Diverse Latter Day Scripture

I’m house-sitting for my friend Steve Shields while I’m visiting Jackson County, Missouri, doing research. Steve is the author of Divergent Paths of the Restoration and is the top expert on the subject of all the smaller expressions of Mormonism, which are quite numerous. Whenever I visit friends in the Mormon history community, I’m always eager to see their libraries. Steve has quite an interesting collection, especially relating to the subject of little known Restoration churches. I’ve been marveling at all of the works of Restoration scripture he has on a single bookshelf. These are very interesting, and I thought I’d share some of the titles with you along with some quick excerpts, picked nearly at random.

Prophecies and Revelations of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ (Hilton, UK: Times & Seasons Press in Great Britain, 2008). 142 pages. “A collection of Visions, Prophecies, and direct Revelations” given to Matthew Philip Gill, Prophet of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ.

My usual guide, Raphael…said to me “I now leave you in the hands of the Prophet of the last dispensation of the fullness of times, Br. Joseph…” I followed [Joseph] through the main entrance of the temple, the two doors opened by themselves and we walked through them into a main lobby area… On the wall on my left were two triangles side by side. On the wall on my right were two triangles together in the shape of the Star of David. I asked the Prophet Joseph what was the meaning of these and he said “The meaning of the triangles to thy left are of the Urim and Thummim the meaning of the star to thy right is of the union of the Urim and Thummim which represents the union of man with God in the order of revelation and truth.”
— The Temple Revelation, 30 Aug. 2006 (p. 49).

The Song of God: The Living Gnosis of the Aghendai by Azrael Ondi-Ahman (The True Gnostic Church, 2008). 842 pages. A lengthy book of scripture composed by Azrael Ondi-Ahman.

And Enoch caused to be built in Zion a temple of the Lord, and he caused that it should be built of marble of exceeding whiteness; and on the north and south sides and on the east and west sides was the roof of the temple supported upon twelve pillars made blue with sapphire, and over these was laid a lattice of gold and silver…Within the borders of the temple grounds were there but two courts, for unto one would the sons of God come together in solemn assembly, that they might plead the cause of Zion before God. And unto the second court would gather the daughters of Eve. Even all who were the mothers of Zion would come together in their assemblies, that they might receive unto their bosom the presence of the Heavenly Mother.
— Beginnings 10:10, 15-16 (pp. 28-29).

The Nephite Gospel (Nephite Church of Christ, 2008). 327 pages. Primarily the church’s own edition of the Book of Mormon, along with the brief text of the Tarish Nephite prophecies and the Articles of Faith of the Nephite Church of Christ.

The Three Nephites, quoting from the Bible, predicted that God would break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. (Psalms 48:7). Several decades later an east wind destroyed the Spanish Armada (the modern day Ships of Tarshish).
— Tarish Nephite Prophecy #4 (p. 6).

The Stick of Ephraim (Independence, Missouri: The Restored Church of Jesus Christ, 1987). 625 pages. An expansion of the Doctrine and Covenants, containing 152 sections of revelations from Joseph Smith Jr., an additional 81 sections of revelations from his successor Eugene O. Walton, along with the Lectures on Faith.

Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily, truly, truly, the besom of my wrath is upon the nations of the earth who hearken not to my Son, nor to the voice of my servants sent of Him…I speak especially to those who call themselves after my name in the State of Utah. Ye are like unto that man in the parable of he who built his home upon a sandy foundation, and when the storms came and the floods descended his house fell…Thus saith the Lord to ye who call yourselves Mormons: repent ye, repent ye, and receive mine prophet Eugene who has been called by mine own voice out of heaven…Ho, Ho, Ho, Listen, Listen, Listen, saith the Spirit to ye who seek for a sure foundation to build upon, that your house might not fall.
— Section 174, 19 June 1983 (pp. 355-56).

Book of Restoration Revelations (Independence, Missouri: Advocate Press, 1998). 107 pages + index. 25 Revelations given between 1989 and 1998 to Marcus Juby, prophet of the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Thus saith the Lord unto my restored church…The necessity to restore my church was not a popular choice for my servants to make…From time to time my church began to wander into the wilderness, and up to the very day that the seventy restored my church, priesthood authority was still with the men of the reorganization who remained faithful to the covenant.
— Revelation 24:1, 7-8, 9 Apr. 1998 (pp. 98-99).

The (Abridged) Oracles of Mohonri, translated by Davied Israel (Oxford, UK: Sons Ahman Israel). 95 pages. An abridged translation from the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon written by the hand of Mohonri Moriancumer.

At the end of times, when Elohim bestoweth on latter day men these choice and precious pearls of truth, there shall be amongst men chosen souls who have been prepared for the last time. Souls who are prepared to feast on the fulness of the mysteries. Souls who have been reserved for those days because of their innate ability to recognize meatier truths and hear the voice of their master as it issueth forth from his servants; even their fellow brothers and sisters in the flesh.
— 8 Moroni 3:1-2 (p. 72).

