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Book of Mormon, Lesson #8: 2 Nephi 6-10

Posted by joespencer on February 17, 2008

What we have in these five chapters, of course, is a massive discourse given by Jacob to the Nephites. Its basic makeup is simple enough: Jacob, by the request of Nephi, is reading from and interpreting two and a half chapters of Isaiah to his people. After reading Isaiah but before doing his work of “likening,” Jacob gets distracted for six or seven pages of text in the marvelous chapter 9 (perhaps the only part of this speech that is usually referenced or commented upon). Three questions, it seems to me, must be asked about this speech, then: (1) How does Jacob think/liken Isaiah? (2) What is Jacob teaching in chapter 9? (3) How is the Isaiah/interpretation of Isaiah connected to the teachings of chapter 9?

In the end, it is the last of these three questions that I think deserves the most attention in the teaching situation: what the “average Latter-day Saint” seems to be almost entirely ignorant of in the Book of Mormon is the connection between the Abrahamic covenant as a kind of pattern for the whole history of the world and the personal effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ. For my own reasons, I think this connection is absolutely vital: not to recognize it is, if I might say something so humble, not to know God.

Let me call Nephi to witness: “And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me” (2 Nephi 11:1). Jacob’s speech (it lasted for two days, after all!) was apparently quite a bit longer and more involved than what we have in 2 Nephi 6-10, but Nephi has excerpted what from Jacob’s speech accomplishes his own purposes. And Nephi states quite clearly what those purposes are: Jacob “saw my Redeemer” (a word that must be taken here in two different senses), and so his teachings can be inserted in a text that it taken up both with “proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ” and of “the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers” (2 Nephi 11:2, 4-5).

It is a mistake, therefore, to approach this five-chapter speech by focusing only or even primarily on chapter 9: such a focus is almost universally grounded in modernistic abstraction, in our desire for an antiseptical “plan of salvation,” in our secret wish that God had never gotten Himself mixed up in that silly Old Testament. As unfortunate as it may seem to some, we cannot get around the fact that the plan of salvation, for Christ later in the Book of Mormon as much as for Nephi at this early point in the text, is a question not only of personal, essentially atemporal redemption, but also (and perhaps more fundamentally) of communal, essentially historical redemption.

It seems to me important, in order to make this point quite clear, to make a few rather broad textual observations, observations which aim to situate these five chapters within the larger project Nephi is undertaking.

For some reason, we pay very little attention to passages in the Book of Mormon where the author or editor tells us explicitly what he is doing. A most important one of these is to be found in the first six verses of 1 Nephi 19. There Nephi essentially provides us with an outline of his two-book record. He divides it into two large parts: “an account of my making these [the small, as opposed to the large] plates shall be given hereafter; and then [that is, only after the account of the physical production of the small plates], behold, I proceed according to that which I have spoken,” namely, to write about “the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them.” What Nephi tells us here, and in the plainest language, is that the brief account of the actual physical production of the small plates marks a breaking point in his text: after that account, Nephi provides us with the “more sacred” text he has been commanded to write; before that, he is doing something else. The account of the physical production of the small plates can be found in the last verses of 2 Nephi 5, and so we are to split Nephi’s two-book record right there: 1 Nephi 1 through 2 Nephi 5 is the not-commanded-but-still-sacred part of the text (Nephi is at pains in 1 Nephi 19:6 to make it quite clear that though this first part of the record is not commanded and hence not “more sacred,” it is nonetheless sacred), and 2 Nephi 6-33 is the commanded-and-hence-“more-sacred” part of the text.

I think these two parts of the text can be further subdivided to some benefit. The first, “uncommanded” part of the text can be split into 1 Nephi 1-18 and 1 Nephi 19-2 Nephi 5, the split being marked by the very passage discussed in the preceding paragraph. The second, “commanded” part of the text can be split into 2 Nephi 6-30 and 2 Nephi 31-33, the split being imposed by the last words of the last verse of chapter 30: “And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings.” What we have, then, is a four-part text that tells a very common story:

1 Nephi 1-18 — the creation of the Lehite people (take a careful look at 1 Nephi 18:22-25 and see how Genesis 1 is interwoven into the narrative: as the Lehites come to a “new world,” Nephi mentions in strict succession water, land, plants, animals, and then humans… coincidence?)

1 Nephi 19-2 Nephi 5 — the fall of the Lehite people (these chapters detail the process by which the Lehites become the Nephites and the Lamanites, and it concludes with the Lamanites being “cut off from the presence of the Lord”… coincidence?)

2 Nephi 6-30 — the atonement effects the reinstatement of the Lehite people (three true messengers suddenly appear, bringing further light and knowledge to the Nephites, teaching them in succession about how the spiritual atonement of Christ intertwines with their own temporal history… coincidence?)

2 Nephi 31-33 — the reinstated Lehites are given to pass through the veil (a discussion of baptism is presented entirely as a question of passing through a gate, before which one must pray, at which one must knock, and through which one is to see the appearance of the Savior Himself… coincidence?)

This fourfold pattern (creation, fall, atonement, veil) is of course quite familiar to Latter-day Saints: this is a kind of temple text for the Nephites, according to which they are taught of their own people’s creation and fall, by which they are presented with true messengers who provide them with the knowledge they need eventually to pass through the veil and into the presence of the Lord. As Brigham Young said: “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels . . . and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 416) Elder Holland has used this same language, interestingly, in describing Nephi’s three witnesses: “Standing like sentinels at the gate of the book, Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah admit us into the scriptural presence of the Lord.” (Christ and the New Covenant, p. 36)

The reason to bother with all of this may already be clear to some: this speech of Jacob, making up 2 Nephi 6-10, is the collected teachings of the first of the three witnesses sent to teach the meaning of the atonement to the Lehites. Its importance should not be overlooked: not only does Nephi place it first in his “commanded” portion of the text, but he has explicitly edited the delivered speech so that it would accomplish his purposes.

