Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2013, April 15

“A Mormon/ LDS’s Thoughts on Death and Dying” by grego

On Death and Dying

grego
(c) 2012

I guess we worry and stress a lot about dying. I find that the gospel and the scriptures help a lot, but that it’s often hard to keep my attitude and faith in the right zone.

I’ve wished I could die a few times, but I haven”t chosen to. I figure it’s my responsibility to manage my life for the best, as long as it’s my stewardship. Doing anything to end it prematurely, including slowly, shows a lack of responsibility. It also shows a lack of gratitude towards, and faith in, God. For me, that includes not trying to keep it alive when it is in danger (and similarly for others’).

That doesn’t mean that I have to extend my life “artificially”, even if I were young and there were a choice and I had the means to do so. Being older, not having much choice, and not having the means to do so lessens that choice… I have no desire to stay alive, just to “stay alive”.

I understand that living the best I can is an integral part of “enduring to the end”, a necessary requirement for exaltation (salvation). Anything to end it, or the lives of others, has to be in accord with God’s will and also part of my righteous responsibilities.

On the other hand, the opportunity to live is not a right–it’s a privilege and a gift from God, who gave it and allows it every moment; and only He has the right to ask for it back, unless I were to place myself under justice through murdering his children.

I guess the time I would feel best about dying was when my life purpose had been fulfilled, all my matters were finished and in order, and I could help God’s work better as a spirit than as a mortal.

I assume and believe that if those things weren’t met, I would still live; and that even if they were all met and I were still alive, that would mean that there would be purpose in my being alive, no matter how much it seemed that there wasn’t. Perhaps either that God still had something for me to learn or do, or that Satan still had hope to win me over.

Death is a passing, from this mortal life to a continuation, minus the mortal body for a time.

If only we feared sin/ spiritual death as much or more than we feared physical death…

Isaiah is the most powerful verses for overcoming fear of death. If you fear death, start with the Isaiah selections in 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon (pretty much same ones as in the Bible). (Remember that Nephi was in constant danger of his brothers killing him…)

Here are some scriptures from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Holy Bible that help me:

Alma 14:8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.
9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord…

Alma 24:21 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.
22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword—
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.
25 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them.
26 And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved.
27 And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.

Alma 27:27 And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.
28 And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.
29 Therefore, they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflicted by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them.
30 And thus they were a zealous and beloved people, a highly favored people of the Lord.

Alma 56:47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Moroni 9:5 For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they thirst after blood and revenge continually.

Job 20:5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

Job 21:13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

Job 34:20 In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

Psalms 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalms 73:19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

Proverbs 12:19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Isaiah 26:20 ¶ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
19 ¶ Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:4 And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.
5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

2012, January 12

“Book of Mormon/ Pearl of Great Price/ Doctrine and Covenants/ Holy Bible: ‘Stand in Holy Places'” by grego

Book of Mormon/ Pearl of Great Price/ Doctrine and Covenants/ Holy Bible: “Stand in Holy Places”

grego
(c)2011

I was reading this in the Pearl of Great Price:

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.

–when it occurred to me that the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in this abomination of desolation, and in fact that people who had run into the temple to be saved were massacred inside; so it seems that “holy place” =/= temple, here.

But in many General Authority talks, that relationship is shown. Here are some verses that support that interpretation:

Doctrine and Covenants 96:2 Therefore, let my servant Newel K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house.

Doctrine and Covenants 124:39 Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn semblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name.

Exodus contains many references to the tabernacle/ temple as the holy place. Paul speaks about this in Hebrews 9 (and also says that heaven is a holy place).

Is there more to this?

Here are some similar verses, that might be interpreted that way, or perhaps in other ways I’ll discuss afterward:
Doctrine and Covenants 45:32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.

Doctrine and Covenants 87:8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

I think “holy place” is where we are told to be by the Holy Ghost and our priesthood leaders (who hopefully pass it along, NOT a la Haun’s Mill…). So, while it could mean the temple, and often does mean it currently, it seems to me that there really is more to the meaning. To stand in holy places to me connects in this sense with the talk given by President Uchtdorf.

Here are some examples:
Doctrine and Covenants 60:7 And in this place let them lift up their voice and declare my word with loud voices, without wrath or doubting, lifting up holy hands upon them. For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;

Doctrine and Covenants 101:64 That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.

A holy place could be anywhere that you worship God (in a literal sense or by your actions) with the Holy Ghost:
Alma 34:38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

In fact, it could be anywhere you give place to the Holy Ghost in your heart:
Moroni 7:32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

New Jerusalem:
Ether 13:3 And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.

It could also mean Zion, the holy place prepared for the Saints that will avoid the destructions sent forth across the world:
Moses 7:62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

Well, wherever it might be, it surely isn’t here!:
Alma 31:21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.

I believe that a holy place is a place where demons and destroying angels won’/ can’t go. If you are there, you are under the Lord’s protection. It reminds me of Nephi’s “robe of righteousness”:
2 Nephi 4:33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies!…

2011, August 13

“LDS/ Mormons: Are We Saved by Grace or Works in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” by grego

LDS/ Mormons: Are We Saved by Grace or Works in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

grego
(c)2011

The scriptures are clear: both.

Grace has its limits (Jesus was very clear about that, notwithstanding what some may think Paul says). For example, grace can’t save an unrepentant sinner.

Works can’t save anyone, as everyone who passes the state of grace (past the age of eight) sins. Even one sin will keep us from returning to God—even if we pay for it.

God’s plan of redemption is pretty simple: by agreeing to accept and follow Jesus Christ—according to His stipulations, *not* otherwise—one is able to accept his grace and mercy.

When asked about grace and works, many Mormons/ LDS will quote this verse from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Without Nephi’s work of teaching and writing, his children wouldn’t even know of Christ and wouldn’t be able to accept His grace. Without grace, there would be no reason to teach about Christ with such diligence.

Here are two more verses about grace from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 10:24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

On the other hand, for those who don’t reconcile themselves to the will of God… sorry.

So will those people go to Hell forever and ever?

No.

