Introducing David J

Faith-promoting Rumor is pleased to announce the addition of David J to our blog. He will post occasionally on topics of import to him and, as always, he must agree with me on whatever I write. Here he is in his own words:

I grew up in California, served in Brazil, hold a B.S. in Accounting and decided to switch gears and study Hebrew Bible in 2003. I have two kids (1 each). When not studying, I enjoy back-country backpacking, watching professional football, and playing racquetball. I don’t like American cars, brown carpet, and Microsoft products (I have all 3).

Please make him feel welcome here in our little corner of the Bloggernacle.

  • Ben S.

    One day, Pinky the *true* academics will rise and outnumber the lawyers in the bloggernacle. Having David J. is just the first step…

  • Katie

    Hooray for David! He is not only a great addition to this site, but one of the best newcomers to the bloggernacle as well. David, I hope you will post about adding a little Protestant spice to our meetings! (Amen!)

  • http://www.splendidsun.com J. Stapley

    Indeed! I was hoping David J. would get scooped up. This is a good day in the ‘nacle.

  • http://www.nine-moons.com Rusty

    Yay for David J! Racquetball is indeed a great sport (I just wish it weren’t so expensive here in NYC). I too dislike Microsoft products (though I have an xbox), brown carpet and American cars. You will surely be an EXCELLENT addition to this site!

  • Porteous

    I read a couple of David J’s comments on the BCC thread with Bill Russell. You commented on how Andrew Ehat’s thesis had a significant impact on you. Any plans to blog on that subject? If not, could you expand a little here?

  • David J

    Porteous, I’m glad you asked.

    Reading Ehat’s thesis (what I say won’t make much sense if you haven’t read it) was my “second birth” catalyst. It woke me up for the second time in my life, especially as an awakening to the deeper aspects of gospel life and living. It got me thinking about church and life and the gospel and scripture, etc. Well, I had the opportunity to go visit him to discuss it (and the endowment ceremony) at his home, and it was indeed wonderful, and changed my life for good. He explained much of the story behind it, why it wasn’t published, how the brethren received it, etc. It was intriguing, but mostly it was just good to talk about the crux of his thesis with someone who knows the subject (the fulness of the priesthood) well, and isn’t too shy about it (but he does keep things sacred in his discussions, mind you). I had questions about the Fulness, and was shot down by every “file leader” that I approached, for whatever reason (probably ignorance on their parts). I even had a stake president tell me that they don’t do that anymore, when Hinckley said they did in conference just two weeks before:

    “I have said before that the blessings of the temple represent that fulness of the priesthood of which the Lord spoke when he revealed his will unto the prophet Joseph Smith. With the location of temples much nearer to the homes of our people, there is made more available to them all of the ordinances to be had in the Lord’s house for both the living and the dead.” – April 2001 Conference, opening remarks. Emphasis mine.

    The SP just told me “not to worry about it” and let me go. Lame.

    So I had a friend much braver than me call up Ehat and set a time the five of us could visit, and we did (later that year, 2001). In fact, 9/11 ocurred two weeks later, as I recall. Anyway, I can’t detail what was said (because my notes are extensive) but it was great to finally talk to somebody who knew something about it and was willing to share without making me out as a nuisance. After that, I did the ol’ Mormon formulaic “pray about it” and so here I am, and things have been good (but tough!) ever since. Now I believe the Fulness is a necessary part of salvation. I don’t believe it would exist if it were “just for GAs.” Hogwash, I say.

    As far as RLDS (R-Mormons?) and to some extent regular Mormons, D&C 124:28 is terrifying if one doesn’t understand the true mission of Elijah and the terminus tecnicus “fulness of the priesthood.” As I pointed out on the Bill Russell thread, the verse was given in 1839, which was long after John the Baptizer and P, J & J had come to restore the priesthood. Most folks don’t ask “you mean, there’s more priesthood to restore as of 1839?” Ayup! The mission of Elijah was given to Joseph in 1836 (D&C 110 if I recall), and he had to wait for about 7 years before he could do something about what he was given on that day (because of Emma and Hyrum’s resistance to polygamy–again, Ehat’s thesis discusses this). So yeah, the mission of Elijah does have something to do with genealogy work, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s most important function is the Fulness, which only comes by way of holy unction. The best place to go for JS’s thoughts on Elijah is Kent Jackson’s Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible in the Malachi section. Another great book that everyone should have (and therefore most likely out of print).

