Saturday, November 9, 2019

Healing

But unto you that fear my name
shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings
And ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.

-- 3 Nephi, The Book of Mormon


Just thinking about this a bit lately... healing.  The more I think about it and the more I experience for myself, this seems to be more or less the whole point.  To be healed.   Restored to something that we were before, only now not before, but something somehow different and even better.  Something even more full and more complete than what we once were.

We are not ourselves right now.  We are sick.  All of us.  Spirits ill-housed in corrupted bodies, apparently plain and simple truths and stories taken away from us creating voids of unbelief, and evil spirits inhabiting our minds and hearts in the wake of that unbelief, causing confusion, hatred, and worse.

We need to be healed.  That is what you try and do with sick people, and I think that is what God is trying to do with us. 


Friday, October 25, 2019

A thought or two

I took a bit of a pause from writing here over the past few weeks.  I guess for the first time since I started this blog, I really didn't know what to write here... for a few reasons, which don't really matter for purposes of this short note, but I guess the important thing is I also took the opportunity to step back and look at the blog, its purpose, what I've been writing, etc.  In doing so, I thought it might be good to clarify one or two things, particularly for any new readers who stumble on to this site somehow (or even an existing reader or those from what I only know as a little, dispersed group of friends who actually believe in these things...) Maybe I will also try and put a summary in my 'about me' section so its initially available without having to fish for it or only coming to it after reading through many posts.

With that, I suppose the most important thing to know is that I don't really have any idea what I am talking or writing about.

Not, at least, in the way that sometimes we hope somebody knows what they are talking about.  One reason I started this blog was to give me some sort of way to explore - there was so much new information that was challenging me, or so many different thoughts circling around in my head, and hopes, beliefs, doubts, etc., that just having the opportunity to get some things down and see where things go seemed like a good thing to do.

At first, I was using just my own notebook, and capturing thoughts there, but as I was engaging with a few other friends in online discussions related to these things, as well as some sporadic phone calls, I thought that maybe putting some of my own thoughts in a place where people could come and read, react to some things, maybe spur some additional thinking, etc., might be a good thing.  I found it really helpful to hear others' thoughts and where they were going with things, and it usually would either help clarify some things for me, or generate additional thinking, either on that topic or some far flung tangent.  Furthermore, in writing here vs. just notes or things in a notebook, it forced me to try and develop things enough into something resembling a complete thought that could at least be communicated to and understood by another, if not necessarily agreed with.  So, in many ways, this blog was/is meant to be part of a creative process - the beginning of a discussion, not the end of one, which would hopefully invite additional opportunities to gain better understanding.

As part of that process, I fully know that some (and in fact likely much) of what I write here is not correct.  There are some posts (even very recent ones) I look back on or re-read and I just have to shrug, as I think I see things in a different way now and might rewrite it if I took the time to do that (though probably it would be just as wrong!).  In some cases I have added a note to maybe update things, but in most cases I have just let it be.  To tell you the truth, some of my favorite things I have written are those things I suspect I may not have quite right, only because I have good memories of the imagination and creativity it took to come up with some of those ideas... in such cases, the process, the ability to look at it something in a completely new way, has meant more to me than the result.

No magic answer key has ever been provided to me in the two years now that I have been really involved (and these days more or less consumed) with all of this stuff, and the almost one year I have been writing on this blog.  I don't really know where I am right and where I am wrong - I can only guess - and you should take these posts in that spirit.  As guesses, though not all guesses are equal, I suppose.  My assumptions, and the context I am working under, are wrong in some cases and incomplete in others, so it would necessarily follow that I would get off, perhaps very much so, on some of my thinking.  The great thing, though, is that I think that this is OK, as I just alluded to above.  This can and should be part of the process, and shouldn't deter me from just thinking and writing anyway.  I think good can only come from it (and I have experienced some of that good, and I am grateful for it) so long as I don't become locked in.  If I believe in a God that can turn all things to Good, then so long as I keep exploring, he can turn that to Good as well and set my feet on the right path, sooner or later, so long as these feet keep moving.

