Saturday, August 24, 2019

Earnu

In The Fall of Gondolin accounts written by Tolkien, it is Voronwe who guides Tuor to Gondolin.  However, it is a person named Eanur or Earnu who played this role.  After the remains of Eanur are found, and Dyacom goes missing, the night of falling stones occurs, and some wonder whether Eanur had been set up by his own fellow Gondolindri, who apparently had never forgiven him for guiding Tuor to Gondlin.  Here is what Pengolodh says in Faithful:

And stones fell that night from the sky, so the trees were barren that bend with fruit, and the hives torn asunder, while the host of Onodrinlim and their guests cowered deep in the earth; lightening was sent forth by Ancient Ones, and some among the people wondered, dark in their hearts, whether Eanur had been by his own Gondolindri, captured and given as bait for a snare to net a bat, by ancient grudge being traded, if need be.  He it was who brought the man Tuor to the last realm; being commanded and forlorn, seeing in Tuor one esteemed by Osse and raised upon honor of Ulmo, Eanure was not housed by the little remnant of that people, though finding friendship among the host of the Grey in the mountain holes.

Pengolodh confirms, it seems, that Eanur/ Earnu played the same role that Tolkien laid out for Voronwe.

So, why the different names?

I think that they are discussing the same person, and what is going on is that this individual was known as Voronwe prior to his call from Ulmo to help Tuor, and was then known as Eanur/Earnu afterward (and, for some, this might have been a derogatory name given...).

Voronwe appears to mean something like 'Steadfast or Faithful', and likely was a good descriptor of this person's character.  It was likely one of the reasons that Ulmo chose him, knowing that he would be faithful in carrying out the mission Ulmo gave him.

Once given this mission and delivered Tuor to Gondolin, perhaps Voronwe came to be known as Eanur and Earnu.  'Ear' means 'sea, or great sea', and 'nu' means 'under or below'.  Daymon translated Earnu exactly like that in Words #17.  Interestingly, and in addition, the word Earnur means 'Servant of the Sea', with 'nur' being servant.  I can imagine Earnu as being a shortened, perhaps singular version of that name, and adding another  meaning to the name - Earnu being one cast up from the sea, but also a servant of the sea (Ulmo) in carrying out Ulmo's request.

This new name may not have been spoken of positively by all in Gondlin.  We learn in the quote from Faithful above, that when Izilba and Zhera' came to live with the Onodrinlim, that there was a remnant of Gondolindri living in that area as well, but that Earnu was not permitted to live with them, it seems.  Exiled from the exiles.  The animosity or grudge was so bad and apparent to the Onodrinlim that they openly wondered whether the Gondolindri were responsible for Earnu's death.  The distrust of Ulmo, and specifically the mission of Tuor, extended all the way back to the days of Gondolin when Tuor arrived.  They were wary of Tuor and mistrusted him and his mission, according to their own pride.  In Slumbered Pengolodh says:

... in its latter days, Gondolin and Gondolindri grew both wary of many portents – not least, the man Tuor’s arriving, bearing warning of Vala to hasten their way west, as in First Days, Retreating before the darkness consumes all lighted things – and also growing abundant pride, that here would maybe come in retreat, Ulmo, whom they loved, of little accounted his fore-vision; (who trusts water, that stone erodes?)

So great was their pride that they openly mocked Ulmo (a bit) suggesting that Gondolin was so strong that perhaps Ulmo himself would seek to find shelter and retreat with them (rather than the Gondolindrim fleeing to the west as Ulmo wanted them to).  But that pride was shattered when Gondolin fell, and one can perhaps imagine a few embittered souls (not all of them, though ,or maybe even most) living among the rocks and caves by the sea holding some amount of enmity toward Earnu, Tuor, Ulmo, and anybody else they could blame for the state of affairs and the fall of their city.  I want to make clear not all of them would have felt this way, since clearly there is at least one, a loremaster potentially, if not more, that speaks of the exiled Noldo's residency among the mountains of the Onodrinlim as a labor that was part of a larger story to perhaps once again see Gondolin restored.  That last part about Gondolin rising again I am inferring, but not with some justification.

In any case, Earnu's name may have been held for good and evil depending on the person - a faithful person who wast cast up from the deep and chosen for a mission by Ulmo to help deliver a message that was ultimately rejected.  Some of the survivors knowing him as that faithful servant to Ulmo, and perhaps others holding him as a traitor and cause of their city's destruction.  Thus to some Earnu would be recognized as a good name, and to others a name held in derision.

The thought of name changes as discussed above based on the role played came to me as I was thinking through that post on Mos'th, where I thought that Mos'th was probably known by another name prior to his mission with Israel.  He would come to be called Mos'th (Food and Drink) by Israel because of the role he played in giving them food and water.  I think Voronwe-Earnu is another case of this.

One additional point:  Interestingly, Pengolodh has adopted the sur-name of I-Earnu.  I am not aware of any other instance in Tolkien's writings where when Pengolodh is cited, that this additional name is also there.  Thus, I think it may be something he recently added, and potentially also relates to his mission.  Based on the translation above, and assuming 'I' means something like 'The', you could in its most basic form read that name as 'The Under-Sea', or as in the other translation that I highlighted above, 'The Servant of the Sea'.  One could potentially, then, see in this name additional context for what Pengolodh sees the words he has delivered to Daymon as doing.  Like Earnu of old, he is carrying out or fulfilling a mission to put in motion events that will, hopefully, lead to the eventual restoration of that same Gondolin that Ulmo had sought to save long ages before, and is perhaps working now to restore once again as part of the larger story that Jesus laid out to those at Bountiful.