    Because of that thesis, I am more active, more thoughtful, more charitable, and I respect the brethren more for what they’re doing with it in our day (see Hinckley’s quote above). So yeah, if you can come across a copy of the thesis, hold onto it with white-knuckled fists.

    Longest post I’ll probably ever have, but you asked me the golden question. Thanks for asking. What do you think?

  • Porteous

    David J.
    Thanks for the extensive reply. This is a subject that fascinates me but it is difficult to talk about, especially over the internet, due its sacred nature. You said: “(Ehat) explained much of the story behind it, why it wasn’t published, how the brethren received it, etc.” Could you expand a little ie. What is the story? Why wasn’t it published? What did the brethren think? When I have a little more time I’ll share a couple more thoughts, though to be honest I think I have more questions than insights. Thanks again for taking the time to share the story.

  • David J

    Porteus,

    Real quick:

    Why wasn’t it published?

    This was about 4 years ago, but I’ll try to remember the best I can. He said that the effect of his findings would have caused a lot of “noise” so to speak. IMO, his findings are so conclusive and concise that one cannot read it and remain RLDS. He even told us a story of a RLDS man who picked it up, and read it twice in two days, and then left the RLDS church for the LDS church because of it. He met this guy at general conference. Anyway, I think it wasn’t published because it would have become one of the biggest watersheds in our time — the problem is that the subject matter is so sensitive that “they” probably would have wanted to keep it under wraps so that the majority didn’t find out about it. Don’t get me wrong — I think the brethren are just protecting it (the Fulness), and not just for themselves. So I think that’s why it wasn’t published. He has his degree, so they approved of it, but not for publishing. He also explained that all the copies out there are not supposed to be out there, that there was a leak, and there’s nothing that can be done about it now. For me, it was a blessing that it leaked.

    What did the brethren think?

    Some liked it, others didn’t. He wouldn’t give specific names. He did say that McConkie was intrigued by it, which I find very surprising given McConkie’s propensity to traditionalism and fierce conservatism. Maybe BRM was different in private. Maybe they all understood the ramifications of publishing something like this, and decided that it would bring more trouble than blessing.

    to be honest I think I have more questions than insights

    If they are detailed (or sensitive) questions, send me a note. This stuff is what got my motor revving, so I’m open to helping out others with it as well. There are some monographs and articles akin to his thesis that sort of give support to his findings, although nothing is as paramount as the thesis itself.

  • Ben-lo-sm’ol

    My understanding, not from Ehat himself, but someone fairly close and in the know, was that several of the younger Apostles wanted it published, and one more senior (my guy named names), who is much more reticent about all things temple-related, did not.

    I had a brief experience with one particular Apostle that leads me to believe this was and still is the case.

    Ehat writes great stuff, and it’s a good thing he didn’t become bitter after what happened to him (not referring to the Apostles, but the details of the leak). I wish he’d written more.

    Do you perchance have an email address for him?

  • Ronan

    Great scoop. Go Bengals!

  • Porteous

    David J.
    Thanks again for your taking time to answer my questions. I couldn’t get your e-mail address from the link but I can ask a couple of questions over the blog. I will outline my limited understanding on the subject: There are additional temple ordinances rarely discussed that may or may not be (that is I’m not sure) associated with having one’s calling and election made sure. These ordinances were given to a select few during the time of Joseph Smith and that continues to be the case today. What is the main premise of Ehat’s thesis? In addition, from what you have posted you seem to be suggesting that the keys Elijah restored in 1836 were not the end of priesthood restoration. If this is right, what additional keys were restored and who was the restorer? Thanks again.

  • http://www.splendidsun.com J. Stapley

    This is an interesting topic. Since the last time I posted on this, I have had a conversation that lead me to reevaluate how I discuss this topic in public, though I haven’t made any conclusions yet. There are a couple of issues, as I understand them [and I can confirm Ben-lo-sm'ol from my sources - though I think his are better than mine :) ].

    Random thoughts: In 30% of the couples sealed in Nauvoo recieved the Fullness. Non-GA’s still recieve it Today (though some sort of connection is obviously required).

    I would dissent from David J., in one manner. I submit that the Fullness of the priesthood is required for exaltation, but not Salvation. I think there is a significant amount of Nauvoo era discourse to support this.

