I have reached the stage where I have nothing more to say.
As far as I am concerned the scriptures say it all.
"Great Are the Words of Isaiah," CWHN 1:215
* * * * * * * *
To the Saints, the sacred record is a source of joy and
delight as well as of instruction and guidance. It is a joy to read, a treat to the mind and the spirit, "for
my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and profit of my
children" (2 Nephi 4:15).
"A Strange Thing in the Land," CWHN
* * * * * * * *
President Benson pleads with us to read the scriptures, so
we gingerly pick our way through the Book of Mormon, as if we were tiptoeing through a minefield
instead of taking each passage to heart. What a trial it must have been for one who had conversed with angels and
with the prophets of old to find himself surrounded by
a bunch of yahoos who considered themselves very important.
"Criticizing the Brethren," 15* * * * * * * *
If you pray for an angel to visit you, you know what he'll
do if he comes. He'll just quote the scriptures to you—so you know you're
wasting your time waiting for what we already have. Though you are amused by my
saying this, I'm quite serious about it.
"Gifts," CWHN 9:87* * * * * * * *
Even when God recognizes extenuating circumstances, he still
gives us a choice, with precedence going always to the general rule.
"If There Must Needs Be Offense," 54* * * * * * * *
There is no limit to the acts of depravity that might be
justified and sanctified by appeal to specific instances in scripture. It is
best to allow no latitude whatever to individual interpretation, with its easy
rationalizations and sophistries, as long as we have an abundance of clear and
specific statements of just what pleases and displeases our Heavenly Father.
"If There Must Needs Be Offense," 55* * * * * * * *
All the scholars are more or less floundering around today
in the rising flood of parchments and papyri that has caught everyone by
surprise. If we cannot swim or wade in these waters, we can at least venture
down to the shore line to see what all the excitement is about.
Preface, note 1, CWHN 7:418
* * * * * * * *
When scholars who pride themselves on their freedom from any
religious commitment are found seriously considering the genesis of the written
word not only in holy writings but specifically in our own scriptures, it
behooves us to pay attention. Whoever reads the Standard Works today has before
him the words of God to men from the beginning, in witness of which the very
letters on the page are but slightly conventionalized forms of the original
symbols in which the message was conveyed. . . . As members of the human race
we are bound to approach the scriptures with new feelings of reverence and
respect. They are the nearest approach and the best clue thus far discovered to
the genesis of the written word.
"Genesis of the Written Word," CWHN
12:482* * * * * * * *
We don't have a professional clergy—a paid ministry
that gives official interpretation of the scriptures—as we've always said
we don't. There's no office in the
Church that qualifies the holder to give the official interpretation of the
Church. We're to read the
scriptures for ourselves, as guided by the Spirit.
"The Terrible Questions," CWHN
12:336-37* * * * * * * *
Clergy have always had their favorite themes and passages,
about 5 percent of the total, necessarily taken out of context, since the other
95 percent which is overlooked is the context. The scriptures, with modern
revelations added, are far more explicit and detailed than most people realize.
There are places where they are silent, but how can we know what is missing and
what we are missing in them unless we read them all? Within that framework we
are free to ponder, speculate, discuss, criticize, check, and control from
other sources—it is all perfectly legitimate. Above all, we are not only
justified in falling back on the scriptures, but we are obliged
to—because there is no other framework available
to appeal to.
"Breakthroughs I Would Like to See," CWHN 9:378* * * * * * * *
The book of Isaiah, historically the most important of all
to Jews, Christians and Latter-day Saints, should at present be the object of
the most intensive possible examination. From the beginning the leaders of the
Church understood what that would mean, and Joseph, Brigham, John Taylor,
Wilford Woodruff and the rest spent all the time they could in the School of
the Prophets, in which the principal key to the Scriptures was considered to be
the study of ancient biblical and relevant modern languages.
"A New Translation of Isaiah," 23
THE BIBLE* * * * * * * *
and improved editions of the Bible are constantly coming from the press, and
the Mormons have never believed in an infallible book or an infallible anything
in which men have had a hand. God allows fallible humans to be co-workers with
him on the road to a far-distant perfection, but he expects them to make lots
of mistakes along the way.
