Sunday, November 07, 2021

Come Follow Me: D&C 129-132

 Come Follow Me: D&C 129-132

D&C  129

In this section, we are given a key to recognizing spirits. This is an important part of Latter-day Saint Angelology. We learn much from the Book of Mormon about angels: they speak by the gift of the Holy Ghost, they speak the words of Christ, they call mankind to repentance, they reveal God's will and truth.

Here are important keys that actually relate to the temple endowment. Brigham Young stated that the endowment teaches us the key signs and tokens we need to be able to pass by the angels which stand as sentinels, until we enter the presence of God. Therefore it's necessary to be able to recognize beings, so as not to be deceived by Satan and his demons.

D&C 130

This section continues our learning about angelology. We learn that angels do not reside upon our earth, though they are intimately connected to it, having been mortals here at some time (past or future).

White Stone as a Handheld computer

We gain an expanded understanding of the concept of "Urim and Thummim." A U&T can be more than just a set of ancient glasses with lenses that allow you to interpret ancient documents. It can be a celestialized planet, or a white stone, etc. 

Here is what I wrote on this subject and section over 20 years ago (with some modern additions):


With all regards to Charles Babbage, known as the first person to design a "computer," Joseph Smith actually described and used the world's first computer. Over the years, the Urim and Thummim has been scoffed at, yet the descriptions of this tool would lead any thoughtful person to agree that this is, indeed, a description of a computer that we have yet to develop-much on the level of the "holo-deck" in the Star Trek series.

The main description of the Lord's computer is found in D&C 130, with more description given in the Book of Mormon (known there as 'Interpreters').

We read:

6 The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;
7 But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.
8 The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.

The angels mentioned are celestial angels, for they dwell in God's presence. The 'planet' or place where God resides is a Urim and Thummim (U&T). It is like a 'sea of glass and fire' and perhaps works on the principles of truth and light. Let's see how it might work:

9 This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's.

The celestialized earth will reveal to us the order of lower things. This includes the laws and principles of the Terrestrial and Telestial orders. Imagine peering into such a U&T and seeing all the information one needs to know concerning the lower worlds. In the Book of Mormon Mosiah 8, the warrior and adventurer Ammon tells us that it is a Seer that uses a U&T in this life. Not just anyone can peer into it, for that person may look for things he/she should not. Kind of sounds like the World Wide Web, doesn't it? One can seek all kinds of information, but must use caution not to seek things that don't uplift us and give us knowledge of the things of God.

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;
11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

Here we see that all celestial beings receive a Urim and Thummim. It becomes the device used to learn all things concerning the 'higher order of kingdoms,' or the laws and principles and truths of the Celestial Kingdom.

That white stone given to each person, is a personal learning device, for it only works for the person knowing the new name or key word. In computer jargon today, we call it a computer password. Such a password keeps those that shouldn't be in our system, off of it. It allows for privacy and for each person to personalize their own computer to their own needs.

As we have trillions of books, papers, records, photos and videos available to us on the Internet today, we can easily understand one way how this white stone may work. Our smart phones are, in essence, a white stone Urim and Thummim. Through it, we can learn anything connected to what mankind has discovered: history, science, medicine, astronomy, literature, art, and so forth. The opportunities to learn are beyond the scope of any mortal in this life. And, as in the warning in the Book of Mosiah, we must use caution for what we look for. Having access to a world of information means we must choose wisely and righteously, otherwise it cannot exalt us.

How does this system work? I imagine we get a glimpse of how it works with the great revelations which Nephi, Moses and other prophets have received. Often taken to a high mountain, where things are revealed to them of things past, present and future. It seems as though they are physically there to observe the actual event (whether it is the birth of Christ or the creation of the world), kind of like what one experiences in Virtual Reality or perhaps in the futuristic holo-decks of Star Trek Next Generation.

So, something that couldn't be imagined in Joseph Smith's day, WAS imagined and in the 21st Century seems within reach...


This is what I wrote back then. Today, I would add possibly one other comment. In vs 10 and 11, it mentions two groups that may receive a white stone. In verse 11, it notes celestial people who receive one, so that they may receive knowledge of the higher realms of the Celestial Kingdom. However, vs 10 does not necessarily require the stone to be given only to a celestial person. It is possible that those in the lower kingdoms may receive a white stone that teaches them how to become more holy, by teaching them of things in a kingdom above their own (telestial would learn from the terrestrial, terrestrial would learn the basics of the celestial). In fact, D&C 76 notes that those in the higher kingdoms would descend to visit and teach those in the lower kingdoms, perhaps as part of this teaching. If this is the case, then perhaps God desires to give his children the ability to continue to learn and grow continually throughout the eternities.

The Issue of Slavery and War

Verses 12-13 return us back to D&C 87, the Prophecy on War.  Here is what I previously wrote regarding that section here:


 Joseph Smith's Prophecy on War (D&C 87) is a big thorn in the side of those critics of the Mormon Prophet. Some claim that 'everyone knew that the North and South were going to war, so it wasn't that big of a prophecy.' However, the evidence is against that statement. Elder Orson Hyde supplemented that prophecy in 1858, claiming the destructions and wars were about to come upon the U.S.

When he made these claims, many eastern newspapers quoted him, mocking him. There was no way the States were going to war, according to the papers. In 1862, Elder Hyde commented on this fact as further evidence that the American people did not consider this prophecy valid prior to its accomplishment.

Secondly, we shall see that the Prophecy of War goes well beyond the Civil War/War between the States, and down to our own day.

