Following the collapse of Sidney Rigdon’s church, people looked to William Bickerton to lead the flock. Dr. Daniel Stone tells us more details about William Bickerton’s prophetic vision and call to become prophet of a new church with a Book of Mormon foundation.
Daniel: [Bickerton] says that he was carried away in the spirit and placed on the highest mountain on the earth, he said. In one of the accounts it says that there was just room enough for him to stand on this mountain, and he’s basically told and shown, “Here you are in this mountain. You’re doing everything right.”
You kind of get the sense that he feels like God’s telling him “You’re on the right track. Stay where you are. Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing, but if you leave this path that I’ve put you on, you’re going to fall and tumble.” And William Bickerton sees this chasm below. And he says that the Lord told him if he didn’t keep doing what he was doing, that he would fall into the chasm. And he said that the sight was awful at one part. In another account, he says that he would fall and be torn into bits. So, he saw and he felt that he didn’t have any other choice other than to stay on this path because he didn’t want to fall down that way. So, he starts preaching by himself.
Check out our conversation, as well as our other conversations with Dr. Daniel Stone!
In 1992, Dr. Michael Quinn published an essay stating that women have priesthood, and have held the priesthood since 1843. It was one of the reasons church leaders cited in excommunicating him. This will be an interesting contrast to our conversation with Dr. Jonathan Stapley, who did not endorse the idea that women held priesthood. Both Stapley agree that women don’t hold priesthood office, but Quinn is bolder in his claims than Stapley.
Michael: Women receive priesthood when it’s conferred on them in the endowment, and I think that men do too, but they’ve already received it. They’ve received it separately as young men as 12-year-olds to prepare them for the endowment. Women don’t need that kind of preparation. They are already spiritually endowed.
GT: At least that is the stereotypical thinking.
Michael: That’s the stereotypical view. And I’m willing to adopt that because it’s convenient to help people understand this issue that women have a preparation that is separate for the endowment than men do.
From my conversation with Stapley,
Jonathan: there’s no question that men and women have equal access to the power of God. So, women are recognized healers, for example. They participate in the healing liturgy. Women perform anointings, and they seal anointings and they heal the sick and bless for comfort from the earliest days. Joseph Smith says this is of course, entirely appropriate activity for the Relief Society sisters to participate in, any women. Every church president after that says it’s fine. So this is a manifestation of God’s power. I would say that women receive liturgical authority to perform those acts, but Joseph Smith never characterizes that as priesthood.
Who do you think is right?
I asked Quinn what he thought about the Ordain Women movement.
GT: Ok, so what do you think about Kate Kelly’s movement with Ordain Women?
Michael: I understand it. I don’t support it.
GT: You don’t support it?
Michael: No, I understand it and I don’t think it’s necessary for women to be ordained to an appendage.
GT: Why not?
Michael: Women don’t need an appendage to have the priesthood.
GT: They’ve already got the priesthood.
Michael: They’ve got the priesthood.
GT: But what about the idea, why couldn’t a woman become a bishop? Lead a congregation?
Michael: If those who preside over the appendages of these offices, which is what the president of the church does, he’s the president of the high priesthood. He could change that.
This was a fantastic conversation, and I hope you check it out!
Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Quinn….
In our next conversation with Sandra Tanner, I’ll ask her about biblical forgeries, the Documentary Hypothesis, multiple Isaiahs, and several other theories critical of the Bible. Is she a Christian?
Sandra: Yes. I’m a committed Christian….I go a local church here in town, Discovery Christian community. We would just be a standard middle of the road Christian congregation just following the Bible.
Given her background on forgeries, what does she think of these theories?
Sandra: I’ve read critical material on the Bible. I feel there is sufficient historical confirmation for me to accept the record. I mean, there really are Jewish people that live in Jerusalem, and, there really are ancient documents relating to the Bible. We have the Dead Sea Scrolls that show the preservation back before the time of Christ and we have New Testament documents back into, as early as the 130 A.D. We have part of the Gospel of John, so I feel that historically we can show the preservation of the texts and on the New Testament, we are really on strong ground as far as the documents being the earliest record of Christianity. Now one can say, “I don’t accept their story.” One can say, you could say that’s really what the early Christians believed, but did it really happen? So, then it’s a matter of faith whether you’re going to accept Christ’s resurrection.
GT: Well, and even tying this back to Hofmann, because another word instead of a forgery would be pseudepigrapha. We don’t know that Matthew wrote the Book of Matthew, Mark wrote the Book of Mark, Luke wrote the Book of Luke. We have no idea who these authors were. A lot of these early…
Sandra: Well I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. The earliest Christian writers accepted the designations. I mean, they were always known as being written by those guys.
There are some scholars who believe that the Book of Isaiah was written by more than one author, although most scholars at BYU believe in a single-Isaiah theory. What does Sandra think?
GT: …as far as the argument, that the BYU scholars would make that there was just one Isaiah not four Isaiahs, would you tend to agree with?
Sandra: I would be more to their side of view than the critic side of Isaiah.
Are you surprised? Do you agree with Sandra? Check out our conversation…. and don’t forget about our other interviews with Sandra!