One Man and the Apostolic Coup

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_Kishkumen
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One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Kishkumen »

Consiglieri's podcasts and the discussion of the "apostolic coup" on both boards have motivated me to do more reading on the succession crisis. I would recommend that those really interested in this question read Andrew F. Ehat's "Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Succession Question." Ehat discusses a crucial angle of the question of the succession: the role that the endowment, sealing, and second anointing played in the upheaval of 1844 that led to the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum, and then the schism in the LDS Church that followed.

Anyone who is interested in the evolution of the LDS temple cultus must read this thesis. In that regard alone it is extremely valuable.

Ehat's argument is basically this: In 1842 and 1843, Joseph Smith unfolded the full temple cultus, which apexed in the "fullness of the priesthood," which was the second anointing, through which a person's calling and election was made sure. He revealed all of these things to an esoteric inner church, which started with a group of nine, but eventually expanded to a group of ca. 75 people. This group, often simply called "The Quorum" became the new Church elite, because these people were the ones who possessed the fullness of the priesthood or access to it. As the capstone of Smith's vision, the fullness was considered absolutely vital to the salvation of the saints.

The Quorum did not map well onto the old organizational structure of the LDS Church. This was priesthood that did not integrate logically into the old designations of Aaronic and Melchizedek, or the organization of councils and quorums. In a sense, it replaced all of these things by packing them into the temple cultus. The endowment/second anointing contained a fullness of all three priesthoods: Aaronic, Patriarchal, and Melchizedek, with the fullness of the Melchizedek being the assurance of exaltation.

The crucial defection of William Law over polygamy came when he was a member of The Quorum, but had not been sealed nor received his second anointing. He was essentially refused the fullness because he rejected polygamy. Then Law set about taking down Joseph Smith over polygamy. In the opposition to polygamy, he was joined by William Marks, though William did not pursue the Laws' concerted effort to take down Joseph through exposé and legal means. So, the break occurred within The Quorum itself, on the question of polygamy.

A pivotal event in the process freed Joseph to pursue revealing the fullness of the priesthood: the conversion of his brother Hyrum to polygamy. Once Hyrum was convinced that polygamy was divinely mandated, he embraced it fully, and Joseph felt free to move forward revealing the fullness. But, something else interesting happened. Because of his earlier appointment as Church Patriarch and co-prophet, Hyrum felt free to perform sealings without Joseph's knowledge or approval. He just assumed this was OK.

When Joseph found out, he panicked a bit. Polygamy was such a hot potato that it would be disastrous to have multiple people going around performing polygamous sealings. One might also see this as Joseph Smith being a stickler about the divine order of things as he truly believed it. He put a stop to Hyrum's unauthorized sealings and fixed that situation. D&C 132 contains a key passage that shows how Smith conveyed his unique authority through revelation. It builds on the earlier language of Section 43:

132:7 wrote:And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.


So, here is the problem. Again Joseph Smith has shown us very clearly what he viewed to be, or at least communicated to be, God's order for handling the highest responsibilities and blessings in the Church. God authorizes one person at a time, and only one person, to exercise these keys. Better yet, he only confers those keys on one person. Nothing here indicates that everyone who received the fullness had equal access to them and could confer them on others, even Hyrum who was appointed Patriarch, Prophet, and Joseph's successor.

The language used in the second anointing reflected these differences. One could be anointed a king and priest "in" Israel, which meant that you had exaltation but you did not have ecclesiastical authority, a king and priest "in and over" Israel, which meant that you had exaltation and subordinate authority, or a king and priest "over" Israel, which meant that you were Joseph Smith, Jr., the one man upon whom all the keys were conferred and the only one authorized to confer the fullness of the priesthood on others. Everyone whose calling and election was made sure received that fullness at Joseph Smith's direction.

Joseph Smith at one point delegated to Brigham Young the authority to confer the fullness of the priesthood on the Q12. This meant that Joseph exercised his keys through Brigham to confer the fullness of the priesthood on the rest of the Q12. By the time of Smith's assassination, it is likely that all of the apostles in the Q12 had received the fullness of the priesthood.

