Well I was going to have this be my first post as a guest author on LDSAnarchy. But there is a brand new post, so to give that post sufficient time at the top I’ll put mine here. Maybe I’ll post this over there later, since there’s more traffic on that blog. So for those of you lucky few who visit my blog, here is a post that has a lot of inspiriation behind it.
Ever since my awakening and I learned about the Section 101 parable, I’ve been interested in finding various events that fulfill this parable. Yesterday and today I stumbled across some huge pieces of information. They were new to me, but probably nothing new to many people here. A lot of loose ends I had in my mind were tied up. It started by reading onewhoiswatching’s blog post about the priesthood. He linked to a page on the Book of Abraham Project that had quotes from Joseph Smith that pertained to this parable.
So let’s just dive in.
Doctrine and Covenants 101:43-62
43 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
44 A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;
45 And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
So here the nobleman presents a plan. For a very choice piece of land. The Howard and Martha Coray Notebook stated Joseph’s comments about this:
¶ Afterwards read the parable of the 12 olive trees and said speaking of the Land of Zion that It consists of all N. & S America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children that The olive trees are 12 stakes which are yet to be built not the Temple in Jackson [County, Missouri] as some suppose for while the 12 olive stakes are being built we will be at peace but the Nations of the Earth will be at war.
It is here we learn that the “very choice piece of land” doesn’t just represent the City of Zion. Rather it represents the Land of Zion which is all of North and South America.
The other piece of information here which blew me away was that the twelve olive trees represent twelve Stakes of Zion.
Joseph went on to state that “The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all N & S America and those 12 stake must be built up before the redemption of Zion can take place.”
This piece of information was amazing, as it supports a theory I had. The theory being that Cities like Far West, Nauvoo, Kirtland, etc. would need to be redeemed and built before the City of Zion could be built. This supports this idea.
Now I don’t know how many stakes existed in the Church prior at Joseph’s death. Were there only twelve, fewer, more? I haven’t found that out yet. If anyone knows please tell me. The reason being, it would help identify which Cities must be rebuilt prior to the building of Zion.
In the days of Joseph, cities of gathering were called “Stake of Zion, City of —.” For example, “Stake of Zion, City of Kirtland,” “Stake of Zion, City of Nauvoo,” “Stake of Zion City of Far West.” The City of Zion was not known as a Stake of Zion rather it was just the “City of Zion.”
So far I have been able to identify eight potential Stakes that could be the twelve stakes spoken of in Section 101. They are:
2. Far West
The lesser known are Seth, Zarahemla, Voree, and Macedonia.
Seth was situated between Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman. It was dedicated but nothing was ever built there.
Zarahemla was given in Section 125 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Doctrine and Covenants 125:3-4
3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.
4 And let all those who come from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, that have desires to dwell therein, take up their inheritance in the same, as well as in the city of Nashville, or in the city of Nauvoo, and in all the stakes which I have appointed, saith the Lord.
As far as I know there was some settlement of Zarahemla but it was later abandoned. I don’t know if this section indicates that Nashville, Iowa(is there a Nashville, Iowa) is also one of the twelve.
Joseph Smith put James Strang in charge of preparing Voree to be a future settlement of the Saints. The foundations of a temple were laid with Strang incharge of a sect o fthe church after Joseph’s death. But because of dissension and poverty it was not able to be completed.
I found reference to Macedonia in the same page as the rest of Joseph’s comments concerning the 101 Parable. Macedonia is today known as Webster and seems to be mostly open fields. But again I don’t know if this is one of the twelve stakes because I don’t know how many stakes existed at Joseph’s death. I might just be listing a bunch of places that weren’t counted as cities but rather stakes like we know them today.
46 Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
These servants when and did what they were told for the most part. They got the trees planted, built the hedge, set watchmen. They got started building the tower.
