Seek

First Vision; Second Personage: Heavenly Mother?

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Is there any passage in the scriptures which explicitly states that Heavenly Mother was not the second personage of the First Vision?  

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By way of an answer, the canonized version of the account doesn't specify sex, because no one in their right mind would actually presume it was Jesus appearing with His Heavenly Mother. However, in the three other accounts Joseph gave the following:

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-circa-summer-1832/3

"and he spake unto me saying"

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-1835-1836/25

"he said unto me"

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/church-history-1-march-1842/2

"...saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features"

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18 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'll explain why I responded the way you did if you'll explain why you asked the question.

The reason why I’m asking is rather a complicated one.  To be simple and brief, I’ll state my train of thought, below:

Yahweh and His Asherah > God and His Spirit > The Lord and His Wisdom > Man and His Woman > Man and His Wisdom

I hope this makes sense. 

 

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Just now, Seek said:

I hope this makes sense. 

It doesn't explain WHY you're developing this train of thought. What motivation do you have for trying to turn what is a plain and obvious teaching of the church (that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith) on its head?

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2 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

It doesn't explain WHY you're developing this train of thought. What motivation do you have for trying to turn what is a plain and obvious teaching of the church (that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith) on its head?

Yet another complicated question.  At the risk of others placing their judgements upon me, I’ll tell you.  

I believe the church is true, and I believe the leaders are saintly.  But I also believe that God spares nothing from the deceptions of the Evil One.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

By way of an answer, the canonized version of the account doesn't specify sex, because no one in their right mind would actually presume it was Jesus appearing with His Heavenly Mother. However, in the three other accounts Joseph gave the following:

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-circa-summer-1832/3

"and he spake unto me saying"

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-1835-1836/25

"he said unto me"

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/church-history-1-march-1842/2

"...saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features"

1.   The Holy Ghost is referred to with a feminine pronoun in the various Semitic, Christian traditions of the Middle East. 

2.  “Two glorious personages who exactly resemble each other in features” might be referring to the features which are “inside the cup” so to speak.  

I tend not to doubt the authority of the First Vision as scripture, but the interpretation thereof.   I believe that God reveals himself in the Word, letting us see in it what we desire to see.   But the truth is the truth, and a good soul will find it. 

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15 minutes ago, Seek said:

Yet another complicated question. 

It's not complicated. Your answer is convoluted though.

Let's parse this sentence:

"God spares nothing from the deceptions of the Evil One."

  • God = The Father (right? You do mean The Father here, yes? Elohim?)
  • spares = holds back or reserves
  • nothing is ambiguous -- so God doesn't hold anything back? What's the "thing" that God doesn't hold back. Anything? Literally?
  • deceptions = lies or actions that deceive

So you've said, Heavenly Father doesn't hold anything back from Satan's lies.

What on earth is that supposed to actually mean?

Even if it made sense, it has absolutely nothing to do with the question I'm asking. What's YOUR motivation?

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3 minutes ago, Seek said:

1.   The Holy Ghost is referred to with a feminine pronoun in the various Semitic, Christian traditions of the Middle East. 

So what?

3 minutes ago, Seek said:

2.  “Two glorious personages who exactly resemble each other in features” might be referring to the features which are “inside the cup” so to speak.  

Exactly means exactly. But even putting that aside -- how do you explain Joseph Smith using the pronoun "he" then in his other accounts?

4 minutes ago, Seek said:

But the truth is the truth, and a good soul will find it. 

What do you make of Joseph's accounts where he specifically used "he" then?

What do you make of all the other Prophets and General Authorities throughout the years then that have specifically taught, repeatedly, that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph? No good souls among them?

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14 minutes ago, Seek said:

1.   The Holy Ghost is referred to with a feminine pronoun in the various Semitic, Christian traditions of the Middle East. 

First off:  hello!  Good to see you posting again.  And yeah, on a lark I’ve wondered the same thing you have about whether Heavenly Mother manifested Herself at the first vision.  But as @The Folk Prophet says, the various accounts of the event don’t really leave room for that.