War Among the States and Among All Nations

It starts by prophecying of the Civil War, a war that will be the beginning point for all great wars . We read in D&C 87:

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.Here we see that the Civil War is the beginning of wars to be poured out "on all nations." The Civil War was a great turning point in warfare. With it came modern warfare, which opened the way for wars of mass destruction to be commonplace and widespread. Also, this was the first war where new weapons of destruction were used: repeating rifles, gatling guns, iron ships, etc. All this added up to tens of thousands being killed in a single battle.

3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.Here we see the South, during the Civil War, calling upon other nations for assistance, and "they" or Great Britain and other nations shall "also call upon other nations" for assistance in their defense. Imagine a nation like Great Britain, which at the time ruled the oceans and had a formidable army having to call upon other nations for assistance! And yet it happened in both the First and Second World Wars, which is exactly the time when war was "poured out upon all nations."The Fall of Communism

Now this next portion is very interesting. Many think it refers to the Civil War, but it doesn't. In terms of time, it refers to a time after the wars on all nations:

4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

The only "slaves" in the days since the World Wars, have been those who have suffered under the bonds of Communism and racism. Isn't it interesting to see how quickly the shackles of slavery have fallen off of the slaves of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and among the blacks in South Africa, and to an extent, even in the United States. However, since their "masters" are marshaled and disciplined for war, there are few primary choices, except Communism where this has occurred.The Terrorist Connection

This is to the point where I see we are at in this prophecy. There is more to come, as well:

5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.At one time I thought the remnant refered to is the literal House of Israel, and particularly the Lamanites (Native Americans). It may be that a portion of this part of the prophecy will still be fulfilled by them.Now, however I feel it is the remnant of the slaves in the world that this refers to. Tyrannical dictators of Muslim nations have kept their peoples in poverty and slavery. They have stayed in power by turning the anger of the peoples against the Jews and the West. We are now feeling the pain of the remnant of Arab and Muslim slaves in the world, as they continue attacking and vexing the Gentile nations. Interestingly, the tactics they are using are very similar to the terrorist attacks used by the Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon (Books of Helaman and 3 Nephi), not long prior to the First Coming of Christ in glory to the Nephites, prior to their long period of peace (akin to the Millennial era we pray for today).

Great Destructions to Come

Anyway, to continue with the prophecy:

6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;
7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.Obviously, when the remnant of the slaves vex the Gentiles, we shall see great destruction and bloodshed begin. So, the times for great destruction may not be too far away.Stand In Holy Places

8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.And the "holy places" mentioned above are Zion and her stakes. People will flock to the "holy places" as places of refuge and safety. Not all will be Latter-day Saints, but all that are willing to keep the 10 Commandments, and perhaps a few other laws of righteousness will be welcome to dwell in safety, while the wicked suffer through the great destructions of the last days prior to the Second Coming of the Lord.Once again, an amazing prophecy of Joseph Smith's come forth as true.


 Vs 14-17, Joseph asked when the Second Coming would be. He was left with no real answer. We do not know exactly when the Coming of Christ in glory will be. Still, members read into writings. Many were looking for the 2nd Coming to occur at Joseph's 85th birthday. It didn't happen. Guess what? We just have to be ready, and we will see the face of Christ at some time, whether in the flesh, after death, or whenever, we do not know. But when it happens, it will be glorious.


Gaining Intelligence

 "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

"And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (vs 18-19)

This connects us with last week's discussion on the "key of knowledge." While we all need time to relax and enjoy some of life, our greater purpose is to learn and grow. Intelligence is described in D&C 88 and 93 as "light and truth." We are to gain in light and truth, going from grace to grace and receiving grace for grace until we gain a fullness. 

In the final judgment, we won't be asked how many degrees we have or how rich we became, but what we did with the opportunities we were given. Did we develop talents and use them for good? Did we take advantage of the opportunities we received, or did we let them pass us by? College degrees are not necessary, but gaining knowledge and intelligence is. With thousands of books in the public library, and billions online, with free college courses and programs, videos on science and other important realms of knowledge, free e-books, classic literature, history videos, online news, etc.

This ties in with our blessing of an earthly Urim and Thummim that we can use NOW to gain in knowledge and intelligence. There is no reason for anyone who has a smart phone or tablet with wifi connection to not have access to an almost inexhaustible resource for learning.

Or we can do cat videos.

D&C 131

 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. (vs 1-4)

There are members who dissect this section a little differently than most do: does the term "celestial glory" mean the Celestial Kingdom? Or does it mean Heaven in general? The definition changes the meaning of the entire section. 

It becomes an issue on whether there are one or three levels in the Celestial Kingdom. Most members believe there are three. Some are not sure. Instead, they see the three degrees as the Telestial, Terrestrial and Celestial Kingdoms.

Personally, I favor the standard view, but I realize these are theories we have, and until God clearly reveals it to us, we will have to continue them as theories.

And this fits with another theory that we find in these sections: is there advancement between kingdoms? Currently, there are two theories: no advancement between kingdoms, and eventual advancement between kingdoms. It all depends upon how we interpret scripture. We've read that those gaining more intelligence will be more advanced than another in the world to come. We also read that without celestial marriage, one cannot enter into an exalted state - whether a person can later choose eternal marriage or not, is not discussed in these sections, so it leaves us to ponder how it will actually work.

We know that there are things that can limit our progression. We do not know if there is a time limit to obtain knowledge, to be sealed or receive ordinances, to repent, to change, to grow to a higher sphere. As a parent, I would hope I would always leave the door open for one of my children to come home (as we read in the Prodigal Son), but is there an end time to our probationary period? Is there a time when God says, "tough luck. You had your chance and you can't have any more opportunities to return."?

We do not know. It is theory. I personally hope God keeps his door open eternally.






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