So, if you consider this situation as Brigham Young, now that anyone who was an adult and had a credible claim to be the appointed successor of Joseph Smith is dead, you might be thinking that Joseph had delegated the ability to confer the fullness of the priesthood to others, so you have better standing than most anyone to lead the LDS Church. However, you were not appointed as the scriptures dictated, so you can't come out and falsely make such a claim. Instead, you have to lay the groundwork and build the consensus that would allow you to do this.

I can understand Brigham Young's reasoning. The problem is that it really doesn't work. It had to work. They made it work. But, it wasn't strictly kosher. And Willard Richards' and Brigham's actions do raise questions.

Newel K. Whitney, the Presiding Bishop and a member of the Quorum, said that Samuel H. Smith was appointed Joseph's successor in the case of Joseph's and Hyrum's deaths. Samuel was a member of The Quorum. The problem is that Samuel seems not to have received the fullness of the priesthood, and he died before the Twelve returned. So, even if he had been appointed Smith's successor, he could only receive the fullness from the one with the keys. Joseph Smith III was also appointed as an eventual successor, but presumably he would have received the fullness of the priesthood before he became the one man with the keys.

But there is an even bigger problem. Joseph Smith never appointed Brigham Young or the Twelve to be his successors. This is probably the reason why, at the time, they only thought in terms of a guardianship. The discussion of a guardianship is best explained by the common understanding among members of the Quorum that Joseph Smith arranged it so that only one person held the keys, and that the successor had to be appointed by the person holding the keys.

Let's imagine that Samuel had lived. I don't think we need to question whether he had been appointed successor. Newel K. Whitney attested to it, and Lucy Mack Smith felt that Samuel was to be the successor. The evidence of his place in the succession is pretty damn good. It was not simply a matter of Samuel making an empty claim because he was feeling entitled. If all had worked in accordance to the system Joseph set up, then Samuel would have had to receive the fullness of the priesthood before he could step into his role as president.

Who could he get the fullness from? Who could anyone get the fullness from? The guy who held the keys was dead. Only Brigham had any kind of argument that he had been delegated to perform the second anointing on Joseph Smtih's behalf. But he had been delegated that authority to pass the second anointing on to members of the Twelve, not just anybody. Samuel wasn't in the Q12.

But the same problem that confronted Samuel applied to everyone. There was no one who 1) was appointed successor by Joseph Smith, and 2) received a fullness of the priesthood. You are at a complete impasse, unless you argue that Joseph Smtih in the post-mortal realm was still wielding and exercising the keys, and others were only exercising them through his otherworldly authority.

I still tend to think that Samuel Smith had the best argument for being Joseph Smith's successor, much better than Brigham's. And I suspect that he was murdered in order to remove him from consideration. I find Willard Richards' participation in events suspicious. And, most importantly, I do believe that Joseph's and Hyrum's death did create a kind of impasse in the continuation of Church leadership. Only one man, appointed by the one man, could hold the keys and exercise them. The Twelve was not in a position to do so. And it really was not the pattern in Mormon priesthood for a Quorum to take over by common consent.

The argument from common consent really doesn't work. And I don't believe that the people making the argument truly believe it themselves, if they have any idea of what they are talking about. I think the truth of the matter is that, as Brigham Young himself pointed out, Joseph Smith holds the keys to this dispensation in his exalted sphere. Those who exercise them to lead the LDS Church today really do so on the argument that it is ultimately Joseph Smith's authority that is being exercised through them. The pattern for doing this was established when Joseph told Brigham he could confer the fullness of the priesthood on other members of the Twelve. That is the pattern of delegation; the only difference now is that the delegation has to take place from Joseph's perch in the Celestial Kingdom. "Mingling with gods, he can plan for his brethren."

Why don't they just come out and say this? First, I believe that the PR of saying your Church runs on authority from a divinized Joseph Smith would be disastrous. Joseph Smith's theological significance is a very tricky subject, since the LDS Church contends that Smith is not worshiped. Second, I think it is because the secrecy that surrounds the temple and, even more so, the second anointing is so thick that it is difficult to use that in a way that avoids other uncomfortable questions. But, I think the answers are actually fairly simple, once you understand the fullness of the priesthood as something concrete and its role in the succession. I suspected that the Quorum and membership in it played a role in these events. But I really had no idea how pivotal its role was until I started to read Ehat's thesis.

