From the Dust: Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito


In 1845 an angel showed James Strang the location of an ancient record. Later he and four witnesses went to the location. The four witnesses had to remove a tree that had grown over the location of the plates.  The recovered the plates and James later translated the plates. James Strang is the only one of Joseph Smith’s successors to have translated ancient records, thus exhibiting the fruits of a Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator.

Testimony

On the thirteenth day of September, 1845, we, Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb, assembled at the call of James J. Strang, who is by us and many others approved as a Prophet and Seer of God. He proceeded to inform us that it had been revealed to him in a vision that an account of an ancient people was buried in a hill south of White River bridge, near the east line of Walworth County; and leading us to an oak tree about one foot in diameter, told us that we would find it enclosed in a case of rude earthen ware under that tree at the depth of about three feet; requested us to dig it up, and charged us to so examine the ground that we should know we were not imposed upon, and that it had not been buried there since the tree grew. The tree was surrounded by a sward of deeply rooted grass, such as is usually found in the openings, and upon the most critical examination we could not discover any indication that it had ever been cut through or disturbed.

We then dug up the tree, and continued to dig to the depth of about three feet, where we found a case of slightly baked clay containing three plates of brass. On one side of one is a landscape view of the south end of Gardner’s prairie and the range of hills where they were dug. On another is a man with a crown on his head and a scepter in his hand, above is an eye before an upright line, below the sun and moon surrounded with twelve stars, at the bottom are twelve large stars from three of which pillars arise, and closely interspersed with them are seventy very small stars. The other four sides are very closely covered with what appear to be alphabetic characters, but in a language of which we have no knowledge.

The case was found imbedded in indurated clay so closely fitting it that it broke in taking out, and the earth below the soil was so hard as to be dug with difficulty even with a pickax. Over the case was found a flat stone about one foot wide each way and three inches thick, which appeared to have undergone the action of fire, and fell in pieces after a few minutes exposure to the air. The digging extended in the clay about eighteen inches, there being two kinds of earth of different color and appearance above it.

We examined as we dug all the way with the utmost care, and we say, with utmost confidence, that no part of the earth through which we dug exhibited any sign or indication that it had been moved or disturbed at any time previous. The roots of the tree stuck down on every side very closely, extending below the case, and closely interwoven with roots from other trees. None of them had been broken or cut away. No clay is found in the country like that of which the case is made.

In fine, we found an alphabetic and pictorial record, carefully cased up, buried deep in the earth, covered with a flat stone, with an oak tree one foot in diameter growing over it, with every evidence that the sense can give that it has lain there as long as that tree has been growing. Strang took no part in the digging, but kept entirely away from before the first blow was struck till after the plates were taken out of the case; and the sole inducement to our digging was our faith in his statement as a Prophet of the Lord that a record would thus and there be found.

AARON SMITH,
JIRAH B. WHEELAN,
J. M. VAN NOSTRAND,
EDWARD WHITCOMB.

Text

Translation of the Voree Plates, made by Urim and Thummim on 9-18-1845.

1. My people are no more. The mighty are fallen, and the young slain in battle. Their bones bleached on the plain by the noonday shadow. The houses are leveled to the dust, and in the moat are the walls. They shall be inhabited.

2. I have in the burial served them, and their bones in the Death-shade, towards the sun’s rising, are covered. They sleep with the mighty dead, and they rest with their fathers. They have fallen in transgression and are not, but the elect and faithful there shall dwell.

3. The word hath revealed it. God hath sworn to give an inheritance to his people where transgressors perished. The word of God came to me while I mourned in the Death-shade, saying, I will avenge me on the destroyer. He shall be driven out. Other strangers shall inhabit thy land. I an ensign there will set up. The escaped of my people there shall dwell when the flock disown the Shepherd and build not on the Rock.

4. The forerunner men shall kill, but a mighty prophet there shall dwell. I will be his strength, and he shall bring forth thy record. Record my words, and bury it in the Hill of Promise.

Description

1. First, an eye. The symbol of God who is all-seeing: consequently it is called THE ALL-SEEING EYE, and has been used as symbolical of the DEITY in all countries, and in all ages of the world.

2. Second, the figure of a man down to the waist, having a crown resembling a cap, and composed of radiating lines, on his head; and a scepter in his hand. These are symbols of authority, and show him a ruler. As he has the sun, moon, and stars (all the natural lights) below him and only the ALL-SEEING above him, he is Prophet, Seer, Revelator, Translator, and First President of the Church; governing not by natural light, or mere human wisdom, but by revelation, or the word of God, and derives his authority solely from God, and not in any sense from the actions of men.

3. Third, the sun on the right, and the moon on the left. These represent the two Vice Presidents, or Counsellors in the First Presidency; the two largest natural lights being used as symbols, because they are to assist the First President in wisdom or natural light merely, and not by revelation.