After death, they will go the spirit world (where all spirits go after death, including where Jesus went after death). Everyone will have a chance to accept Jesus Christ and his gospel and commandments, and receive a just reward; because those that did those things while in this life will preach to them. From the Doctrine and Covenants:

Doctrine and Covenants 138:16 They (grego NOTE: the righteous who died before Jesus Christ) were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.

18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for [Jesus] to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 …I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.

So after death everyone definitely gets either a first chance (never had a good opportunity) or a second chance (had an opportunity but rejected it).

Everyone who hasn’t received the gospel will be in Hell, but there will be varying degrees of it. For those who never had an opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is like a continuation of this life, but without a few bad things (like death, illness, etc.). For those who were believing but were blinded and hadn’t accepted the true gospel, it will be the time they will find what they were really looking for.

For the wicked others, it is a time of misery as they contemplate their sins, reap their temporary rewards for evil, and pay for their sins before being resurrected. After paying for their sins, they will receive help from God’s grace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to receive a lesser degree of glory in heaven. The place where they won’t be with God or in family units that can increase, but where they can still enjoy a wonderful portion of His goodness.

But what about everlasting death? Adam dwelt in the presence of God the Father; when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, he (and mankind) was cut off from His presence. Even though the great majority of the wicked in this life will be in heaven, they will be forever cut off from the presence of God the Father, our Heavenly Father—though they can enjoy the presences of Jesus Christ (more righteous wicked) or the Holy Ghost (more wicked).

All of these blessings come through the grace of Jesus Christ.

The sons of perdition will not partake of the grace of Jesus Christ. These are ones who knew the truth through the Holy Ghost and covenanted with God, then chose Satan over Him in clearness, according to their desires. Cain is their king, and they will dwell with him and Satan (previously Lucifer).

Grace? Works? Both! One without the other is incomplete and doesn’t work in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2011, March 3

“Book of Mormon: Do the Cardinal Point Directions (North-South-East-West) References in the Book of Mormon Follow a Pattern?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Do the Cardinal Point Directions (North-South-East-West) References in the Book of Mormon Follow a Pattern?”

grego
(c)2010

So, what are the references to multiple cardinal points/ directions in the Book of Mormon, and is there any pattern in their mention?
(I have numbered the following to match up the summaries at the end.)

1. 2 Nephi 29:11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

2. Mosiah 27:6 And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.

3. Alma 22:27 And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.

4. Alma 22:29 And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.

5. Alma 22:32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.

6. Alma 22:33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.

7. Alma 43:53 Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror.

8. Alma 46:17 And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south—A chosen land, and the land of liberty.

9. Alma 50:8 And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west.

10. Alma 50:11 And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon—the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure.

11. Alma 50:34 And it came to pass that they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east.

12. Helaman 1:31 And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites.

13. Helaman 3:8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.

14. Helaman 4:7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day’s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country.

15. Helaman 6:9 And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.

16. Helaman 6:10 Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.

17. Helaman 6:12 They did raise grain in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did flourish exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land. And they did raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings.

18. 3 Nephi 1:17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.

19. 3 Nephi 4:1 And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate.

20. 3 Nephi 6:2 And it came to pass that they had not eaten up all their provisions; therefore they did take with them all that they had not devoured, of all their grain of every kind, and their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and they did return to their own lands and their possessions, both on the north and on the south, both on the land northward and on the land southward.

21. 3 Nephi 20:13 And then shall the remnants, which shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them.

Here’s a summary of the directions:
1. the east… west… north… south
2. on the north… south… east… west.
3. on the east… west… from the sea east… sea west (… north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west.)
4. (on the east by the seashore… all the northern parts…) from the east… west (…; … on the north…)
5. from the east to the west sea; … between the land northward… southward.
6. from the east unto… west sea; (… on the south… no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.)
(7. on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west…)
8. all the land which was south… both on the north and on the south…
9. from the east sea to the west.
10. the east wilderness… west… from the west sea
11. on the west… east.
12. neither on the north… south… east… west
13. (from the land southward to the land northward)… (from the sea south to the sea north), from the sea west to the sea east.
14. from the west sea… east
15. both in the land south… land north.
16. the land south… the land north; …land north… land south
17. both in the north… south; both in the north… south
18. from the west… east, both in the land north… south
19. both which were in the land south… land north
20. both on the north… south, both on the land northward… southward
21. from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north

Well, it looks like the opposite directions are usually grouped (east/ west; north/ south). East/ west both come first in examples, and north/ south both come first in examples. This is not clearly “north/ south/ east/ west”.

-=
In contrast, take a look at the cardinal points in the Doctrine and Covenants:

1. Doctrine and Covenants 42:63 And behold, it shall come to pass that my servants shall be sent forth to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south.

2. Doctrine and Covenants 44:1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way.

3. Doctrine and Covenants 75:26 And let all such as can obtain places for their families, and support of the church for them, not fail to go into the world, whether to the east or to the west, or to the north, or to the south.

4. Doctrine and Covenants 80:3 Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.

5. Doctrine and Covenants 125:4 And let all those who come from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, that have desires to dwell therein, take up their inheritance in the same, as well as in the city of Nashville, or in the city of Nauvoo, and in all the stakes which I have appointed, saith the Lord.

(6. Doctrine and Covenants 43:22 Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?)

1. to the east… west… north… south
2. from the east… west… north… south
3. to the east… west… north… south
4. north or to the south… east… west
5. from the east…west… north… south
(6. east unto the west)

Most are “east/ west/ north/ south”.

-=
Let’s take a look at the New Testament:

1. Matthew 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

(2. Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.)

3. Luke 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

4. Revelation 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

1. from the east and west
(2. east… unto the west)
3. from the east… west… north… south
4. On the east… north… south… west.

Ok, east/ west, north/ south, and for variety (?!), east/ north/ south/ west.

-=
Was there an established way of saying the directions it in the 1820’s? Whatever it might have been (if so), the Book of Mormon doesn’t follow it all the time, nor does it match the Doctrine and Covenants, nor the New Testament.

“Book of Mormon: A Response to Critics of Joseph Smith’s Story of the 116 Lost Pages of the Book of Mormon Translation” by grego

Book of Mormon: A Response to Critics of Joseph Smith’s Story of the 116 Lost Pages of the Book of Mormon Translation

grego
(c)2011

So, Joseph Smith gets these golden plates, and starts translating (… or, begins his made-up story with) the Book of Mormon with 1 Nephi.

