Where is Jeremiah Today?


November 4, 2010 by Ron Madson

This past Sunday, the lesson was on the Book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah was a colorful character. By way of summary his family/kin were part of an outcast priest group that were not allowed to perform in the temple the rituals/sacrifices, etc. (equivalent of disfellowshipped). He was rejected by the church/ the government/ and the community for the most part. He was truly on the fringes of society. He even went so far as to reject the belief that the sacrifices they were performing were God given (Jeremiah 7:22). Jeremiah denounced their sense of chosenness/specialness. He denounced their militarism. He contended with the prophet Hannaniah (means “happy talk”) and found himself thrown in a pit, placed in a yoke, (he even walked naked in the streets to make his point) and then eventually stoned (late in life).

Anyway, the voice of the Lord came to him and personally called him to deliver the Lord’s message despite not being allowed to speak by those in authority (I believe that Jeremiah needed a personal calling directly from the Lord in order to have confidence for what he was about to say/do)

The teacher wanted to follow the lesson plan and compare Jeremiah’s calling to our receiving callings today. It was asserted that this prophet’s calling can be compared to our present day calling of prophets/leaders/us..uuhhh.right.

So here was my point/question in class. It is evident in the scriptures that those identified as authentic prophets/messengers of God were most frequently called outside of the prevailing and well structured church authority lines/ institution. Rather they were called from the outcast (Jeremiah); shepherds (Amos); wilderness (John Baptist); children (Samuel–Joseph Smith); the dissidents (Lehi, who saw in vision the great and spacious building which, in my opinion, he was referring to the temple in Jerusalem in the same manner that Jeremiah had condemned temple worshippers pointing finger of scorn to the losers of their society); then of course the ultimate illegal alien, Samuel the Lamanite. So these charismatic prophets get direct, natural one on one calling from Lord and not from any man, church or institution. So after sharing these observations, I asked “since it appears that it seems to be the rule and not the exception that prophets such as Jeremiah are called directly from God among the outliers of a community of faith, while those that are identified as the pretenders (Hannaniah) are invariably groomed,  called and endorsed by institutions/churches/and group consensus, THEN what is or would be equivalent of a Jeremiah type today?  Or is that a pattern that God followed then but not now in that we have no need for such a radical, subversive voice to call us to repentance?

So, how would anyone in this forum answer this last question? Are there modern day Jeremiahs? And if so, who? And following the Jeremiad tradition (and the radical/subversive speech of his type among his contemporaries and those that followed) what would their message be today in your opinion?

135 thoughts on “Where is Jeremiah Today?

  1. Douglas Brimhall says:

    Interesting post. Thinking about this always brings me back to the compressed time and space we live in now, compared to centuries ago. It is easy for God to work through a singular “command structure” because our world is mapped and linked in much more intimate ways than ever before. There are very few outposts any more. I recall a recent NPR story on the Peace Corps, with the “old timer” Peace Corp volunteer recalling how in days past the Peace Corps outposts had a certain autonomy due to communication technologies. You could do what you wanted to, without interference from HQ. He was waxing nostalgic for those days, because now, with satellites and internet, the bosses in DC tend to micromanage and know in almost-real time what is happening in all the field outposts.

    The priesthood has always been patriarchal, but centuries ago, the major unit wasn’t the ward or stake, it was the tribe or family, often traveling separated, even isolated from others. There were many prophets or patriarchs wandering about, all teaching their kids and living as best as possible (Jethro). In the main cultural centers (Jerusalem), a more cohesive and institutional form of priesthood was developing, especially around the needs of the temple. But there were many other families/tribes/clans out wandering and living away from Jerusalem, with priesthood authority-some righteous, some not-so-righteous, and others idolatrous. You mention Jeremiah being part of an “outcast priest group”, but maybe it was a family/tribe that was considered a lower class or caste, like the Roma or the equivalent of our “immigrant”. Clearly, with polygamous families, concubine offspring, there were issues of caste and class. The Patriarch taught all his kids the need to no worship idols, but to stay true to the peculiar Hebrew God. But not all the kids and families were considered equal. This was way, way before the Enlightenment. So Jeremiah, like Christ or John the Baptist, were looked down upon, because they didn’t fit into the established local pattern of power and status that was exemplified in the Pharisees & Sadducees at the time of Christ.

    Religion has always been shaped by cultural forces and needs of the moment. We now have the ability to speak with one voice from the mountaintops, heard by all the world. Back then, God had to work in fragments. I have to admit, when I see the vast sea of blue/gray Men’s Wearhouse suits up on the stand at Conference, these thoughts always come back to me-how and when will there be another sanctioned Samuel the Lamanite-type intervention? How does John the Beloved and the Three Nephites fit into this structure? Prophecies in the future alluding to sacrifices and other end-times drama don’t sound like things that will be done by two men in blue suits and red ties. With the current corporate structure, our prophet fulfills a calling in this dispensation that more than one person filled in past dispensations. But if Pres. Monson stood up in next Conference and said, “I have been working on translating the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, Moroni delivered them to me last Tuesday,” how would we react? How would he start out the sermon, with a pun or widow story? The issue to me is with such a tight contemporary priesthood-based organizational structure, how are these “other” events and manifestations to unfold? It presents problems of faith much different than in centuries past. Back then, the hurdle was differences when those differences collided; today, our hurdles revolve around uniformity and blue/gray sameness.

    • Ron Madson says:

      You raise some very good points in regard to structure then versus now—especially in light of this age of instant global communication. I also agree that when you see the “sea of blue suits” it seems improbable to have these fantastic/other worldly events take place in the environment we have created. And although Pres. Benson stated that the BOM and especially the events leading up to the first visit of Christ to the Americas is a type and shadow of what will happen in the last days, I really can’t imagine a “Samuel the Lamanite” type in our days? And yet that type is glaringly there and even endorsed by the Savior.

      I should mention that personally I think we may be conflating OFFICE with GIFT OF THE SPIRIT. For example, I can be called to be an EQP or Bishop but due to my own personality or inadequacies really not tap into revelation but rather operate in my OFFICE on my own human abilities and limited inspiration. that does not mean I do not hold the office and can be sustained by others. By the same token someone can be called as a SEER and even have us in good faith sustain them, but they ain’t no SEER until they pick up a Seer Stone and finish translating the rest of the BOM or writings of Jared or even finish translation of the Bible. Thus, someone can be a president and sustained as such but whether they also have THE gift or not is another matter—either they do or they do not act as a seer, prophesy, or reveal. I do not conflate the two. I can only hope. Therefore, the Lord will send his message to whomever he wants but as to OFFICE that it another matter. I can sustain a President but receive a revelation/prophesy from a Samuel the Lamanite

      • Rob says:

        Second witness:
        We are presented before the Church, and sustained as prophets, seers and revelators, and we have received oftentimes the gift of prophecy and revelation, and have received many great and glorious gifts. But have we received the fullness of the blessings to which we are entitled? No, we have not. Who, among the Apostles have become seers, and enjoy all the gifts and powers pertaining to that calling?
        Orson Pratt
        JD 25:145

        And those who are called to perform special missions in opening up dispensations of the Gospel to the children of men, as Joseph and others were called of the Lord, He endows more fully with these gifts; but this does not hinder others from enjoying similar gifts according to His promises, and according to our faithfulness. And I have thought the reason why we have not enjoyed these gifts more fully is, because we have not sought for them as diligently as we ought. I speak for one, I have not sought as diligently as I might have done. More than forty years have passed away since these promises were made. I have been blessed with some revelations and prophecies, and with dreams of things that have come to pass; but as to seeing things as a seer, and beholding heavenly things in open vision, I have not attained to these things. And who is to blame for this? Not the Lord; not brother Joseph—they are not to blame. And so it is with the promises made to you in your confirmations and endowments, and by the patriarchs, in your patriarchal blessings; we do not live up to our privileges as saints of God and elders of Israel; for though we receive many blessings that are promised to us, we do not receive them in their fullness, because we do not seek for them as diligently and faithfully as we should.
        Orson Pratt
        JD 25:145-146

      • Ron Madson says:

        Gotta love Orson. He was a gem. thanks for sharing those quotes.

  2. tariq says:

    Not to mention that Jesus himself came from outside of the known “official” channels. That’s one reason why the Pharisees, who were the “respectable” religious authorities in Judea, were so bothered by him.
    You ask a good question. When you asked it in class, did anyone have any good answers?

    • Ron Madson says:

      Exactly! Jesus fulfills the tradition of the prophets he sent. The parable of the vineyard fulfilled in Him. They reject the prophets and then reject him

      When I asked the question what happened? Well, no one really addressed it, agreed or countered. That’s okay, we just moved on—-Someone told a story of being called to such and such and feeling inadequate and then found they were assisted in their calling. Heart were touched, tears were shed and the lesson returned to the safe zone.

      I am not sure realistically that we could go down this path in a church setting lest the lesson be derailed and not time to qualify statements/explain that one is not challenging OFFICE by raising the question but rather trying to find relevant comparisons for today

      • Jason says:

        Ron, I really enjoyed your writing here! You brought up very valid points, points I think would not be appropriate to be asked in a church setting, or even answerable by your bishopric. Have you considered raising this question to a General Authority, or mailing it to the brethren to see if a response will be given?

      • Ron Madson says:

        thanks Jason. No I would not consider doing so. When I was younger and more idealistic I actually did send questions and thoughts. They were always intercepted by well meaning intermediaries referring me back to my Bishop or Stake President. But another reality sunk in from my experiences with the brethren in certain callings—for the most part they really have no answers anymore than you and I and most likely have never considered such questions for various reasons, one of which they are so busy administering the church they do not delve into such things. Maybe someday I will share a private meeting I did have with someone at the highest level and how incredibly revealing it was as to not only having no answer but being aggressively condemning/judging for even asking. I have been cured from even considering in the future such attempts.

  3. what a great piece! And what a great blog!

    I followed you here from the link in your comment at Pure Mormonism, and I don’t know how I overlooked this blog before. Looks like I have a lot of catch up reading to do, because your concerns seem to match my own.

    That was a great question you asked in class comparing the prophets of old who were usually chosen by God from the fringe, to those institutional prophets today. Way to throw a wrench into the manual’s intent!

    • Ron Madson says:

      Thanks for visiting this site. I am a contributor here primarily as to anti-war issues. I have been reading and referring others to your blog recently. It appears that we have common concerns/issues.

      Who are today’s Jeremiah types? Of course, as I mentioned above I do think that we conflate OFFICE with GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT. Ideally they would converge, but the reality is as Nibley articulated so well in his brilliant essay “Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift” those within the institution arrive there because of certain traits and for sure remain there because of certain traits. It is almost seems to require of necessity those from the edges (whether there by their choice or others) to be free to really provide an independent voice (think Nibley). I also use the word “prophet” much more liberally and expansive then limiting to one, singular “president” of the church. We can sustain “presidents” and do and pray they have the gifts of the spirit and make those manifest (this act of hope I am convinced is “sustaining”) but the gift of prophecy in a Jeremiah fashion I believe can and most frequently comes from wherever it comes from—gifts know no boundaries. Of course, there are legalistic/ administrative boundaries and those gifts should never presume to go beyond those bounds but pure prophesying or pure gifts are not limited anymore than truth and light can be bottled up and limited.

      Look forward to your continued posts on your blog and we welcome your input, even critique here…

  4. zo-ma-rah says:

    Can you imagine what would happen to lessons if we could get two or more of us together in the same class.

    Hey and if we had two or more of us the church might actually be there. Hahaha. Ok sorry, that was pretty prideful, but I just couldn’t resist.

    • Ron Madson says:


      Yeah perhaps prideful but heck us bloggers all suffer from varying degrees of ego—does “gathering” count in cyberspace? Cause I learned this past Sunday that Satan controls the cyberspace—kind of like he controlled the waters when we were on our missions…dang

    • Rob says:

      I was thinking the same. Let’s all plan a Sunday school meeting to crash. We can pick a different one each Sunday.

  5. tariq says:

    I can’t think of anyone in particular who fills the “Jeremiah” role in our society today, though I’m sure there are some Jeremiah’s out there, but one example from U.S. history that comes to mind is the great abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. In 1831 he started an uncompromising, undiluted anti-slavery newspaper called The Liberator, and he kept it going all the way until President Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He boldly called on white Americans to repent of the sin of slavery, to rid themselves of racist sentiments in general, and to, without any catches, fully enfranchise Black Americans with the same rights that white people had.

    He unapologetically told White Americans, especially rich, respectable white Americans, that they were destined for hell because of slavery and that they were sinking the entire nation down to hell with their unchristian behavior towards black people. Not only did he direct his attacks against Southern slave holders, but also against Northern apologists for slavery. He accused Northern textile mill owners of being just as guilty as Southern slave plantation owners because the Northern textile men profited from the cheap cotton produced by enslaved people in the South. Just as the prophets of old were often accused of speaking “hard words” against the powerful, privileged white people — even progressive minded white people who were against slavery — accused Garrison of being too harsh and too uncompromising. Garrison replied to such charges:

    “I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; —but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.” (“To the Public”, The Liberator, Jan 1, 1831)

    Because the U.S. Constitution legalized the institution of slavery, William Lloyd Garrison called the Constitution “a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell.” Although abolition was his main focus, Garrison also stood for sexual equality and temperance (abstaining from alcohol). Just as the prophets of old were mocked and persecuted, looked down on as “out there,” Garrison was often mocked by mainstream people who considered him to be a kook. The U.S. Postal Service refused to send issues of his paper. In one ugly incident, a mob of racist vigilantes tied a rope around Garrison’s neck and dragged him through the streets of Boston, but he survived to continue his work.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Tariq—awesome comment as to Garrison–love his quotes. I vote that he be on our list of latter day Jeremiahs. Note that you nor I are suggesting that Garrison and those of his caliber/gifts are replacing or intruding on any lines of the priesthood anymore then Samuel the Lamanite replaced Nephi who was leading the church as the time Samuel did his thing. Secure, mature, tuned in presidents of churches/institutions would welcome and endorse a Samuel or Garrison (although apparently it took Jesus telling the Nephites to include Samuel’s words for those words to be officially included in scripture). So while we Mormons and our leaders were voting for slavery in our Utah Territory (circa 1852) there were voices such as Garrison. I consider them “prophets” in a very real sense and we should “seek after these things”….thanks for sharing.
      Maybe we could compile a list of Jeremiahs—and then give out an annual Jeremiad Award….let the recommendations commence.

      I vote Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain as one of my favorites

      • tariq says:

        Exactly, no one is arguing that people who speak and act prophetically are replacing the official, capital P Prophet/President of the Church bureaucracy. Outsiders fill an important social function, as they often have the freedom to speak and act much more robustly than people in official positions do. When you are in a postion of authority, you have to be much more careful about what you say. Had Hugh Nibley been called as a general authority, I doubt he would have had the freedom to produce the kind of biting critiques that he did in Approaching Zion and Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints. Being in a position of authority also makes it difficult to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of outsiders. Imagine the surprise and embarrassment of Nephi when Jesus asked him why Samuel the illegal alien’s words weren’t included in the official record!