It is an interesting thought, and one that not only gives additional context/ meaning to what Pengolodh is doing, but also ties in well with previous posts/ thoughts on the New Jerusalem and restoration of Old Jerusalem.

Gondolin was Pengolodh's city, too.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Heir of Aman

Ye are my disciples
and ye are a light unto this people,
which are a remnant of the house of Joseph.
And behold, this is the land of your inheritance,
and the Father hath given it unto you.

-- The Book of Nephi, the son of Nephi, which was the son of Helaman; The Book of Mormon


Wherefore the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built up upon this land,
and it shall be a land of their inheritance.

-- The Book of Ether; The Book of Mormon


Yet upon Yet upon Western Realm, entire, was rulership conveyed by grant to Zimrathon, and he, knowing the Right King, held it until passage to Zimulof-Nimloth, Joseph-Dior and Asenath Girl White Queen; and they too will in time obtain in gift, so it is foreseen, a Silmaril, to plant there, in a garden under their mountaintop domain; twice by passing, Joseph a third throne will take up, and one seated near Nimloth forever, forever, shall this land reborn, anew, never to fall or be taken away, save in memory, and seeds to bear in planting, far off;

-- Words of Them which have Slumbered


Just some thoughts/ hunches I am working through (and that seem to make sense in move the narrative forward) that relate to the concept of Joseph being an 'heir' of the promised land, or Aman...

As I have mentioned in previous posts, most recently the post on Melchizedek, but originally in a post several months ago on Irmo and Este (linked here), I believe that Dior-Joseph is the Vala Irmo/ Lorien, and that Nimloth-Asenath is the Vala Este.

Digging in further, I also now believe (as of today, I guess) that Irmo/Lorien is the son of Manwe and Varda, and that Este is the daughter of Aule and Yavanna.  The Valar being grouped  by family relations is nothing new - the final iteration in the published Silmarillion has the Valar all connected through marriage or being siblings.  However, in earlier iterations, Tolkien also was working through the notion that relationships among the Valar (or perhaps more accurately, the Ainur) might also be parent/child.  In the Book of Lost Tales, there existed the Valarindi, or the Children of the Valar.  Orome was originally conceived as one of these, being the son of Aule and Yavanna.   This was modified, however, and the concept sort of fell away, it seems.  However, I think there might be good justification in re-thinking whether Tolkien was wise to have done so, and Irmo/Lorien and Este are perhaps good reasons why.

In fact, in Este as originally conceived in Tolkien's stories, was not a Vala at all, but a 'chief of the Maia'.  This is an interesting fact, since the concept of the Children of the Valar seems to have morphed into beings such as the Maia in Tolkien's imagination.  In addition, among the 14 Valar that we have as the latest iteration, eight of them were called Aratar, or the 'Exalted'.  Both Irmo and Este were not among these eight, and one could potentially imagine this was so because they were children to those Aratar.

To potentially run the risk of going too far off into a tangent , and distraction (maybe way too far...but my thinking now has me going this way, so better to just briefly explore in this case, and then get back to the topic on hand...), I can imagine the list of Aratar actually modified from where it ended up upon Tolkien's death, to really only include 5 individuals - Manwe, Varda, Aule, Yavanna, and Ulmo.  In this scenario, the other Valar mentioned are actually children of the either Manwe-Varda or Aule-Yavanna.  As I imagine it, it would look something like this (highly speculative):

Children of Manwe and Varda:
  • Mandos
  • Irmo/Lorien
  • Nienna
  • Vana
  • Tulkas
Children of Aule-Yavanna
  • Orome
  • Nessa
  • Este
  • Vaire
Ulmo (no known spouse or children)


The above list doesn't have to be comprehensive (as in, there could be more children among the other Maia that would also be the children... the list could be bigger...).  And, or course, this assumes they have to be the children of just two couples.  I suppose it doesn't have to be this way.  Though, there is justification for how I have arranged things above.  I have kept sibling relationships (with the exception of Yavanna with both Vana and Orome, which can't be in the scenario I am describing above, I don't think) and spouse relationship intact.  Also, Tulkas arrived last of the Valar, accordin to the stories, and in the above I am imagining his 'arrival' in the form of a birth to Manwe and Varda.  Why not.

In imagining two primary families beginning the work of organizing Arda, I am also using the stories of both the Lehites and the Jaredites in their own colonization of lands as examples.  In both cases, the stories consisted of two primary families sailing across the waters to people new lands, with additional individuals and groups joining, either on the way or once arrived. The story of Arda might be similar, just on a bigger scale.  Or might not.

In any case, and coming back to Irmo and Este, I guess the point I am trying to make is that you could definitely have parent-child relationships among the Ainur, and that I believe both Irmo and Este were among these children.  I think this is so regardless if the list I threw together above is or is not accurate. For Este specifically, I don't think it is coincidence that her elven name, Nimloth, is the same name as the tree that Yavanna gave as a gift to the Numenoreans, and that Penolodh refers to her as the White Tree Girl.

Parent-child Valar relationships become an important point when considering why Joseph and Asenath received the land of Aman/ Valinor for his inheritance.  It is because Joseph, as Irmo, was in fact an heir of Manwe.  His later birth as Dior to Beren and Luthien (Manwe and Varda) in Middle-earth is important (and patterned after their relationship in Valinor), but even more critical to why Joseph, and not some other random person, was given this land was because it is quite literally his inheritance.  However, this is actually where my spur-of-the-moment children list above might complicate things, since why would Joseph and Asenath be the heirs and not one of the other couples in addition?  There might be a good reason, and will have to do some more thinking on it.  It would be much easier justify if, as in Middle-earth, Dior was an only child.  I don't know.