Moreover, this way of breaking up the broader text of Nephi’s two-book record is also helpful for recognizing something else that Jacob’s speech accomplishes. The three messengers Nephi presents to his readers are presented, in a sense, as three in one or one in three: Jacob quotes from and comments on Isaiah, Nephi quotes from and comments on Isaiah, and, sitting between these two quotations-and-commentaries in the text, is Isaiah himself! The whole of this “atonement” part of Nephi—which is ironically the very part that we as Latter-day Saints tend to dismiss, to skip over, to get bored with, or to hurry through—is dedicated to a “likening” (whatever that means…) of Isaiah. In a word: Isaiah, understood in the Nephite way, is the key to understanding Nephi’s entire text. I don’t think it is at all coincidence, then, that Nephi provides us two “helps,” his and Jacob’s quotations of and commentaries on Isaiah’s words.

There is more: Jacob quotes from what scholars call Second Isaiah or Deutero-Isaiah. I think this is a point of some importance, given the heavy focus on First Isaiah or Proto-Isaiah in the Isaiah chapters and Nephi’s commentary. But this calls a bit more preparatory explanation still (my apologies! my apologies!).

Scholars have, for well over a century now, divided the book of Isaiah up into two or, almost universally now, three parts. Of course, the very desire to break the Isaiah text up into the work of different “authors” is grounded in all the presuppositions of the historical-critical enterprise with its emphasis on authenticity and a (naively) cartesian model of subjectivity: it remains unclear (to me at least) why it is of any importance whatsoever to identify authors of texts, why the particular authorship of any given text should at all matter (don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not arguing that it isn’t important, only claiming that it remains to be explained how it is importance or where its importance lies). The rather broad consensus among scholars is that First Isaiah (Isaiah 2-39) was written perhaps two hundred years before Second Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55) and (hence) by a different person. The hypothesis has not met with much favor in (traditionally faithful) LDS circles, since the hypothesis thus places the historical event of the writing of Second Isaiah during the Babylonian exile, after Lehi’s family had left Jerusalem for the promised land: if Second Isaiah was written during the exile, then it couldn’t show up in the Book of Mormon as having come from the brass plates (had the Nephites claimed to receive it by divine inspiration, that might be okay…), but of course it does.

This has led LDS scholars to argue often for the unity of Isaiah, for single authorship of the entire book, etc. In the end, I don’t think arguments for the textual unity or for the single authorship of Isaiah need to be made: the Book of Mormon does not require that the whole book of Isaiah be written by a single hand in the eighth century, just that First and Second Isaiah be compiled in a book attributed to Isaiah before Lehi’s family leaves Jerusalem. (Third Isaiah, Isaiah 1 and 56-66, never appears in Nephite writings. This may well corroborate the placement of Third Isaiah in the post-exilic era.) It is only necessary to see First and Second Isaiah as the work of single author if we assume that Nephi and his people understood authorship in the same way we do, something that seems highly questionable to me, especially in light of the fantastic article “What Is an Author?” by Michel Foucault. In other words (and this is the point, here): if we can allow ourselves to be distracted from the question of authorship and its grounding in historical-critical presuppositions, I think we can begin to ask very interesting questions about the distance scholars have justifiably felt between the texts (rather than the authors) of First and Second Isaiah.

I obviously haven’t the space here to discuss the massive list of differences between First and Second Isaiah here, though I would highly recommend reading up on the subject. Suffice it to say that there are major differences in the texts’ models of God, in the texts’ relationship to Jerusalem, in the the texts’ fidelity to uniquely Israelite events, in the texts’ relationship to world powers and politics, in the texts’ theological language, etc., etc., etc. Whatever can or must be said about the authors of these two texts, there is clearly an important difference between them.

What is so important about this is that the Nephites, or at least Nephi, seems to recognize these differences. Though both texts are attributed to “Isaiah” (and no respected Isaiah scholar would argue that there are not connections and continuities between the two texts: they are obviously written within the same tradition or in connection with each other), Nephi and subsequent prophets put them to separate and distinct tasks in the Book of Mormon. First Isaiah is quoted for thirteen chapters straight in the “Isaiah chapters” of 2 Nephi 12-24 with a very particular aim, and then little bits and pieces of it are quoted here and there throughout the remainder of Nephi’s two-book record, always with the same theological intention as the full-blown “Isaiah chapters.” Second Isaiah, on the other hand, it broken up into one- or two-chapter sections at a time and quoted thus a chunk at a time throughout the whole of the Book of Mormon. Significantly, the chapters of Second Isaiah are quoted in order: Nephi quotes Isaiah 48-49 in 1 Nephi 20-21; Jacob quotes Isaiah 50-51 in 2 Nephi 7-8; Abinadi quotes Isaiah 52-53 in Mosiah 13-14; and Jesus Himself quotes Isaiah 54 (and part of Isaiah 55) in 3 Nephi 22. A major stretch of Second Isaiah thus forms a curious backbone for the entire Nephite history, as Mormon compiles it, while First Isaiah is put to a far more limited theological purpose within the two-book record of Nephi.

These separate tasks of the two Isaianic texts within the Book of Mormon deserve far more attention (and in print!). It is perhaps here, in 2 Nephi 6-10, that the tension between them can most fruitfully be explored: because of the structure of Nephi’s two-book record, Jacob’s quotation of and commentary on Isaiah 50-51 is set in parallel with Nephi’s subsequent quotation of and commentary on Isaiah (28-)29: First and Second Isaiah are brought together by the parallelism, even as the broader split between the two Isaiah texts makes this parallelism a site of profound tension.

The tension that thus undergirds Jacob’s quotation of and commentary on Isaiah can perhaps be related to (or at least doubled by) the tension that characterizes Jacob’s commentary itself, the tension between covenant history and eternal atonement discussed above: how does the apocalyptic redemption of First Isaiah relate to historical redemption of Second Isaiah? What I’m suggesting here is that Jacob’s interweaving (or at least Nephi’s edited version of Jacob’s interweaving) of chapter 9 into his broader discourse provides us a place for thinking about this question quite carefully.