Whoops! Not so.

1 Nephi was actually written out by Joseph Smith after the completion of the translation of the large plates (Mosiah – Moroni). When his translation of the book of Lehi was lost, instead of going back and translating it again, he continued from Mosiah to Moroni; then he translated the small plates (1 Nephi – Words of Mormon).

He was told that the book of Lehi was not to be retranslated, but that the Lord had prepared for such an event; that in fact, evil men had the pages, and were going to forge the document/ make changes in an attempt to discredit the work. Here’s the revelation concerning this:

Doctrine and Covenants 10:11 And behold, I say unto you, that because [evil men] have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;
12 And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;
13 For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.
14 Verily, I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing.
15 For behold, he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God, in asking to translate it over again.
16 And then, behold, they say and think in their hearts—We will see if God has given him power to translate; if so, he will also give him power again;
17 And if God giveth him power again, or if he translates again, or, in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold, we have the same with us, and we have altered them;
18 Therefore they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power;
19 Therefore we will destroy him, and also the work; and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world.
31 For, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they will say that you have lied and that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself.
32 And, behold, they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words.
33 Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation.
34 But behold, here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do, show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of translation.
35 Marvel not that I said unto you: Here is wisdom, show it not unto the world—for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be preserved.
36 Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous;
37 But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.

If Smith was making it all up and couldn’t remember what he had written in the first place, there would be no need for unbelievers to alter the words; a better proof would have been to immediately and knowingly put the documents “in escrow” and then Smith could retranslate them; but had this been done and Smith retranslated correctly, it would have been proof that he was a prophet, which was definitely not wanted (or it would have proven he had a great memory).

Some have said that the reason Smith didn’t go back and “retranslate” was because he couldn’t remember what he had written; this is, as often happens with Book of Mormon criticism, contradictory with the oft-used argument to explain how he faked the translation: that Smith never translated, but had the whole thing noted and planned out and memorized and just read it off, pretending to translate. (Once more, this problematic polemic dual polarity of “Joseph Smith genius/ idiot” raises its head, but once more, is seemingly ignored by Book of Mormon critics.) Or, as the Tanners wrote, he could “rather eas[ily] remember the major details, but that “the names and details would become increasingly difficult to remember”, and that he would “undoubtedly make many mistakes with regard to names, cities, lands, kings, military leaders and battles”.
Wow, the logical calisthenics one could go through, and for what? What was this, a history book of military campaigns?
First, let’s take a look at all those things. There aren’t too many people in the beginning, for a while. For the Nephites, there is pretty much one city worth mentioning: Nephi. Lamanites: not much at all. Names: well, pretty much just what is in there—Lehi’s family (that wouldn’t change, right?). Kings? As Jacob says, the names of their kings were: Nephi 1, Nephi 2, Nephi 3, etc. Military leaders and battles? Nephi leads the Nephites, while Laman and Lemuel lead the Lamanites. Um… not hard.
Then, let’s look at what *is* in the Book of Mormon in those chapters that are in the large plates (Mosiah – Moroni), in the “war chapters”: off the top of my head I recall Captain Moroni, Teancum, Amalickiah, Ammoron, Helaman, Lehi… oh my, I forget the Zoramite’s name! Maybe it *was* too hard for Smith, too. Yes, Smith the idiot would have definitely had problems remembering all those things the Tanners wish had been in there to make their story work better (great arguing from a negative, really), but, like not in the rest of the Book of Mormon records, likely weren’t… He definitely would have had problems—other than those many moments that Smith was a genius.
So what does Smith “replace” lands, cities, wars, military leaders, etc. with? Surely something much easier for his brain and memory, no doubt? Nope. Instead, there are many scriptures containing prophecies, doctrinal expositions, important speeches, and lots of little lessons; the smaller plates (1 Nephi – Words of Mormon) are rich. Given the two options, which is harder? No doubt the second, which is what replaced the first. The Tanners seem deluded in thinking that Smith was stupid and the second writings were much easier for him than the first.
Note also that since the smaller plates were not about history much, but stressed spiritual things, much of what is in small plates section doesn’t have to be there! There is no “well, that lost history was 116 pages, so I need to come up with 116 pages or so (of history or anything else) to replace it”. There was no need to copy Isaiah (to fill up pages because he couldn’t think of anything else), or to write much. Frankly, he could have cut the beginning by at least half.
Maybe Smith was too stupid to realize that generally the more he wrote, the more problems there could (and likely would) be, and the more material critics would have to work with. Nevertheless, realize also that what is in the beginning, is very strong apologetically, with regards to the Middle East.
Maybe Smith was too stupid, thinking that perhaps Americans (remember, many think Smith was trying to write a bestseller to get rich) preferred reading Isaiah and doctrinal expositions, etc., instead of war stories with lands, cities, kings, military leaders, etc., mostly with made-up names.

The fact that the original translation didn’t (and still hasn’t) come out suggests to me that it was destroyed (so wehter there was a retranslation or new material, is immaterial), or that to me that Joseph Smith’s translation of 1 Nephi was brilliant, in that those hoping to destroy the work by showing contradictions, couldn’t find any between two separate records of the same time and journey (Lehi leaving Jerusalem – Promised Land). This means that either he did two real translations, or he *could* remember everything he had written, and therefore in the second writing didn’t contradict himself (which goes along with the result of the rest of the Book of Mormon).

Sure, of course there is the possibility that this entire 116 lost pages was just a made-up story to shore up the translation story: it was realized the beginning writing was a failure/ practice and now needed to be disappeared, Martin Harris’ wife (and others) never saw it, or best yet, nothing was ever written/ it never happened; and that the period of Joseph losing the fit of translation/ silence was actually a time of “rethinking” the book’s plan.

But critics at the time said there were the pages, so that wouldn’t work; even if there wasn’t an evil plan and the pages weren’t found and critics gave different answers as to what happened to the papers.

Many said that the lost pages were burned; if the people were honest and that were the case, why wouldn’t Joseph go ahead with the translation? I imagine that if the people were honest and that had been the case, he would have; God told him otherwise.

