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Sealing to GA’s Through Law of Adoption

It was once a common practice for faithful LDS Church members to be sealed Church leaders until about the 1890s when President Wilford Woodruff put a stop to the practice.  This was known as the Law of Adoption.  BYU professor Dr. Richard Bennett will talk to us and tells us about the theological justifications and why church members felt the need to be sealed to church leaders. Bennett makes the case that until Joseph F. Smith’s 1918 of the Spirit World, that many didn’t know the gospel was preached to the dead.  How do we better understand the Law of Adoption?

Dick:  I don’t think you can talk about the Law of Adoption without understanding the development of the doctrine of the Spirit World and the doctrine of the gospel being taught in the Spirit World, which really doesn’t come to fruition in our doctrine and our history until Joseph F. Smith’s great revelation in 1918 and what was going on in the spirit world.  It’s a progressive doctrine about the souls of men and women that are living in the spirit world.

Are they being reclaimed?  Are they being taught the gospel?  Are they being converted?  Are they being forgiven?  Are they receiving the fullness of the gospel there?

Baptism for the dead opened that door, to actually begin to do ordinances for the dead.  But could we be sealed to our ancestors like we do today?  We take it so for granted.  You’re just being sealed to your ancestors.  Well if they’re not receiving the gospel, we don’t want to take the risk of being sealed to them because what’s going to happen to us if they don’t accept the gospel?

Until it became clear that the fullness of the gospel was being taught to them, the deceased, and that they were receiving the fullness of the ordinances, better be on the safe side and be sealed to a living prophet or a deceased prophet maybe like Joseph Smith and we’ll be sealed.  Until we know more clearly what’s going to happen, let’s be sealed to the prophetic priesthood lineage of the prophet Joseph priesthood claim and therefore it’s a done deal.  Can I use that term?  It’s a safer way than, we don’t know what’s happening to our ancestors.  That’s going to change as we learn better and more clearly, especially in 1877 with Wilford Woodruff when he announces that from now on, we’re going to do endowments for the dead.  We don’t begin to do endowments for the dead until 1877. That’s 40 years after Nauvoo, 30 years after Nauvoo.

Were you aware that this is why church members were sealed to prophets and other general authorities?

 

Law of Adoption

 

 

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Origins of Baptism for the Dead

Baptism for the dead is one of the most unique things Mormons do in all of Christianity.  What were the events that led Joseph to inquire about this practice?  Dr. Richard Bennett, a BYU professor in Church History talks about these events.  They started in Kirtland, although a lot of the events also happened in Nauvoo.

Alvin Smith, Joseph’s brother who died in 1823, was a big supporter of Joseph’s prophetic gift.  Alvin died from what was called bilious colic back in the day.  Doctors gave him some mercury to cure him, which ended up killing him.  The cure was worse than the disease in that case.  A Presbyterian minister said that since Alvin was never baptized, he was consigned to hell.  Joseph Smith, Sr. was so offended that he never joined with any of those protestant churches.  I asked Dr. Bennett if this was the source of Joseph’s thoughts on baptism for the dead.

It’s reasonable to suppose that this was a factor, but it’s impossible to prove.  It is certain though that Joseph Smith, Sr. himself is sick and dying in 1839, before Joseph Smith reveals baptism for the dead, and he dies within days of a few weeks of the announcement and Joseph Smith is clearly thinking about his father and perhaps of Alvin, so you wouldn’t want to dismiss this as immediate factors for it, but you can’t say for certain yet. We haven’t found anything yet where Joseph Smith says, this is where I came up with this idea.  It was a process of revelation.  We talked about the reclamation of revelation.  We have to think about the progression of revelation too.

What is the answer to the Haun’s Mill Massacre?  Joseph now is not just leading a church, people are dying for his religion.  The ante goes up in his mind.  It’s one thing to believe in what I’m telling you but people are giving their lives for it.  The Missouri conflict and conflagration, all those who died in sickness and death, David Patton [an apostle who died at Battle of Crooked River] and all the rest of the young boys and men and all the rest who died at Haun’s Mill, well what’s my answer to this?  What’s the Lord’s answer to this?  I think Joseph was asking the Lord very carefully.  We’re having an H of a time.  What are the answers to this?  I think that’s where you have to see baptism for the dead coming out of a much bigger context.

It should be noted that the Kirtland Temple never had a font.  A previous discussion said it was originally intended to be a school, not a temple, so that may explain some of that.  We talk about the Spirit of Elijah as being a spirit of genealogy work.  Could Elijah’s visit be more properly recognized as sealing dead ancestors through temple work, more so than marriage sealings?  What do you think?

Please consider a donation or purchasing a transcript here or at Amazon so we can put together some documentaries about the progression of temple work.  Please invite your friends and family who have questions about Mormon history to listen to the podcast above, video below so more can find out about this resource to learn more about Mormon history.

 

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Elijah’s Visit & the Sealing Keys

The vision of Elijah is one of the most important Church history events in all of the Doctrine & Covenants.  It’s the vision where Elijah came to Joseph and Oliver and restored the sealing power.  Did you know that Joseph was sealed to his first plural wife, Fanny Alger a year or two prior to that?  We asked LDS Anthropologist Dr. Mark Staker how to explain that, and I think you’ll find his explanation very interesting.

I believe that Joseph Smith received from Peter, James and John all the authority that he needed, including the sealing power.  He holds all those through Peter, James, and John.  What Elijah brings is keys; keys to enact those sealing powers on behalf of other individuals.

 

I don’t think that’s what we typically learn at church.  Do you agree?  Did Joseph get the sealing power in 1830, and the keys to share with others in 1836?  What do you think of this distinction between sealing and sealing keys?

I encourage you to listen to the podcast, watch the YouTube, get a transcript here or on Amazon.  If you’re interested in a free transcript ($3 value), send us a screenshot of your 5 star review on Amazon or iTunes and I’ll give you a transcript of your choice!  Spread the word!  I hope you find this podcast a valuable resource!

 

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The Reclamation of Revelation

In today’s conversation we’ll talk to BYU Church History Professor Dr. Richard Bennett.  We’ll talk about the vision of Elijah.  Did you know it took 40 years for that revelation to be canonized?  Why did it take so long?  Dr. Bennett introduced me to a concept he calls the “Reclamation of Revelation.”  What does he mean by that?  He also says why studying church history is so important.

And that really opens up a topic in church history about why studying our history is so important is because sometimes we miss things, and I think you’re referring here to section 110 and these other revelations.  It’s wonderful that Elder Bednar makes a great point of it.  These sealing keys were extremely important.  They were all written down by Warren Cowdery.  Joseph and Oliver didn’t write it down.  Warren Cowdery wrote it down.  Joseph never refers to that revelation, if you want to know the truth, although he talks a lot about the substance of it.  It’s not until Orson Pratt in [18]76, under the direction of the President of the Church of course, says we better get that down.

A few weeks ago, I told you I became a fanboy Orson Pratt because of his position on slavery.  Once again, this seems to show Elder Pratt’s unrecognized contributions to preserving Mormon history.  Why do you think it took 40 years to canonize the vision of Elijah?

Check out the links, or get a transcript here or at Amazon!

https://youtu.be/0Wc2LTHtAXE