This is obviously something I am just thinking through real-time (and thus I am all over the place), and so perhaps to summarize and bring this to a close:  Joseph is Irmo, and Irmo is the son of Manwe.  Thus, he is the heir to Manwe's realm when Manwe passes that on.  Consequently, the land of Aman becomes an ineritance to Irmo-Joseph and his spouse Este-Asenath, and their 'House' or descendants.  It is these set of relationships that Jesus, Ether, and others have in mind when they speak of Joseph's descendants having an inheritance, forever, on the promised land.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Bread and Wine of Jesus

And it came to pass that he commanded the multitude
that they should cease to pray, and also his disciples.
And he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts.
And he commanded them that they should should arise and stand up upon their feet.
And they arose up and stood upon their feet.
And it came to pass that he brake bread again
and blessed it and gave to the disciples to each.
And when they had eat,
he commanded them that they should break bread
and give unto the multitude.
And when they had given unto the multitude,
he also gave them wine to drink
and commanded them that they should give unto the multitude.
Now there had been no bread neither wine
brought by the disciples, neither by the multitude.
But he truly gave unto them bread to eat, and also wine to drink.
And he saith unto them:
He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to their soul.
And he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to their soul.
And their soul shall never hunger nor thirst but shall be filled.

Now when the multitude had all eat and drank,
behold, they were filled with the Spirit.
And they did cry out with one voice
and gave glory to Jesus, whom they both saw and heard.

-- The Book of Nephi, son of Nephi, which was the son of Helaman; The Book of Mormon


I think most readers (at last this was the case with me) of the Book of Mormon have viewed both 'sacraments' that Jesus instituted at Bountiful - one each on the first and second days - as largely the same thing, perhaps simply separated by one being before and the other after baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, and thus the experience being so much more profound on the 2nd day following those things.  But this is not correct, one reason being that the multitude still actually remains unbaptized on the second day.  The other, and more interesting/ important, reason is that what is being served - the bread and wine - is something totally different, and this is actually attested to by Jesus' own words.

On the first day, the bread and wine were provided by the disciples themselves.  These were in turn blessed, and a ritual was established around eating and drinking that, acccording to Jesus, fulfilled a commandment of the Father.  The commandment , from the Father, was for them to eat and drink in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus, as a witness to the Father that the people would keep Jesus' commandments.  Nowhere in Jesus' words does he say that the bread and wine themselves are special.  Rather, it is the act of eating and drinking as part of a ritual that gives this 'thing' or performance some power, very similar, in my mind, to the other commandment of the Father regarding baptism.  A certain ritual is commanded to be done by the Father, and by commanding it, power is given to it.  It is this ritual that Jesus tells the disciples must be done by all who believe and have been baptized, and it is what Moroni later summarizes for future Lamanites as to what was done among these people after Jesus' departure.

What is done on the 2nd day, however, is not the same.  Perhaps after witnessing the faith of the people, Jesus decides to give them the real deal, the thing that what was done on the 1st day, and that will be done thereafter according to the commandment, partially symbolizes.  I don't know for sure.  What I do know is there is no ritual around the bread and wine this time.  Yes, there is a blessing, but no commandment, no reminder of eating in remembrance of Jesus, no additional thoughts on who and who not to give this to.  It is only to the bread and wine themselves - what they are - that Jesus speaks.  It is not the ritual involving them that is special, but those things themselves.  Jesus clearly says that those who eat this bread 'eateth of my body' and likewise of the wine and his blood.  This bread - meaning, this specific bread.  This seems to go beyond only being about symbolism and ritual, or things done 'in remembrance'.

This notion of the bread and wine themselves being special is reinforced by Mormon's careful observation that, unlike the first day, this bread and wine were not brought by the disciples or the multitude.  They were provided by Jesus, having either been brought by him or the angels that were then ministering among the disciples.

This begins to make more sense or become part of a larger story when viewed within the context of where Jesus said he was going between the 1st and 2nd day - to the Father and the Lost Tribes.  As discussed in previous posts, this means that Jesus went to Valinor and to Eressea, which had been removed from the earth, but, as Jesus is about to teach these people, will return once again.  It is on Eressea, then, or even Valinor, I guess, that he would have obtained this bread and wine.

In Faithful, we have an interesting description from Pengolodh of bread and wine/mead that existed on Eressea and which Asenath ate and drank:

... she [Asenath] was borne across the way to Eressëa and there maintained her house, alone of mortals there. Thus she was of the fall of your flesh much redeemed, and healed; being renewed upon the land, for our bread is leavened of the lilies that long ago drank up the light blessed, castabout the Magic Trees Remembered; and our mead comes of their nectar, a syrup golden, of which your honey holds but a distant, faint shape, or sound. Fed our food, the body of Asenath became well, and sickened not, neither aged, yet it was guessed that death these delights may not forestall forever, and she would pass into the night, wither all men depart.

Whether this was the exact same bread and wine that Jesus would have brought to those at Bountiful, I cannot say for sure.  But I use Asenath's story, and Pengolodh's remarks about the food that is eaten on Eressea, as an example to reinforce this idea that Jesus brought food with him that in and of itself had special properties.

Whether additional stores were ever brought and shared afterward, Mormon never says.  It may be that this was the one time that 'magical' food was shared with these people, giving them a taste of what they eat in 'heaven'.  Why did Jesus bring it?  It seems in response to their faith, and again I wonder as mentioned briefly above, whether Jesus this one time made real what the earlier ritual symbolized.  But, I think also, it is immediately after this magical feast that Jesus begins teaching them of the gathering of Israel, and specifically the establishment of the New Jerusalem.  In my opinion, Jesus is perhaps tying these together, showing them the food that is eaten by those blessed individuals who will return, and thus what will be shared with the remnant at Bountiful again when that happens.

