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David Bokovoy

The Book Of Moses As Temple Text

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I have really enjoyed reading Hamblin and Seelyâ??s new book Solomonâ??s Temple Myth and History. The insights that I have gained from this remarkable work have been extraordinary.

Reading the book has caused me to reinterpret many scriptural stories with a fresh light. As of late, Iâ??ve been especially struck with the significant temple imagery featured in the Book of Moses.

The Book of Moses begins with a description of the prophetâ??s experience upon the cosmic mountain, which was â??exceedingly highâ?:

â??When Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain, And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence" (Moses 1:1-2; see also Moses 7:3-4)

Concerning this ancient motif, Hamblin and Seely explain:

â??In many ancient creation stories, the earth was formed when the deity conquered chaosâ??represented by the primeval watersâ??and established the primordial hillock, the first portion of earth to rise from the waters. A temple was built on the primordial hillock commemorating the godâ??s pre-eminent role in creation and their power in defeating Chaos, legitimizing the worship of the god enshrined in the temple and the rule of his divinely appointed king.â? William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely, Solomonâ??s Temple Myth and History, Thames and Hudson, 2007, 10.

Surely Mosesâ?? encounter with God â??face to faceâ? upon the cosmic mountain denotes the physical meeting at the temple veil, when Moses is introduced into Godâ??s â??presence.â? The symbolic value of the temple veil is also apparent in Moses 1:11:

â??But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face for I was transfigured before himâ? (v. 11)

From an Old Testament perspective, the statement â??the glory of God was upon Mosesâ? also reflects important temple imagery:

â??Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacleâ? (Exodus 40:34)

â??So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORDâ? (1 Kings 8:11)

The significance of Mosesâ?? temple encounter upon the cosmic mountain was not lost to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

â??I preached in the grove on the keys of the Kingdom, Charity &c The keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the Templeâ??the poor may get them on the Mountain top as did Mosesâ?¦ No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies.â? Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, 119 - 120.

From the Prophetâ??s perspective, Moses received the key signs and words which in part facilitated Mosesâ?? spiritual â??face to faceâ? encounter whereby Moses came to truly know God.

In addition to these temple themes, the Book of Moses contains references to:

The dispensing of Satan (vv. 12-22)

A ritual depiction of the creation drama (Moses 2)

A ritual presentation of the Fall in which readers can put themselves in the place of Adam and Eve (Moses 3-4)

Ritual presentation of the Law of Sacrifice (Moses 5:1-9)

A depiction of Adamâ??s promise that he will enter the presence of the Lord (Moses 5:10)

Adam and Eve are identified as true messengers sent from God (Moses 5:12); angels are sent forth as true â??messengersâ? sent to teach the Law of the Gospel.

â??And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost (5:58)

An introduction to secret combinations that reflect true worship, yet serve as its antithesis (Moses 5:29):

â??And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.â?

A ritual vestment in which Adam appears as a divine temple working king who receives a coat of skin (Moses 4:27)

Therefore, thematically, the Book of Moses begins with a temple encounter in which Moses speaks with God face to face through the veil. This introduction prepares readers for the creation drama and the account that depicts Adam as a divine king working the holy garden ( I have much more to say on this notion in a forthcoming publication).

Suffice it to say that in view of the introductory temple theme, Adamâ??s role as a divine king working the holy garden proves meaningful.

As Hamblin and Seely explain:

â??According to many mythologies, after subduing the primeval waters at creation the gods planted a luscious and fertile paradisiacal gardenâ?¦ temples often reflected this divine garden through architecture, floral ornamentation, or by having actual gardens in the temple precinct commemorating the archetypal garden and reminding the worshippers of the power of the gods over fertility and lifeâ? (12).

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The Book of Moses begins with a description of the prophetâ??s experience upon the cosmic mountain, which was â??exceedingly highâ?:

â??When Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain, And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence" (Moses 1:1-2; see also Moses 7:3-4)

This is a common motif in almost all ancient societies including those of Asia and Africa. Among the criteria for the shamanic initiation is exactly as detailed in the vision of Lehi, Moses, Abraham, Mohammed, etc. "the shaman, in a state of ecstatic performance, acts out a quest of supernatural dimensions,; he can ascend to heaven or go down to the netherworld; he meets with spirits, demons, and gods." (Creation of the Sacred, Walter Burkett) Jason in his quest for the golden fleece from the land of the sun or to "bring back the soul of Phrixos," is indicative of the shaman's quest. In the Sumerian story of Inanna's retrieval of from the netherworld and the Greek myth of Orpheus' journey into Hades to retrieve the soul of his wife are all shaman's tales. Also compare to Gilgamesh's journey to the sun, Herakles' on his journey to Geryoneus, Odysseus' search for Circe. All reflect a shaman's journey.

An interesting aspect that is presented in Moses' account and the above accounts are that they are presented in first person narrative, e.g. "I went, I saw..."

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Joseph must have copied these motifs from the Dogberry papers.

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I will take the opportunity to preempt all the critics:

Why is this relevant? This doesn't mean anything. Why should anyone care?

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What impresses me about the Book of Moses the most is that it sets sets the stage for how Satan works, and I think it can apply a lot to the workings of Satan in our day. We learn that Satan uses oath bound secret combinations. I think we can deduce from the Book of Moses that Satan always has his "Master Mahan" on the Earth to do his work and I think that explains a lot of the organized crime and organized Satanism that is so prevalent in our modern society. This also pertains a lot to the temple, since the temple ceremony teaches us something about how Satan works. I think the Book of Moses, along with the Gadianton Robbers in the BoM, and the conspiring men mentioned in D&C 89, are a warning to us about the modern-day conspiracy and the secret workings of Satan's followers.