Of course, I’ve spent so much time and space here just setting up the problem, now I have to wonder whether I can get into the solution at all! But perhaps I’m notorious enough for raising questions rather than providing answers, that I can get away with leaving just this mess of a situation for others to begin thinking carefully about? No, I suppose I had better provide at least the sketched outline of a solution, though I only do so with the warning that, though I will gladly be held to the difficulties I’ve tried to elaborate above, I will not be held to the solutions sketched out below. That is, I think the problem is clear, but the way to go about thinking that problem is something that needs to be done far more carefully than I’m about to do it.

Verse 11 from chapter 6: “Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance.” Jacob seems to see the massive historical event of redemption for Israel to be inextricably intertwined with “knowledge of their Redeemer” (I leave “their” in the quotation here to maintain emphasis on the language of collectivity—it is not one’s but their Redeemer—and on the hint of possession). Of course, within the immediate context, this reference to a Redeemer can be taken simply to refer to the One who brings them back: there is not textual reason to read “Redeemer” as referring to what we moderns would call a “personal Savior.”

Importantly, chapter 9 never uses any form of the word “redeem.” But one should note how many times the word appears in 2 Nephi 2, addressed by Lehi to Jacob, and in a “personal” way: “I know that thou [Jacob] art redeemed”; “the righteousness of thy Redeemer”; “redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah”; “the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem his children from the fall”; “because they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever.” Jacob had, at the very least, good reason to understand the term in something like a “personal” way.

But does that do any justice to 2 Nephi 2? That chapter is ostensibly about the temple: Jacob is called to the “service of God” (a nice technical phrase from the Old Testament to refer to being a part of the temple priesthood), is instructed about the law and the atonement (Mosaic Law? the Day of Atonement?), is taught about the creation, fall, atonement, and veil (in sequence, and with language that ought to sound quite interesting to some ears), etc. Though I hear it intimated often enough that the temple is an individual affair, a question of one’s personal relationship to the Savior, I think one would ultimately be very hard pressed to make a good case for that: the temple is not only a question of binding or sealing one to others (in more ways than one) and hence a question of breaking the limits of the individual or individualistic, it is also a place where one ceases to be oneself (one plays a part in a drama, takes up the role of another rather than oneself, and, when one returns, one even performs a part in the drama for and in behalf of others, playing two or three parts at once!). It seems to me that the temple is, as scholars like Mircea Eliade have been saying for a long time now, a cosmic experience, one in which one’s individualistic subjectivity is disrupted by “universal” signs, symbols, dramas, etc.

I wonder, then, if this connection between the theme of redemption and the ultimately anti-personal experience of the temple doesn’t begin to lay the foundation for an understanding of the interweaving of the eternal atonement and the historical redemption of Israel, if it doesn’t begin to orient the relationship between the apocalyptic anti-history of First Isaiah and the incessantly evental historicality of Second Isaiah: the two texts come together in their common rootedness in the temple. Or, perhaps I should say, in their common rootedness in the typology of the temple: the disruption of egoistic subjectivity accomplished by the ritual experience of temple redemption is accomplished through typology, and it is typology that (scholars universally agree) guides the thought of Second Isaiah. The case has often enough been made that typology is invented (!) by Second Isaiah: the fall of Jerusalem is the blow (typos in Greek) that shatters the egoistic self-reading of Israel and opens up the possibility of a universally addressed covenant, of a universally regarded Redeemer. Second Isaiah must be read, in the end, as unfolding the drama of the deabsolutizing of Israel and hence of the universalizing of the Abrahamic covenant.

What this means for interpretation of 2 Nephi 6-10 is triple. First, chapters 6-8 must be read as a glimpse of this historical deabsolutizing of the Abrahamic covenant, as a poetic reading of the blow that shatters the too easily fixed orientation of Israelite thinking. Second, chapter 9 must be read as a consequently universal discussion of the atonement (note: not as a sermon on the individual or personal effects of the atonement, but as a sermon on the universal or cosmic effects of the atonement), as the development of a theology of the disrupted and hence universally redirected Abrahamic covenant. Finally, chapter 10 must be read as a careful thinking out of the place of the Nephites and Lamanites in such a scheme: as a part of the shattering of the exile (they have been scattered in connection with the exile), and yet still as a part of the Abrahamic covenant “proper,” how do the Nephites and the Lamanites fit into things?

It is this final question that I think Jacob wants to address ultimately, and he only begins to answer it before Nephi cuts him off, as the latter tells us in the first verse of chapter 11. This sudden curtailing of the answer to the most important question of all, however, has an important purpose: it makes Jacob’s sermon provide only the outline of an answer and thus allows Nephi to take up the task, in chapters 25-30, of banking on the apocalyptic themes of First Isaiah (chapters 12-24) so as to lay out his own understanding of the answer to the question. Jacob’s curtailment allows for the unity of the three witnesses.

Or so it seems to me…

47 Responses to “Book of Mormon, Lesson #8: 2 Nephi 6-10”

  1. kimmatheson said


  2. joespencer said

    Thanks, Kim. By the way, everyone: I’m seriously looking at reworking the above post into a bit more “scholarly” format so that I can submit it for publication (at least to some extent to keep Robert happy :) ), so if anyone has any comments, corrections, rejoinders, further insights, bibliographical cross-references, etc., I’d be quite interested to receive any feedback at all.

  3. Jim F. said

    Joe, whatever the final judgment on your “solution” (and I find it very interesting), in my eyes, the most important work that you’ve done here is to help us see the four-part structure of the Nephi texts. What you help us see about the use of First and Second Isaiah is also important, but not as important as the insight about First and Second Nephi. Thanks very much.

  4. joespencer said

    Thanks, Jim. I riddle out this fourfold reading of Nephi’s text at some length in chapters 2 and 3 of my hopefully forthcoming book. I suppose I’m hoping to hear that my book will be published before I submit anything like a final version of the above for publication so that I can footnote something that will, eventually at least, be in print. :)

  5. Jacob J said

    I recently posted something that is tangentially related to question (3). I didn’t go into any details there and won’t here, but at a super high level it appears to me that Isaiah was talking about the scattering and gathering of Israel and Jacob(BofM) uses the same language and imagery to talk (in chapter 9) about the scattering and gathering of our bodies in the death and resurrection.