      • Ron Madson says:

        Pertinent observations. That is all the more reason that we should not wait around for someone in office to tell us that there is an injustice or evil that needs addressing. We should be “anxiously engaged” as Garisson was. We do not have to wait until someone in authority tells us that a policy is racist/discriminatory. We do not have to wait until someone in office tells us that our wars of aggression violate every christian principle in our canons of scripture. We do not have to wait for the often glacial pace of institutionalized faith to provide a “revelation” that something is immoral, unjust and violative of our conscience. Some like Garisson (perfect example) saw an injustice and became Jeremiah like while others and their progeny would have to wait another 150 years for their “institution” to have the same courage to even change a policy—the recognition of the sin and confession has yet to occur–just give it another generation or two, but in the meantime we, as you pointed out so well, have the inalienable right to speak of our minds—just watch out for those that might want to cast you in a ditch—

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think there are some out there who qualify. But to be adequately considered a prophet they must be pointing the way to Christ. Garrison might have been a great thinker, even revolutionary in what he did, but did his words cause people to repent of their idolatry and turn towards Christ? It’s an honest question – I simply don’t know enough about Garrison to qualify whether that’s what he did or did not do.

    Even so, there are people I consider to be prophets in their own sphere – operating in one or two areas with amazing foresight which most people ignore, reject or glaze over. Most of the time these figures don’t point back to Christ, so I’m not sure I can call them prophets even though some of the things they do and say are indeed prophetic.

    For us, given the institutional monster that lurks, I’d have to look for someone outside the official hierarchy to qualify as a prophet pointing the way back to Christ. Though perhaps there’s an Alma (from King Noah’s court) who will be convinced of the institutional wickedness, or perhaps an Abinadi, or perhaps a Samuel or something else…but the record seems to give the pattern that it won’t be the Qof12 or First Presidency doing the bidding.

    I do think the following man is a prophet in the historical sense (http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/10/3-nephi-12-8.html – read the last 2 paragraphs especially), but even so we need to be careful given that we (mankind) is prone to idolatry the minute someone “revolutionary” pops up and inspires us.

    Anyway, it’s a great thing to ponder.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Good points! I couldn’t agree more that a real prophet must point us to Christ. And we should avoid all forms of personality cult/idolatry. John Baptist understood this well when he said “I must decrease, so that He might increase.” However, I would suggest that just saying one believes in Christ or points us to Christ is not enough IMO. I think a real prophet points us in the direction of the pure teachings/words of Christ. What I mean by that it is I can take His name in vain and pervert this teachings to promote a materialist Jesus/zealot Jesus/or even use his words to justify condemning others (misreading the foolish and wise virgin story which I believe the Lord is in fact saying that the “wise” (as to the world) virgins are actually the ones that are the “goats” as they refuse to share their oil with the “least” and those without. My point is that a real prophet speaks for those that Jesus spoke for—the least in whatever form they come: the poor, the outcasts, the illegal aliens, advocates for the sinners (foolish virgins); those that have the finger of scorn pointed at them (even SSA people), the publicans, and those outside the gate who are excluded, the discriminated against. Not that the prophets condoned sin or encouraged it but they took the role of Christ and spoke for the lepers of society both physically and spiritually. They sought relief for the losers in society and had contempt for those who built literal or symbolic great and spacious buildings for the pretty people while ignoring those in the rags lest those in rags unbeautify their temples and synagogues. In other words, they were less concerned as to whether someone had a tattoo or dressed improperly than whether those that did felt excluded.

      Finally, I was in the same ward with Denver Snuffer for two years while we both attended law school, and knew him well then. I think I will call him this week and find out what he is about these days. I confess that I have not read his writings/thoughts. I am intrigued however.

  7. shematwater says:

    I think this is a great post, and the comments (though I have not read them all) are just as insightful. I would like to add these thoughts.

    At the time of the Old Testiment the laws of Israel were the laws of God. They still followed the Law of Moses (or claimed to). Today that is not the case. The Laws of our nation (or any nation) thow they may be based on Christian values are not the inspired law of God in the same way that the Law of Moses was. As such there is not the same cultural need for such types as are depicted.
    It is also true that the church in ancient Israel had great governing power, even though they had a king.
    Another thing to understand is the nature of the Priesthood in this time. The higher, or Melchezidek Priesthood was not had among the general population, which caused the Levitical Priesthood to become very central to thier lives.

    Another thing to consider is this, we do not know the exact nature of Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet. We know his lineage, but not his calling. While he is called to deliver the words of God as he states we do not know when or how he received the priesthood.
    I have heard it taught by some that he was the President of the church in his day, and with this he is filling the same role as Thomas S. Monson is today. I believe this is true. Moses was the President of the church, and Aaron the High Priest of the Levitical Priesthood (the Presiding Bishop in modern terms). Moses then appointed Joshua to be the President after him. Once Joshua died there doesn’t seem to be a president of the church, which is why Judges states that each man did as he thought best. After the shambles that resulted in, Samuel was called to be the leader, or President of the church. After him was Nathan, later Elijah and then Elisha. I think Amos was next, and later Isaiah. Isaiah then ordained Jeremiah, who became the president when Isaiah died.

    Now, the communications was definitely a factor, which is why men like Ezekial and Daniel was called to Prophecy in Babylon, as Jeremiah was unable to go there effectively. However, the structure does seem to be present in the same general fashion as it is now. It was simply rejected by those in authority (the priests of the Levitical Priesthood rejected those of the High Priesthood).

    Today the Melchezidek priesthood is more central to our lives than the Levitical, and so people are more ready to listen to those holding it. Also, as has been stated, with communications being as they are it is not necessary to spread the people out as much. However, I do think we have our Jeremiah types.
    First, Jeremiah preached to the Jews, or the church of his day. The leaders of the LDS church preach to the church of our day.
    Second, Jeremiah was likely the president of the church at the time, just as Thomas S. Monson is president now.
    Third, the leaders of the church today give just as many words of chastisment and correction as Jeremiah did.

    I think all the twelve and the first Presidency are the Jeremiah type. They are not on the fringes of the church, but the church is on the fringe of society, which is the same parrellel. They have also, at times, delivered their words to the world (Family a proclimation) just as Jeremiah did at times.
    I have always believed that the two prophets spoken of in Revelation that will prophecy at Jeruselem in the last days will be two of the Twelve Apostles. I can see them doing that, even with their blue/grey suits.
    These are the Jeremiah’s of our day, taken from the fringe of society to lead the faithful of God in righteousness.

    • Ron Madson says:

      I appreciate your input. There is so much in your comment that I do not know where to begin. Your comments are a valiant effort to link up the priesthood lines between the prophets of the OT in an orderly fashion, and I do applaud your efforts/mental gymnastics to compare the prophets then to the church hierarchy today. Here are a few questions I have:

      1. Do you have any references/sources showing that Isaiah ordained Jeremiah as “President” or “prophet” or anything?
      2. You mention that the “structure” of the priesthood “then” was the same as now—at least among the Melchizedek Priesthood? What evidence do we/you have of that?
      3. What evidence do we have that Jeremiah was the “president of the church” in his time?

      The larger question is what, in your opinion, was Jeremiah denouncing then and how does that compare what is being denounced by church leaders today? And you mention our church being on the “fringe of society”. My question is that Jeremiah as most OT prophets denounced:
      a. The economic system/grinding the face of the poor of their culture—do we denounce our economic system and oppression of the poor and if so can you point to any such messages?
      b. The militarism, ie, the reliance on military to solve problems? Do you see any denouncement of any of our nation’s wars of aggression that would put us at odds with our host nation? Jeremiah preached appeasement/surrender to the foreign powers

      Finally, you mention two apostles from our church being the two that will prophecy at Jerusalem in the last days. Will those prophets be from the tribe of Judah or not in your opinion?

      appreciate the input, but I think I need more clarification as to these points you raise in order to see the parallel to Jeremiah today?

      • shematwater says:

        1. I do not. As I said, the actual information of his ordination is not had by anyone as far as I know. I am simply putting forth a theory that I believe more fully explains the events of the Bible.

        2. Most of the Evidence, in my opinion, is vague, but is there. Like the stories of Elijah and Elisha. They lead the “prophets” who were an organization of priesthood holders. This is very similar to the “School of the Prophets” under Joseph Smith, as well as the quorums of seventy and the twelve now. So is the falling of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha, or the ordaining of Elisha to lead the prophets in the same manner as Elijah had done.
        Under Moses we read about a quorum of Seventy being established (Numbers 11: 16-17).
        I do not think the exact structure existed, as the Apostles do not seem to be called until after Christ’s mortal ministry. However, I do think there was a definite structure that existed that we can draw parrallels with our own.

        3. There is no direct evidence. However, based on the doctrine of the church the High Priesthood cannot be on the Earth unless there is a President of the High Priesthood, who is the leader of the church. As such Jeremiah could not have held this preisthood unless there was a president in his time. I think he was the president because he is the only one at that time who seems to have a wider scope to his prophecies. Ezekial and Daniel only really prophecy directly to the people in their areas, but Jeremiah was prophecying to all those around him, as well as writing letters to the captives in Babylon. His writings seem to indicate a greater authority than his contemporaries.

        Jeremiah Denouncing: First, as I said, it must be understood that Jeremiah was speaking mainly to the Jews, and thus the comparrison would be to the LDS church members in our day. The comparrison should not be drawn with the United States.
        Economic: To draw a true comparrison to modern days he would be denouncing those church leaders who misuse the sacred funds of the church. It is not a true comparrison to denounce the U.S. or world economic systems because they are not sacred in the same way that the money of Ancient Israel was.
        Militarism: Again, a true comparrison would be denouncings members who trust more in physical and military strength to protect the church than they do God. Once again, in Jeremiah’s day the military of Israel was basically a military of the church. You must remember that Jeremiah never really denounces anyone else for this lack of faith in God, only the Jews who claim to have faith. Thus, it would only be a parrallel if it was members showing the lack of faith.

        In other words, we do not have the same problems today that Jeremiah was denouncing in his day. This does not mean that we do not have our Jeremiah types.

        (As to the two prophets, I really don’t know if they will be of Judah or not. I think it would be helpful if they were, but the prophecy does not require them to be.)

      • Ron Madson says:


        I appreciate your input and yes we are all speculating to a degree–even the opening post is an invitation to speculate. The beauty of the internet is that it is not correlated/strict lines of discourse. You raise a valid point I had not considered that is worth exploring and that is that the the state and church in Jeremiah’s time was intertwined so when he or the prophets of their time were condemning/denouncing they were arguably addressing the abuse of sacred funds gathered from the backs of the poor AND the church’s endorsement of state sponsored militarism. I see that. Excellent point.

        However, the statement that followed made me wonder if Poe’s law was in effect when you said “we do not have the same problems today that Jeremiah was denouncing.” Really? I would refer you to Mormon 8 and 3 Nephi 16. I will assume that we all agree that we are part of the “Holy Church of God” restored in the last days. If so, do we not also have to own these prophecies? I would refer you to the blog “Truth Hurts” and the four part series on church finance. One might disagree with some of the analysis but the facts are should catch our attention and perhaps creates some introspection. Also I would refer you to Rock Waterman’s latest post on Corporatism subverting the church. More to consider at least. And then militarism. My question is did we or did we not follow the “immutable covenant” of DC 98 when faced with decision to support or not support our wars of aggression in Iraq? Afghanistan? Or did we pledge allegiance to our nation’s blood lust for revenge? I would assert that we have the exact same problems today that Jeremiah addressed.

      • Ron Madson says:

        Here is a link to Truth Hurts where someone is addressing what might be considered the misuse of sacred funds in the church today. Perhaps testimony building in that we seem to fulfilling aspects of Mormon 8? Thus further verifying that we are part of the Holy Church of God in the last days and that Mormon really did see our doings?


      • Ron Madson says:

        And another voice suggesting “all is not well” and that perhaps voices like Jeremiah might actually be needed?


        I am not so confident to believe that we do not need voices like Jeremiah’s today. 2 Nephi 28 suggests that saying “all is well” and we are in control and doing just great and need no more of the word/revelation such as Jeremiah’s or Samuels is not a good indicator of overall spiritual awareness. Maybe such “all is well” and we are doing great confirms the very need of a Jeremiah type or types….

      • shematwater says:

        I read the two links provided (not completely, but enough). I really don’t want to comment on them, except to say that they have failed to convince me. No, I do not see the problems that existed in Jeremiah’s time.

        As to the wars in Irag and Afganistan, how many times have they attacked through terror? How many people did they kill? My brother gave a great essay on how the wars are justified, even considering DC 93, and I agree with him.

        As to Mormon 8 and 3 Nephi 16, the prophecies in these chapters are not about the church, but about the condition the world will be in when the church is restored and grows. These problems definitely exist in the world.

      • Ron Madson says:

        Shematwater (interesting name –what does it mean?)

        You mention your brother gave a great essay on how our invading Iraq and Afghanistan and how those invasions were justified even with mandates of DC 98. Could you share that essay. I am giving a lecture/paper in the LDS War/Peace Conference next March at Claremont College and I would be interested in his point of view and how he arrives at it.

        As to Mormon 8 and 3 Nephi 16 who is the “Holy Church of God” that Mormon is referring to then? Is that the “world.” I guess I have a hard time seeing the “Holy CHURCH” as the world?

      • shematwater says:


        Give me some time to find it, as it was written when about five years ago.

        Mormon 8 uses the term “Holy Church of God” only once. But this must be taken in the context of the chapter. Moroni is describing the condition of the world at the time the Book of Mormon is to come forth (or the 1800’s). His reference in verse 38 of “why have ye polluted the holy church of God?” is thus understood as the apostate world poluting the church that Christ set up in the first century, and not a reference to the church in modern times.

        the term “Holy Church of God” does not appear in 3 Nephi 16. However, as I read this chapter, Christ is not talking about the church, but those of the gentile nations who reject the church. Notice that he never once uses the term saints, which is the term used to refer to the faithful of the church. He uses the term Gentiles, which indicates those who are neither members of the church nor of Jewish descent. These are the people that this chapter is talking about.

      • Ron Madson says:


        Interesting—as to 3 Nephi that is one way to read chapter 16. However, contextually, Jesus is referring to “gathering” his sheep from the four quarters of the earth in the first six verses, then in verse 7 he says specifically “in the LATTER-DAY shall the truth come unto the Gentiles that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them” I can only assume that Jesus is referring to “us” as gentiles—albeit adopted in by the covenant. Then jumping ahead to verse ten Jesus states as to these “gentiles” that if they “shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. Chronologically, it appears that this is a warning to us—Jeremiah like warning is it not? Or are we spiritually invincible?

        Mormon 8? Again, can belonging to the “Holy Church of God” render us immune from the warnings? What if any “church” spends only 1.5% of all money received each year for direct humanitarian relief such as warned in verse 39 while billions spend on either a Vatican or mall? Does it make any difference? Can’t these warnings be timeless? Or as I asked in the opening post, is there any Jeremiah’s today? Or have we happily transcended such admonitions because “all is well.”? I don’t know. Are you certain?

      • shematwater says:


        Shem Elijah Atwater is my actual name. I was named Shem because he is the son of Noah that the Israelites, and thus my family, are descended from. I was named Elijah because he is just an awesome guy, and his name started with the letter “E.”
        Now, Shem is the Hebrew word for “Name” and is referenced in the Doctrine and Covenants as “The Great High Priest.” Elijah means “Jehovah is my God.”
        I always like to say that my name means “Name Jehovah my God at the water.”

        As to 3 Nephi and Mormon, I do not think that these chapters can be truly applied to us. Yes, in 3 Nephi 16 he is speaking of the gathering in the beginning, but the rest of the chapter would then indicate those of the gentiles who reject the gathering, not those who accept it. As to Mormon 8, I do not think this can apply to us, because it is speaking directly to the great apostacy that would be on the Earth at the time the Book of Mormon was to come forth.