". . . There Can Be No More Bible," CWHN 7:4* * * * * * * *
Students everywhere have been led to the conclusion that the
Flood story and the Garden of Eden motifs in ancient records of many people
discredit the Bible by showing it to be just another primitive presentation of
old myths. What it discredits, however, is their concept of what the Bible
should be—a unique, perfect, absolutely complete, flawless source of all
knowledge, a thing which the Bible itself never claims for a moment.
"Israel's Neighbors," 26* * * * * * * *
Everybody has seen a garden, and everybody has been in a
heavy rainstorm; so it requires no effort of the imagination for a six-year-old
to convert concise, straightforward Sunday School recitals into the vivid
images that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
stories have been discredited as nursery tales because in a sense they are nursery tales, retaining forever the forms
they take in the imaginations of small children, defended by grownups who
refuse to distinguish between childlike faith, and thinking as a child when it
is, as Paul says, "time to put away childish things."
equally easy and deceptive to fall into adolescent disillusionment, especially
with "emancipated" teachers [who] smile tolerantly at the simple
gullibility of bygone days while passing stern moral judgment on the savage old
"tribal god" who, overreacting with impetuous violence, wiped out
Noah's neighbors simply for making fun of his boat-building on a fine summer
day. The sophisticated say that these so-called myths were tolerable in bygone
days but that now it's time to grow up.
"Enoch the Prophet," CWHN 2:3-4
THE APOCRYPHA* * * * * * * *
are the Apocrypha? They are a large body of writings, Jewish and Christian,
existing alongside the Bible, each of which has at some time or other been
accepted as true revealed scriptures by some Christian or Jewish group.
do they come from? The actual manuscripts are as old as our Bible manuscripts
and are sometimes written by the same hands, but their contents betray widely
scattered sources, some of which are orthodox and some of which are not.
why bother about them? Because writers of the Bible respect them and sometimes
quote them, thus including excerpts of the Apocrypha in our Bible, while the
fathers of the church in the first three centuries accept many of them as
genuine and quote them as scripture.
"A New Age of Discovery," CWHN 7:29* * * * * * * *
Almost every ancient patriarch, prophet, and apostle is
credited with having left behind a "testament" or "apocalypse"
bearing his name. . . . Some of these stories are very old, and a consistent
pattern emerges from the telling of them, though they are widely scattered in
space and time.
summed up, the general plot is this: a righteous man, sorely distressed by the
depravity of the world or of Israel, prays fervidly for light and knowledge,
and in due time receives a divine manifestation, when a heavenly messenger
comes to teach him and takes him on a celestial journey, climaxing in a
theophany, after which he returns to earth and reports his experience to family
and friends—often this is just before he dies, and he bestows a
patriarchal blessing—his testament—upon his sons. Often he also
goes forth to preach to the people, who reject his message with scorn,
whereupon he departs into the wilderness with his faithful followers to
establish a more righteous if tentative order of things in the desert, a sort
of "church of anticipation." All of which things Lehi also does in
due and proper order; the first part of Nephi's writing, he says, is but an
abridgment of his father's record, which may properly be called the Testament or
Apocalypse of Lehi.
"The Lachish Letters," CWHN 8:391-92* * * * * * * *
In 1948 world turned a corner. Overnight, modern Israel
became a reality, and so did ancient Israel. The Battle Scroll
appeared just at the moment that Israel was called to arms, and according to
[Yigael] Yadin had not only a moral but even a practical value in that great
crisis. Suddenly scriptures became "relevant."
the same year the oldest Jewish library and the oldest Christian library were
discovered. Both were threatened with destruction. Both were challenged as
hoaxes. Both were viewed as the work of irresponsible and fanatical sectaries.
through the years there has been a growing respect for both the Nag Hammadi and
the Qumran writings, both because of their impressive spiritual content and the
number of other pseudepigrapha that are being discovered or rediscovered to
confirm their proximity to the authentic Judaism and Christianity that
flourished in the days before the Jewish and Christian doctors of Alexandria
"Churches in the Wilderness," CWHN 8:299* * * * * * * *
If one makes a sketch of a mountain, what is it? A few lines
on a piece of paper. But there is a solid reality behind this poor composition.
