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D&C 138; why the last section of the Doctrine and Covenants?


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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I agree the Brethren do not use old-fashioned, King James language and style for reasons other than to avoid being mocked. But if they did use it, I'm sure they would be mocked for it.

I would not, nor want them to use it. But if a revelation was being revealed, just as D&C 1, delivered in the first person, as Jesus Christ must have chosen to speak, then I would welcome it. Otherwise, it should be in their own language, and style of writing. 

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31 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

I would not, nor want them to use it. But if a revelation was being revealed, just as D&C 1, delivered in the first person, as Jesus Christ must have chosen to speak, then I would welcome it. Otherwise, it should be in their own language, and style of writing. 

Good point. As a foundational document, I think the D&C sets the stage and expectation that the Lord is personally involved in the Restoration and the Church, and that His voice is expressed through His servants no matter how they subsequently relay the communication.

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

That is fine with me. When I compare the thought of the Brethren conveying their revelation and inspiration publicly in abnormal and unnatural ways, and then in normal and natural ways, I am inclined to believe they would act more in line with my experience (normal and natural ways) :)

Just as I expected, you are modifying your case to be more reasonable.  Which is fine by me, but it still ignores long-term reality based on evanescent, short term features.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just as I expected, you are modifying your case to be more reasonable.  Which is fine by me, but it still ignores long-term reality based on evanescent, short term features.

I think instead, my case may be coming across as more reasonable as I clarify it for you. Please describe the long term reality you are trying to convey.

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The revelation was in 1918 but is D&c138 because it was only canonized ten or so years ago (it was officially accepted by the Quorum of the Twelve when it happened).

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I think instead, my case may be coming across as more reasonable as I clarify it for you. Please describe the long term reality you are trying to convey.

Simple:  Compare what you have already said on this thread with what you later say.  Easy stuff.  You see the Brethren doing the same based on too small a sample.  I pay attention to the long term, not on momentary, evanescent changes.

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On 1/16/2021 at 5:19 PM, JLHPROF said:

Great reference but it confused me a bit.  I didn't recall President Kimball seeing President Woodruff.  That reference says it was LeGrand Richards who saw him.

Yes Legrand Richards shares this vision with the quorum.  

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23 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

So Pres Kimball wrote something down (which we don't have) about a mid May 1978 appearance to him of the angel of the Lord Wilford Woodruff.  A week later, Pres Kimball sought further guidance from the Lord, and then on May 30, Pres Kimball held a mtg with his counselors in which he presented something he had written in connection with a "good, warm feeling."  Church Historian G. Homer Durham then researched the matter in detail.  Mind you, we have none of this in writing.  Only third party description as hearsay.

Moreover, Pres David O. McKay had already had the matter fully researched decades before due to his similar concerns.  What am I 

President Kimballs journal entry from 1June 1978.  Something huge is missing.  "After meeting with my counselors for an hour this morning from eight 
until nine o’clock, we went over to the temple and met with all of the 
General Authorities in the monthly meeting we hold together [on the 
first Thursday].
Returned to the office for a few minutes and then went over to 
Temple Square for the dedication services of the new Visitors Center 
South, which was scheduled to commence at 3:00 p.m.
The services lasted for about an hour, after which we returned to the 
office where I worked at my desk until six o’clock."

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Simple:  Compare what you have already said on this thread with what you later say.  Easy stuff.  You see the Brethren doing the same based on too small a sample.  I pay attention to the long term, not on momentary, evanescent changes.

OK, here is the comparison of my first and last statements on how I think the Brethren express their revelation [with context from the dialog provided in brackets]:

First: “I think this change [not using “Thus saith the Lord…” in official pronouncements of revelation] has more to do with the shift from earlier cultural mores than anything else, and I include the prophets as no longer as accepting of phraseology that is no longer current, including expression that is indistinct in terms of literalness or figurativeness [“Thus saith the Lord…” is such an indistinct phrase].”

Last: “When I compare the thought of the Brethren conveying their revelation and inspiration publicly in abnormal and unnatural ways [using earlier cultural mores such as “Thus saith the Lord…”], and then in normal and natural ways [using current phraseology], I am inclined to believe they would act more in line with my experience (normal and natural ways).”