        Now, there may be other references from the scriptures or the general authorities that do apply to us. I do remember reading somewhere (can’t remember now) that the Parable of the Ten Virgins was only about the church, and did not include the world. This would mean that half the church (five virgins) are failing in some way and need to be called to repentance.
        I do not say that “All is well in Zion” as this will not be true until Christ returns. However, I do say that “All is better in Zion than anywhere else.”

        Again, I think that Thomas S. Monson is the Jeremiah of our day, as was Gordon B. Hinkley, and most of the actual presidents of the church. The difference is that they are familiar to us, they speak in familar ways and use familiar language. The Bible is not written in this way, and so can easily seem to be talking of different types of people.

      • Ron Madson says:

        Cool Name!

        I see how you read those passages. Assuming that President Monson and President Hinckley are the modern day equivalents of Jeremiah, then what prophecies have they given that parallel the prophecies given by Jeremiah? And also what persecutions have they endured from the powers that be and/or the covenant people that would be similar?

      • shematwater says:


        I think I see the problem in our communication.

        When you speak of Jeremiah you are talking about the prophecies and persecution. When I speak of Jeremiah I am speaking of the authority that I think he held.

        Speaking of Prophecies and persecution, there would be no direct parallel to anyone in the modern day, as the society we live in is not the same, and thus the same acts are not needed.
        The persecution suffered by Jeremiah was a direct result of the High Priesthood being withheld from the general population. This caused frequent divides between the Priests of the Levitical Priesthood and anyone of the Higher Priesthood. To have a direct parallel you would have to have the Presiding Bishopric be the common authority in the church, nor the First Presidency.

        As to the prophecies, in closing the Family: A Proclamation To The World we read this
        “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

        As I said, it is in more familiar language and speach, and is thus not readily seen as prophecy. However, this is exactly what it is. This is a very direct warning, not only to the church, but to all the world of what will happen if certian things are not corrected.
        I have read other prophecies as well. The warning the gather a year supply of food is a prophecy in itself, as are many others. We just don’t commonly see them as such because, after reading the Bible, we do not expect a nice suit and tie at the podium, but the fiery tongue in the city square.

  8. The historical reality is that Jeremiah, just like Samuel, and countless other prophets were not like President Monson. They were condemning the hierarchy, religious and political, of their day. This is of course what Jesus parable of the vineyard was about. Those given position and authority to tend the vineyard abused their power and oppressed those under their rule, again religious and political. The prophets sent to the vineyard were not from the hierarchy but the wilderness. They were the outsiders, that were killed, just as Jesus was murdered. Those prophets and Jesus stood against the power structures of his day including the church and ordained priests.

    This is why Jesus could tell Israel that they had killed all the prophets from Abel until present. This is why he could call them hypocrites and sons of the devil. They were murderers from the get go. It is these murderers that Lehi fled from. That Jeremiah stood on the temple steps and mocked for their claims of religious piety and claims to authority. They had turned the temple into a den of thieves. They robbed and plundered the common man and then put on their robes of piety, their air of authority, all the while killing the true prophets who condemned their worship of the bitch goddess success and the arm of the flesh personified in military power.

    Let me add that if all jeremiah had done was publish proclamations on the family and reinforce Israel’s bigotry he would be embraced and loved. The true prophets always, always condemned what Martin Luther King Jr. called the triple evils of racism, violence, and poverty. This is exactly what he and others condemned in Israel. Their bigotry towards others, their embracing violence, and oppression of the least of our brethren.

  9. Joseph says:

    I know this has already been mentioned, but not only was Christ not a part of the official hierarchy, we know who was. The President of the Church was Caiaphas, and the Gospel of John recognizes him as being legitimately so (John 11:49-52). The Sadducees were the conservative “true church” who were keeping temple ceremonies pure. The Pharisees were not really recognized as officially part of the hierarchy, but were (for their time) “liberal” reformers. Note that Christ had trouble with both parties.

    Jeremiah was called to preach against “against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, [the royal hierarchy and their priests] and against the people of the land [likely practicing goddess worship]” (Jeremiah 1:18). Again he was, as a prophet, called to preach against two dominant, but opposing, classes of society. The prophet Jeremiah was probably more aligned, as the exiled priests, with the goddess worshipers (probably why Jeremiah’s people were kicked out of the temple). The royalty tried to kill him, and the goddess worshiping “people of the land” actually did kill him.

    As for modern application, I honestly don’t know what to say. “The Spirit bloweth where [she] listeth.” Hugh Nibley emphasized that prophecy is “not an office” (I believe he was quoting Brigham Young). I believe in the important of Gospel Ordinances, and that is under the care of the President of the Church and Church leaders under him. I believe President Monson to be a good man. I don’t believe the President of the Church has time for revelation that is not Church business related, and certainly no time for seership. This was becoming true in Joseph Smith’s day, so Joseph wanted desperately to give up being President of the Church and put that responsibility on Hyrum.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Your reference to Jesus and his relation to the “president” of the church, Caiaphas, is a perfect illustration of the parable of the vineyard that Christ gave—Christ being a “Jeremiah” of his time. Christ’s priesthood and calling was direct from God. Jesus, as you pointed out, recognized the authority/priesthood of Caiaphas and those that governed and counseled his disciples to do as they say but not as they do. Again, I am not trying to link/conflate office with the gift of prophecy. I pray/wish they were conjoined, but I can only judge the GIFT of “prophesying” by its fruits/evidences. And the question remain what would a modern day equivalent of Jeremiah be today? And does it even apply? Or is God now limited to no longer being allowed Samuel the Lamanites, Abinadi, Amos and other such types today? And frankly why would they even be a threat if they came preaching truth anymore then Nephi in 3rd Nephi was threatened by Samuel the Lamanite? The term “prophet” and “president” have very different meanings/functions. The latter is a sole, consolidated office in corporations while “prophet” does not IMO appear sole or limited by the boundaries of any hiearchy—“would to God that all the children of Israel were prophets.”

    • shematwater says:

      Caiaphas was only the President of the Levitical or Lesser Priesthood. He was not the President of the Higher, or Melchezidek Priesthood.

      Yes, the prophets all opperated outside the established Heirarchy of the Levitical Priesthood, but what of the Higher Priesthood?

      As I said before, the Levitical had become so central to the lives of the Israelites after the Higher was taken from them that they began to reject the Higher Priesthood and those who held that authority.

      As to the Parable of the Vineyard, the Levitical Priesthood leaders are the servants, as they inherited their authority (even today the Presiding Bishop is rightly given to a descendent of Aaron if one be found D&C 68: 18). The Prophets, being of the Higher Priesthood, did not inherit the authority, but were called more specifically by God. This is the reason they are not part of the servants in vineyard. It was because they inherited their authority that they hated those who didn’t and killed them.

      • Rob says:

        Joseph Smith said all the prophets had the high priesthood, and he also said they got it from God. This agrees with JST Genesis 14 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/jst/jst-gen/14?lang=eng which says that is the only way to get it.

        “All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 180-181

        The only hierarchy God has consistently enforced is the authoritative link from God to man. Note the order.

      • Ron Madson says:

        True, there should be no intermediary between us and God. In fact the first Apostles ordained were told that their ordination was not complete until Jesus Himself directly confirmed the same. What they did was just a type and invitation to seek the face of the Lord

      • shematwater says:

        I am not sure what your point is.

  10. Joseph says:

    Oh, and where can prophets or revelation come from? I believe anywhere. It can come from outsiders who see legitimate problems in the Church. It can come from people like Wendell Berry or Noam Chomsky who have important things to say, and don’t belong to any church. It can come from individuals, like Ron, being willing to speak up in Gospel Doctrine, or willing to say things in a sacrament meeting that might be uncomfortable.

    I’m not interested in finding fault with LDS Church leaders (and I don’t see that in this post). They work unbelievably hard at doing good the best they can, and again, I believe in the importance of the ordinances that are a fundamental part of the Church. I pray for them and believe they will be blessed. I’ve never seen criticizing and finding fault with Church leaders lead to a very useful end.

    But if anyone is waiting for significant or new revelation to come from the hierarchy, they are likely to be waiting a while. As I pointed out before, there just isn’t time for those men and women at the head of Church organizations to receive that kind of revelation. If you want that kind of revelation, do as the scriptures say and go to the Lord for it, and stop complaining about not seeing it in other quarters.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Well said my friend, with the exclusion of placing “Ron” in the same sentence with Berry, Chomsky or anyone of that magnitude. But I get your point and we are all sons of God and entitled to direct revelation. Limited by office/callings in church structure, but absolutely no boundaries as to further light and knowledge and even prophesying for God is no respecter of persons—

  11. Douglas Brimhall says:

    I’m reading all these above posts, and one thing that I think should be clarified is we (all humans) have the ability to receive inspiration and revelation. But we do not receive prophetic messages for all the world. My wife and I seek revelation for our family, and my bishop includes our family in the direction he seeks. There are certain persons on earth with certain keys and stewardships-with The Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency holding all keys. Abraham Lincoln was a great guy who I believe was inspired, and prepared for a purpose with the trials in his life, but he was not a Prophet. He was a prophet-lowercase. You may be a former bishop, but that doesn’t mean you can continue charting your own course as Prophet/Bishop once you get released-you must be authorized to utilize those keys. There are also many others with inspired paths and messages-some directly paving the way for Gospel and Church, and others working in places and on people who are doing good. As with the multitude of spirits to be found in the world (of God, of Satan, and many of Man), there are varying degrees of inspired individuals. Poets, songwriters, Mother Theresa, MLK, Luther-the list is endless. God has always had to fulfill His purposes through the inadequacies of earth-bound Man. I remember on my mission teaching a woman in Washington Heights in uptown Manhattan. We were doing the first lesson, which was on the restoration of prophets and apostles in our time. She points up to a framed picture on her wall of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. “Are these men prophets?” I have thought about her question through the years. Well, they are definitely inspired men who had a purpose given to them by God, and they did their best despite human fallibility. Some may make it back into God’s presence, or some may be like Samson, doing his best to redeem himself, even in the end, knowing he has fallen short, but going out with hope, trusting in God. But are they Prophets? To conflate a laundry list of inspired men and women throughout History making them equal to general authorities smacks me as a bit over the top. That last sentence in no way takes any of their Goodness away from them. Personally, I am a believer that if God has to work through imperfect people in His kingdom, he has to also work with imperfect people outside his Kingdom, to fulfill his purposes. For me, I am definitely imperfect, but I am trying to do my best being a prophet to my family, while listening to the Prophet. The Gospel and Church organization rests on priesthood authority, and that separates the Prophets into a different class than prophets.

  12. Ron Madson says:


    All necessary and important points you have made, but let’s develop this even further. The Priesthood (which is a whole other topic) is what exactly? Does it automatically confer on someone additional power/faith/prophetic ability, and if so how? I personally believe as you have pointed out so well that it does confer jurisdictional authority through the “common consent’ of those governed. It is primarily if not exclusively administrative in that it sets metes and bound to authority–particularly administration of ordinances. But in this post we are examining the nature and natural gift of prophecy that is historically OFTEN given directly by God calling prophets outside of the office/priesthood lines to deliver messages not just for themselves personally nor their family but even the whole world–including those who hold the priesthood. Two easy examples in BOM should suffice to illustrate the Jeremiah types. First, the priests in Noah’s court had the priesthood, including Alma who later baptized at waters of Mormon once he repented. Yet in that defined priesthood structure was sent Abinadi. He clearly had the gift of prophecy and was clearly sent by God but he also clearly was sent to deliver a message and prophesy intruding directly into the priesthood/administrative jurisdiction of others. HIs calling was limited and surgical. The better example is of course Samuel the Lamanite. Was Samuel the president of the church? Was he the presiding priesthood? Absolutely not–Nephi in 3rd Nephi was. Yet Samuel was sent directly by God to prophesy to the entire Nephite civilization–including to prophesy specifically what was to occur. He was a true prophet. His words were binding on those, according to God himself, with whom he had no priesthood administrative jurisdiction–one either accepted his prophecies or they did not–that was their test. I am certain that his words were not put in the next Nephite “general conference” report nor any “church publications” or scriptures. Jesus had to personally endorse Samuel and his words and command them to include his words when Jesus came to them—many years later.
    Back to Jeremiah. The question in the opening post is “where are the Jeremiah’s today.” It is a fair proposition that they do not exist, but can we conclusively say that they do not exist or better can never be sent to us by God by His calling them outside of what we consider normal administrative channels? Or do we limit ourselves and others by relying exclusively on administrative office?

    Again, Jeremiah clearly did NOT have the properly authorized priesthood in his time. He operated without the common consent of the people either through the church or government. He was a voice “crying in the wilderness.” And yet we learn after the fact (he was commanded to write by God his book for generations to come) that he was the very appointed spokesman for God for that generation. His voice was binding on all Israel including those who held proper priesthood authority over him. Jeremiah did NOT try to usurp their authority/priesthood but he did not hide his gift but shared it with all the church and his community—whether they received it or not is another question much as whether the Nephites listened to some nut job illegal alien such as Samuel.

    Maybe a take away point from this discussion is that we should, as many have pointed out so well, be open to all truth/light–“we believe all things.” We should no be so robotically focused on strict lines of authority so as to atrophy all of our collective gifts of the spirit waiting for one single person to be the source of all light, truth and even prophecies. The example of William Lloyd Garrison above illustrates that point. While Brigham Young was the proper priesthood authority and had exclusive jurisdiction administratively over God’s church and ordinances, the reality is that he aggressively wanted Utah to become a slave state (1852), was so racist that he, unlike Joseph, began the banning of blacks from priesthood and temple covenants. He was utterly clueless and what I consider evil in this regard. Did that NOT make him the proper administrator/priesthood leader over the whole the church? Absolutely not. But does it mean it is over the top to retrospectively see that men such as William Lloyd Garrison and others were true prophets in the land when they denounced the terrible evil of racism even though both church and state condemned them and sought to kill them? Garrison’s prophecies may very well have been directly inspired by God and I believe their voices will be vindicated even as Samuel’s words were vindicated when Jesus came to the Nephites. The final books/scriptures have yet to be written.
    So again, are their Jeremiah’s today? I believe so. They are legion. Are they a challenge to priesthood lines and authority. Absolutely not. The ordinances and governance continues as it should. If someone in authority is threatened by light/truth and even the gift of prophecy then that is their problem/insecurity that they have to deal with personally–that is their test as it is ours.

  13. Douglas Brimhall says:

    I’ve often wondered about the Samuel the Lamanite and Jeremiah types in the early Euro-asian Christian centuries following the martyrdoms and deaths of the apostles. In Paul’s lifetime, there was already doctrinal and other issues starting to pull the heirarchy into situations similar to ancient Israel and Nephite/Lamanites, where the official priesthood and leadership offices are corrupted ocassionally. The Lord then has to work through outsiders, Jeremiah and Samuel being two examples as stated. In early Christian history we see bishoprics and other positions which probably were lay offices like we have today, turn into powerful political offices where institutional control becomes more important than serving people through inspiration. The apostasy wasn’t some magical thing, it happened fragment by fragment, until what was left was a church structure “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Imagine being a faithful priest doing his best job at the parish level, while Rome and the Vatican are locked in political battles between competing popes. Many inspired well-intentioned persons lived and taught and served, while the political power structure that was the “official” priesthood saw them as heretical threats needing to be eliminated.

