8 thoughts on “The LDS Church’s Most Overlooked and Underrated Scripture

  1. I have friends who claim to have had this experience. I believe they believe they have, but I have a hard time believing it. I have no doubt they are sincere in their claims, though.

    Joseph’s 1832 account bears more than a passing similarity to Lehi’s in 1 Nephi 1: noon-day sun, pillar of fire. It even borrows from Luke 2.

    The 1838 account came after the 1837 Kirtland Apostasy, when faith in JS was low. Also in 1838 David Patten warned the church not to sin against the authority of Joseph Smith. How better to reassert that authority than to claim a personal visitation of God the Father and Jesus Christ? (Patten died later that year in the Battle of Crooked Creek. Perhaps coincidental. Perhaps not.)

    In 1839 John Corrill left the church and wrote a small pamphlet on his time in Mormonism. He wrote:

    “I have left you, not because I disbelieve the bible, for I believe in God, the Saviour, and religion the same as ever; but when I retrace our track, and view the doings of the church for six years past, I can see nothing that convinces me that God has been our leader; calculation after calculation has failed, and plan after plan has been overthrown, and our prophet seemed not to know the event till too late. If he said go up and prosper, still we did not prosper; but have labored and toiled, and waded through trials, difficulties, and temptations, of various kinds, in hope of deliverance. But no deliverance came. The promises failed, and time after time we have been disappointed; and still were commanded, in the most rigid manner, to follow him, which the church did, until many were led into the commission of crime; have been apprehended and broken down by their opponents, and many have been obliged to abandon their country, their families, and all they possessed, and great affliction has been brought upon the whole church. What shall we say to these things? Did not your prophet proclaim in your ears that the day was your own, and you should overcome; when in less than a week you were all made prisoners of war, and you would have been exterminated, had it not been for the exertions and influence of a few dissenters, and the humane and manly spirit of a certain officer?”

    https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/john-corrill-a-brief-history-of-the-church-of-christ-of-latter-day-saints-1839/46a

    My faith crisis ended with a confirmation that God was real and the BOM was what it claimed to be. That was it. For a long time I tried to convince myself that JS was part of that equation, but he wasn’t. Over the last 6 months or so, as I’ve taken the time to investigate every line of the published revelations, I know understand why. Yes, some tampering has occurred. Records have been altered, revelations revised and edited. We have documentary evidence to support that. But LDS-ism so diametrically opposed to the Book of Mormon that one must choose one or the other…

    Wild times!

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  2. A couple of observations…or in other words…a couple of “flies” in your ointment here:

    Joseph and the Three Witnesses all testify that the BoM was brought forth by angel(s). If the only contact the “gentiles” were to have with the Divine was the Holy Ghost as you purport above, what’s this with the appearance of angels to these “gentiles?” I get your objection to the Father and Son appearing to Joseph, though we may agree to disagree. But if your absolutism is correct about this particular scripture, seems to me that angels would be precluded from visiting Joseph and other gentiles as well. Just a little consistency problem, there.

    The Restoration Scriptures cites 3 Nephi 15:23 as follows (it actually is 3 Nephi 7:3 in their reckoning):

    And they understood me not, that I said, they shall hear my voice, and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at THAT time hear my voice, that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.

    Changing the “any” to “that” completely negates your thesis that the Gentiles were not to see nor hear the Savior (let alone angels.) So which is more reliable: the LDS Scriptures on which you base your thesis, or the Restoration Scriptures which destroys your thesis? And it certainly isn’t a stretch to say that the Restoration Scriptures validates Joseph’s claims, to your dismay.

    It all depends on the veracity of whether the correct word is “any” or “that”. John Gilbert, the one at the Grandin Printing Company who typeset the BoM and punctuated it, and also imposed upon the text his orthodox Protestant notions, might have had something to do with it.

    For what it is worth…

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    • Your reference to angels, or an angel, appearing to the Three Witnesses, or to Joseph Smith, presents no problem or conflict, or “fly in the ointment,” for the point I made in my essay. My essay dealt only with Jesus’ statement that the latter day Gentiles would not hear his own voice in person, but would commune with God through the ministering of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon clearly contemplates, and indeed foretells, the latter-day ministering of angels to men. It says the Three Nephites would do it, and that angelic ministrations would indeed exist in latter-day times as in prior times.

      You also quote Denver Snuffer’s version of the Book of Mormon, which he presumes to suggest should replace the one the Lord had translated by the gift and power of God and published in 1830. I will admit I reject Snuffer’s self-serving version in favor of the one the angel told the Three Witnesses was of God.

