Thursday, January 30, 2020

Son of Man

I suffer from blindness. I am incredibly spiritually blind. I finally noticed something in the New Testament after years of reading the Inspired Version off and on. Joseph Smith consistently corrects the spelling of the title "Son of man" to "Son of Man."

Possible reasons:

1. The Man in the title is His Father, who was once a man.

2. The Man in the title is His Father, who is now an exalted Man, or Man of Holiness.

3. Both 1 and 2.

What this is probably not referring to is the fact that JESUS is fully human which is why the Man should have been capitalized.

There is probably a lot more going on here than my tiny mind can conceive. CHRIST constantly used this title to refer to Himself, so it must be significant. JESUS is not One to waste words.

However, I believe strongly that all things are meant to testify of CHRIST. Because of this I am pretty sure that at its most basic level this change is meant to teach us about JESUS' divinity and the divinity of his parent(s).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Misquoting JESUS

In Mark chapter 14 during CHRIST's horrific suffering in Gethsemane we find the following incident.

JESUS finds Peter, James (Jacob), and John sleeping and asks them why they could not even stay awake for one hour. 99% of Bibles have JESUS saying the following in verse 38:

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

(New International Version)

*The King James version substitutes "ready" for "willing" but the basic meaning is the same.

The problem with this verse is that JESUS only states the first part about watching and praying.

The Joseph Smith Translation, aka the Inspired Version, has the verse like this:

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

And they said unto him, the spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."

Peter, Jacob, and John make the second statement. We also get a modifier for "truly" to emphasize it.

The statement is true regardless of who said it, but it creates more tension if the apostles said it.

Why? Because it sounds like an excuse and one that fits the prophetic nature of JESUS' earlier statement about all of them abandoning Him that very night. It makes the apostles look understandable but flawed all at the same time.

If these three knuckleheads could fall asleep while CHRIST is working out the Infinite Atonement for all who repent, then there is hope for all of us!

All of this leads to Peter's thrice denial of GOD the Son and the end of chapter 14.

Joseph Smith added the following the last verse to more fully describe Peter's emotional state after realizing his emphatic denial of his GOD. Most versions have Peter weeping. The NETBible ( states "And he broke down and wept" for the last verse in Mark 14.

Mark 14:82 JST

And he went out, and fell upon his face, and wept bitterly.

* Why the LDS church would stick with the King James Version of the Bible used to baffle me. Now it makes perfect sense. In their goal of serving Mammon, they are OK with using what is universally regarded as the worst possible major translation of the Bible. Who cares about truth when you can make Billions of dollars of your members hard earned cash?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Joseph Smith's Not So Secret Focus

I have been reading and reflecting on Rock Waterman's latest post, "Joseph Smith and Polygamy" from January 12th. As usual his writing is awesome, and I would like to thank Rock for all of his efforts to teach me and everyone else lucky enough to read his blog.

Rock's work inspired me to come up with the following basic list of some of Joseph Smith's activities from his teens until his tragic death.

1. Joseph's first recital of his first vision (1820) included only JESUS. I believe all other versions to have been changed after Joseph's death to create a false narrative where only one church is true. The theme of his original story is "I asked GOD to forgive my sins, and JESUS showed up, and there was no mention of a church, so JESUS is the only way out of this mess." That message was too simple for modern scribes, Pharisees. and priests.

2. Joseph then used the power of GOD to write a book that has more references to JESUS per verse than even the New Testament.
Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon by Susan Easton Black is a study of The Book of Mormon's extremely high level of Christology. Even apostate modern Mormons came up with a good subtitle for the book, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." An even better subtitle would have been "The Best Testament of Jesus Christ So Far", but no one asked me.

3. Joseph then started a church originally called "The Church of Christ" in April of 1830. Later we get the arrogant addition of "Latter Day Saints" which GOD may have allowed, but I doubt He approves. 

4. Joseph undertook an inspired version of the Bible, where he focuses mainly on Genesis and the New Testament, in order to help people better guessed it, JESUS.

5. Joseph attempted to publish the Book of Commandments in 1833 with revelations he received from JESUS.

6. Joseph succeeded in having the Doctrine and Covenants published in 1835 with even more revelations from JESUS.

7. Joseph writes the Lectures on Faith to demonstrate primarily that the prototype of a saved being is...JESUS. These Lectures where the "Doctrine' part of the Doctrine and Covenants until 1921.

8. Joseph corrects the Book of Mormon twice, once in 1837, and again in 1840.  He was trying make it clear that JESUS is the son of GOD, but also GOD the Son. 

