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Found! The Real Mount Sinai!

Christians and Jews have long searched for the real Mount Sinai.  But is it the location discovered by Helena, the mother of Constantine in the 4th century AD?  Most people think it is not.  George Potter, an LDS researcher has done a lot of research in the Middle East and thinks he may have stumbled upon the real Mount Sinai.

George:  If you open up your Bible maps from the English version of the King James, published by the LDS Church, go to the maps in the back.  You clearly see that Midian was not located in the Sinai Peninsula.  Jethro[1] lived in Arabia.  Even today on maps in Arabia you see the town of Ugabe, which is translated as Jethro in English.

Jethro lived in Arabia when Moses fled Egypt, he went to Jethro’s, and that was in Arabia.  He was tending his sheep on the back side of the wilderness, it says.  So, in other words, he was probably on the back side of the inter-side of the mountains that run through Midian.  That’s where he was herding Jethro’s sheep at the time, and that’s where we believe Mount Sinai is found.  For him to have been in Jethro’s town, Midian, which is still there, the ruins of Midian, to have been in the Sinai Peninsula, he would have been a very lost shepherd, believe me.

When you get over there to where Mount St. Catherine’s is, anyway there is no evidence whatsoever that place was ever Mount Sinai.  There is no fodder for sheep.  There are no artifacts that have been left there.  The only reason that was ever claimed to be Mount Sinai was that I guess Constantine’s mother went down there with some kind of a guru at the time and they said this must be Mount Sinai.  But there is no evidence archaeologically that was ever Mount Sinai.

We are travelling down this wadi and they said here is where we ended our fourth expedition looking for Mount Sinai.  We’re going beyond this.  We didn’t go more than a mile until we actually came to the artifacts that were described as being from this candidate for Mount Sinai.  The first one is a natural feature.  It is maybe kind of a circular type of little plateau.  The circumference is probably 200 feet.  On top of this feature, there is a sacrificial—it is not an altar, but it is a place where they would have sacrificed animals.  It is a heathen—it is the same kind of feature you would find at Petra: the Nabateans.  It’s a basin.  It is a little kind of canal where the blood would flow into the rocks.

So, that is on top of the little natural feature, but all around it are petroglyphs of calves, Egyptian-type calves.  So that has become known as the Golden Calf Altar there.  If you continue down the wadi, there is a mountain in the west and maybe 50-100 yards from that mountain, you will find eleven different piles of stones with holes in them that you would have put maybe a banner in, a flagpole or something.  They separate the main area of the wadi, the valley, where people would have camped.  Then you have these eleven different pole markers.  They stretch maybe a mile and a half down.  Those we believe are the border markers that Moses was told to separate the people from Mount Sinai so they didn’t accidentally wander on to the mountain.

GT:  Ok.

George: So, they are the border markers.  They are still there.  Then if you can get through the antiquity fence, you will find that there is what they call the Altar of Moses, which is kind of an L-shaped feature.  It is maybe 100 feet long.

We will also talk about its ties to the Book of Mormon.

George:  To give your followers a little bit of a background as to how we came across what is believed to be the Valley of Lemuel.  If you look at any church publication now about the Book of Mormon and Lehi’s trail, they are following the photographs of us, or they are making pictures of what we believe to be the Valley of Lemuel.

But how did we find that?  It takes us back to Mount Sinai.  When I got there, I found out there had been a group of four different LDS parties who pre-dated me, had gone looking for Mount Sinai.  You’ve got to understand that there is a mountain range that runs down the entire length of Arabia, the western side of Arabia.  There are tens of thousands of mountains there.  How do you find Mount Sinai when there are all these mountains?  It is like the Rocky Mountain range or the Sierra Nevada.  I mean which one is Mount Sinai?  It seems kind of crazy.

I was there.  I had a four-wheel drive and two of the members of the group who had gone out four times before looking for Mount Sinai and never found it, encouraged me to come with us, but bring your four-wheel drive and let’s go look for Mount Sinai.  I bluntly told them, “Look.  You guys are crazy.  The instructions you have are almost impossible to follow.  I’ll give you one day to find Mount Sinai in the area you think it is.”

If you would like updates on George’s work, subscribe to his free newsletter at https://www.nephiproject.com.  Check out our conversation…..

George Potter thinks he has found the real Mount Sinai!