Given that the context is consistent, how does the second case modify the first to make it seem more reasonable?

I think President Nelson in the April 2018 Priesthood Session of General Conference came close, but not quite to the level of awkward, when he theatrically (and we lose some of that in the transcript) announced, “When I name your priesthood office, please stand and remain standing. Deacons, please arise! Teachers, arise! Priests! Bishops! Elders! High priests! Patriarchs! Seventies! Apostles!” Maybe I’m the only one who picked up on that as a potential point of mockery of old-fashioned style, but it was at least an atypical mode of expression for Conference.

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20 hours ago, rpn said:

The revelation was in 1918 but is D&c138 because it was only canonized ten or so years ago (it was officially accepted by the Quorum of the Twelve when it happened).

It has D&C 138 for many decades has it not? I would think once added to the Doctrine and Covenants, would mean that it had already be “canonized”. Or am I misunderstanding your comment about it? Are you speaking of something else that happened 10 years ago? 

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18 hours ago, CV75 said:

OK, here is the comparison of my first and last statements on how I think the Brethren express their revelation [with context from the dialog provided in brackets]:

First: “I think this change [not using “Thus saith the Lord…” in official pronouncements of revelation] has more to do with the shift from earlier cultural mores than anything else, and I include the prophets as no longer as accepting of phraseology that is no longer current, including expression that is indistinct in terms of literalness or figurativeness [“Thus saith the Lord…” is such an indistinct phrase].”

Last: “When I compare the thought of the Brethren conveying their revelation and inspiration publicly in abnormal and unnatural ways [using earlier cultural mores such as “Thus saith the Lord…”], and then in normal and natural ways [using current phraseology], I am inclined to believe they would act more in line with my experience (normal and natural ways).”

Given that the context is consistent, how does the second case modify the first to make it seem more reasonable?

I think President Nelson in the April 2018 Priesthood Session of General Conference came close, but not quite to the level of awkward, when he theatrically (and we lose some of that in the transcript) announced, “When I name your priesthood office, please stand and remain standing. Deacons, please arise! Teachers, arise! Priests! Bishops! Elders! High priests! Patriarchs! Seventies! Apostles!” Maybe I’m the only one who picked up on that as a potential point of mockery of old-fashioned style, but it was at least an atypical mode of expression for Conference.

Just based on linguistic science alone, one would tend to take that view.  The constant updating of Book of Mormon grammar is one indicator -- thousands of changes have been made since the 1830 edition.  So stylistic change seems inevitable.

We might have a better sample size a decade or two from now.  We tend to telescope time, rather than take the long view.  Since revelation is a special case, I am cautious in drawing hasty conclusions.

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18 hours ago, blueglass said:

President Kimballs journal entry from 1June 1978.  Something huge is missing.  ......................

That is an understatement!!

I'd like to read his comments about LeGrand Richards telling him about an encounter with the angel Wilford Woodruff in May.  These guys clearly live in a very different dimension.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Just based on linguistic science alone, one would tend to take that view.  The constant updating of Book of Mormon grammar is one indicator -- thousands of changes have been made since the 1830 edition.  So stylistic change seems inevitable.

We might have a better sample size a decade or two from now.  We tend to telescope time, rather than take the long view.  Since revelation is a special case, I am cautious in drawing hasty conclusions.

I was referring to the stylistic changes in how the prophets express their revelations, not the linguistic style(s) -- in those cases where verbal communication is used -- in which they might receive, or in which the Lord might transmit, them. I agree that we are not sufficiently privy to the latter to hazard a guess.

If you are suggesting that in the future, our prophets could renew the practice representing the Lord's revelations in the first person, I agree that is possible and could be driven by any number of factors. It would certainly draw one's attention.

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4 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

It has D&C 138 for many decades has it not?

"During April conference of 1976 it was accepted as scripture and approved for publication in the Pearl of Great Price. In June 1979 the First Presidency announced that it would become section 138..." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/section-138-vision-of-the-redemption-of-the-dead?lang=eng

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I was referring to the stylistic changes in how the prophets express their revelations, not the linguistic style(s) -- in those cases where verbal communication is used -- in which they might receive, or in which the Lord might transmit, them. I agree that we are not sufficiently privy to the latter to hazard a guess.