9. Joseph gives his 2 greatest talks in the spring of 1844, "The King Follett Discourse" and the "Sermon in the Grove." Without using a great and spacious conference center or a teleprompter, Joseph explains that JESUS was following in the footsteps of GOD the FATHER. 

Translation: If you want to be a God, you get to suffer for all of your children's sins.

10. Joseph is unjustly killed with his older brother Hyrum in 1844, dying to seal his testimony of JESUS with his own blood.

Regardless of what you think about Joseph Smith, there is no denying his unrelenting emphasis of JESUS CHRIST. 

Here is my paraphrase of his well-known quote about his new religion's central role of CHRIST and its "appendages".

"JESUS is 99.99 percent of this faith, and the rest isn't important."

Since the summer of 1844 the Utah version of Mormonism has been focused on power, sex, and money. Up until roughly 1900 it was hyper-focused on illicit sex. Since then it has done a complete 180 and now discourages any kind of sex that was not preceded by a temple wedding between two naive heterosexuals. The money and control goals have always been there.

Makes me long for the good old days of 1820-1844 and the flood of information that Joseph Smith added to the world. Information that unmistakably points to the One Being that can save all the other beings...JESUS.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Julie Smith and the Gospel of Mark

I have been enjoying Julie Smith's Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. I do not know her personally, but her writing resonates with me. Let me give you one example from Mark 10.

Bartimaeus is begging near Jericho because he is blind. He figures out the JESUS and a crowd of people are passing nearby. He cries out for JESUS, and continues to call on the Savior despite members of the crowd trying to silence him. JESUS knowing that his best male disciple is nearby asks for him.

(verses 49-52)

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.

And they call the blind man, saying unto him,

Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment

rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him,

What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

The blind man said unto him,

Lord, that I might receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him,

Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.

And immediately he received his sight,

and followed Jesus in the way.

I have read this passage more than once, but less times than I should have.

It has never occurred to me the importance of Bartimaeus casting away his garment.

My focus is always on JESUS and the miracle.

Julie Smith points out in her outstanding book that Bartimaeus is the only named recipient of a miracle in Mark.

Why? She first presents the fact that the only thing in the only world Bartimaeus owns besides his clothing is his garment. That garment was used to sit upon and beg. It is his only possession. Why does he cast it aside? 

Because he knows that if JESUS is calling for him, he will get to petition for his sight. He knows that JESUS has to power to grant his request and the love to do so. He knows all of this about CHRIST without ever having literally seen Him. 

Bartimaeus knows before ever even speaking to JESUS that he is not going to need his garment anymore!

JESUS is using Bartimaeus as an example for everyone to follow. Most of us have not seen JESUS yet, but that should not change our ability to trust in Him. 

I believe that when each of us is ready to cast aside our proverbial garments, JESUS will come to us. That garment can be religion, or sin, or false traditions, or selfishness, or money, or fame, or any number of things. Whatever we show by our actions is more important than JESUS is making us blind. Physical blindness is temporary, but spiritual blindness can last forever.

Let us be like Bartimaeus and cast all the truly trivial things aside. We will not need them after JESUS makes us whole.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Twice-inspired scripture: The JST as the Bible 2.0

I am using some quotes from Blake Ostler this week. He is the Utah attorney/theologian/faithful Mormon who gave us at least 2 great ideas:

1. The Compassion Theory of the Atonement. JESUS suffers for us so that we have no excuse for not trusting Him and loving Him back. HE is not suffering to balance the cosmic books of mercy and justice. What JESUS is doing is buying us time to repent before the final judgment. 

Blake's theory is the best one I have read dealing with the central event in world history. Go to and read all about it, because my brief summary is sorely lacking.

2. The Modern Expansion theory of the Book of Mormon. This is the concept of Joseph Smith cooperating with GOD on the text of the book, and not just GOD revealing an English version of an ancient document to him word for word.

I take the following quote from Blake's article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought page 114. The article is available for free on Ostler's awesome website.

Blake believes that the Book of Mormon was edited by Mormon, but then interpreted by Joseph Smith into a context that people of his day and our day would understand. The helps to account for the modern ideas in the text that people feel are anachronistic. It also accounts for the litany of non-modern ideas in the text.

Here is the quote:

"Such scripture is twice-inspired: once by the original prophet-author and again to the prophet who restores meaning and explains, or who gives new meaning and insight into the ancient records by reinterpreting them."

I take that idea, and I think Blake does too, to apply to Joseph Smith's work on the Bible.

I find it perfectly appropriate that the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS) called Joseph's work The Inspired Version.

It is also telling that the so-called correct version of Mormonism in Utah never published Joseph's version of the Bible.

All of this leads to the following question.

Why would you want to read a Bible that is less inspired than the JST?