Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I Believe: Evidence Twelve: Joseph Smith And The "Treasury Of Light"

101 Reasons Why I Believe Joseph Smith Was A Prophet

Evidence Twelve: 
Joseph Smith and the “Treasury of Light”© 

Today’s evidence is only one example, but the point of comparison used can be repeated almost ad infinitum. The scriptural translations Joseph Smith made and the revelations he received excel in what I call “doctrinal profundity.”  Immense spiritual power and influence attends the profoundness and clarity of his revelations. Often they also soar literarily and we find ourselves captivated by not only their power but their beauty as well. Yet the bulk of these writings which Mormonism has canonized as scripture were produced before Joseph Smith was thirty years old. This from a young man who by his own statement had only the rudiments of formal education due to the indigent, transitory, and agrarian circumstances of his young life.

This profundity and power can easily be seen by a comparison of passages from Joseph Smith with other writings which have come down to us through the ages which make some claim as revelation, but which few if any have adopted as scripture. Today’s example will compare a small portion of a revelation Joseph received in the last days of 1832, and 3 January 1833, with a document which came to light about 1785. It is called the Pistis Sophia.  It is a lengthy document and purports to be instructions which Jesus gave to his disciples during the eleven years following his resurrection. In other words it falls into the category which scholars call the “Forty-day Literature.” The subject of this passage is the nature of those teachings which come out of the “Treasury of Light.”
“It came to pass, when Jesus had risen from the dead, that he passed eleven years discoursing with his disciples, and instructing them only up to the regions of the First Commandment and up to the regions of the First Mystery, that within the Veil, within the First Commandment, which is the for-and-twentieth mystery without and below–those [four-and-twenty] which are in the second space of the First Mystery which is before all mysteries,–the Father in the form of a dove.
And Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I am come forth out of that First Mystery, which is the last mystery, that is the four-and-twentieth mystery.’ And his disciples have not known nor understood that anything existeth within that mystery; but they thought of that mystery, that it is the head of the universe and the head of all existence; and they thought it is the completion of all completions, because Jesus had said to them concerning that mystery, that it surroundeth the First Commandment and the five Impressions and the great Light / and the five Helpers and the whole Treasury of Light.(1)
Well, I don’t know about you, but the best I can say about this is “so much for ‘doctrinal profundity,’ or clarity, enlightenment, and spiritual power." It is so caught up with jargon and mystery as to be quite unintelligible. Its purpose seems to be to impress the reader by its highfalutin abstractness.  Compare this with D&C 88:6-13, one of the more challenging of Joseph Smith’s revelations.
He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in and through all things, the light of truth; Which truth shineth.  This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.  And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space– The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.
Joseph Smith’s revelation exalts Jesus Christ and the power of the light of Christ as the power of creation and illumination in the sun, moon, and stars. He is the source of light which gives life to all things. He also gives enlightenment to the eyes and understanding of man.  This light is the power of God and is the law by which all things are governed. Thus the light of Christ infuses the energy, life, and power into the universe necessary to offset the disintegration, entropy, and stasis which would follow without it according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  

I have no doubt which passage really came from the Treasury of Light.

Thank God for Joseph Smith.

Lets think together again, soon.

1.  G. R. S. Mead, trans., Pistis Sophia: The Gnostic Tradition of Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and His Disciples, (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2005), p. 1.  I will have more positive things to say about this amazing work in the future.

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