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A well-known Mormon scholar [who takes a lot of flack on this board,] let's just call him Mr. Snibley, talked about the common motif of the encounter with the adversary, who appears and offers his authority for a price, because you can have anything in this world for money. He demands that he be worshiped. As I was reading the Clementine Recognitions I encountered another example of this motif, when Peter the apostle is facing off with Simon Magus, who claims to be the Son of God, as Lucifer does.

[This is Peter speaking] "For, as I was beginning to say, God has appointed for this world certain pairs; and he who comes first of the pairs is of evil, he who comes second, of good. And in this is given to every man an occasion of right judgment, whether he is simple or prudent.

For if he is simple, and believes him who comes first, though moved thereto by signs and prodigies, he must of necessity, for the same reason, believe him who comes second; for he will be persuaded by signs and prodigies, as he was before. When he believes this second one, he will learn from him that he ought not to believe the first, who comes of evil; and so the error of the former is corrected by the emendation of the latter. "But if he will not receive the second, because he has believed the first, he will deservedly be condemned as unjust; for unjust it is, that when he believed the first on account of his signs, he will not believe the second, though he bring the same, or even greater signs. But if he has not believed the first, it follows that he may be moved to believe the second. For his mind has not become so completely inactive but that it may be roused by the redoubling of marvels.

"But if he is prudent, he can make distinction of the signs. And if indeed he has believed in the first, he will be moved to the second by the increase in the miracles, and by comparison he will apprehend which are better; although clear tests of miracles are recognised by all learned men, as we have shown in the regular order of our discussion. But if any one, as being whole and not needing a physician, is not moved to the first, he will be drawn to the second by the very continuance of the thing, and will make a distinction of signs and marvels after this fashion; -- he who is of the evil one, the signs that he works do good to no one; but those which the good man worketh are profitable to men." ---Book 3.59

This recalls familiar motifs dealing with the temple, and most of the ancient Patriarchs Assention texts, and it is even mentioned in the Doctrine in Covenants, implying that Joseph Smith had this experience.

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This thread has been helpful, since Iâ??ve had a difficult time trying to express in words how Iâ??ve come to visualize this text.

It seems to me that the introduction that Joseph Smith adds to Genesis 1-3 directly transforms the opening chapters of the Bible into a temple-drama.

The drama is tied together nicely by the temple themes I suggested in the opening post. However, what I find most interesting is the fact that Josephâ??s new introduction to Genesis 1-3 which transforms the chapters into a temple-drama has, from an ancient Near Eastern perspective, an impressive tie to the story itself.

As suggested, Adam appears in the story of Eden as a temple working king. In the Eden story the Lord took advantage of the wet, claylike soil and â??formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soulâ?? (Genesis 2:7).

In an important study concerning this imagery, Walter Brueggemann has shown that a biblical connection exists between being raised from the dust and enthronement. â??To be taken â??from the dustâ?? means to be elevated from obscurity to royal office and to return to dust means to be deprived of that office and returned to obscurity;â? Walter Brueggemann, â??From Dust to Kingship,â? Zeitschrift f

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I don't think I am smart enough to come to the FAIR conference.

This is really deep!

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I don't think I am smart enough to come to the FAIR conference.

This is really deep!

Oh, yes you are. If itâ??s complex, itâ??s only because I havenâ??t explained it well. I really am trying to find the words to express my change of perspective.

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I will take the opportunity to preempt all the critics:

Why is this relevant? This doesn't mean anything. Why should anyone care?

You forgot:

Just coincidence

and

Not statistically significant

and

You could do the same with any other two books

and

Joseph Smith was an idiot and got lucky

and

Joseph Smith was a genius and got lucky

and

Joseph Smith had access to every book under the Sun

and

Joseph Smith knew everybody under the Sun

and

Brigham Young really meant . . .

and

Mormons don't know what they believe

and

Mr. Romney show me your underwear

and

Mormons hate the Bible

and

God is a sociopath

and

Erudite philospher X said . . .

and

LDS scientists are hacks

and

DNA says . . .

and

All the thinking has been done

and

Mormons have no doctrine

and

Mormon doctrine is not Biblical

and

Mormons are racist

and

Mormons are sexist

and

Mormons are homophobic

and

Mormons read their scriptures too much

and

Mormon missionaries are incredulous

and

Mormon missionaries are con artists

and

Mormons lie about their history

and

The LDS Church owns Coca-Cola

and

Mormons have horns

and

Brigham Young's name was really Bring-'em Young

and

Daniel Peterson fill in the blank with your best [cheap] shot

and

. . .

The tactic soon becomes: throw enough artistic medium on the wall and something is going to stick - it just has to, cuz there is simply no way it can be true.

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Silly David, dont you know? The BoMoses comes form the Masonic lodge. :P

.....if not from there then some rabbi he pulled out of his hat.

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.....if not from there then some rabbi he pulled out of his hat.

I've been really excited about the Book of Moses as of late. I've found some really amazing things in addition to the ideas presented in this thread and the previous one concerning Moses' power to control the water like God. I'm convinced that there's alot more inspiration in the book than many of us recognize.

So many insights, so little time.

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I've been really excited about the Book of Moses as of late. I've found some really amazing things in addition to the ideas presented in this thread and the previous one concerning Moses' power to control the water like God. I'm convinced that there's alot more inspiration in the book than many of us recognize.

So many insights, so little time.

ya, :P the BoMoses can be easy to over look since it doesnt have any sexy side notes like gold codex or papyri. That means that critics and belivers alike are forced to look at the next and only the text when dealing with the book, this makes it harder to get distracted.

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