  6. Robert C. said

    Fascinating, Joe. I’ve heard much of this discussed in your seminary lessons and in a draft of your book already, so what strikes me most is your discussion of 2 Nephi 6-33 and the possibility of thinking about Jacob sort of focusing on Fall aspects of the Abrahamic covenant (Israel living in a kind of garden of chosenness), Isaiah himself focusing on atonement, and Nephi thus focusing on the veil in both the meta-structure of 1-2 Nephi and in this sub-structure of 2 Nephi 6-33. Indeed, I think these thoughts nicely set up 2 Nephi 9 to (begin to) be carefully considered.

  7. cherylem said

    Excellent post, as others have noted.

    can you talk about this a little more: “First, chapters 6-8 must be read as a glimpse of this historical deabsolutizing of the Abrahamic covenant, as a poetic reading of the blow that shatters the too easily fixed orientation of Israelite thinking.”

    What does deabsolutizing mean? In fact, what does the whole sentence mean?

    Interestingly, I have been having a conversation regarding covenant with Rabbi Kinzer. He most recently wrote me, in part:

    “God’s covenant with Israel (and the Church) is different from our experience of marriage (though not always from the ancient institution of marriage) in that it is not symmetrical. God chooses Abraham and Sarah and their family, and enters a covenantal relationship with them that binds him forever. That relationship also requires certain responses from the covenant partner in order for the relationship to reach its goal, but failure to offer those responses cannot cancel or annul the covenant itself. ”

    I am not sure this relates to what you have written in your post, but I actually think it does. . . that is, in your post you seem to be saying that these chapters are about redemption in the covenant relationship, which relationship is not necessarily personal (as person to person) but rather as you have described in your next to last paragraph (which I don’t totally understand yet).

    Regarding the temple experience, thanks for writing what you did. I find the temple experience problematic – it is not at all personal (to me) in ways that other meditation is personal. I have sometimes found that a personal lack or failure on my part, but I also know that there is nothing in the temple that invites a time of personal, one on one reflection – certainly not in the symbolic celestial room. I have never been able to sit there on the uncomfortable chairs and just think for a good long time (while such experiences are available in Catholic churches for instance, where I sometimes go just to meditate).

    Regarding the 3 Isaiahs – I’ve thought about this before – that the 3rd Isaiah doesn’t appear in the BOM . . . that there actually could have been 2 Isaiahs, or a change in the thinking of 1 Isaiah, but, if the BOM is to be believed, in either case both Isaiahs would have to have existed before Lehi left Jerusalem.

    Thanks for a great post.

  8. cherylem said

    also, Joe, is it possible you are saying that the BOM message is not one of continuing apostasy/repentance/prosperity but rather the four fold idea you outline: creation/fall/atonement/veil?

  9. joespencer said

    Robert, I really like the way you’ve put this. Definitely the beginning of much thinking.

    Cheryl, I have reference here to a relatively standard reading of Second Isaiah. Faced with the crisis of the exile (whether Second Isaiah is understood as being written by someone who is in that exile, or whether Second Isaiah is understood—as I think I do—as being written by someone who has seen the exile in advance), the prophet has the difficult task of making sense of God’s apparent abandonment of His chosen people, especially in light of the (unconditional) Davidic covenant (a covenant that saturates First Isaiah). Second Isaiah’s answer, I think, is that God causes the exile in order to force the covenant people to understand that behind or at the root of the Davidic covenant is the Abrahamic covenant, which is not a covenant of exception or exclusiveness, but is a covenant of vassalage or servitude: the exile shatters the walls that Israel has built around itself and scatters Israel among the Gentiles so that the Abrahamic covenant can be fulfilled.

    In a sense, then, Second Isaiah anticipates Paul: the covenant is universally addressed rather than particularist, but it cannot be universally addressed unless somebody is chosen as addressor (Sarah and Abraham and their descendants). In a word: Moroni 7:29-32.

    As for your #8: I’m not sure about the entire Book of Mormon message, but I do think that this is the clear message of Nephi, who is at pains to make it clear for us. It seems clear to me as well that Benjamin takes this as the outline for his sermon (I find it likely that he understood the small plates to be the script for the drama he enacts), and the sons of Mosiah always teach creation/fall/redemption… but beyond that, I’m not sure how much it was understood by the Nephites (there seems to be very little fidelity, on the whole, to Nephi’s early work in Nephite history).

    We have a bit of work to do on the Book of Mormon, yes?

  10. cherylem said

    excellent explanation. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve really opened my mind to understanding covenant this year, but not in a particular sense, or a sense of “being better than.” Rather many discussions of the covenant children especially are offputting to me, and quite hard to believe (chosen in the pre-existence, being somehow “better” in the preexistence are ideas that are not satisfying to me). So I’ve been carrying on this other basic conversation with Kinzler also . . . because he is a Jew, a believing Jew, and he understands covenant within that context.

    Rabbi Kinzler’s congregation does not consider itself to be a missionary congregation, and in fact does not encourage gentile converts to join their Jewish group – rather he and his group (Congregation Zera Avraham) encourage gentile converts to find a Christian church home. It is VERY DIFFICULT but not impossible for a gentile convert to join Rather, Kinzler sees the worship of Yeshua (always spoken and written of in that way) within Jewishness to be a kind of light to all – but especially to Jews: here is the covenant, here is the fulfillment of the covenant (Yeshua), and here is this congregation that bears testimony of that light and that covenant. All services are very Jewish – held on Saturday, with a full 2 hours of what appears to be conservative Jewish liturgy.

    So I don’t know if he is right, but it is interesting to me, especially in light of BOM references of Jews coming to know the Redeemer. He writes to me further, answering a question I wrote about the universality of the covenant:

    “I would say that God’s covenant with the family of Abraham and Sarah is not so much symbolic of God’s universal covenant with humanity, as it is the means by which that universal covenant is established. God begins with the particular, and then goes to the universal (rather than the reverse).

    “Through Jesus (the uniquely elect seed of Abraham, according to Paul in Galatians) the nations of the world are brought into the election of the family of Abraham and Sarah. Nevertheless, the Jewish people retain a unique position within the elect multinational community as the physical descendants of the patriarchs and matriarchs, and as the physical family of the Messiah (and thus as a reminder of the enduring particularity of God’s identity and action).

