I’ve been trying to make sure I get these up during the same month they were initially published, but this one ended up being a little delayed. Hopefully, I can get a September 1832 edition up here before the month ends, and then we’ll be back on track. I also soon hope to have a review up for the fascinating brand new Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet by John Turner soon. So watch this space!
This third issue of the Evening and Mormon Star was fascinating. Some brief notes/highlights before we jump into the detailed outline:
The Revelations had a strong emphasis on gifts of the Spirit, and the principle of discerning them, noting that the Bishop is authorized to call out and recognize spiritual manifestations that are not legitimate. This is a fascinating follow up to last month’s calls to order in emigration to Zion.
The Enoch passage presents the first full presentation in print – that I’m aware – of material from Joseph’s expansion and revision of the Bible. While it was not canonized until well after Joseph’s death, the material in the ‘New Translation’ was made known both in the periodicals, and, eventually, in some of the material presented in the Lectures on Faith. The Enoch material became an important framework and model for ‘likening’ the Church’s Zion Project – so much so that modern revelations on the development of the United Firm were ‘coded’ and re-written into an expansion of the Enoch story (see Christopher Smith’s excellent article on this in the April 2011 Claremont Journal of Mormon Studies - “The Inspired Fictionalization of the 1835 United Firm Revelations“)
Among other details, the Enoch passage presents the prototypical formation of Zion, its taking up into heaven, and a promise of its joining with a Latter-day Zion at the last day. There is also an early mention of the idea of exclusion of Canaanites and the seed of Cain from the evangelized, both, while not equated in the text, are each noted as being ‘black’ in some form, and having no place among the people.
The conclusion of the “Excellence of Scripture” article (from another Christian periodical) presents an interesting affirmation of the purity and sufficiency of scripture – a strange contrast to a key message of the Church, the claims of the Book of Mormon, and even other articles within this very issue.
Two other unique editorials by W.W. Phelps include a note that one should not hope to convert Israelites (including the Jews, and the Josephites/Lamanites), as that will only occur at the Lord’s Coming, and a significant effort at charting the timeline of history, with the conclusion that the End of the Age is coming in only 9 years time!
Check out further details below.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Volume 1, Number 3. August 1832
Up through July 31, 1832, there have been 3731 reported cases of cholera, with 1520 reported deaths.
“No man can stop the work of the Lord, for God rules the pestilence, and the pestilence rules men. Oceans, sentinels, and forts, may hinder men, or money may bribe, but when the pestilence rides on the wings of the wind, the ocean is no barrier; the sentinel has no power; the fort is no obstacle, and money has no value: the destroying angel goes, waving the banner of death over all; and who shall escape his pointed arrow? Not he that could brave death at the cannon’s mouth, but shrink at the sound of the cholera; not he that worshipped his god in some stately chapel, every Sabbath until the cholera comes, and then flees for his life; no; none but him who trusts in God, shall be able to stand when a thousand shall fall at his side, and ten thousand at his right hand, by the noisome pestilence.”
Commandment, Given March 8, 1831 [D&C 46]
Conduct all meetings as guided and directed by the Holy Spirit – but don’t cast anyone, ever, out of your public meetings, whether they are Church members or not. As for sacrament meetings, never cast out members, or non-members who are ‘earnestly seeking the kingdom’. Same terms for Confirmation meetings. Seek earnestly the best spiritual gifts, as long as you keep in mind what their ultimate purpose is – the benefit of all mankind. Everyone is given a gift by the spirit of God. Examples of gifts are listed. The Bishop is granted the ability to discern those gifts in others, to be able to declare who is exercising a true spiritual gift, and who is being deceptive. Give thanks according to whatever gift you have, and walk in holiness before the Lord.