    I’ll have to refresh my memory on some texts I read a few years ago, but there are early Christian and religious apocryphal writings and traditions relating groups of people who lived and gathered small followings spread throughout eastern Europe and Asia. Often they were groups who chose to reject the orthodox traditions, and they paid the price by going up against the heirarchy. They were small groups that were concerned with doctrinal issues, such as proxy baptism, method of baptism, lines of authority, etc. But the established power structures very quickly screamed “heretics”, and they were left to be remembered only in passing and in myth. Many of these groups developed into gnostic and other traditions that maybe weren’t exactly the same as when they began (look how in 300 years of argument, the nature of God was changed into an impersonal and very cloudy being). We have limited records and histories, but it’s fairly obvious that a lot’s happened out there through the ages without documentation (The people of Mulek being an example of a group who could of been lost). I have often wondered if maybe these were inspired groups led by Samuel the Lamanite-types who in the face of institutional corruption, were inspired. They spoke with power and authority, and like Alma, they led a small isolated group back into true fellowship. Abinadi was burned, how many other prophets have been killed and neutralized by corrupt noninspired power structures that passed themselves off as God’s chosen vessels? The intriguing ones I read about involved apocryphal groups where the second generation of leaders were the instrumental ones institutionalizing the orthodox traditions, but underlying these are the mythical and vaguely remembered stories about the original groups that were supplanted by the power structure developing second generation. Sounds like what Paul was warning against. Going back to my original post, if you think about the need for a decentralization of authority due to the systems of communication God had to deal with prior to satellites, it makes sense that God would have to speak to little clans and patriarch-led family groups throughout the world through people called by God such as Jeremiah. I don’t consider Jonah THE Prophet, he was just another “general authority” (one of many) sent to Ninevah. We just don’t have reliable records passed down to us. But we have been given some records from the past, but we know that there are much more out there to be revealed. How many of Apostle Paul’s epistles to various other congregations have been lost? How many Jeremiahs have there been where the records have been lost or never recorded in the first place. Thinking about that, without keeping and maintaining good written records of what the Jeremiah-types were preaching, the groups they preached too couldn’t sustain those exact teachings, allowing the word to be corrupted very quickly. What could the burned library at Alexandria have revealed about multitudes of groups and peoples led by Jeremiah-types throughout the known world? This reminds me I need to stop writing this, and get back to transcribing my grandfather’s 1904-05 missionary journals…

    • Ron Madson says:

      thanks for your input. I have learned from your commentary/thoughts. THere is a lot we do not know. Much of our history comes from oral traditions. SPeaking of traditions, I find it interesting that you are transcribing your grandfather’s missionary journal during that time frame. I recently transcribed my grandfather’s missionary journal from 1906 to 1908. Here is a link to an article I posted in By Common Consent on that topic. http://bycommonconsent.com/2010/10/18/grandpas-hat/
      Life is full of ironies and twists and I suppose they will never end….may the surprises continue

  14. Shematwater

    you stated

    “As to the wars in Irag and Afganistan, how many times have they attacked through terror? How many people did they kill? My brother gave a great essay on how the wars are justified, even considering DC 93, and I agree with him.”

    I assume you mean D&C 98 but lets be clear, Iraq never attacked us nor did Afghanistan. But lets even grant you the unfactual premise that they have attacked us and killed so many people. Does this in any way justify sending troops to invade a foreign country, overthrow their govt, and occupy their country for 10 plus years. Lets not forget that 80% of those we kill are civilians and many of the others are simply fighting to protect their homes, religion, and families from a foreign invader. How many hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq does it take for us to realize the barbarity of what we have done? I know our society has forgotten the value of a single human life but justified? really? I lack the imagination and cognitive dissonance to reach such a conclusion. If we want to be intellectually honest D&C 98 and BoM ideas of defensive war apply much better to Iraqis and Afghanis than they do to the modern imperial roman empire hell bent on institution pax americana

    Lastly, let me add that your attempt to take the parable of the wicked tenants and diminish its import by an appeal to priesthood distinction is certainly novel.

    Jesus has just cleansed the temple and is being challenged by the religious leaders of his day. He addresses his marks directly to them and cites Is. 5 in part which has a litany of the sins that said rulers engage in including economic and actual violence. They have been entrusted over the kingdom while the ruler is away. They have sought to hoard the fruit to themselves. And when the master has sent servants from outside of Israel/vineyard they kill them. And when the son is sent, they kill him to. The point is not lost on them as they realize the parable is about them and seek to kill Jesus.

    The point of the parable is not that levitical priesthood leaders can do wrong and mechizedek priesthood leaders cannot. The point is that the institutional church has become corrupt and its leaders use their authority to oppress others. That they have even rejected the stone/son. So if/when the day comes that the modern church has become like the servants in Is.5 and Matt 21 then the Jeremiahs, Samuels, etc will by necessity have to come from outside the vineyard. Now whether that day has come and those in charge need to be called out is a separate matter entirely.

    The larger point of the post is that Jeremiahs by definition are at odds with the institutions of their day (ecclesiastical and political). A Jeremiah will stand on the temple steps and mock Israel for claiming they have a temple (a temple, a temple, a temple) and thus they can do no wrong. A Jeremiah will stand on a city wall and tell the chosen Nephites that they are not great, that their wars are not justified, and that they in fact should lay down their weapons like the Lamanites did. A Jeremiah, like Abinadi, like Samuel, like Jesus will by necessity be hated and will be killed or like unto it.

    • shematwater says:

      First, in reply to the whole Jeremiah topic: My point in making the distinction between the Priesthoods was to show that the conditions that existed in Ancient Israel will never exist here.
      You say “The point of the parable is not that levitical priesthood leaders can do wrong and mechizedek priesthood leaders cannot.”
      When did I ever make this argument? I never tried to argue that Melchezidek holders cannot do wrong. I was merely pointing out that in the parable the husbandmen are the Priests of the Levitical Priesthood, while the servants are holders of the Melchezidek. It is a proper distinction, and an accurate one when you consider the history of Israel.

      You also said “The larger point of the post is that Jeremiahs by definition are at odds with the institutions of their day (ecclesiastical and political).”
      This is the point that I was disagreeing with. I do not think they are, by definition, at odds with anyone. It just happens that at this time Jeremiah was, as the world he lived in was corrupt.

      I believe it was Wilford Wudruff who said that the Lord would never let the President of the church lead the people astray, but would remove him from the post if even tried. Thus, from the words of a Prophet, we are told that there will never be the need for a person to stand against the leaders of the church, and God will not permit such corruption in this church as he did in the past. The modern church will never become as the church was in ancient Israel, and we have God’s own promise of that.

      As to the wars: In the first general conference since 9-11 President Hinckley addressed the church referring to the attack as “a cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil.” Later in the same talk he said
      “Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions. This is not a matter of Christian against Muslim… We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation. We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10). …Unitedly, as a Church, we must get on our knees and invoke the powers of the Almighty in behalf of those who will carry the burdens of this campaign. “Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12).”

      Then, in 2003, he said: ““In the course of history tyrants have arisen from time to time who have oppressed their own people and threatened the world. Such is adjudged to be the case presently, and consequently great and terrifying forces with sophisticated and fearsome armaments have been engaged in battle. In a touching letter I received just this week, a mother wrote of her Marine son who is serving for the second time in a Middle Eastern war. She says that at the time of his first deployment, “he came home on leave and asked me to go for a walk. … He had his arm around me and he told me about going to war. He … said, ‘Mom, I have to go so you and the family can be free, free to worship as you please. … And if it costs me my life … then giving my life is worth it.’ ”He is now there again and has written to his family recently, saying, “I am proud to be here serving my nation and our way of life. … I feel a lot safer knowing our Heavenly Father is with me.”
      “There have been casualties in this terrible conflict, and there likely will be more. Public protests will likely continue. Leaders of other nations have, in no uncertain terms, condemned the coalition strategy. The question arises, “Where does the Church stand in all of this?” In a democracy we can renounce war and proclaim peace. There is opportunity for dissent. Many have been speaking out and doing so emphatically. That is their privilege. That is their right, so long as they do so legally. However, we all must also be mindful of another overriding responsibility, which I may add, governs my personal feelings and dictates my personal loyalties in the present situation. When war raged between the Nephites and the Lamanites, the record states that “the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for … power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God” (Alma 43:45–46). The Lord counseled them, “Defend your families even unto bloodshed” (Alma 43:47). It is clear from these and other writings that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression. When all is said and done, we of this Church are people of peace. We are followers of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Prince of Peace. But even He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34).

      Gordon B. Hinkley stands firmly on the side of the United States and their strategy, both in Afganistan and Iraq, and I am proud to stand with the President of this church and Prophet of God.
      No, the governments of Iraq and Afganistan did not launch an attack, but they assisted the terrorists who did, and are thus just as guilty. They have threatened the liberty of our friends and allies. We have a duty to God and to the cause of Freedom to defend liberty in all nations of the Earth.
      Now, if you want to say the strategy used was a poor one, I might agree. However, I will never agree that we are not justified in dethroning a tyrant and bringing liberty to those in opression.

  15. Forest Simmons says:

    How about MLK, Jr., Malcom X, and Jeremiah Wright, for “speaking truth to power”?

    Isn’t that the main criterion?

    Think Abinadi.

    Along with Mark Twain, who was already mentioned, we could put his contemporary William James; Check out this link:


    I’ve started reading David Ray Griffin recently. He certainly speaks truth to power and powerfully points us to Christ.

    • Ron Madson says:


      Thanks for the link. Gotta love William James and Mark Twain. Two real Jeremiahs of their time. Meanwhile, we Mormons were so concerned about being pro patria at the time, we supported the Spanish American War. Totally clueless then as now as to just how horrific our intervention and murders were in the Philippines in particular.

      Jeremiah Wright? Yes, one of the most unfortunate aspects of Obama is that he was not MORE like Jeremiah Wright. If so, he would have immediately withdrawn our troops and begged for forgiveness rather then ramping up the daily predator drone murders.

      America is the most hypocritical nation on the earth today. We preach peace and freedom and yet in the words of MLKing we are truly the greatest purveyors of violence on this planet. The evidence is overwhelming not only as to our arms sales (what Obama is doing in India even now) to our instigation of violence all over the world during the last fifty years.

      We need more Jeremiahs and less Hannaniahs—-

      spot on Forrest as usual….

      • DouglasColin says:

        I am coming in very late on this conversation, and I would like to jump back to an earlier topic–who was president of the church during the period of the Mosaic dispensation? I recommend a most clarifying book on this question: Aaronic Priesthood through the Centuries, by Lee A. Palmer (Deseret Book, 1964). Since the church was organized under the Aaronic Priesthood, the “president” was the High Priest of Israel, whose office corresponds to that of the Presiding Bishop in our dispensation. After the passing of Nehemiah, Judea was under the domination of foreign powers who treated the High Priest as their agent. The last High Priest in legitimate succession from Aaron was Onias III, in the time of King Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). Antiochus IV deposed Onias and replaced him with his brother Jason, and from that time the office of de facto governing High Priest was a political appointee, without divine authority. The true line of High Priest continued in exile, so to speak, until Zachariah and then John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the last High Priest in legitimate succession under the old Mosaic order. That is why the angel announced the imminent birth of the Messiah to Zachariah, who, though legitimate President of the church, was serving in the temple as a common priest when his “quorum” came up for a turn at assignments. He was the one divinely recognized to receive revelation by the ministration of angels for the church. His son,John,as succeeding president of the church, was the one to whom the Messiah properly went for recognition. Now, the following is conjecture, outside direct historical or scriptural evidence, but it seems to me that it must logically be so. Only the priestly family, among all the tribe of Levi, had the fulness of the covenants of the Aaronic Priesthood. They must have received baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, in the name of Messiah. That ordinance would not have been generally available among the other Levites, or Israeil at large, who remained under the covnenants of obedience and sacfrifice. But everyone knew that John was the legitimate High Priest. As the holder of the keys of presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, it was completely within his authority, as directed by revelation, to extend the covenant of the gospel, with the ordinance of bapttism, to the people at large, and that was in fact the nature of his ministry, to have the beginnings of a church prepared to receive the Messiah. The powers that be, including the priestly class, the scribes, and the pharisees, new very well who he was, and they knew that everyone else knew as well, and so, though John was a major threat to their apostate, illegitimate

      • Colin Douglas says:

        I am coming into this conversation late, and I would like to go back a few steps to offer , what I hope will be a clarification, on the subject. I recommend a most clarifying book, Aaronic Priesthood through the Ages, by Lee A. Palmer (Deseret Book, 1964). With some help from that book, I submit the following. Yes, as has been said already in this thread, the High Priest of Israel, who held the keys of presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood and whose office corresponded to that of Presiding Bishop in our dispensation, was President of the Church under that order, and succession in that presidency was patriarchal. The last High Priest of Israel in legitimate succession was Onias III, in the time of the Hellenic King Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), who deposed Onias and replaced him with Onias’s brother Jason. From that time on the High Priest was a political appointee and a puppet of occupying foreign powers. The legitimate succession continued “in exile,” so to speak, to Zacharias and from Zacharias to John the Baptist. The angel who announced the imminent birth of the prophet—Zachariah’s son John–who would prepare the way for the Messiah went to Zachariah because he was the legitimate president of the church and therefore the one to whom revelation for the whole church would properly be given by the ministration of angels. John was the last legitimate president of the Aaronic Priesthood church of the Mosaic Dispensation. Now, at this point I step beyond historical and scriptural evidence and the teachings of Joseph Smith into conjecture, but it seems to me that what follows must logically be true. The priestly class of that time must have had the fullness of the covenants of the Aaronic Priesthood, including that of the gospel, with its ordinance of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, in the name of Messiah. The others of the Levites, and the people of Israel at large, had only the covenants of obedience and sacrifice and so were not normally baptized for the remission of sins. John, as legitimate president of the church, held the keys to that ordinance and was completely within his authority to extend that covenant and ordinance to the people at large, which, to the great consternation of the establishment powers, he began to do when he returned from the wilderness, to create a church prepared to receive the Messiah. Everyone, the establishment powers and the people at large, knew who John was and that he had authority to do what he was doing, and though he was a major threat to their position the powers couldn’t lift a hand directly to stop him. Then, in the proper order of things, the new head of the church under the Melchizedek order went to John for official recognition in his office. So, neither John nor the Messiah were in any way outside the formal ecclesiastical hierarchy; rather, they were, each in his turn, the official heads of that hierarchy. The question is, what was the relationship of holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which the prophets, including Jeremiah, evidently were, to the Aaronic order under which the church in the Mosaic Dispensation was organize? I don’t know; wish I did; but that question seems to be fundamental to this discussion.

      • Ron Madson says:

        thanks for the insight. Tracing the “legal” authority to be the prophet is interesting in some respects. Looking at the Jeremiah text what we do not see recorded is just as important as what we see recorded. For example, we do not know for sure his “legal” properly traced authority in the text. That is missing and I believe irrelevant once we see that the Lord himself called him directly to deliver a message and took no effort to describe his priesthood lineage. He whom the Lord calls to deliver a message has all the authority one needs in my opinion. I think we are engaging in “presentism” when we look at our legal structure and try to make it fit in another time and place. We can but if we do then we have to consider that God has more often than not called messengers outside of the legal lines of authority to deliver specific messages—out of necessity. Using our modern day structure, was Samuel the Lamanite the presiding authority at the time he delivered his message? How about Abinadi? My question in the OP remains. What would be the equivalent of a Jeremiah today? In other words, take his circumstances, his being an outcast priest, his message and transpose it to our time rather then the other way around. If we do, then what would be the equivalent today? Is it possible that the Lord could call someone directly outside of priesthood lines to deliver a message? Could there be a modern day Samuel the Lamanite? Or do we have institutionally a corner on such prophesying?

