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The Holy Ghost Is A Calling

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#1 Tribunal


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:15 AM

Last night I was in institute class and the teacher said that "there is one Heavenly Father, and one Son, but the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost is a calling - so says Joseph Smith Jr."

Really? Is this true? I have never ever heard anything like this before. I won't be able to get feedback from this teacher until next Thursday so any help in this would be very helpful!
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#2 The Nehor

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:21 AM

Never seen this substantiated by a quote though this theory has been passed around for a long time.

Is it true? I dunno.
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#3 thesometimesaint


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:21 AM


Don't know as JS said it, but the HG as a Calling could be possible.
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#4 Tribunal


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:30 AM

When I got home I tried to look up the claim but haven't found anything. I've never actually heard this claim before. It is very interesting and would explain a lot - I believe.

My next questions would be who holds the calling? Who is this personage? Or is there more than one holding the calling?
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#5 LeSellers


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:43 AM

My next questions would be who holds the calling? Who is this personage? Or is there more than one holding the calling?

There is no way to answer the first questions, but as to the last, there is only one Who holds the calling at any one time (assuming it's as it appears here): we don't say "the Holy Ghosts".

Since the Holy Ghost is a spirit only, it does not seem reasonable that He'd have been born on the Earth and then reverted back to his spirit state, as the absence of a body is a bondage. As a member of the Godhead, perhaps with "emeritus" status, that seems rather harsh: Jesus got His body back after three days.

I believe your hypothetical question would better best posed like this: "Who has/ve been the Holy Ghost?"

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#6 The Nehor

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:45 AM

I just hope it's a calling I never have. I don't think I can do still small voice.

Me if I had the job of Holy Ghost:

"Hey moron, that's a sin you're about to commit."
"No, I'm not going to explain Adam-God to you."
"Okay, the next person who prays for BYU to win a football game gets struck by lightning!!! I'm not kidding here."
"Yes, George Lucas is going to h*** for the latest rerelease of the original Star Wars trilogy."
"I'm not making those brownies nourishing and no, I won't let them strengthen you. I'm giving cancer to everyone who eats them because of this trite prayer. Now how do you feel?"
"Yes, your situation is unique. No, it doesn't mean you can break the commandments."
"This is a broadcast from the reptilians of Beta Centauri using Mind-Laser Transference. I'm telling you that I want you to burn things.....lots of things. Burn the world and when we invade you will live forever."
"I refuse to answer any of your prayers until you stop reading the Twilight series. I don't encourage bad behavior."
"Remember that time you bore a travelogue instead of a testimony on Sunday? All those Sundays? Yeah, every time you do that God gives me permission to send a flock of doves to peck your eyes out. It's getting harder to turn Him down each time."
"Beware the ides of March."
"Yes, I hate your missionary companion too. Just take this as an incentive to fear h*** where he is going."
"We're trying to find you a husband but unless you bring it down to one cat max there's nothing we can do for you."

"Wait a minute.....WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT PROTON PACK?!??!!?!?!? NOOOOO!!!!!"

Posted Image

Yeah, don't give me the job.
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Twisting God's work into my own hellish, slithering, mutatious...thing.

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#7 Questing Beast

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:01 AM

I first heard this decades ago. I do not know the reference for it, sorry. The full "doctrine" as taught to me in a priesthood lesson, is that the HG has been each prophet of each dispensation before he was born in the flesh. So Joseph Smith spent his time as a spirit as the HG. The same could be said for each of the prophets like Abraham or Moses. So you cannot be "called" to be a HG after you've been a mortal.

I agree, this pov/doctrine would explain a lot....

Edited by Questing Beast, 09 September 2011 - 08:01 AM.

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#8 Gillebre


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:04 AM

I first heard this decades ago. I do not know the reference for it, sorry. The full "doctrine" as taught to me in a priesthood lesson, is that the HG has been each prophet of each dispensation before he was born in the flesh. So Joseph Smith spent his time as a spirit as the HG. The same could be said for each of the prophets like Abraham or Moses. So you cannot be "called" to be a HG after you've been a mortal.

I agree, this pov/doctrine would explain a lot....

this is the first i heard anything like that. lol.
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#9 Calm


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:13 AM

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#10 Tribunal


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:21 AM


I wonder if that's what the teacher was talking about? Interesting! Would this be similar to hero worship, or prophet worship?
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#11 Questing Beast

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:36 AM

I believe that the prophet Elijah, before becoming such, would have made one dyn-o-mite Holy ghost. He's my favorite prophet....
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#12 Storm Rider

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:22 AM

Last night I was in institute class and the teacher said that "there is one Heavenly Father, and one Son, but the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost is a calling - so says Joseph Smith Jr."

Really? Is this true? I have never ever heard anything like this before. I won't be able to get feedback from this teacher until next Thursday so any help in this would be very helpful!

Me thinks we have another example of the puffed up puffing up by passing on false doctrine or wild speculation. Which is it? I do not care to know. I know of one Godhead and one Godhead alone: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Just as the Father is from eternity to eternity, so the Son and the Holy Ghost. Should there be future revelation on this topic, great, but until then...hush your mouth.

Edited by Storm Rider, 09 September 2011 - 09:23 AM.

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#13 Pa Pa

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:27 AM

Me thinks we have another example of the puffed up puffing up by passing on false doctrine or wild speculation.