In the meantime, or before that time comes, I guess, the remnant (at least the descendants of the remnant...) and those who wish to be numbered among them will be baptized and eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus, as a ritual with power, before then being received in the New Jerusalem, where the real things that these rituals of power symbolize will occur - people baptized in light, truth, and love, and eating - feasting on - food that is made to heal and make whole.

One other point that has me thinking that perhaps the bread and wine that Jesus brought is the same thing the Pengolodh is talking about.  Pengolodh mentions the the bread and wine of Eressea is comprised of the light of the Two Trees, by way of the lillies that drank up the light, and the nectar of those lillies.  This light was, I believe, brought into Arda by Varda, it being Jesus/Eru's own light.  Thus, when Jesus says this bread and wine were his body and blood, it is, in a very real sense, so.  Jesus' light, filling this food, that when eaten and drunk by someone, fills that soul with his light.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Why Jesus isn't in the Silmarillion...

The Book of Mormon and the Bible (particularly the New Testament) have numerous stories about Jesus, including stories of his manifestations to the various people found in the those records (whether portrayed accurately or not...).

The Silmarillion, however, does not have really any reference to Jesus.  The closest thing, in my opinion, that gets to a story of Jesus actually doesn't even come from the Silmarillion as published.  It comes rather from the History of Middle Earth, in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, where Finrod and Andreth seem to arrive at a mutual understanding that it must be necessary for Eru Iluvatar to enter his own creation in order to save it from Morgoth (which Tolkien also noted might be perceived as 'too like a parody of Christianity').

Our situation is that we need to take the Book of Mormon and wrest if from much of the fiction/ incorrect traditions of the Bible, and then reframe it in the context of the stories that we learn of in the Silmarillion and other related writings.  This has and will prove problematic for people.  The bible, on the surface at least, seems a much better companion to the Book of Mormon, again due to the stories of Jesus as well as other stories and traditions mentioned in both books.  The Silmarillion and other Tolkien writings, with no mention of Jesus, seems like a poor, if not crazy, substitute.

I won't discuss all the problems inherent in trying to change up the relationship of these books relative to each other... I think I have experienced many of them over the past couple of years.   But I think it is worthwhile to address the notion that the absence of Jesus (explicitly) in Tolkien's writings is problematic, and I think Jesus' own words help make the case that it shouldn't be.

When teaching those at Bountiful of his other sheep (which as I have written in my other posts, I associate with those Eldar/ elves who were taken up from the earth), Jesus says this:

And verily verily I say unto you
that I have other sheep which are not of this land
neither of the land of Jerusalem,
neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
For they of which I speak are they which have not as yet heard my voice,
neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them
and that they shall hear my voice and shall be numbered among my sheep,
that there may be one fold and one shepherd.
Therefore I go to shew myself unto them.

Jesus makes it clear that the people he will be visiting have not yet heard his voice, and that at no time in the past has he ever manifested himself to them.  Whatever stories these people have, Jesus and his manifestations will not be among them, at least specifically.  I think this fits fairly well the situation that Finwe's House, and all of the other elves of Middle-earth, found themselves in in the first ages of the earth as written in the Silmarillion.  The Gods or Powers they knew, at least those Eldar who had dwelt among them in Valinor, but of Eru/ Jesus, his mind and will for them, they only knew of through the Father (Manwe).  Once separated from him in Middle-earth, they are left to remember what they once learned there in their stories, but it seems very few additional teachings relative to Eru are received, with significant gaps as to how the story will unfold and what Eru's plans are for them.  For example, the Eldar remain in doubt even as to what their ultimate fate will be, not knowing from the Father what will happen to them once the earth passes away - will there still be a place for them in Eru's creations?

In the tale mentioned earlier, the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, it is Andreth who tells Finrod of the tale that had been told to Men regarding the One, Eru's, entering Arda to redeem it.  Finrod confesses that this tale has not been told to the Elves.

'What then was this hope, if you know?' Finrod asked.

 'They say,' answered Andreth: 'they say that the One will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end. This they say also, or they feign, is a rumor that has come down through years uncounted, even from the days of our undoing.'

The knowledge of Jesus, in the form at least of the Eru coming into Arda, was known to Men, at least some of them, from soon after their Fall.  This would align well with the words of those like Alma who taught that after the fall, God sent angels to tell Men of their fate and of the plan of redemption.

After then saying that anything the Eldar know of Eru they have learned from the Valar, Finrod also tells Andreth that this notion of Eru entering into Arda to redeem it and its inhabitants is something that was never taught to the Eldar:

'Then, lord,' said Andreth, and she looked up in wonder, 'you believe in this Hope?'

 'Ask me not yet,' he answered. 'For it is still to me but strange news that comes from afar. No such hope was ever spoken to the Quendi. To you only it was sent. And yet through you we may hear it and lift up our hearts.' He paused a while, and then looking gravely at Andreth he said: 'Yes, Wise-woman, maybe it was ordained that we Quendi, and ye Atani, ere the world grows old, should meet and bring news one to another, and so we should learn of the Hope from you.'

Given that the Silmarillion is comprised primarily of tales collected and told by the Elves (though admittedly then also passed down and re-recorded/re-framed by Men in many instances), it shouldn't really be a surprise that these stories don't tell us a whole lot about Jesus.  The simple reason is, just as Jesus said, that these people have not yet heard his voice, thus we shouldn't expect to see him (in this form, at least) in those writings.