Now, I have to say here that Ehat's thesis is pretty old (1982, so pre-Quinn's Origins), and I tend to think he is relying on some sources that have probably been picked apart by Mormon historians way above my paygrade (I am a mere enthusiast when it comes to Mormon history). So, in truth I don't know how well Ehat's thesis continues to hold up. I think that, overall, a lot of what he is saying is sound, but I do run across individual sources he is using and think that there very well could be post hoc editing that he is not acknowledging. I would like to know what the real experts have to say about it.
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_Kishkumen
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Kishkumen »

I want to add something because I know that people will not simply accept my contention that common consent does not really work here. I think there are big questions about the validity of common consent in a church that had an esoteric organization with a completely different program running alongside the outer church. It seems to me that, at that point, common consent was pretty meaningless. You have a prophet who was revealing secret doctrines and practices to an inner circle which the vast majority of the members did not participate in, let alone know about.

When the assassination occurred, members of this secret group that were also members of the Twelve presented themselves to the church in their capacity as apostles for common consent. This is arguably hugely misleading. Most of the people who were giving their "consent" didn't really know what was at stake anyway. It is not as if there had been a big powwow in which all were informed how the leadership of the church really worked, what was at stake, and all of the important secret doctrines and practices the Twelve was seeking to preserve.

What they did was vaguely gesture toward what was at stake. It was like telling everyone, "Hey, you want the opportunity to become a millionaire, don't you? Follow me blindly because that's the only way it's gonna happen," without providing any of the details. I think it is fair to say that a lot more people would have objected, had they known the details. In order to pull all of this off, which really meant protecting their own blessings and illicit marriages, they had to put on the show of governing by common consent. It would be impossible for uninformed members to consent truly.

And I think you see the same inconsistency operating in the LDS Church today. It is a real problem. What is amazing is that some Mormons are so inured to the idea that this is the right way, that they are baffled when others get upset about it. But, seriously, you go out with missionaries to provide a very cursory introduction to the LDS Gospel, get people to make a very serious commitment with very incomplete information, and then they step into the temple and get slammed on the side of the head with a giant concrete block of Joseph Smith's Masonic Christian Initiation Cult. No wonder people flip out.
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_consiglieri
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _consiglieri »

Very interesting stuff you put out there, Reverend!

Thanks for doing the work to give us a synopsis of Ehat's thesis.

I was unaware that Joseph had given Brigham authority (keys) to give the fullness of the priesthood to the rest of the Q12.

My recollection about the "fullness of the priesthood" was that it meant the person was sealed up to eternal life; that there was a connection between receiving the "fullness of the priesthood" and the "second anointing."

The additional part about Hyrum performing plural marriages, and being stopped in this by Joseph Smith, and the reference in D&C 132 to only Joseph being able to perform these marriages, is fascinating.

The expression "fullness of the priesthood" makes its way into D&C 124, where God is telling Joseph why it is the building of the Nauvoo temple is critical:

28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.


This is a strange concept to the modern Mormon. Hadn't Peter, James and John already given Joseph Smith the Melchizedek priesthood in 1829?

And hadn't Moses, Elijah and Elias given all other necessary keys to Joseph at Kirtland in 1836?

What need could there be for a "fullness of the priesthood" to be given in the Nauvoo temple?

The phrase even makes it into a church manual, in this recollection by George Q. Cannon:

George Q. Cannon, who later became a counselor in the First Presidency, recalled: “Previous to his death, the Prophet Joseph manifested great anxiety to see the [Nauvoo] temple completed, as most of you who were with the Church during his day, well know. ‘Hurry up the work, brethren,’ he used to say,—‘let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of the priesthood.’ He urged the Saints forward continually, preaching unto them the importance of completing that building, so that therein the ordinances of life and salvation might be administered to the whole people, but especially to the quorums of the holy priesthood; ‘then,’ said he, ‘the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shall become of me.’”


https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-jo ... 4?lang=eng

Now, all of this seems a bit strange to the modern Mormon man who would normally think that there is no greater priesthood to receive after he has received the Melchizedek priesthood. But the way things are structured now, the men must receive the Melchizedek priesthood before going to the temple to receive their endowments.

