The Symbolism of the Law of Joseph

Joseph Smith revealed that there are three Kingdoms of Glory, and that each is governed by its own law (D&C 88 and 76 also closely look at sections 84 and 107 for more about priest hood). These three Laws have three priesthoods associated with them, namely:

1. Law of Moses = Aaronic/Levitical priesthood = Telestial Glory: was given as a curse and only binds heavy burdens and offers temporary atonement through the blood of animals sacrificed yearly. This priesthood is limited to men of one tribe (Levi), and Aaron and his family had the higher Aaronic priesthood that was necessary for the annual atonement offering on yom kippur. Joseph offered this atonement offering again for latter day Israel in the Kirtland temple, and then the Aaronic priesthood was taken again from earth (D&C 13, 84:31, 110, and Joseph Smith History, specifically compare Joseph and Oliver’s account of the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood). See also Hebrews and various chapters about the law in the Book of Mormon.

2. Law of Joseph = Abrahamic/Patriarchal/Evangelical priesthood = Terrestrial Glory: grants temporary blessings and salvation through good works, constant repentance (broken heart and contrite spirit), and preaching the gospel. This is lineal priesthood bestowed on all the twelve tribes or those adopted into a tribe (note that the Nephites were from the tribe of Manasseh but kept the law of Moses, thus, they had to have this priesthood or the High Priesthood in order to officiate in the ordinances of the Law of Moses). The Abrahamic priesthood can officiate in lower offices so Aaronic priesthood is unnecessary currently except for the office of bishop (Thus, there are no valid bishops currently as the Aaronic priesthood was taken from the earth, and so was the high priesthood, both are only needed for Zion which also does not currently exist). Women receive this priesthood in the temple and can officiate in the temple for other women. They also proclaim the gospel through this priesthood and can give temporal blessings like men, i.e., it has sealing power of blessings and cursings that the patriarchs were given anciently. See Abraham chapter 2 and D&C 110. Notice that all the offices of the priesthood except for Patriarch are Elders of some kind (70 traveling elders and 12 traveling high council are special elders. All elders can serve in all lower offices except for bishop unless they are also a descendant of Aaron and ordained by a high priest.

It also appears that women cannot be ordained to offices in the Abrahmic priesthood as it is Patriarchal and handed down from father to son (D&C 107:40-52), but women can obtain it through the modern temple endowment which then allows them to preach the gospel (evanglize) and give blessings. Joseph Smith stated that this priesthood was the greatest experienced in this church (because the Church of Christ had failed to live consecration, thus we were downgraded to a different church). See the following pages at the Joseph Smith Papers for more info: Link 1 and Link 2.

3. Law of Christ/Consecration = Melchizedek Priesthood (after the order of Enoch and the order of the Son of God) = Celestial Glory: one eternal sacrifice of Christ to make all perfect through him this priesthood is for all people men and women bond and free. Saved by grace not by dead works. The elect/noble and great ones who were called and chosen before the foundations of the world received this priesthood (Alma 13:3, JST Genesis 14, and Abraham especially chapter 3). This is the power needed to return to the Father’s presence, and JST Genesis 14:27-32 says about Melchizedek that:

27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.

Thus, the only way to truly gain the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to be called by God’s voice out of the heavens. As children of Abraham we are promised only the Patriarchal Priesthood if the Spirit finds us worthy as stated in D&C 20:60:

60 Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains him.

Furthermore, we can use the Abrahmic Priesthood to preach the fullness of the gospel of Christ, and to give blessings if we obtain the spirit. D&C 42:12-17 states that:

12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.

16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

17 For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

Furthermore, verses 43 and 44 of the same section state that:

43 And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy.

44 And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.

Thus, the current church can do much good. Namely, it can preach the fullness of the Gospel of Christ, and administer blessings to those in need of comfort through the power of the Patriarchal Priesthood if the person using this priesthood obtains the spirit. It prepares us to receive the fullness. However, it can not bring about Zion which is where we will live the fullness of the Gospel of Christ, and have the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and be in God’s presence.

Finally let me discuss some of the symbolism of the current temple Endowment which teaches us about the various orders of the Priesthood. Firstly, there are 4 signs and tokens of the priesthood given along with their associated names. Two for the Aaronic Priesthood, and two for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  1. The first sign/token represents the order of Levi which is represented by, and allows one to officiate in, the initiatory ordinances (outward ordinances).
  2. The second sign/token represents the order of Aaron which allows one to offer temporary atonement for one’s people, and is represented by the instructional portion of the endowment, i.e., it is a schoolmaster to bring us back into the presence of the Father.
  3. The third sign/token represents the Patriarchal Order which is represented by, and allows one to administer covenants, oaths and blessings. Notice that this is also when you enter the Terrestrial Kingdom.
  4. The fourth sign/token represents the order of Enoch aka the order of Son of God or the Fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood. This is represented by testing of your knowledge at the veil, i.e., proving yourself faithful of being brought back into God’s presence. Notice that the final order is only obtained by God’s voice calling us back into His presence from the Celestial Kingdom while we are still standing in the terrestrial world. Thus, the current endowment and the scriptures teach us that we need the High Priesthood in order to enter back into God’s presence, and that it is only by God’s voice calling us to this highest order, and only through the mercy of the atonement of Christ that we can enter the Celestial Kingdom.

