The Voice of My Servants


This past Sunday I had some amazing inspiration. I was sitting in Sunday school when my wife came to the door ans signaled me to come out. Apparently my 19 month old daughter had played in the toilet water. So I needed to take her home and change her. So I did, and on the way back to church she fell asleep. We pulled into the church parking lot and I had some time to sit and read the scriptures. I wanted to find out who the servants are that are mentioned in D&C 1:38. So I read it:

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

It was then, in a sudden flash of insight, that I realized I had been interpreting the verse incorrectly. This verse is usually the one referenced by members of the Church™ to show that whenever a  leader of the Church™ speaks it is the same as if the Lord himself was speaking. If you’re a member of the Church™ I’m sure you’ve heard the catchphrase, “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

But I realized that this is not what this verse is talking about at all. To better understand what this verse means lets read it again but this time we’ll leave off a portion(don’t worry we’ll put it back).

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants…

Before, I would read the last part, beginning with “whether,” as a completely separate statement. But now I realize this is one statement. What this is saying is that the Lord’s words will be fulfilled either by his own voice or the voice of his servants. It doesn’t matter if it is the Lord’s voice or the voice of the servants doing the fulfilling, “…it is the same.” This verse is not saying that whatever is spoken during general conference or at a fireside is the Lord’s voice. It is not saying that any new policies or procedures that are instituted, automatically have the Lord’s approval. No, what it is saying is that when the Lord’s words are to be fulfilled it doesn’t matter if it is the Lord’s voice or His servants’ voices that are doing the fulfilling.

What this means to me is that we need to take even greater care to ensure that what the leaders of the Church™ speak today is in line with God’s Words. Just because a leader speaks does not automatically mean it is the same as what the Lord would have said. That idea is not scripturally founded. We need to study the scriptures so we will know what is of God, what is of men, and what is of the devil.

Now about my question. Who are the servants mentioned in that verse? What I found is that scripturally the term “servants” is very generic. In Section 133:30 we read:

30 And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.

Here it says that the children of Ephraim are the Lord’s Servants. The children of Ephraim are the gentiles. This is certainly true in that during these last days the gentiles have been given the responsibility of bringing the Gospel to the world.

Also the term servants can refer to prophets. But it can also refer to people who are not prophets In Section 1 we read:

14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

In this verse the voice are servants and the words of prophets are distinguished. So here the servants are not prophets. So if the term servants covers so much ground how do we tell who is a servant. Or does it mean that just because someone is a child of Ephraim that they are automatically the Lord’s servant?

Traditionally in the Church™ we define servants to mean whatever we want it to in order to support our beliefs. For example in Section 1:38 we say that the servants are the leaders of the church. We must define it this way to support our belief that whatever the leaders of the church say it is the same as what the Lord would have said(we’ve already seen this interpretation is wrong).

But at the same time when we read Section 58:26:

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

We say that we are the servants, that we are slothful. You would be hard pressed to find a member of the church who uses the same definition of servants in Section 1:38 as in this verse. In my years in the Church™ I have never heard this verse applied to leaders. Yet in one circumstance we apply servants to mean ONLY leaders and in the other is applies to us.

So the question stands, who are the servants? I propose that it is not the genealogy, the heritage, or a leadership title that makes somebody a servant. Rather it is what the person does that makes them a servant.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:36, 37

36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

This only works when the servants, Christ, and God the Father are all in alignment. The servants must do what Christ would do if He were present. This does not mean that because someone claims the title of being a servant, whatever they do represents Christ’s will. Instead we are to use Christ and God to determine if a person really is a servant. We have the scriptures and revelations and we are to use them to measure those who claim to be servants. These scriptures do not give anyone; not me, you, Joseph Smith, President Monson, or anyone, a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to say whatever they want and have it automatically be the Lord’s voice. It is only the Lord’s will, words, and voice if it matches what the Lord has given us as a measuring stick(the scriptures).

I’m not saying that we only have to live with what scriptures we have, and nothing more will come. What I’m saying is that we must use the scriptures to judge if the additional things that come are truly the Lord’s Word.

Just in closing I want to take us back to Section 1. In this section we are given somethings that will happen to people who do not listen to God’s servants. But by applying the inverse of these things we can find what a true servant of the Lord will teach:

Doctrine and Covenants 1:14-16

14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

A true Servant of the Lord:
-Will not make any changes to ordinances(there is no such thing as an approved change in ordinances).
-Will seek to establish God’s righteousness.
-Will not teach people to make their own living or find a good job.
-Will teach people to flee from Babylon, not just spiritually but physically.

There are many other qualifiers in the scriptures. I encourage you to seek them out for yourselves. But not only seek out the qualities, but use them in righteously judging and determining who is a servant of God. And if you find one that measures up to the what the scriptures teach; then when you receive that servant, you receive God.