But no such evil plan has ever been uncovered!, one might say. Well, of course not—even had a master forger done it, years later it might have been possible to discover the forgery and find the claim against Smith being a false prophet, to be false itself; and if the evil men waited, maybe Smith would think there was no need to worry, and would translate it later, and then they could catch him. After he died, it was useless if they couldn’t find anything contradictory between what was in it and what was in the published Book of Mormon.

So why? People were already violently against Joseph Smith and the work. Had he or the religion been discredited by a forgery at that time—even if it had been a horrible forgery of a word or two, and even if it were announced for just a short period—it likely would have succeeded in its purpose of bringing a deathblow to the work.

But, it “would be almost impossible to alter the manuscript without detection” (http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no72.htm) , right?
Well, only if it would be impossible to pass off every other lie, hoax, and forgeries, right?

But, surely it “could not have done so without it being very obvious that the original document was altered” (http://www.mormonthink.com/lost116web.htm).
Says who? That’s the whole point of a forgery—to make it so no one can tell it’s a forgery (at least until the purpose has been accomplished). That would have been nice!

And the whole purpose of stealing the pages (or else why steal them and not give them back in the first place?) was this: to kill the work. There was no intent to see if it was true or not, or to provide the truth, but to stop it.

Another critic argues (http://www.mormonthink.com/lost116web.htm):
“Martin wrote with ink on foolscap. Any alteration would be very noticeable and not convincing to anyone.
In addition to the rubbing out of old words and rewriting of new words, the handwriting would have been different. Any rudimentary handwriting inspection would have determined that it had been altered, especially easy to determine given that the new handwriting would have occurred in the same spot as the rubbed-out and re-written words.”
Um, how does this critic know how the lost pages were forged?? And, is the critic an expert on forgery? The fact that so many successful forgeries have succeeded under close inspection, and in retrospect seemed ludicrous, should allow for a little more understanding here.
But let’s say that it actually is a bad forgery… Do you think the evil men were going to let Smith and friends “take a look”, or the doubter of their words, or the common man for that matter? I don’t think so.
Or would they find a fellow critic who would be willing to write a few columns in the newspaper, and find a critic in a learned member of another religion or church to confirm and comment on the documents being original?

Would there really be a need for master forgers to rewrite large sections, as the Tanners and others have argued? Of course not. I mean, look at it right now, over 175 years later: many critics’ Book of Mormon arguments hinge on one word. Look at “Adieu”—this *one word* in the book has been toted ad nauseum as a deathblow to the entire work; “in the *land* of Jerusalem”—one word— has had numerous attacks by critics; and there are many other similar arguments and “problems with the Book of Mormon”. Is it hard to believe that the alteration had to necessarily be long and complicated?
What about scratch-outs? All the other scribes had them, why not Martin Harris? And if so, isn’t it easy to alter things that way?
Also, knowing what we know from research on false news stories and redactions, it’s clear even if a story about the translations being contradictory (due to the original being altered—but this little part wouldn’t be mentioned yet; or even “some men claim there are problems”/ “it’s possible”/ “I give my word we didn’t alter it”) were published even once before the alteration was discovered and confirmed, it might have seriously injured the work, or worse.

The critic continues:
“…they could have changed some names of people or places or altered events that are central to the beginning of the Book of Mormon and thereby prove that Joseph’s new translation was in error. If they really thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed they could have changed the names of Nephi’s brothers or the cities they came from or many other items that would have been included in both sets of plates.”
Well, with the spelling of many words at that time, including names, based on personal liking and phonetics, and with examples in English already (Larsen or Larson?), I seriously doubt the alterations of letters in names would have any effect, even in the common man’s mind.

More:
“If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake.”
Is this serious? Any references? Perhaps even from any prophet in the Bible? (Please let me know if you find any.)

More:
“If, however, Joseph created it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences-and thus “give himself away,” since he loudly professed to be all the time aided “by the gift and power of God.”
So now, Joseph is an idiot/ has poor memory.
Verbal differences? What does that mean? He would mess up “gather together” for “unite”, or “go” for “come”, or use “had been traveling” for “traveled”? (Yeah, I know, this is knitpicking, I’ll try to stop and stay with the big picture.)

More:
“Since the lost pages never surfaced in any form, it is likely that they were destroyed immediately by Martin Harris’s wife. Therefore, the entire story about someone altering pages is impossible and just made up by Joseph because he knew he could not reproduce those same pages as he was not really translating the Book of Mormon story.”
The first sentence is illogical, but let’s continue to the main point. If the pages were burned, there would be no need to worry about an alteration and being proven wrong, and he could have done it again. Either way, it works without problems, right?

More:
“It is convenient that the prophets of old just happened to make an extra set of plates 1500 years ago to cover this contingency, isn’t it? Not only are the 116 pages lost, we have an explanation of how it was fixed right in the document itself written thousands of years before the event happened.”
Yes and no. Somewhat convenient, but there is no real clear explanation in the Book of Mormon about it. It’s like this: “I was locked out of the house because I had lent my keys away, when my wife pulled out another set, saying, ‘I had a feeling I should bring these…'” Is that impossible? Has that never happened to anyone, maybe even the author? How convenient! Is that story obviously a lie now?

More:
“Although it would be possible for a master forger to forge the documents in the early 1800s, what are the odds that either one of the evil men trying to bring down Joseph was either a master forger or had access to a master forger? It’s not a common skill and since money wasn’t the motive, how could they pay for a skilled forger to even begin this kind of undertaking?”
Ok, at least the author has gone from “impossible” to “possible”! What are the odds that Smith could have written the book? What are the odds that he knew all the Hebraisms? What are the odds that evil men could find a dowser of exceptional skill (which they did)? What are the odds that leaders of other churches would pay for it? Wait, if the key were money, why would anyone fight against Mormonism at all?