If you are suggesting that in the future, our prophets could renew the practice representing the Lord's revelations in the first person, I agree that is possible and could be driven by any number of factors. It would certainly draw one's attention.

Style is a key part of linguistics, not separate.  We humans don't live so long, and we tend to be impatient -- measuring everything from our very brief purview.  A scholar must be more cautious.  We easily miss the fact that the Bible covers a vast stretch of time.  Revelations were not a daily affair, and they now appear so compressed that we might imagine them (even in LDS time) to be frequent.  They were not.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Style is a key part of linguistics, not separate.  We humans don't live so long, and we tend to be impatient -- measuring everything from our very brief purview.  A scholar must be more cautious.  We easily miss the fact that the Bible covers a vast stretch of time.  Revelations were not a daily affair, and they now appear so compressed that we might imagine them (even in LDS time) to be frequent.  They were not.

As infrequent as revelation may be (with first-person verbal communication being a subset), representing the Lord's revelations in the first person would certainly draw attention. And as frequently as custom and style may have in earlier times accepted first-person representation of other forms of revelatory communication, representing the Lord's revelations in out-of-custom language would also draw attention.

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

As infrequent as revelation may be (with first-person verbal communication being a subset), representing the Lord's revelations in the first person would certainly draw attention. And as frequently as custom and style may have in earlier times accepted first-person representation of other forms of revelatory communication, representing the Lord's revelations in out-of-custom language would also draw attention.

I'm old fashioned.  First thing I do in analyzing modern revelation is to compare it to revelation from thousands of years ago in different languages, both in and outside the Bible.  I like to put it into the context of prophecy, which covers a broad range of phenomena.

Revelation commonly appears in tandem with “prophecy” in BofM (title page, 2  Nephi 27:7,10, Jacob 1:4, Omni 11, Alma 4:20, 5:46, 6:8, 8:24, 9:21, 17:3, 23:6, 43:2, 45:10, Helaman 4:12, 23, 3 Nephi 3:19, 29:6).  It can also be a “dream” or “vision” (1 Nephi 8:2, Joel 2:28 [MT 3:1]).  However, the word “revelation” never appears in the KJV OT, but is used in the NT (Romans 2:5, 16:25, 1 Corinthians 14:6,26, 2 Corinthians 12:1,7, Galatians 1:12, 2:2, Ephesians 1:17, 3:3, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation title, 1:1) where it translates Greek apokalypsis.  The Hebrew Bible uses a variety of terms:  nebua “prophecy,” ne’um “oracle,” ḥalom “dream,” ḥazon “vision,” bat-qol “still small voice,” etc.

Hebrew nābʼî  Aprophet, one called by God@ (Mari nabû “diviner”; Akkadian nabû “to name, call”) = I Corinthians 12:28-29, Ephesians 4:11 prophētēs πρoφήτης Aprophet.@  So too, Hebrew nbʼ “to prophesy” (Arabic nbʼ “to inform, announce”) = Greek prophēmi “to foretell, inform.”[1]

Despite the common notion that prophets lack “an independent will,” according to Yohanan Muffs, a prophet is actually an “agent of the Lord.”[2]  However, Muffs continues, a “prophet has another function: He is also an independent advocate to the heavenly court . . . ,”[3] but he is both “the messenger of the divine court to the defendant,” and also “the agent of the defendant, attempting to mitigate the severity of the divine decree.”  In Genesis 18:17-25, for example, “God’s hands are tied until Abraham, a human being, makes a request–that is, until a prophet intercedes.”[4]  So too, Moses argues with God that, deserving or not, God is obligated to clear His own name and reputation by redeeming His people – “even though they do not deserve” it.  Moreover, Heaven forbid that God might breach His own unconditional covenant!![5] (cf. Exodus 32:7-13, Numbers 14:15-16; Deuteronomy 9:26-29)  Prophets might actually carry out divinely ordered executions, as in the case of Samuel slaying Agag, King of the Amaleqites (1 Samuel 15:33),[6] or of Nephi slaying Laban, a Captain of Fifty in Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:29-4:3,7-18).