Anyway, I wanted to clarify that, I guess.  I suppose this is all trivia, anyway, for the most part on this blog.  Much of what I write about here are things 'easier' to write about, as I try to tie stories together or make sense of different thoughts or words.  These are things that can be discussed, evaluated, sometimes debated even, maybe, as they are more of the 'objective' things.  Things to get answers for, and things that I feel more comfortable writing about.  What I don't write about or focus on much are the harder things - the more real, important things, in my opinion.  But those are the things we experience, I think, for ourselves as we go down whatever respective path we are all on.  Maybe the best way to summarize those things for me is that I continue to find Good and Light here, and so thus also continue to find this a path worth walking.

Or, going back to the words I've used to title this entire blog, I find it to be like a seed, a good one, that continues to grow and give me not a small amount of hope and encouragement.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Zhera, Zera, Seeds, and Arms

So, maybe another connection that may or may not mean anything...

I was looking up some other stuff, actually, in relation to the EAG, and stumbled along the Hebrew word 'Zera' or 'Zara' (not in the EAG, just came across it in my searches).  The word itself, or the root that the word is based on has two meanings (apparently... I think I have said before, languages are not my thing, as my high school German teacher repeatedly reinforced...).  The first meaning is 'seed' or various variations of sowing seeds.  The other is 'arm', and is used in literature like the bible, at least from what others who seem to know about this stuff write.  It is also used more in the context of something like 'the arm of God or Jehovah' in talking about deliverance, judgment, support, or something like that, and only more rarely as an actual human arm.

So, I thought there could be an interesting connection here with Zhera' from Faithful, that could actually tie into both of those meanings.

The name Zhera' I don't think is ever given a definition within Faithful, and I don't think we even know what language, but Adunaic seems as likely a choice as any, given his place, time, and circumstance.  It is Adunaic that I also believe has been compared to what became Hebrew.  So, this is the first tenuous connection I am making here, that the Hebrew word Zera could have been derived somehow from the Adunaic Zhera, and also retained similar meaning over the many years in between.  Maybe not likely, I don't know, but that is my first assumption in this guess.  There is also the question of how these words are said vs. how they are written.  It seems the word in Hebrew might be pronounced more or less how it is written, but the name Zhera' is pronounced more or less like 'Jared'... meaning, although the words appear similar written in English, maybe they are completely different words altogether.  Again, not my expertise and I don't know.

But, if the words are all tied together, I think we have some really interesting implications. 

First, with respect to the meaning of 'Seed':  It was Zhera's task (one of them, anyways), along with Izilba, to get Dyacom-Finwe along with their other children, over to what was Aman, and there plant or sow their 'seed', their children and their descendants being Israel now re-established on the Promised Land.  In this way, Zhera's name directly reflects this responsibility or role in planting or distributing the seed of Israel (at least some of them).

Second, with respect to 'Arm':  I have written before about my hypothesis (very speculative) of Zhera' being Eonwe.  Eonwe was known as Manwe's banner-bearer and his herald in Tolkien's writings, as well as his son in earlier iterations and which I think is also accurate.  It seems that when God needed something done, Eonwe was sent to get it done.  This was the case with the War of Wrath, Eonwe leading the Hosts of the West to defeat Morgoth and his armies.  In this way, Eonwe, in a very real sense, was the 'Arm of God' in doing Manwe's will and delivering the people of Middle-earth from Morgoth.

I think Eonwe also played the role of God's arm in delivering Finwe, his people, and others across the waters to the Promised Land (and even before that, delivering Izilba from Sauron and Numenor).  The task was a high-stakes game, as we become aware of as the events of Faithful unfold.  If you are going to send someone you trust to do the job under these circumstance, who would God send?  Eonwe would seem like your best bet.

Anyway, just some thoughts from this morning in how the name Zhera' could tie in fairly well to both his role and potential identity.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A couple thoughts on remnants, Israel, etc.

I said in my last post I was going to write about some thoughts following up on Nephi's vision of the Ainur and scattered Israel in 1 Nephi 14.   I need to stop writing things like that - where I am saying I will follow up in the next post, because sometimes I get to writing, and I would rather write about something else... either because I am tired and that topic seems too exhausting, or I ran out of things to say on it in the end, or something else came up that I'd rather write about at the moment.