      • Forest Simmons says:

        Where did Alma (Senior) get his authority to establish a church? He was a priest of King Noah, but where did King Noah get his authority? Presumably from his father Zeniff. But who made Zeniff a king or priest? It appears that Zeniff just assumed because he was the leader of the expedition he had the authority.

        Consider these passages [with interpretations by me in brackets]:

        Mosiah 18: 14 And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit.
        [Alma felt the need to be baptized, too.]
        • • •
        18 And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God [direct authority, not authority from Noah or Zeniff], ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

        Mosiah 23: 16 And now, Alma was their high priest, he being the founder of their church.
        [He wasn’t just baptizing into a previously existing church, of which he was an authorized leader.]
        17 And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God [directly]. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.

        Mosiah 24: 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. [The Lord assures them for the first time that he recognizes their baptismal covenants, even though Alma cannot trace his priesthood lineage back to Nephi or Lehi.]

        Mosiah 26: 7 And it came to pass that they were brought before the priests, and delivered up unto the priests by the teachers; and the priests brought them before Alma, who was the high priest.
        8 Now king Mosiah had given Alma the authority over the church.
        [If Alma was THE prophet, why did Mosiah think he had the right to say who was in charge of the church? Because (1) Mosiah recognized that Alma had been acting under direct inspiration from God, and (2) up until this time among the Nephites it was customary for the king to also be the head of the church. Consecration as king included priesthood authority. But remember, Zeniff consecrated himself.]
        • • •
        14 And it came to pass that after he [Alma] had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying:
        15 Blessed art thou, Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi.
        16 And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them. [Up to that point, they were just doing things on “faith alone” apparently without any explicit Aaronic or Melchizedec authority.]
        17 And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church [in good faith] among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people [I now accept this church. I hereby ratify what you did, in case you were wondering.]
        18 Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.
        19 And because thou hast inquired of me concerning the transgressor, thou art blessed.
        20 Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life [I accept the baptismal covenant you made when you dunked yourself along with Helam.]; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep [consider your calling to be official from now on].

      • Forest Simmons says:

        In this context it is useful to remember that the Lord told Nephi that there are in reality only two churches: The Church of God, and the Church of the Devil. These churches cut right across denominational lines like a hot knife cuts through butter.

      • Forest Simmons says:

        One more related observation. almost wo years before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized, Brother Joseph received what is now known as Section 10 of the D&C. Speaking of the purpose of the Book of Mormon (so far untranslated, except for the lost manuscript)the Lord said …

        D&C 10: 52-56, 60-63, 69
        52 And now, behold, according to their faith [i.e. of the BOM writers] in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received [the Bible], but to build it up.
        53 And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them.
        54 Now I do not say this to destroy my church [that is already among them], but I say this to build up my church [with more knowledge and eventually more authority];
        55 Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church [note well that in the Summer of 1828 the Lord counts many Christians as already belonging to his church!] need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.
        56 But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain [He does not condemn the humble minister who establishes a humble congregation in good faith, but those that are serving Mammon.], yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center.
        • • •
        60 And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob;
        61 And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;
        62 Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny [the BOM will not contradict the Bible] that which you have received, but they shall build it up [extend it], and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
        63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention [The BOM is designed to clear up the confusion so that Christiandom can at last have unity.] ; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.
        • • •
        69 And now, behold, whosoever is of my church [which already exists, though mostly in a state of apostasy], and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

      • Ron Madson says:

        Forest—exactly brother! Perfect! For me personally I see the “church” and the “kingdom” as two separate entities. The church is scaffolding that “can” lead men/groups to become kingdom like. The church is a means and not an end in and of itself. We belong to either the church of the devil or the Church of the Lamb–ye shall know them by their fruits. Alma formed a church from direct revelation/commission. So was our genesis. However, as we learn in 3 Nephi 16 and Mormon 8 the jury is out as to today as to whether we will ultimately enter zion or settle for great and spacious buildings—each day the jury is out. It is the height of arrogance to believe we are not subject to finding ourselves at times in the great and spacious building pointing the finger of scorn rather then simply inviting others to partake of the tree of life. There is enough warnings in the BOM and DC to allow us to be introspective and open to any Jeremiads.

  16. Colin Douglas says:

    I’m not sure how it happened, but one version of my first posting on this blog got sent prematurely, but I didn’t know it, and I started over, rewrote it, and resent it. The second one, ending with “that question seems to be fundamental to this discussion,” is the more finished one.

    • shematwater says:

      Replying to your previous post, and answering your question.

      We are told in the D&C that the Aaronic Priesthood is only an appendage of the Melchezidek, and that the Melchezidek holds authority over the Aaronic.
      If this is the case now it was the case then, as God is unchanging. While exact callings and offices may have differed the authority of the priesthood must have been the same.
      This is why Moses remained the leader of Israel, even after appointing Aaron the High Priest. This is also why Aaron and Miriam, as well as Korah and others, sought the authority of Moses, because his priesthood held authority over theirs.
      This same principle would then hold true throughout the history of Israel. While the High Priest was the president of the Levitical priesthood, those holding the Melckezidek priesthood would have authority over him.
      I think this is what caused a lot of the contentions between the Prophets and the Priests. The Priests were the common authority that everyone knew. The Melckezidek Priesthood was reserved to a only a few in comparrison, and so was not a common thing in most peoples lives.

      • Yossarian says:


        Im sorry but you just keep making stuff up. It doesnt take a biblical scholar, but I suggest you go read one, to know that there is very little similar to the OT church and the church today. On a positive note, we dont make our kids kill a family member or a neighbor to qualify for the priesthood like Moses did.


        when you merely point “out that in the parable the husbandmen are the Priests of the Levitical Priesthood, while the servants are holders of the Melchezidek. It is a proper distinction, and an accurate one when you consider the history of Israel.” It is a meaningless and entirely irrelevant distinction. I dont care what priesthood you have and the story doesnt distinguish either. The point is that those appointed to care for the vineyard are greedy slimy bastards who abuse and treat their fellow saints like trash and when a real servant comes along they do everything they can to kill him. If you want to make up some imaginary distinction to make you feel better about those leading then fine so long as you know it stems from a need for confirmation bias and not reality

        And point 3 of course the prophet can lead the church astray. D&C 107 even prescribes disciplinary action for this. I assume you believe blacks are fence sitters, adam is god, blood atonement, etc, etc otherwise we can say pretty clearly they led the church astray on those issues. No surprise there, all churches fall short in varying degrees. You want to talk about corruption, how about denying an entire group saving ordinances because of their skin color all based on a prophets bigotry.

        And quoting Hinckley’s bastardization of the scriptures is hardly helping your case. Iraqis=gadiantons? really? a below average high school student could do a better analysis that that. Gadiantons are within the nephite govt not abroad, and its the iraqis fighting on their own land for their homes, freedom, and religion. When as prophet he states that he will trust the US govt since they know better he frankly gave up any mantle he had to speak on this issue. Its his opinion, nothing more, and a pretty wrong one in light of the history we knew then and now.

      • shematwater says:


        The distinction between the two priesthoods is made by Moses, as well as Joseph Smith and many other prophets, as well as God himself.
        The Parable of the Husbandmen is very clearly talking about this distinction. The Husbandmen are the common servants who care for the vineyard. The common servants in Ancient Israel were those of the Levitical Priesthood. The servants sent to check on them were specially called for the task, just as the prophets of the Melckezidek Priesthood were specially chosen to call Israel to repentance. It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to see this, it only takes a small amount of intelligence.

        As to the differences between the modern church and the church at the time of Moses, of course they existed. There was the rather large difference in that the Melchezidek Priesthood was withheld from the general population, which is not the case today. However, the similarities are more important.
        Moses was the President. The Chiefs of the twelve tribes formed a quorum of twelve, and Moses called Seventy Elders to serve in the Ministry. All these men had the Melchezidek Priesthood. Compare to modern day, we have the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, and the Quorum of the Seventy.
        The similarities are there for anyone who really looks. They have to be there or God is a liar, as he changes. He cannot change, and thus the basic structure of Authority on Earth must be the same in all ages that the Gospel was on the Earth.

        Speaking of the Law of Moses, I read nothing in there that I disagree with in principle. It is a holy and just law, set up by a holy and just God.

        Now, speaking of President Hinkley and what he said, he was comparing the Gadianton Robbers to the Terrorists, not the civilians of these nations. He was also comparing them to the governments of these nations that help the terrorists.
        Now, if you had any clue about scripture you would know that the Gadianton Robbers, though they did originate among the Nephites, were forced to flee the land and set up there own separate nation to the west of the Nephites, from which they terrorised the Nephites.
        Now, the comparrison to modern terrorists was not saying that it is exactly the same, but similar. What President Hinkley said is that their methods and goals are the same. The Robbers wanted to bring the Nephites into servile bondage, and modern terrorists want to subject all nations to their rule. They are the Gadianton Robbers of our day.

        Finally, speaking of the possibility of leading people astray: You reference D&C 107, and I am assuming you are speaking of verse 84 that states “And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood.”
        Now, I never said that a President is above the law. What I said was that God would not allow the President to lead the people astray. There is a difference. If the President began to do so God would remove him from his place as president. This fits perfectly with what is said here in D&C, that even a President can be brought before the appointed courts of the church on charges (Joseph Smith himself was so charged by his own cousin). However, I think that before would ever be needed that God would simple let the man die and take him off the Earth.
        As to all the wonderful doctrine you site as being in error, I have to disagree. I do believe all of it, as long as you understand the true nature of the doctrine. The real problem is that few people actually understand them. But, when you tell me that Joseph Smith was a bigot, I’m sorry, you lost me.
        (And just so you know, they were not denied the Saving Odinances that they needed, and they were never denied Exaltation.)

      • yossarian says:

        “The Parable of the Husbandmen is very clearly talking about this distinction. The Husbandmen are the common servants who care for the vineyard.”

        Sorry wrong again. its not clear at all. There is nothing, nada, zilch to warrant a conclusion that this is speaking of levitical or melchezidek priesthood. You are proof texting. You cant come to a scripture already deciding what it means and say of course it means what I already think. Read the text. Instead you are letting the text read you and revealing that you have a very dogmatic view of scripture. It must conform to your predetermined positions. It goes for all of your commentary and conclusions. You need the structure to be the same or you think God is a liar. God can change the structure of his church, as he continues to do so today and has since the founding of the LDS church. The Church today is vastly different than the one is JS day as well. We are now living in a most surreal time when facts and frankly I dont see the point in debating what is a fact.

        And as to Gadiantons, really? thats what you think Hinckley meant? then Im afraid its worse than I thought. Iraq, a nation that we propped up with money, military, etc, is the Gadiantons because they want to make us subjects to their rule? Yes they hate us for freedom, blah blah koo-laid ignore the american hegemony and empire threatening the freedom of many nations.

        “But, when you tell me that Joseph Smith was a bigot, I’m sorry, you lost me.”

        Sorry I said those who denied blacks ordinances were bigots. Joseph may have been bigoted in other areas but he gave blacks the priesthood and even ordained one to the quorum of the seventy. It took a real bigot in Brigham to fabricate priesthood denial long after Joseph was dead. Some uppity blacks got the idea they could get endowments and even date white women. Scary stuff I know. But sure since we feel the priesthood and endowment are not necessary for exaltation and sealing of your family in the eternities you must be right, they werent denied anything.

  17. Forest Simmons says:

    I just finished reading a great book,

    “The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God – A Political, Economic, Religious Statement,” by John Cobb, Richard Falk, David Griffin and Catherine Keller.

    In the second to the last chapter one of the authors, Cobb, points out that the biblical prophets were generally critical of the establishment.

    It reminded me of President Hinckley reporting in October conference of 2001 that Pres. Bush had invited him and other religious leaders to a meeting where he told them that Americans were going to have to sacrifice some civil liberties and hunker down for a long war.

    I thought that here was Pres. Hinckley’s chance to say, “Thanks for your opinion, Mr. President, but the Latter-Day Saints are not going to put their trust in the arm of flesh. Go to your chambers and ask Kishkumen Cheney where that blood on the edge of his shirt came from, etc. ”

    I couldn’t believe that frat boy over-awed the only man on the face of the earth with the right to exercise all of the priesthood keys.

    It was a big disappointment for me, but it made me realize that we cannot just sit around and wait for the church leaders to tell us what to do next; we have to be anxiously engaged without being commanded in all things.

    • Ron Madson says:

      We are of the same mind on this matter. There was no Jeremiah sitting on the red chairs in those days—not a criticism–just a fact. In President Hinckley’s conference of address of April 2003 he struggled and seemed conflicted. Then in the end he simply deferred to the US Government and their intelligence being in the best position to know what to do–wow. Although he was correct that they “knew” what was REALLY going on, he clearly miscalculated (as happened in Viet Nam) that our government was going NOT going to lie/deceive us once again. So, we pledged our allegiance to our host nation, did not DENOUNCE this war nor protest (or in the words of Isaiah–no one “peeps or mutters”) against the powers that be. Rather, we chose as we did during the Missouri Wars of 1838 to ignore the revelations (DC 98 et. al.) and the words of Christ in deference to seduction of the evil and conspiring men who decided months before 9/11 that would find a way to invade Iraq. And we wonder why we still do not have Zion and in the words of President Benson we are still under condemnation.
      The wheels turn and Pres. Bush invites Pres. Hinckley a year later to receive a “Medal of Freedom” in our great and spacious White House.
      Pres. Kimball was correct–we have to each rely on the spirit as our guide. They teach the principles but we must govern ourselves.
      So I ask again. Who are the Jeremiahs of today? THey do not occupy the seats of honor today anymore then they did anciently–in the words of Ron Suskind–“It is the way of this world” or in the words of Isaiah–“all things that have been will be”–cycle after cycle until the Son of Man returns and tells us to include the writings of our latter days Samuels…

  18. Forest Simmons says:

    Jeremiah afflicted the comfortable. John the Baptist afflicted the comfortable. Jesus afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. Our modern leaders mostly just comfort the afflicted

    It seems to me that some of our modern apostles were more outspoken advocates of building up a zion society before they became general authorities. If I remember correctly, Elder Holland did his doctoral dissertation on Mark Twain, and agreed with him about American Imperialism. It seemed to me that Elder Faust was publicly holding back his opinions in deference to his more conservative brethern. Elder Eyring and Elder Christofferson gave talks on building up zion early on, but have backed off. Elder Maxwell wrote a great story based on the City of Enoch. If you read that story, you see that he was just as excited about making zion a reality on earth as you or I, and that he was totally anti-war, anti-capitialism, etc. But once he became a general authority he could no longer write such good stuff. Why?
    Whatever the reasons, it is up to Jeremiahs outside of the official hierarchy to strongly advocate for the vision of zion, and criticize Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria, the aliases given to the USA by Isaiah for its respective leadership in modern idolatry, modern oppression & enslavement of the poor, and modern militaristic ruthlessness.

    If you read the BOM Isaiah passages with this in mind, then the surrounding remarks by Nephi (in 1st and 2nd Nephi) and by the resurrected Lord (in 3rd Nephi) don’t seem like unrelated off-the-wall comments.

    Your remark about “no peep or mutter when the Assyrian robs the nest” is right on the money.

    Cleon Skousen in his Isaiah commentary accuses Isaiah of flitting from one disconnected idea to another because of his excited poetic frame of mind or perhaps an attention deficit problem.

    In other words, Cleon Skousen, the super patriotic former police chief of SLC turned professor of religion at BYU, didn’t get it.