4. Fourth, a cross-pillar above and resting upon the center large star and under the human figure; two pillars above and resting upon the two upper large stars, and below and between the sun and moon. These represent Coadjutors, assistants or helps, of whom there have been several since the beginning of the Church, appointed by revelation.

5. Fifth, twelve stars, six around the sun, and six around the moon. These represent the High Council of the Church. The division into classes of six each agrees with the established usages in the Church, one half to stand up for the accuser, and the other for the accused. This is not the High Council of a stake.

6. Sixth, twelve large stars, ten of these in two rows at the bottom of the plate, and the other two over them nearly between the sun and moon. They represent the Twelve Apostles. These stars are larger than those which represent the High Council of the Church, because the Apostles have a more important ministry; but are placed below them because they are subject to their discipline, and below the symbols of the First Presidency because they are subject to its directions.

7. Seventh, seventy small stars immediately within the points of the twelve large ones, being six to each, except the center one which has only four. They represent the Seventies, who are subject to the direction of the Twelve Apostles.

8. Eighth, a straight line dropping down before the scepter. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” “Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.”

9. These symbols were all prophetic of the order that should exist in the fulness of times. Thus God, in his goodness to those who lived in days past, has shown them not only the rest which he had in reservation for them, but the perfectness of the means by which he would accomplish it. Probably now we understand it only in part, but in times to come we shall “know as we are known.”

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13 Responses to From the Dust: Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito

  1. The above account seems quite remarkable.

    It would be interesting to hear more commentary about this event by you regarding how you personally are processing this information… i.e. what do you feel the significance of this event was, as well as the entire Strang movement.

    What is the impact of the Strang movement on the LDS restoration movement in general.

    Has this changed your view of the calling and authority of the Brighamite faction that went to Utah?

    Do you feel that Strang passed on any priesthood that is on the earth today?

    Do you view Strang as the legal successor to Joseph or Hyrum or do you consider his faction to be just one of several offshoots of the church after the succession crisis?

    Does or will John Hajicek play an important role in the end times scenario?

    Etc.

  2. zo-ma-rah says:

    Yes the Strangite sect is very interesting. That is what intrigued me at first. I think it is interesting that James Strang was the only one of the claimed successors of Joseph Smith to translate ancient records.

    I don’t think the Strangite movement has much of an impact right now. But if the Book of the Law of the Lord was truly translated from the brass plates(and more people get a witness of that) I think that would have a fairly significant impact.

    I also think that the Voree temple site is the only revealed temple site not owned by the LDS church(I don’t even think it’s owned by the Strangites). This could allow another group of Saints to build a temple. Instead of just picking a spot and building, they would be able to build a temple that was revealed by God. Having such a temple would be of enormous benefit to the Saints from all sects. Also those saints who have been excommunicated but are still faithful would be able to enter the temple again.

    All I know is that Joseph Smith gave the Keys to the Quorum of the Twelve. But D&C 38:26,27 seems to give impression that, because the church did not remain one, God respects the authority of all the sects, insomuch as they obey His word.

    I think that the Priesthood held by Strang and his followers would have been passed on through ordinations. I don’t think that just because Brigham ex’ed all the Strangites their priesthood was invalid. While the Strangites may have been removed from the L-DS church, they were not removed from the Church(D&C 10:76), as they did not turn away from Christ and the restored Gospel.

    Right now I view Strang as Joseph/Hyrum’s successor. But I do not think it would have continued through him. I think Joseph Smith III was to be be Joseph/Hyrum’s successor but he was too young at the time. James Strang fit’s nicely between thet gap of Joseph/Hyrum and Joseph Smith III.

    I do not see one sect as the “true successor” of Joseph and Hyrum. Rather it seems to me that each sect, after the succession crisis, took a piece of the original church with them. I believe that only be reunited with our brothers and sisters in the other sects can the church be cleansed and healed.

    I have no idea if John Hajicek will have an important role.

  3. I think you have some great thoughts…by their fruit you will know them.
    I think the truth lies in following the fruits. After Joe Smith, Mr Strang had fruits, more than Mr Young…. after this, William Smith, Mr Smith the third didn’t produce much fruit.. After this, the Temple lot produced fruit, and rejected it and was continued with the one producing fruit… after this, some have claimed fruit, but the fruit was bad..After this , the search continues…If there are fruits, I havn’t discovered them yet…

    • Dave P. says:

      There are fruits in the corporate church today, Craig, and they aren’t just bad; they’re completely foul and rotten. Things like money laundering, embezzlement, underground sex rings, mind control, rape, and even murder.

      Such things are just beginning to come to light and expect the church leaders to be facing responsibility for them within this next year since the Lord is wholly in charge now.

  4. Standard says:

    Dave P.