So, I will follow up on that post at a later date because I think I check all three of those boxes tonight.

I wanted, instead, to briefly get down a couple thoughts that might not mean anything... but they might and so just briefly sketch them out and see if they will go anywhere.

First, I realized that there could be some important wording regarding the remnant of Joseph's seed that will be preserved as recounted by Captain Moroni.  It is possible that Moroni is not quoting Jacob correctly in what follows here, but I think there are some interesting implications if he is.  Here is the quote (as found in Alma 46), and I have bolded the wording I find interesting in this case:

Yea, let us remember the words of Jacob before his death.
For behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph
was preserved and had not decayed.
And he saith:
Even as this remnant of garment of my son's hath been preserved,
so shall a remnant of the seed of my son
be preserved by the hand of God and be taken unto himself,
while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish,even as the remnant of his garment.
Now behold, this giveth my soul sorrow.
Nevertheless my soul hath joy in my son
because of that part of his seed which shall be taken unto God.

If we believe that these are words were spoken by Jacob (perhaps in this instance Hazad?), and that Jacob knew something of what he was talking about, it has one interesting implication:  that whatever is preserved of Joseph's seed will not be here, at least for some duration.  If we take Jacob at his word, at least at one point there will not be a remnant of Jacob here on earth, seemingly.  The preserved remnant will have been taken up to God, while he says the entire remainder (I don't see any other disclaimers) will have perished.

The Daughters of Asenath, I think as Daymon has suggested elsewhere, would fit this description of a remnant of Joseph preserved and taken up to heaven.  So, could, I suppose the disciples at Bountiful, who returned to live with God in his paradise (and potentially, I guess, the other three may have returned there for a spell when they were pulled from among the people?).  Depending on the fate of the other righteous people at Bountiful, they may or may not be included in this group who are also taken to God.

But the implications are stark, here, if taken fairly literally, in that outside of those taken to God, all others perish.  It raises the question, then, as to just who is it that gets scattered in the latter days in Nephi's vision?  Do these preserved souls return prior to this scattering?  Is there another remnant that gets scattered (meaning, even though they perish, they remain here as spirits and are then scattered once again, either embodied once again at some point or as spirits), or are there other definitions of who is counted as Joseph's seed?  Just some questions to sort through a bit more.  It seems, though, that this 'preserved' seed or remnant of Joseph may be a relatively small, distinct group of people based on the wording of Jacob, and not some chain of descendants down to the present day.

----

Second thought:  Nephi describes the Gentiles that he saw in vision inheriting the Land of Promise after scattering and smiting the seed of his brethren (and after his own seed had been destroyed).  In this description, he says this:

And I beheld that they were white and exceeding fair and beautiful,
like unto my people before that they were slain.

He says this happens after the Spirit of the Lord fell upon the Gentiles and allowed them to prosper.  With respect to the description of 'white' and 'fair and beautiful', as has been mentioned elsewhere, rather than being a racial-type of description (at least in respect to Caucasian influences), Nephi might actually be seeing Elvish influences here.  Again, he is seeing these people in vision, and in that vision he associates the appearance of these Gentiles with his own people, despite some (probably) fairly different genetic makeup in their origins.

So why do they appear similar to him in this vision, as white, fair, and beautiful?

I think a potential answer begins with understanding the House of Israel as spirits who are residing on this land... at least some of that House.  In an earlier post, I had mentioned/ thought through an interesting idea (to me) that coming along for the ride across the waters with Jared, Izilba, and company were many (but not all) of the spirits belonging to Finwe's House - Israel.  These spirits would have been transported in the Jaredite barges.  In subsequent years, they would have been born again among the Jaredite lines.  Finwe, who had also come across as Dyacom, would have stewarded/watched over these spirits in the role bestowed on him by Thingol in their rebirths and subsequent deaths.

This is where the story, to me, gets interesting in carrying this forward.

