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.