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#14 JAHS


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:41 AM

I have never heard any church leader nor scripture suggest that the Holy Ghost is just a calling. He is and always has been a member of the Godhead. Some have speculated that if the Holy Ghost is one of Heavenly Father's spirit children, when the duties performed by Him are no longer needed that He will receive a body and continue on in His eternal progression.
Joseph Smith once said that, "The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and is waiting to take to himself a body, as the Savior did."[Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997)]
"The Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has." (Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245; Sabbath address, Nauvoo, 27 August 1843. Reported by Franklin D. Richards.)
However even these statements from Joseph should probably be considered as speculation at best, since he nor any other prophet has proclaimed it official church doctrine. We are not even really that certain that the Holy Ghost ever needs to obtain a body. He is already considered a God without one, the same as Jesus was before He came to earth.
President Joseph Fielding Smith was asked the same question and this was his answer:
"There is so much in relation to the gospel that we are required to do and so many commandments to observe and ordinances to receive in order that we may obtain an exaltation in the kingdom of God, that we should have no time to enter into speculation in relation to the Holy Ghost.
Too many members of the Church bother themselves about something which does not concern us and which has not been revealed. They neglect the weightier matters and fail to seek for the light and truth which is revealed and also to obtain and be true to the ordinances and covenants so essential to our salvation."(Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 2 p. 148)
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#15 Mansquatch


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:48 PM

I personally love speculation and discussion of possibilities, but only when appropriately labeled.
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#16 LDSToronto


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:24 PM

Last night I was in institute class and the teacher said that "there is one Heavenly Father, and one Son, but the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost is a calling - so says Joseph Smith Jr."

Really? Is this true?

Yes it is. I was the ward holy ghost for a couple of years back in the 90's and I was recently released after an 8 year stint as the stake holy ghost. Bit of a crappy calling, people always asking me to find their car keys and such.

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#17 HiJolly


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:38 PM

If I recall correctly, this is taught in the various polygamous sects of the Mormon community.

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#18 Sargon


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:07 PM

Last night I was in institute class and the teacher said that "there is one Heavenly Father, and one Son, but the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost is a calling - so says Joseph Smith Jr."

Really? Is this true? I have never ever heard anything like this before. I won't be able to get feedback from this teacher until next Thursday so any help in this would be very helpful!

I'm familiar with this speculation. There are other speculations along those lines. Regardless, it is totally inappropriate for an institute class.
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#19 JeremyOrbe-Smith


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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:57 PM

I personally love speculation and discussion of possibilities, but only when appropriately labeled.

Brace yerself. *grin*

Rampant, Wild, Non-Doctrinal, McConkie-Disapproved Speculation Ahoy!

Personally, I speculate that the Holy Ghost is female, and possibly even the Heavenly Mother. I'm not sure if this constitutes a "calling."

Here's a ridiculously long post (with some additions, even) that I wrote recently in a comment over at By Common Consent:

Through the use of a few related symbols found interspersed in the text of the scriptures, I think we can unearth the existence of female divinity, with the implication being that embodiment in male and female form is a definite attribute of Godhood. The metaphorical symbolism and "anthropomorphic personification" was only powerful because it had once had a real-world referent.

The idea that this was mere "hypostatization" - the ascription of material existence to Her as emanating from the "feminine aspects" of Yahweh - is only necessary in order to consolidate references to a physically feminine deity with the genderless requirements of the later schools of philosophy which claimed that there was something "higher" or "bigger" than "mere" humans.

These interconnected symbols are:

a. the personified female Wisdom of Proverbs, who is

b. additionally referred to, metaphorically, as being "a Tree of Life" to those who search for her, and

c. this feminine "Tree of Life" was related to the Garden of Eden story commemorated by the lampstand of Moses' Tabernacle, and therefore

d. also the Asherah, a tree-like object which stood - legitimately - in Solomon's Temple for hundreds of years. Far from being a foreign "contamination", as the scribes tried to retroactively assert, this Creatress was a revered figure. Furthermore, this network of symbolism

e. included the Holy Spirit, which, given in the sign of a dove, partook of the same religious symbolism of the area which represented the divine female as a bird (for instance, the Egyptian Ma'at, or Nephthys), in order to represent not just an ideal metaphor, but an actual personage who existed (and exists) in history.

This Spirit is likely to have been the Queen of Heaven, the woman John saw in his Revelation, who became the "herald" of "good tidings to Zion and Jerusalem". Margaret Barker notes that "although this female figure came to be identified with the city or with the people (Isaiah 54.7, 'I will bring you home again'), the fact that at the beginning of the prophecies she brings news to the city shows that she did have another identity before becoming the city.

The fate of the city is explained in terms of the fate of the female figure, the repeated assertion being that she has been abandoned by her husband (Isa. 49.14) and deprived of her children (Isa. 54.1) Even though the woman as city has come to dominate our reading of the texts, the memory of the original woman persisted." (The Great Angel, 53 [Emphasis added])

Through an evolutionary process of apostasy, the memory of this Hebrew Mother-Goddess was lost, especially during a wave of Hellenization comparatively late in Israel's history. Moreover, it was not the mere existence of a feminine deity that the Prophets warned against, but rather the human sacrifices which were made to her which had perverted the true practices. ("For there did come in unobserved certain men, long ago having been written beforehand to this judgment, impious, the grace of our God perverting to lasciviousness, and our only Master, God, and Lord Jesus Christ denying." Jude 1:4)

The Book of Mormon's first prophetic family was alarmed at, among many things, this loss of Wisdom (and the related concept of the physical Divine Family it helped to commemorate) from the Temple and so broke away from their brethren in order to journey to a land where She might be remembered alongside the Father and Son, who - as separate beings - faced similarly perilous redefinitions when Hellenized monotheism swept through the land. It was those definitions of God - the paradoxical immaterialist ones - which would cause people to stumble once they shook off the appeal of Alexandrian absolutism, not the far more sensible Divine Family.