  • http://ldsliberationfront.blogs.com RoastedTomatoes

    We would be much better able to have this discussion if Joseph Smith had lived a few years longer. If he had followed the pattern he seems to have used in deploying ordinances, a gradually broader group would have been given the Second Anointing and public sermons would eventually have explained the theology of the ordinance in some detail.

    Unfortunately, Joseph died before that was possible. So we’re left with relatively oblique sources.

  • David J

    Stapley, ah yes, thanks for the correction. Due to my evangelical education, I often forget the word “exaltation” even exists, and so I should have clarified. Indeed, “salvation” is different from exaltation, and “exaltation” is what I meant. My bad.

    RT, indeed that is true. What we know about the fulness from JS has to be pieced together from his famous “Elijah Speeches,” which again are all nicely strung together in Kent Jackson’s book mentioned above. Also, the footnotes in WJS are inestimable in this regard. The “Last Charge” meeting notes (although most are distant recollections) also assist with this.

    Porteus, I have no compunction, just like RT, about talking about this stuff online. However, I’m sensitive to others who are not, so if you have questions, feel free to
    send me e-mail
    . It seems like emailing RT would also work.

  • David J

    Do you perchance have an email address for him?

    No, but there is an email listed in Gospelink 2001, but I don’t if it’s still valid. I believe he runs the website http://www.originalsources.com, so you might want to check there. Or just do what we did, and go to switchboard.com, look him up (in Orem, I think), and give him a call. If you’re nice and sincere on the phone, I imagine he’ll be nice in return. He’ll probably not want to chat on the phone though, so if you’re in UT, go over there.

    More exciting than talking the thesis with him is talking the Holy Ghost, especially as it relates to the endowment ceremony.

    Ben, nice pseudonym. But I would thought you would have picked “Ben-lo-sheol” myself… :)

    Ronan — the Bengals have a tough end of the year schedule, but the Steelers QB is out with surgery, so they might have a chance at the end to pick it up even more Exciting year for them. It’s good to hear from you. Let us all know how everything goes in UT. I wish I could be there for the festivities.

  • David J

    Do you perchance have an email address for him?

    No, but there is an email listed in Gospelink 2001, but I don’t if it’s still valid. I believe he runs the website http://www.originalsources.com, so you might want to check there. Or just do what we did, and go to switchboard.com, look him up (in Orem, I think), and give him a call. If you’re nice and sincere on the phone, I imagine he’ll be nice in return. He’ll probably not want to chat on the phone though, so if you’re in UT, go over there.

    More exciting than talking the thesis with him is talking the Holy Ghost, especially as it relates to the endowment ceremony.

    Ben, nice pseudonym. But I would thought you would have picked “Ben-sheol” myself… :)

    Ronan — the Bengals have a tough end of the year schedule, but the Steelers QB is out with surgery, so they might have a chance at the end to pick it up even more Exciting year for them. It’s good to hear from you. Let us all know how everything goes in UT. I wish I could be there for the festivities.

  • http://ldsliberationfront.blogs.com RoastedTomatoes

    For the brave (foolhardy?), a great deal of fairly reliable — in the sense of corresponding closely with the historical source documents, since I have no first-hand experience to draw on — information about the Second Anointing is publicly available. A major source is David John Buerger’s “‘The Fulness of the Priesthood’: The Second Anointing in Latter-day Saint Theology and Practice,” in Dialogue 16:1 (available for free at the University of Utah library website), which was also republished in Buerger’s book on the temple. Some people have claimed that this paper largely recycles materials from Ehat’s thesis; I’ve only seen research notes on Ehat’s thesis, not the ever-so-rare thesis itself, so I can’t judge that point. Further information, including data on the number of people receiving the ordinance over time, can be found in Buerger’s subsequent Dialogue article, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony,” in issue 20:4. D. Michael Quinn’s “Mormon Hierarchy” books are also quite open in discussing the major role of the Second Anointing in Mormon history and the development of the church, although they do not devote significant discussion to the nature of the ordinance itself. While reading such material, it is good to bear in mind that one of Mark Hofmann’s forgeries was the supposed only copy of the instructions regarding the Second Anointing ever found, so any statements that draw on such instructions are spurious.