  19. shematwater says:

    I will stick with what I have said. The Jeremiah of our day is President Monson.
    What most people here seem to want is a person who will speak out against any war that might happen, and to condemn anyone in power. That is not what Jeremiah did in the Bible. At least it is not what I read.
    Jeremiah never spoke out agianst people because they were in power, but because they abused their power. He never spoke out against war, only against the unjust war, and the turning away from God to the military.

    When I read Jeremiah I see in him what I see in President Monson, what I saw in President Hinkley, and President Benson, and what I read int he words of every man who has served as President of this church.

    Personally, I think that comparing any man who does not hold the Priesthood to a prophet is rediculous. They may be great men, but they are not called of God and they have no authority to say what they say.
    On the other hand, condemning the chosen leaders of God who do hold that authority because they support our nation in a just war is equally rediculous. When the President speaks in General Conference it is the word of God directly to us, and to reject it is to reject God.

    We rely on the United States because we have no military strength as a church. We rely on them because this country was created and set up by God to be a place where his church could grow and be protected.
    It has been common for people to mention the differences betweent he church now and the church at the time of Jeremiah. However, my point that government was also much different seems to be ignored.
    We cannot expect the same acts by our Jeremiahs as were seen in the past because the society is so different that such acts would be meaningless.

  20. Ron Madson says:


    You opined that “when the President speaks in general conference it is the word of God directly to us, and to reject it is to reject God.”

    Here are my questions:

    1. Is every statement/opinion by the President in a Conference Address, whether on doctrine or current events, the word of God?

    2. Are we bound to believe the words, opinions, and doctrines taught by the President given at general conference?

    3. If I do not accept the teachings/opinions/ statement/ doctrines taught by a President at General Conference then am I rejecting God?

    I think these questions are relevant to knowing the “legal/authority” boundaries that you are asserting that we as members of our Mormon faith are operating under.


    • shematwater says:

      1. Unless directly stated as other then the word of God we should take everything they say as His word, yes. I truly believe this.
      If the president stands and states that he is speaking his opinion, with no devine inspiration, then we are free to agree or disagree. However, when he stands in general conference he is under the influence of the spirit, unless he tells us otherwise.

      2. We are not bound to believe anything that we choose not believe. That is the right of all people. However, I think it would be very difficult to claim belief in him as a prophet and one called to speak for God to the world, and then reject what he says at the appointed time for him to deliver God’s word to us.

      3. When he declares doctrine, if you reject his words than you are rejecting God. When he declares God’s will on a matter than you are rejecting God in rejecting his words.

      General Conference was instituted so that the leaders of the church could deliver God’s words to the people. It should thus be assumed that unless they state otherwise they are delivering God’s words.

      To be honest, when I fist read this article I was thrilled. It was fascinating topic and had great potential stimulating conversation. But it had not turned out this way.

  21. Ron Madson says:


    You have contributed to the stimulating exchange. The opening post was whether we could find a modern day parallel to Jeremiah. You have the opinion that the Jeremiah type is consistent with the President of the Church speaking in general conference. Fair enough. Others in this stimulating exchange have disagreed. I find disagreement and dialogue a healthy check and balance–we are governed in the end by Common Consent and we are even advised to seek personal revelation and test all things. So we do. Would it surprise you that historically and today the Q12 have differences of opinion as to doctrine, policies and practice? Would it surprise you that prophets have disagreed with one another and have said the exact opposite doctrinally? Brigham Young stated that a man cannot become a God or reach highest degree of heaven unless he practices polygamy–President Hinckley stated that polygamy was NOT doctrinal. President Young stated in conference that Adam was Father in Heaven and that teaching was even instituted in the temple–President Kimball stated that the Adam God doctrine was false doctrine. Brigham Young taught blood atonement in conference and now we know it to be false doctrine. Brigham Young in general conference stated unequivocally the following: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. ” Apparently, what he taught it not so today? Prophets have different opinions as to eternal progression. They have different opinions as to King Follett discourse doctrine. They have been wrong historically at times and will continue to be so—that is what it means to be less then deity and what it means to be a true and living church that organically evolves by keeping truths and casting off falsehoods from time to time. If we had dogmatic intransigence in all that was taught in conference we would still be practicing polygamy, believing Adam was God the father, killing people that engage in interracial marriage and my favorite –blood atonement.

    So I ask, do you believe that Brigham Young being a President of the Church and speaking boldly and unequivocally on the above topics means that he was speaking the mind and will of God? Since God does not change, then why did the Presidents of the church change? Could it be that Presidents of the church really are NOT inerrant and infallible? Could it be that we have not adopted the Catholic tradition of infallibility?

    I do not point this out to trouble you or anyone but to point out that you, me, all of us are endowed with our God given right and privilege to test all things and follow the spirit and our conscience. So when an authority figure, including a President of the Church speaks doctrine or give counsel at conference it may be true most of the time, but not always. For any mortal man to proclaim inerrancy or infallibility is to invite a form of idolatry and personality cult.

    Men of God are not fearful of nor insecure about anyone speaking truth to power. A President/Prophet would not be threatened by a latter days Samuel the Lamanite nor a Jeremiah but would embrace such a voice. Is President Monson and prophet seer and revelator? I sustain him as such. I sustain him in using the seer stone to translate the rest of the Book of Mormon or the rest of the Bible and/or the writings of Jared. I sustain if and when he prophesies as Jeremiah did. I sustain him to reveal further doctrines. Could there be Jeremiah types at the same time that we sustain a Presiding High Priest? Historically it happened so why not today? Jeremiah types do not replace the President of the Church anymore then Samuel replaced Nephi in 3rd Nephi. Again I think you may have conflated the word President of the Church with the generic word “prophet.” I pray they are the same and sustain it to be, but the gift of prophecy is not, in my opinion, exclusively held by one man.

    I am convinced that the Jeremiah “type” in the OT and other such prophets like Samuel the Lamanite serve an important role–not as Presiding Authorities but as a special messenger like Abinadi to deliver something that need to be said looking from the outside of the institution/church. In my opinion the Presiding High Priests of the church anciently and the Presidents of our church historically and now do not fit that type. So I asked, who would fit that type today?

    • Forest Simmons says:

      In a recent conference Elder Oaks indicated that there are basically two lines of inspiration … personal and institutional. Perhaps the Jeremiah type exists to fill in the gap. There are some questions that are not particularly personal, nor do they have to do directly with the operation of the church.

      Jeremiah isn’t going to counsel me on which job to accept, which diet to adopt, or which house to buy, nor will he counsel the church leaders on where to build the next temple, who should be the next presiding bishop of the church, etc.

    • shematwater says:


      Everything you list I believe in completely, at least as far as Brigham Young and the others actually stated it.
      I really don’t want to get into a doctrinal debate. However, I will say that I have never read anywhere that Brigham Young said the Practice of Polygamy was required, only the belief in it, and President Hinkley only said we do not practice it, not that we do not believe in it.
      Also, I do believe what Brigham Young said concerning Adam being our father (as he is the first human) and our God (as he is the patriarch, and thus the god of this Earth). However, Brigham Young never once claimed that Adam was our Father in Heaven (or Elohim), and the only time he actually stated that Adam was a god before this earth he clearly stated that it was his opinion and not doctrine. What President Kimball declared to be false was this misunderstanding of President Young’s words.
      As to Blood Atonement, I believe in this doctrine as well. However, it is a practice reserved for a time when the church is also the civil government, like at the time of Moses (when it was practiced liberally).
      In short, I have not actually read anything stated by any President of the Church as being doctrine that I do not believe in, and that I can find no statement by any other president that contradicts it. I really don’t want to debate these topics. I am only making a point.

      I am all for people having opinions, and even disagreeing with the President of the Church at times. I have read somethings by Brigham Young that I do disagree with, but he stated these things to be his opinion what he said them (like life on the sun). But, when any president declares doctrine I listen, and I believe.
      If what you say is true than there is little point in having a Presidency to hold all the keys. If we can’t trust that when they speak by the spirit it is the word of God, then what is the point of even listening?

      • yossarian says:

        “However, Brigham Young never once claimed that Adam was our Father in Heaven (or Elohim), and the only time he actually stated that Adam was a god before this earth he clearly stated that it was his opinion and not doctrine.”

        sorry. wrong again. he stated in conference that it was “doctrine” and that your salvation depended on believing it. It was also part of the temple lecture at the veil. And yes it was as clear as Adam is Elohim. Its not really a debatable argument since we have Brigham’s exact words.

        Brigham also said blacks were the seed of Cain and cursed. I assume you dont believe such racist nonsense either. And he declared it doctrine and made it part of an institutional system of racism. If you really want to be a yes man/woman and believe crazy stuff simply because someone claims God told them, be my guest. Its racist either way.

      • shematwater says:


        You said: “And yes it was as clear as Adam is Elohim.”

        Then why does Brigham Young say that the Presidency in the Counsel in Heaven was Elohim, Jehovah, and Micheal?
        We know from the Doctrine and Covenants that Adam is Micheal. If he was the third member of this presidency than he can’t be Elohim, who is the first.

        It is very much a debatable argument because having his words does not guarantee that you understand them.

      • yossarian says:

        you miss the point. it doesnt matter what D&C says. Brigham stated he is the God of the OT and that he is Jesus’ biological father.

        Brigham Young 2/19/1854
        MABY Who was it that spoke from the heavens and said “This is my beloved son hear ye him?” Was it God the Father? It was. … Who did beget [Jesus]? His Father, and his father is our God, and the Father of our spirits, and he is the framer of the body, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is he? He is Father Adam; Michael; the Ancient of Days.

        Brigham Young 2/19/1854
        Journal of Wilford Woodruff He [Brigham Young] said that our God was Father Adam. He was the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ – Our God was no more or less than Adam, Michael the Archangel.

        Brigham Young Sunday 10/8/1854
        John Pulsipher Papers, 37 [W]hen this work was made – our God who is Adam came & commenced the peopling of it … There are Lords many & Gods many But the God that we have to account to, is the father of our Spirits – Adam.

        Brigham Young 10/8/1854
        MABY Father Adam, and Mother Eve had the children of the human family prepared to come here and take bodies; and when they come to take bodies, they enter into the bodies prepared for them, and that body gets an exaltation with the spirit, when they are prepared to be crowned in Father’s Kingdom. “What, into Adam’s Kingdom?” Yes. … I tell you, when you see your Father in the Heavens, you will see Adam; when you see your Mother that bore your spirit, you will see Mother Eve. … What will become of the world then? It will be baptized with fire. It has been baptized with water, and it will then be cleansed by fire, and become like a sea of glass, and be made Celestial; and Jesus Christ our Elder Brother will take the whole of the Earth, with all the Saints and go with them to the Father, even to Adam.

        I have pages upon pages of quotes like these but go ahead and parse them to mean something other than their plain meaning.

      • yossarian says:

        And yes I apologize for getting off topic.

      • shematwater says:


        Quotes are great, as are the dates. However, if you could give actual publications it would be nice. You do on two of these, but not on the first and second.

        The reason I ask is that giving a quote without the context does no good. To know the meaning of these quotes I need to read the entire talk or article they originally appeared in. I have read other quotes, found them in context and realize that Brigham Young was stating his opinion as he declared this in a previous paragraph.

        So, if you want me to make any comment on exact quotes, you need to either give me a link to the entire article, or time to find it myself.

      • yossarian says:

        I actually did provide sources. MABY is Manuscript Addresses of Brigham Young.

        I dont want to belabor the point but this is not really debatable. Nearly all of the general authorities at the time believed this. Orson Pratt was threatened with excommunication for teaching otherwise and it was a belief among the prophet even up to Wilford Woodruff. You can go buy Drew Briney’s book Adam-God for a comprehensive source of quotes and teachings. You can go read Rodney Turner’s thesis at BYU to show that BY did in fact teach such doctrines. There have been many who have tried to reconcile current teachings with Brigham but all have failed because the simple truth is that he taught a different doctrine.

        To the larger point about prophets being in error and things changing. You still haven’t shown me how the fact that JS gave priesthood to blacks and BY later denied them is anything other than a racist policy by BY. There never was a revelation to deny blacks priesthood and it was always a church “policy” not a doctrine from God.

      • shematwater says:


        Speaking of Brigham Young, I never claimed he didn’t say these things. What I said is that i would need to read them in context to understand his intent. The simple question is “did he mean them as doctrine or as his opinion?” I have read other quotes to the same effect, but, as I said, when read in context it was clear it was his opinion. (I am sorry, I did not see the reference.)

        Regardless, I really have no desire to pit one prophet against another. I personally don’t see anything so horrible in these quotes, and while I understand why you disagree I also understand why he believed it. I am not willing to declare him in error based on this. Quite honestly, there is not enough information to do so.

        As to the whole racial issue, I generally do not like to get into the discussion. However, it was not Brigham Young who first taught this ban, but Joseph Smith. It is in the book of Abraham, as translated by Joseph Smith. Abraham 1: 23-24, 26
        “The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;
        When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.
        Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood…”
        It was the descendents of Ham who preserved the curse of Cain in the land, and this curse was that they could not have the priesthood. Joseph Smith taught it first.
        Yes, he did ordain a black man to the Priesthood, but was command not to do so again. This is something that I have been taught by the scriptures from a young age. Joseph Smith was the first to teach that the black race was banned from the Priesthood, not Brigham Young. And as this is in the standard works, declared by Father Abraham to be true it is doctrine, whether people want to except it or not.

      • yossarian says:


        nonsense. stop parading false doctrine around as truth. Joseph Smith ordained black men to the priesthood, ordained them to the seventy, and promised temple anointings. JS never taught any ban and I defy you to produce anything showing such other than your own misinterpretation of scripture.

        Cain and Canaanites are not the same. the son of ham was not black, his people settled in palestine.

        “Yes, he did ordain a black man to the Priesthood, but was command not to do so again. This is something that I have been taught by the scriptures from a young age. Joseph Smith was the first to teach that the black race was banned from the Priesthood, not Brigham Young. And as this is in the standard works, declared by Father Abraham to be true it is doctrine, whether people want to except it or not.”

        WTF? Im sorry but this is outright nonsense. many men were ordained, they were ordained up until BY decided to change it. JS was never told not to “do so again.” Black men and every other race have never been cursed because of their skin color. We are condemned for our own actions not our race, not adam’s trangressions, not anyones. Im sorry but this is nothing more than racist drivel. There is no place for such nonsense anywhere.

      • shematwater says:


        JST Genesis 30: “And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant, AND A VEIL OF DARKNESS SHALL COVER HIM, THAT HE SHALL BE KNOWN AMONG ALL MEN.”

        According to Joseph Smith Canaan was cursed with black skin.

        As to Abraham, let us look at the verses again. Chapter 1: 21-27
        “21Now this king of Egypt was a DESCENDANT from the loins of HAM, and was a PARTAKER OF THE BLOOD OF THE CANAANITES BY BIRTH.
        (It was established in the JST that Canaan was cursed with black skin.)

        23The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, WHICH SIGNIFIES THAT WHICH IS FORBIDDEN;
        (The wife of Ham was of a forbidden race, as signified by her name.)

        24When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang THAT RACE which preserved the CURSE in the land.
        (The cursed was on a race, not an individual. It was also through the line of Ham, and thus Egyptus, or the Forbidden line.)

        26Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, BUT CURSED HIM AS PERTAINING TO THE PRIESTHOOD.
        (Pharaoh was cursed by Noah in matters of the Priesthood. However, from the previous verse sited we see that it was a curse that began before the flood, as Ham’s descendants preserved it.)