But by cutting out the female Tree of Life Mother, the Israelites gained a logical reason to deny that God could have a true Son, and therefore looked "beyond the mark" to the fashionably genderless, unmarried, philosophical abstraction of the Unmoved Mover instead of the living God who fathered children. I think this is part of the reason the Spirit wrought upon the unnamed man in 1 Nephi 13 and many "other gentiles" who "went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters," the "many multitudes of Gentiles upon the land of promise" whose "mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters ... [while] the power of God was with them" [emphasis added] rather than the those who had "taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious," leaving the Temple as an empty shell to an unknowable God - perhaps even the Great and Spacious Building of Nephi's vision.

Rather than acquiescing to the dematerializing fashions of the schools who have turned the Divine Family into an abstraction in order to remain philosophically unimpeachable, Nephi asserts that he has had the words of his father given to him "by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men. ... For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old." (1 Nephi 10:17-19) Finally, in a stunning assertion of the memory of the Great Mother which he is carrying, he seals his testimony with the fact that "the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not." (1 Nephi 10:22)

In this way, the "old wives' tales" and "primitive myths" of the rural Israelite tradition (see "Poems about Ba'al and Anath", etc) were actually remembering true stories more faithfully than the official elite histories which downplayed the Divine Council and accused the Mother (retroactively) of being the product of undignified, unphilosophical, abominable foreign worship.

These "primitive" and "unsophisticated" conceptions of the familial religion of hearth and home were sometimes more accurate than the "higher" understanding of later philosophy. Yet they continued to be resisted, even by those who should have known better - women were more easily dismissed, as Luke 24:10 shows: "it was the Magdalene Mary, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women with them, who told unto the apostles these things, and their sayings appeared before them as idle talk, and they were not believing them." (YLT) In Hebrews, it is said that earlier men had done wrong when the "Son of God [they] did trample on, and the blood of the covenant did count a common thing, in which he was sanctified, and to the Spirit of the grace did despite."

In contrast to the true Mother, Lady Wisdom, Nephi is shown through the Spirit how the world sets up the opposing "church" of vain, disembodied philosophy which was the "mother of abominations," which had "dominion over all the earth," gathering together those who would fight against the idea that God was ever a real person, who could love a real woman rather than the idealized perfection they imagined. (1 Nephi 14) The jeering crowds laughed at those who worshipped under the living tree rather than the empty building, though the family of the "house of Israel was compared unto an olive-tree, by the Spirit" (1 Nephi 15:12) in the symbolism which runs throughout the entire Book of Mormon of all the tribes being branches rooted in the same mother-tree who mourned for the sins of Her children.

It's been a rough road since the very beginning. Evil did not come into the world from the Woman in the Garden; that is the misinterpretation of the fact that it is through women that we are born into the world of mortality in order to experience the pains necessary to progress further. Contrary to Tertullian or Jerome or whoever it was who claimed that women are the Gate of the Devil, we know that they are the Gate of Life, the Pathway through which we enter our Second Estate. Adam and Eve, the first Father and Mother of the flesh in this latest dispensation, retain their identities as Father and Mother in heaven, who are themselves descended spiritually (as we all are) from the Father and Mother God who preceded them, just as we will become Fathers and Mothers in Heaven as we follow them on the same path.

(This does not preclude evolution - Bene-Adam merely means "human", and we are told that their names mean "many". As in the Temple, the purpose of the Garden story is to reenact the Sacred Drama in which we all become Adams and Eves, recapitulating our fall from Heaven into our current homo sapiens bodies of mortality)

What's interesting is that Shaddai, the name usually translated as "Almighty" in the KJV, is a Proto-Semitic word meaning "mountain". This is usually seen as referring to a male being who is "King of the Mountain", but in fact it was probably a metaphor for breasts. This is significant because if that reading of the name is privileged, then many of the references to the fertility granted by the Gods in the Old Testament make far more sense, though they've been muddled over time. (See "Shadday as a Goddess Epithet" by Harriet Lutzky for further documentation.)

For instance, in Genesis 17:1 (Jewish Study Bible) "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai. Walk in My ways [the commonly attested way of Wisdom?] and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will make you exceedingly numerous." The circumcision covenant then comes from a different male deity naming himself as part of the family; later Jacob erects a rod of fresh poplar to promote the fertility of his flocks.

Genesis 49:25 (JSB) The God of your father who helps you,
And Shaddai who blesses you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that couches below,
Blessings of the breast and womb.

This is one of the major themes that the Book of Mormon restores: the fertile Tree of Life to Her rightful place, which utterly transforms our understanding of what religion is, and what it is for. Our Temples reinstitute the mystery of the Sacred Marriage and the Creation it brings forth; this is the fundamental shift in worldview the Book of Mormon proclaims from the very first page, and it impacts all of religious thought.