[1] Jethro was Moses’ father-in-law.

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Joseph Smith’s Protology: How are Spirit Babies Created?

In this last episode with Dr. Bill Smith, we’ll cover the other issues from his book on section 132.  We’ll talk about the evolution of doctrine about how spirits are created.

Bill:  There’s another issue we didn’t talk about and that’s the protological impact.  When I say protological, I mean the theology of the beginnings.  Where did everything start, king of thing?  Revelation impacts that, not directly.  It doesn’t talk about that.  But the way people interpreted that or developed the surrounding superstructure of thought around it, that’s a very important issue.

Because Joseph lays out a protology in Nauvoo.  He is really talking about the nature of the soul.  The soul doesn’t begin anywhere.  It’s always been around.  This sort of conflicts with the idea that develops out of the revelation that souls are spirit babies that are born in heaven through heavenly sex.  This is a really important issue that surrounds the revelation.  How do we reconcile these two theological protologies that develop out of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo teaching and then out of the subsequent teaching of the revelation about polygamy and all of this?

Check out our conversation…..

SpiritBabies
How are Spirit Babies made? Dr. Bill Smith talks about how early Mormon leaders answered that question.

If you missed any of our previous episodes with Bill, please check them out!

142:  Breaking Sealings: Who Has the Power? (Smith)

141:  How 132 Would Affect Future Revelation on Gays & Women(Smith)

140: Is Polygamy a Ticket to Heaven? (Smith)

139: Was Oliver Cowdery a Polygamist? (Smith)

138: Emma’s Up & Down Relationship with Polygamy (Smith)

137: LDS Literacy of Biblical Polygamy (Smith)

136: Dr. Bill Smith on the Origins of Polygamy

 

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Breaking Sealings: Who has the Power?

In a previous conversation with Dr. Bill Smith, we talked about how polygamous sealings were considered nearly permanent.  There are cases in which those can be broken.  After Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young claimed sole possession of the sealing power. Many apostles disagreed. How did it get resolved? Dr. Bill Smith explains in this interview. Does more than one man hold the sealing keys? And who is in charge of breaking sealings?  Is it just one man, or are there several people who can do it?

Bill:  I think that—opinions sort of vary with this but Brigham Young’s divorces where a sealing was involved, I think Brigham Young’s divorces that he granted were taken as dissolving the sealing.

GT:  Theological?  Ok.

Bill:  Which is in perfect harmony with the idea that sealing.  You could do it and you could undo it.

GT:  As prophet he had power to loose.

Bill: Yes, so that’s another big point in the discussion of the book is that in the revelation it’s very clear that only one person at a time has this authority to decide you can be sealed, you can’t be.  Or, you can engage in polygamy, you can’t, kind of thing.  This has all evolved onto a single person.  It even says historically, this is the way it has always been.  I don’t know how serious to take that, but it supports the idea that it’s really a one-man job.  So, who has the authority to decide?  This is a huge issue in succession.  Because obviously the guy who has this one-man authority is the guy to be in charge, right?

At one point, Joseph tries to separate his church presidency from his temple priest position as the one guy.  People don’t like this.  They are worried about it.  They don’t want to accept Hyrum as the church president and Joseph as saying.  Unfortunately, he is addressing a group, a very small group who is acquainted with his temple theology.  The people who aren’t are really upset by this.  “We don’t want Hyrum to be the prophet.  You are.”  He can’t be the prophet.

So, he takes it all back that afternoon.  But yes, he is really speaking to this idea of where things are, and I can’t go into the background here, but his sort of presidency of the High Priesthood sort of vaults him into the position of the one guy.  So, after he has died, after he is dead, the apostles weren’t in that tradition of High Priesthood. They weren’t in there at all.  They try to write themselves in at first, and then they say you can’t really do that.  It doesn’t work.  So, we have to a new tradition about this.

Is adultery grounds for breaking sealings?

Bill:  Adultery is a really touchy point within the revelation.  It’s a little bit confused.  Also, the whole thing is tied up in this idea where I mention in Matthew about the binding and loosing thing.  That is sort of Mark Staker’s thing about Peter, James, and John.  That’s connected in there.  So, the text is not perfectly clear.  That’s another point I try to make about the revelation.

Check out our conversation…..

After Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young claimed only he held the sealing power. Many apostles disagreed. Bill Smith tells how the issue was settled.