As to your statement that I quote above:  I understand that.  Some of the connections are intriguing, and I respect the scholars who have done the leg-work on this.

But, let us be clear:

The Semitic “traditions” of which you speak that acknowledged Asherah/Astarte/Ishtar/, were essentially sex cults; spiced up with a healthy dose of human sacrifice just in case they weren’t repugnant enough on their own merits.  To the degree that they infiltrated Judaism, the Yahwist prophets almost without exception abhorred them.

They are a deeply, deeply problematic lens through which to filter our own faith’s teachings on Heavenly Mother.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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9 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What on earth is that supposed to actually mean?

The Godhead subjects everyone and everything to the works of Satan, which are nothing more than deceptions and lies.  

9 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What's YOUR motivation?

Truth.  

Because truth is wisdom, and wisdom is peace; and peace is the love of God. 

12 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

So what?

The feminine pronoun was the original form, in use in the land of Galilee and elsewhere during the time of Jesus.  The first Christians used the feminine, because that was prevalent among Jews of their day. 

13 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What do you make of Joseph's accounts where he specifically used "he" then?

God gave for Joseph to see that which he did, and Joseph perceived it by the lens of his spiritual eyes.  Like any other man, Joseph saw what he wanted to see.  He gave an interpretation thereof. 

25 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What do you make of all the other Prophets and General Authorities throughout the years then that have specifically taught, repeatedly, that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph? No good souls among them?

Good souls, indeed; even saintly.  

But Satan is the most cunning of them all, who leaves no soul untouched.

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38 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

First off:  hello!  Good to see you posting again.

Thanks.  Good to see you, too.  I hope that I now shine a little more brightly than since last we met. 

40 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

But as @The Folk Prophet says, the various accounts of the event don’t really leave room for that.

Please refer to my response to that position, which I provided in a previous post.

43 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

The Semitic “traditions” of which you speak that acknowledged Asherah/Astarte/Ishtar/, were essentially sex cults; spiced up with a healthy dose of human sacrifice just in case they weren’t repugnant enough on their own merits.  To the degree that they infiltrated Judaism, the Yahwist prophets almost without exception abhorred them.

They are a deeply, deeply problematic lens through which to filter our own faith’s teachings on Heavenly Mother.

That may have been how the Canaanites and the Chaldeans worshipped the Queen of Heaven, but many archaeological discoveries suggest the Israelites worshipped her differently.  For example, statues of the goddess which have been discovered in Palastine often do not portray the lower portion of the body but rather accentuate the upper portion,  possibly suggesting that she was not a fertility goddess but rather a wisdom goddess.  As Margaret Barker points out, there are indications that the Israelites not only revered the coming of the Messiah, but the Messiah accompanied by his mother, a virgin, who would clothe him in the garments of wisdom. 

I don’t know that the prophets of Israel abhorred Mother Wisdom herself.  Seems to me they abhorred the rituals which were being performed in her name, those in the style of the Canaanites and Chaldeans.  Perhaps they thought that she belonged in the temple.

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I would add @Just_A_Guy that I believe there’s a connection between Heavenly Mother and the Spirit of God. Genesis opens with the implication—at least in my opinion—that the Spirit of God mated with waters of the deep; and there was a marriage or joining of some kind. Such is why it’s explained that male-and-female is the image and likeness of the Gods, or Elohim (God).

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1 hour ago, Seek said:

[1]Please refer to my response to that position, which I provided in a previous post.

[2]That may have been how the Canaanites and the Chaldeans worshipped the Queen of Heaven, but many archaeological discoveries suggest the Israelites worshipped her differently.  For example, statues of the goddess which have been discovered in Palastine often do not portray the lower portion of the body but rather accentuate the upper portion,  possibly suggesting that she was not a fertility goddess but rather a wisdom goddess.  As Margaret Barker points out, there are indications that the Israelites not only revered the coming of the Messiah, but the Messiah accompanied by his mother, a virgin, who would clothe him in the garments of wisdom. 

