For those of you who might not have heard, yesterday DNA results were reported that showed that Josephine Lyon was not Joseph Smith’s biological child. I believe that is the last person suspected to be one of his biological children that it is possible to DNA test any descendants from, to see if it is possible he is their father. None of those tested for have proven to have been his children. It has been proven through DNA that he fathered children with Emma, but not proven that he fathered children ever with anyone else. It is a very interesting finding with implications for the LDS Church and the stance they have taken, as well as for those who have left the Church and argue that Joseph Smith was an adulterer and worse. It puts both groups in a situation where they will have to try to explain away some things, which they are already doing, of course.
But that is an aside to this post.
I believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet. By the term Prophet I mean that I believe he actually did see and converse with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that they (and other ministers from beyond the veil) did teach him and ask him to teach and to do certain things, including translating the Book of Mormon, which I believe to be a true book.
I also believe that almost immediately things began to go off track, which they almost always do when the Lord sends a messenger or prophet, or even the Savior. We almost never get Zion, where everyone knows the Lord for themselves. Not “know Him” in some esoteric “I have a feeling” way, but actually know Him personally, as in “have seen Him and conversed with Him and learned truth directly from Him.”
That is always the goal. Joseph Smith taught of it often. I believe it is the main message of the Book of Mormon. That teaching has been mainly lost, or at least it has become obscured, in the LDS Church. Correlation has had a lot to do with that, I believe, because when I first joined the Church in 1973, it was talked about much more often.
Here is what the Lord said in 1832: D&C 84:52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. 54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
The Lord said then the Church was under condemnation, a condemnation which has never been lifted, and has never been said to have been lifted by any LDS leader as far as I know. President Benson said the LDS Church was still under that condemnation. They are told in the next few verses of Section 84 that they have taken lightly the Book of Mormon, which is full of people knowing God and how they got to that point.
The previous verses in Section 84 are also talking all about that, about being invited to actually see God in this life and to know Him, and how when people reject that, the greater things are taken from them. We look down on the children of Israel who had Moses taken out of their midst and who were given a lesser Priesthood, because they did not want to go up the mountain and see God for themselves, they wanted the Prophet Moses to do it for them. We must ask ourselves: are we the same? Are we really progressing more and more, or are we regressing? When things are changed or removed, is it really because of greater understanding and revelation, or because of lesser understanding and loss of revelation? Are we learning more and more, or have we lost knowledge? Who really are the wheat, and who are the tares? Could we think we are wheat, but actually be tares? Are we closer to Zion? How many people do we know who actually testify of seeing the Lord, of knowing Him? Have we seen Him? Have we conversed with Him face to face? Is all really well?
2 Nephi 28:21 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.
Joseph Smith had an important dream or vision just before he died. He didn’t live long enough to discuss its meaning, but I think its meaning is clear. I don’t think I have ever heard this dream talked about in any Church meeting. Perhaps because of what it seems to mean.
Here is the dream or vision:
“I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather-boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm.
“While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me.
“The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it.
“I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church.
“He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church.
“I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body.
“While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud.
“When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended.” (Recorded 27 June 1844)
Joseph Smith was the messenger chosen by the Lord to restore the gospel and the knowledge of these great things: a main thing, maybe THE main thing, being that ALL are to know the Lord. The restoration of that concept has been obscured, downgraded as unimportant, and even talked about as being wrong to seek for by some. The truths of the restoration are almost lost. I believe if Joseph Smith showed up today, he would be treated by the majority who claim to believe what he taught as he was by the men in the barn in his last dream/vision.
Rather than repeat what he has written, I will link to a blog post that says much of what I want to get across in this post. If you have read this far, please read this, too, to get more of the point I am trying to make:
Do you believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet and here to restore what had been lost? Then those of us who believe that, or think it might possibly be true, need to actually read and study what he actually said and what he translated. That is often a bit difficult to do, since many of the statements attributed to him, that are quoted in manuals and lessons and talks, are likely not true statements of his. There are people who have studied some of the actual origins of those statements, so that is a help, but we still must be wary. Even parts of the D&C are being shown to have been changed after the fact by the Joseph Smith Papers project, although even then it is hard to find the changes, since you have to delve through it all and compare original pages with what was later written. I have to rely on others for that. And I also have heard of a couple instances where pressure has been put on from higher up to leave out or change even some of the things in the Joseph Smith Papers project, to put a better light on things, which, if true, makes me super sad.
We cannot fear truth! Fear is not from the Lord. Restricting what people read and where they get their information is the tactic of cults. We must trust what the Lord wants to tell us. We must not fear deception and therefore not learn or listen. We have to expect opposition in all things, so that we can learn to discern. When true messengers come, their message is usually not lovely to our ears. Because they almost always come to declare repentance. Telling us over and over the same things we already believe we ought to be doing or not doing is not the same thing. When a true messenger comes, he/she will likely make us uncomfortable in our ways. Telling us not to steal when we already believe we should not steal is still speaking smooth words. We already agree, even if we realize the need to improve. Telling us that some of what we believe is wrong and that we need to awake and arise is hard on us, and so we would rather sleep. Waking up is rough, and it requires sacrifice. We have to be willing to sacrifice.
All this really underscores the absolute need for each and every person to seek for a personal relationship with the Lord, because much truth will be hard to find or discern otherwise.
Let me just say here at the end of this post that there are people who are rising up and seeking the Lord and finding Him. Actually coming to know Him personally by speaking to Him face to face in this life. Some of them are my personal friends and acquaintances. Some of their accounts can be found here:
Elizabeth Jenson, in particular, is a good friend of mine. I love her experience. There is a new book out by an anonymous man who has seen the Lord. Here is a link to it:
I am almost half way through it. I am really enjoying it.
Denver Snuffer whose website is below has also seen the Lord, and has been asked by Him to teach some things. Here is his web site:
I was at all of the ten talks given in the “40 Years in Mormonism” series on that web site. They are all about preserving the restoration. I believe the messages in them are from Christ, as well as the messages in the books Denver has written. I believe the Lord wants us to listen to those messages, and not avoid them out of fear of deception. Will we listen to and and really hear and heed the Lord’s voice, wherever it is found. Will we recognize His voice?
If you love me or care about me, and think I am deceived, then listen to the 10 talks, and then persuade me (as it says to in D&C 121) that I am wrong about them being truth. They are actually all one long talk, so should all be listened to in order, if you want to get the whole picture. If you have not heard them, how can you know they are not true? And what if you miss truth out of fear? That would be a tragedy. We can trust the Lord to tell us through the Holy Ghost whether things are true.