This is the reason that Jesus goes to show himself to them, at the request of the Father.  These Eldar, including the Lost Tribes of Finwe's House, had hope or Estel through the first ages of the earth that Eru would not leave them without redemption, and Jesus will go an show them that this hope was not in vain.

Does this make Tolkien's writings any less necessary or any less 'Christian', the fact that we have a collection of writings dating from before these Eldar knew Jesus or were manifested to by him?  I don't think so.  In fact, they begin to fill critical voids and unravel untruths which the Great and Abominable Church laid in their syndication of an altered, and 'loathsome', bible.  What makes the bible something that the Eldar, and Pengolodh specifically, calls loathsome?  Certainly not the teachings of Jesus.  We learn enough in the Book of Mormon to suggest that the basics of what Jesus is teaching as captured in the Bible is close enough in many instances to not create too many difficulties there (at least in many aspects).   For example, the fact that Jesus' manifestation at Bountiful starts with baptism and contains a form of the Sermon on the Mount leads me to believe that many of Jesus' words were preserved sufficiently enough to be of benefit to Men.  The Great and Abominable Church didn't work by stripping those words out completely, or altering them as to be totally unrecognizable (though we seem to have a pretty corrupted story, nonetheless...).  That would have been too obvious, maybe... too false, and thus a fake more easily detected.  Rather, I think, it altered, and completely destroyed in many cases, the context under which Jesus' words and works were performed as they relate to the larger story of creation and our place in it.  And by context I mean a proper understanding of the creation of the world, its purpose, how Men and elves came to be and what they were here for, how that was altered and the fallen circumstances we found ourselves in as a result, the promises and covenants that have been made to individuals and groups, and, importantly, who the God we are asked to worship actually is.  These have been obscured as to become unrecognizable, and so leaves Jesus' story (what we have of it) in a sort of vacuum.

This is important because it seems that one important element in all of this is having a proper understanding of things as they were, are, and will be - of truth.  Moroni's promise to the Lamanites at the end of the Book of Mormon emphasizes that they remember and ponder in their hearts how merciful the Lord has been from the creation of Adam.  But one must be able to have this story or knowledge of the creation in order to ponder it.

Mormon says that after Ammon teaches Lamoni about the nature of God, he then begins with a history lesson of sorts, starting with the creation of the world:

Now when Ammon had said these words,
he began to the creation of the world,
and also to the creation of Adam,
and told him all the things concerning the fall of man
and rehearsed and laid before him
the records and the holy scriptures of the people,
which had been spoken by the prophets
even down to the time that their father Lehi left Jerusalem.

After also teaching Lamoni this, Ammon also teaches of the true state or history of the Lamanites, starting with Laman and Lemuel and their own rebellion.  He then concludes by teaching of the plan of redemption, including the coming of Christ.  After learning these things, Lamoni believed all of these words, and (just as Moroni promised a later group of Lamanites) is born again after remembering and asking for Jesus' mercy:

And it came to pass that
after he had said all these things and expounded them to the king
that the king believed all his words.
And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying:
O Lord, have mercy!
According to thy abundant mercy
which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi,
have upon me and my people!
And here is how it worked out for Lamoni in terms of God's mercy:

Now this was what Ammon desired,
for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God.
He knew that the dark veil of unbelief being cast away from his mind,
and the light which did light up his mind,
which was the light of the glory of God,
which was a marvelous light of his goodness
- yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul,
the cloud of darkness having been dispelled,
and the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul -
yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame
and he was carried away in God.

Knowing about Jesus without understanding the larger story beginning with creation, including the nature of God, I do not believe would have created the same opportunity for belief that Lamoni experienced.  And I think it is the same today. maybe - we are in a state of unbelief due to the stories that are important to understand having been altered or taken away.  The Bible gives us a limited story of Jesus, but something that perhaps remains abstract and incomplete, in a way, when severed from the story of how things were and will be again.

The Silmarillion, Slumbered, Faithful, and other writings restore these stories.  While the Eldar did not have exposure to Jesus in the stories of the Silmarillion, and so we should not expect them to write specifically about him in that capacity, they did record as best they could the creation, the works of the Father and the 'apostles' of Jesus, the many tragedies of their history, and the hope they had of future redemption.  The understanding of these things, I think and in my experience, can grow together with the stories of the Book of Mormon, where there are many teachings and manifestations of Jesus, to create a better story - one that creates belief, hope, and charity.




Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Fall (and Rise) of Gondolin

Then said the king: 'Great is the fall of Gondolin', and men shuddered, for such were the words of Amnon the prophet of old; but Tuor speaking wildly for ruth and love of the king cried: 'Gondolin stands yet, and Ulmo will not suffer it to perish!' Now they were at that time standing, Tuor by the Trees and the King upon the Stairs, as they had stood aforetime when Tuor spoke the embassy of Ulmo.  But Turgon said: 'Evil have I brought upon the Flower of the Plain in despite of Ulmo, and now he leaveth it to wither in the fire.  Lo! hope is not more in my heart for my city of loveliness, but the children of the Noldoli shall not be worsted for ever.'

Then did the Gondothlim clash their weapons, for many stood nigh, but Turgon said: 'Fight not against doom, O my children! Seek ye who may safety in flight, if perhaps there be time yet: but let Tuor have your lealty.'  But Tuor said: 'Thou art king', and Turgon made answer: 'Yet no blow will I strike more', and he cast his crown at the roots of Glingol.  Then did Galdor who stood there pick it up, but Turgon accepted it not, and bare of head climbed to the topmost pinnacle of that white tower that stood nigh his palace.  There he shouted in a voice like a horn blown among the mountains, and all that were gathered beneath the Trees and the foemen in the mists of the square heard him:  'Great is the victory of the Noldoli!'  And it is said that it was then middle night, and that the Orcs yelled in derision.