Every transcendental religion and philosophy based on the irresolvable contradictions of immaterial abstractions which have led to such bloodshed and heartache are corrected. The oldest stories are restored, the ones closest to the source, in which it is male and female human beings themselves who, through their intelligence and good works and faithful covenants, have the potential for divinity.

"As Maimonides, the greatest medieval Jewish philosopher, put it, 'God is not a body, nor can bodily attributes be described to him, and He has no likeness at all.'" (Raphael Patai, The Hebrew Goddess) This incoherent conception of a bodiless God has so permeated Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and even Western Atheistic culture that to even speak of God as having a physical form is seen as ludicrous on its face.

In contrast, Joseph Smith taught that:

"When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves. And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy. John 14:23 - The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false." (D&C 130)

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make Himself visible, - I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another." (King Follett Discourse)

No longer is God considered a wholly other, separate type of being from us; He is our Father who works alongside our Mother and all the rest of our family, the Council of the Gods in the Book of Abraham, communicating with us in order to teach us to become as loving as they are. Though our world is governed by one Godhead, Godhood itself is not the exclusive title of a single species-unique power-hungry tyrant; it is eternal At-one-ment, unity through mutual worth-ship, potentially available to all who want to serve others.

There is only one God - but where others after the Apostasy say it is a singular being we must worship (a being who, much like Satan, wants utterly exclusive devotion) we think the One God we worship is part of a unified Council, part of a family. An uncountable number of Gods and Goddesses, working together with one will to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. The Book of Mormon shows how, by forsaking the Wisdom of Proverbs (family life, regarding all humans as being God's children), by rejecting the Atonement, by driving an insuperable gap between God and ourselves so deeply that he becomes an alien, inhuman species, we have essentially killed god using the same excuse as every other genocide which dehumanized strangers from a distant place into something Not Us. We devolve into terrible civil wars which can utterly destroy us from the face of the land, as happened between the Nephites and the Lamanites, who were once brethren. We kill each other, rather than die for one another.

It's significant, then, that the Book of Mormon takes off during Jeremiah's time:

1:11 (JSB) The word of the LORD came to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree.
The LORD said to me:
You have seen right,
For I am watchful to bring My word to pass.

The Jewish Study Bible says that it's "a pun upon the word "shaked," almond tree, and "shoked," "watching". The almond tree is one of the first trees to blossom in the spring, signifying God's resolve to bring about the divine word concerning Jerusalem and Judah. A recently discovered ivory pomegranate blossom, believed to have come from the excavation of biblical Jerusalem, apparently was formed to fit on the end of a staff.

The inscription on the pomegranate, "belonging to the Temple of the Lord, holy to the priests," indicates that it probably served as the cap for a priest's or Levite's staff in the Jerusalem Temple. The image also appears in Numbers chapter 17, where the sprouting of almond blossoms on Aaron's and the Levite's staffs marks them as the divinely chosen priests of Israel. It seems likely that Jeremiah's vision was based upon the image of a Levitical staff.

Keep in mind, this is also remarkably similar to Joseph's rod in the Gospel of the Birth of Mary. More on that later.

Yet Jeremiah doesn't oppose the Asherah merely for being a Sacred Tree. The forms of worship are identical between Canaanite and Israelite religion. He opposes it because the worship has been perverted - specifically, some are offering their sons as sacrifice, which was a thing God says He never asked them to do.

In 15:4 the Lord says that "I will make [the people] a horror to all the kingdoms of earth, on account of King Manasseh son of Hezekiah of Judah, and of what he did in Jerusalem." The inference might be that it was the Asherah that Jeremiah is condemning as wrong - yet that is never what the Prophet actually stated.

When we look at what Manasseh did, we see it is a narrative scribal assumption (from a time when monotheism was being stressed from outside influences) that it was the Sacred Post that was wrong. Yet in 2 Kings 21:6, we find that Manasseh also "consigned his son to the fire", "practiced soothsaying and divination", and "consulted ghosts and familiar spirits" - activities which are far more dire and contrary to the Plan of Salvation and worthy of correction - the first, obviously, because of the loss of human life, the others because of the potential of those activities to lead to exploitative abuses of a naive population.

But this does not preclude a true Queen of Heaven, the Lady Wisdom:

10:12 JSB He made the earth by His might,
Established the world by His Wisdom,
And by His understanding stretched out the skies.

Here, might it not be significant that Jeremiah is a prophet from the place named after Anathoth, with the derogatory interpretation of the name, whose men, after following the reforms and destroying Wisdom's Tree in the Temple, want to claim Jeremiah's life? And then, around this time, we branch out into another story from the same family tree where the Book of Mormon people journey out because of the loss of Wisdom in the Temple and are encouraged by seeing a dream of the Tree of Life associated with a surrogate "mother of the flesh" for Christ, whose very existence as a separate category implies another "mother of the spirit".

Add to this the fact that Joseph Smith, who retrieved the Book of Mormon, was also a Temple-builder who Restored a Sacred Marriage, through which men and women are able to be deified. He also restored material about Eve, in which she is seen as taking hold of the fruit of the Tree of Life in order to become the Mother of humanity.

If, as we believe, Eve had a Mother in Heaven, then by associating with the Tree of Knowledge and descending to this world of mortality in order to have a family, she was taking her first step towards becoming a Mother in Heaven herself, leading us right back to where we started, with the Tree of Life being closely entwined with the Goddess of the Breast.