    “Thus, the church is supposed to function not merely as a symbol of universality but as a sacramental means of effecting it (e.g., Pentecost reversing the divisions of the Tower of Babel). The church is an extension of Israel’s covenant. Thus, the particular leads to the universal (at least in theory).

    “At least that’s how I see it.”

    Two more things regarding your comments in #9, and these probably show my need to reread Isaiah (though a decade ago I wrote a paper arguing for a possible single Isaiah. But my brain is not the kind that holds things in it forever, without constant reminders).

    1) Why is the Davidic covenant unconditional?
    2) While Isaiah might answer that GOD CAUSES the exile, everything I know and read and experience negates this worldview. That is, the exile is the result of normal cause and effect. But the God of and in history uses the inevitable effect – the exile and the scattering – in God’s own ways. Hence Lehi and his group. and others also.

    Thus here is another example of what I am trying to introduce to my own SS class, and what was in my notes for lesson #6 (and lifted directly from Rabbi Kinzer’s book on Messianic Judaism):

    “We are ethically responsible for how we read the text. We are dealing with both human authors and human intentionality and with a divine author and divine intentionality. However, we must allow for the possibility that the divine intention for the text may transcend the limited understanding of those who composed and edited it.”

    And yes, we have much work to do on the BOM. We have understood it with 19th century eyes and brains – only now is it opening like a flower to us, showing us that there is more.

    Yet I do not criticize the 19th century outlook, or the 20th century one either – our pioneer foremothers and forefathers are not ever to be discounted or minimized or marginalized in any way – for they remain the trailblazers to us, true to their faith and their God. But we cannot escape the fact that the Book of Mormon is more than a 19th century text . . . and is just as likely more than a 21st century text also.

  11. joespencer said


    Thanks for these snippets from your conversations with Rabbi Kinzer. It certainly is remarkable to see a movement like this.

    As for the unconditionality of the Davidic covenant, I quote from the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary for a brief overview: “The two other primary divine covenants, those with Abraham (Gen. 15) and David (2 Sam. 7; Ps. 89:1-38), were originally perceived as unconditional. . . . The Davidic covenant assured David of a permanent dynasty in which the Davidic king is depicted metaphorically as the son of God (2 Sam. 7:14; Pss. 2:7-8; 89:27-28) in terminology reminiscent of other ancient Near Eastern documents. There is, however, a tendency to view the Davidic covenant as conditional and dependent on obedience to the Sinai Covenant (1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; 9:4-9; Ps. 132:12). This view was that of the minority and reflects the ideology of the editor of 1 and 2 Kings.” (p. 208)

    As for God’s causing vs. God’s employing the exile: as a human being, I naturally agree that there is something wrong with the worldview that attributes the agency behind the event of the exile to God; but as a reader of scripture, I necessarily grow uncomfortable with what I naturally feel. In other words, Isaiah (now speaking quite broadly, and not of any particular Isaianic author) undeniably sees God as the agent behind the exile. Now, of course, that is not a problem for a demythologizer (in the technical sense), nor is it a problem (perhaps) for one who sees the reader as “dealing with both human authors and human intentionality and with a divine author and divine intentionality,” as Rabbi Kinzer apparently does. I, however, tremble before the task of making that distinction too readily: what have we besides the text?

  12. Jim F. said

    Cheryl, like Joe, I’m very nervous about the move that rereads the scriptural texts so that they accord with our sensibilities because it seems that the very point of a call to repentance is that our sensibilities are wrong, that we need different ones. If I believe my sensibilities allow me to see through the scriptural text to its “real” meaning, underlying what it says, then I assume, implicitly, that I am not in need of repentance.

    That is not to say that there are not things in scripture that are very difficult, nor is it to say that we ought simply to say, “Well, then it must be okay to do X, Y, or Z” because we find it seeminly approved in scripture. After all, that would be just another way of removing the difficulty of scripture, and its difficulty is one of the ways it works to shatter our complacency, the sensibilities that we do not question, one of the ways it works to call us to repentance.

    I highly recommend two essays by Ricoeur, “Naming God” and “Toward a Narrative Theology.” Both are relatively short and both appear in Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination.”

  13. JennyW said


    I enjoyed reading this very much. Thank you. It resonated with some thoughts I’ve had concerning the words of Lehi that Jacob refers to in 2 Ne 6:3 “For I have exhorted you with all diligence; and I have taught you the words of my father, and I have spoken unto you concerning all things which are written, from the creation of the world.” I wondered why he emphasizes Lehi as the source of much of the material he’s taught, and that led me to questions concerning what we might be able to identify as Lehi’s teachings.

    Looking at 1 Ne 1 with this in mind, there’s the interesting observation that Lehi goes out to pray to the Lord “with all his heart, in behalf of his people” (v. 5). He then receives The Vision (God, Christ, and the book containing all things/history), sees Jerusalem destroyed, and responds with “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish” (v. 14). What at first appears to be a somewhat confusing response (praising God after seeing Jerusalem destroyed) can be recontextualized by realizing that Lehi’s understanding of the Jews and their role as the covenant people has been shattered. He prays on behalf of his people, sees that the covenant is inclusive, and then praises God for his mercy over/for all.

    When he’s mocked by the Jews in Jerusalem in verse 19, it’s because he testifies of what he’s read in the book, namely, the Messiah and “the redemption of the world” rather than just the Jews. From here on out, Lehi’s words and teachings will repeatedly emphasize this universal orientation/understanding of redemption. (I’d go into all the textual specifics, but it would turn into a really long comment.) It’s no surprise that his sons do too–and that the first chapter written by Nephi on the small plates presents as its first story a narrative of conversion. Your words concerning second Isaiah–“the fall of Jerusalem is the blow (typos in Greek) that shatters the egoistic self-reading of Israel and opens up the possibility of a universally addressed covenant, of a universally regarded Redeemer”–can, I think be applied to Lehi’s own prophetic experience and understanding.