        27Now, Pharaoh BEING OF THAT LINEAGE BY WHICH HE NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF THE PRIESTHOOD, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;
        (Pharaoh, because of his lineage, or his fathers, could not have the priesthood.)

        So, summing it all up: “Ham married into the Forbidden race that had been cursed by God, thus ensuring that that race continued to exist on the Earth. His descendants (known as the
        Canaanites) were all partakers of this curse, and thus could not hold the Priesthood, regardless of their personal righteousness (as shown in the life of the first Pharaoh). From Genesis we know that the mark of this curse was a “veil of darkness” which is easily seen to be the black skin.

        This is not misinterpretting scripture. This is what the scriptures say. Whether you want to accept that is up to you. Joseph Smith taught that those who are descendants of Ham could not hold the Priesthood, as clearly shown in the Book of Abraham and in his inspired translation of the Bible.

        Now, as to drival, let us look at a little of yours.
        You said “We are condemned for our own actions not our race, not adam’s trangressions, not anyones.”

        Has anyone ever dinied this? How is it that a ban from the priesthood equates to condemnation? There will be many people who were of this race who are exaulted (like Pharaoh and Egyptus). Their final reward will be judged according to their works in the flesh, and I don’t know anyone who ever said otehrwise.

        You also said “Black men and every other race have never been cursed because of their skin color.”

        Again, this has never been said by anyone. God did not say that “Because you have black skin you are cursed.” You have it backwards. What he said is “Because you are cursed you have black skin.” There is a huge difference in this, one that you don’t seem to understand.

        Now, please, learn the doctrine before you try to claim it isn’t doctrine.

      • Ron Madson says:

        President Kimball received an Historical Overview prepared by Lester Bush and it was so educational that he made copies and gave to a copy to each member of the Q12 to read and LEARN the history of how this “policy” came about as part of preparing their minds to consider overturning a policy that Brigham Young created banning blacks from the priesthood. I would strongly recommend that you read the entire essay. I think it would be beneficial if all of us members read it so that maybe we could begin to sort out myth from facts. This paper by Lester Bush was printed in Dialogue in 1973. Enjoy. https://dialoguejournal.com/2010/mormonisms-negro-doctrine-an-historical-overview/

      • shematwater says:

        By the way, I have sent to the church archives for the quotes you give, as well as the stories of Joseph Smith I have referenced (and Orson Pratt’s threatened excommunication). So, hopefully, in a few days, I will be able to give a more complete response.

      • Yossarian says:


        do everyone a favor and take your racist nonsense elsewhere. You can read lester bush’s article as suggested, Nibley’s Abraham in Egypt that shows how ridiculous your interpretations of Abraham is or even do a basic word search of the terms blackness, darkness, etc in the scriptures. Study a little bit of history. If you want to claim that you understand things and others are wrong please give a little bit more than your pathetic scripture interpretations any aryan supremacist can spout. These words are used to describe a number of things other than race as you only seem to be able to. The curse was on the land not anyone. Cain’s curse was not racial. The mark (hebrew word used in covenants of blessing) was a mark of protection and blessing to him not a curse. But lets even assume that Cain was black, Canaanites were black, Egyptians were black (all easily refuted by actual historical evidence). Jesus Christ himself has black lineage based on that as was Joseph’s descendants (oh no wait his wife was a hyksos because we cant have any dark hued ancestors).

        Im sorry but race was never used to preclude priesthood until Brigham Young. If JS truly thought that blacks couldnt have priesthood then he has some major cognitive dissonance because he gave many black men the priesthood and ordained them to the office of seventy. It is only a racist elitist mentality that can lead anyone to believe that because of someone’s skin color they should be barred from priesthood. It is a shame that there are people in the church today that still hold such racist views.

        Here are some things more accessible to start your education. The first one is a ppt with Darius Gray which goes through much of the history.



      • shematwater says:


        Tell me simply how the statement that “Pharaoh being of that lineage [or ancestry] by which he could not have the right of Priesthood” is anything but a curse on the race. Explain this very direct statement.

        Also, explain the phrase “from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.”

        These are two very direct statements from the Book of Abraham that it was the race that was cursed. From the second we know that the cursed race existed before the flood, because he “preserved” it.

        I really don’t care what anyone says, except the Prophets, and none of them have made any statement that gives these verses a different meaning.

        Also, you keep asserting that many blacks were ordained, but I have seen evidence for only two, one being before the Book of Abraham was translated and thus is perfectly understandable. The second one is not done by Joseph Smith, but by his brother.
        Now, I never denied Elijah Able was ordained, or that he was called to the Seventy. What I said is that after this the Priesthood was withheld. Now, if you are to believe Zebedee Coltrin Joseph Smith did have a revelation, as I said. However, once the Priesthood was confirmed on Elijah Abel it cannot be taken away except by personal unworthiness. This would be why he was only restricted in his mission and his authority not taken.

        Now, in the link that Ron gives (I have not read all of it yet) I read nothing to contradict this. There is at least evidence that it was denied to all slaves, and it is not a stretch to include all the black race.
        I disagree with a lot of how he presents the motivations of Joseph Smith and other church leaders, making them out to be politically driven. The actual events I have heard before, and have even read many of the papers he references.
        I still say that it was Joseph Smith that first taught this doctrine, and I still say it is perfectly evident in the Book of Abraham.

        As to the seed of Cain being black skinned, read Moses 7: 22, where it clearly states this to be true (as agreed in the second link you gave me).

        Concerning the links you give, the first actually seems to be more in support of what I have said than what you have said. The second, I would like to know the guys qualifications (as I couldn’t see them in the link) before I say anything more about them.

      • shematwater says:


        By the way, I have studied history, and I have made an extensive study of the use of the terms blackness, darkness, and similar words in the scriptures. All of that studying has only proved more fully that this is an accurate interpretation.

        Yes, Joseph’s wife was Hyksos, as was Abraham’s (Hagar).
        You are also right that the black skin was given for protection, but it was also given to separate him from the rest of Adam’s seed, as seen in Moses 7: 22. A similar mark was put of Lamanites (2 Nephi 5: 21) for the purpose of making them less enticing to the Nephites and warned (in verse 23) that anyone marrying a Lamanite would also be cursed.

        Now as to the whole Joseph Smith and Brigham young controversy, let us consider a few thing.
        First, Joseph Smith did ordain Elijah Abel and called him to the seventy. However, this was before the Book of Abraham was completed (or even begun), and thus can easily be seen as Joseph Smith not having full knowledge at the time.
        Second, Elijah Abel was restricted in his mission and calling after the Book of Abraham was completed. While there is no direct reference to his Priesthood it is clear that something happened to cause this restriction.
        Third, Zebedee Coltrin reports that Joseph Smith did in fact receive a revelation banning the black race from the Priesthood. The report was made several years later, so one is free to accept or reject it as they will, I really don’t care.
        Fourth, a second black man is ordained, but not by Joseph Smith, or even with him present. It was also done at a time of great strife for the church, and thus was easily overlooked by the Prophet.
        Fifth, after Joseph is killed and the saints move west a more definite pronouncement is made by Brigham Young after the church has established itself away from the constant physical harassment. It would have been at this time that such doctrine could be more easily attended too, much like the doctrine of Plural Marriage.

        So, from all the evidence you have presented it is still fairly clear that Joseph Smith was the first one to teach the doctrine, but that it was not commonly known because of the struggles and trials the church was facing.

      • shematwater says:

        I ran across a wonderful quote in regards to Brigham Young and the “Adam-God Theory.”

        Young, Brigham. “Sermon of Brigham Young on Adam as God.” Millennial Star, Vol 15, pp. 769-770. kt
        Note: “The reported statements [of this theory] conflict with LDS teachings before and after Brigham Young, as well as with statements of President Young himself during the same period of time. So how do Latter-Day Saints deal with the phenomenon? We don’t; we simply set it aside. It is an anomaly. … It is not a matter of believing it or disbelieving it; we simply don’t know what “it” is. … Even experts of his thought are left to wonder whether he was misquoted, whether he meant to say one thing and actually said another, whether he was somehow joking with or testing the Saints, or whether some vital element that would make sense out of the reports has been omitted. … Whatever Brigham Young said, true or false, was never presented to the Church for a sustaining vote. It was not then and isnot now a doctrine of the Church. … It contradicts the LDS scriptures; it contradicts the teachings of Joseph Smith; it contradicts other statements by Brigham Young made during the same period of time; it contradicts the teachings of all the prophets since Brigham Young; and it contradicts the sacred ordinances of the LDS temples, with which Brigham Young was intimately familiar. ad”

        I e-mail the church archives in Salt Lake concerning the quotes that Yossarian gave, and this is among the documents they sent me, quoted exactly as they sent it to me.

        It is my opinion that what Brigham Young taught as doctrine is doctrine. I include all his doctrinal teachings in this.
        However, as his words and meanings regarding this particular theory are sketchy and even the experts don’t know exactly what he meant, I feel perfectly fine is simply ignoring the whole thing, as it is advised in this quotation.
        I do not say I believe it, nor do I say I disbelieve it. I also do not say that Brigham Young was wrong in what he taught. I say that I reserve all comments until a full understanding of it becomes available, and this is what I think all people should do in regards to this particular topic.

      • Yossarian says:


        thanks for sharing more racist tripe. Joseph’s wife is a hyksos is an invented anachronistic invention meant to minimize the embarrassing fact that Ephraim is a Hamite. Joseph’s wife was the daughter of a priest of On and I find it unlikely that such a priest would be a foreigner.

        Second, Zebedee Coltrin reports JS as stating such after a black member tried to date a white woman and some testimony was needed to back up BY racist policy. It is a statement decades after the fact with no documentary support and odd considering the fact that Coltrin knew better being part of Abel’s ordination to the seventy.

        Lastly there were more than two black men ordained. Abels sons and grandsons even into 1930’s were ordained. Black Pete was known in Utah as one of the ordained Elders of the church but this all came to ahead when he had the audacity to woo a white woman thus leading to the racist policy. In this regard, BY is no better, than the apostles and seventies who actively preached racist nonsense at BYU such as Mark Petersen and others. Here is a quote for you

        “The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth…. We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject… “I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the negro seeks absorbtion with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feeling to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace.’…

      • Rob says:

        My 2 cents: Using Abraham to justify the priesthood ban does not make sense because any Ephraimite has Canaanite blood via the wife of Joseph who was Egyptian. I suppose she could have somehow not had a drop of Canaanite blood and still part of the royal family, but I can’t see how. The fact that Ephraimites make up 95% (guess?) of the Priesthood on earth today belies the argument that the seed of Cain cannot hold the priesthood. All those decended from Ephraim have a bit of Cannan in them.

      • shematwater says:

        The Hyksos ruled upper and middle Egypt during the 15th Dynasty. This would have been in the 1600’s BC, and into the 1500’s.
        Interestingly enough, Abraham entered Egypt in the 1600’s BC, as did Joseph. Joseph married a women of the ruler class of Egypt, which happened to be the Hyksos at the time.
        The Hyksos themselves are thought to be either from western Asia, or from the Semetic peoples (descended from Shem) of the near east.
        Thus, according to the best historical information we have available, Joseph married a Hyksos women, who was not descended from Ham.
        History doesn’t even agree with you.

  22. katysavage says:

    Thank you, Ron, for this lucid reading of Jeremiah’s story. This is a point that will stay with me.

  23. Douglas Brimhall says:

    I say it’s time to put this thread into the archives. Are we shedding more light on the original topic of Jeremiah, or is the conversation now simultaneously going nowhere and anywhere quickly?

  24. Ron Madson says:


    I know how to post but I am not an administrator so I do not know how to shut something down, and I agree that we have gone off the reservation on the opening post. Not to try to resurrect it necessarily but I would suggest we nominate people each year for the JEREMIAH award. This year I would nominate JULIAN ASSANGE. He has clearly spoken against the “beast” , ie, the powers that be—he is in hiding and there are many on the left/right and the on both sides of every conflict that like Jeremiah want to take his life. Why? Because he is exposing their darkness and secret combinations of power that seek to reign on this earth with blood and horror and who further believe you can have anything for money–you can even manipulate the media/control of information so as to convince even religious leaders to play ball and sing the same song and pledge allegiance to nationalism and the “free” market system–which we are learning is not free for the little people and the rules do not apply to the military industrial complex, the mega banks, our government, and our global pursuit of corporate and military imperialism.

    So I nominate Assange for his courage in poking the beast in the eye and no longer letting the powers that be control information.

  25. Forest Simmons says:

    I second the nomination for Assange. See


    for some of some reasons I agree with.

  26. Forest Simmons says:

    Shemwater said …

    “If what you say is true, than there is little point in having a Presidency to hold all the keys. If we can’t trust that when they speak by the spirit it is the word of God, then what is the point of even listening?”

    I’m afraid that too many LDS folk think this way. It makes it very simple. There is no burden of sifting. To them it’s all or nothing. That’s why they bend over backwards to rationalize the obvious mistakes of church leaders, like when Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith said that men would never set foot on the moon before the second coming. He later said that he was only giving his honest opinion. But that was not made clear at the time of his original statement. Big deal; it doesn’t matter. Prophets are human; why should that bother us?

    I think that President Young would respond to Shemwater’s question by asking, “What good does speaking by the spirit do, if the listener cannot tell the difference?”

    The apostle Paul said that we should examine all things and retain the good. How do we tell the difference between the chaff and the wheat?

    We expect church leaders to provide a higher ratio of wheat to chaff, and we expect them to talk about subjects of greater relevance. But it is up to us to be “in tune” so that the Spirit can bear witness to our hearts of the portion of the word that speaks to us by that same Spirit.

    This was a big problem in Joseph Smith’s day, and many verses of the D&C are dedicated to this subject. They don’t just say, “The test is whether or not it is spoken by the presiding authority.”

    Instead various other keys are given, including whether or not it edifies and enlightens the intellect.

    Not too many years ago in the priesthood session of general conference Pres. Monson (1st counselor in the 1st Presidency at the time) told of some experiences he had in Navy boot camp. I was relieved to find that they were not all included in the written report of the conference, and I am sure that he was, too.

    These brethren are great and good, but they do not claim the kind of infallibility that is claimed for the Pope. Like Brigham Young, Moses wished that every man were a prophet, so that he wouldn’t have to micromanage peoples’ testimonies.

    • shematwater says:

      I do not claim the President is infallible, and I never have. What I have claimed is that God is infallible, and thus when he is speaking through the President the words are infallible. This is the message in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants. “Whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same.”

      I am not against the Presidents having opinions, nor in people rejecting those opinions. However, I am against the idea that the words of the Spirit given through them are in anyway an opinion. It was this reasoning that was used to justify the splitting of the Fundamentalists when Polygamy was ended. It is this reasoning that many used in Nahvuo to declare Joseph Smith a Fallen Prophet.

      I am all for the spirit witnessing to us personally, but if it is the spirit it will not give us a witness that contradicts what it has told our leaders.

  27. Ron Madson says:

    appreciate your wisdom. For me the “take away” lesson from the Jeremiah example, or for that matter the example of all those that heard the voice of the Lord no matter their station, is that we each should seek individually to know the mind and will of God in our own life and THEN share that our voice, our revelations. Authority exists to govern the ordinances and priesthood and callings define stewardships but it does not encompass, nor should it, all gifts of the spirit and revelation—never has and never will. So we each can and should seek as Jeremiah did the gift of prophecy and our own voice. God is no respecter of persons nor position when it comes to prophesy or revelation. Of course, in our church like any organization we have boundaries as to stewardship but those boundaries should not be an excuse to atrophy our natural gifts—and real men of God like Moses would that every man were a prophet. When I was a bishop there were men and women that had gifts and knowledge and the spirit beyond my capacity. thank God and I was not threatened but rejoiced in that. We are all the better when we open ourselves to all voices (not for administration) for what they contribute. I am open to all latter day Jeremiahs or Samuel the Lamanites. I believe they are a type and in the words of Isaiah “all things that have been will be…”

  28. Forest Simmons says:

    Here’s a link


    to an account entitled

    “A Prophetic Challenge to the Church:
    The Last Word of Bartolomé de las Casas.”

