Question: Was William Smith promised in a blessing that he would remain on the earth until Christ comes?

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Question: Was William Smith promised in a blessing that he would remain on the earth until Christ comes?

The promise says nothing about William remaining a mortal on the earth

It is claimed that the ordination blessing given to William Smith, is an example of false prophecy (the version quoted here is from the original Kirtland Council Minute Book):

That he may be purified in heart, that he may have communion with God. That he may be equal with his brethren in holding the keys of this ministry That he may be kept and be instrumental in leading Israel forth, that he may be delivered from the hands of those who seek to destroy him. That he may be enabled to bear testimony to the nations, that Jesus lives. That he may stand in the midst of pestilence and destruction, he shall be mighty in the hands of God, in bringing about the restoration of Israel. The nations shall rejoice at the greatness of the gifts which God has bestowed upon him, That his tongue shall be loosed, he shall have power to do great things in the name of Jesus. He shall be preserved and remain on the earth until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked. Confirmed.

Since William Smith apostatized and was not true to his calling as an apostle, any promise made to him is arguably forfeit. However, one can be "preserved" to the truth, faith, salvation, etc., and still be dead. If William was faithful, he would have continued his work among the wicked (either as a mortal or among the spirits) until Christ comes, at which point William would be resurrected to meet Him. In either case, William would be on the earth.

Despite this, the only line that is even potentially problematic is the claim that "[h]e shall be preserved and remain on the earth until Christ shall come...."

The promise says nothing about William remaining a mortal on the earth. He is to be preserved despite pestilence and destruction; to be mighty in the hands of God. How, though, can he "remain on the earth"?

Unlike many Christian theologies, the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not place the abode of the dead in another world or realm. The "spirit world" to which the dead go is on earth. Brigham Young taught:

When you lay down this tabernacle [i.e., mortal body], where are you going? Into the spiritual world. Are you going into Abraham's bosom. No, not anywhere nigh there, but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth, for the express purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity. Where else are you going? Nowhere else, only as you may be permitted...

Father Smith and Carlos and brother Partridge, yes, and every other good Saint, are just as busy in the spirit world as you and I are here. They can see us, but we cannot see them unless our eyes were opened. What are they doing there? They are preaching, preaching all the time, and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere, and to go back to Jackson County and build the great temple of the Lord. They are hurrying to get ready by the time that we are ready and we are all hurrying to get ready by the time our Elder Brother is ready (emphasis added).[1]

Thus, one can be "preserved" to the truth, faith, salvation, etc., and still be dead. If William was faithful, he would have continued his work among the wicked (either as a mortal or among the spirits) until Christ comes, at which point William would be resurrected to meet Him. In either case, William would be on the earth.


Notes

  1. ↑ Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:370.