Commandment, Given May 9, 1831 [D&C 50]
A warning against false spirits. There are lots of deceivers and hypocrites expressing false spirits among the Church members. Beware! Let’s think this out – you were sent forth and ordained to preach the Gospel by the spirit. And now …you’ve accepted false spirits? This is not acceptable! If you’re not both being edified, there’s something seriously wrong, and there’s a lack of the spirit of Truth present. If you are fully purified, anything you ask in the name of Jesus will be given to you, and you’ll be able to control all of the spirits. At that point, if you find a spirit you don’t understand, ask to have it, and you don’t receive it, well, that’s another good indicator that the spirit isn’t of God. You will, however, have power over it, and should call it out for what it is. You are children, and can’t bear everything now. It will come. Watch, so you’ll be ready.
Extract from the Prophecy of Enoch [Moses 7:1–69]
Enoch granted a vision of deity, and shown the world. As a result of a curse of heat and barrenness, “a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.” – Enoch commanded to preach repentance to all except those of Canaan. Enoch powerful, and turned away armies and forces of nature through the divine language he was granted. Lord’ people a refuge from war and bloodshed – called ZION. Sees residue of the sons of Adam who were all mixed together, “save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.” – vision of Zion taken into heaven, and Satan rejoicing in his mastery over the earth. God weeps over the wicked residue of his people. Enoch foresees Noah’s salvation, and the coming of the Son of Man and his crucifixion. The Earth groans, and looks forward to day of Salvation from the day of Wickedness. The people of Enoch will meet the people of the Lord in That Day.
The Excellence of Scripture [part 2] [Stillingfleet]
“Scripture comprehends matters of the most universal satisfaction to the minds of men” – if there are things within them that we can comprehend are marvelous, we must assume that the things we cannot grasp are equally marvelous. The scriptures lay out how to achieve happiness – something Philosophers have sought the answer for since the beginning. Scriptures lead to a loss of the fear of death.
“As the matters themselves are of an excellent nature, so is the manner wherein they are revealed in the Scripture.”
· I. “In a clear and perspicuous manner” – while not denying some difficult passages, all that pertains to salvation is extremely clear. God intended these things as directions to man. Can he not speak clear enough without need for an infallible interpreter?
· II. “In a powerful and authoritative manner.” – the things in Scripture do not beg acceptance as much as command it. “The word is a telescope to discover the great luminaries of the world, the truths of highest concernment to the souls of men, and it is such a microscope as discovers to us the smallest atom of our thoughts, and discerns the most secret intents of the heart.”
· III. “In a pure and unmixed manner.” – there is no mixture of dross and gold in the scripture. All is of value. “There is a Urim and Thummim upon the whole Scripture, light and perfection in every part of it.” – “here have been no hucksters to corrupt and mix their own inventions with divine truths.”
· IV. “In uniform and agreeable manner.” – fascinating when considered in the following regards:
1. Delivered by individuals who lived in different ages and times from each other
2. By persons of different interests in the world
3. By persons in different places and conditions
· V. “In a persuasive and convincing manner.” – and that in these ways:
1. Bringing divine truth down to our capacity
2. Propounding things as our interest, which are our duty
3. Courting us to obedience
“The Scripture may be considered as a rule of life, or as a law of God, which is given for the government of the lives of men, and therein the excellency of it lies in the nature of the duties, and the encouragements to the practice of them.”
I. In the nature of the duties required, most becoming God to require, and most reasonable for us to perform.
1. Most becoming God to require
2. Most reasonable for us to perform in that:
A. Religion is not only a service of the reasonable faculties which are employed the most in it (spiritual service, sanctified temper of heart and mind)
B. the service itself is reasonable – “God requires nothing but what is apparently man’s interest to do; God prohibits nothing but what will destroy him if he doth it.
· II. “The encouragements are more than proportionable to the difficulty of obedience,”
“The excellency of the Scriptures appear as they contain in them a covenant of grace, or the transactions between God and man in order to his eternal happiness.” “It remains…that we adore and magnify the goodness of God in making known his will to us, and that we set a value and esteem on the Scriptures, as the only authentic instruments of that Grand Charter of peace, which God hath revealed in order to man’s eternal happiness.”
