he said, If ye will keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land, but if ye keep not his commandments, ye shall be cut off from his presence. And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations.

—Alma 17:9 RE


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

In my opinion, the publication of the Book of Mormon is the greatest miracle since Christ’s resurrection. The path of scripture we’ve traced thus far really amounts to a mere prelude for the Book of Mormon and the effects it has had and will have on the destiny of humanity. In this installment, we’ll consider the book’s path of development, Satan’s opposition to it, and the Lord’s hand in bringing it forth.

Previously, we’ve examined God’s continual efforts to transmit truth to the human family. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God has continually sought to illuminate the path that returns humanity to a relationship with God. And the Adversary has fought tirelessly against God’s efforts, knowing that truth is the greatest enemy to his diabolical plan. The path we’ve traced thus far has left us with a rather tattered, corrupt, and incomplete library of scripture in the Biblical canon, suffering not only from the insults of human tampering, but also from misinterpretation and exploitation.


The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was the antidote to the prior failures encompassed in the Bible. Yet, in actuality, we know very little about how the book actually came forth. Rather than retracing the entire familiar history, I’m going to focus on a few particulars we should consider. 


First, let’s trace the plates for a bit. After Nephi began the record in the new world, the Lord instructed him to create a parallel record, focusing on the spiritual and revelatory aspects of the Nephite history, which Nephi did without understanding why such a record would be necessary. 

Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not. But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men. For behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen. (1 Nephi 2:14 RE)


We have developed the habit of calling this second record the “small plates” and the more secular history the “large plates.” Interestingly, the small plates were passed down in the priestly line through the descendants of Nephi’s brother Jacob, while the large plates continued in the kingly line of Nephi’s posterity. This dual situation continued for approximately 500 years until the time of Benjamin, when the small plates were full. Then they were joined with other records in the kingly line and passed down for a further 500 years. Ultimately, for a thousand years, lines of record keepers kept, preserved, guarded and recorded the Nephite record. 


We could cite many statements about the importance these record keepers felt. Here are a few:

And it came to pass that after king Benjamin had made an end of these sayings to his son, that he gave him charge concerning all the affairs of the kingdom. And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi, and also the sword of Laban, and the ball or director which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, everyone, according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him. (Mosiah 1:3 RE)


And now, my son Helaman, I command you that ye take the records which have been entrusted with me. And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them — for it is for a wise purpose that they are kept — and these plates of brass which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning. And behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon. (Alma 17:7 RE)


And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem. Then he departed out of the land, and whither he went, no man knoweth. And his son Nephi did keep the record in his stead, yea, the record of this people. (3 Nephi 1:1 RE)


We can learn from all the above quotes (and others) just how important the record keepers knew their role to be, and just how seriously and carefully they fulfilled their responsibilities, including appointing their successors. This ensured that when Christ came and asked to see the records, Nephi could present him a collection of work that was accurate and largely complete. Nevertheless, the Lord instructed Nephi to add material that had been overlooked, then he gave them further material to include. This demonstrates the attention and care Christ gave to preparing the Book of Mormon record. Even more amazing, the Lord made clear that the record was not even for the Nephites. Over and over he told them to record his words so they could be had by the latter-day gentiles: 

And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem — they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry — do not ask the Father in my name that they may receive a knowledge of you by the holy ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the gentiles; (3 Nephi 7:4 RE)

Write the things which I have told you, and, according to the time and the will of the Father, they shall go forth unto the gentiles. (3 Nephi 10:4 RE)

And he saith, These scriptures which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you, for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations. (3 Nephi 11:6 RE)

At the end of the Nephite civilization, Mormon and later his son, Moroni, grappled with completing the record, abridging 1000 years of Nephite history, and providing what would be most needed in our day. Mormon spoke about his specific purposes in writing the record:

And these things do the spirit manifest unto me; therefore, I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam, and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil; and also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness, besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus whom they slew was the very Christ and the very God. And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Mormon 1:12 RE)

When the time came for the record to go to the Gentiles, God went to some lengths to ensure Joseph was prepared. By the time Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon plates, he had undergone four years of training, including meeting annually with the resurrected Nephi, who ultimately held responsibility for the records transferred from Judah, for the kingly line of Joseph, and for the Book of Mormon plates. We know almost nothing of Joseph’s interviews with Nephi each year on the Autumn equinox. Joseph told us very little about them:

Accordingly as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year and at each time I found the same messenger there and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. (JSH 4:1)

What “instruction and intelligence” were necessary to prepare an uneducated teenager to stand in the Holy Order line of record keepers? How carefully and deliberately did Nephi prepare for the handoff of the 2,400-year effort to preserve a pure record? We may never know those details, though we do know Nephi took a terrible risk in handing the record to a mortal. So long as the record remained “sealed up” by Moroni, it was in God’s care. But once it was handed to a mortal man, all manner of opposition could, and did, work against it. 


Remember, if history tells us anything, it’s that God’s word is rarely safe in the hands of mortals. Joseph was warned in the strictest terms concerning the responsibility that fell to him. 


