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Just_A_Guy last won the day on January 14

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  1. The author of Matthew was extremely intelligent and at times almost fastidious—he quotes the Old Testament extensively and my understanding is that he jumps between the (Greek) Septuagint and his own (Greek) translation of the (Hebrew) Masoritic Text, depending on which version suits his purposes better; and this in an age when most people were barely literate. That doesn’t necessarily put him on the autism spectrum, of course—but “savant” probably isn’t a bad descriptor of the historical Matthew.
  2. Hmm. I think you're mostly right here, but in the church we don't usually talk about ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood as something that one "inherits" by "birthright". I suppose one could call such an ordination an "inheritance" that Christ offers to us through His grace; and in that sense, yes--it comes directly from Christ Himself, and one's lineal ancestry and one's sequence of birth within one's own family are generally irrelevant to whether one is eligible to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. Conceptually: yes, one can be a member of the patriarchal order regardless of which tribe of Israel one is descended from. But I have perhaps been a bit careless upthread in the way I define "patriarchal order", and I should probably clarify that the patriarchal order can also involve people who have not been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Specifically: --When a man and woman are sealed in the temple, only the husband has previously been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. But they are both participants in the patriarchal order even though the wife has no priesthood ordination at all. --Any children born to parents who have been sealed in the temple are also considered participants in the patriarchal order, in that they can be heirs to the covenants made by their parents. But this is, perhaps, overly pedantic for the purposes of our discussion. Again, fundamentally: you are right, the patriarchal order/holding the Melchizedek priesthood is not tied to one's Israelite lineage. I don't believe we know the answer to that. I think I mentioned upthread that for the roughly 400 years between the death of Joseph and the ministry of Moses, the scriptures don't give us a lot of information about how the priesthood functioned. Joshua 24:15 suggests that the Israelites, while in Egypt, fell into the worship of the Egyptian gods. One might speculate that when the Hebrews fell out of favor among the Egyptian pharaohs, Joseph's progeny would have been sorely tempted to downplay their descendance from him and instead emphasize their descent from his wife Asenath, the daughter of an Egyptian priest. And we are told, in the Church, that Moses received his priesthood ordination under the hand of his father-in-law Jethro (D&C 84:6), who was of Abrahamic descent but not an Israelite and not entitled to any Abrahamic birthright (D&C 84 specifically says that Jethro's priesthood came from an alternate line). This might suggest that at some point in Egypt, the Israelites fell into such a profound state of apostasy that the priesthood wasn't functioning among them at all--until Moses brought (a portion of) it back. With the caveat that this is what I think, and not formal LDS teaching, I would surmise: Jeremiah 31: I think it's both. There are references to Ephraim being the firstborn, but I think the main thrust of the passage is about the reunification/gathering of Israel as the rebellious return to their God and old animosities are healed. Hosea 4:17: Given its connection with backsliding Israel in the prior verse, and the distinction between Judah and Israel in verse 15, I suspect that "Ephraim" here is primarily a metonym for the leadership of the kingdom of Israel. Hosea 5:3-4: Ditto; and notice how Israel and Ephraim are lumped together but distinguished from (the kingdom of) Judah in verse 5. Hosea 6:10: Ditto; and again, notice how the whoredom of Ephraim and defiling of Israel are lumped together in one breath, and then Judah is spoken of distinctly in the next verse. Hosea 7: I'm inclined to read this as a broader indictment of the tribe of Ephraim, though its role in polluting the larger kingdom of Israel and preventing that kingdom's repentance (v 1) gives this some political connotations as well. Hosea 8:11-13: I suspect here, Ephraim is again a metonym for the northern kingdom (see v 14, and also consider that vv 12-13 are likely an allusion to the high place at Dan that was constructed by the Ephraimite king of Israel, Jeroboam). Hosea 9:3, 11-17: Ditto; and note the conjunction between Ephraim in v 11 and Israel in the preceding verse 10. Hosea 10:6: Ditto; again, note the conjunction between Ephraim and Israel and Samaria. Hosea 12: Ditto. Note v 1, where Ephraim is accused of entering political intrigues with Assyria--that was done by the Ephraimite kings on behalf of the entire northern kingdom. It wasn't just the tribe of Ephraim. Hosea 13:1: The KJV is a little opaque here, but other translations clarify that "when Ephraim spoke, there was terror". In other words, it's talking about Ephraim wielding secular/political power; so I read this as referring to Ephraim as a metonym for the northern kingdom. Later on in the chapter, the curses on Ephraim are broadened to include "Samaria" (ie, northern Israel). Hosea 14:8: Nothing in the surrounding verses directly ties Ephraim to the broader northern kingdom; this may be tribe-specific. Yes, I think that's fair. But again, in modern times, no particular lineage is a prerequisite to ordination in the Aaronic priesthood--lineage only comes into play when we are talking about serving in the office of "bishop", and even then, it's contingent on worthiness and subject to the authority of other church officials who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  3. The women all have day jobs, and the men are the ones staying home and taking care of the kids?