More:
“Martin Harris proclaiming that the document was a forgery would not have been so easily dismissed.”
First, how is the critic so sure that Harris would proclaim “that the document was a forgery”? That’s an assumption, especially in light of Doctrine and Covenants 3 and 10.
And if Smith couldn’t remember what he made up and said, how would Harris magically remember all he had or hadn’t written?
And why woudn’t his word have been “so easily dismissed”? Not even his wife believed him and Smith! And I’m sure others would have noted that. Also, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_116_pages: “A biographer of Harris wrote that his “imagination was excitable and fecund.” Harris once imagined that a sputtering candle was the work of the devil. He told a friend that he had met Jesus in the shape of a deer and walked and talked with him for two or three miles. (John A. Clark letter, August 31, 1840 in Early Mormon Documents, 2: 271.) The local Presbyterian minister called him “a visionary fanatic.” (Ronald W. Walker, “Martin Harris: Mormonism’s Early Convert,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (Winter 1986):34-35.) A friend, who praised Harris as “universally esteemed as an honest man,” also declared that Harris’s mind “was overbalanced by ‘marvellousness'” and that his belief in earthly visitations of angels and ghosts gave him the local reputation of being crazy.(Pomroy Tucker Reminiscence, 1858 in Early Mormon Documents 3: 71.) Another friend said, “Martin was a man that would do just as he agreed with you. But, he was a great man for seeing spooks.””
Are you sure it would have been hard to dismiss his word that it was a forgery? Put him up against say, a respected minister or two of the community and three men of whatever standing and Harris’ wife. What are the chances of his testimony holding up strongly, as a matter of opinion among the people, especially if Harris’ wife were to say Smith and her husband were just trying to write a book to con people and make money?

More:
“If the testimonies of faithful LDS aren’t shaken by having Egyptologists demonstrate how Joseph Smith’s translation of the Egyptian papyri facsimiles in the Book of Abraham are totally wrong, then why would such an easy explanation as Martin Harris saying the pages were forged cause concern? To your point ‘why should someone believe the Church when we have the proof right here in front of us’ that Joseph did not translate the Book of Abraham facsimiles correctly?”
Sounds like a good argument, but where’s the proof that any of these claims are true? Once more, over time, the Abraham argument tilts more and more in favor of Smith.
It seems the author is so intent on pointing out other problems with the LDS Church, a simple matter is forgotten: there wasn’t a large group of “faithful LDS”! In fact, there weren’t *any* LDS. Whoops.

More:
“Also it would have prompted a detailed scrutiny of certain pages and if any inconsistencies such as slightly different handwriting, different paper, different ink, etc. were found only on the pages that Martin said he didn’t write, then it would be enough evidence to at least say it’s a stalemate – he said/she said. The faithful LDS would of course believe the LDS person and the critics would believe the non-LDS people. The Church would go on.”
Yes, it might have—and even a redemptive scrutiny would have been too late.
Once more, the author assumes this was all about “faithful LDS” believing Smith and that the (non-existant, yet-to-be-established) Church “would go on”…

More:
“ALSO, if it would be so easy to forge the 116 pages to discredit Smith then why wouldn’t the forgers have tried to alter the 116 pages even if Joseph was to tell the same basic story but from another source? As stated above, the forgers could still very easily have changed things that would be common to both the first 116 pages and to the rest of the BOM and just as effectively proved Smith a fraud. For example they could have changed the names of people like Nephi to Napham or change the names of cities like Jerusalem to Galilee or change any number of things that would cause problems for the published part of the Book of Mormon.”
In addition to many assumptions, I have already critiqued these arguments in response(s) further up.

More:
“Continuing on with the Book of Mormon translation does not prevent conspirators from presenting the Book of Lehi with contradictions in it. This was master forger Mark Hofmann’s ultimate goal, to forge the book of Lehi with contradictions to the rest of the Book of Mormon in it. Because the Book of Lehi presumably contained the key details on how the Israelites arrive at the New World, more or less the same story had to be told in different words – the Book of Nephi.”
Am I missing an argument here, or is there really nothing to begin with?

More:
“If the evil men were smart enough to be able to have the documents forged to such a degree as to escape detection, then surely they would realized that they could still foil Smith by changing some of the 116 pages to cause inconstancies with the BOM story.”
Perhaps. But it seems they didn’t.

More:
“Our thoughts
We find it hard to believe that Satan and some evil men were really behind the plot to steal the 116 pages. The stolen pages would have eventually come forth, in probably a failed attempt to discredit Joseph.”
Wow, now convenience is on the other foot… Beliefs and assumptions don’t win arguments.

More:
“If nothing else they would have been worth a lot of money so we can’t imagine why the evil men, if they existed, would not have used the pages to either try to discredit Joseph, ransom them to Martin and Joseph or hold on to them to eventually sell them. The stolen pages wouldn’t have simply been destroyed by men who went to such trouble to obtain them.”
Just a moment ago I was hearing the critic say there was no money in this; now it’s been changed to “they would have been worth a lot of money”—which one is it? Or is it all just based on a matter of argumental convenience?

More:
“Instead it seems much more plausible that Martin Harris’ wife had immediately destroyed the pages to defy her husband. If that’s the case we wonder if there could be any other reason why Joseph would make up the story about Satan’s plan to discredit him? We have not yet been able to think of any other reasonable explanation to answer Joseph’s actions other than he was not really translating an ancient document as he claimed.”
Plausible. If so, what difference would it make?

More:
“A further problem is that Joseph Smith appears to have falsified canonized scripture (D&C Section 10 and the inroduction to the 1830 version of the BOM) by making up a story about evil men stealing the lost 116 pages in an attempt to discredit him when it seems obvious that there were no evil men and that Mrs. Harris likely destroyed the manuscript. If Joseph did make up this story, and have it canonized as scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants, then how can his other scriptures that he brought forth be trusted?”
Beliefs, assumptions, desires to get extra unrelated hits in on an enemy… Please, at least some facts, evidence, and/ or logic! This is so shaky, it can’t even stand.

More:
“There’s an episode of the cartoon South Park called “All About the Mormons”. In the episode, a faithful LDS family tells the story of the lost 116 pages to a neighbor boy they are trying to convert. They tell this story as proof that Joseph Smith was telling the truth and Mormonism is true. Perhaps the most telling comment we’ve ever heard about the lost 116 pages debacle comes from the neighborhood boy, who, after hearing the story of the lost 116 pages, exclaims “”Wait, Mormons actually know this story and they still believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet?”
Depends on what story you hear, but yes, I do. Am I a Mormon just because of this story? No, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to be. Are you an anti-Mormon just because of this story? Given your arguments here, I doubt it.