As the Jaredite civilization wanes and then collapses, both the Mulekites and Lehites are brought over to inhabit the land.  This provides, I guess crudely said here, bodies for these spirits to continue to be born in, and in particular bodies traced to Joseph's House.  In addition, Coriantumr's physical line (going back to Zilparon and Miriam) is also preserved among this seed.  So, just as with the Jaredites, Israel is born among the Lehites, that line now becoming fair and delightsome as a result of these spirits.

As that line/ civilization collapses, however... and then along come the Gentiles many years later.

These Gentiles at first scatter these Lamanites and the House of Israel born among them, but then potentially a curious thing happens.  The House of Israel then begins to be born among these newcomers to the Promised Land as well.  Isaiah prophesied that the Gentile kings and queens would become Israel's nursing fathers and mothers, and we see that happening, quite literally in this scenario, as that House is born to the these Gentiles.  This, then, makes them white, fair, and beautiful as Nephi would have seen in his vision.

I admit plenty wrong with this scenario, and it may push the envelope too far in blurring the lines between Israel and Gentile (and maybe those terms aren't used consistently anyway, or some people like Nephi have a different definition that falls more under physical lineage, as I think I may have mentioned elsewhere).  But, for all of its issues (and high degree of speculation), it is a logical tie-in or at least an internally consistent story involving a few other thoughts/ threads that I have been working on.  Meaning, it makes sense given the (major) assumptions made, but these assumptions may be way off.  And I don't even know yet how I feel about where those assumptions took me and this story, anyway.  But I wanted to get it down, as well as the thought at the beginning of this post, to see if there is any chance they might lead somewhere.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Saints of the church of the Lamb

And it came to pass that I Nephi beheld the power of the Lamb of God
that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb
and upon the covenant people of the Lord,
which were scattered upon all the face of the earth.
And they were armed with righteousness 
and with the power of God in great glory.

-  The Book of Nephi; The Book of Mormon


Just a quick post to get a thought down before I forget it, and then hopefully build on it in the next post.

The above excerpt is from Nephi's vision captured in 1 Nephi.  The vision covers multiple chapters, and this portion comes from chapter 14.  One important observation about what he writes above:  He references, as I read it at least, the 'saints of the church of the Lamb' as being a distinct group from 'the covenant people of the Lord'.  Thus, we have two groups that the power of the Lamb of God will descend upon at this particular stage of Nephi's vision.  It is an important distinction, and one in which, I believe, most readers of the Book of Mormon gloss over, assuming Israel/ God's Kingdom/ Church are all kind of the same thing.  They aren't.

With respect to Israel, in other parts of this vision, the angel who is conversing with Nephi speaks of the many covenants made to that House, as well as general events surrounding it/them.  Therefore, I interpret this covenant people as Israel, and feel fairly confident in doing so.  Implied in this reading is that Israel is not currently or at the time that these events unfold considered as 'saints' of the church of the Lamb, or perhaps part of that church, and thus under the captivity of the devil.

So the second group is Israel, but then who are the saints?

I think they are those who are, obviously, part of God's church, and were sent here to be servants/ workers on this earth in redeeming Israel and any Gentiles who want to be numbered among them.  In other words, I think we are talking about Ainur - whether Valar or Maia.  It is individuals from these orders here on earth.  This could be in various forms.  Maia here who have tarried for awhile (think John, the 3 disciples, others).  Others of that order who perhaps will or have come back here already from God's kingdom, either reborn here as Men, or sent in some other way.  The Valar would also be these saints.  Whether also re-embodied currently as Men, or existing in some other form (spirit or power or something).  This might include Ulmo, perhaps still here.  Asenath in her gardens healing spirits.  And others.  It is interesting that Nephi uses 'Dominion' specifically to describe where these saints resided on, in, or over Earth.  It is a word, I think, that is used for being of power... both good and bad, as those of the Great and Abominable Church also have dominion.  In describing these saints and their dominion, Nephi says:

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God;
and its numbers were few
because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore
which sat upon many waters.
Nevertheless I beheld that the church of the Lamb; which were the saints of God,
were also upon all the face of the earth;
and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small
because of the wickedness of the great whore which I saw.