  4. Yes and no. The Church subsidizes BYU so heavily anyways, that the cost of just waiving the tuition they do collect (instead of having students get federal loans) would probably be something under $380 million per year; whereas the average interest on the Church’s rainy day fund (assuming an average 5% annual yield over time) would be over ten times that amount.
  5. Yep, and subsidized student loans. That’s enough to subject a university to Title IX. BYU-Provo and BYU-Idaho were both represented among the alma maters of the LGBTQ plaintiffs.
  6. After the first generation (ie Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam), they would have been both Ephraimite and Manassehite. In that sense, sure. But remember, God/Moses is talking to Pharoah, who is magnificently ignorant of Yahwist covenants in general and Israel's benediction to his children in particular. The fundamental point of Exodus 4:22 isn't a doctrinal exegesis on who was or was not the temporal or spiritual heir of Jacob/Israel; it was "Hey, Pharoah, these are My people and you'd better not mess with them". Again, you're trying to subject a Melchizedek priesthood construct of spiritual birthright, to the post-Mosaic Aaronic (lesser) priesthood construct of political power. And again, there's a fair amount of pro-Davidic/Judahite propagandizing in the Psalms and other post-exilic Old Testament books. As the quotation you just cited affirms, Brigham Young himself acknowledged that Joseph Smith probably had some non-Ephraimite ancestry mixed into his Ephraimite lineage. So the "pure blood of Ephraim" thing is really a nonstarter; likely a result of Young's penchant for rhetorical hyperbole. I would, however, push back a bit about your suggestion that 2 Nephi 3:23-24 requires Joseph Smith to be a descendant of Joseph-bin-Lehi. It simply states that the "choice seer" (who, yes, we presume to be Smith) will be among the seed of Joseph-bin-Lehi. The word "among" is ambiguous--linguistically, Smith can be "among" the descendants of Joseph-bin-Lehi because he, too, is a descendant of that same ancestor; or he can be "among" them in the sense of his (or his teachings') being in relatively near physical proximity to those descendants and playing a role in their ultimate salvation. Latter-day Saint authorities from 1830 on have universally used the latter interpretation, never the former. And even if there were a scriptural requirement that Joseph Smith be among the descendants of Joseph-bin-Lehi--such an ancestry doesn't' preclude Ephraimite linage because from the third generation onwards, Lehi's descendants were both Manassehite and Ephraimite. Did you read Chapter 48? If Jacob isn't conveying a birthright, then why does Joseph care which of Jacob's hands is on which of Joseph's sons? Yes, you've made your position quite clear. I think the Bible disagrees with you. Genesis 25:6 says Abraham gave all he had to Isaac, save for gifts he gave to the sons of Abraham's concubines before sending them away. And as I suspect you know, Deuteronomy 21 says nothing about Ishmael himself and was in fact decreed five hundred years after Abraham's and Ishmaels' lifetimes. The Mosaic law didn't govern the way Abraham had to treat his sons. The lesser order of priesthood, yes. None of that abrogates the prophecies and blessings that Jacob/Israel pronounced upon Ephraim's descendants by virtue of Jacob's higher, or Melchizedek, order of priesthood. And all throughout the Mosaic period, God designates non-Levite prophets with (as I have previously established, per LDS teaching) the Melchizedek order of priesthood to correct errors being committed or perpetuated by Israel and its lesser Levite priests. Notable among these are Isaiah and Daniel. No, you wouldn't see that after Moses, because they were operating under a whole different order of priesthood than the patriarchs were. This quote is from Joseph Fielding Smith; he was the great-nephew of the Joseph Smith who restored the Church of Jesus Christ. Joseph Fielding Smith died in the early 1970s (1972, I think), when LDS church membership was barely 1/5 of what it is now and ethnically, was primarily of European ancestry. Whenever they wanted it*. See my statement from November 19 which I reiterated in part on December 3: Non-Ephraimites who convert and join the Church join in the covenant blessings and responsibilities of Ephraim by virtue of the covenants they make through baptism, priesthood ordination, and temple rites. That’s a huge part of the “gathering” process President Nelson is so fond of talking about. *Unless we are talking about people judged to have been descended from Cain, in which the answer to your question would be June 8, 1978. As I've repeatedly said, "birthright" under the patriarchal/Melchizedek order of priesthood functions differently than the Mosaic order of priesthood. And between the death of the Apostles in the first century and 1829, there was no form of priesthood on the earth at all. So: Unless an individual Ephraimite between Moses and A.D. 1829 was specifically ordained to a prophetic role, then I would surmise that the scope of the "birthright" enjoyed by Ephraimites during that period was the knowledge that when the fulness of the Gospel was restored and Israel re-gathered in the last days, their descendants would play a leading role in that activity.