  • Porteous

    In reading some of this material I asked myself a question I hadn’t done before. The first time the endowment ordinances were administered was in May, 1842. Yet before this time couples were being sealed for time and eternity. Does this suggest that receiving the endowment isn’t essential for receiving the ordinance of eternal marriage? Some of these couples, if not all, were sealed again after the introduction of temple ordinances

  • http://www.millennialstar.org Ben

    “Does this suggest that receiving the endowment isn’t essential for receiving the ordinance of eternal marriage? Some of these couples, if not all, were sealed again after the introduction of temple ordinances”

    Perhaps. In favor of that, proxy ordinances were at one time been allowed to be done out of order in the temple (ie. someone could do the endowment for Jimbob Smith even if his baptism hadn’t been performed yet.)

    On the other hand, that is no longer permitted in the temple.

    We know that the early ordinances were not always done right. I mean that in several ways. When baptism for the dead was first taught, many people were baptized for each other willy-nilly. That was corrected fairly quickly. Sealing was misunderstood for a while, leading to adoption, until 1877. (On that, see this old and excellent Ensign article) When Joseph first did the ordinances, he told Brigham and Wilford Woodruff that it wasn’t being done right, but it was the best they could do under the circumstances.

    Perhaps sealing, like these other things, wasn’t done quite right at the time but the best they could do or the best they knew.

    I lean strongly towards the second, that the temple ordinances are necessary for sealing.

  • http://www.splendidsun.com J. Stapley

    As I understand it, extra-Temple sealings were carried on for some time. In 1902, the first presidency wrote a letter to Stake President Kimball, in Arizona, in reply to his questions. They stated the following:

    The temple rule governing the case referred to by you is in substance this: Where children are born to parents who have been sealed by an Apostle outside of the temple before receiving their endowments, all such children should be sealed to their parents over the altar whenever the opportunity presents itself, and the fit and proper time to have this work done would be when the parents receive their endowments; but should the opportunity never be given to such parents and children to be thus sealed, the children will be in the covenant of the holy priesthood just as though they had been born to their parents after their parents had been sealed and received their endowments.

  • http://www.splendidsun.com J. Stapley

    Sorry, forgot the reference:

    Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vol. 4 pg. 45

  • David J

    Porteus:

    On the C&E made sure, it’s my opinion, though certainly not everyone’s, that the Fulness isn’t necessarily a guarantee of one’s C&E made sure. Some people think that C&E only comes if they see the Lord, others think it only comes through the Fulness, and yet others think it only comes by receiving the fulness of the Holy Ghost. By my understanding it can come through any of these channels.

    What is the main premise of Ehat’s thesis?

    That Joseph gave the 12 apostles, prior to his death, the fulness of the preisthood, but did NOT give it to Sydney Rigdon or any other claimants to church leadership after JS’s death. So again, any claim by the RLDS to have the fulness of the priesthood is, sadly, untrue. Even with Hoffman’s JS III patriarchal blessing, the fulness is what JS intended to divide the sheep from the goats. Since JS, the 12 have always had the fulness of the priesthood, and they always will. It is my (very best) hunch that since the 1980s it has been given to many people who are not linked with the 12. I suspect, though I can’t prove it, that one of the reasons we send apostles to live overseas now is to administer the fulness of the priesthood to local authorities and members. Any other reason to send them overseas sounds silly to me because all the other reasons people give could be done by local authorites. What’s the one thing an apostle can do that local authorities can’t? Um… the fulness??? It’s easier and cheaper to send an apostle there than it is to bring the peole to SLC.

    In addition, from what you have posted you seem to be suggesting that the keys Elijah restored in 1836 were not the end of priesthood restoration.

    Sort of. It was by and through the keys given by Elijah that the fulness of the priesthood finally was restored in September of 1843. So the keys were given to perform the ceremony in 1836, and then the ceremony performed 7.5 years later. The keys given by Elijah allowed JS to perform the ceremony. And so priesthood was restored after the ceremony was complete. Why the wait? Again, it’s in the thesis.

    So it is my opinion that Elijah was the last, and that the Fulness is the zenith of temple ceremonies. There is no third anointing by “Elohim” himself, as some of the southern Utah apostates think.

    I’ve also thought that perhaps Elias restored the temple marriage ceremony (in more correct form than before 1836), and that Moses restored the keys for performing the endowment, but these two ideas are based on hunches, not anything substantial.

  • http://ldsliberationfront.blogs.com RoastedTomatoes

    David J.,

    I’ve heard from what I consider to be reliable sources that the Second Anointing is only performed, in modern times, in the Salt Lake temple. Additionally, it’s relatively easy to imagine another compelling reason that Apostles are living overseas: the horrible retention problems.