D&C 76:50-70 says:

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—

56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.

58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—

59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

60 And they shall overcome all things.

61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.

62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. 63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.

65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

Notice that there is nothing about a temple ceremony or an endowment being necessary to save us. However, the three part baptism of water, the spirit, and the blood of Christ is mentioned, and becoming a high priest is also necessary to be saved and reenter God’s presence. The endowment clearly teaches this, and yet we think the endowment will save us. It is a completely unnecessary ordinance except insofar as it causes us to realize that the church has lost the fullness of the priesthood and therefore cannot save us. It does not have the power to bring about Zion, and it does not have the power to bring us back into the presence of God the Father. It only has the power to proclaim the knowledge of the fullness of the gospel and to prepare us for the restoration of the fullness which will shortly come.

The Law of Joseph aka the Endowment

Today I want to continue where I left off in my last post and talk more about the endowment, which I like to call the Law of Joseph. First some background on Joseph Smith’s mission, and how it is very similar to Moses and his mission. 2 Nephi 3:6-11 state:

For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

Notice that Joseph Smith is directly compared to Moses, because they both have a mission to save Israel, and bring forth God’s words unto them, and a knowledge of the covenants which God made with the fathers. 

Furthermore Joseph Smith also will convince the seed of Joseph of the truth of the words which have already gone forth among us. This is quite an interesting point which I’ll talk about later, but suffice it to say, that I agree with Watcher ( that Joseph still has to finish this part of his mission in the third watch. 

Moses and Joseph are similar in one other very important way. They both brought forth Laws from the mouth of God, and not only revelations. Furthermore, they tried to get their people (Israel) to see the face of God, i.e., to enter back into God’s presence, but they failed to do so. In D&C 84:21-27 holds some crucial information:

21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

Notice that not only was Moses (a true Prophet), and the Holy Priesthood taken away from the children of Israel, but they were also given the lesser (Aaronic) priesthood and given a lower Gospel/Law of Moses as a curse. Furthermore, notice that without the Holy Priesthood no one can see the face of God, or enter into his presence. Anyone who has read the animal sacrifices in Leviticus and elsewhere will see that they were simply modeled on pagan traditions which the children of Israel wanted. However, God is always merciful, so even in his wrath he gave them a law that was a curse, but simultaneously, as Paul in Galatians 3 points out, these sacrifices were also a schoolmaster to point the children of Israel to Christ.

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it isevident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

I love Paul’s clarity in summarizing the point of the Law of Moses. It was both a curse for rejecting God and the fullness of the Gospel, and also it was simultaneously a schoolmaster symbolically pointing Israel back to Christ and his ultimate atoning sacrifice. 

So, what about Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)? What law do we live? Well let’s see we were given the fullness of the gospel which I addressed in my last post, but do we live it? How many of you out there follow the Law as contained in section 42 of the D&C?

Verses 12-17 say:

12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.

14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

15 And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.

16 And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

17 For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

So in 1831 we already had the fullness of the gospel in the BoM and the Bible, and that’s what we’re supposed to teach from. Not from the latest Ensign. Furthermore, if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach. I don’t know about you but I’ve sat through far too many uninspired lessons to count. 

So, it looks like we’re doing a pretty bad job of following that Law, and we also failed to live the Law of Consecration back in Joseph’s day. So what law are we currently living? I would submit to you that we too just like Israel anciently, rejected the fullness of the gospel when it was offered to us. We cast out the prophets like Sydney Rigdon, and chose a king (Brigham Young) just like Israel rejected Samuel and chose Saul. We rejected the simple three part baptism I described in my last post, and chose to delve into the occult mysteries of the world. We would rather gain the mysteries of Kabbalah and Masonry than the mysteries of God’s kingdom. 

This brings us to our modern day equivalent of the Law of Moses which I call the Law of Joseph, and it all centers on the ordinances of the temple, just like Israel’s ordinances anciently were centered on the temple in Jerusalem.