  7. I am learning that it may be more complicated than that. Luther basically drew a caricature of the Jews as being unitedly over-legalistic (and hijacked Paul's writings to reinforce that caricature), because a) it was rhetorically and politically useful for him to equate those filthy, scheming, legalistic, Christ-killing Joos with the Catholic priesthood; and b) he was a bit of an anti-semite anyways. Modern scholars and archaeologists are coming to understand that first-century Judaism had a rich doctrine of divine grace; it's just that Jews of the era believed that the mechanism of extending that grace was through the Torah itself rather than some notion of Yahweh actually descending from His heavenly throne to live as a mortal. The Greek words generally translated as "grace" and "faith" in English renderings of the the Pauline epistles, in the first century A.D. connoted the "generosity" (or "protection") and "loyalty" that characterized the reciprocal patron-client relationship that was at the heart of the Greco-Roman economic and social order; and "justification" tends to denote the state of reconciliation that exists when both the client and patron are living in up to the terms of their covenant relationship. Paul's trepidation about what he calls "the law" or "the works of the law" aren't really about the dangers of a conscious effort towards obedience or righteous living per se; they are about the Jewish notion that it was the Torah (literally, "the law") that was the agent of God's salvation. The faith/works dichotomy is a bit of a red herring, in this regard. The litmus test for salvation is the covenant itself. This Russell Nelson fellow, with all his talk of a "covenant path", just may be on to something . . .
  8. Going back to your OP, I would say: 3 Ne 11:23-26 describes something that the people of God can almost always control. D&C 27:2 describes something that, until very recently, might very well be outside of the control of church members in a particular area (see, e.g., Elder Benson’s account of using potato peelings for the sacrament in post-WW2 Europe). The form/verbiage of the ordinances have pedagogical/symbolic value, of course; but otherwise I don’t think the forms have any kind of mystical power per se. IMHO the power of the forms/ordinances lies in the covenants that those forms represent. Once the Lord gives us a form we stick to it, not because that’s the way it HAS to be, but as a demonstration of our resolve to fulfill the terms of our covenants to the letter. If we’re really taking the covenant seriously, then of course we want to do the ritual as perfectly as it’s within our power to do. Me baptizing my daughter, and a part of her not quite going all the way under the water, and no one noticing, probably isn’t a problem. But me baptizing my daughter, and a part of her not quite going all the way under the water, and neither me nor anyone else in the room cares enough to redo it in the right way—now, THAT’s a problem.
  9. As you say, I think it depends on the source. So far as I know, all the GAs have been silent on this. I’ve seen multiple LDS and broader Christians who agree that it’s the same Rahab (and that her inclusion emphasizes either Christ’s messianic status to Gentile as well as Jew, or foreshadowing the circumstances of His birth in that every female mentioned in his ancestry was at the center of some sort of apparent scandal). On the other hand, I believe the Talmud suggests that Rahab of Jericho converted and had additional children—but with Joshua. (Additionally, she was supposedly one of the four most beautiful women who ever lived.)
  10. I was just reading Matthew 1:5, and something smacked me in the face that had never occurred to me before and perhaps has bearing on this discussion: Boaz himself was half-Canaanite, the son of the harlot Rahab who had hidden the Israelite spies sent to Jericho by Joshua.
  11. "Answer to the question, Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” --Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 180-181, emphasis added.