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19 Responses to The Voice of My Servants

  1. Who are the Servants? says:

    “Now about my question. Who are the servants mentioned in that verse? What I found is that scripturally the term “servants” is very generic.”

    May I suggest that the word “servants” is actually not generic at all in section one. The term is extremely specific.

    It is just that most people don’t notice the definition of “servants” that is given in the opening verses of the revelation and/or they don’t have the faith to believe the definition which is given in the opening verses of the section.

    Pay very close attention to verse 6-

    “Behold this is mine authority, and the authority of my SERVANTS, and my preface unto the BOOK OF MY COMMANDMENTS, which I have given THEM to PUBLISH unto you, O inhabitants of the earth”

    There you have the correct definition of SERVANTS as it is used by the Lord in section one.

    The SERVANTS of the Lord being spoken of throughout section one are those servants who published the revelations that were contained in the Book of Commandments to the world. (eventually being republished in the Doctrine and Covenants)

    It is not difficult to identify who the first SERVANTS were who published these revelations to the world. They are clearly identified in the history of the Church.

    Section one, although published as the preface of the book, was actually about the 67th revelation that eventually became published.

    It was received over a year after the church was organized on April 6th 1830.

    it was received shortly after the fulness of the priesthood was restored in June of 1831.

    Like many sections, section one it is largely a prophecy, group of prophecies about the future.

    It is informing the world that the first SERVANTS (also referred to in later revelations as “first elders”) of the LDS restoration who published the Book of Commandments to the world will at some time in the future, return to the earth and come forth in the power of the fulness of the priesthood, to warn the wicked and seal up the unbelieving and rebellious unto the wrath of God.

    It is only after you understand the real definition of the word “servants” that verses 37-38 begin to really make sense on a much deeper level.

    Many of the unconditional promises and prophecies in the Book of Commandments appear to be false because they remain unfulfilled after 160 years.

    Verses 37-38 are challenging the inhabitants of the world to search the prophecies contained in section one and other sections.

    These verses are warning the world that all of the unconditional promises contained in modern revelation will verily come to pass when the original servants who published these revelations return to the earth to fulfill their callings and bring to pass promises and prophecies of the Lord.

    When the servants of the Lord who published the revelations in the Book of Commandments return in the fulness of the priesthood, they will speak with authority.

    Whether God personally speaks or whether he speaks through these first servants, it is the same.

    • John Peterson says:

      Great observation! This lends even more credibility to my belief that the One Mighty & Strong of D&C 85 is in fact Joseph Smith, Jr.

  2. zo-ma-rah says:

    Great comment! I also found a couple other interesting verses in section 1:

    8 And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;

    9 Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure—

    Members of the Church traditionally believe that the power to seal things on earth and heaven is only authorized in under the keys the President of the Church holds.

    But here we read that power given to anybody to seal both on earth and in heaven; the unbelieving and rebellious up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure.

    The only requirement to have this power is to “go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth.” If you do this then you have that power. You don’t have the get authorization or keys to use this power. The very fact that you share the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants gives you that power.

    • David says:

      Verse 6 clearly establishes that one must have proper authority to “go forth!”

      Authority comes from those who have been ordained and annointed of, by and through God, those who have the keys to do so, verse 4, my disciples, whom I have chosen.

      Power is the key word! One cannot seal and bind without the holy order of the Son, period! That power either comes directly from God Himself or through His annointed ordained servants that have already received the keys!

      Order is in “all things” and His chosen servants must return to establish order, to set His house in order.

      Because “they” have broken my everlasting covenant, verse 15, verse 22, that my everlasting covenant might be established. It does not say “new” before it! But the footnote says so?

      The baptismal covenant has been breached since it was first established by the prophet Joseph, who has the keys and only he can repair the breach with his fellows that have proper authority through announcing and ordination.

  3. John Peterson says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this. Talk about insights…

    I knew D&C 1 must be of extreme importance, because it is one of four sections that was moved out of its chronological order. To be placed at the beginning of the book gives it even greater significance. I’m starting to see that significance now: this section is a profound prophecy.

    I’d like to go over verse 4:

    “And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;”

    I’ve been reading Gileadi’s “Last Days” and in there he explains that the “arm of the Lord” is an idiom which actually refers to a specific leader who will be revealed. When this leader speaks, he will speak as a true prophet of God, and so when he speaks it will be as if God is speaking, because God is speaking through him. His words will echo the words of the past prophets and apostles. However, the warning is that many won’t recognize him as a prophet because they are idolaters, following the lusts of the flesh and not having the spirit of God, they will be unable to discern his calling. In consequence of this they will be cut off. This ties in nicely with D&C 85.

    • Who are the Servants? says:

      “the warning is that many won’t recognize him as a prophet because they are idolaters, following the lusts of the flesh and not having the spirit of God, they will be unable to discern his calling”

      That is a great point John. Many will not recognize him as a true prophet because of their own sins.