Ezekiel is carried away in the Spirit, seeing a confusing image often assumed to be evidence of idolatry. This customary translation makes little sense; it is more likely that what he saw was not sml hqn'h but sml hqn, the image of the creatress, the title of Atirat. She would have been the consort of 'l qnh, the creator of heaven and earth, the God of Jerusalem mentioned in Genesis 14.9 and the 'image of jealousy' would have been no more than the customary wordplay to avoid mentioning the unmentionable. (Barker, Angel)

Indeed, such books as Proverbs and the Wisdom of Ben Sirach are absolute treasure-troves of familial religion, and how we earthly children can emulate our father and mother in heaven. As Hugh Nibley said in Lecture 79 of his "Teachings of the Book of Mormon" class: "Incidentally, where this lamentation and Wisdom literature reaches its peak in Hebrew is in the book of Ecclesiastes. The Wisdom literature of the Hebrews is very close to the Egyptian - they quote from each other, as a matter of fact. The Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Amenemope overlap each other. The latter is a thousand years older; they say the same thing."

"The human race is just this way, and it's always going to be this way. Since the beginning of the world, it has never gotten any better. "Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in Wisdom's paths!" See this is Wisdom literature - this [Wisdom] should be capitalized, I suppose. I'll see if it is in an earlier edition of the Book of Mormon. That's the Ḥokhmāh literature of the Hebrews. They always capitalize Wisdom in the Hebrew writings, as if it were a person. And that's so in the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, too. It's Wisdom and her children."

3:13 (JSB) Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
The man who attains understanding.
Her value in trade is better than silver,
Her yield, greater than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
All of your goods cannot equal her.
In her right hand is length of days,
In her left, riches and honor.

(JSB Notes: In the background of this passage may be the Egyptian practice of depicting gods holding the symbols of their powers and blessings (particularly "life" and "prosperity").)

17: Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths, peaceful.
She is a tree of life to those who grasp her,
And whoever holds on to her is happy.

Similarly, Job is often dealing with Shadai:

Would you discover the mystery of God?
Would you discover the limit of shadai?
Higher than heaven - what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol - what can you know?

(The common motif of a sky-god-father and earth-goddess-mother)

The Song of Songs compares the lovers to a stag for male virility and to turtledoves as a sign of Venus, which is also the sign of the Dove in Christ's time. The mount of myrrh and the hill of frankincense most likely refer to the woman's breasts, lending further credence to Shaddai as a metaphor for mountain-breasts.

The nurturing fertility expressed in the milk is always tied to the land, much as Enoch's vision of the Earth as the Mother of Men in pain does. Man is compared to Air, the hot south wind, associated with the Sky-God while she is the earth-goddess. Later in the Song, she is compared to a house - a miniature Temple in itself, if you're as big a fan of Lord Raglan as I am - and wants to let her husband into her.

Daniel was "proficient in all writings and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding of visions ... of all kinds." Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzer's dream of the great Tree; the "world-tree" is often used in the ancient Near East as a symbol of a great empire, perhaps because it's related to the fertility of women, who bring each empire to this world, which can then be corrupted depending on what type of "woman"-tree they become. They can follow Ezekiel's visions of the whore of the earth, or the true Lady Wisdom. (Heck, same thing happens in the Mesoamerican Popol Vuh - the genealogy is a "planting", the "first root".)

But during the Second Temple period, something is missing. It is always the redactors' retroactive assertion that the Asherah is evil. Yet Lady Wisdom is all over 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobias, the Wisdom literature, the Gospel of the Birth of Mary, the Gospel of Philip, etc.

This brings us to Christ's time:

(Young's Literal Translation) Titus 3:5-6 says: (not by works that are in righteousness that we did but according to His kindness,) He did save us, through a bathing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

So part of Christ's mission was to institute a "Renewing" of the Holy Spirit (and therefore the Divine Family), which, to reiterate, had been lost from the Temple, leaving it an empty shell to an unknowable God - perhaps even the Great and Spacious Building of Nephi's vision.

Specifically, Alma 32 is a discourse telling men how to search for Lady Wisdom. In Alma 31, the missionaries see the Rameumptom which only admits one person, rather than a family; by contrast, the missionaries state that "[God] imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men, but women also." (32:23) But this is seen as silliness by those who worship alone on the Rameumpton - they preach that the others are merely following the "tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ". The "childishness of their fathers" sounds like the Wisdom Proverbs handed down from father to son.

Alma 31:35 says: "Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee." Filled with the Holy Spirit, the Alma 32 sermon on the Light of the Tree is given, which must be planted in one's heart in order for uncreated Intelligences to be led to Christ the Son and be adopted back into the Divine Family available through the Atonement. Just as in the Tabernacle of Moses, the Tree is the only light we can see by to find our way back home to the presence of God.

(This is not a case of just using the word "wisdom" to assume She is there - there are times when the word "wisdom" merely means "knowledge" or "understanding". What matters is the interrelated symbolism of the highly-detailed and emphasized vision of the great Tree which directly follows this particular passage, directly after the emphasis on women receiving just as much light as men.)

This contrast between the counterfeit Wisdom of the World and the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit is clear in 1st Corinthians 2:12 "And we the spirit of the world did not receive, but the Spirit that [is] of God, that we may know the things conferred by God on us, which things also we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Holy Spirit." It is a contrast between the two opposite spirits, one vain and imaginary, the other the true Love of God.