[3]I don’t know that the prophets of Israel abhorred Mother Wisdom herself.  Seems to me they abhorred the rituals which were being performed in her name, those in the style of the Canaanites and Chaldeans.  Perhaps they thought that she belonged in the temple.

1.  I’m not sure what “inside the cup” is supposed to mean; but I agree with TFP’s read of the sources.  

2.  I may eventually be persuaded otherwise, but the analyses of the archaeological record that I’ve seen thus far strike me primarily as a case of the authors seeing what they want to see.  Explicit mentions of Asherah in scripture—whether by name, or in reference to the “groves” dedicated to her worship—are, so far as I recall, universally negative.

3.  It may be that someday we’ll meet the Psalmist and the author of Proverbs and they’ll both say “yeah, when I wrote of ‘wisdom’ I was thinking of Heavenly Mother”.  But again, our extrapolation of this does not come from the plain meaning of the Biblical text (other than assuming that use of “her” in connection with “wisdom” constitutes literalism rather than the literary technique of personification); and it largely seems to come from using literature left by contemporary Asherah-worshipping sex-cults in order to fill in what we presume (hope?) to be blanks in the scriptural record.  So we should be cautious.  

24 minutes ago, Seek said:

I would add @Just_A_Guy that I believe there’s a connection between Heavenly Mother and the Spirit of God. Genesis opens with the implication—at least in my opinion—that the Spirit of God mated with waters of the deep; and there was a marriage or joining of some kind. Such is why it’s explained that male-and-female is the image and likeness of the Gods, or Elohim (God).

That’s an interesting thought; but I don’t  think that jibes with the way specialists in ancient scripture (in or out of the Church) tends to read that passage.  They tend to see it more in the sense of the waters/deep representing chaos and the creation representing bringing forth order from chaos (which is why, from a literary standpoint, Noah’s flood was such an absolute catastrophe—it’s not just a huge loss of life; it’s literally an undoing of the creation itself).

I think in very general terms, the idea of the Holy Ghost being Heavenly Mother (or being a sort of “office” filled by many individuals including, at one point, Heavenly Mother) may have something to it; but if personal revelation tells me that’s the case, that still doesn’t authorize me to force-fit my revelations into the scriptures.  If I’m confident enough of my revelation, I don’t need it to be in the scriptures (I just need to know that it doesn’t contradict them!).  

From a perspective of scriptural exegesis, I have a hard time connecting Genesis with the idea of creation beginning by a mating between Heavenly Mother (spirit) and “the waters of the deep” (Heavenly Father?  Something else?).  Everything we know about the Plan of Salvation suggests that Heavenly Mother has a body, same as Heavenly Father does; and that They were joined in matrimony far before the creation of our world/universe began.  

Moreover, I am unconvinced that whoever committed the Books of Moses to writing in their current form had a complete view about the true nature of the Godhead; so I’m disinclined to think that the author deliberately left (for lack of a better term) theological dog whistles within the text to teach (some of) us about the relationship between Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Heavenly Mother.  If some obscure passage gets me thinking in a new vein which the Spirit happens to confirm, great—but let’s not get sucked into thinking that that’s what the text itself was intended to mean all along. 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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8 hours ago, Seek said:

God gave for Joseph to see that which he did, and Joseph perceived it by the lens of his spiritual eyes.  Like any other man, Joseph saw what he wanted to see.  He gave an interpretation thereof. 

I think that when God and Jesus choose to reveal themselves to Their children, They will be seen as they want to be seen, and not as Their children want or choose to see them. Its not often that a person's desire or willingness to see a vision in a certain way is sufficiently strong to overcome the purposes for which that vision was given and the intention of that vision, (although this might have happened in a part of Lehi's dream). For Jesus to appear to Joseph Smith as a woman would either be deceptive, which I don't think God is likely to do, or it would defeat the purpose of Them showing Themselves to Joseph, (which purposes was to identify and make themselves known) and I think that this might be one of those occasions when Their purpose was not defeated. 