More:
“Sandra Tanner has an interesting theory about the lost 116 pages. We haven’t fully explored this theory but basically it states that the retranslated portion of the first part of the Book of Mormon is very different from the rest of the book. Names and specific details seem to be intentionally left out from this section of the book such as the names of Ishmael’s daughters and names of kings. The reasoning is that Joseph probably wasn’t 100% sure of some of the specific details of the original 116 pages and he didn’t want to take the chance that the lost 116 pages may contradict him on names or other details. Therefore, he purposely omitted certain details, which is why the beginning of the Book of Mormon seems to be different than the rest of the Book of Mormon. When Joseph was dictating the events that occurred after the time period, that was covered by the original 116 pages, he then started including more specific details that would not have been in the original lost pages and could not be challenged.”
Nice theory. Unfortunately for the theory, this is exactly the reason for the small plates—it was already said in Doctrine and Covenants 10.
In fact, it’s also in the Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi 1:16-17: And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.
17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.

In addition to all that…
Doctrine and Covenants 3:12-13:
12 And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of *a wicked man* (Martin Harris),
13 Who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom.

Doctrine and Covenants 10:
1 Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of *a wicked man* (He says it once more; Martin Harris), you have lost them.
5 Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and *that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work*.
6 Behold, *they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted (Martin Harris) has sought to destroy you*.
7 And for this cause I said that *he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift*.
8 And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you.
9 Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness.
10 And, behold, Satan hath put it into *their* hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.
29 Now, behold, *they* have altered these words, because Satan *saith unto them: He hath deceived you* (mostly Martin Harris and his wife?)—and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.
33 Thus Satan thinketh to overpower *your* (not Martin Harris’) testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation.
36 Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous;
37 But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous (like with Martin Harris), therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.

Mrs. Harris and others confirmed that Martin Harris was hoping to make money, reports Bushman from other sources in “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling”. What if one of those evil men hoping to profit from this alteration venture also happened to be Martin Harris, and along with the forgery, would come his false testimony? How would that have been met? Given what the Lord says, this could have been a possibility.

Not that it would matter, I guess, but if Smith knew who asked him to retranslate the lost portion, he could probably figure out who had them.

2010, September 29

“Can You Be Rich and Be Saved Also? A Critique of S. Michael Wilcox’s ‘What the Scriptures Teach Us About Prosperity’ (2010 Deseret Book)” by grego

“Can You Be Rich and Be Saved Also? A Critique of S. Michael Wilcox’s ‘What the Scriptures Teach Us About Prosperity’ (2010 Deseret Book)”

grego
(c) 2010

“Yes, you can”, our mission president answered in priesthood class. I tapped him on the shoulder from behind and added, “Yeah, but that’s coming from a multimillionaire”. He chuckled and the lesson continued.

So…?

Reading the review of the book “What the Scriptures Teach Us About Prosperity” (2010 Deseret Book)” at http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2010/02/mormons-and-prosperity/, I heard another answer: NO. However, the short review at http://www.mormontimes.com/article/15482/Whats-New-What-the-Scriptures-Teach-Us-about-Prosperity seems to say that the book says yes.

I’ll take an excerpt from the blog about the book here:
What then is the scriptural view of wealth? “There is very little about wealth in the standard works that is optimistic in nature. I usually ask the [institute] class if they can cite a single verse that speaks positively about money. In all my years of teaching, no class has produced a single verse.” Instead, the scriptures contain “a great deal of warning and counsel” (p. 2).

Well, maybe because he teaches at the University of Utah… ;)

Let’s see if I can dig up a few verses and stories, let’s see…

Book of Mormon
—It’s possible that without Lehi’s wealth, Nephi wouldn’t have been able to write his records.
—Without Lehi’s wealth, he wouldn’t have been able to leave Jerusalem so fast and well-prepared.
—Without Lehi’s wealth, Nephi wouldn’t have gotten the Brass Plates (see my brass plates articles if in doubt).
—Jacob, given the perfect opportunity to condemn riches in Jacob 2, does not.
—Where does the master of the oliveyard get his servants if he doesn’t make any money? Does he perhaps run it under an NPO, and get donations from wicked rich men?
—Where does Alma get all his money to go preach everywhere, for years? Another freeloading prophet (not that I’m against that!)? Zeezrom? Amulek?
—“Prosper” sections of verses show up 46 times; the great majority are about living well, and the connection between prospering and riches is often explicit, such as in the verses below.
—The Nephites/ church and its members get rich over and over, as the Lord promises that those who obey his commandments will prosper in the land:
Jarom 1:8 And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war…
9 And thus being prepared to meet the Lamanites, they did not prosper against us. But the word of the Lord was verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.

Alma 1:29 And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.
30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.
31 And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church.

Alma 9:22 Yea, and after having been delivered of God out of the land of Jerusalem, by the hand of the Lord; having been saved from famine, and from sickness, and all manner of diseases of every kind; and they having waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed; having been brought out of bondage time after time, and having been kept and preserved until now; and they have been prospered until they are rich in all manner of things—

Alma 50:18 And they did prosper exceedingly, and they became exceedingly rich; yea, and they did multiply and wax strong in the land.
19 And thus we see how merciful and just are all the dealings of the Lord, to the fulfilling of all his words unto the children of men; yea, we can behold that his words are verified, even at this time, which he spake unto Lehi, saying:
20 Blessed art thou and thy children; and they shall be blessed, inasmuch as they shall keep my commandments they shall prosper in the land. But remember, inasmuch as they will not keep my commandments they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

Alma 62:48 And the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to multiply and to wax exceedingly strong again in the land. And they began to grow exceedingly rich.
51 And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually, insomuch that the Lord did bless them, according to his word, so that they did wax strong and prosper in the land.

4 Nephi 1:23 And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.

Ether 6:28 And he began to reign, and the people began to prosper; and they became exceedingly rich.

