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Adam's Original Prophecy


David T

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Guided by the Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations & Translations volume, the extraordinary resources at Saints Without Halos, and the brand new Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament (and New Testament) volumes, I've been studying the revelations and doctrines of the restoration as they came forward, in as close to their original forms as possible, and noting when additions and emendations were made.

One I discovered was quite interesting. I was reading the portion of the JST Genesis which was recorded in the beginning of December 1830.

The context is a Prophecy of Adam, given after the history of the apostasy of the majority of his posterity, including the lineage of Cain, and a detail of their secret oaths and combinations. The Righteous line of Seth is then presented, and made clear that the gospel remained with them in this line.

In what we're familiar with as Moses 6:7, the familiar text reads this:

"Now this same Priesthood which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also. Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost..."

As I read, I thought this was interesting, seeing that

1. The reference to Priesthood was somewhat jarring, and didn't seem to have much to do with the context

2. The term 'Priesthood' is not regularly used in the revelations before this time

But as I kept reading, the Complete JST Old Testament Volume I was using points out that this is the reading in Manuscript 2, which was copied in 1831 by John Whitmer, and later revised by Joseph.

The original December 1830 reference reads this:

"Now this was in the beginning, which shall be in the end of the world."

No reference to Priesthood! What appears to being referenced is the entire story of the Two Ways, those who loved Satan more than God and entered into covenants with him, and Seth's line, to 'whom God revealed himself', and who lived in righteousness.

It appears to me that the original unedited form of this prophecy (which makes much more sense in context) is applying this story we've just been told as a type of the latter days.

Any thoughts?

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Any thoughts?

Well, that verse always did confuse me. I put it on me "set aside until an answer surfaces" pile and lo a behold, it did!

As for the meaning of the verse, from a cursory glance at the immediately surrounding verses it seems that maybe it is speaking either about keeping books of remembrance or the teaching of what's written in said books to one's children, as opposed to the diverging pathways of the lineages of Seth and Cain. But I can't say for sure right now. I'll take a closer look later on, but thanks for the find!

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Well, that verse always did confuse me. I put it on me "set aside until an answer surfaces" pile and lo a behold, it did!

As for the meaning of the verse, from a cursory glance at the immediately surrounding verses it seems that maybe it is speaking either about keeping books of remembrance or the teaching of what's written in said books to one's children, as opposed to the diverging pathways of the lineages of Seth and Cain. But I can't say for sure right now. I'll take a closer look later on, but thanks for the find!

There's actually a lot of things it could refer to in its context. Which is why its quite the enigma. The contents of the book of remembrance is certainly one, and the more I think of it, perhaps is more likely. It could be a prophecy that the contents of the book will brought forth in the latter days (a recurring theme at this time in the revelations were ancient books of scripture to come forth)

However, It could be referring to the pure and undefiled language. It could be a reference to the righteous family unit.

I am, however, confident that the revelations of the Book of Moses were meant to parallel, and have specific application to, the time of Joseph Smith & his dispensation, and served as a bit of a primer for him. the revelation containing Enoch's gathering to Zion was revealed as the Saints were learning about and receiving revelations preparing to gather to a Zion. Joseph even took on the role (and name) of Enoch in the code-word D&C revelations later down the line. The Flood has always been an archetype of the Last Days - another key element of the 1830s revelations.

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By the way, do you have any guesses as to why the verse was changed?

Perhaps there was ambiguity as to what it referred to then as well, and by the time mid 1831 was rolling around when the redaction were made, Priesthood was becoming more of a topic of revelation and interest. From the sources I have, it's not clear whether it was John Whitmer or Joseph Smith who made the initial change.

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