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1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

I think that when God and Jesus choose to reveal themselves to Their children... 

But let us suppose, for example, that God revealed himself to someone, knowing they would perceive and disseminate a less than ideal notion of his glory. Would that not be possible for God to do, according to his purposes? My point is that, perhaps a less than ideal notion of God was revealed; to be disseminated amongst a less than ideal generation. 

I don’t think Jesus ever appeared as a woman. I’m supposing that Jesus appeared to Joseph with Heavenly Mother, instead of with Heavenly Father.

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8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

1.  I’m not sure what “inside the cup” is supposed to mean; but I agree with TFP’s read of the sources.  

I am referencing Matthew 23:26,

“[...] cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

Two personages were clearly present; that much is clear. So the question which lingers in mind is, whether or not there was a carnal lens which obscured Joseph’s “spiritual eyes” — eyes which rendered a carnal understanding of the personages. 

I tend to believe so.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

2.  I may eventually be persuaded otherwise, but the analyses of the archaeological record that I’ve seen thus far strike me primarily as a case of the authors seeing what they want to see.  Explicit mentions of Asherah in scripture—whether by name, or in reference to the “groves” dedicated to her worship—are, so far as I recall, universally negative.

I watched a presentation by William Dever on YouTube; on a certain LDS channel. I haven’t read any of Dever’s work, but he featured some really compelling archaeological discoveries. Have you ever viewed any of his lectures or presentations on YouTube? what do you think?

If I had to take a guess, I would say that the cult of Asherah was declared to be detestable by the prophets for the simple reason that, it was not the cult of Yahweh-Asherah, or Elohim. The sperm so to speak, was being worshipped instead of the Life that is the sperm + egg.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

3.  It may be that someday we’ll meet the Psalmist and the author of Proverbs and they’ll both say “yeah, when I wrote of ‘wisdom’ I was thinking of Heavenly Mother”.  But again, our extrapolation of this does not come from the plain meaning of the Biblical text (other than assuming that use of “her” in connection with “wisdom” constitutes literalism rather than the literary technique of personification); and it largely seems to come from using literature left by contemporary Asherah-worshipping sex-cults in order to fill in what we presume (hope?) to be blanks in the scriptural record.  So we should be cautious.  

I agree. Caution is absolutely necessary.

But again, coming to mind is the image which Margaret Barker supposes was prevalent in first temple Judaism, that of the virgin mother of the anointed king; the vestiture of wisdom. It seems that the Jews in particular recognized that Yahweh is wise, inasmuch as his Asherah’s love has become his wisdom; her love is the spirit of his choosing, with which he establishes and nourishes all things. Some inscriptions have been found in Palestine, dating to the first temple period, which mention, “Yahweh and his Asherah”.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

That’s an interesting thought; but I don’t  think that jibes with the way specialists in ancient scripture (in or out of the Church) tends to read that passage.  They tend to see it more in the sense of the waters/deep representing chaos and the creation representing bringing forth order from chaos (which is why, from a literary standpoint, Noah’s flood was such an absolute catastrophe—it’s not just a huge loss of life; it’s literally an undoing of the creation itself).

You raise a good point, which I agree with. Though I believe such things as the Creation and the Flood are truly about the promise of transformation; the central motif of the scriptures. Many souls yearn to be righteous and good, despite the fact they don’t know how to be, at first. The Holy Ghost mating with the waters of the deep is similar to how the Holy Ghost enters us and plants his/ her seed, thereby creating life — a new person; a transformed person. The Holy Ghost (Asherah, Queen Mother) organized the waters of the deep and transformed them into a fountain of Life; by the will of Yahweh.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I think in very general terms, the idea of the Holy Ghost being Heavenly Mother (or being a sort of “office” filled by many individuals including, at one point, Heavenly Mother) may have something to it; but if personal revelation tells me that’s the case, that still doesn’t authorize me to force-fit my revelations into the scriptures.  If I’m confident enough of my revelation, I don’t need it to be in the scriptures (I just need to know that it doesn’t contradict them!).  