-  The Fall of Gondolin, JRR Tolkien


It is Gondlin that I view as the Jerusalem of old that will be restored.  The victory that Turgon shouts from the white tower will be when these Eldar return and build the city once again, far in the future from Turgon's day.  He saw this through prophesy, through what Huor called 'the eyes of death'.

In this yet-to-be-achieved victory, the evil forces that will now, temporarily, subdue Gondolin and scatter its inhabitants, will at that day be removed, and Gondolin will be rebuilt.  Where once only images of the Trees were 'made' in the court of Turgon (in likeness of the gold and silver Trees of Valionr) perhaps (at least as I like to imagine it) a Silmaril will be planted there, to match what will apparently be planted in the New Jerusalem, and fulfilling the prophesy carved into Durin's Door of two trees, perhaps - one in the New Jerusalem, and one in the Old, with another shining on both of them from the sky.   Also, once almost barren of children in its last days, Gondolin's children will now be numerous, and 'all [their] children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of [their] children'.

As Turgon also foresaw, this victory will not come through arms.  With this sight, Turgon vowed to never again strike a blow, and so these that will build up Jerusalem will also never have to fight, or will be those who choose not to, having promises of God's protection, being a city founded and maintained in love and peace.

Ulmo led Turgon to the Vale of Tumladen to establish Gondolin for a reason, I think, and it wasn't for it to be and remain destroyed, nor was it solely so that Earendil could be born (that could have happened elsewhere, I think).  This was the land of their inheritance, at least part of it - from the beginning.  A land that would, more than any other in Middle-earth, stand against darkness (even if it was a city on a hill that was hidden... an interesting thing to also think about in light of Jesus' words on this subject...).  A land that Ulmo, above all other Valar, wanted to see the Eldar remain and be protected in, and the land that they will receive once again.

I also don't think that Morgoth decided to build Hell-Udun on top of Gondolin for light reasons, either - it wasn't just out of spite he did that, but perhaps also in an effort to prevent Gondolin from ever being built again, knowing what that would mean for his ultimate fate should that happen, according to prophecies that he must not have been completely ignorant of.  It was also perhaps done in mockery to keep the souls of captured Eldar prisoners in the land that should have been theirs, now turned into a nightmare.

But, as Turgon saw, victory will be for Israel, and Jerusalem-Gondolin will be rebuilt, the captives will go free, the devil (Melkor and his servants) will be bound, and righteousness, joy, and light will flood the earth, with all of its inhabitants at-oned with both Jesus and God the Father.

Great is the victory of the Noldoli...

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Jerusalem of Old

And he [Ether] spake also concerning the house of Israel,
and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come -
after that it should be destroyed it should be built up again,
a holy city unto the Lord;
wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old;
but it should be built up again,
and become a holy city of the Lord;
and it should be built unto the house of Israel.

...

Wherefore the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built up upon this land,
and it shall be a land of their inheritance.
And they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord like unto the Jerusalem of old.
And they shall no more be confounded until the end come,
when the earth shall pass away.
And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth;
and they shall be like unto the old,
save the old have passed away and all things have become new.

And then cometh the Jerusalem of old;
and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they,
for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb;
and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth,
and from the north countries,
and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant
which God made with their father, Abraham.

And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith,
there are they who were first, who shall be last;
and there are they who were last, who shall be first.

-- The Book of Ether; The Book of Mormon


It is after the New Jerusalem, according to the timeline that both Jesus and Ether prophecied about, that the city 'like unto the Jerusalem of old' shall be built - something different than the New Jerusalem.  The excerpt above, part of which has been included in my other posts regarding the New Jerusalem, is from Moroni's summation of Ether's words, where he says that it is after the coming of the New Jerusalem, that the old Jerusalem will come again, or in other words, be built again.

Jesus also teaches this, that the old Jerusalem will be built again when he is with those at Bountiful.  After teaching the people about the New Jerusalem, he then says this about the restoration or redemption of Jerusalem, and those that will inhabit it.  He says this:

And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people;
and I have covenanted with them
that I would gather them together in mine own due time,
that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance,
which is the land of Jerusalem,
which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father.

And it shall come to pass that the time cometh,
when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;
and they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice,
and with the voice together shall they sing;
for they shall see eye to eye.

Then will the Father gather them together again,
and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.

Then shall they break forth into joy -
Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem;
for the Father hath comforted his people,
he hath redeemed Jerusalem

Jesus also taught, just as Ether had prophesied before, that it is Joseph's house, his remnant, that will inherit the New Jerusalem, but it is those that were scattered, and in the 'north countries', taken away, that will ultimately inherit and rebuild Jerusalem, as was promised to them.

So, here is what I am thinking happens, to present a simplified (maybe) narrative of the gathering and establishment of both the New Jerusalem and Jerusalem 'of old':

The remnant of Joseph, and those gentiles who will assist them, gather to build a holy city somewhere in the western hemisphere.  There they are baptized, just as those at Bountiful were, and just as what happened there, Jesus and angels will descend and be among them.  Only this time it will be with the 'Powers' and with lands and people that departed - the lost tribes.  Valinor and Eressea, then, return to this city built up and create a New Jerusalem.  It is here that the Father - Michael/ Manwe - will also be, and it is here that those gathered, washed clean, and holy will receive a fulness of Jesus' gospel, and be at-oned with both the Father and Jesus.  At this point a great work will commence, led by the Father, where those of the New Jerusalem will gather as many as will come to live with them, receiving the same blessings.  A great division is then caused on the earth and among the people, between those who choose to live in peace, light, and love with God and Jesus at the New Jerusalem, and the rest of the earth that will be turned over to unbelief, hate, war, etc. (hopefully not many of these?).