      Another possible reason why some people won’t accept him as a true prophet may be because of some mistakes that he and his fellow servants had previously made during the coming forth of the first portion of the Book of Mormon.

      Speaking of these SERVANTS the Lord observes-

      “..in as much as they ERRED it might be made known… and in as much as they sinned they might be chastened that they might repent…” (verses 25-27)

      Notice how the word erred matches up with how the one mighty and strong and his brethren had previously erred in Isa 28

      “they also have ERRED through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have ERRED…. they ERR in vision they stumble in judgment..” (verse 7-8 are referencing the one mighty and strong in verse 2)

      I realize Gileadi believes the one mighty and strong mentioned in Isa 28:2 is referring to a wicked person and not referring to the righteous arm of the Lord servant mentioned in section 85 however I strongly beg to differ with him.

      I love the writings of Gileadi on Isaiah however he has one very strong deficiency, his online commentary does not incorporate the wealth of additional corrections and clarifications provided from the JST version of Isaiah, the Book of Mormon and the words of Joseph Smith.

      Because of this, he has some huge blind spots like the rest of us.

  4. Bruce says:

    I recently attended Bro Gileadi’s class where we got into the idea of Joseph Smith returning. Here are my notes…

    People who lived in a previous age are not coming back to do something major. The pattern is that someone is raised up in that generation to do the work for their own generation. There is no precedence for someone coming back to lead the people. Some have come back to restore keys and authority, but no one has come back to take a leadership position. Some of the early brethren felt that Joseph Smith will come back to lead the people and he would be the Lord’s servant spoken of by Isaiah. Joseph Smith is not coming back. There will be a leader raised up in our own generation to lead the people.

    The Lord gives us a pattern …a precedence….so we don’t go off the deep end with wild speculation. If you can pin it down with scriptures then you have something…but if not then it’s just speculation.

    I tend to agree with Brother Gileadi. If there was some precedence for this idea…then maybe. But we see time after time when the Lord needs someone to lead…someone is raised up in that generation to do the job.

    • John Peterson says:

      Why is it that so many believe that when a man dies, he looses his power and authority? Brigham Young said that Joseph Smith was still leading him and guiding him after Joseph’s death. The “mantle” of Joseph that fell upon him should be an indication to us that that was true. Joseph Smith is the head of this dispensation and as such directs the affairs of it in all of his “lives.”

      2 Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.
      3 Verily I say unto you, THE KEYS OF THIS KINGDOM SHALL NEVER BE TAKEN FROM YOU, while thou art in the world, NEITHER IN THE WORLD TO COME;
      4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.
      5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.

      10 And then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the gospel of their salvation.
      11 For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.
      12 And now, verily I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment that you continue in the ministry and presidency.
      13 And when you have finished the translation of the prophets, you shall from thenceforth preside over the affairs of the church and the school;
      14 And from time to time, as shall be manifested by the Comforter, receive revelations to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom;
      15 And SET IN ORDER THE CHURCHES, and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.
      16 And THIS SHALL BE YOUR BUSINESS AND MISSION IN ALL YOUR LIVES, TO PRESIDE IN COUNCIL, AND SET IN ORDER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM.
      (D&C 90:2-5, 10-16)

      I don’t think it can be made much clearer than that.

      • Fusion says:

        John,

        I think you may want to revisit that old false notion that the mantle of JS fell on Brigham. Rock at puremormonism has done a better job at helping us Gentiles repent of this mighty fib (Brigham/Joseph’s mantle comes in about halfway thru the article):

        http://puremormonism.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/why-mormon-history-is-not-what-they-say.html

        LDS historian R. Van Wagoner himself puts this ridiculous Mormon tale out to pasture. It simply did not happen, like many other things the Church has made into truth. Likewise, many things that actually WERE (are) truth have fallen down that black hole from whence, they suppose, there is no return.

        Thank goodness for the internet- truth is making a comeback.

        Fusion
        ps. Who Are The Servants…I recognise your wordprint…nice to see you on here

  5. Who are the Servants? says:

    Bruce-

    The concept/doctrine pertaining to the first servants of the restoration returning is all over the place in the scriptures for those who accept the literal interpretation of what they say on this topic.

    I would suggest you keep reading section one until you can comprehend and believe what it is saying.

    Put your faith in the word of God instead of the bias of Gileadi.

    There always needs to be a first time in order for a “precedence” to ever be set. What if all of the “first times” that an important event took place were rejected, because there was no previous precedence already in place?

    As you can see, the logic of what Gileadi is saying is absurd.

    If we must first have a precedence before we accept something, why don’t we just reject the atonement of Christ since there was no previous precedence for a God being crucified and taking on the sins of the world? Previous to that, there was only the atonement of animals and other tangible items that could not provide an eternal atonement.