“The usual definition of a prophet–someone whose prophecies come true–is really quite superficial,” Muffs points out.  “The first function of a prophet is to announce the Lord’s punishment and to call on the people to repent,” i.e., as “the messenger of the Lord.”  The second “function of the prophet is . . . to go into the breach, to build a protective wall and to prepare for the battle against the Lord.  The prophet is like a mighty warrior, but his only strength is his eloquence, the strength of his prayer, which may deflect the Lord from destroying his people.”[7]  “The breach that the prophet must protect is the breach of sin.  The enemy is not the army of the gentiles that is placing a siege around Jerusalem.  The Lord himself is the enemy, the warrior who is setting his face against Jerusalem to destroy it,”[8] and this was as true for Lehi as it was for Jeremiah.  Muffs concludes:

Prophecy does not annihilate the personal independence of the prophet; it demands such autonomy as a prerequisite for the prophetic role.  Only boundless spiritual bravery allows the prophet to suffer the great loneliness of one who stands in the breach, calling on people who do not listen and a God who just might.[9]

The Jaredite equivalent may have been Akkadian muḫḫû, muḫḫūtu, maḫḫû “prophet, ecstatic prophet (Sumerian annibatu), cultic performer” (Sumerian ansala, MU.AN.SAL.LA; luʼede, lu2-ed3-de3; lu2-al-ed2-de3; luguba, lu2-gub-ba; lunisub, lu2-ni2-su-ub, which also correspond variously to Akkadian aḫurrû, kurgarrû, assinnu “cult functionary,” zabbu).[10]   Cf. also Mari āpilu, āpiltu “answerer.”  Such prophets were often organized into a college of seers (barû-college),[11] which performed various cultic divinitory functions, such as liver extispicy,[12] astral magic, etc.[13]  At Ugarit, as in biblical "'consultations' the 'messenger' (mal'ak) of the king and of Yahweh recurs constantly (cf. Jg 13:3ff.; 2 Kg1:2ff.)."[14]  There are also many other parallels among the prophets of Mari, Ugarit, and Israel.[15]

Liver-divination is both biblical (Ezekiel 21:21, 29:13, Proverbs 7:23, Psalm 7:9), and ancient Near Eastern in general.[16]  Hugh Nibley has dealt with arrow-divination (balomancy) and the Liahona in various sources.[17] In other contexts, the proper incan­tations could be used along with "substitute" figurines for vicarious atonement in Neo-Babylonia.[18]  Erica Reiner has covered "Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia" for us,[19] while most other features of what is thought "magical" today were also familiar throughout the biblical world.[20]


[1] Cf. H. B. Huffmon, “Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy,” in D. Freedman, Anchor Bible Dictionary, V:477-482.

[2] Yochanan Muffs, “Agent of the Lord, Warrior for the People: The Prophet’s Paradox,” Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):21.

[3] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):21-22.

[4] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):22.

[5] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):23-24.

[6] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):24.

[7] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):27.

[8] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):27.

[9] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):56.

[11] Ivan Starr, "The Baru Rituals," unpublished doctoral dissertation (Yale Univ., 1974) [bārū "seer"]; A. L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia (1964), 206ff.

[12] Cf. A. Finet and J. Aro on liver extispicy in La Divination en Mesopotamie Ancienne, 14e Recontre Assyr­iologique Internationale (1966).

[13] Erica Reiner, “Astral Magic in Babylonia,” TAPS, 85/4 (Philadelphia, 1995), online at https://archive.org/stream/AstralMagicInBabylonia/Reiner_astral_magic_in_babylonia#page/n1/mode/2up ; cf. S. Ahituv in Encyclopaedia Judaica, VI:111-116 (esp. column 114), citing W. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (Garden City, N.Y., 1968), 123-194 (= 107-168 in London ed.).

[14] del Olmo Lete, Canaanite Religion, 2nd ed., 263 n62.

[15] A. Malamat, “A Forerunner of Biblical Prophecy: The Mari Documents,” in P. Miller, ed., Ancient Israelite Religion (Phila., 1987), 33-47; Malamat, Mari and The Early Israelite Experience (Oxford, 1989); Malamat, “Parallels between the New Prophecies from Mari and Biblical Prophecy: 1) Predicting the Death of a Royal Infant,” NABU, 4 (1989):88; cited in del Olmo Lete, Canaanite Religion, 2nd ed., 48, 262.