  14. JennyW said

    Oh, and as a further digression, have you thought about the possible relationship between the turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children as a type of shattering of insular identity and universalizing of the covenant/redemption? I only bring it up because the first stories concerning Lehi (as presented by Nephi) that we have are the shift in his understanding of redemption, followed by his sending his sons back to get the plates (turning the hearts of the children towards the fathers) and then sending his sons back to get wives (turning the hearts of the fathers towards the [possibility of] children). I wonder if Nephi’s exploring that thematic?

  15. Robert C. said

    Jenny W, wow, great thoughts, thanks.

  16. joespencer said

    Jenny, thanks a great deal for your reading of Lehi here. That is enormously helpful for my own thinking, this question of turning back to Lehi’s 1 Nephi 1 experience with the thematic of Second Isaiah in mind. (I deal rather extensively with 1 Nephi 1 in the first chapter of my book, but this possibility never occurred to me… and it very nicely explains the tensions bound up there.) It seems to me that this picture you’ve drawn up is vitally important for an approach to the foundation theology Lehi works out in 1 Nephi 10 as well, where Lehi prophesies rather vaguely about the coming of the Messiah and intertwines it with the first two or three verses of Isaiah 40… very interesting.

    About the children-fathers business… I’d like to think about that more. On the one hand, the tradition holds that Malachi was written subsequent to the Lehite departure from Jerusalem (a tradition perhaps confirmed by Jesus’ quotation of Malachi in 3 Nephi). But on the other hand, Nephi either quotes, anticipates, or shares a source with Malachi at a couple of points in 2 Nephi (though never Malachi 4:5-6…). Is there a reason here to begin to look at how the themes of Malachi 4:1, 5-6 might have been prevalent among the Nephites? I suppose you’ve provided us with one. Again, quite rich.

    And—if I might ask—am I right in assuming that I’m responding to the Jenny W. who participates in our unfortunate theological romps on LDS-HERM as well? :)

  17. cherylem said

    I agree – great thoughts. Thank you.

  18. JennyW said

    I’m glad it was helpful—and yes, I’m the same Jenny W., although calling my activity on the list “participation” is generous (I tend to be more comfortable lurking …). I agree that 1 Ne 10 is important in this context; Lehi’s Messianic prophecies all emphasize the universal nature of redemption (“a Savior of the world” v.4, “this Redeemer of the world” v.5, “all mankind” v.6, “take away the sins of the world” v. 10). It’s not until Lehi starts looking at the specific roles of the Gentiles and the House of Israel that we have the Savior’s relationship to Israel (via her remnants) mentioned in any detail (v.14).

    Looking at Nephi’s editorial comments in chapter 10 is interesting too. He begins by continuing the discussion of the purpose of the plates from chapter 9, and tells us that in order to “proceed with [his] account” of his “proceedings … reign and ministry” he “must speak somewhat of the things of [his] father.” Nephi can’t explain his understanding of his life and the gospel without talking about Lehi. Lehi’s position is foundational in every sense of the word. Which makes his relative textual absence (he’s there, but one has to hunt around a bit to put it together) in the Book of Mormon interesting. Especially when reading the small plates, we’re reading a text that, in one way at least, is de-centered. Nephi continually tells us that he’s not going to include all the words of his father, that he’s just picking out the very best, because he assumes that if we’re reading his words (Nephi’s), then we’ll also have access to those of his father (a just assumption, given the circumstances).

    That’s why I’ve been intrigued by what Nephi says about the words of his father–here in chapter 10, beyond verse 1, we also have verse 8 (“And much spake my father concerning this thing” [John the Baptist/Isa. 40/baptism are all possible “things” here]), verse 12 (“my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel”), and verse 15 (“after this manner of language did my father prophesy”). Nephi’s editorializing lets us know how much more Lehi explained and the way he used language (which is another interesting way to read Lehi, but this is long enough as is.)

    Regarding the possibility of the Malachi subtext, I hadn’t thought that comment out as thoroughly, and wasn’t necessarily tying it down to the specific text of Malachi, but rather just looking at the possibility of the theme in 1-2 Nephi, especially since it seems like the idea of “turning hearts towards ___” with its underlying tie to conversion/rebirth fits nicely into the typology of the universal Redeemer/redemption. I haven’t read anything on Nephi and Malachi sharing a source–could you explain a bit or point me towards an article if you have a second?

  19. joespencer said

    I want to take the time in the next couple of days (when, though?) to look carefully at this progression of thought in 1 Nephi 10. Your reading of 1 Nephi 1 liberates me from a reading of 1 Nephi 10 that I worked out some time ago, in which we are reading a text that bears only a trace of Lehi’s teachings (an outline at best) and a series of theological interpolations from Nephi. What I’m recognizing now is that while there may still be reason to see Nephi’s hand in the text at the level of supplied words and language, the theology may all be original to Lehi. But I’d like to take these two different models back to the text to see which picture matches up better with what we find there. Very promising.

    The key there, I think—since it seems to me I ought to get the most important card on the table—is Lehi’s rather ambiguous understanding of the timeframe for the return of the people to Jerusalem: read quite literally, at least in the first verse or two of the theology, Lehi would seem to have believed that a Messiah would come six hundred years after his departure to bring Judah back from Babylon… hardly a Christian Messiah. But as I say, you have provided a whole set of further clues.

    Again concerning Malachi: I don’t know whether I’ve ever come across anything helpful on Malachi in Nephi, I’m just remembering that Malachi 4:1-3 appears in bits and pieces in 2 Nephi 25-30 (a quick run through the footnotes in the Reader’s Edition of the Book of Mormon would provide the exact references). I know I’ve come across critical references, of course (Malachi in Nephi implies a nineteenth century production, they say…). But I think you’re quite right to be looking beyond the exegetical details here. Yerushalmi’s use of Malachi 4:5-6 in his Freud’s Moses is perhaps tied to my own argument (unfortunately buried in my still-in-manuscript-form book) that the Book of Mormon consistently forces a kind of reversal of the Oedipal drama. Hmmmm.

    More sometime soon.