Now, to begin to appreciate the full import of this Book of Mormon record without the need for hundreds of pages, we’ll have to resort to a list: 


Attributes of the Book of Mormon

  • The direct continuation of the record going back to Eden, which included all the holy prophets and the religion of the Fathers.
  • Prepared by a line of prophets in the Holy Order, under special care and guidance from God.
  • Recorded on metal plates throughout to prevent alteration by uninspired scribes.
  • Multiple copies of certain information prepared in anticipation of events 2,400 years in the future.
  • Designed to establish, and where necessary, correct the truth of the Bible.
  • Abridged and prepared by prophets and seers who saw our day and uniquely understood what would be required.
  • Sealed up and protected by God’s care for 1,400 years, to come forth unchanged and uncorrupted.
  • Translated by the gift and power of God for the gentile audience.
  • Targeted also to the Jews and other remnants of Israel for the specific purposes of restoring their covenant status, bringing them to Messiah, and fulfilling the covenants of God.
  • The keystone of the Marvelous Work and Wonder purposed by the Father.
  • The only record currently available that came forth under such circumstances, demonstrating the long-game approach of God. The Book of Mormon has been planned, prepared, and shepherded by God for millennia, specifically to play its role in our day.

I began this post by stating that the publication of the Book of Mormon is the greatest miracle since Christ’s resurrection. In light of the above, I feel such a statement is overwhelmingly vindicated. 


Nevertheless, even in the face of such impressive power, wisdom and planning, the Adversary has done what he can to fight against God. Obviously, he’s sought to discredit the record through all manner of sophistry. The arguments of mortals against the Book of Mormon have ranged from alternative origin theories, to linguistics, archaeology, geography, history, biology, theology, personal attacks and mockery. In other words, we’re back to tactic one from Part 1 of this series: Believe it not. 


And yet, the convincing power of the book is such that millions have flocked to its standard, despite Hell’s best efforts to discredit the work. So two other tactics have come into play. Let’s examine them both.


Tactic Five: Exploitation


For most of the 192 years since the book’s publication, the churches that accept the book have largely not accepted the book. Rather than giving this record the preeminent place it deserves as the gold standard for doctrine, practice and truth, many have instead treated it as a proof text for their own claims, and validation for their own man-made practices. 


Often it works something like this:

  • The Book of Mormon is true (yes)
  • So therefore Joseph Smith was a prophet (yes)
  • And therefore the church(es) who claim their origins with Joseph must unavoidably be “true” (wait, what?)
  • So therefore the guys at the top are most unavoidably prophets as well (seriously?)
  • So naturally what they do, say, and teach must certainly be God’s very word and will (fat chance!)
  • Therefore you must give them your money, obedience and support, otherwise you will be damned (oh please!)

If you try pointing out what the Book of Mormon ACTUALLY teaches about many of their practices and beliefs, and about churches in general, you’re likely to find yourself thrown out (ask me how I know.)


So, unfortunately, Lucifer has managed to deflect and retarget belief in this most amazing scriptural record into belief in churches, trusting the arm of flesh, and accepting all manner of falsehoods. To be honest, it’s a pretty effective tactic. 


Before we move on, we need to examine the foundations of faith, and therefore the foundations of the Adversary’s attacks. According to the Lectures on Faith (3:2-5):

Let us here observe that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

  • First, the idea that he actually exists.
  • Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.
  • Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. 

Consider how the three items listed directly map to Satan’s efforts:



Notice how each of the factors required for faith in Jesus Christ has been the target of one of Lucifer’s primary attacks? It’s no coincidence, of course. Both Satan and Joseph Smith are well aware of what is required for saving faith. One promotes it, and one attacks it, but the concepts are eternal.


Tactic Six: Imitation


OK, here’s where things start to get really strange. Try as he might to destroy faith by attacking scripture, Satan recognizes there are still some few who will prioritize correct scripture above all and will actually try to live according to the Lord’s teachings. They value and seek after truth with open hearts and minds. Therefore the Adversary has come up with a special way to entrap those folks. To put it simply, in effect he says, “So you like scripture, do you? Here, have more. Have all you want!” 


To that end, we’ve seen the bizarre and recent proliferation of numerous pieces of Book of Mormon “fan fiction” in the form of false scripture, manufactured by deceived or conspiring men, with the intent of misleading believers into false paths. I’ve personally encountered the following imitation scriptures (and I’m sure there are more):

  • A record purporting to be from the Hagoth colony
  • A record purporting to come from copper scrolls hidden in a cave in the Philippines
  • The supposed “Book of Lehi”
  • The supposed Plates of Brass
  • The supposed “Lost 116 pages”
  • Various versions of the “Book of Remembrance” 
  • At least four separate claimants have published the “sealed portion” of the Book of Mormon (one of whom has an unimpressive imitation set of gold plates, interpreters, and sword of Laban.) It’s very strange that the “sealed portion” seems to have irresistible attraction for forgers, yet is the most un-forgible scripture of all. Anyone who understands what it should contain and when it is destined to be revealed is not taken in by imitations.


And the list goes on, diverging from Book of Mormon derivative works into wholesale pretended revelations declaring all sorts of nonsense. 


Having personally read a number of these fake volumes of scripture, I can testify that they are all poor imitations. Nevertheless, each has managed to convince some few adherents and earn some money and notoriety for the forgers. Each comes with a back story designed to impress the gullible, but none comes with the sort of back story that aligns with the level of care God has taken through the ages in working through the Holy Order for the publication and protection of scripture. Dreamers make up interesting fantasies, but ultimately radioactive spider bites don’t really bestow superpowers. That’s just lazy writing.


So now that we’ve gotten to somewhat modern times in our story, we’ll next consider how the miraculous coming forth of the Book of Mormon was managed and nurtured by God. Watch for that in Part 5. 


And now behold, I tell you by the spirit of prophecy that if ye transgress the commandments of God, behold, these things which are sacred shall be taken away from you by the power of God, and ye shall be delivered up unto Satan, that he may sift you as chaff before the wind. But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you — for you must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them — behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words. For he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promise which he has made unto our fathers. For he promised unto them that he would preserve these things for a wise purpose in him, that he might shew forth his power unto future generations.

—Alma 17:10 RE