But the redemption of the earth will be total, and unlike when in days of old Valinor was a light shining while the rest of the world was in darkness, the stakes of Zion must be enlarged to cover the whole earth.  Consequently, at some time after all have gathered to the New Jerusalem, things will be ready for those who have been promised the lands of Jerusalem to depart from the New Jerusalem to go and rebuild that city.  Israel's redemption will be global and complete, then - with those numbered among Joseph's remnant inhabiting the New Jerusalem in the West, and others of Finwe's House rebuilding what was lost in the East.  I think you can read 3 Nephi 22, the words of Isaiah, as pretty much describing part of that event:  Finwe's House breaking forth in singing, off to enlarge the stakes of Zion and to rebuild what was destroyed, to live forever in peace.  Try reading that chapter in the context of the narrative I am going through right now, and I think it could be interesting.   Not only restored to their lands, but now being blessed with children to inhabit those lands again, where for a long time the Eldar/ Finwe's House were barren.  They will now have children, again, to be brought up in peace forever.

This House of Israel once departed the Father's presence before, as described in the Silmarillion, to occupy the lands of Jerusalem in exile and shame, having made oaths and participated in rebellion that left them separated from God.  Having later been partially redeemed on Eressea, they will now, after fully reuniting with God and each other at the New Jerusalem, go back out once again.  This time, however, their departure will not be in exile or shame, but in glory and light, singing songs of redemption and love.  They will rebuild the waste cities in the East (and I am thinking of one in particular, but that is maybe for another post to explore, or else I will take too many tangents), and Aule-Abraham, who along with Ulmo has always loved this house, will once again take up rulership of that land, according to the covenant, along with, I presume, Yavanna.  Joseph/ Irmo and Asenath/ Este will be in the New Jerusalem in the West, all under the light and love of God and Jesus.  Trees of light will once again grow, but not just from Aman/ New Jerusalem as before, but also from Jerusalem.  Where Jesus/ Eru's light once covered only a portion of the earth as trees planted in Valinor, it will now flood the whole earth in the West and in the East, 'breaking forth on the right hand and on the left'.  There will be left no room for darkness, and all the inhabitants of the earth will live in peace and happiness.

Those that were first are now last, in their redemption to their lands of promises, but all things are new and better.

This is the story, I guess in a nutshell, that is roughly going through my head at the moment.





Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Lost Tribes and the New Jerusalem

And verily verily I say unto you
that I have other sheep which are not of this land
neither of the land of Jerusalem,
neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
For they of which I speak are they which have not as yet heard my voice,
neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them
and that they shall hear my voice and shall be numbered among my sheep,
that there may be one fold and one shepherd.
Therefore I go to shew myself unto them.

--  The (Third) Book of Nephi, the son of Nephi; The Book of Mormon


In Jesus' words to those at Bountiful regarding the lost tribes/ sheep, I think he is inferring in his comments regarding them not being in the promised land or Jerusalem, or any lands around, that they are no longer on the earth.

This inference becomes a little more clear or concrete when looking at what Jesus says a little later to these same people about visiting them and the Father:

But now I go unto the Father,
and also to shew myself unto the lost tribes of Israel -
for they are not lost unto the Father,
for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.

So, a few things here.  First, Jesus confirms, I think, here and in the last excerpt that these tribes are in one place - he talks about them in that sense... rather than multiple visits to scattered groups and individuals all around, he is going to go to where they have been led to.  That leads to the second observation, is that the Father has led them away and he knows where he has taken them... thus, they are not lost to him.  Third, and perhaps most interesting, is that going to the lost tribes seems to be a trip that coincides with going to the Father... as in, the lost tribes are closer to where the Father currently resides, and thus bundled as part of that visit, rather than being somewhere else on earth where Jesus would visit before then going to the Father.  That is, Jesus ascended to heaven to visit both the Father and the lost tribes.

This view, that the the lost tribes of Israel have been taken from the earth and up to the heavens somewhere makes sense if we assume that by Israel we mean Finwe's House, and that these particular lost tribes are in fact the Noldor, Finwe's people, that lived on Tol Eressea.  As we read of both in the Silmarillion and Slumbered, Aman and Eressea were both taken away from the earth, along with their inhabitants.

From the Silmarillion:

But the land of Aman and Eressea of the Eldar were taken away and removed beyond the reach of Men for ever... and the world was diminished, for Valinor and Eressea were taken from it into the realm of hidden things.

And from Slumbered:

And when he was finished, to Ki-Abroam he returned that ax, and Eru tied a rope about his strong body, and so wrapped, pulled away the land of Exiled Elves, into the Realm of Hidden Things, and also he lifted in wonder the whole of Valinor, and set it beside the Exiled; there to abide, neighborly, twain exiles, where gathered then all to hear the promises of Earendel, uttered as the Colossus, one foot among the Living Gods, and the other stretched upon the crumbled meadows where once his father Tuor rested awhile, awaiting the Bath of Fire, and the issuance of his spouse therefrom, cleansed and scrubbed of grief, but not of loving kindness, nor mercy for her children who here remain, as a whole world, lost. ​“We shall return, and visit to look upon their griefs,” he stated plainly, “to do what Eru will, in furtherance of His Mind’s Unrolling, though a long while remains for us to abide, before we come again, and there remain, for all time.”