    I agree that there are some foul and rotten fruits coming from the corporate church.

    Don’t forget however that there are some wonderful fruits coming from it as well.

    Namely, the publishing of the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures to all the world.

    This mandate for the twelve apostles to publish the Word of God to the world was given in section 112.

    During a time when the quorum of the 12 apostles had been declared to be condemned by the voice of God, the Lord still labored with them and gave them the mandate to “bear testimony of my name and to send it abroad among all nations…”

    They and the other witnesses of Book of Mormon have published and sent that testimony to the world.

    The Book of Mormon is the standard containing the new covenant which has been given to our generation until the greater light shines forth.

    Notwithstanding all of the problems IN the current church and WITH the current church, it is the one organization of all the splinter groups that has published the word of God to the world, and without their efforts in doing this, many people, perhaps including yourself, would not have been introduced to the Book of Mormon and would not have whatever portion of light that they currently have.

    • Dave P. says:

      There’s just one small problem with that. One of the primary reasons why the church is still cursed today is because of alterations made in the Book of Mormon in the 1837 edition that changed the identity of God and they teach several things today that are not the same as the doctrine that Jesus Christ taught the Nephites. (The other primary reasons are polygamy and introducing blood oaths in the temple endowment, but those are for another day.)

      15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
      16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
      17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
      18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
      19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
      20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.
      21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
      22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?
      23 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

      – 3 Nephi 14:15-23

  5. Standard says:

    It seems to me that you are living proof that the changes made in the Book of Mormon are not overwhelmingly significance because those who care enough to research the topic like you, are aware of the changes.

    You seem to know about them don’t you?

    So what harm has been done to you?

    If the current church organization and thousands of missionaries had not spent so much time and money and effort publishing and promoting the Book of Mormon during the last four decades, it would never have been taken seriously by so many people, many of us, including you and I may never have been aware of it.

    Can you not give the apostate latter day church a little credit for that?

    The church has made it possible for millions of people to know about the restoration of the gospel and the book of Mormon. Those who are really interested and have searched LDS church history and the scriptures know about the changes and can act and think accordingly,

    I have purchased, (from Deseret Book no less) a replication of the original of the Book of Mormon and book of commandments. Thousands of others have done similarly and have also researched this information online.

    I believe it was part of the will of God that our current situation be set up this way to allow everyone to accept whatever portion of light they can.

    Some will ultimately end up in the terrestrial glory having been deceived by the craftiness of men.

    Others will dig deeper, hungering and thirsting for greater light and knowledge.

    I find it interesting that you are casting stones at the brethren as being false prophets and yet you have been promoting a false prophet who claims to be the “One Mighty and Strong”.

    Won’t you find it just a little bit ironic once you find out that you have been deceived by this guy?

    Do you really believe that the millennium began in 2000?

    Do you really think that Satan has been bound?

    Are you really ready to throw out the truths that Joseph Smith and the four standard works teach about the true nature of the Godhead just because this guy has a fixation on a few scriptures that are not being viewed in the context of all of the other scriptures and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith?

    • Homer says:

      Standard:

      I’d like to contrast your suggestion that the Church is doing a well enough job sharing the Book of Mormon and that nothing else could really do as good a job. There are many, many people who – today – simply won’t touch the Book of Mormon because of, well, Mormons. There’s a certain negative connotation (and sometimes well deserved) that tags along with all things Mormon. There is evidence to suggest that Joseph’s original call was to do nothing more than translate the work, and that his personal “work” would be finished with the translation.

      Suppose he did that, published the book and left it to be, without starting a church/religion and without several revelations being altered to support the establishment of said church/religion. Suppose further, that the book was never copyrighted by any denomination, but rather remained something akin to the Bible (i.e. used by innumerable congregations across the world and in the hands of Billions of people). Or, suppose it took on a book that was studied much the same way Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” is (i.e. in virtually every high school or college, at least in America). Suppose the book never took on the negative connotations of a specific denomination.

      I think there’s a case to be made for the latter scenario. Though the church has put the Book of Mormon in the hands of many people, perhaps it would be in even more hands (and certainly more inviting to read for many people) without the denomination attached to the Book, complete with copyrights and legal restrictions.

      • Standard says:

        Homer-

        You bring up some great points.

        I really don’t have an argument with the fact that the church has created negative connotations and stigma and has become a stumbling block for some people to accept the Book of Mormon.

        However many many people HAVE come to the knowledge of the book of Mormon because of the missionary efforts of the church, including my mother’s side of the family that came from England to Nauvoo as a result of the efforts of the apostate church.

        Please remember, I am not claiming the church is not in apostasy… it clearly is in my opinion.

        I have never said that church has done a perfect job of publishing God’s word to the world. In fact I left the church two decades ago. My agenda is not to be an apologist for the church, simply to acknowledge that one can document in scripture that the church does still have a calling, regardless of how well they are doing it.

