Quote mining/Doctrines of Salvation/History of the Church 2:189-91:Analysis

Table of Contents

Quote mining analysis

The quote and its use by the critic(s):

List Actual quote Critical use

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  • "Lyman E. Johnson, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball came forward; and the Three Witnesses laid their hands upon each one's head and prayed, separately."
  • Footnote at this point reads: "Much interest has been manifested in the Church concerning who was mouth in ordaining respectively the brethren of the first Twelve. Most likely the Three Witnesses who ordained the Apostles were mouth in the order in which they have always stood as Witnesses, viz., Oliver Cowdery first, David Whitmer second, and Martin Harris third. If they officiated in this order then Oliver Cowdery ordained Lyman E. Johnson; David Whitmer, Brigham Young; and Martin Harris, Heber C. Kimball. It has been suggested by some that the Prophet Joseph may have joined the Three Witnesses in ordaining the Twelve, and in that event would be mouth first, and therefore ordained Lyman E. Johnson, leaving Oliver Cowdery to ordain Brigham Young, David Whitmer, Heber C. Kimball. This, however, is not likely since but three of those who had been chosen were called up at the above meeting to be ordained, one for each Witness. Besides, the express language of the minutes of the proceedings is, "The Three Witnesses laid their hands upon each one's head and prayed separately; that is each ordained his man. The statement of Heber C. Kimball in the published extracts of his journal, also confirms this view of the matter. After giving the names of the Twelve men chosen he says: "After having expressed our feeling on this occasion, we were severally called into the stand, and there received our ordinations, under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. These brethren ordained us to the Apostleship, and predicted many things which should come to pass, that we should have power to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, have power to remove mountains, and all things should be subject to us through the name of Jesus Christ, and angels should minister unto us, and many more things, too numerous to mention." He also adds the following interesting item with reference to the ordinations of that day: "After we [referring to the first three called up to receive ordination] had been thus ordained by these brethren, the First Presidency laid their hands on us and confirmed these blessings and ordinations, and likewise predicted many things which should come to pass." (Times and Seasons, vol. vi, p. 868). While these statements make it very clear that the Prophet Joseph did not join with the Three Witnesses in ordaining the Apostles—except in the way of confirming the ordination they received from the Witnesses, as described by Elder Kimball—the minutes of the meeting held February 21st, at which Parley P. Pratt was ordained, state that he was "ordained one of the Twelve by President Joseph Smith, Jun., David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery." Martin Harris must have been absent, and the Prophet evidently joined Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer on that occasion because of the absence of Harris; but whether or not the Prophet was mouth on that occasion does not appear in the minutes or in Elder Pratt's autobiography." [p. 187 and footnote 8.]
  • "The blessing of Lyman E. Johnson was, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he should bear the tidings of salvation to nations, tongues, and people, until the utmost corners of the earth shall hear the tidings; and that he shall be a witness of the things of God to nations and tongues, and that holy angels shall administer to him occasionally; and that no power of the enemy shall prevent him from going forth and doing the work of the Lord; and that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished, according to the holy prophets; and he shall be like unto Enoch; and his faith shall be like unto his; and he shall be called great among all the living; and Satan shall tremble before him; and he shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory." [p. 188]

  • "William Smith's Blessing:—We pray 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. Adjourned." [p. 191]

  • "Orson Hyde's Blessing:—Oliver Cowdery called upon the Lord to smile upon him; that his faith be made perfect, and that the blessings pronounced may be realized; that he be made mighty, and be endued with powers from on high, and go forth to the nations of the earth to proclaim the Gospel, that he may escape all the pollutions of the world; that the angels shall uphold him; and that he shall go forth according to the commandment, both to Jew and Gentile, and to all nations, kingdoms and tongues; that all who hear his voice shall acknowledge him to be a servant of God; that he shall be equal with his brethren in holding the keys of the kingdom; that he may stand on the earth and bring souls till Christ comes. We know that he loves Thee, O, Lord, and may this Thy [p.190] servant be able to walk through pestilence and not be harmed; and the powers of darkness have no ascendency over him; may he have power to smite the earth with pestilence; to divide waters, and lead through the Saints; may he go from land to land and from sea to sea, and may he be like one of the three Nephites." [p. 189-190]
  • Joseph promised Lyman E. Johnson that he would see the Savior come and stand upon the Earth.

  • William Smith was told he would stand on the earth until Christ comes.

  • Orson Hyde was told he would stand on the earth until Christ comes.

Analysis

  • Contrary to the critics' claims, Joseph did not ordain Luke Johnson an apostle. Nor did he ordain the other two mentioned.
  • Note that the promise to Johnson is that he will live to see the gathering, and he will see the Savior come again. It does not say that he will be alive in mortality when the savior comes again.
  • William Smith's blessing prays first that he will "be purified in heart; that he may have communion with God." As this demonstrates, all such blessings are conditional, so William's failure to continue faithful in the Church makes any fulfillment of his ordination blessing moot.
  • While William is said that he will "be preserved and remain on the earth, until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked," Hyde is instead told "that he may stand on the earth and bring souls till Christ comes....from land to land and from sea to sea, and may he be like one of the three Nephites." The three Nephites were translated; they did not continue their missionary labors as simple mortals. It is thus possible that Hyde's labors are seen as continuing beyond death (e.g., see DC 138:57, though this perspective was not available to the Saints at the time of this ordination).
  • If the blessings are interpreted in the critics' manner, we must recall that Latter-day Saints do not believe in infallibility in their leaders. That later generations were willing to publish these blessings demonstrates that—contrary to what the critics conclude—the members before us saw nothing troubling or destructive of faith in them.