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Was the commanded/prophesied temple spoken of in D&C 115 retracted anywhere in scripture? I know some people try to apply D&C 124:51 as an answer. To my understanding though, Far West was not in Jackson County at the time in question?
NOTE: this topic is related to the topic "Why did Old Testament people live so long?". However, I'm not interested in descending into a Babel discussion of evolution and creationism. I am more interested in discussing with people who see evolution as a fact and also believe in the scriptures... Updating our understanding of the revelations in a 21st century world rather than remaining in a pre-Darwinian early 19th century world.
The question about the longevity of the Patriarchs is an interesting one. Especially since Joseph Smith very clearly saw the ages as literal. Why else would he make minor changes to ages in the Joseph Smith Translation?
Even more important - for those who accept the D&C as containing revelations from God - is how D&C 107 confirms the longevity of Old Testament patriarchs. After reviewing at what age they received the Priesthood, D&C 107:53 states:
"Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing."
In other words, Adam is calling together an entire 7 generations (8 with himself included) for the gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman. For those who accept evolution as fact (as do I) and find it hard to believe that the Patriarchs lived for this long... how do you respond to this?
Some of the potentially "faithful" responses that I've considered in retaining that a literal gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman took place include: (1) people may have lived that long through the power of translation (though translation here might be thought of in terms of "degrees" since full translation would have to be reserved for Enoch and his city); (2) the ages previously renumerated should not be understood literally, but the gathering itself could still be literal and either (a) have taken place entirely in the spirit world, or (b) in the mortal world, but with most of these attending as spirits who had previously passed. I don't really consider any of these explanations convincing however.
But I am seriously considering another possibility: that there was no such meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman where 8 generations mingled together. That, whether or not the story has a historical background, it represents a revelation adapted to the capacity of Joseph Smith as he grappled with Biblical accounts, produced inspired scripture with inspired constructs, and brought the modern and Biblical worlds together. This is a possibility that is generally in line with Bokovoy's recent volume arguing that the Book of Moses and Book of Abraham should be understood as inspired pseudopigraphic writings rather than as literal accounts by either Moses or Abraham. It is also in line with Blake Ostler's concept of "co-creative" revelation where revelation should not be understood as inerrant but rather as given "unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language" so that revelation is really an inspired co-creation of God and a prophet.
Allowing for this new possibility does raise some questions though. If D&C 107 is not to be understood as literal, then how far do we go? Is the Book of Mormon inspired scriptural fiction rather than historically based? Where do we draw the line? What does it mean to you if this or other parts of the scriptures are not historically based, what difference does that make?
Or are there other possibilities?
This topic was going to be one thing and when I went to look up the corresponding verse in the LDS D&C it became much more complicated...
The verses in question...
First LDS 88...
Now, the RLDS 85...
Did you notice the subtle, yet very important, difference between these two verses?
Which one is in accordance with how the verse was rendered in Joseph's time?