  • Porteous

    “More exciting than talking the thesis with him is talking the Holy Ghost, especially as it relates to the endowment ceremony.”

    “yet others think it only comes by receiving the fulness of the Holy Ghost.”

    Are these two comments related? Could you expound? What do you mean when you say receive the fulness of the Holy Ghost?

  • David J

    RT,

    Yeah, I’ve got a reliable source that said it’s done in regular ol’ sealing rooms, so what the hey. Everybody is an expert, right? :)

    Retention problems — yeah, I’ve thought of that too, but to me is seems like a secondary reason. When they announced they’d be doing this, they sort of cryptically (yet caustically) indicated they’d be doing lots of stuff, and also temple stuff, if I recall. That’s when alarms went off in my mind, because all the other reasons were just… lame.

    Are these two comments related?

    Indeed.

    Could you expound?

    Not without writing a book-length reply.

    What do you mean when you say receive the fulness of the Holy Ghost?

    Technically, that exact phrase is only used in D&C 109:15, but the concept is ubiquitous in scripture. It’s really too much to explain here, but it is much more than just “feeling the truth in your heart,” but actual communion with the HG, and other stuff I can’t mention here. And it all ties so nicely into the endowment ceremony you’ll wonder how you never noticed it. I tried to put it all down on paper a few years ago, but it ran about 40+ pages (single spaced) and I gave up. Really, you’re asking the right questions. Please, please, please, if you’re in Utah, look up Brother Ehat, tell him you want answers to these questions, and set up a time to go over there and talk to him about it. When I did this, I was actually living in California at the time, and flew out there for a “family get-together,” which was my excuse to my family to really go out there and talk to him, at the request of a friend. I know he will oblige, he’s very polite. Take your wife with you (if you have one), a notebook, a pen, and your best attention. Set aside about three hours. All I can say is that you will never live the same way, read scripture the same way, go to the temple the same way, pray the same way, etc. It’s a must. Do it.

  • David J

    Porteus, one more thing. If indeed you are in UT, there are probably a couple of other blogger-ninjas in UT that could go with you and mutually benefit from the experience. One more caveat: don’t say too much. Let the man do the talking. So a big group would not be advantageous (there’s generally a loud-mouth in every group). And don’t drop names, he doesn’t like that. If you say you read his thesis and liked it, he’ll know what page you’re on so there won’t be so much catch-up (or mustard).

  • Porteous

    David J.
    Do you have any recommended reading outside of the thesis on both the anointed quorum and fulness of the Holy Ghost subjects? Have you read Joseph Smith’s Anointed Quorum by Deverey? What happened to the 40 pages that you did write? Although incomplete as you think I’d be interested in reading your ideas.

  • http://www.millennialstar.org Ben S.

    “Have you read Joseph Smith’s Anointed Quorum by Deverey?”

    Though I haven’t read it, I’m not sure you’ll find much in here. Dave gave it a review.
    http://mormoninquiry.typepad.com/mormon_inquiry/2005/06/quorum_of_the_a.html

  • David J

    recommended reading… the anointed quorum

    Deverey is fine. Most of what I have on the quorum is pieced together from other sources. David Buerger’s Mysteries of Godliness is good for the original sources that he culled. Also see the post above regarding the Dialogue article (Dialogue’s archived DVD is recommended), which was the springboard into his book. We called him too, and he was a bit apprehensive, but friendly nonetheless. He’s not in the church anymore. Sadly, many of our temple historians fall by the wayside. Makes one wonder why.

    recommended reading… fulness of the Holy Ghost

    Not really. Nobody has really spun this to my satisfaction yet, and I think Ehat would concur. What I wrote is terribly fragmented, so it doesn’t flow well. It’s nothing you should read (just yet), as you should probably go talk to Ehat and get answers to your questions on the HG/endowment from him first. If you’re not in UT, you could always plan a trip out there for some answers. I’d prefer you hear it from him, not me (I’ll probably screw it up somehow, and frankly I’m still ruminating on what I learned albeit 4+ years ago). I forgot to mention that there are GAs who go and talk to him about this on occasion, so he’s a trusted source.

  • Porteous

    Any idea how I can find out some contact details for Brother Ehat?

  • http://www.splendidsun.com J. Stapley

    As far as the annointed quorum, I would also recomend Quinn’s Prayer Circle article in BYU Studies, vol. 19.


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