Ether 9:16 And the Lord began again to take the curse from off the land, and the house of Emer did prosper exceedingly under the reign of Emer; and in the space of sixty and two years they had become exceedingly strong, insomuch that they became exceedingly rich—
17 Having all manner of fruit, and of grain, and of silks, and of fine linen, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things;
18 And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.
19 And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms.
20 And thus the Lord did pour out his blessings upon this land, which was choice above all other lands; and he commanded that whoso should possess the land should possess it unto the Lord…

Ether 10:16 And after he had obtained unto himself the kingdom he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good old age, and begat sons and daughters; and he also begat Corom, whom he anointed king in his stead.
28 And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.

Old Testament
—Abraham (Genesis 24:35), Isaac (Genesis 26:12-14, 16), and Jacob (Genesis 30, 32) had vast riches.
—Money and prosperity were important in the Joseph in Egypt story, his family’s survival, the fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham, including those regarding the promised land.

New Testament
—Gold, frankincense, and myrrh sure didn’t hurt Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on their travel and long stay in Egypt; in fact, without it, Jesus might not have lived.
—I doubt Jesus and his apostles were scavengers and freeloaders for years.
—The parable of the talents.

Doctrine and Covenants
—Doctrine and Covenants 38:16 And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.
18 And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh;
39 And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.

Doctrine and Covenants 67:2 Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.

Doctrine and Covenants 90:22 And let the bishop search diligently to obtain an agent, and let him be a man who has got riches in store—a man of God, and of strong faith—

Modern church
No money = no church buildings, no temples, no land, …

Is that a complete list? Nope. Just what I got for the time I put in.

-=
So…?

First, let’s drop the belief that the scriptures have little positive or optimistic to say about riches/ money.

Being rich is like being smart, being strong, being ___ (put in any positive attribute here), being good at ___, having a talent, etc.—a positive attribute that can either bless or curse the person. Sure, riches are often a stumbling block to being saved for many; for those who don’t use them properly; for those whose hearts are set upon them.

Man is made to prosper, which certainly includes being rich. However, riches, as other blessings and “property”, are the Lord’s—we are stewards—and to be used the way He would have us use them: to bless.

In closing, I believe Wilcox does better when he says:
“Because it is such an important part of our mortal test, and because so much unhappiness and misery is caused by not using the resources of the earth properly, it is not at all surprising that the Lord has filled his sacred books with counsel for us all, no matter what income level we have or hope to achieve,” Wilcox wrote in the book’s introduction. “If we can master his lessons we can not only anticipate greater security and happiness in our financial endeavors, but also healthier family relationships; for problems dealing with money are the number one divider of family unity.”

2010, August 31

“‘Eye to Eye’ in the Scriptures” by grego

“‘Eye to Eye’ in the Scriptures”

grego
(c) 2010

What does seeing “eye to eye” in the scriptures mean?

First, here are a few references in the Book of Mormon about seeing “eye to eye”:
Mosiah 12:22 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion;

Mosiah 15:29 Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

Mosiah 16:1 And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just.

Alma 36:26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

3 Nephi 16:18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

3 Nephi 20:32 Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye.

Moroni 7:48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

The Doctrine and Covenants says:
Doctrine and Covenants 84:96 For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:

Doctrine and Covenants 88: 66, 68
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:1 When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.

The Holy Bible says (I’ve left out the Isaiah verses basically covered in the Book of Mormon):
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

When people see eye to eye, they have the same understanding. Their eyes have been purified. The scales of impurity—frames, points of view, bias (personal, social, cultural, religious, philosophical, etc.), conditioning, etc. are all removed. To see God, we must become like God; when we see Jesus as he is, it is because we are in that same state.

2010, July 1

“Are Shem and Melchizedek in the Bible the Same Person?” by grego

Are Shem and Melchizedek in the Bible the Same Person?

grego
(c) 2010

There’s not much about these guys when it comes to certain aspects. What did Shem do? Nothing is said (other than “had children”). What about Melchizedek’s lineage? Nothing (other than descended from Noah).

Joseph F. Smith wrote in Doctrine and Covenants 138:41: “Noah, who gave warning of the flood; Shem, the great high priest; Abraham, the father of the faithful; Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, the great law-giver of Israel;”

Shem, the great high priest?? The Bible is silent on that, and more interestingly, the New Testament has no mention of Shem, unlike other Old Testament leaders (Moses, Melchizedek, etc.). In this list, there is nothing about Melchizedek, though it’s probably because he and Enoch are not there in the spirit world because they didn’t die, but were translated.

In the Pearl of Great Price, we read a little about Shem:
Moses 8:27 And thus Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation; and he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

He was also blessed with the priesthood:
Gen. 9:18 ¶ And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
26 And [Noah] said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Here’s the genealogy of Shem and Abraham:
Genesis 11:10 ¶ These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:
11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. (Shem gives birth at 100, lives 500 more.)
12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah (his son gives birth at 35 years old):
13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: (his grandson gives birth at 30 years)
15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: (his great-grandson gives birth at 34 years)
17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.
18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: (his great-great grandson gives birth at 30 years)
19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.
20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: (his great-great grandson gives birth at 32 years)
21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.
22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: (his great-great-great grandson gives birth at 30 years)
23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.
24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: (his great-great-great-great grandson gives birth at 29 years)
25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.
26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (his great-great-great-great-great grandson gives birth at 70 years)
27 ¶ Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

Abraham meets Melchizedek. They meet in Genesis 14; in Genesis 16, Abraham is 86 when Ishmael is born, so it’s earlier than that.

Shem lives 500 years from the point of counting down.

35 + 30 + 34 + 30 + 32 + 30 + 29 + 70 + 86(or less) (Abraham was younger when he met Melchizedek; this is the first clear firm date after their meeting) = x

So, 500 – 290 + 86(or less) = 210 + 86(or less) = 296.

This 296 years is well within 500 years, so at least on that account it’s possible.

Also note that in all that genealogy, there is no mention of Melchizedek.

On the other hand, it is true that the line only links up Noah to Abraham, and doesn’t deal much with anyone else.

What is known about Melchizedek? From the “GS Melchizedek” we learn:
A great Old Testament high priest, prophet, and leader who lived after the flood and during the time of Abraham. He was called the king of Salem (Jerusalem), king of peace, king of righteousness (which is the Hebrew meaning of Melchizedek), and priest of the most high God.
Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Gen. 14: 18-20. Melchizedek’s people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, JST, Gen. 14: 25-40. Christ was a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5: 6. Melchizedek was King of Salem, priest of the most high God, Heb. 7: 1-3. None were greater than Melchizedek, Alma 13: 14-19. Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, Doctrine and Covenants84: 14. In respect for the Lord’s name, the ancient Church called the higher priesthood the Melchizedek Priesthood, Doctrine and Covenants107: 1-4.