Of course, this line of thought was buttressed by Bruce R. McConkie in his famous "only an elder" speech, in which he claimed that once a person has received the Melchizedek priesthood and been ordained an elder, that person now has all power that can be given.

Only an elder! Every elder in the Church holds as much priesthood as the President of the Church. No apostle can or will rise higher in eternity than the faithful elder who lives the fullness of the gospel law.


https://www.lds.org/ensign/1975/06/only ... r?lang=eng

Not much room in that theology for any additional priesthood being received in the temple.

And yet Joseph envisioned the "fullness of the priesthood" as being received only in the temple, and in some sense (at least according to George Q. Cannon), related to the endowment.

I don't know if this contributes much to the discussion, but it is evident why it is that at least in the modern LDS Church, such ideas of receiving "more" priesthood beyond ordination as an elder is a foreign concept.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri
You prove yourself of the devil and anti-mormon every word you utter, because only the devil perverts facts to make their case.--ldsfaqs (6-24-13)
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Dr Exiled »

Does anyone know what Samuel's position on polygamy was? Was he against it? That would be another interesting fact in the suspicious death scenario.
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Kishkumen »

consiglieri wrote:Very interesting stuff you put out there, Reverend!

Thanks for doing the work to give us a synopsis of Ehat's thesis.


To be perfectly clear, this is my response to the portion of Ehat's thesis I have read so far. He should not bear the blame of errors or divergences from his thesis.

consiglieri wrote:I was unaware that Joseph had given Brigham authority (keys) to give the fullness of the priesthood to the rest of the Q12.

My recollection about the "fullness of the priesthood" was that it meant the person was sealed up to eternal life; that there was a connection between receiving the "fullness of the priesthood" and the "second anointing."


Yes, the fullness of the priesthood is the second anointing. In the endowment one is prepared or qualified to pursue the fullness, and then the second anointing is the fullness. At first one is a potential king and priest, then the one who has proven himself becomes a king and priest through the second anointing.

I too was unaware that Brigham had been so delegated. My caution about sources applies. I do not know the integrity of the sources Ehat is relying on. I don't say that to cast doubt on this so much as to be careful.

consiglieri wrote:The additional part about Hyrum performing plural marriages, and being stopped in this by Joseph Smith, and the reference in D&C 132 to only Joseph being able to perform these marriages, is fascinating.


I think it is yyyuuuugely important.

consiglieri wrote:This is a strange concept to the modern Mormon. Hadn't Peter, James and John already given Joseph Smith the Melchizedek priesthood in 1829?

And hadn't Moses, Elijah and Elias given all other necessary keys to Joseph at Kirtland in 1836?

What need could there be for a "fullness of the priesthood" to be given in the Nauvoo temple?


Ehat talks about two ways of getting the fullness: through revelation and through rite. A person could receive a direct revelation from God that their calling and election is made sure. In a sense, there would be no need for that person to receive the second anointing. On the other hand, the priesthood is about God delegating his authority to human beings. I think the institution of the second anointing represented God's gift of delegating to the Church the ability to do what he had otherwise done. The second anointing also has the virtue of being a visible act of which a record was made. The place this was supposed to have happened was the temple. Joseph had to move up the timeline and perform these rituals in makeshift ritual spaces.

My guess is that one of the reasons BY and the Twelve pursued the impractical job of completing the Nauvoo Temple was that they were concerned about God taking away the fullness of the priesthood. In fact, there is at least one quote out there from a member of the Quorum who was concerned that the assassination represented God having taken away the fullness of the priesthood.