The temple endowment draws much of its rituals from Masonry, and many of the early church leaders like Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, believed Joseph was restoring “true Masonry” (for more info read the article entitled “Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry” by Michael W. Homer). Why the hell would you care about “true Masonry” when you had been offered the fullness of Christ’s gospel? Furthermore, many people when the Book of Mormon was originally published saw it as anti-masonic because of its description of secret combinations. Master Mahan in the book of Moses sounds awfully close to Master Mason, and master masons just like master mahan swear an oath that they will die rather than give up their secrets. Finally, where does Christ ever command secret death oaths to inherit his kingdom? Yes, the temple endowment had penalties until 1990. Let’s see what Christ said in Mathew 5:

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

  So again looks like we’re following a different law than Christ’s, which I will continue to call the Law of Joseph. And what is the point of the Law of Joseph? It serves the same point as the Law of Moses did anciently. God is always more merciful to his people than they deserve so he gave us a law based on what we wanted (secret mysteries and knowledge of the world and adultery aka polygamy) and took those teachings of the world and of satan and incorporated enough truth into them to point us back to Him. There is enough truth in the endowment to let us know what is wrong, or the state of our modern apostasy, and what we need to do to return to Him.

In my next post I will explore the symbolism contained in the modern temple endowment aka the Law of Joseph, and show how it is a schoolmaster to point us back towards Christ, just like the Law of Moses did anciently. 

The Gospel of Joseph

Mormons today do not follow the Gospel of Christ. Instead they follow what I call the Gospel/Law of Joseph. The Gospel of Christ is summarized in Moses 6:59-68:

59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.

65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.

66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;

67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.

68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

And that’s it. First we believe in God and that he sent his Son to redeem us from the fall, and from our sins. Then this belief leads us to repentance (turning towards God). Then we receive the three part baptism of water, the spirit (fire and the holy ghost), and blood (atonement of Christ).

Notice that the baptism of water is the only part we can do ourselves. The baptism of fire and of the holy ghost is given by God, and the final sanctification comes through Christ’s blood which he offered as a sacrifice for us. When we have received this full three part baptism we are then worthy to be a Son/Daughter of God and receive a fullness of the priesthood (verse 67).

Thus, the Gospel of Christ was simple and straightforward from the days of Adam, and yet God’s children have continuously looked beyond the mark and sought out strange rituals and other false traditions of the world. 

Here’s a summary of Gospel of Joseph/Law of Joseph that Mormons follow today, and compare it to the simple Gospel of Christ the scriptures describe. 

  1. Have faith in the Brethren for they know the way
  2. Have faith in Christ and the scriptures, but don’t forget General Conference is modern scripture and trumps everything else
  3. Get baptized and confirmed a member of the church
  4. Faithfully follow all of your church callings
  5. Pay tithing on your gross pay
  6. Follow the Word of Wisdom
  7. Continuously repent and take the sacrament weekly as this is a Gospel of works
  8. Go to the temple to get your endowment which contains four basic parts = four orders of priesthood 
    Levitical = the initiatory (outward ordinances)
    Aaronic = Instructional portion (symbolic schoolmaster to bring us to Christ)
    Abrahamic/Patriarchal = Making covenants/oaths (as the patriarchs did for future blessings)
    Melchizedek = Testing of knowledge (proving faithful to our covenants and being brought back into God’s presence). I’ll talk more about the endowment later, but for now I’ll just point out that it’s our equivalent of the Law of Moses hence I call it the Law of Joseph.
  9. Get sealed in the temple
  10. Do temple work for the dead (yes it is a gospel not just of works but of dead works too!)
  11. Still not done yet, you also need to endure to the end.
  12. And finally if you really try hard you’ll get your Second Anointing which means your calling and election are made sure.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like you don’t have much free time to follow Christ’s example if you’re always busy with church callings and temple ordinances. 

I’ll talk about more of these ideas in detail in the future. For now I encourage you all to search the scriptures, and see whether they teach the Gospel of Christ or the Gospel/Law of Joseph.

The Gospel of Christ

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

This scripture has always been one of my favorites, and I have always felt a special kinship to the Apostle Paul, because both of us have had our lives transformed by the Gospel of Christ. And because of the way the Gospel has touched my life as it touched Paul’s, I feel an urgency to share the Gospel message with everyone. To the mormon first and also unto the gentiles.

In this blog I will be presenting the Gospel of Christ as contained in the scriptures (The Book of Mormon, The Bible (JST), The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price). I will also make use of church history and sites such as the Joseph Smith Papers.

In order to truly be a disciple of Christ we must know what His Gospel is. Therefore, we must be willing to cast out the false traditions and beliefs of our fathers, and search the scriptures to find the truth.

In my next post I will discuss the true Gospel of Christ and compare it with Gospel of Joseph which we (Mormons) follow instead.