Svithing chapter ten.....


Recession Cone is teaching elders quorum this Sunday so I told him I'ld be sure to read the lesson this week (although, I have noticed, quorum instructors' plans are almost always based on the assumption that no one has read the lesson--which heavily affects the manner in which discussion is led).

Anyway, to motivate myself, I thought I would just provide glosses here on some key passages as this week's svithe. So!

    If one man can live upon the revelations given to another, might not I with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the 26th chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather promises again, to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham. And why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son? And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God? Of course he could. I rather imagine he did. So the real question is why wasn't what he told Abraham good enough for God, when it came to Isaac? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days Actually, no, I wouldn't. Because I am of your persuasion, Joseph. Moving right along.

    I may believe that Enoch walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.

    But will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Ah. Now I finally se where you're headed with this. I had guessed a little wrong. Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? Interesting question. Is an assurance of salvation prerequisite for salvation? Can one not be saved--not in ignorance, per se, but in ignorance of having been saved? And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did to theirs if I come to him in the manner they did? I suspect he will. And since the quotation ends here, I'm guessing you intended the question to be rhetorically obvious anyway.
    We can make everything we undertake a subject of prayer.

    O Thou, who seest and knowest the hearts of all men … , look down upon Thy servant Joseph at this time; and let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than Thy servant ever yet has enjoyed, be conferred upon him, even the faith of Elijah; and let the lamp of eternal life be lit up in his heart, never to be taken away; and let the words of eternal life be poured upon the soul of Thy servant, that he may know Thy will, Thy statutes, and Thy commandments, and Thy judgments, to do them. As the dews upon Mount Hermon, may the distillations of Thy divine grace, glory, and honor, in the plenitude of Thy mercy, and power, and goodness, be poured down upon the head of Thy servant. You know, I never thought to offer a prayer quite like that one. But why not? Are those not righteous desires?

    Remember that without asking we can receive nothing; therefore, ask in faith, and ye shall receive such blessings as God sees fit to bestow upon you. I find this so mysterious. I can accept it, but only so deeply. I am given so much without asking--unless we presume breathing is a form of asking for air or being born a form of asking for many of life's incidentals. So what specifically is available only to those who ask. Or am I taking the word 'ask' too literally; I can't imagine I am--the whole point of what he is saying is about deliberate studied prayer.

    Virtue is one of the most prominent principles that enables us to have confidence in approaching our Father who is in heaven in order to ask wisdom at his hand. I wonder if this is the same virtue that Jesus felt go out of him when the woman touched his robe? Therefore, if thou wilt cherish this principle in thine heart, thou mayest ask with all confidence before him and it shall be poured out upon thine head. In common speech, virtue is not a specific thing at all, but a generic thing set. What then is the scriptural/Josephal definition of virtue?

    Be plain and simple and ask for what you want, just like you would go to a neighbor and say, I want to borrow your horse to go to [the] mill.I think part of why this is good advice is that it takes a lot more faith to ask for something directly than to beat around the bush with your sespequeds and your obfuscations.

    A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon Pure intelligence flowing into you--- I know it's traditional to talk of burning bosoms, but that image always sounds more like cool spring water refreshing the parched soul.; those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus. Good plan.

    I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Latin, Hebrew, German and Greek languages. . . . I thank God that I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Seriously. The Blue Letter Bible is awesome, but without the Spirit, it is a mere intellectual plaything.

    No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator. Interesting. And I think it broadens the definition of 'revelation'.

    Elder Taylor, you have been baptized, you have had hands laid upon your head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and you have been ordained to the holy priesthood. Now, if you will continue to follow the leadings of that spirit, it will always lead you right. Sometimes it might be contrary to your judgment Boy. Ain't that the truth.; never mind that, follow its dictates; and if you be true to its whisperings it will in time become in you a principle of revelation so that you will know all things. Which is what I want. I want to be worthy of that. Right now, I don't trust myself with knowing all things. But I think to be worthy of that gift would be the most wonderful thing of all.

last week's svithe


  1. Hoo lolly! This is the most punctual Svithe I have yet encountered; Thamzing good show! (teehee)

    My favorite part: "sespequeds and your obfuscations"

    Question: is that allegedly a photograph of Brother Joseph? Where did you find such a thing? Is it authenticated? I always thought that his death mask was the only concrete representation we had of him. Is this a new finding? Was I misinformed? Is this a picture from your private collection? If so, don't you realize that you may be able to retire right now by selling that to the right person? How does that strike you morally?

    Also: thanks for the link to the Blue Letter Bible. I have yet to make its acquaintance, but I tell myself (somewhat idly, I admit) that I will remedy this estrangement soon (and don't quibble with me about the misuse of the word "estrangement"; my vocabulary filters went to bed some time ago).

    In parting: I really enjoyed this one. I mean, I love anything Joseph Smith, but your gloss was both entertaining and insightful--a tough balance to find.

  2. Thanks for the ideas, Eric - I hadn't seen the lesson in quite the same way as you, and I think your perspective added significantly to the lesson.

  3. .

    Which lesson turned out great, by the way. I'm trying to rethink my praying this week.

    Schmett: I always put links behind my photos, so if you click on it, you'll see where I got this particular jpg. And they have a link to the article talking about the likelihood of it being Joseph Smith (about 90%).

  4. .

    [edit: errrm, put that link in....]

  5. Yeah thanks. I already tried that because I know that is your custom.

    BUT--now that you fixed it: very interesting, thank you.

  6. .

    It's interesting, isn't it, to see something more legit yet less like what we think of? It's unsettling, like seeing a famous person in real life for the first time.