  20. JennyW said

    Thanks for the Malachi info. And I second your search for extra time …

  21. carolineb said

    Wow. All these comments are like mother’s milk to me. Thank you for sharing-all of you! I NEVER comment, just browse, but as you are wanting additional insights or ideas to your post, I wondered if you had thought about looking into getting the text of the “lecture at the veil” that was once a part of our temple experience, but now ( due to time?) has been taken out. Perhaps this lecture ( written by joseph?) could open up more insights to the “veil” section of 2 nephi…. Just a thought. Once again–BRILLIANT stuff.

  22. joespencer said

    Caroline, thanks for the suggestion. I actually have on hand, and have read a number of times, the lecture at the veil (dictated by Brigham Young in 1877). I think one would be hard pressed to show many connections between the theology of Brigham’s lecture and the theology of 2 Nephi 31-33… maybe… but there certainly are connections between the current lecture (instruction) at the veil and what is at work in 2 Nephi 31-33. The parallel is so striking, in fact, that I’m now being shocked I hadn’t thought of it before. Thank you!

  23. carolineb said

    I have never read the lecture, just know of its existence–where can you find it? I would be interested in getting a copy. Also, I’d be very interested in your further comments about the connections between the instructions at the veil and 2 Nephi 31-33 when you get the chance to really explore that parallel–perhaps we can get some insight in a few weeks when the Sunday school lesson gets around to those chapters. Anyway- I read this post last night, and my head is still spinning–it’s REALLY great stuff, and helps me to realize that there is still so much more to uncover about the book of Mormon!! THANK YOU.

  24. joespencer said


    The lecture can be found in L. John Nuttall’s journal (he was the scribe to whom Brigham dictated the lecture), under the date of February 7th, 1877. It can be accessed in the Church archives, as well as in the BYU special collections, I’m told. It is also transcribed in full and contained on the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM. There is nothing too startling in it if you are at all familiar with Brigham’s teachings about Adam. If you are unfamiliar with Brigham’s teachings on the subject, it might be startling indeed!

    There is very little I’d feel overly comfortable with saying about the parallels I see between the current instruction at the veil and the content of 2 Nephi 31-33. Perhaps I’ll just suggest one reads 2 Nephi 31-33 with that lecture in mind: things are bound to jump out at you.

  25. nhilton said

    Joe, thank you so much for your “thinking” these chapters. There is so much in your post that I appreciated and will ponder on further.

    Specifically, I am directed by your last 3 paragraphs to consider the overall theme of pride and that cycle within the context of the Isaiah quotes and the BofM as a whole. David Rolph Seely does a good job of focusing on this theme in his contribution to the FARMS “Isaiah in the Book of Mormon” pg. 157-168. It seems that pride is the universal sin which withholds the available blessings emphasized by Nephi, Jacob and Isaiah.

  26. nhilton said

    Joe, #24: How does one access all or any of these sources for this lecture? Without getting in my car and going to the church archives or BYU special collections, how can I acquire this lecture?

  27. Joe, I’ve directed my Sunday School class to this post, as they study Isaiah, via my blog. I hope that’s o.k. with you.–Nanette

  28. joespencer said


    As for #27: very o.k.!

    As for #26: Again, the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM is a good source: the entire journal is on there and searchable (it runs about $200 and has many, many other books and resources, though one detects an obvious slant against “traditional” or “faithful” approaches…). I imagine it has been printed in full in a few publications as well. Since I have the Mormon Studies CD-ROM, I could probably be talked into cutting-and-pasting the lecture right into an e-mail message (though I know I couldn’t be talked into cutting-and-pasting it onto the blog itself). Like I said before: it is a kind of summary of Brigham’s teachings concerning Adam, teachings that unsettle some, outrightly offend others, have led some into fundamentalist groups, and which enthrall some. It is perhaps best approached with that in mind.

  29. Ben McGuire said

    When I taught this lesson, I spent quite a bit of time focused on chapter 9. What is interesting to me is that in verse 2:

    That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.

    There seems to be a couple of suggestions – that the Jews (which includes the Lehite migration on some level), will be restored to their lands of inheritance and ALL their lands of promise. At this point in time, the Nephites are in the wilderness, having been chased out of the land of their inheritance (in Alma and Mosiah it is referred to as the land of their first inheritance) and their land of promise by the Lamanites. And it seems to me in reading this text that this state of events is on the minds of the Nephites. So Jacob tells them that in the end their descendants will rejoice in the fulfillment of the covenant of the Lord when they are restored. The idea of a restoration then is not only of interest in terms of covenant Israel, but also in terms of their immediate situation of exile from their promised land.

    At this point, Jacob then takes this material idea of exile and restoration, and applies it to mortality. We are exiled from the presence of God, but eventually we will be redeemed and restored to that presence through the atonment (even if for some of us that stay is brief due to our condition and the judgment of God). Jacob reminds us of the creation narrative and the Garden of Eden – along with Adam and Eve’s eviction, and so on.

    Jacob returns to this idea in the Book of Jacob with he using Psalm 95 as the framework for his sermon there.

    I have always found Jacob to be one of the better (if not the best) writers in the Book of Mormon. He crafts language in a way that I admire.

  30. […] Book of Mormon, Lesson #8: 2 Nephi 6-10 […]

  31. Joe, where can I buy the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM?

    Additionally, having thought all day about your post here, referring to your “I think one would ultimately be very hard pressed to make a good case for that….the temple is, …a cosmic experience, one in which one’s individualistic subjectivity is disrupted by “universal” signs, symbols, dramas, etc.” The temple is indeed an individual experience as much as a cosmic one. Just as the atonement was cosmic in nature, it was also just as much individual. The 4-fold aspect of Nephi’s message is as individual as cosmic in that we each experience a creation, fall, atonement and veil on a day to day basis. It is just this beauty of the plan of salvation that is so divine: both for only one and every one.

  32. joespencer said

    Yes… though I would phrase the point differently. The cosmic experience of the temple is certainly individual, but in a way that it shatters individualism: in that it is, as you say, an individual experience, it breaks the boundaries of the individual. At the same time, the cosmic aspect of the endowment, because it is also individual, is questioned: rather than setting up some kind of equation between the individualistic and the cosmic, the endowment distracts the cosmic/individualistic distinction, drafts this difference into another cause.