Sacred Scripture (Orem, Utah: M.A.P., Inc., 1994). 215 pages. A collection of scriptures including The Writings of Abraham, The Brother of Jared, The Shulemna, the Book of the Generations of Adam, and the Levels of Light.

From his childhood, Abel spent much time with the animals which had become attached to our community. He was gifted in working with them, understanding and caring for their needs, for he could communicate with them better than the remainder of the people whose ears had been closed to the tongue of the animals when we had left the garden. In Abel, however, this gift remained to a great degree; even the wild beasts of the field who feared us, loved Abel and would frolic with him when he was alone.
— Book of the Generations of Adam 5:3 (p. 135).

Levitical Writings (Eskdale, Utah: Aaronic Order, 1978). 263 pages. A series of revelations given through the Angel Elias to Dr. M. L. Glendenning, beginning in 1923.

Upon you, O Alton, for thy wickedness (in that you have been so ungodly in your thoughts and in your deeds, that you have been selfish and denied my servant the things which God has given for all worthy men, that you do willingly believe lies, and insomuch that you do bear false witness against my servant) I now pronounce this curse upon you; and as I say it through my servant, so shall it be. Upon thee, O Alton, shall fall the revenge of the Lord thy God; and thy fields shall cease to yield unto thee. The waters of thy lands shall cease to flow, and thy cattle and sheep shall wither away, and thy possessions shall be few. Thy houses shall become empty, and thy young shall flee from thee, and thou shalt sit desolate in thy place upon the mountain.
— Chapter 205, “Curse Upon Alton [Utah],” 2 Feb. 1934 (p. 93).

There’s plenty more books here, but those will have to do. Please note: I’m not overly familiar with most of these books — they’re Steve’s, not mine — so I won’t be able to answer questions about them in much detail.

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Comments

  1. When I first read the title and intro of your post, I assumed you would be talking about contemporaries of Joseph Smith, like James Strang, etc. I had to look twice at the publication dates of the excerpts. Wow – very *latter* day! I had only heard of one of these publications before. Sounds like quite an interesting collection.

  2. I should give Prophet Gill a visit. Looks like he lives in my neck of the woods.

  3. matt bowman is the expert on the Gillites.
    nice scriptures.

  4. I’m mildly bugged that God speaks to many of these modern Mormon “prophets,” in a stilted, 19th century Mormon-esque voice. Whatever happened to speaking to men in their own language?!

  5. Oh, my. I had no idea there were so many — nor that they had the resources to publish things like this.

    I don’t suppose anybody announces distribution stats? Are these books finding any market, or are they distributed in editions of eight or nine? (Not 800 or 9000, but 8 or 9?)

  6. My first thoughts on this is the Jewish and Christian Psuedopographia of the First and Second (and third?) Century. I think it represents personal hopes and wishes presented as revelations to the world. It would be great to look into the minds of these people and see if they really believe they are getting revelations and how they recognize it as such. Sadly, fear of these kinds of divergent paths is the excuse many use to accept the prophets and writings of the past, but reject the very idea of modern prophets.

  7. Thanks, John; these are some of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while.

  8. Karen H. says:

    John, this is totally fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  9. John Hamer says:

    Hunter (#1): Yes, that’s what’s fascinating to me too — how much recent scripture there is.

    Ronan (#2): It was interesting to me that the UK seemed to be one of the centers of recent Restoration scripture, alongside Utah and Independence, Missouri. I think you may find it interesting to look up the Gillites, as an expression of European Mormonism.

    (#4): I don’t think the attempted use at King James English should be surprising. When you pray, do you ever use the pronouns “thee” and “thy,” or do you always use “you” and “your”? The model here is Joseph Smith Jr. who employed this language for scripture and prayer even though it centuries out of date in the 1830s and 40s.

    Ardis (#5): The quality of the publications vary. A bunch of these are hardcover editions printed in traditional runs (The Song of God is particularly high quality) suggesting quantities of at least 1,000. Others are perfect bound paperbacks, which could be produced in somewhat smaller quantites. A few are xerox published and spiral bound (e.g. Marcus Juby’s Restoration Revelations) and thus could have been printed in any quantity. However, at its height, Juby’s Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had a fair amount of resources at its disposal. Their headquarters is a large, partially renovated school here in Independence that shows they had more than enough money to print scriptures in quantity.

  10. John Hamer says:

    Jettboy (#6): I agree — the whole point of the Restoration was to say, “the heavens are not closed [anymore]!” People today can be in touch with the divine sphere in precisely the same way as people were in Bible times. The only difference in the veil is our perception of scriptures — i.e., that we privilege ancient texts and imagine that God worked differently then.

    Thanks, Ben (#7) and Karen (#8): I find these really cool too.

  11. Thanks for the additional descriptions, John. Steve Shields must have to keep his ear to the ground to stay up to date on these “expressions” (I like that choice of word for these).