The Valley of the Jordan, And the Dead Sea [Chateaubriand’s Travel, &c]
Selections from a travelogue of a visitor to sites in the Holy Land, such as the Jordan, “the Valley of Jehoshaphat”, and “The Ruins of Carthage”. Descriptive and Somber notes of their desolation, noting that they appeared as if the last trump had already sounded.
Restoration of the Jews
The commentator from the Reformer notes that “Few commentators extend the time for the restoration or conversion of the Jews beyond the year 1866.” – this is not disputed, but it is noted that only the fact of their conversion is truly known, with time and way and manner is still a mystery. However, the reader should be clear that no human effort to convert the Jews will be successful – it must be accomplished by the Lord. “Only God can convert any man: and if there be a peculiar difficulty to convert any soul, that difficulty must be in the conversion of the Jew.”
Editorial Remarks by the Star [Phelps]: “Neither the house of Joseph in America,” or any other Israelites, “can be converted by ministers, though the Gentiles are.” – Scripture presents that it will only be with the coming of the Lord in the clouds that, in mourning, “they will be ready and willing to meet the Messiah.”
“Wickedness proceedeth forth from the wicked. What is that proverb, &c. The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? * * Thus saith the Lord God: – The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are on edge. Physician, heal thyself. The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and, The sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Revolutionary War Veterans
The Providence (Rhode Island) American presents the names and ages of thirty-seven living Revolutionary Soldiers present at an Independence Day celebration. The oldest was 94, the youngest was 62. In 1830, there were 76 soldiers present, and 53 in 1831. “In a few years more, those last remains of revolutionary glory will live only in the memories of their countrymen.”
Present Age of the World [Phelps]
A computation of years to determine the chronology of the history of the World since the creation, to compare with the current religious consensus of 5836 since the creation. The difference in calculations comes to more than a hundred and fifty-years. This is unacceptable to the writer. “Here we have more than a century and a half difference on a subject of the utmost importance to the human family.” – Explanations of detailed Biblical calculations are presented, in which the writer presents that some are even confirmed by the Book of Mormon.
“We the old and new eras, we have Five thousand nine hundred and ninety one years; leaving the world NINE years from the beginning of the seven thousandth year, or Sabbath of creation: But as all have the privilege of ascertaining such facts for themselves, we ask no man to take our word for the age of the world; the word of the Lord is enough, and whether it be 160, or only 9 years to the morning of the Great Day, is not so much matter, as the solemn reality – Are we ready?”
To The Honorable Men of the World [Phelps]
A sincere plea to pay attention to scriptures, ancient and modern.
“Search the Scriptures – search the revelations which we publish, and ask your heavenly Father, in the name of his son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to his glory, nothing doubting, he will answer you by the power of his Holy Spirit: You will then know for yourselves and not for another: You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation.” – again, reaffirmation that one cannot claim the blessings of those who came before, and do not need the fear of curses given to those who came before either. Because of the immediate and personal nature of revelation, “You stand then in these last days, as all have stood before you, agents unto yourselves, to be judged according to your works.”
“A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the Terrestrial kingdom, or in the Telestial kingdom, but he can never see the Celestial kingdom without being born of water and the Spirit. He may receive a glory like unto the Moon, or a star, but he can never come unto Mount Zion…and to God the Judge of All, and to the spirits of just men made perfect and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, unless he becomes as a little child, and is taught by the Spirit of God. Wherefore, we again say, Search the revelations of God: study the prophecies, and rejoice that God grants unto the world seers and prophets.” –
“And, fellow sojourners upon the earth, it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
The Book of Ether
An introduction to the setting and events of the Book of Ether, emphasizing their long independence on this continent. Concerning the Jaredites,
“no more is known than is contained in the Book of Ether. Perhaps ‘Dighton Writing Rock,’ in Massachusetts, may hold an unknown tale in relation to these Pioneers of the land of liberty, which can yet be revealed.”
– other perceived evidences of their existence are noted in hills, caves, etc.