That was obviously a very reasonable fear, if not an ironclad conclusion. It may very well be that the completion of the temple was vital for creating the impression among members of the Quorum that the fullness of the priesthood remained, at least provided they did what God instructed in building the temple.

consiglieri wrote:Now, all of this seems a bit strange to the modern Mormon man who would normally think that there is no greater priesthood to receive after he has received the Melchizedek priesthood. But the way things are structured now, the men must receive the Melchizedek priesthood before going to the temple to receive their endowments.

Of course, this line of thought was buttressed by Bruce R. McConkie in his famous "only an elder" speech, in which he claimed that once a person has received the Melchizedek priesthood and been ordained an elder, that person now has all power that can be given.

Only an elder! Every elder in the Church holds as much priesthood as the President of the Church. No apostle can or will rise higher in eternity than the faithful elder who lives the fullness of the gospel law.


Note the word "fullness." That word is key to this entire discussion of priesthood. It is Joseph Smith's way of adding that extra "OT level" to his system of priesthood. I say that and sound cynical, but I think he really believed that he was enabling the members of the Church to receive everything he had received. In my opinion, Joseph Smith believed his calling and election had been made sure before he even started translating the Book of Mormon. If you want an understanding of his conception of his own blessings before the church was founded, you need look no further than the sealing power God gives to Nephi and the experience of the Brother of Jared. Joseph Smith had received all of the blessings of the priesthood, or the fullness, and his calling and election was made sure, but he had no system for communicating those blessings to others. The rest of the priesthood restoration up to the assassination, including the development of the temple cultus, was all about the systematization and ritualization of the conferral of those blessings.

In a sense, McConkie is right in saying "only an elder," but he is being, on the other hand, very misleading. One of the conclusions that comes out of Ehat's thesis is the disjunction between exoteric church office and esoteric blessings. Just because Rigdon was a counselor in the FP did not mean he had received his second anointing. He hadn't. That was not necessarily a problem, except that he was looking to be the guardian of an organization whose inner workings he fundamentally disagreed with.

To get back to the point, you can be a primary teacher who has received her second anointing and you will have a fullness of the priesthood. She will of course have done this with her husband. Joseph and Emma were the first to receive the second anointing, doing so as a couple, and setting the pattern for subsequent second anointings. The husband could be the primary pianist. It really doesn't matter. Having the fullness of the priesthood does not make a person a leader in that sense. Remember, one can be anointed a king and priest "in" the Church, which has no implication of leadership role attached.

I suspect that living the "fullness" of the Gospel has to include receiving the second anointing. Or, at least, in theological terms it should mean that (though not exclusively; see above). One of the problems of coming to grips with all of this is that even among the top leaders there has been inconsistency in the knowledge and practice of the fullness of the priesthood. That, and the big problem of jettisoning the living practice of polygamy, have resulted in funny and inconsistent messages.

It is vital to note that Joseph Smith used the acceptance of the doctrine of polygamy as a sifter when choosing who would receive the fullness of the priesthood. If you reject the idea, then you are not going to receive the fullness. I am not sure it would be correct to say that not *practicing* polygamy precluded the possibility of receiving the fullness, but certainly opposing polygamy would. In any case, I think that over time the association of the two--polygamy and the fullness of the priesthood--became so tight that having the fullness of the priesthood without living the principle would have been an outlier.

That is why the stakes were so high in the question of polygamy, and, some would say, polygamy was just as important, or perhaps more important, than having an appointed successor to Joseph Smith. See how Fundamentalism gets rolling?

In any case, sitting on the other side of the Second Manifesto, you have got to be very confused about how the fullness of the priesthood is to work anymore. I suppose it is possible that it was necessary either to go dark on a lot of these issues until it got sorted out, in which case McConkie is somewhat disingenuous, or, you become a Neo-orthodox Mormon who really does believe an elder has everything he needs, no second anointing required.

It is possible that McConkie really went that far. And I think it is important to note that Ehat was writing at the apex of Mormon Neo-orthodoxy, so his argument that the revelation from the voice of God was every bit as good as the second anointing to confirm your calling and election is perhaps operative here. Maybe McConkie really could say, and be perfectly theologically correct, the elder is as well off as anyone so long as he lives the fullness of the Gospel.