    I’ve only seen two places online that sell the NMS CD-ROM, unfortunately: Signature Books and the Lighthouse Ministries website (one dedicated to demythologization of Mormonism, the other quite bluntly to anti-Mormonism). Does anyone know anywhere else that sells it?

  33. carolineb said

    If you could email me the lecture at the veil that would be fabulous– I don’t have the money right now for the big cd rom collection. And, of course you can’t detail out the similarities between the veil and the last chapters of nephi–in my excitement and haste I overlooked the nature of the information. Sorry! I wish we could have some sort of class in the temple like they used to!
    Thanks again-

  34. nhilton said

    Joe, I’d like that, too. sziznzgziznzgzbzrzuzszhz@hotmail.com is my e-mail w/o z’s. I looked all over the Signature Books website & couldn’t find it. Thanks!–nanette

  35. Robert C. said

    Me three! (You have my email.)

  36. Rebecca L said

    Me four if you have the patience. I’ve been intrigued by this since you mentioned it last year. rzebeczcaz@ztzhezlambzbzertzs.net without the z’s. Thanks!

  37. brianj said

    Joe–I really like your structuring of 1-2 Nephi and how Nephi uses discussion of his plates to mark the boundaries of each section. This should probably be a separate post, but I think it would be helpful to hash this out a bit more, looking at all of the times Nephi mentions his plates. For example, your 4-part structure sort of skips 1 Nephi 9, which is a detailed discussion of Nephi’s plates and marks the beginning of Nephi as a prophet and leader (as opposed to the obedient son of a prophet). What do you think: new post?

  38. joespencer said

    Brian, I might be able to be talked into that (though not for a week at least!). However, let me emphasize for now that I privilege 1 Nephi 19 over other discussions for a reason: it is only in this chapter that Nephi explicitly marks a breaking point in his text. With 1 Nephi 6, and again with 1 Nephi 9, as you point out, he discusses his writing of the texts, and he obviously effects breaks by these discussions, but it is only with 1 Nephi 19 that he talks about such a break. That separates out as more significant, in a sense, this one chapter, I think…

  39. joespencer said

    I received a phone call yesterday from our SS teacher who asked me to substitute teach for him today, and the lesson is… this one! I’ll post a few reactions later today (hopefully) about how things went. Hopefully: I’m speaking at a fireside tonight as well (I’ll be podcasting that for any interested at teachyediligently), and I began to come down with something yesterday!

  40. Chester Maikoski said

    If you could email me the lecture at the veil also I would really appreciate it! Like Caroline I don’t have the money for the cd rom. I ran across your blog this morning while researching 1 Nephi and have been astounded at the discussions and understanding it opens for me.
    cmaikoski@yahoo.com Thank you so much!

  41. joespencer said


    It’s in the mail! :)

  42. baccorso said

    Hi Sandy,
    How do I just send you a email. Please email me and then I will be able to send you mine. COMPUTERS……………
    Love you B

  43. Gentiles Will Be Led to Promised Land and Fulness of the Gospel…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  44. homecoming dress…

    […]Book of Mormon, Lesson #8: 2 Nephi 6-10 « Feast upon the Word Blog[…]…

  45. […] Joseph Smith Testify of His Prophetic Mission” (Joseph Smith Manual)homecoming dress on Book of Mormon, Lesson #8: 2 Nephi 6-10Karen on A Young Women’s Lesson—A Guest Post from ks at Beginnings NewSharla on A […]

  46. GlennB said

    Is this what most are looking for?

    Here follows Brigham Young’s early “lecture at the veil,” excerpted from Elder Nuttall’s Journal:

    In the creation the Gods entered into an agreement about forming this earth. & putting Michael or Adam upon it. these things of which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of godliness but they will enable you to understand the expression of Jesus made while in Jerusalem. This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. We were once acquainited [acquainted] with the Gods & lived with them but we had the privilige of taking upon us flesh that the spirit might have a house to dwell in. we did so and forgot all and came into the world not recollecting anything of which we had previously learned. We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve. how they were formed &c some think he was made like an adobie and the Lord breathed into him the breath of life. for we read “from dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” Well he was made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth. he was made just the same way you and I are made but on another earth. Adam was an immortal being when he came. on this earth he had lived on an earth similar to ours he had received the Priesthood and the Keys thereof. and had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation and was crowned with glory immortality and eternal lives and was numbered with the Gods for such he became through his faithfulness. and had begotten all the spirit that was to come to this earth. and Eve our common Mother who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world. and when this earth was organized by Elohim. Jehovah & Michael who is Adam our common Father. Adam & Eve had the privilege to continue the work of Progression. consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. and when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this Kingdom our earth he came to it. and slept and forgot all and became like an Infant child. it is said by Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took from his side a rib and formed the woman that Adam called Eve-this should be interpreted that the Man Adam like all other Men had the seed within him to propagate his species. but not the Woman. she conceives the seed but she does not produce it. consequently she was taken from the side or bowels of her father. this explains the mystery of Moses’s dark sayings in regard to Adam and Eve. Adam & Eve when they were placed on this earth were immortal beings with flesh. bones and sinews. but upon partaking of the fruits of the earth while in the garden and cultivating the ground their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings with the blood coursing through their veins as the action of life. Adam was not under transgression until after he partook of the forbidden fruit that was nesesary that they might be together that man might be. the woman was found in trans-gression not the Man- Now in the law of Sacrifice we have the promise of a Savior and man had the privilege and showed forth his obedience by offering of the first fruits of the earth and the firstlings of the flocks- this as a showing that Jesus would come and shed his blood
    [Four lines without any writing on them.]
    Father Adam’s oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family is Father Adams first begotten in the spirit World. who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written. (In his divinity he having gone back into the spirit World. and come in the spirit [glory] to Mary and she conceived for when Adam and Eve got through with their Work in this earth. they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit World from whence they came.
    I felt myself much blessed in being permitted to associate with such men and hear such instructions as they savored of life to me-

  47. That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
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