[16] M. Dahood, Psalms (1965), xxx, on Ps 7:10 (Heb), which has a formula appearing also in Jeremiah and on inscribed liver-models from Ugarit, referring to God as "He who tests hearts and livers (minds)."

[17] Nibley, "The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State," Western Political Quarterly, 2 (1949):328-344 = Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 10:1-32; Nibley, "The Liahona's Cousins," Improvement Era, 64 (Feb 1961): 87-89, 104-111 = Since Cumorah, 283-296 = Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 7:251-263; Boyd Barrick, “Elisha and the Magic Bow: A Note on 2 Kings 13:15-17,” VT, 35/3 (1985):355-363.

[18] R. F. G. Sweet, "An Akkadian Incantation Text," in J. Wevers and D. Redford, eds., Essays on the Ancient Semitic World (1970), 6-11.

[19] Reiner "Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 19 (1960):23ff.

[20] E. Grant, "Oracle in the Old Testament," American Journal of Semitic Lang­uages and Literature, 39 (1922/23):257-281; S. H. Black, "The Curse, the Blas­phemy, the Spell, and the Oath," Hebrew Union College Annual, 33 (1950/51):73-95; Hyrum P. Jones, "Magic and the Old Testament," unpublished master's thesis (BYU, Dept. of Religion, 1933); Brian Schmidt, “The ‘Witch’ of En-Dor, 1 Samuel 28, and Ancient Near Eastern Necromancy,” in M. Meyer and P. Mirecki, eds., Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (1995), 111-129; Mordechai Cogan, “The Road to En-Dor,” in D. Wright, D. Freedman, and A. Hurvitz, eds., Pomegranates and Golden Bells (1995), 319-326; Lester L. Grabbe, Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sages: A Socio-historical Study of  Religious Specialists in Ancient Israel (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995).

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I'm old fashioned.  First thing I do in analyzing modern revelation is to compare it to revelation from thousands of years ago in different languages, both in and outside the Bible.  I like to put it into the context of prophecy, which covers a broad range of phenomena.

Revelation commonly appears in tandem with “prophecy” in BofM (title page, 2  Nephi 27:7,10, Jacob 1:4, Omni 11, Alma 4:20, 5:46, 6:8, 8:24, 9:21, 17:3, 23:6, 43:2, 45:10, Helaman 4:12, 23, 3 Nephi 3:19, 29:6).  It can also be a “dream” or “vision” (1 Nephi 8:2, Joel 2:28 [MT 3:1]).  However, the word “revelation” never appears in the KJV OT, but is used in the NT (Romans 2:5, 16:25, 1 Corinthians 14:6,26, 2 Corinthians 12:1,7, Galatians 1:12, 2:2, Ephesians 1:17, 3:3, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation title, 1:1) where it translates Greek apokalypsis.  The Hebrew Bible uses a variety of terms:  nebua “prophecy,” ne’um “oracle,” ḥalom “dream,” ḥazon “vision,” bat-qol “still small voice,” etc.

Hebrew nābʼî  Aprophet, one called by God@ (Mari nabû “diviner”; Akkadian nabû “to name, call”) = I Corinthians 12:28-29, Ephesians 4:11 prophētēs πρoφήτης Aprophet.@  So too, Hebrew nbʼ “to prophesy” (Arabic nbʼ “to inform, announce”) = Greek prophēmi “to foretell, inform.”[1]

Despite the common notion that prophets lack “an independent will,” according to Yohanan Muffs, a prophet is actually an “agent of the Lord.”[2]  However, Muffs continues, a “prophet has another function: He is also an independent advocate to the heavenly court . . . ,”[3] but he is both “the messenger of the divine court to the defendant,” and also “the agent of the defendant, attempting to mitigate the severity of the divine decree.”  In Genesis 18:17-25, for example, “God’s hands are tied until Abraham, a human being, makes a request–that is, until a prophet intercedes.”[4]  So too, Moses argues with God that, deserving or not, God is obligated to clear His own name and reputation by redeeming His people – “even though they do not deserve” it.  Moreover, Heaven forbid that God might breach His own unconditional covenant!![5] (cf. Exodus 32:7-13, Numbers 14:15-16; Deuteronomy 9:26-29)  Prophets might actually carry out divinely ordered executions, as in the case of Samuel slaying Agag, King of the Amaleqites (1 Samuel 15:33),[6] or of Nephi slaying Laban, a Captain of Fifty in Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:29-4:3,7-18).