47 And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
48 And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
¶ We shall build the Zion of the Lord in peace untill the servants of that Lord shall begin to lay the foundation of a great and high watch Tower and then shall they begin to say within themselves what need hath my Lord of this tower seeing this is a time of peace
He also explained:
¶ Now from this hour bring every thing you can bring and build a Temple unto the Lord a house into the mighty God of Jacob. We will build upon the top of this Temple a great observatory a great and high watch tower and in the top thereof we will Suspend a tremendous bell whi that when it is rung shall rouse the inhabitants of Madison wake up the people of Warsaw and sound in the ears of men [in] Carthage
Would it be reasonable to conclude that the watch tower in the parable is the temple of Nauvoo. The Church History Museum in Salt Lake City has a display about the Nauvoo Temple. This display shows how tall the temple was at the time of Joseph Smith’s death. If I recall correctly it was only about ten feet tall. This would certainly qualify as being only the foundation. But this certainly doesn’t explain everything, since the Nauvoo Temple was completed. In fact Brigham Young often boasted that he got the Nauvoo Temple finished faster than Joseph finished the basement.
What may be worth noting is that the Nauvoo Temple was not completed as designed by Joseph Smith and William Weeks. After Joseph died Brigham Young altered the design of the temple. This is how the Nauvoo temple looked upon it’s completion:
Yet this is how the Nauvoo Temple would have looked had Joseph lived:
Does this difference in design play an important role in whether the Nauvoo Temple was acceptable to the Lord? I don’t really know. But I think it might, since after being completed the Nauvoo Temple did not fulfill the prophecies given in other places in the Doctrine and Covenants. It also should be noted that not only did Brigham Young attempt to sell the Nauvoo temple,
but that it was burned down and left to crumble.
All that was left for many years were a few foundation stones in the ground. Yet at the same time the Kirtland temple stood and remains standing to this day.
Something that occurred to me is that maybe the watch tower does not refer to a single structure. Perhaps it refers to all the temples in all of those twelve stakes. There were three structures planned for Kirtland but only one temple was built. The Nauvoo temple was not completed as designed. The corner stones for Far West temple were laid. But no other temples were started by Joseph’s death. If we look at the watch tower as an amalgamation of all the temples in the twelve cities then we can see that only the foundation was laid.
49 Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
50 And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
These are the verses that to me don’t quite easily fit into the time table. Because according to my understanding the Saints were driven from Nauvoo and then the servants began dealing with Babylon. Perhaps there is some information I am unaware of. But regardless, when we look at the Church spending billions of dollars on the City Creek center, when that money could easily build the watch towers in all twelve Stakes of Zion, something is not right.
Something I just thought of while reading this is that while the servants are at variance with one another they are not going to the exchangers. They are just discussing it. So they haven’t started to trade money yet. Could this variance describe the succession crisis?
51 And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.
This verse I feel really points to the current state of the Church today. And it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw this. The servants of the nobleman fled. We can see later in verse 55 that the nobleman orders a servant to gather the other servants. This means that the servants did not just flee but they scattered. The Church likewise scattered and split apart after Joseph died. We now have Brighamites, Josephites, Strangites, Fundementalists, Hedrickites, etc.
52 Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53 Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and–after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof–built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
54 And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
The Nobleman gives the servants a pretty strong rebuke.
55 And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
The Nobleman calls one of the servants, and this is the part that struck me, to gather together the residue of my servants. Look how this parallels the succession crisis. The church split apart and followed after “the servants” who scattered. The Brighamites in Utah. The Strangites in Wisconsin. The Hedrickites in Missouri. And there are many others. The divisions that followed after the various servants will be gathered together again.
But another interesting part is that some have been appointed to tarry. I don’t know what this means or why some people would be appointed to not gather to Zion. I’m sure others have more information on this.
56 And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
57 Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.
We can see that the enemies of the Nobleman have set up a similar organization to that of the Nobleman. They too have built a tower. They have built walls. They have set up watchmen. All of these were built in the same places as the original structures.
If we consider the Nauvoo Temple as the watch tower, which was thrown down and destroyed by the enemies, there must be another structure built on that same location. And in fact there is. In 1999-2002 the Nauvoo Illinois temple was rebuilt. It was built on the same spot as the Nauvoo Temple and was said to be a reconstruction of the original.
In fact there are a great many differences between the Nauvoo Illinois temple and the Nauvoo temple. One, I’m not sure of because I can’t find much information about it, is that the interior is built more like the modern temples. It doesn’t have the two meeting halls with offices and endowment spaces in the attic rather, one meeting hall and then endowment rooms. Another is that instead of using stone construction, it is cement clad in stone. It only replicates the look of stone. Now isn’t there a scripture somewhere about whited seplucres? Another is the Angel Moroni statue on top.