I think it’s possible that, on occasion, a personal revelation might appear to contradict the scriptures when, in fact, it’s in complete harmony with the scriptures.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

From a perspective of scriptural exegesis, I have a hard time connecting Genesis with the idea of creation beginning by a mating between Heavenly Mother (spirit) and “the waters of the deep” (Heavenly Father?  Something else?).  Everything we know about the Plan of Salvation suggests that Heavenly Mother has a body, same as Heavenly Father does; and that They were joined in matrimony far before the creation of our world/universe began.  

Is the universe itself not “body”? Who is to say that one lens over the spiritual eye is not meant for one generation, while another lens is meant for another generation; referring to my first statement in this post. Are we required under the Law to believe that “body” in exaltation consists of penises and vaginas, literally? I suppose that Mother and Father were married in eternity, but became joined together through intercourse and the advent of time and Creation.

8 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Moreover, I am unconvinced that whoever committed the Books of Moses to writing in their current form had a complete view about the true nature of the Godhead; so I’m disinclined to think that the author deliberately left (for lack of a better term) theological dog whistles within the text to teach (some of) us about the relationship between Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Heavenly Mother.  If some obscure passage gets me thinking in a new vein which the Spirit happens to confirm, great—but let’s not get sucked into thinking that that’s what the text itself was intended to mean all along. 

Wisdom is a surprising and curious thing.

Edited by Seek

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38 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Why do you want the 2nd personage to be Heavenly Mother despite all the commentary which declares him to be the Father?

For the past five years or so I’ve been investigating the Church. Everything I’ve learned about the Church during that time has led me to reach various conclusions. This is one such conclusion. 

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16 minutes ago, Seek said:

For the past five years or so I’ve been investigating the Church. Everything I’ve learned about the Church during that time has led me to reach various conclusions. This is one such conclusion. 

If you want to believe this, then go ahead. But don’t teach it to anyone... cause you are so clearly wrong.

In order for you to be right, then that would mean any or all of the following:

1) you are more inspired than the men called specifically of God

2) You are the only person in the world that is smart enough to come to this conclusion  (as I have never heard this rendition of a female god theory before)

3) God does not really speak to his prophets but rather to you when correcting false doctrine

Want to know my opinion? I am so immensely annoyed by this whole discussion. Trying to explain how I feel would take paragraphs upon paragraphs of analogies describing my frustration. I don’t know how someone could be so prideful to think he could be any of those claims I listed above.

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1 hour ago, Seek said:

For the past five years or so I’ve been investigating the Church. Everything I’ve learned about the Church during that time has led me to reach various conclusions. This is one such conclusion. 

I’m curious as to what teaching or investigation has led you down this path.

And what are the implications of your current theory?

I’m currently reading The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic & Mysticism, and have enjoyed the education. 

Edited by mikbone

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9 minutes ago, mikbone said:

I’m curious as to what teaching or investigation has led you down this path.

I don’t know that it would be appropriate to continue this part of the conversation in this forum. But let me say that I’ve studied most of the critics’ points, as well as the apologists’ over the years; and I’ve tried to remain more or less impartial. I’m fortunate enough that I harbor no feelings of resentment towards the Church. 

44 minutes ago, mikbone said:

And what are the implications of your current theory?

One implication might be a resolution to the feminism problem. There are many males in the Church who believe that, because they are the priests, they are the authority in the marriage; and there are many females who feel this particular mindset is being caused by the culture which the Church cultivates; which is fostering oppression in the home. Many feel and even call for females to be admitted to the priesthood, in rejection of this culture. The resolution comes by way of reimagining the role of the female, in contrast to her priestly male counterpart. There is Man, and His Wisdom; His Asherah. What is a priest without wisdom?

I could go on.

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