It's rather telling that when Paul and the apostles are preaching against the worship of mute idols as if they were physically the Gods, there is an entire episode devoted to recording that it was recognized that they quite specifically made it a point not to condemn or blaspheme Diana/Artemis (the Potnia Theron, Mistress of the Animals) when they ran into conflict with Demetrius. It was only after Christianity had become Hellenized over the course of the next few centuries that we begin to see the marked aggression of the Church towards the ancient goddesses of, for instance, Egypt, in what Latter-Day Saints believe to be a Church already in the decline of Apostasy due to their assimilation of a strand of Greek philosophy which had lost the concept of a corporeal God and subsequently became contentious over how best to define His non-physical attributes. As Nibley writes in Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: "Isis is overthrown by a neat schoolroom syllogism [by Paulinus of Nola]: 'Can a woman be a goddess? If divine, she cannot have a body, and without a body there can be no sex, and without sex there can be no giving of birth.'" (523)

But Asherah, around the 2nd century BC, was found among the Amorites, Mesopotamians, Ugaritic, Phoenecian, Hittites, derived from Canannites in South Arabia. Israel's major Mother Goddess would eventually reemerge in the Shekinah Bride-of-God tradition, the Phoenician Tanit, the Syrian Atargatis (which would be corrupted into the licentious Derketo) or even in a subdued form of the holy veneration of the Virgin Mary. She was the dea nutrix, the nursing goddess, the matronit. We also get folks like Allat/Ereshkigal - its also possible that there were different women with the same name, each generation taking on the names of their ancestors and therefore causing conflicting interpretations in anthropology when two events attributed to the same name seem to imply different personality traits or times.

Is she related in some way to the ash tree Yggdrasil, later recorded in the Poetic Edda of the Norse, counseling us to strive for the same patient enlightenment as Buddha's Sacred Fig tree, the Ashvastha, the cosmic Bodhi, or the sthala vriksha Temple Trees? Are the branches of the almond-tree Menorah made in her honor? Peterson notes that the word "almond", amygdale, was likely not a Greek word at all, but perhaps the Hebrew em gedolah, the "Great Mother".

We know she was related to Egypt's Hathor, with her pomegranates in her sycamore grove - was she perhaps also related to the Ashanti people's Asase Ya? The Rig-Veda notes the Prithvi Mata, Mother Earth, and the Greeks knew their Terra Mater Gaia, the ancestral mother of the Ash-Tree Meliae, the nymphs [Greek nymphe, "brides"] of Nature [Latin natura, "birth"]. The Irish and Hindus both remembered a Danu, both of whose names are related to the flowing primordial Wisdom water of Heaven, just as Mother Ganga receives the ashes of the dead near India's Ganges river, where the pilgrims also gather during the Kumbha Mela celebration. They also remember the Great Goddess Mahadevi.

Our Mother was Qaniyatu 'ilhm, Creatrix of the Gods, Holy Qudsu. Qudsu was Egypt's Isis, was Hathor of Punt, the woman who tamed the wild cats and rode them bearing snakes and lotuses, Lady Athirat of the Canaanite Sea, the Queen of Heaven. Was her name known to the prehistoric shamans [from Sanskrit sramana-s, "Buddhist ascetic"] of Siberia whose ancestors might have crossed into the New World over the Beringian Steppe, carrying stories in which they symbolized Mother Earth with their multi-tiered world-tree, just as did the Turks and Mongols of Tengriism, as did the North Vietnamese? Was she the Maori Papatuanuku, or the World-Mother Pachamama of the Incas, the "Great Mother Ceiba Tree", the yax imix che of the Mayan Chilam Balam giving birth to the sak nik' nal [the 'white flower thing' - the human soul, perhaps related to itz, the life-giving liquid power within blood, milk, semen, rain, tree sap, honey, etc.], or the directional trees in the Dresden Codex?

Who knows. The stories have later interpolations and scrambled motifs and countless historical anomalies. The point is, there is in all these traditions a memory of a great Mother. It was only "monotheistic" post-Apostasy Judaism, Christianity, and Islam which lost the Divine Family after partaking of the schools of abstracting philosophy, though all the world was once of one tongue and knew of the stories of the Mother and Father descending from the skies.

This means that the prominent place of the Holy Ghost in our practices is very significant; our first Article of Faith states that "we believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Among the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Christ's mission was to bring back knowledge of who we are - children with a father and mother. He is constantly seen reminding people to walk with the Spirit, in the "Way of Wisdom" from Proverbs, ie the Heavenly Mother.

John 19:6 says that "when, therefore, the chief priests and the officers did see him, they cried out, saying, `Crucify, crucify'; Pilate saith to them, 'Take ye him ye, and crucify; for I find no fault in him'; the Jews answered him, 'We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, for he made himself Son of God.'

His great crime was to collapse the distance between humanity and God. We are His children; "ye are gods," he said; and later, to Mary, he commissioned her to tell his brethren that "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and to your God." (John 20:17)

In Acts 17 (YLT), Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and restored knowledge which had been lost, saying "Men, Athenians, in all things I perceive you as over-religious; for passing through and contemplating your objects of worship, I found also an erection on which had been inscribed: To God unknown; whom, therefore not knowing ye do worship, this One I announce to you.

`God, who did make the world, and all things in it, this One, of heaven and of earth being Lord, in temples made with hands doth not dwell, neither by the hands of men is He served needing anything, He giving to all life, and breath, and all things; He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings to seek the Lord, if perhaps they did feel after Him and find, though, indeed, He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and are; as also certain of your poets have said: For of Him also we are offspring.

