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Really impressed with Kate Holbrook's interview with Terryl Givens. She's thoughtful, candid, and inspiring as she speaks about her persistence to get a PhD and work full time for the church as a manger of church history. She's working on a project with Lisa Tate on the history of the young women's organization.
One thing I caught that I hadn't heard before was when Terryl asks her about whether she felt a sense of loss and a sense of jubilation when studying the history of the RS. Joseph envisioned a more collaborative relationship with the male priesthood, more autonomy, abundance of spiritual gifts, authority to administer ordinances including healing by the laying of hands. Kate responds that she understands the hyperfocus on this time period, but she feels there is a lost opportunity in recognizing the accomplishments of the women of the 20th century - she then backtracks a bit and says:
"I don't want to say that their isn't a difference, between - a time when a woman was able to say I have this terrific idea she's say the General RS president and she goes and talks to the president of the church about it. That is certainly different than now, when she goes and talks to someone in the presiding bishopric, and it has to go through several levels to even get to the president. There is a loss, and there is a difference."
I had no idea that the General RS president did not have direct access to the quorum of the 12, and first presidency? Why in 3 heavens does the general RS president still have such an auxiliary level of access to the presiding apostolic quorum, access to financial influence through Pres Bishopric perhaps, but no real budget to work with? No seat on the correlation committee?
Kate has a great story about how Ardeth Greene Kapp (General YW president 84-92') while receiving a downpour of revelation would use innovative, clever ways and technology to push the ideas upward through the hierarchy.
The timeline and reasons of how the idea of polygamy evolved into practice is perplexing. It is causing me doubt how scriptures are to be obeyed, and how to trust the revelatory process. Let's look at the pattern Joseph Smith followed:
March 1830 - Joseph Smith publishes the Book of Mormon (supposedly scripture) which contains commandments from God. The only discussion of polygamy is found in Jacob 2, which clearly condemns the practice. However, there is a provision given for exceptions: only to 'raise up seed' if God commands it.
The Gospel Topics Essay on Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo states that "After receiving a revelation commanding him to practice plural marriage, Joseph Smith married multiple wives and introduced the practice to close associates." The only revelation I know of on polygamy came in July 1843 (D&C 132), yet Joseph Smith had married 22 (by some count) additional wives by July 1843.
2 Big Questions:
1. What revelation did Joseph Smith receive (per the mentioned Gospel Topic Essay) before the D&C 132 revelation that told him to practice polygamy, despite the Book of Mormon's 1830 prohibition (with exception)?
2. In light of the Jacob 2:30 provision for the allowance of polygamy to "raise up seed unto me..." why are there no (known) children that emerged from Joseph Smith's plural wives? Joseph apparently did not use polygamy to 'raise up seed.'
By Bernard Gui
In Helaman 13, Samuel the Lamanite gives dire prophetic warnings to the Nephites from the walls of Zarahemla. He predicts their destruction will come in 400 years as the result of wickedness, rejecting the Prophets, pride, and seeking after wealth. He warns,
Then he says,
1. Is anyone aware of other literary references to such notions as slippery treasure, tools, swords, etc., especially in the Early Moden English time period?
2. This is often used by BoM critics as evidence Joseph Smith was writing from his experience with the treasure-seeking atmosphere in early 19th-century upstate New York. Does the EModE theory that Joseph was not the author of the BoM text but was reading someone else’s words, whatever their source, resolve this issue?
Setting aside the rhetoric that some would consider inflammatory, does this article make any good points?By FearlessFixxer
By Benjamin Seeker
I started a thread earlier this year addressing some verses in D&C 86 on Joseph Smith and lineal priesthood. I recently followed up on it and put the puzzle pieces together.
D&C 86:8-10 appears to state that Joseph Smith had the priesthood through birthright. An early hint of JS' beliefs about his lineage come from 2 Ne 3, which teaches that JS is a descendant of Joseph (11th son of Israel), and though the lineage of Ephraim is one of leadership, it's not apparent that there is a lineal priesthood associated with it like there is for the Levites or the sons of Aaron. However, a Smith family lineal priesthood authority is actually well attested. JS established the position of Patriarch of the church, which originally was something akin to second in command, as a lineal position given to the eldest in a direct line from Joseph Smith Sr. This clear example of a lineal priesthood eventually disappeared when the position of church Patriarch was done away with due to conflict between the church Patriarch and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (EDIT: Robert points out later in this thread that the absence of the Church Patriarch can be seen as a result of the homosexual status of the second to last patriarch, and that the position may still be filled at a future point. Radio Free Mormon, and others I'm sure, have made other arguments, but this point is pretty peripheral to the discussion).
The position of Patriarch to the church is only half of the story. D&C 113 states, "What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse? Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power." It is common in Mormon thought to believe these verses apply to Joseph Smith, and that seems to be a correct assumption. The line of Jesse refers to the kingly line of David, and significantly, JS prophesied "the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage," which apparently referred to one of JS' offspring. He made this clear when he prophesied that his unborn son, David, would be a "church president and king over Israel."
In Mormon theology, a King in the kingdom of Israel is a priesthood position. Notably, JS himself was ordained as a King in this sense in the Council of Fifty, also known in revelation as the "The Kingdom of God and His Laws with the Keys and Power thereof, and Judgment in the Hands of His Servants, Ahman Christ." According to Nauvoo theology the priesthood role of King was the ultimate leader of the Church, and according to contemporary accounts, Hyrum Smith was to fill JS' shoes should he die. All of this together gives a pretty clear answer to the lineal priesthood mentioned in D&C 86. The Smith family was a royal family in Israel destined to lead the restoration.