In reading of the reason that the saints' dominions were small (because of evil/ the abominable church), I thought of Ulmo many ages ago telling Tuor of his own waning power and shrinking reach in the face of Melkor's evil spread:

and the shadow of the Enemy lengthens; and I am diminished, until in Middle-earth I am become now no more than a secret whisper. The waters that run westward wither, and their springs are poisoned, and my power withdraws from the land; for Elves and Men grow blind and deaf to me because of the might of Melkor

So, with God's Kingdom and Eressea taken away, with their inhabitants, there are few of that church who remain here.  And those that are here have limited ability to help, potentially, due to wickedness of the Great and Abominable Church that Nephi sees sitting on many waters and having 'dominion over all the earth'.

Thus, the state of the earth is in rough shape, initially, in this stage of Nephi's vision.  The first group - the saints - are here but with limited or curtailed power to help.  The second group, Israel, the covenant people, are scattered upon all the face of the earth, any promises of a gathering back to their promised lands and people a distant, unrealized hope.

It is at this stage, though, that the Power of the Lamb of God descends on both groups of people.  Something happens, thought it not clear from Nephi's writing as to what.

That is what I want to try and explore next as to how to tie in what Nephi is seeing to what Jesus describes/ prophecies about to those at Bountiful.  I just wanted to get down this distinction between the Saints and Israel, as this was the first time I noticed how clearly I think it is written.

Also, one last thought:  The angel also states multiple times that the Great and Abominable Church slays the saints of God and brings them under captivity.  Under the definition explored above for these Saints (Ainur), how does that work.  I guess best example I can come up with at this time in this age would be Joseph Smith, so I think it works fairly well.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Nativity in Words of the Faithful

I guess continuing on from some of the observations included in the last couple posts about the details around Jesus' birth not being correct in the bible, to me it seems that events captured in Faithful seem to also support this notion.  Meaning, specific story elements that found their way into the Nativity as told in the Bible seem to have actually occurred in the tale we read in Faithful.

This isn't the only instance where Pengolodh/ Words of the Faithful sets the record straight as to misappropriated stories.  For example, the events that are attributed to Joseph of Egypt in today's bible, such as a request to interpret dreams, actually belong to or have their beginnings with Zhera' (during his time in Kiliath).  Pengolodh makes this fairly explicit (in Slumbered, actually) when he confirms that what we think we know of Joseph's deeds from the bible were actually never done by him:

In the morning then, one was sent to tell Rugus his father [Joseph] had passed away, as all men, in that night; and Rugus closed his door to all the world, and wept, bitterly, having now feared the doom (or fate) of Zimulof Kloshtuz – mighty man Ancient, and renown >though< by deeds not to him attributed, in after days and by deeds to him named, never contemplated...

Less explicitly called out, however, are the events of the Nativity found in Faithful (in particular).  Pengolodh never makes the same direct statement that he does with Joseph, but I think in at least a few instances his choice of wording leads me to believe that he sees the connection, or these elements that would later be plucked out and recombined to become part of the story of Jesus' birth.

The specific stories they were plucked out of centered or surrounded the births/ childhoods of two other children:  Dyacom and Pagag/Samuel.  And so it what I see currently is that these two other important births became, in part, the basis for the convoluted story of Jesus' birth we have today.

Here are a few examples of what I mean.  I don't think this is maybe everything, but just calling out a few examples of classic Nativity elements found in Faithful.

A new star
As perhaps the most obvious element, we have a new star in the form of the Silmaril that Dyacom carried with him and that Thingol saw arising in the eastern sky in his hand.  This 'star' was also associated with the birth of Samuel, when it was found in the shoe of Izilba following his birth (following other gifts that had been given, which I will get to in a minute).  It was also this star rising in the east that Eru had given to Thingol as a sign of both a jewel departing his house but also the birth of a royal lineage:
And he [Eru] told how it should come, that a jewel most fair would depart out of his house, and being left in a wilderness, would be trod upon, as into a mire, and the sign to discern of this thing, he gave also, of a star arising in the Eastern sky, on a cold spring, and that under this star's light a full in gleam, would come to earth a royal lineage, without title or crown...