“The usual definition of a prophet–someone whose prophecies come true–is really quite superficial,” Muffs points out.  “The first function of a prophet is to announce the Lord’s punishment and to call on the people to repent,” i.e., as “the messenger of the Lord.”  The second “function of the prophet is . . . to go into the breach, to build a protective wall and to prepare for the battle against the Lord.  The prophet is like a mighty warrior, but his only strength is his eloquence, the strength of his prayer, which may deflect the Lord from destroying his people.”[7]  “The breach that the prophet must protect is the breach of sin.  The enemy is not the army of the gentiles that is placing a siege around Jerusalem.  The Lord himself is the enemy, the warrior who is setting his face against Jerusalem to destroy it,”[8] and this was as true for Lehi as it was for Jeremiah.  Muffs concludes:

Prophecy does not annihilate the personal independence of the prophet; it demands such autonomy as a prerequisite for the prophetic role.  Only boundless spiritual bravery allows the prophet to suffer the great loneliness of one who stands in the breach, calling on people who do not listen and a God who just might.[9]

The Jaredite equivalent may have been Akkadian muḫḫû, muḫḫūtu, maḫḫû “prophet, ecstatic prophet (Sumerian annibatu), cultic performer” (Sumerian ansala, MU.AN.SAL.LA; luʼede, lu2-ed3-de3; lu2-al-ed2-de3; luguba, lu2-gub-ba; lunisub, lu2-ni2-su-ub, which also correspond variously to Akkadian aḫurrû, kurgarrû, assinnu “cult functionary,” zabbu).[10]   Cf. also Mari āpilu, āpiltu “answerer.”  Such prophets were often organized into a college of seers (barû-college),[11] which performed various cultic divinitory functions, such as liver extispicy,[12] astral magic, etc.[13]  At Ugarit, as in biblical "'consultations' the 'messenger' (mal'ak) of the king and of Yahweh recurs constantly (cf. Jg 13:3ff.; 2 Kg1:2ff.)."[14]  There are also many other parallels among the prophets of Mari, Ugarit, and Israel.[15]

Liver-divination is both biblical (Ezekiel 21:21, 29:13, Proverbs 7:23, Psalm 7:9), and ancient Near Eastern in general.[16]  Hugh Nibley has dealt with arrow-divination (balomancy) and the Liahona in various sources.[17] In other contexts, the proper incan­tations could be used along with "substitute" figurines for vicarious atonement in Neo-Babylonia.[18]  Erica Reiner has covered "Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia" for us,[19] while most other features of what is thought "magical" today were also familiar throughout the biblical world.[20]


[1] Cf. H. B. Huffmon, “Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy,” in D. Freedman, Anchor Bible Dictionary, V:477-482.

[2] Yochanan Muffs, “Agent of the Lord, Warrior for the People: The Prophet’s Paradox,” Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):21.

[3] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):21-22.

[4] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):22.

[5] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):23-24.

[6] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):24.

[7] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):27.

[8] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):27.

[9] Muffs,  Bible Review, 18/6 (Dec 2002):56.

[11] Ivan Starr, "The Baru Rituals," unpublished doctoral dissertation (Yale Univ., 1974) [bārū "seer"]; A. L. Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia (1964), 206ff.

[12] Cf. A. Finet and J. Aro on liver extispicy in La Divination en Mesopotamie Ancienne, 14e Recontre Assyr­iologique Internationale (1966).

[13] Erica Reiner, “Astral Magic in Babylonia,” TAPS, 85/4 (Philadelphia, 1995), online at https://archive.org/stream/AstralMagicInBabylonia/Reiner_astral_magic_in_babylonia#page/n1/mode/2up ; cf. S. Ahituv in Encyclopaedia Judaica, VI:111-116 (esp. column 114), citing W. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (Garden City, N.Y., 1968), 123-194 (= 107-168 in London ed.).

[14] del Olmo Lete, Canaanite Religion, 2nd ed., 263 n62.