`Being, therefore, offspring of God, we ought not to think the Godhead to be like to gold, or silver, or stone, graving of art and device of man; the times, indeed, therefore, of the ignorance God having overlooked, doth now command all men everywhere to reform, because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead.`

The "great secret" which Paul was witnessing - which he had from the Spirit - was that "the nations be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in the Christ, through the good news." He reiterates Genesis's claim that we are part of one family spread between the heavens and the earth; as Ephesians 3:14 says, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named." Our desire to see all of Zion gathered is really a desire to see all of our Heavenly Parents' family gathered into one. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that art killing the prophets, and stoning those sent unto thee, how often did I will to gather thy children together, as a hen doth gather her own chickens under the wings, and ye did not will." (Matthew 23:37)

All the symbolism comes together in the Gospel of the Birth of Mary:

5:14 For Isaiah saith, there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall spring out of its root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill him. Then, according to this prophecy, he appointed, that all the men of the house and family of David, who were marriageable, and not married, should bring their several rods to the altar, and out of whatsoever person's rod after it was brought, a flower should bud forth, and on the top of it the Spirit of the Lord should sit in the appearance of a dove, he should be the man to whom the Virgin should be given and be betrothed.

The Spirit of Wisdom is the Dove, is the Tree, is the signifier of the mortal Virgin.

The symbolism continues throughout the entire New Testament, on and on. Christ is baptized with a Dove, and it is women who know of his resurrection first. Lady Wisdom of the Psalms is paired in verses with the Father (Matthew 11:19), Christ brings back Light (Luke 1:79), the Tree of Life, the lampstand to guide the way to peace, which is in His Atonement, the reconciliation of all uncreated Intelligences. The Apostles are given power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them in the first chapter of Acts; this power is often related to language, speaking in tongues, the day of Pentecost, the ability to "preserve unto [others] the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began," (1 Nephi 3:19-20) etc. - the "Visionary" gifts which Lehi had in such abundance. Corinthians equates the Holy Spirit with the Wisdom of God in order to compare it with the Wisdom of the world. The Great Mystery of Marriage is referenced in Ephesians 5. When we are "inspired", we are given eloquence by hearing the words of the Breath of Life which was breathed into Adam and all his children, the Comforter, the Mother who promises immortality by bearing the Light of Christ to us, guiding the generations of the family tree of this world towards the Savior's Atonement.

In D&C 93:53 we are told: "Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen."

Earlier in this Revelation were calls for the servants of the Church to repent of the "traditions of their fathers" and be "more diligent and concerned at home." To care for their children, since "every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God."

Yet, "that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth."

The discourse moves from the beginning of the Creation and centers the work of the Lord in the family - this is pure familial religion, in which fathers and mothers must be united in order to watch over their children in order to "pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation [raising-up] and glory [bright fame] [the glory of God is intelligence] in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever." (D&C 132:19)

Unfortunately, as nackhadlow has noted on this board, the printed version of section 130 contains a late and doctrinally significant error. The original said that "the Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans the Son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. - and a person cannot have the personage of the H G in his heart he may receive the gift of the holy Ghost. it [the gift] may descend upon him but not to tarry with him." [Emphasis added]

The edited and canonized version says that: "the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him."

The original, citing Joseph Smith, stated that the personage of the Holy Ghost could not dwell in someone's heart. The edited version, which was revised and canonized only after Brother Joseph's death, says "it" can, because "it's" a spirit. But they're complete opposites; the original makes much more sense in the context of full LDS theology. I think something similar is happening in John; in English, he sometimes refers to the Spirit as male, but the overwhelming cultural evidence of the context implies that that's an assumption made by later translators of the neuter pneuma or spiritus.

I think this is where the modern understanding of the Holy Ghost as male is coming from - even Joseph Smith doesn't seem to have thought the Spirit was female. The point is, his book contains the evidence, even if he himself wasn't aware of it; non-believers can point to this as evidence of fraud, while believers can see the fact that even the supposed "author" didn't point out some of the book's complexities as evidence of divine origin, so everyone's happy. *grin*

Similarly, the "Spirit" in 1 Nephi 11 is obviously not the Holy Ghost; that we often make the mistake of assuming so is merely a product of our tendency to read any reference to "Spirit" as referring to the Holy Ghost, even though we're told that God is Spirit and that Jehovah had a Spiritual Body before being born into mortality, which was seen by Adam, the Brother of Jared, Moses, etc. Indeed, the Gospel of Philip says: "Some said, "Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit." They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?"

If our Heavenly Father is a true God, then he has a wife. If spirit is merely "refined matter" and D&C 77 says that all creatures (even beasts of the field) are spiritual, and men and women exist with the same sociability in heaven, then there is simply no contradiction between having a personage of "flesh and bone" married to a "personage of spirit". They are not opposites; they are different "levels" of the same thing - all spirit is matter which we could see if we had purer eyes. The distance between "spirit" and this earth's "matter" is utterly collapsed; we're all just ... humans. Some of us are immortal, some of us are spending time in a mortal probation. To be exalted is to be "made high", presumably being carried to a part of the Celestial Kingdom, which has "many mansions".