Even if the tattered scrap is picked up later in a street in Tokyo or a gutter
in Madrid, it still attests to the artist's experience of the mountain as a
reality. If the sketch should be copied by others who have never seen the
original mountain, it still bears witness to its reality.
it is with the apocryphal writings. Most of them are pretty poor stuff and all
of them are copies of copies. But when we compare them we cannot escape the
impression that they have a real model behind them, more faithfully represented
in some than in others. All we ever get on this earth, Paul reminds us, is a
distorted reflection, but it is a reflection of things that really are. Since
we are dealing with derivative evidence only, we are not only justified but
required to listen to all the witnesses, no matter how shoddy some of them may
"The Expanding Gospel," CWHN 12:203-4* * * * * * * *
The Logia or Sayings of Jesus found in the early
Fathers have suffered unmerited neglect through the years, the result of the
thesis that our present Bible contains all there is to know. . . . It is
unmerited because all the words of Jesus in the Bible can be read in
half an hour, though Jesus' actual sermons often lasted for many
hours. What good Christian would be such a fool as to walk out on the Lord
while he was speaking?
is also unwarranted because the purported words of Jesus are found in the
church writers of the early period. If such men insist on quoting sayings which
they actually believe were uttered by the Master, what greater folly can there
be than refusing to give them serious attention? Yet it was not until another
great papyrus find in Egypt at the turn of the century that serious attention
was given to the Agrapha (Unwritten Things of Jesus).
"The Illusive Primitive Church," CWHN 7:65-66* * * * * * * *
If the story of Christ's return after the resurrection were
only a myth or wishful thinking, we would find either total silence on the
matter or else the usual gnostic-philosophic claptrap masquerading as deep
mysteries. Instead of that, we find, if we bring the records together, a
remarkably consistent exposition of doctrines heretofore unrecognized by the
". . . But Unto Them It Is Not Given,"
CWHN 7:110* * * * * * * *
The argument most confidently put forth today for the
post-resurrectional activity of Jesus is the behavior of the apostles, who
before the resurrection were by all accounts unready not only to preach but
even to hear "the things of the kingdom," and yet presently went
forth into the world fully laden. But is it not remarkable that nothing has come down to us from that wonderful
time when the church is supposed to have received all its knowledge and
training? Why have we only the opening words of the Lord's discourse, declaring
how badly the disciples needed the instruction that followed (Luke 24:25-27),
of which nothing is preserved in the canon?
"Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum: Forty-Day Mission of
Christ," CWHN 4:12* * * * * * * *
The Forty-Day documents have four things in common. First
of all, they were secret—for the apostles only, not for
general knowledge. They were not handed down; that is why they could be faked
later on. Of course, people knew the sort of thing the Lord taught, and
consequently the sort of thing to fake—so everybody pretended to have the
knowledge, but nobody did.
they paint a very gloomy picture. In all of these accounts, the
apostles ask the Lord, "What's going to happen to us now? What's going to
happen to the church? Why are we going to all this trouble in this dispensation
if it's all going to be taken away?" The Lord tells them, "This is
for two generations now; then it's going to be taken away. A lesser church will
be left in its place; it will be kept on the fire, so to speak. The true church
will return later when I return with my Father." This of course was the
doctrine the Christians didn't like. It was very bad news for the later church
to have the Lord telling the apostles that all these things were going to be
taken away. Yet he had said the same thing several places in the New Testament.
The documents made this very clear; thus these teachings were unpopular.
the Lord taught them strange doctrines, and the Christian world
didn't like this sort of thing at all. The churches liked spiritual things, the
things that came out of the university of Alexandria.
(the main thing), the Lord gave the apostles the ordinances.
"Apocryphal Writings," CWHN 12:297-98* * * * * * * *
Silence in the record is not a proof of ignorance or lack of
interest by the writers. The holiest things were not meant for general
distribution. . . . Those to whom "the mysteries of the Kingdom" have
been imparted have always been bound to secrecy, and the more wonderful the
information, the more carefully guarded it was. The pearls are not to be thrown
about promiscuously. Such things are given only to those who ask for them sincerely; the
door is open only to those who knock at it. The treasures are found only by
those who seek for them.
"Censoring the Joseph Smith Story," CWHN 11:63
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS* * * * * * * *
texts are packed with matter of greatest interest to Latter-day Saints. The
people who wrote and hid these records had our own conception of continued
revelation, of this life as a probation, of the preexistence and resurrection,
of the dispensations of the gospel with falling away and restoration. Their
covenants and ordinances closely resemble ours; and their book of doctrine and
covenants (now called the Manual of Discipline) is surprisingly like our own,
as are their ideas of priesthood, prophecy, heaven and earth, marriage and
eternal progeny, etc.