Wise men following the star
It is Thingol, Joseph, and Ki-Abroam that make the scene above possible, throwing down Barad-dur and freeing Dyacom and company.  Here is the description of the scene:

So they waited through a night, and day came bringing with it on the wind, liberators:  Tal Elmar ^u-Hazad, Thingol his new friend, and the axe-man Ki-Abroam.  Though none of the keepers were slain, in the charge many building and roads were thrown down or put in disarray; and fountains burst forth, and swamps drained of their stink, as the three rode on to Barad-dur, to discover therein, the star-stone.  And it was found upon a child, Dyacom shining in the darkness...

So here we have 'wise-men' (at least with Ki-Abroam, perhaps as one of the Istari, "the wise") following a star to find a child.  Obviously very similar to what become the story of the wise men in the Bible.  And tradition, for some reason, has always had 3 wise men visiting...

Gifts
It is at the birth of Samuel that gifts are mentioned - gold, silver, sweet smelling things/ candies, etc.  It is in the description of these gifts, I think, that Pengolodh has a little fun and signals that he is tracing this event directly to the account that is recorded in the bible when he says the candies were 'wrapped as in swaddling clothes'.  Here is the description, specifically regarding the gifts Miriam found in her pockets:

Gold and silver pieces, too, alongside a map, and a blessing, Miriam found in the pockets of her gown, with sweet candies, of honey and flower-fragrance wrapped as in swaddling clothes...

I don't mean to overstate it, I guess, since gifts are given typically at many births, but Pengolodh's phrasing, as well as the very obvious connection back to the gold and the fragrances of frankincense and myrrh seemed pretty direct.

The killing of babies
The bible gives us the story of Herod killing children under the age of two in an attempt to end the threat of the a rival 'king of the Jews'.  In Faithful, we learn of the Men of the Mountains who also are killing babies in their own perverse search for a search of a High One, that in their own lore sounds disturbingly much like what the modern Jesus has become in Christian belief - a being who would come to life an 'Ancient Transgression' - even as they named the one they hoped for Aragorn.  I say disturbingly because of what that belief drove these people to do; the hope for a savior somehow justifying the killing of babies.

A virgin birth
These 'men of the mountains' held that it would be through a virgin that the High One would come, though only a virgin prior to being introduced in their own sick rituals involving the breeders.  It is from this situation that Miriam herself is rescued.  Interestingly, we don't know the father of Samuel, and it is suggested that Miriam was with child prior to her being taken captive into these mountains.  We thus have a mystery as to how Samuel came to be, and the story of a 'virgin' with child marrying an honorable man who took in both mother and child sounds quite a bit like the situation we read of with Zilpharon and Miriam.

Mary/ Miriam
Mary and Miriam are the same name.  My understanding is that Miriam is the Hebrew version (and so found in the Old Testament), whereas Mary is the Greek version of that same name.  It seems, then, that Miriam is the older form of the name, and that Mary is the derivation/ translation.  So, whereas in the Bible (as well as the combination Nephi's vision and the words of King Benjamin, apparently) we have Jesus born to a woman named Mary, in the tale from Faithful we have Samuel being born in this exact manner (to a 'virgin' named Miriam/ Mary).

Shepherds and sheep
Had to throw this one in as well.  Emmer and his sons, along with their flocks of sheep, provide this staple to any Christmas nativity scene as well, although obviously arriving or playing a role in the tale after the births of both Dyacom and Samuel.


Anyway, I am not sure what all of this means, other than, again, that it seems that the stories around the births of Dyacom and Samuel seemed to have found their way into the stories that were created regarding the birth of Jesus.  Their own identities and missions (Dyacom as a 'king' of Israel, his house, and Samuel as one, it seems, to lead souls out of darkness) also parallel what was said to be those of Jesus.