    He was the Jeremiah of his day.

    By the way, de las Casas, who knew better than anybody else, opined that God inspired Columbus and other European explorers to go to the Americas as an opportunity for Christian missionary work to benefit the native Americans. But (according to Las Casas)because of their greed for gold and slaves, the Spanish explorers and colonizers totally botched the opportunity to be instruments of God, and became depraved and cruel instruments of the devil, instead.

    So this Jeremiah helps us put First Nephi 13:12 into the context of the Isaiah quotes which describe the Gentiles as a mixed blessing to the remnants of Jacob; some of them, like las Casas would be nursing mothers and foster fathers, while others, like Columbus himself, would oppress, scatter, and slaughter them.

  29. shematwater says:

    Even though I think this thread is dead, I thought I would say this.

    Going back to the original point, I think the closest person you will find to what you have described as the “Jeremiah figure” is Glenn Beck.

    He holds the Priesthood, and thus has at least some authority from God, and is very active at speaking out against the “Establishment.”

  30. Yossarian says:

    Glenn Beck? speaking out against the establishment? He represents the establishment: the white christian power structure that is terrified that it is losing control and power and longs for some good old days.

  31. Iamdavid says:

    collectively, we are the spirit of Christ. Those who shall seek shall find, and those who look for a sign shall not see it. It is not for us to expect the Saviour shall be swaddled in desire nor suit. It is not for us to expect anything of greatness to come from our words…only our deeds which He watches. To all those who may be wating, watching, wondering, blogging, writing, and actually…listening? Keep it simple, stupid.

  32. Forest Simmons says:

    Check out this article “Well Nigh as Dangerous,” on the FAIR LDS website about fallibility of leaders:


  33. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, was he not? I do not see any prophets or saints weeping for sin, so I don’t see any Jeremiahs today. Perhaps tomorrow.

    • Iamdavid says:

      Nice…sign. You should or must be a grunt for the devil. I spell devil in small, because that is what he stands for. You may come here free today, but you will be left to chains tomorrow. Don’t you realize or even care about the icon which you have endeavoured to show all the people you probably dislike? Oh, I get it.

    • The now deceased David Wilkerson was probably the best weeping prophet I’ve seen. Even though he wasn’t LDS, I still think he was more of a man of God than many of those who speak during General Conference. He lived his faith.

      This is probably one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard by Wilkerson:

  34. Ron Madson says:

    Wow! strikes home. thanks John for sharing

  35. Reliefsocietysomeone says:

    If realize this post will be read by few if any, but i find this discussion troubling. The question is very very well taken and should be seriously considered by thoughtful saints. Where are the Jeremiahs indeed. The last time a LDS prophet warned of materialism, militarism and general lack of committment — he was soundly shouted down and since, there has been no repeat. Do the same conditions exist — obviously and much expanded at that.
    I am offended that a Julian Assaung would be your choice for a latter-day Jeremiah. there is no one to preach repentence, consecration and the atonement? That is who Jeremiah was. He taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and warned the Jews that they were a fallen people because they had departed far from it.
    So have we.
    Another thing participants, all being male, easily found that bringing the black question up – wow – again, again and yet again. Aren’t you weary of it yet?????
    Can a woman be a prophetist? Can a women get inspiration beyond that needed to guide her family: i.e., attain an indepth understanding of gospel principles and scripture. We are in seriously troubled times — can a woman grasp intellectual landmines and church-related pitfalls of busywork and gospel truisms that never really take one on to spiritual growth?
    Here is one woman chained to a RS presidency. I hear over and over again the “yeah buts” of our membership. (I should work on food storage, yeah but I don’t know where to start; I should study scripture, yeah but, i don’t have time; i should do genealogy, yeah but it’s tooooo much work.)
    So, can i make brownies for the sick neighbor and also for the ex-con? Can i give a generous fast offering but stretch the $$ for the homeless shelter; have a baby gift for the ward new mother and also a pile of blankets for a birthing clinic in Peru? Other people frown when they get a glimpse of my efforts. Tough, it’s what needs to happen — the outside church offerings, that is, and more so every passing day.
    I am gratified that the subject has been broached. However the discussion was ever so shallow. You guys need a m
    uch deeper look into Jeremiah — we are morally, intellectually in great need of him/her.

  36. Ron Madson says:

    Reliefsocietysomeone, thanks for visiting this post and commenting. To help me understand where you are coming from I have a few questions. First, when you refer to the an LDS prophet that was “soundly shouted down” who are you referring to? and what was he saying? Secondly, what is it about Julian Assange that would offend you if someone suggests that he is a Jeremiah “type.”?? Third, if we use Jeremiah as a type what scriptures from Jeremiah demonstrate what he was denouncing? I have an pretty good idea as to what I believe he was denouncing, but I want to see what exact words he cited that you believe demonstrate what he was condemning? Apparently, you are very passionate about the gospel to your credit, but I would suggest that the discussion in this long thread has plunged into deeper waters than what you have indicated. This thread is still read from time to time so your comments/thoughts are welcomed.

  37. Forest Simmons says:

    While we were in Argentina recently, we met a member who had lived in Utah for forty years and then felt inspired to sell his home and move back to Argentina just before the housing bubble burst.

    While talking about this a newer member asked why the general authorities didn’t warn the other members to sell their houses before the bubble burst.

    We could ask just as well why the general authorities didn’t warn the German saints to leave Germany before the start of WWII.

    We have to be our own Jeremiahs.

    Let’s warn our friends and neighbors about the wrath to come or “the consumption decreed;” some of them may listen to us. Very few of the rich and powerful will pay any heed, except to get irritated.

    Here are some warnings to us from a modern day Jeremiah:




    In Argentina when I said that the North American Empire was beginning to fall economically, and that it was ripening for full destruction, everybody I talked to (member or not) thought it was obvious;.nobody questioned the truth of it.

    Only in the USA do we still hang on to the belief that America is so good and great that it cannot fall.

    How can we establish a zion-like society sufficiently to escape the coming destruction?

    How can we Mormon Worker types get together and combine our efforts in a way that can qualify for divine protection in the midst of sure destruction?

    Shall we flee together, or is there a safe place to gather here in the states?

    • Iamdavid says:

      Just do well and love. The simple things will come. I have been dealing with cancer for several months now, and I wondered if I would die, many times. I thought of times when we will all be in this place together and happy without the tyrants ruling with their rods of iron. The simple thing is, it doesn’t matter when and where we be at the “time”, only that we will be…or not. The birds don’t need a lot of anything, nor do we. Just have faith, and the rest will come naturally…

  38. Ron Madson says:

    Beautifully said, Iamdavid. I wish you well and will take to heart the timeless wisdom of your words. thanks for dropping in to share.

  39. I think I may have found an ordinary Christian who seems to be a bit of a Jeremiah. Here is one of his more fascinating revelations titled “The Goat Farmers”:


    When he speaks of these goat farmers in the West, I can’t help but associate them with the modern LDS leadership. The parallels are stunning.

  40. Steve says:

    What kind of relationship do you think Samuel and Nephi had. Interesting that those who believed in Samuel’s teachings, went to Nephi to get baptized. Maybe, Samuel wasn’t as “out” as one might think?

    • Ron Madson says:

      Good question? Don’t know? We can only look at the text. First, when we consider words like “prophet” or “church” we must first consider that those words as employed by us are separated from how they were considered in the OT or the BOM. We have a separation of two to four thousand years; separation of languages plural; separation of vastly different cultures and how those words were applied. The word “prophet” was used in some ways much more liberally in the OT and was not conflated with office at all. In fact the OT spoke of a “company of prophets” that seemed largely disconnected from the Levite hierarchy. In fact consider how many prophets came from the presiding High Priest in Israel? None? Can’t think of any right now. Prophets were men that received their direction commission from God such as Jonah, Amos, or in BOM Abinadi to deliver a message. It seems that link to any institutional priesthood and “church” was incidental. Then we have “churches” springing up in the BOM. There was Alma’s church. I see churches as vehicles of organization and structure. But Jesus defines anyone who believes in Him and is baptized is of His church and then goes further and says “anything more or less than this cometh of evil” or , in other words, if you add all the layers of rules, tenets, doctrines than it cometh of evil. To be of His church is to accept Jesus and receive baptism and then Holy Ghost. That’s it really. So back to your question, what do we know? Samuel’s message was not recorded by the Nephites and apparently did not see him as a prophet per se and only when Jesus told them to record his words and elevated Samuel to a prophet did they consider putting his “prophecies” in the Nephite record. Was he part of the “church”? Probably I would guess, but was he part of Nephite church hierarchy? no evidence of that? Did he cause some to repent and accept Jesus and baptism? sure, but that is the only link we are aware of for sure? Regardless, what would be the present day equivalent? Some third world member coming to General Conference and standing on the top of the conference center or at City Creek mall and condemning the robbing of the poor by taking church funds and using it for such things while many in third world suffer in and out of church? How would that go over? Would members and leaders say “amen” ? I doubt it. I know to make us comfortable there is a reflex to connect Samuel to structure as we know it at least to a degree, but I doubt that is the type. He was roundly rejected and seemed to come from nowhere and returned to obscurity. Such prophets come from outside the bubble because those in it for whatever reason can no longer see the obvious. “Let’s go shopping” seems so foreign to a prophet sent to say that we have “polluted the Holy Church of God” seeking slippery treasures, robbing the poor and engaging in Zoramite traditions.

      • While Samuel did seem to come out of nowhere, I’m fairly certain he did find a legitimate priesthood holder to receive power and authority from God for his calling. I base this off the example of Saul of Tarsus. Jesus directed Saul to go to a certain city and wait. A holy man by the name of Ananias received revelation that he was to meet with Saul and heal him of his blindness and give him the gift of the Holy Ghost. Why didn’t Jesus himself heal Saul and give him the Holy Ghost? God always recognizes his Priesthood authority on earth, if such exists.

  41. LDSDPer says:

    this is interesting to read; I couldn’t finish all of it–

    I think (I’m only one person, married to a person who thinks much as I do)–
    that many of *us* in the church live in two worlds–

    we go to church, say the ‘right’ things or avoid saying as much as we possibly can and still appear to be in the ‘mainstream’–

    and then on our own time we study everything we can about the way things “ought” to be–

    That’s how we live at our house–

    There are our home beliefs and our public beliefs.

    In public we smile when people talk about the ‘prophet’, while believing that he is only the president of the corporation and has ‘the keys’ but isn’t doing much with them–

    in public we don’t talk about what we do in private, which is read blogs like this, read Nibley books, read the Book of Mormon in a non-SS class way (as in really think about how it applies to us/the church, etc. today)–

    in public we are CAREFUL–

    our church friends don’t know what we talk about at home–

    we take the conversations, talks, etc. at church and come home and compare them to what we really believe–

    it’s hard compartmentalizing like this, and we hope someday we won’t have to anymore-

    we live in both Babylon and Zion–

    We pay our tithes (still, though some use that 10% to help the needy/poor) and still try to help the needy/poor–

    but we’ve changed how we eat and recreate and dress (more simply)–

    and begun to think a lot more–

    will there come a time when we will go to church and drop a bomb there that will explode everything, and we’ll find ourselves on the outside?

    I don’t know–

    • Ron Madson says:

      I hear you! And “there it is.” So in a healthy family setting children and family members can speak their mind and heart without fear of recrimination. The “church” is allegedly taking upon itself the name of Jesus who was not only very universal and tolerant but was clearly not into thought police. So do you ever wonder why it is that there is “fear” at church to speak plainly and have open, honest discussion? “They” do not have to correlate us, we correlate each other. We think contention can only exist in an environment of unanimity brokered through social and ecclesiastical compulsion, but in reality unity comes in having the collective strength and maturity to appreciate differences that must of necessity exist in any healthy, organic evolving organization without being contentious. If there has contention in one’s heart then one need not look any further than their own fears, insecurities, and desire to control others. We have chosen to achieve unity/non-contention through the former (control thought/acts) and not the later (acceptance of differences) which is a formula for failure.

    • Forest Simmons says:

      When asked in the temple recommend interview if you affiliate or sympathize with anybody who advocates practices that are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can say that you do pity (rather than sympathize with) Republicans and Democrats for their benighted views, and that you used to affiliate with one of their parties, but you have long since repented.

  42. LDSDPer says:

    oh, and original post about Jeremiah! I like it very much; Jeremiah is one of my heroes–

  43. forest simmons says:

    A better variant:

    “I sometimes associate with Republicans and other sinners, but I’m trying to cut back.”

  44. Forest Simmons says:

    Instead of the question, “Where is Jeremiah today?” perhaps we should ask, “What would Jeremiah do if he were in my shoes?”

    I also wonder what would Captain Moroni do to pull down unaccountable power if he were here today? Raising a standard and marching across the country gathering up an army of supporters would not work: he would soon make the president’s kill list,,becoming one more target of a drone attack. He would have to adapt to the present conditions. How would he do it?

  45. Isaac says:

    I think the most recent Jeremiah award goes to Ron Paul.

  46. this is a great post, I read through most of the comments as well, but I would like to give an answer as to your question about who has the spirit of Jeremiah today? there is one man in particular that when I listen to him speak, I hear the spirit of Jeremiah,and I think of Jeremiah. as Jeremiah was the main prophet that revealed the sins of the people of Jerusalem,even in front of the king and the rulers in his day, I have seen only one man do that so far, his name is Jonathon cahn, and he is a Jewish rabbi who believes in Christ. here is his youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/bethisraelwayne

    he is the guy that was shown the harbingers, and he ended up writing a book about them,
    the harbingers were a series of prophetic events that he said the Lord revealed to him right after 911, these harbingers he said were directly related to Americas coming judgment, and these harbingers come from the scripture in Isaiah 9-10 (bricks have fallen) when Israel was in defiance against God. apparently America had repeated unknowingly, the exact same acts of defiance that ancient Israel had. and Johnathon Cahn has been speaking about the harbingers at the white house, in front of congress, and on the national day of prayer, he has recently stated that many government officials have requested private meetings with him to help them better understand the harbingers and what they mean for America
    if anyone has the spirit of Jeremiah, it has to be this guy!!
    here is a link to the video about the harbingers as well if anyone would like to watch it

  47. Trevor Knorr says:

    Great article, and I liked the thread. Let’s imagine the whole Jeremiah award thing never happened. Was a bad idea to start with, even in jest, and managed to get worse. Awards for being something like Jeremiah are cringeworthy to say the least.

  48. Stephanie Steffen says:

    Outlier Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah rejoiced in their knowledge of a coming day when the stone cut out of the mountains without hands would be a-rollin’ with true priesthood authority and truth covering the earth like water. They would have rejoiced to be among those in “Mens’ Wearhouse suits” you mention, and found joy in the knowledge that such a day would come. How amazingly fantastic that we actually live in that long-promised day.

    • Ron Madson says:

      Stephanie, thanks for reviving this very old post. Do you see the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” as primarily if not exclusively the LDS church? Or do you see it more broadly than that?

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