As we think about all of this, however, it is important to imagine as empathetically as possible how important this system is to those who are really invested in it. Then I think a number of issues and questions start to sort themselves out. You and I may not agree with "x" or "y" and we may choose not to follow obediently, but, I have to say, the more I look into this, the more I can see why those who are informed are convinced that those who do not are apostates who just really don't understand what is important.

Do I think one can say that the fullness of the priesthood was lost in 1844? Yes. I think one can. But then what? I don't think there are a lot of loopholes for pursuing another course willy-nilly. Yes, people have done this, but I think they have done this outside of the system Joseph Smith set up. Even the Twelve apostles arguably overstepped their authority in taking over the LDS Church. But, looking back, that may have been the closest thing to a feasible option. Members of the Anointed Quorum saw that they either accepted that the fullness they had recently been blessed with was irrevocably lost to the Church, or they had to come up with some means of convincing themselves it was still around. BY and the Q12 were that latter option.
Last edited by Guest on Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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_Madison54
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Madison54 »

Exiled wrote:Does anyone know what Samuel's position on polygamy was? Was he against it? That would be another interesting fact in the suspicious death scenario.

From what I've read he was against polygamy. If I recall correctly, Quinn writes about this as well as others.
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Madison54 »

Kishkumen, great thread!

I love Ehat's thesis and actually have a rough draft copy (somehow my Mom ended up with one because her Father was teaching at BYU at the time Ehat submitted it there).

There's a very interesting back story about this too that involved Ehat eventually suing the Tanners and him having to drop out of school for a semester which delayed him getting his degree.

There are a few errors in the thesis (he did use the Joseph Smith III forgery, for example), but overall it's a fascinating paper. Ehat had access to the church archives and used sources never before revealed (such as the William Clayton Nauvoo diary). I have read that he has tried to keep his paper out of circulation now.

(There's also a thread discussing some of this over on MD&D that I've been following. "Bob Crockett" is getting his ass handed to him :lol: )
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _consiglieri »

Kishkumen wrote:Ehat talks about two ways of getting the fullness: through revelation and through rite. A person could receive a direct revelation from God that their calling and election is made sure. In a sense, there would be no need for that person to receive the second anointing. On the other hand, the priesthood is about God delegating his authority to human beings. I think the institution of the second anointing represented God's gift of delegating to the Church the ability to do what he had otherwise done. The second anointing also has the virtue of being a visible act of which a record was made. The place this was supposed to have happened was the temple. Joseph had to move up the timeline and perform these rituals in makeshift ritual spaces.



Fascinating exposition throughout.

This part strikes me especially, though. I am aware that there are two different lines of teaching that Joseph Smith has on the subject of calling and election made sure: (1) That it can happen through hearing the voice of God direct from heaven; what I think McConkie referred to in his hymn, "I Believe in Christ," when he talks about hearing the voice, "Ye shall obtain"; and, (2) Through the ritual of receiving the second anointing.

I have not studied this in depth, but I held out the idea that the first was a preliminary teaching of Joseph which he subsequently formalized into a ritual.

This is part of the problem I have in figuring these things out. Did Joseph mean the ritual to replace the revelation? Or are these two separate ways of receiving one's calling and election that can operate independently of each other?

Obviously, having it done exclusively through the ritual is important to preserve the authority of church leaders. Allowing for the idea that it can happen independently of church leaders can lead to schisms. As in the case of Denver Snuffer.

Thought-provoking discussion as usual, Reverend!
You prove yourself of the devil and anti-mormon every word you utter, because only the devil perverts facts to make their case.--ldsfaqs (6-24-13)
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Kishkumen »

Madison54 wrote:Kishkumen, great thread!

I love Ehat's thesis and actually have a rough draft copy (somehow my Mom ended up with one because her Father was teaching at BYU at the time Ehat submitted it there).

There's a very interesting back story about this too that involved Ehat eventually suing the Tanners and him having to drop out of school for a semester which delayed him getting his degree.

There are a few errors in the essay (he did use the Joseph Smith III forgery, for example), but overall it's a fascinating paper. Ehat had access to the church archives and used sources never revealed before his paper (such as the William Clayton Nauvoo diary).