What about the countless stories from the anthropology department in which the human race pushes their Heavenly Parents apart? God is so loving he has left his Beloved Comforter to tarry with us for a time while He is gone to visit the other worlds, that She may convey and share our prayers with Him as they guide us in the vineyard "which is the earth and [all] the inhabitants thereof" (JST Matthew 21:56); they have given their Son who died for our sins.

D&C 132:23: "If ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also." (Emphasis added) It's not specifying a condition of the body, but rather a physical relationship of closeness, a place. We come nearer to a person we love, hie to Kolob (Arabic qlb, "the Heart"), as related in all the Ascension dramas. 124:9 "And again, I will visit and soften their hearts, many of them for your good, that ye may find grace in their eyes, that they may come to the light of truth, and the Gentiles to the exaltation or lifting up of Zion." Like Enoch and his community.

These themes carry all the way into John's Revelation: 1:3 "Happy is he who is reading, and those hearing, the words of the prophecy, and keeping the things written in it for the time is nigh!" The Book of Revelation is not meant to scare children into compliance by frightening them with a hellish Doomsday. It exists as an attempt to unroll the Good News of the Plan of Salvation to us in order to give us happiness through understanding of a larger context, a reason for the endurance and faith of the Saints (13:10). ("Happy" is also possibly a pun on Asherah, which is significant in this context.)

The vision speaks of the great Council in Heaven, the afflictions brought by our trials in every age of this world of mortality we Stars have fallen into, where Satan has been given power over us for a time, until we are brought back, by God's grace, to the presence of our first home and all who dwell there.

John was in the Spirit: Revelation 1:12: And I did turn to see the voice that did speak with me, and having turned, I saw seven golden lamp-stands, and in the midst of the seven lamp-stands, [one] like to a son of man." Remember that the lampstands carry the Light of Christ to us - the Mother bearing witness of Her and Her Husband's Son, the Savior)

In John's Revelation, the Queen of Heaven is said also to be "the church of God" - is this because she is the mother or grandmother of the spirit-children of this earth who choose to be written into the great Book of Life? The Woman is arrayed with the Sun, fighting the Serpent while She is veiled and hidden from view on earth, personifying our planet as female and growing the fruits of the earth which are Her spirit-children which she can guide back to their first home by forsaking the false Wisdom of the world and taking part in a true eternal marriage like Her own. She is the Voice which calls out from Heaven, though Her children, in their rebellion, cause the light of the lamp to stop shining, cause the voices of those who uphold the Sacred Marriage to be lost. Yet the Restoration brings back the Tree of Life to the Temple.

Joseph Smith Restored key components of religion which had been lost or transformed during those intervening years: Temple ordinances, especially Sacred Marriage, and the physically divine nature of the great family.

As I've said before, Mormonism is so awesome because it's actually the "highest" form of Humanism. I'm pretty sure we're the last major religion to believe in anthropomorphic Gods, when most of the rest of the world has fallen into the Neoplatonic trap of thinking there is something evil about "mere" matter and physicality and our glorious human bodies, and something more philosophically respectable about self-contradictory "higher" planes and dimensions and non-physical paradoxical abstractions.

And we have a Great Mother. If my speculations are correct, then it's a glorious thing to think that all this time, She has been with us, as we close our prayers and marriages in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit of Promise, Her fertile Wisdom bursting forth from the darkness of the bodiless Apostasy to grow into the tangible Tree of Life from John's bright vision, a living testament to the Restoration Joseph Smith carried to the world on the wings of a dove from the midst of a Sacred Grove in order to exalt the Divine Family of which we may all become a part of in the Atonement.

James 1:5 (YLT) "And if any of you do lack Wisdom, let him ask from God, who is giving to all liberally, and not reproaching, and it shall be given to him."

1 Enoch 94:5 And hold fast my words in the thoughts of your hearts,

And suffer them not to be effaced from your hearts;
For I know that sinners will tempt men to evilly-entreat Wisdom,
So that no place may be found for her.

Acts 7:51 (YLT) Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! Ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers also ye.

John 20:21 (YLT) Jesus, therefore, said to them again, "Peace to you; according as the Father hath sent me, I also send you," and this having said, he breathed on [them], and saith to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith, 10 September 2011 - 07:53 PM.

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#20 JeremyOrbe-Smith


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Posted 10 September 2011 - 12:37 AM

Further reading related to my previous post:

"A Mother There": A Survey of Historical Teachings About Mother In Heaven by David L. Paulsen & Martin Pulido

God is a Divine Man in Biblical Tradition by Wesley Williams

Sapphiric God: Esoteric Speculation of the Body Divine in Biblical and Post- Biblical Jewish Tradition by Wesley Williams

Nephi & His Asherah: A Note on 1 Nephi 11:8 - 23 by Daniel C. Peterson

Asherah, the Tree of Life and the Menorah : Continuity of a Goddess Symbol in Judaism? by Asphodel P. Long

Does God Have a Wife? by Alyson Skabelund Von Feldt

Do We Have a Mother in Heaven? by Kevin L. Barney

How To Worship Our Mother In Heaven (Without Getting Excommunicated) by Kevin L. Barney

Shadday As Goddess Epithet by Harriet Lutzky (From JSTOR - might not be accessible to some, alas.)

The Sacred Tree of the Ancient Maya by Allen J. Christensen

The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy

Asiatic Gods in the Pacific by E. Tregear

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and (William) James by David Paulsen

Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith, 10 September 2011 - 12:37 AM.

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