Sasquatch and Melchizedek

Ok, since this place is dedicated to “oddments and marginalia” and other weird Mormon Legends, I have two that I’d like to hear more about:

1) I remember reading somewhere that there was a theory that Shem, son of Noah, was the same person as Melchizedek. And then I remember reading somewhere else, Mormon Doctrine possibly, that the theory was nonsense. But if I remember right, the first person was quoting Joseph Smith. Anyone else ever heard of this controversy, and could provide better sources than my rotten memory?

2) In an old copy of the Lectures on Faith, I remember seeing a quote from somebody’s journal about how they were riding on a horse, and a big 8 ft tall naked hair-covered man came up beside them, and then later on the Prophet told them they had seen Cain, son of Adam. Anyone know anything about this one? Makes no sense to me… first of all, how come Adam dies of old age, but Cain gets to hang out? And why does he look like Bigfoot? And how’d he make it through the flood?

Addendum: Ok, our intrepid commentators have informed me that I had it all backwards, the Cain story was in Miracle of Forgiveness and the Shem/Melchizedek story was in Lectures on Faith.

  • Anonymous

    The Cain story is in Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness. Trust me, you’ll blink again and again and again, but it will still be there. Posted by Ronan

  • Anonymous

    I thought the Shem thing was simply a logical conclusion many came to based on the texts and revelations we have. We have a line through Noah and then this mysterious person named Melchizedek shows up out of nowhere with all the patriarchal authority. The Shem/Melchizedek connection just makes more sense than most other answers.Regarding the Cain thing: I doubt that was from the Lectures on Faith. But it is floating around somewhere. I don’t know what to think of it, but I am skeptical. On a side note, I side with the limited flood geography crowd. Posted by Geoff J

  • Anonymous

    See footnote 22 in John Welch’s article found here . It appears that John Taylor was the first to suggest that they were the same. D&C 84:14 has been used by Elder McConkie and others to dismiss the idea.Re the Cain story, I fail to see how anyone can doubt its veracity. The story is told in Miracle of Forgiveness and Lycurgus Wilson’s biography of Patten:”It was probably not long after his arrival in Tennessee in the spring of 1836, that David had one of the most remarkable experiences of his life. He was making his home with Levi Taylor, the stepfather of Abraham O. Smoot, at the time and had been to Paris, some sixteen miles away, holding a meeting. Riding home in the evening, just where his road lay through a dense growth of brush, called in those parts a “barren,” he suddenly became aware that a person on foot by his side was keeping pace with the mule on which he rode.But the subjoined letter, dated at Provo, Utah, will explain the matter:President Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake City:Dear Brother: In relation to the subject of the visit of Cain to Brother David W. Patten in the State of Tennessee, about which you wrote to me, I will say that according to the best of my recollection it was in the month of September, 1835.It was in the evening, just twilight, when Brother Patten rode up to my father’s house, alighted from his mule and came into the house. The family immediately observed that his countenance was quite changed. My mother having first noticed his changed appearance said: “Brother Patten, are you sick?” He replied that he was not, but had just met with a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as being Cain, who murdered his brother, Abel. He went on to tell the circumstances as near as I can recall in the following language:”As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along-beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight. When he left me I found myself near your house.”There was much conversation about the circumstances between Brother Patten and my family which I don’t recall, but the above is in substance his statement to us at the time. The date is, to the best of my recollection, and I think it is correct, but it may possibly have been in the spring of 1836, but I feel quite positive that the former date is right.Hoping the above will be satisfactory to you and answer your purpose, I am with the kindest regards, as ever,Your friend and Brother,A. O. Smoot.” Posted by Justin

  • Anonymous

    I believe the Shem as Melchizedek teaching goes back further, as Justin suggests — it is somewhere in the notes to my edition of the Lectures on Faith. The implications of that theory are, IMHO, not so important, but it’s fun stuff nonetheless.As per the sasquatch: I think there are better ways to destroy the souls of men then by lurking in questionable documentary films and battling the Six Million Dollar Man. But that’s just me. Posted by Steve Evans

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/5220066 Rob

    Ronan and Steve-Thanks for the laughs!Justin and Geoff-Thanks for the sources and commentary.