(There's also a thread that is discussing some of this over on MD&D that I've been following. "Bob Crockett" is getting his ass handed to him :lol: )


Yes!

The Joseph Smith III forgery was the one that raised alarm bells. Thanks for jogging my memory on that. I then started to wonder how many other problematic, edited sources he was using. I just don't know the sources well enough to say, and I don't have the time to check up on all of it.

After digging into this I feel more sympathetic toward Bob's position, even though I have very little sympathy for Bob himself. Better people than he have basically thrown their arms up in the air, saying, "if not the Twelve, then who?"

Because I think it is the case that Joseph Smith's decision to turn around from his flight and return functionally doomed his esoteric church. If Hyrum had survived, no problem. If Samuel had survived and received his second anointing, then he would have been eligible to run the system. If he was opposed to polygamy, we can see how that would not have worked, and we have another reason to suspect that he was murdered.

But the idea that this is simply a matter of common consent is not credible, if the words common consent are to mean anything other than a formality motion of warm bodies throwing their hands up in the air at the right time.

The only way I really see out of this is to pin the Twelve's authority to the post-mortal Joseph Smith's authority. Joseph Smith still holds the keys, and these keys are delegated to the Twelve. It's an argument that works better, I think, than common consent, but we can readily see why this is not the "go to" explanation for how the system works. Well, in context, how much nuttier is it than Hebrew Indian civilizations?
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
_Kishkumen
_Emeritus
Posts: 21373
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Re: One Man and the Apostolic Coup

Post by _Kishkumen »

consiglieri wrote:This part strikes me especially, though. I am aware that there are two different lines of teaching that Joseph Smith has on the subject of calling and election made sure: (1) That it can happen through hearing the voice of God direct from heaven; what I think McConkie referred to in his hymn, "I Believe in Christ," when he talks about hearing the voice, "Ye shall obtain"; and, (2) Through the ritual of receiving the second anointing.

I have not studied this in depth, but I held out the idea that the first was a preliminary teaching of Joseph which he subsequently formalized into a ritual.

This is part of the problem I have in figuring these things out. Did Joseph mean the ritual to replace the revelation? Or are these two separate ways of receiving one's calling and election that can operate independently of each other?

Obviously, having it done exclusively through the ritual is important to preserve the authority of church leaders. Allowing for the idea that it can happen independently of church leaders can lead to schisms. As in the case of Denver Snuffer.

Thought-provoking discussion as usual, Reverend!


I would guess that the the rite replaced the reliance on revelation alone. By "revelation alone" I mean that surely revelation was involved in determining who received the fullness of the priesthood at the hands of mortal ministrants. But, I don't think that Smith would have utterly precluded the possibility that someone might receive it independent of those means. That's just my guess. We like evolutionary historical models that show a linear development of Mormonism into a perfectly rational and consistent system (even when we don't necessarily believe in the faith). But, I think Joseph's universalism was genuine, at least to a degree. He wanted to provide a system for the Church to transmit God's highest blessings, but I don't think he would have agreed that this ritual system was absolutely the only way God could do it, now that the system was set up. Maybe I am wrong. I like to imagine that in his heart of hearts he was open to those possibilities, even though on the exterior he did want to hold the reins.

So, as for Denver Snuffer, the problem there is that he is going around saying "I did it, and you can too!" outside of the proper priesthood channels. You can't expect to remain a member of this LDS Church and do that kind of thing. Was his calling and election made sure? He may very well believe it was. Is that theologically consistent? I don't know why not. But, the advantage of the ritual system is that it is visible and carries the approval of priesthood authorities. In other words, in the order of the Church, it is necessary. In the cosmic scheme of things, which, by the way, is a consideration Mormon theology allows, not so much.

Denver has concluded that only a rotten church would not have him as a member. So, now he feels liberated to guide people to the fullness of the priesthood outside the Church. For obvious practical reasons this cannot work from the perspective of the LDS Church, and I think it is entirely fair to say that this is not the system Joseph Smith envisioned. So, either they have the authority now, or they lost it in 1844. They did not lose it because they excommunicated Denver Snuffer.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist
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