“As they were a very large race of men, whenever we hear that uncommon large bones have been dug up from the earth, we may conclude, That was the skeleton of a Jaredite.”
Following is an extract of the Book of Mormon, Moroni’s “beautiful sketch of the Book of Ether.” – [Ether 12:1–13:12]
“Let everyone that queries about more Revelations from the Lord, take his bible and see if God ever acknowledged a church to be his, unless there was a prophet in it. This is one of the most important points relative to salvation, for, as it is written, not every one that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
“One of the commandments says, My servants who are abroad in the earth, shall send forth the account of their stewardships to the land of Zion, for Zion shall be a seat, and a place to receive, and to do all these things: Wherefore we would remind the elders at a distance, to send forth, to the Editor of the Star, post paid, all matters connected with their mission, embracing historical facts, the numbers of sheaves the faithful laborers are blessed with, and all else, that may be well-pleasing in the sight of him who said, What thou seest, write in a bo0k,”
“The prophet told the truth, when, prophesying of the last days, he said, The good is perished out of the earth; for so it is. Christ’s disciples were nick-named CHRISTIANS, in the meridian of time; and his disciples, are now called MORMONITES without authority or provocation, by the sectarian papers, as well as the political; not, however, with an intimation to follow the Savior’s golden rule, or to teach mankind, to embrace Paul’s more excellent way! Let brotherly love continue.
“The editor of this paper, husked, of this season’s growth, ripe corn on the 28 July last; some of which has been planted for a second crop, and is coming on finely.”
Misc. – Notes of congressional appointment of funds, the burial of a French minister, reports of Steamboat explosions, the suicide of a Reverend who was preparing to have a surgical operation, the death of a man who ate an unidentified root he dug up, and a letter from Paris noting that a great number of Cholera victims are drunkards and prostitutes.
The Mining Country [Galenian of May] – The economy and areas surrounding the lead mines in the Upper Mississippi region are in steady decline, resulting in a lack of resources, and a fear for what could happen in case of Indian attack, as there is not the ability to stage a current offensive attack.
Table of Population – Comparing births and deaths, by year, in relation to the price of corn in both France and Prussia.
Bad Company [part 2] [Gilpin] – Those who initially are repulsed by sin and vulgar behavior, by degrees, become accustomed to it. “So carefully should we oppose the first approaches of sin; so vigilant should we be against so insidious an enemy!” – keep out of temptations, and avoid the ability for bad habits to gain strength.
“Truth, is the glory of time, and the daughter of eternity; a title of the highest grace, and a note of divine nature; she is the life of religion, the light of love, the grace of wit, and the crown of wisdom; she is the beauty of valor, the brightness of honor, the blessing of reason, and the joy of faith; her truth is pure gold, her time right precious, her word is most glorious; her essence is in God, and her dwelling with his servants; her will in his wisdom, and her work to his glory; she is honored in love, and graced in constancy; in patience admired, and in charity beloved; she is the angel’s worship, the virgin’s fame, the saints bliss, and the martyr’s crown; she is the king’s greatness, and his council’s goodness; his subjects’ peace and his kingdom’s praise: her heart never faints, her tongue never trips, her hand never fails, and her faith never fears: her church is without schism, her city without fraud, her court without vanity, and her kingdom without villany. In sum, so infinite is her excellence in the construction of all sense; that I will thus only conclude in the wonder of her worth; she is the nature of perfection in the perfection of nature, where God in Christ shews [shows] the glory of christianity.”-[N. Breton, 1616.]
Hope – A meditation on hope.
“It is hope that enkindles the spirits when dimmed by disappointments, and chilled by the cold touch of despair. It is the boon of heaven to man, and serves as a faithful pilot to guide him through the dark avenues of life, nor ever shrink from the parts assigned it. Mankind are all inspired by this kind soother of anxious toil-it is coeval with our creation, and as lasting as our existence.”
Evening - A meditation on the Evening – observing that
“There are two periods in the life of man in which the evening hour is peculiarly interesting in youth and in old age.”
We Shall See Him Again
Praise To God