      Since Denver Snuffer convinced his followers that he had often spoken with Jesus Christ in person, and he made these claims long before he ever realized the problem 3 Nephi 15:23 posed for his claims, it’s not hard to imagine that when he was finally confronted with that verse, he realized he had to alter it so as to eliminate the contradiction of his prior claims of speaking to Jesus in person, and Joseph Smith’s as well. His subsequent rewording of that particular verse, and the claim that this revision was also inspired by God, was not coincidental. He had to do it to preserve Joseph’s stature and his own credibility as the rightful spiritual successor to Joseph Smith. So rather than admit his claim of divine visitations were false, or that Joseph’s were also false, he assigned error to the Book of Mormon. And by so doing, he compounded his original sin of making false claims of privileged and prophetic chosenness before God.

      This same practice of attempting to modify the key tenets of the gospel by altering scripture, was what led the angel who educated Nephi about the great and abominable church to rebuke the practice as profoundly sinful and ill-motivated. The concept of latter-day Gentiles relying on faith obtained through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, as opposed to in-person appearances by Jesus, is an extremely important part of Jesus’ message. He prefers things that way, and he said so to the Nephites, stating that more blessed were they who would believe on his words as related to them by others, than those who had heard them preached from his own mouth.

      It’s also worthwhile to note that the two scholars, Royal Skousen and Stanford Carmack, who have devoted their lives to discerning how transcription difficulties in producing the Book of Mormon created textual errors, do not agree with Denver Snuffer’s revision of 3 Nephi 15:23. They have corrected many hundreds of small one-word errors throughout the Book of Mormon through an exhaustive, 30+ year project entitled “The Critical Text Project of the Book of Mormon” and have found no error in that verse. Importantly, they, as opposed to Snuffer, have no reason to falsify their findings. Their research preceded Snuffer’s claims, and they, again unlike Snuffer, have doctorate degrees in English and Linguistics, respectively.

      If those in Denver Snuffer’s self-described “Restoration” movement would rely more on the Holy Ghost’s influence in understanding Christ’s teachings, and on genuine scholarship, instead of seeking for another leader making spectacular claims about his own elite status, they’d be less susceptible to misunderstanding LDS history and the doctrines of Christ in the Book of Mormon. They’d also be better able to discern when they’re being misled by a false prophet.

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  3. Your premise would stand to reason if Joseph Smith was indeed a Gentile and only a Gentile. 2 Nephi 3:22 – 24 has long struck me as odd on how it refers to “one mighty among them” that would be raised up amongst Joseph’s seed. Notice that Lehi promises Joseph that his seed should not be destroyed.
    Joseph of old is quoted, in that same chapter, as saying that the then future Joseph would be the “fruit of (his) loins.”
    My theory is Joseph Smith is not only a descendant of Joseph of old, but also of Joseph, son of Lehi. It’s a mighty big stretch for sure, for this to be the case, and it is completely dependent upon how you read vs 24.

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    • Which premise are you referring to that would stand to reason if Joseph was indeed a Gentile and only a Gentile?
      I personally don’t think it means much that Lehi promises his son Joseph that his seed won’t be destroyed, because this was promised to all of Lehi’s descendants. The only difference between the seed of Laman and Lemuel and the rest of the children was that the Nephite seed would survive in fewer numbers, and would be a mixture of Lamanite and Nephite blood. The Lamanite seed would be less mixed. But I agree verse 24 has more than one reasonable interpretation.

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  4. After Millenia since Abraham was around, would anyone currently alive be purely descended from only one bloodline? Whilst yes Gentile descendants may have stayed pure-ish for quite a while, in this day and age people are scattering freely across the globe interbreeding as they see fit.
    Whilst JS may have a ancestor somewhere on his family tree descended from Abraham, there was likely another ancestor on the tree that wasn’t a descendant of Abraham. Also, as he was not in Jerusalem, based on the word Gentile (foreigner) he can be deemed a Gentile to the Israelites geographically. Meaning he could be both a Gentile (foreigner to Jerusalem) and of the actual lineage of Abraham (non-Gentile).

    Thoughts?

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    • Yes, we agree. At this point in history, almost everyone in Europe and the Americas, and in Israel and other parts of the Middle East and Africa, is a mix of Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic blood, and their blood line has become irrelevant both to them and to the Lord in determining their chosenness. The only reason I use the word Gentile in my essay is to clarify what the Book of Mormon means when it uses that term. In the Book of Mormon, the “Gentiles” aren’t being classified by the percentage of Israelite blood within them, but rather, to distinguish them from those practicing the Jewish religion. In the Book of Mormon, Gentiles are that group of people that in the last 2,000 years, lived in Europe, embraced Christianity, and later either stayed there or migrated to the Americas. Joseph Smith was clearly of Israelite lineage as well as non-Israelite lineage, but he’s referred to as part of the Gentiles because of his religious orientation and Euro-American cultural background.

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