"More Voices from the Dust," CWHN 1:240* * * * * * * *
With the Dead Sea Scrolls we have something new under the
sun. Even if they simply repeated what we already know, their principal
contribution would be the same—a new dimension of reality to our
religion. It has been a long time since scholars asked, "Are there really
such things as this? Did this really happen?" They have learned to be
content with the easy assumption that it really makes no difference in dealing
with spiritual, allegorical, moral emblems whether or not there is a physical
reality to our stories. The most shocking thing that Joseph Smith brought
before the world was the announcement that things men had been talking about
for centuries were literally true and would have to be viewed as such. The
restoration of the gospel brought a new reality but found few believers. It was
more comfortable the old way when you could take things just as you wanted
with the scrolls from the caves, the reality of things hits us in the face with
a shock. How often does it happen that documents thousands of years have been
dug up by the very descendants of the people who wrote those documents, who
could actually read them on the spot, not referring them to pedantic
decipherment in distant studies and laboratories, but reading them right off as
messages from their own grandparents?
"Churches in the Wilderness," CWHN
8:297* * * * * * * *
If there is any validity to the thousands of studies appearing on parallels between the scrolls and various biblical and historical writings, the perfectly staggering parallels between the Book of Mormon and the scrolls cannot be brushed aside nor explained away. Here are a few:
. . The tradition of the sacred buried record meets us full-blown in the
similar preservation of the scrolls and the Book of Mormon.
. . The community of Qumran was led into the desert by such a man [as Lehi]
centuries later, and there is considerable evidence that his was an established
and traditional routine of great antiquity.
. . We find the Qumran people offering animal sacrifice and observing the Law
of Moses under the direction of legitimate priests, and yet at the same time
observing ordinances of a strangely Christian nature. . . . [A] counterpart is
found in the Book of Mormon.
Qumran people denounce the Jews at Jerusalem for their corruption and laxity in
observing the Law. . . . This is exactly the attitude of Nephi.
keep the Law of Moses but in everything anticipate the coming of the Messiah and the new
covenant. . . . This parallels the Book of Mormon situation exactly.
see a peculiar significance in going out into the wilderness and in choosing
site where they can establish a large and elaborate system of tanks and basins
for washings and baptisms. One thinks immediately of Alma's community in the
wilderness at the Waters of Mormon.
. . They were organized into a general congregation with a council of twelve
laymen headed by three priests. . . .
scholars believe that the greatest single revelation of the scrolls is the . .
. mysterious "Teacher of Righteousness" or "Righteous Teacher,"
a major prophet whose very existence was unknown until 1950. . . . He was of
priestly descent, being of the line of Zadok, another mysterious prophet, whom
some believed lived at the time of Moses and who is the type of the true priest
who looked forward to the Messiah. . . . The important thing is the discovery
not of controversial individuals but an undeniable tradition of a line of
persecuted Messianic prophets. This is in perfect agreement with the Zenock and
Zenos tradition in the Book of Mormon. . . .
the first time we now learn of the ancient Jewish background of (1) the
theological language of the New Testament and Christian apocrypha, (2) their
eschatological doctrines, and (3) their organizational and liturgical
institutions. . . . All three receive their fullest exposition in 3 Nephi.
"The Dead Sea Scrolls," CWHN 1:248-50* * * * * * * *
The whole theme of religion is eternal life. But beings who
would live forever must be prepared to do so—they must be perfect.
Nothing but perfection will do for an order of existence that is to last
forever and ever. The striving for perfection is the theme of the Manual of
Discipline. The sectaries of Qumran knew that the greatest of all prizes was
not to be cheaply bought, that there could be no cheating or cutting of
corners; to prepare for eternity, one must be willing to go all the way.
may have been their human failings, these people, as the Roman Catholic scholar
Georg Molin observed, must be taken seriously and viewed with great respect.
The proper title for them, the name they gave themselves, he maintains, is "Latter-day
Saints"—and he deplores the preemption of that name at the present
time by a "so-called Christian sect."
Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 255