I’m sure there are many other differences. But even then it is patterned after Bigham Young’s Nauvoo temple rather than Joseph’s. It is still not fulfilling the Prophecies given in the Doctrine and Covenants. Also consider that today instead of the Saints sacrificing and building temple’s themselves the Church hires contractors. For more information read the comments of this post:
My point is though that, by using Joseph Smith’s interpretation, we might be able to identify the watchtower of the enemy as the rebuilt Nauvoo temple.
58 And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
An interesting clue here is that the reclaiming of the Stakes of Zion will be “by and by” or over time. But something else here really strikes at the new.mormon understanding(if there is any left) of redeeming Zion. The nobleman says, “avenge me of mine enemies.” The Lord will not redeem Zion for us. There will not be a time when the Brethren suddenly declare that we are to all move to Jackson County. There will not be a command from the “higher-ups.” Ths is something we must undertake ourselves. The Lord has commanded us, not the brethren, to avenge Him of His enemies who have overrun the land of Zion, the Stakes of Zion, and the City of Zion.
59 And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?
60 And he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;
61 And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you–a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.
62 And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him; and after many days all things were fulfilled.
The time when the land of Zion will be redeemed is some time after the servants were scattered and the land over run. I think we are coming upon this time right now.
I’ve seen there is a common understanding that “the Servant” in here is Joseph Smith, who will come back. Or the One Mighty and Strong. But a thought has just occurred to me. Perhaps the Servant is also symbolic of any person the Lord has chosen to undertake rebuilding the Stakes of Zion.
So now I ask what are you doing to redeem the Land of Zion and the Stakes of Zion? Do you even view these things as important?
I have the feeling that it is important for all of us who have woken up is to gather together in tribal groups. Work within our local areas. Through these tribal groups we may be able to help others wake up to what is happening in Zion. We should be organizing our own tribal sacrament meetings. We should be doing our own tribal re-baptisms. We should keep the commandments of God as contained in the Scriptures. I believe that as we do such things the Gifts of the Spirit will become more manifest in our Tribal meetings. We should begin to build Zion in our hearts and mind. We should gather and support each other through online communication.
If you are where I was about a month ago I was too concerned with what the Church would do about my actions in the home. For those of you who feel this way I give you this from the most recent General Conference:
But the authority that presides in the family—whether father or single-parent mother—functions in family matters without the need to get authorization from anyone holding priesthood keys.
– Dallin H. Oaks
After we are of sufficient strength and have mentally and emotionally removed ourselves from Babylon; then the time will come to physically redeem the Stakes of Zion. We will need to remove ourselves physically from Babylon and gather to the Stakes of Zion. We will need to purchase land, as best we can(as counselled in the scriptures, this should not be done in haste), in Nauvoo, Voree, Kirtland, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Zarahemla, and all of the other twelve stakes. We should follow the plats give for each stake and use them as a guide for building up those cities.
We cannot do this alone, we must gather our brethren from the other sects of the church. “How could this be possible,” you may ask. Aren’t there too many theological difference between us and the other sects? Christ gave us wise council in 3 Nephi 11:28
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
We should not be concerned with other points such as Plural Marriage, “who was the true successor”, Nauvoo Endowments, etc. Rather we should do as Christ commands and recognize that the only Gospel of Jesus Christ, is Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism of Water, and Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. If we put any other principle on par with these then we are bringing evil upon us.
3 Nephi 11:40
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
As stated earlier Christ clarified just what the Gospel is. He did this so there would be no disputations among us. By focusing on the Gospel and not worrying about if other people are practicing “those other principles” then we can come to a unity of faith. The walls that have caused so much division among the various sects of the church, can be turned into bridges.
As we undertake to rebuild that which was destroyed by the enemy at the death of Joseph, others will “by and by” be called, by God to the cause of Zion. God will prepare a way for His works to be accomplished. I can personally witness that even something that seems completely impossible, can be made possible by God. The only question is whose side will you be on? Will you be on the side of God/Zion or the Enemy/Babylon? Choose now!