One thing I am going to look a little closer at is Nephi's vision and Benjamin's words (as mentioned briefly above).  The details of that vision seem to corroborate the bible's story of Jesus at least being born to a virgin named Mary, the Mother of God, and if accurate, would be a counterpoint to both the notion of Jesus being born to Manwe and Varda, as well as, somewhat, to the points I am making above as to the bible's story of Jesus' birth being actually based on these other stories.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Children of Christ and Heirs of the Kingdom of God

There were no robbers, nor murderers, 
neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites;
but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

-- Fourth Nephi; The Book of Mormon

Mormon's description of the descendants of Lehi immediately following Jesus' visits with them use language that I think potentially reinforces some of points I began working through in my post on adoptions and sealings, a post I had begun a few weeks ago but am only also now publishing today.  It is not too long, and maybe a bit redundant to this one, but I figure I will just get them both up instead of trying to rewrite one or the other.  [I had actually forgotten I had it in drafts until I was about done with this one].  In that post, I was trying to work through what Joseph Smith was doing in Nauvoo with the institution of sealings and adoption, which became an extremely confusing topic/ doctrine that I think may have really gotten things off the rails following Joseph's death.

But, at its core, the actual teaching could be fairly simple, despite all of the confusion it caused.

Understanding things as 'inheritances' could be important.  Jesus himself used this word in speaking to those at Bountiful.  All those who are baptized, he said, will inherit the kingdom of God.

And whoseo believeth in me, and is baptized,
the same shall be saved,
and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

This can also be considered in conjunction with Jesus' words to some of these same people prior to his coming, amidst the aftermath of the destruction at his death.  In that setting, he says that as many as come unto him he has given to become the 'sons of God':

And as many as have received me,
to them have I given to become the sons of God.
and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name,
for behold, by me redemption cometh,
and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.

He says this after also introducing himself as Jesus Christ, the 'Son of God' and introducing the Father as a being separate from himself, but yet someone who he has been with from the beginning, and who are 'in' with each other.

This all takes me to looking at an inheritance in the kingdom of God in much the same way as we might look at an inheritance of anything else.  Family ties, or some other binding tie, brings someone into a right or blessing to receive something given from someone else.

The circumstances of Jesus' birth then, I think in this scenario, matter.  Daymon, in one of his blog posts, introduced the concept that what we have in the bible with respect to the nativity might not be the true story, specifically in reference to the role of Joseph and Mary.  He wrote the story made more sense if Jesus was actually born to Manwe and Varda.  I think this notion of inheritances is at least partially why.

In this story, Jesus condescends to be born to Manwe and Varda, and importantly becoming an heir of Manwe/the Father's and Varda's kingdom - Valinor, Aman, etc.  In this capacity, as a Son and rightful heir of his Father, he is also able to offer inheritances to that kingdom to those that become 'born again' as his own children - they now also being his heirs.  It is through Jesus' name or through his blood, we read in various places, that we are saved.  Both of these - name and blood - could be just other ways of saying that through joining with Jesus in something like a family bond (as his children) we also become inheritors of what is now, as virtue of him being literally God's son, Jesus' right to give.

Viewing it in this way takes a bit of the mystical out of at least one aspect of what Jesus' work, and puts it into, to my mind, somewhat more practical terms.  It does leave the question as to why God couldn't just make all of us his children without having to do so through Jesus.  Why the intermediary here in terms of receiving everyone into this inheritance?  I guess I will leave that question for another day, since I have some guesses but no real concrete answers that come across as simply as does this notion of inheritance.  This story makes internally a lot of sense to me, and is relatively simple to understand - Jesus being a born an heir of God bringing his 'family'/ children with him to Heaven who also are part of that inheritance - but the necessity of or rationale for Jesus doing that doesn't come across as cleanly.