  12. Yes, I figured you would. You seem to be developing a penchant for re-asking questions that I've already answered: I don't think the Bible talks about it all that much in practice. The Old Testament hardly gives any information at all regarding Israelite ecclesiastical practices between the death of Joseph and the ministry of Moses; and as I've already mentioned upthread, the Melchizedek order of priesthood that included the patriarchal order under which the Abrahamic birthright passed was largely put in abeyance from the ministry of Moses until the Atonement of Christ. The New Testament church, for its part, seems to have operated under a paradigm where the Gospel went first to Judah, then to the "half-breed" Israelites (ie, Samaria), and then to the gentiles at large (Acts 1:8); and any discussion about inherited blessings/responsibilities was subordinated to the good news that the salvation of Jehovah was now available to everyone, regardless of ancestry. As for the Book of Mormon: In theory, Jacob's/Israel's benediction to Joseph at Genesis 49:22-26 is considered the basis for the Josephite/Ephraimite birthright; and LDS authors have seen parallels in the way that the Lehites (as descendants of Joseph) overran the boundaries of the old world to settle upon the shores of the new (or whose "branches run over the wall", as Israel put it). The Lehite Book of Mormon authors generally complied with Mosaic forms (2 Nephi 25:24) even though LDS authorities have maintained that they (at least mostly) did hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Book of Mormon expressly says that Lehi himself was of Manassehite descent; and multiple early Latter-day Saints maintained that Joseph Smith had taught that the family of Ishmael (with whom the Lehites intermarried) were of Ephraimite lineage--this may have even been in the "lost 116 pages" of the Book of Mormon manuscript. At any rate, the Book of Mormon authors took their descendancy from Joseph very seriously (see, e.g., 1 Nephi 5:14-16; 2 Nephi 3-4; 2 Nephi 25:21-22; Alma 46:24-27; 3 Nephi 5:20-26; 3 Nephi 10:17; 3 Nephi 15:12); and seem to have generally associated it with a responsibility to bear witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ both in their preaching and in their writing. But then, as the author of Hebrews points out in the selfsame chapter, Christ didn't derive His priestly authority from the Mosaic/Aaronic line. The author of Hebrews describes Christ as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. The above suggests that you either didn't read much of what I've written above, or you are deliberately clinging to an inappropriately facile reading of the Old Testament. Levi's designation came in Mosaic times, four centuries after Jacob/Israel conveyed his patriarchal birthright to Ephraim; and the former did not completely or eternally nullify the latter. We actually know a surprising amount about what was on the lost 116 pages, because Joseph Smith made passing comments to a number of associates about their contents. Don Bradley (who left Mormonism, but then came back) actually wrote a book about it. As pertaining to Ishmael's Ephraimite lineage--this is one of those things that several early Latter-day Saints heard Joseph Smith discuss. Erastus Snow is one contemporary of Smith who is frequently cited for this proposition; and I'm sure the relevant quotation is available online if you'd care to Google it. I haven't asserted any such role as pertaining to the Old/New Testaments generally. As for the Book of Mormon: That's because in the text of the Book of Mormon the authors primarily refer to themselves as Josephites, not Ephraimites. I want to be careful here, because your phrase "he inherited the birthright" suggests that Joseph Smith has some sort of exclusive claim to inherited priesthood/divine authority. He didn’t; Smith inherited the same birthright blessings as every other lineal descendant of Ephraim. And it seems appropriate to close by quoting myself yet again to reiterate that: Non-Ephraimites who convert and join the Church join in the covenant blessings and responsibilities of Ephraim by virtue of the covenants they make through baptism, priesthood ordination, and temple rites. That’s a huge part of the “gathering” process President Nelson is so fond of talking about. We’re all fundamentally doing the same work; though (and this is something I recently learned, and with contours that I’m still exploring) we may have differing tribal legacies that lead us to go about that work in subtly different ways.
  13. The idea that the righteous will be "caught up to meet Christ at His coming" is, of course, very much a part of Church teaching. You have, e.g., D&C 88:95-98 and D&C 109:73-75. The New Testament Institute manual, in discussing 1 Thess 4:17, notes that "Many Christians use the word rapture (from a Latin term meaning "caught up") when referring to the time when the righteous will be caught up to meet the Savior at His coming." It's just that, mechanically/chronologically, we don't know how exactly how it will work; and few in authority have been willing to publicly speculate on it. (I just checked McConkie's Mormon Doctrine and Millennial Messiah and was shocked at how little even he was willing to say about the Saints being "caught up" at Christ's coming other than terse acknowledgements that it does happen.
  14. Also e) they were literally being killed off by the thousands before the Nephites stepped in.