Broken utterly - Israel and the earth, with the portion of Finwe/Israel's house lost to earth as they are taken up (with a portion of their land) to the heavens, with the other portion of Israel left down below on earth in various forms/ situations, here to wait for a time for some future at-onement, when those that are lost are found and return.  But the lost tribes are not lost to the Father because, as Pengolodh suggests in Slumbered, they were raised to the heavens to be somewhat next to each other.  This is why Jesus tells those at Bountiful that he is going to visit both the Father and the lost tribes as he ascends to heaven, and why the tribes are not lost to the Father... because they are near each other.

It is these lands, and these inhabitants, that will return one day, truly becoming one fold as they reunite with those left on earth that will have built a city in faith that Jesus' promises will be fulfilled.  That promise being Finwe's House reunited in a New Jerusalem established on the Promised Land with God and Jesus in their midst, which will start God's great work to gather and redeem as many as will come to live in peace and light.

This teaching, by the way, that the lost tribes were removed from the earth but will one day return used to be, from what I understand, fairly prevalent in Mormonism, from Joseph Smith's day and through the decades that followed.  However, very few, if any, of these teachings have survived into modern correlated Mormon curriculum, perhaps being viewed as some wild guesses/ teachings that seem out of place (i.e., impossible or crazy) in our day.  In fact, I think current church curriculum emphasizes almost the opposite of what I have been laying out here... that is, the curriculum seems to emphasize that the tribes are not in one body, but scattered, and that they are all still on this earth.  But I think this change, or at least this de-emphasis on these earlier views, is a mistake, obviously, even when just looking at Jesus' words to those at Bountiful alone, but particularly when considered and understood with the stories/ mythologies of both Joseph Smith and Tolkien.

Here are some samples of what I mean when we read of early Mormon history and what their conjectures/ understanding of the lost tribes of Israel entailed.  Some/ many of these are quotes of people's recollections of Joseph's teachings (hearsay), but there are enough of them that they warrant at least some thoughtful consideration.  I am only listing a few here, but there are several more.

"President Young said he heard Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth."
-- Journal of Wilford Woodruff

“The evening was spent in conversing upon the subject of the Ten tribes in the North Country…. [A] potion of the North Country Containing the ten tribes may be separated from the Earth. O[rson] Hyde & others believed they would soon return.”
-- Journal of Wilford Woodruff

“The Prophet Joseph [Smith] once in my hearing advanced his opinion that the Ten Tribes were separated from the Earth; or a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off, and that the Ten Tribes were taken away with it, and that in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions. Whether the Prophet founded his opinion upon revelation or whether it was a matter of mere speculation with him, I am not able to say.”
-- Orson Pratt, Letter to John C. Hall, 1875

He [Franklin W. Richards] said that the ten tribes of Israel were separated from the earth - so Joseph Smith had said.
-- Rudger Clawson diary, 1892

“I heard Joseph Smith preach baptism for the dead…. I heard him say, ‘the Ten Tribes were not on this globe, but a portion of this earth had cleaved off with them and went flying into space, and when the time comes when the “earth reels to and from like a drunken man and the stars from heaven fall,” it would join on again.'”
-- Bathseeba Smith, Recollections, 1892

"I heard the Joseph the Prophet say that he had seen John the revelator and had a long conversation with him, whom told him that he John was their leader, prophet, priest, and king, and said that he was preparing that people to return and further said there is a mighty host of us. And Joseph further said that men might hunt for them but they could not find them for they were upon a portion of this planet that had been broken off and which was taken away. And the sea rushed in between Europe and America, and that when that piece returns there would be a great shake; the sea would then move to the north where it belonged in the morning of creation."
--Daniel Allen, Parowan School of the Prophets, 1872

“When the world was first made it was a tremendous big thing. The Lord concluded it was too big. We read in the scriptures that in the days of Peleg the earth was divided so the Lord divided the earth. When the ten tribes of the children of Israel went into the north country he divided it again, so the earth has been divided and subdivided. We also read in the scriptures that the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man. What shall cause this earth to reel to and fro like a drunken man? We read that the stars shall fall to the earth like a fig falling from a fig tree. When these stars return to the place where they were taken from, it will cause the earth to reel to and fro. Not that the planets will come squarely against one another, in such case both planets would be broken to pieces. But in their rolling motion they will come together where they were taken from which will cause the earth to reel to and fro.”
-- Samuel Holister Journal, recorded words of Joseph Smith at Vincent Knight's home, 1840 

And lastly, Eliza R. Snow wrote a hymn that was part of the LDS church hymnal from 1856 to 1912 (these dates are according to Joseph Fielding McConkie, from a speech that was honestly the only place I could also find the full text, though it was alluded to and quoted in several other sources).  

Thou, Earth, was once a glorious sphere
Of noble magnitude,
And didst with majesty appear
Among the worlds of God.
But thy dimensions have been torn
Asunder, piece by piece,
And each dismember'd fragment borne
Abroad to distant space.
When Enoch could no longer stay
Amid corruption here,
Part of thyself was borne away
To form another sphere.
That portion where his city stood
He gain'd by right approv'd;
And nearer to the throne of God
His planet upward moved.
And when the Lord saw fit to hide
The "ten lost tribes" away,
Thou, Earth, wast sever'd to provide
The orb on which they stay.
And thus, from time to time, thy size
Has been diminish'd still
Thou seemest the law of sacrifice
Created to fulfill.

So, like I said, probably some quotes that people aren't hearing too much these days as they sit in Sunday School.

The upside here, of course, is that Mormons do not need to run from these quotes or distance themselves from them as some embarrassment or misguided guessing.  These teachings and guesses can be explored further when understood against the backdrop of the stories found in the Silmarillion, Slumbered, and Faithful.

Of course, the downside is you would have to embrace a whole different kind of crazy by actually believing that those stories are true, so there is that...

No free lunch, I guess.