However, this is where I pivot to Joseph Smith and perhaps his own understanding of how this whole thing works.  Some of Joseph's words, quite frankly, sound anti-Christ when it comes to teaching about the salvation of men.  Take for example these words:

If you have power to seal on earth & in heaven then we should be crafty. . . . Go & seal on earth your sons & daughters unto yourself & yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory. . . . Use a little Craftiness & seal all you can & when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven. I will walk through the gate of heaven and Claim what I seal & those that follow me & my Council

Enemies of Joseph, then and today, pounce on statements like this, and even friends and believers find these words hard to defend/ explain.  Joseph seems to be teaching that he has the ability, without Jesus, to go and seal anyone he wants to heaven.  The final portion of this excerpt seems particularly boastful... that Joseph will walk into Heaven and claim his own.  Following Joseph, without mention of Jesus, is implied from this quote as being the ticket that gets you in, all thanks to some 'craftiness'.  It strikes right at the heart of Christian sensibilities, perhaps.

So what is going on here?

Without yet saying for sure whether I think Joseph is right or wrong (or some mixture of both), here are a few thoughts regarding at least under what basis and set of beliefs Joseph is saying this.

First off, and maybe somewhat important to context, is that I do think Joseph is sticking it right to the preachers, churches, and beliefs of his day.  Although stated followers of Jesus, it seems many of these sects were coming up with all sorts of creative ways to, in Jesus' name, keep all types and classes of people out of Heaven.  Joseph is turning that on its head, and saying, in a sense "fine, but I will find a 'crafty' way to get them in".  It is an expansive view, perhaps, that is being taught here, with the salvation of men and women being much larger and grander than was being taught. 

But why does Joseph put himself front and center in it?

I think it gets to what Joseph may have understood about himself, or at least was becoming aware of, with respect to his own relationship with God.

One of the keys to Joseph's quote above may be "If you have the power to seal on earth..."  What gives you this power?  Answers will vary, and I guess the traditional Mormon answer would have something to do with the Priesthood.  And I would agree... if you change the definition of Priesthood.  If rather than some power given to a person by another person, you instead view Priesthood as a group of people (as I think the word originally was intended) then this could work.  And this specific group of people, or Priesthood, in this sense would be those who are also heirs of God.

What this means is that Joseph might also view himself as a current heir of God, among a specific group of people able to extend that inheritance to others... to become part of their 'family' as well.  I suppose just like Jesus.  I think this is the critical assumption that is necessary to make sense of Joseph's words, and if this is not true, then I think one could probably only view Joseph as being blasphemous - extremely so, in fact.

But if he is an heir of God - a son of Manwe/ the Father, or of his House (meaning, a Vala) - then Joseph is just simply stating a fact, as difficult as it may be to reconcile to traditional Christian teachings.  He is an heir, he has the power as a result of his relationship with God (and I do think Jesus is involved here, by the way, if this scenario is true... just not sure how in all aspects) to bring others under that inheritance, just as Jesus does.  The 'craftiness' of his teaching isn't really all that crafty... its just how it works, or at least how Joseph understood it to work.

Understanding redemption or how inheritance works in this way wouldn't be the first time, or only case, that our understanding of Jesus' work would change somewhat, particularly in relation to some things we ascribe solely to Jesus.  In Slumbered, we learn it is Beren-Manwe, not Jesus, that first opens the doors of Mandos/ realm of the Dead to return to life.  It is also the Daughters of Asenath, and not Jesus, who free certain souls trapped in Hell, allowing them to escape judgment.  There are events around the overall story of the redemption of the world that it seems others also get to play a part, with Jesus, in bringing about.  It may well be that bringing others into an inheritance with God is another such activity that certain individuals, based on their own relationships and positions, are also able to contribute.  I don't know.

Others following Joseph would also claim to be able to seal others to themselves, and then to Joseph, throughout the years following his death as people struggled to make sense of what had been taught.  But it seems that they may have been wrong in doing so - it might not have been their right or ability, as it was Joseph's, to 'seal' others into Heaven.  They instead, as the rest of us, needed to rely on Jesus or some other heir of God's kingdom to seal us to them as part of their family that would inherit Heaven.

Anyway, some strange notions I am writing about, and not sure what to make of it.  Again, I am not arguing for or against the 'correctness' of this view, necessarily, at this point.  I am only trying to make sense of where this teaching might have come from.  If one views Jesus' extension of inheritance for us to also become sons and daughters of God based on his own position as a Son of God, then it would seem logical (within this framework) for others who are also Sons and Daughters of God to do the same.