  • Anonymous

    Jerusalem: The Eternal City (Galbraith, Ogden, Skinner) has some informative notes (p. 33 nn.10-11):10. Many rabbis over the centuries identified Melchizedek with Shem, son of Noah. See Delcor, “Melchizedek,” 115-35; Jewish Encyclopedia, 8:450; Anchor Bible Dictionary, 4:686; 5:1195.33Other references equate Melchizedek with Shem, with Shem possibly being his name and Melchizedek his title. The Book of Jasher 16:11 notes that “Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people with bread and wine, and they remained together in the Valley of Melech [Hebrew, "the King's Valley"].” John Taylor wrote in “Ancient Ruins,” Times and Seasons 5 (15 December 1844): 746: “And with the superior knowledge of men like Noah, Shem (who was Melchizedek) and Abraham, the father of the faithful, three contemporaries, holding the keys of the highest order of the priesthood. . . .” Joseph F. Smith made a list of the great and mighty ones whom he envisioned assembled in a vast congregation of the righteous in the spirit world; included were Adam, Eve, Abel, Seth, “Noah, who gave warning of the flood; Shem, the great high priest; Abraham, the father of the faithful,” as well as others (D&C 138:41). We note that Melchizedek, without question one of the greatest of the “mighty ones,” is not mentioned, and Shem is identified as “the great high priest,” which is a title highly reminiscent of Melchizedek’s. Some have questioned the identification of Melchizedek with Shem, however, because of Doctrine and Covenants 84:14, which indicates that Melchizedek received the priesthood “through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah.” The suggested plurality of generations between Melchizedek and Noah seems to preclude Melchizedek’s being Noah’s son. Others point out that if the reference to Melchizedek’s fathers pertains to the fathers from Adam to Noah—in reverse direction of the customary reading—the identification of Melchizedek with Shem is still possible. (Cf. Abr. 1:3.) Nevertheless, the verses surrounding Doctrine and Covenants 84:14 clearly suggest lineage going back in time. Posted by Justin

  • Anonymous

    Justin speaketh the truth — that John Taylor quote is the same in my Lectures on Faith. Posted by Steve Evans

  • Anonymous

    Justin,You are seriously my hero. Posted by Geoff J

  • Anonymous

    Matt Bowman gave a paper at the last Mormon History Conference all about bigfoot/Cain in Mormon thought and history. He found some very interesting things. If you email him, I am sure he will send you a copy (matthewbbowman@gmail.com) Posted by Dallas Robbins

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/5220066 Rob

    Well, this just warms my heart!when we have doctrinal discussion here, we can hear a pin drop, but when we start talking about the REALLY important stuff, like whether Cain is Bigfoot, all the lurkers come out of the woodwork! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11976902 daveharolds5375

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2426084 Ann

    Rob, I find it really hard to discuss doctrinal stuff. Sometimes I can’t wrap my tiny brain around it, and sometimes there’s just nothing to say – it’s either painfully accurate or painfully inaccurate, but in either case, I really don’t feel the need to reply. And I think people did a bang-up job of citing the sources for these…weird stories that I’ve heard but always just blown off (or not cared about).I’m going to run right out and buy that timber stock! Whoo-hoo!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3966022 Books of Mormon in Indy

    This post has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/3966022 Books of Mormon in Indy

    Yeah, Shem = Melchizedek is an old Jewish tradition.Speaking of Bigfoot, a trusted friend of mine swears he saw one up close and personal. Now this friend had been a heavy drinker, but had been sober for years when this sighting occurred.He was driving home one night in the country and it walked across the road in front of him.He started discussing this with locals in the area and found out many people had heard/seen _them_. There are allegedly a whole family or families of them, with some people reporting seeing different ones together and separately.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, you can read about Elder Patten being visited by Cain in the 1800′s in the book “The Three Nephites.” He was visited by Cain, but he never said he thought it to be Bigfoot. That is only an assumption made by others because, of course, of his physical appearance. Posted by Carmen Powell

  • Clint

    The Abraham O Smoot story concerning David Patten’s sighting of Cain is also quoted in the Cain and Abel section of “Studies in Scriptures Vol 2 The Pearl of Great Price”. I believe that is out of print.

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  • jake mathews

    Might I suggest Shem ,grandfather of Melchizedek, his mother being Salathiel or (Shelatheil), his father Aphaxar son of Shem-of Melech or valley of the kings (Adonizedek) Melchizedek King of Salem (Peace) Preist of most high God .King of kings of Jerusalem ;built by kings of surrounding cities because Melchizedek would not be moved from mount Jerusalem The Holy Mount of Adoni (GOD)! His earthly father AKA (Harkleim )Malakh was Arpachshad (Aphaxar)son of Shem.This is from priest Makbal notes his brother

  • Chris H.

    I realize this is an old post, but it predates me on FPR. This is why my second son is named Shem. The connection with him as Melchizedek got the name stuck in my head after reading about it in the old testament institute manual.

    It is the perfect name for a unique kid.


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