    Why don’t we reject the Book of Mormon since it came forth in a very much different way than the precedent previously set by the Bible?

    Here is just one example of over one hundred examples that I could give you of this “returning servant” doctrine being taught in the scriptures, in addition to what I have already pointed out that section one is clearly prophesying about-

    In the JST Matthew 17 it is revealed that there are two primary messengers in the last days that would come in the spirit and power of Elijah, these passages refer to them as Elijah the “Preparer” and Elijah the “Restorer”

    Elijah the preparer is clearly John the Baptist who came to prepare the way before Christ in the meridian of time and also came to prepare the way for the restoration of the gospel in the latter days.

    This same Elijah messenger passed on the keys that he held to the next servant who would have the calling of Elijah the restorer.

    Modern revelation documents that those keys were indeed given to the person mentioned by John Peterson who will return in power as Elijah the restorer, to restore what has been lost. (see sections 13 and 110)

    Any single example like the one I just gave can be explained away by an unbelieving person, however, if you will begin searching the scriptures for this general concept, you will begin to see that most of the revelations given in modern revelation are veiled prophecies about future events, just like section one is.

    These future prophecies are all about the return of the servants that published the revelations in the D&C.

  6. JMW says:

    God and Servant consistancy –
    Duane Crowthers wrote a book called “Thus saith the Lord” He argues that true prophets will never contradict older prophets. This was right after 1978 when the church allowed those outside of the lineage of Abraham to hold the priesthood (which means God told the church to break the Abrahamic covenant for him), which led Bruce McKonkie to comment on the book, he said ” Burn it”. Crowther’s POV was implying that Kimball was contradicting past prophets and therefore was not a prophet. Great read. I think your reasoning is right on.

    Coming out of Babylon –
    Sect. 133, Isaiah 52, Article of Faith 10, Rev 18, Jacob 5, Section 113, The last covenant you make in the temple that gains you access to the veil and celestial kingdom.
    Are all based around coming out of Babylon and establishing a refuge or Zion for Israel in the last days. Section 113 says REVELATION hinges on whether or not Israel gathers or not. It’s conditional. If you do not come out, you will be as the temple strongly implies, in Satan’s power. So the church that says it’s mission is to perfect the saints and then has no protocol on living, keeping the Law of Consecration and devoting all your time to building up the kingdom is throwing it’s own people to the wolves.

    Hymns Israel, Israel God is Calling, Redeemer of Israel, Ye Elders of Israel all reflect the same massage, the world is fallen, GTFO of it! Gather together and usher in Zion or you will be partakers in the sins and plagues that Babylon will suffer.

    Those who have ears to hear will hear. Those who understand that holding to the iron rod means getting the word of God for himself and not by way of another will see whats happening. Nephi didn’t see the prophets holding on to the iron rod and then the members forming a congo line behind them. He saw everyone that made it to the tree holding onto the rod themselves.

    • John Peterson says:

      I believe the the tares are bound to in big cities by hearts and they will be literally burned when a nuclear war or by fires caused by a multitude of reasons.

      • John Peterson says:

        I hope you can get the gist of what I’m saying in the previous comment. It was over-edited :/

  7. “Those who have ears to hear will hear. Those who understand that holding to the iron rod means getting the word of God for himself and not by way of another will see whats happening.”

    Amen to that!

    BTW I have that book by Crowther and remember the controversy over it.

  8. zo-ma-rah says:

    “Nephi didn’t see the prophets holding on to the iron rod and then the members forming a congo line behind them. He saw everyone that made it to the tree holding onto the rod themselves.”

    BOOM!!!

  9. jew1967 says:

    Great post!

  10. aka says:

    I find this interesting. It reminds me of Grant Hardy’s assessment that we teach the the wrong doctrine for John 7:17
    “For example, one of the most frequently cited scriptures in Preach My Gospel is John 7:17 – “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,” which we use to encourage bothinvestigators and missionaries to gain a testimony of particular doctrines by putting them intopractice. Modern English speakers read the first will as a future tense marker of do, but it isactually an independent verb which translates the Greek word thelō, “to wish or desire.” Modern translations all render the verse more accurately with something like, “Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.” The idea of gaining a testimony by putting doctrines into practice is a true principle, but
    this particular verse is about God responding to our righteous desires rather than to our actions, and every time it is cited in a church manual or a conference talk, translators will have to scramble to cover the discrepancy. There are several more examples like this in Preach My Gospel”…The King James Bible and the future of Missionary Work June 2010

  11. God’s servants are the Angels, Saints, Prophets, Spirit Guides. All of those in Spirit that have elevated themselves to be very close to God on the Other Side. These heavenly beings can come to us in the name of God, as God has many servants, and a huge staff that represents God.

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