[15] A. Malamat, “A Forerunner of Biblical Prophecy: The Mari Documents,” in P. Miller, ed., Ancient Israelite Religion (Phila., 1987), 33-47; Malamat, Mari and The Early Israelite Experience (Oxford, 1989); Malamat, “Parallels between the New Prophecies from Mari and Biblical Prophecy: 1) Predicting the Death of a Royal Infant,” NABU, 4 (1989):88; cited in del Olmo Lete, Canaanite Religion, 2nd ed., 48, 262.

[16] M. Dahood, Psalms (1965), xxx, on Ps 7:10 (Heb), which has a formula appearing also in Jeremiah and on inscribed liver-models from Ugarit, referring to God as "He who tests hearts and livers (minds)."

[17] Nibley, "The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State," Western Political Quarterly, 2 (1949):328-344 = Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 10:1-32; Nibley, "The Liahona's Cousins," Improvement Era, 64 (Feb 1961): 87-89, 104-111 = Since Cumorah, 283-296 = Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 7:251-263; Boyd Barrick, “Elisha and the Magic Bow: A Note on 2 Kings 13:15-17,” VT, 35/3 (1985):355-363.

[18] R. F. G. Sweet, "An Akkadian Incantation Text," in J. Wevers and D. Redford, eds., Essays on the Ancient Semitic World (1970), 6-11.

[19] Reiner "Fortune-Telling in Mesopotamia," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 19 (1960):23ff.

[20] E. Grant, "Oracle in the Old Testament," American Journal of Semitic Lang­uages and Literature, 39 (1922/23):257-281; S. H. Black, "The Curse, the Blas­phemy, the Spell, and the Oath," Hebrew Union College Annual, 33 (1950/51):73-95; Hyrum P. Jones, "Magic and the Old Testament," unpublished master's thesis (BYU, Dept. of Religion, 1933); Brian Schmidt, “The ‘Witch’ of En-Dor, 1 Samuel 28, and Ancient Near Eastern Necromancy,” in M. Meyer and P. Mirecki, eds., Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (1995), 111-129; Mordechai Cogan, “The Road to En-Dor,” in D. Wright, D. Freedman, and A. Hurvitz, eds., Pomegranates and Golden Bells (1995), 319-326; Lester L. Grabbe, Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sages: A Socio-historical Study of  Religious Specialists in Ancient Israel (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995).

Thank you.

How would this address President Nelson representing the Lord’s will (whether a new revelation or ongoing counsel) using the first person and uncustomary language? Such as (channeling William McLellan!):  “Behold / Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my people: I say unto you, it is expedient in me that those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, let the work of gathering, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, especially Come Follow Me and Youth Personal Development, be continued on and be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

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3 hours ago, CV75 said:

Thank you.

How would this address President Nelson representing the Lord’s will (whether a new revelation or ongoing counsel) using the first person and uncustomary language? Such as (channeling William McLellan!):  “Behold / Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my people: I say unto you, it is expedient in me that those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, let the work of gathering, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, especially Come Follow Me and Youth Personal Development, be continued on and be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

The prophets of ancient Israel used to sing their oracles in poetic lays, and those who read Hebrew can see that and easily memorize it.  Isaiah can be memorized in whole chapters by secular Israelis today (their national heritage is the Hebrew Bible, and they study it in secular schools for 7 years).

So, what interests me is the poetry set to music of some of our top composers:  Take Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan), a Jew from Hibbing, Minnesota.  His poetry was so brilliant that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.  He sang prophetic songs about current events beginning back in the 1960s.  Someone once asked him in a videotaped interview how he came up with his songs.  He said he didn't know, but that maybe God gave them to him.  That might be in the long film bio done by Martin Scorsese.

I take Brigham's D&C 136 as the authentic word and will of the Lord.  Examine the phrasing with an open mind.  Brigham is plain spoken there and elsewhere.  Examine the D&C for variety, and then compare it to the Bible.  Individual prophets can be hayseeds and country bumpkins, but they can also be supreme exponents of elite poetic tradition (Isaiah is a member of the royal court and has the highest vocabulary in the Bible).

D&C 1:24, "Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding."

2 Ne 31:3, "For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."

Does this mean that high poetic expression is prohibited?  Of course not.  Such a conclusions would be utterly silly.

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