Ahhh, so Melchizedek is a title (“king of righteousness”), not a name—he won’t be mentioned by this title in the genealogy.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84:14, we read: “Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah;”
and similar but looser language in Abraham 1. So, Melchizedek is likely a direct relative between Noah and Abraham.

So, it is at least possible, from what we have, that Shem is Melchizedek.

More about Melchizedek, from JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION GENESIS 14: 25-40:
25 And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.
26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;
38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.
39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.
40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.

Here, we see that Enoch and his people were translated, and Melchizedek and his people sought for the same destiny and reached it, too (JST Genesis 14:34). So, Melchizedek is likely not Shem, as neither Enoch nor Melchizedek are noted as being in the spirit world by Joseph F. Smith; but Shem was there.

2010, June 25

“Moses and the Waters” by grego

Moses and the Waters

grego
(c) 2010

There are many interesting connections between Moses and the waters. It starts soon after his birth:
Exodus 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
5 ¶ And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.
9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Moses, a Hebrew child, is not only saved, but becomes the Pharaoh’s daughters’ son, perhaps in answer to her prayers for a child (http://www.tektonics.org/sargon.html); in addition, he is nursed and partly raised by his own mother and family. The waters saved him. He is possibly named after the waters; maybe even “child of the water”.

Let’s jump to the Red Sea:
Exodus 14:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

Here, the Lord specifically commands Moses to camp in “the wrong spot” so that Pharaoh will pursue; but the Lord will save. The Lord doesn’t say *how* he would do save the Israelites, though.

Exodus 14:8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.
10 ¶ And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

The Hebrews are scared. They think Moses made a mistake leading them where he did, especially.

13 ¶ And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses knows all will be okay; still, he just doesn’t know *how* they will be okay, as seen in the next verse:

15 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?

Moses prays for help! He might be as clueless as his people, but he’s looking for an answer to get out of this mess!

15 …speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Moses gets the answer. No doubt there is something else right here that confirms and quickens the answer in his heart. Moses earlier had these visions and experiences:

Moses 1:12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.
16 Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.
17 And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.
18 And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.
19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
21 And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.
22 And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.
25 And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and {thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God}.
26 And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for {thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen}.

A few important points:
1. Moses knew God existed, and was faithful to him.
2. Moses personally overcame fear, and hell, and Satan.
3. Moses did so through prayer. He then prayed to continue his communication with God.
4. Moses was then promised to be “made stronger than many waters” and that he would “deliver [God’s] people”.

I think that when “the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?” he was telling Moses, I’ve already told you how, you just need to think and remember. I think Moses then remembered these words, and the revelation of what was to be done was received. The Doctrine and Covenants supports this:
Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
(See also Doctrine and Covenants 28.)

Moses does as revealed to him:
Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

There are a few variations about how Moses actually parted the waters. Exodus 14 says he was to lift up his rod, and he “stretched out his hand over the sea”.

Here are others:
Book of Mormon:
1 Nephi 4:2 Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto {Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither}, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.

1 Nephi 17:26 Now ye know that {Moses was commanded of the Lord} to do that great work; and ye know that {by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither}, and they passed through on dry ground.

2 Nephi 3:17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and {I will give power unto him in a rod}; and I will give judgment unto him in writing…

Helaman 8:11 Therefore he [Nephi] was constrained to speak more unto them saying: Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that {God gave power unto one man, even Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither}, insomuch that the Israelites, who were our fathers, came through upon dry ground, and the waters closed upon the armies of the Egyptians and swallowed them up?

However it might have happened, a few things are sure:

1. It was done by faith.
Hebrews 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

2. It was done by revelation. (Above, Doctrine and Covenants 8:2.)

3. It was done by the authority and power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
(Above, Moses 1.) The Pearl of Great Price says:
Moses 7:13 And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

Genesis 14:30 “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order [Melchizedek priesthood] and calling should {have power, by faith, to break mountains, {to divide the seas, to dry up waters}, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven” (as was Moses).

1 Nephi 17:50 And [Nephi] said unto them: {If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth}; and if I should say it, it would be done.

In the Book of Mormon, Jacob says:
Jacob 4:6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that {we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea}.
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There are important lessons about revelation revealed in this story of Moses. People have asked me about my thinking and how it’s different than others in specific ways, and it follows this outline:
1. Much of what we need to do, will have first been revealed to us, especially through the words of the prophets and those with the spirit of prophecy, before we have need of them—and perhaps at a time when they seem valueless, inappropriate for us, or even when they doesn’t make any sense. Or, a certain comment or “truth” will throw up a red flag in our mind—a bookmarker, so to say, telling us that one day there will be more about this, and to remember it, because it is a key.
2. When the appropriate situation arrives, we might likely find ourselves clueless as to what to do.
3. Through sincere prayer, the words will be recalled, or the bookmarker will be found and remembered, our minds will be quickened, and the Holy Spirit will confirm them “appropriate” in our hearts.
4. We still might have to be diligent and work hard to use them in the appropriate way.
5. As we use faith to do so, however, the Lord blesses us with what we need, and encourages us to let us know we are on the right path.

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Exodus 14 (New Living Translation)
1 Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: 2 “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. 3 Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ 4 And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you.[a] I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.
The Egyptians Pursue Israel
5 When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. 6 So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. 7 He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. 9 The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Escape through the Red Sea
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. 18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.
21 Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. 22 So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!
23 Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. 24 But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. 25 He twisted[b] their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”
26 When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the Lord rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
Footnotes:
1. Exodus 14:4 Hebrew after them.
2. Exodus 14:25 As in Greek version, Samaritan Pentateuch, and Syriac version; Hebrew reads He removed.

Exodus 14 (New International Version/ NIV)
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this. 5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptians–all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops–pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” 19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25 He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.” 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen–the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. 29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

Other parts from the King James Version:
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19 ¶ And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
23 ¶ And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

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