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    Very cool report, John. Does Steve has in his collection things like The Sealed Portion, which is not the production of an established church but of an individual? I presume so, but was just curious.

  13. Thanks, John, for sharing these – but I couldn’t help the cultural identification of the excerpt from Section 174 of The Stick of Ephraim with Santa Claus.

  14. John Hamer says:

    Kevin (#12): Yes he does. I’d seen the Sealed Portion of the Brother of Jared before, so it’s one of the many volumes Steve has I didn’t list.

  15. Cool!

  16. John Hamer says:

    Ray (#13): Yes, in speaking to his servant Eugene, the Lord tends to repeat words for emphasis, and if you repeat the word “Ho” enough times you get that effect.

  17. John,
    I’d love to hear a paper on European Mormon “divergences” at EMSA some time. Maybe I’ll do it myself one day. The Gillites are Midlanders and meet not far from where I live.

    It’s not so much the thee’s and thou’s (yes, LDS prayer-language is stilted), but it’s the reaching for “D&C voice” in these revelations that amuses. I like this one, re: the proposed UK identity card:

    Thursday the 19th of January 2006: “behold a warning I give unto you, the time will soon come when thou wilt be asked to take by the leaders of thy country cards to carry your identity, this thou must not do, that is the will of the Lord.”

  18. Holy mackerel! This is incredible!

    Now, I’m going to ask a really stupid question here – feel free to pummel me — but what do people (in church) really believe about scriptures like these. Is there any chance that these could be inspired writings? i.e., just because that church doesn’t have priesthood authority or the fullness of the gospel, does that cut these people off from visions, revelations, etc? (Pre-restoration I would give an emphatic no. But these groups? Not sure)

    Alternatively, does everyone think they are just written by men? Completely devoid of inspiration?

    Finally, do people believe that scriptures like these could be inspired writings, but inspired by (church Lady voice) Satan?

  19. Ronan, ask Matt for a copy of his paper. It’s a fantastic study of prophetic mimesis and it speaks directly to why God speaks to Gill the way he spoke to JSJ. Think Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence, but religious (the way Bloom should have written his “religious criticism”).

  20. OK, I posted before I saw Ronan’s. And now I feel even more stupid for posing the question.

  21. John Hamer says:

    Ronan (#17): Joseph Smith had the same problem in his day. LDS D&C 124 is a great example, as it divinely sets out prices in dollars for shares of a joint stock company commanded to build a “house for boarding”.

    Meems (#18, 20): One person’s scripture is another person’s blasphemy. I know that many of these works (probably all of them) have or have had faithful believers who understand them to be divinely inspired. At the same time, there’s no shortage of people in the world who earnestly (if uncharitably) believe that the Book of Mormon itself was Satanically inspired.

  22. JH,
    Oh, I’m fully aware that any mockery of these divergent groups by LDS risks falling into the deep well of epistemological gloom.

  23. Fascinating post, John. That’s a pretty amazing sampling of restoration scripture.

  24. John Hamer says:

    One thing that I like is that all these new scriptures take common Mormon concepts as their foundation and then extrapolate in different directions.

    We have temple emphasis, the city of Enoch, Heavenly Mother, the Three Nephites, priesthood authority, Elohim, elect souls reserved for the last days, additional insights into Bible and Book of Mormon stories, and more.

    And I just had to include the curse against Alton, Utah. Poor Alton.

  25. FWIW, my relatives in Alton all seem to be doing pretty well…and have been for generations. I’ll have to ask my cousins if they’ve heard of Dr. Glendenning, and what the back story is on the curse. If I find out anything interesting, I’ll let you know.

  26. John Hamer says:

    Good to hear it, maria (#25)! I was actually checking Alton out on Google satellite earlier to make sure it was still there — it was — but I’m glad to get an on-the-ground report.

  27. Hi John-

    Thanks for your in depth discussion and exploration on continued revelations. I’d love to see his collection.

    After doing some searching I found some interesting videos related to Azrael Ondi-Ahman. He makes some pretty valid points that resonated with me.

    Here’s the list of videos:

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&hl=en&q=%22azrael%20ondi-ahman%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#

    Thanks again,

    David

  28. Fascinating. I need friends with more interesting book shelves.

  29. madhousewife, so do I. Some people daydream about being friends with Brad Pitt. Not me. When I daydream like that, I’m thinking about how cool it would be to know all the people John Hamer knows.

  30. I’ve come late (too late?) to this post, but this is great. Thanks, John, for posting this stuff. As it happens, I met Azrael Ondi-Ahman when I was a missionary in Pocatello, Idaho about 12 years ago. He lived in a small house just down the block from my apartment. He spent much of his day walking slowly around the neighborhood, sporting a walking stick carved with a bearded figure. In his former ward, people said he was the elders quorum president when he had his vision and left the church to form his own. Quite a few members of the ward joined him. This was many years before I came to the area, but the ward still seemed a little traumatized by the episode.

    I spoke with Azreal a couple of times, and he was kindly and soft spoken.

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