        Few people are more passionate about the apostasy of the LDS church than I am.

        My point is that once the Saints rejected the fulness of the gospel and failed to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times when the fulness of the priesthood was restored between 1831-4, Joseph Smith announced that something new had to be done for the the salvation of the church.

        Shortly after that announcement Joseph and Oliver had an experience at the Kirtland Temple that neither of them ever spoke publically about.

        That secret experience had to do with the ushering in of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham and the preparatory gospel. (section 110)

        Shortly after that, the quorum of the 12 were commissioned to take the lesser gospel to the nations of the earth and to publish Gods word to the nations.

        The history of the church is pretty clear about the fact that the quorum of the 12 and the entire church and leadership of the church was under condemnation when the mandate was given to them to publish the word and take the lesser gospel to the world.

        It sickens me to see how the modern corporate church bundles the Book of Mormon in with the gospel of works and with priesthcraft and every manner of false doctrine.

        Nevertheless, I am grateful that I have a knowledge of and belief in the Book of Mormon and that a foundation has been laid, preparatory to the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that is about to take place.

        I have know idea why God has temporarily given the legal lease of the lesser portion, to “wicked miserable men” but it is clear to me that he has. (JST Matt 21:55-56)

        Regarding the following statement of yours-

        “Suppose he did that, published the book and left it to be, without starting a church/religion and without several revelations being altered to support the establishment of said church/religion”

        Although I have studied the changes in the BofC and the D&C for two decades, I am not aware of any changes that brought about the restoration of the priesthoods and the church.

        I think you are confused on that issue.

        Feel free to enlighten me if I have missed something.

        Otherwise, you and I can agree to disagree on the validity of the unaltered revelations that very specifically did in fact authorize and mandate the restoration of the priesthoods and the church.

  6. Standard says:

    BTW

    The church wasn’t condemned because of changes made to the Book of Mormon, it was condemned because it took the Book of Mormon and modern scriptures containing the New Covenant LIGHTLY. (you might want to re-read section 84 and associated unpublished revelation again)

  7. Dave P. says:

    I’ll just say that I’ll take the advice over one who advises me to seek things out for myself over those who would tell me to blindly “follow the prophet.” I’ve had too many good things happen to me lately to warrant surrendering my agency to a bunch of old men in suits who claim it’s okay to trust in the arm of flesh.

  8. Standard says:

    I am not suggesting that you surrender your agency to the brethren or to the arm of flesh in any other way.

    I was suggesting that the the church still plays a valuable part in getting the Book of Mormon out to the masses in preparation for the Marvelous Work.

    The contention that you and Steve make about the church being cursed because of the changes in the Book of Mormon is scripturally unsound and unfounded.

    The main argument that you and Steve seem to have regarding the supposed cursing of the church because of the changes in the Book of Mormon seems to be predicated primarily on the changing of about four passages in the 11th and 13th chapters of 1st Nephi to say “the Son of God” or the “Son of the Eternal Father” instead of God or the Eternal Father, etc.

    Big deal.

    The original Book of Mormon translation already referred to Christ as the Son of God in numerous other places before those changes were made, therefore the changes don’t really represent an insertion of a new, conflicting doctrine pertaining to Christ.

    The Book of Mormon refers to God the Father separately from Christ as well.

    I do agree that those men who made the changes should not have made them simply out of respect for the correctness of the existing translation, however the amount of damage done to the integrity of the doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon is virtually significant. particularly since those presumptuous brethren neglected to change the following passages in Mosiah-

    “he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things”

    “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.”

    The act of leaving those passages intact hardly makes the other changes look like a conspiracy to cover up the fact that Christ is also referred to as the Father at times.

    Nevertheless, if you do a key word search including Father and Son in the Book of Mormon, the overwhelming majority of scriptures refer to the Father and Son as distinct personages that constitute the only true God.

    It becomes apparent that Steve needed to create a problem for himself to become the solution for. His pronouncement to the world that He has been sent to restore the original Book of Mormon is nonsensical.

    When you and Steve teach people that Christ is the Father AND that he has no father other than himself, and that there are not two distinct personages in the Godhead, you are contradicting numerous scriptures in Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, New Testament, the teachings of Joseph Smith, the testminony of Joseph and Oliver and the testimony of others who have seen the Father and the Son.

    IMO that is a much more serious doctrinal error than the changes made in two chapters of the Book of Mormon.

  9. aztalan says:

    the burlington and vorhee area south west of milwaukee…is called the “burlington vortex” of paranormal activity…ghost hauntings…ufos…bigfoot…wherewolves…underground caves and tunnels and temporal distortion waves! vorhee is in the center of the burlington vortex! true! double-check my words you mormon retards! / @ milwaukee

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